The Hindu Thread

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#1
Pollution warnings as a million Indian idols immersed

Wed Sep 6, 6:12 AM ET

Indians mark the end of a 10-day religious festival by dunking up to a million colourful idols of the elephant-headed Hindu deity Ganesh into the sea and rivers despite pollution warnings.

Security was tight and roads were closed in Mumbai before the statues of Ganesh, some several metres (yards) high, were paraded through the streets on their way to being immersed off the coast of the western Indian city.

The festival is hugely popular in Mumbai and India's south with large crowds thronging the streets but scientists warned the idols threatened to pollute the city's already dirty water.

Scientists began a study of the issue last month following complaints by fishermen of dwindling stocks once the annual festival was over.

"For years we've observed whenever idols are immersed ... all the fish in the pond or lake would die and float," said Dr Shyam Asolekar, head of the research at the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai.

"The lake would shimmer because of the floating dead fish. This was the picture every year."

Scientists said lead, copper and heavy metals from the paint on many of the idols were probably the cause, particularly on the festival's 10th day when the largest Ganesh figures are dunked.

Businesses and resident groups all chip in to pay for idols with hundreds of thousands of people queuing to visit shrines set up for the Ganesh idols across the city.

Ganesh, one of the most popular Hindu deities, is believed to grant progress, prosperity and wisdom.

Hindus traditionally take images into their houses and worship them every day before immersing them in water over the 10 days.

The festival has been celebrated by families for centuries but increased in scale more than a century ago when nationalists used it to unite the community against the Western influences of the former British colonial rulers.

Asolekar said a million idols were immersed in Mumbai alone on the final day of festivities.

He has advised groups to make idols from traditional clay, which decomposes in two hours, instead of cheaper plaster of Paris which his tests found remained intact after five days.

There was growing awareness of the problem, he said, noting that some idols this year had been made from fruit, pulped newspapers and mud. But the majority were still made of painted plaster, he said.

Thousands of police were deployed around the city amid concerns that the Hindu festival could be targeted. More than 180 people were killed in the city in July in a series of coordinated bomb blasts on packed commuter trains that were blamed on Islamic militants.

Ganesh
 
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#2
Hindu holy men says Ganges too dirty for ritual bath

Mon Jan 8, 6:07 AM ET



Indian holy men or sadhus have threatened to boycott a major religious festival, in which millions of people wash away sins in the Ganges river, saying it was too polluted.

Thousands of sadhus in their trademark saffron-coloured clothes held protests for a second day Monday, demanding that the river be cleaned up before the next auspicious bathing day on Sunday, a Hindu leader said.

"The water in (the) river is so dirty that no one can take a dip. It is dark red whereas the Ganges used to be bluish green," said Shankaracharya Vasudvanand Saraswati, who heads the main Hindu monastery in the holy city of Allahabad, where the festival is taking place.

"If the government takes no corrective measures we will have no option but to boycott the (Ardh Kumbh) festival," he told AFP by telephone.

Billed as one of the world's biggest human gatherings, the festival started last week with Hindus taking a dip at the confluence of two sacred rivers -- the Ganges and the Yamuna.

The Ardh Kumbh mela, held every six years at Allahabad to mark a mythical battle between gods and demons over a pitcher or kumbh of the nectar of immortality, was expected to draw as many as 70 million people over the next six weeks.

Devotees believe the holy waters wash away sins, liberate them from a continuous cycle of birth and reincarnation and guarantee immortality.

"The pilgrims come here to wash away their sins but after a dip here, they may carry skin diseases with them," said Hari Chaitanya Brahmachari, another powerful Hindu figure who runs the monastery in Varanasi a city on the Ganges.

Brahmachari has filed a court case against the state government of Uttar for not keeping the Ganges clean.

State officials said they will release fresh water via canals and dams to help improve water quality for the mela.

The Ganges, which rises in the Himalayas, is polluted by industrial effluent and human waste as it winds through the Indian plains before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.


Ganges
Edit to amend title.
 

escargot

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#3
The paradox of the ritually clean/physically filthy condition of the Ganges has always interested western observers.

I remember reading about it as a child (late 60s) and seeing photos, where people bathed in it as what were alleged to be half-burned human remains floated past. :shock:
 

OldTimeRadio

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#4
I remember a theatrical newsreel or travelogue my Dad and I watched in the early 1950s. The film claimed that the Ganges was not a significant health risk because the waters are so incredibly filthy that germs simply can't live there.

It added that when microbial cultures are experimentally added to the River, they almsot invariably die within 24 hours.
 

Jerry_B

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#5
The Indian government has withdrawn a controversial report submitted in court earlier this week which questioned the existence of the Hindu god Ram.

The report was withdrawn after huge protests by opposition parties.

The report was presented to the Supreme Court on Wednesday in connection with a case against a proposed shipping canal project between India and Sri Lanka.

Hindu hardliners say the project will destroy what they say is a bridge built by Ram and his army of monkeys.

Scientists and archaeologists say the Ram Setu (Lord Ram's bridge) - or Adam's Bridge as it is sometimes called - is a natural formation of sand and stones.

No evidence

In their report submitted to the court, the government and the Archaeological Survey of India questioned the belief, saying it was solely based on the Hindu mythological epic Ramayana.

They said there was no scientific evidence to prove that the events described in Ramayana ever took place or that the characters depicted in the epic were real.

Hindu activists say the bridge was built by Lord Ram's monkey army to travel to Sri Lanka and has religious significance.

In the last two days, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has launched a scathing attack on the government for questioning the "faith of the million".

Worried about the adverse reaction from the majority Hindu population of the country, the Congress Party-led government has now done a U-turn and withdrawn the statement submitted in court.

Road blocks

On Wednesday, Hindu hard-line organisations blocked roads across India to protest against the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project.

Commuters in the capital, Delhi, were stuck in traffic jams for hours as Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) and Bajrang Dal blocked roads at various places.

Road blocks were also held in Bhopal, the capital of the central state of Madhya Pradesh, on the Delhi-Agra highway and on the Jaipur-Agra highway.

Train services were disrupted in many places across northern India.

The canal project proposes to link the Palk Strait with the Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka by dredging a canal through the shallow sea.

This is expected to provide a continuous navigable sea route around the Indian peninsula.

Once complete, the canal will reduce the travel time for ships by hundreds of miles and is expected to boost the economic and industrial development of the region.

BBC Source
 

darrg

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#6
I wonder if they'll show ... ?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7132124.stm

A judge in India has summoned two Hindu gods, Ram and Hanuman, to help resolve a property dispute.

Judge Sunil Kumar Singh in the eastern state of Jharkhand has issued adverts in newspapers asking the gods to "appear before the court personally".

The gods have been asked to appear before the court on Tuesday, after the judge said that letters addressed to them had gone unanswered.

Ram and Hanuman are among the most popular Indian Hindu gods.

Judge Singh presides in a "fast track" court - designed to resolve disputes quickly - in the city of Dhanbad.

The dispute is now 20 years old and revolves around the ownership of a 1.4 acre plot of land housing two temples.

The deities of Ram and Hanuman, the monkey god, are worshipped at the two temples on the land.

Temple priest Manmohan Pathak claims the land belongs to him. Locals say it belongs to the two deities.

The two sides first went to court in 1987.

A few years ago, the dispute was settled in favour of the locals. Then Mr Pathak challenged the verdict in a fast track court.

Judge Singh sent out two notices to the deities, but they were returned as the addresses were found to be "incomplete".

This prompted him to put out adverts in local newspapers summoning the gods.

"You failed to appear in court despite notices sent by a peon and later through registered post. You are herby directed to appear before the court personally", Judge Singh's notice said.

The two Hindu gods have been summoned as the defence claimed that they were owners of the disputed land.

"Since the land has been donated to the gods, it is necessary to make them a party to the case," local lawyer Bijan Rawani said.

Mr Pathak said the land was given to his grandfather by a former local king.
 

gyrtrash

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#7
Personally, I'd like to see the gods be awarded the land. As opposed to the land-grabbing priesthood.
Sort of cutting out the middle-men? :p

Imagine if someone left land to the gods in this country?!
Would they get a Council Tax bill? :shock:
 

jefflovestone

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#8
darrg said:
I wonder if they'll show ... ?
I hope they do. Can you imagine if Hindu gods actually appeared? Can you imagine ramifications of this? The position it would put America in, the Middle-East, Catholic South America &c? It would be fantastic!

ONE NATION UNDER A MONKEY GOD!
 

Kondoru

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#9
It certainly seems to make legal sense but I dont think its appropriate for a `Fast track` court.

Gods work in their own time.

And what are they going to do if the gods `dont` turn up?
 

maximus otter

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#11
A woman had to be cut free after impaling her arm on three-inch metal spikes attached to a statue of the Hindu goddess Kali.

The 30-year-old victim fell onto the spikes at her home in Salford, Greater Manchester.

It took firemen 30 minutes to free her by cutting through the spikes with a hacksaw.

She was then taken to Hope Hospital, Salford, for treatment.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: "The woman had fallen onto the statue within the house. We had to cut through the part that she had impaled her arm on.

"It took 30 minutes to free her using a hacksaw."

The victim has not been named. It is understood she "fell onto the statue while staggering around".

Kali, the goddess of time and change, is generally associated with death and destruction.

She is a dominant figure in Tantric iconography, texts and rituals.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/2559487/Woman-impaled-on-statue-of-Hindu-goddess.html

maximus otter
 
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#13
Indian holy man calls sex tape 'false campaign'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8555491.stm

At the protest against the Swami
Pictures of the holy man were burned at the protest

A Hindu holy man in India has denied any wrongdoing, days after video emerged apparently showing him engaging in sexual acts with two women.

A spokesman for Nithyananda Swami said he was at the Kumbh Mela festival and would soon "clear the air".

In a video released on Sunday, the guru said he had done nothing illegal and the scandal was "a false campaign".

His ashram near the southern city of Bangalore was vandalised last week after TV channels broadcast the video.

'Nothing illegal'

In a message on his official website on Sunday, the guru asked his followers to remain calm and patient.

"I assure all of you that nothing illegal has been done by me or my organisation. We are in the process of collecting evidence to establish this lie and the motive behind this false campaign," he said.

Swamiji, as he is known to his followers, said he would soon provide an explanation and answer all their queries.

"There is total transparency at the ashram and all allegations of illegal activity are baseless and motivated," ashram spokesman Satichandananda told a press conference on Monday.

Meanwhile, cases have been filed against the holy man in the southern city of Madras (Chennai) for "outraging the people's religious sentiments".

The guru's followers allege the video was created and distributed by a jealous inmate of the ashram in a bid to defame him.

Last week the ashram called the footage "a mix of conspiracy, graphics and rumours".

Nithyananda Swami has a huge following in southern India and the video shocked his devotees and angered locals.
 

Xanatic_

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#15
What´s the point of having religious followers if you can´t have sex with them?
 
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#17
India holy man quits after sex claim
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8594250.stm

Pictures of the holy man were burned at the protest
A Hindu holy man in India has quit as head of a religious organisation after police launched a probe into allegations of obscenity against him.

Nithyananda Swami's announcement came weeks after a video emerged apparently showing him engaging in sexual acts with two women.

The guru has said he had done nothing illegal and the video scandal was "a false campaign".

Nithyananda Swami has a huge following in southern India.

The video shocked his devotees and angered locals - his ashram near the southern city of Bangalore was vandalised after TV channels broadcast the video.

Police have launched an investigation into the incident - a senior detective told the BBC that they were investigating whether the guru had "outraged religious feelings" of his devotees.

The 32-year-old said in a statement that he was resigning as the head of his organisation, Dhyanapeetam (Knowledge Centre), and from all the trusts associated with him.

His organisation has branches in several countries, including the US and Europe.

"If required, I will return and talk about all that had happened as an independent witness to my conduct with a clean heart and pure soul and in a less prejudiced atmosphere," he said.

He said he had decided to live a "life of spiritual seclusion for an indefinite time".

The guru's followers allege the video was created and distributed by a jealous inmate of the ashram in a bid to defame him.

The guru's ashram has called the footage "a mix of conspiracy, graphics and rumours".
 

thenumenorian

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#18
power corrupts

there hasn't been a cult or religion that has not become disassociated with its original mission. in the US a yoga cult pitted (leaders) brother against sister, while the old baba was upstairs favoring the young cult members with his attention. when it all hit the fan, he said he was practicing tantric yoga. this is a good cover, one that few other religions have and quick thinking too.
 
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#19
India sex scandal guru arrested
At the protest against the Swami
Pictures of the holy man were burned at the protest

Police in India say a controversial Hindu holy man facing charges of obscenity has been arrested.

Nithyananda Swami was detained in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh where police said he had been hiding.

The guru stepped down last month as head of a religious organisation based in the southern city of Bangalore.

His announcement came after a video apparently showing him engaging in sexual acts with two women. He says he is innocent and the video is a fake.

Nithyananda Swami has a huge following in southern India and his mission has branches in several countries, including the US and Europe.

'Spiritual seclusion'

"Nithyananda Swami was arrested at Solan [in Himachal Pradesh] along with his associate Gopal Seelam Reddy and they would be brought to Bangalore soon," the city's director general of police, DV Guruprasaad, said.

On Tuesday, the authorities raided the swami's sprawling centre near Bangalore.

Nithyananda Swami, 32, stepped down as leader of the global Dhyanapeetam (Knowledge Centre) organisation soon after the police inquiry was launched.

"I have decided to live a life of spiritual seclusion for some indefinite time," the guru said in a statement.

"If required, I will return and talk about all that had happened as an independent witness to my conduct with a clean heart and pure soul and in a less prejudiced atmosphere."

The video shocked his devotees and angered locals - his ashram near Bangalore was vandalised after TV channels broadcast the video.

The guru's followers allege the video was created and distributed by a jealous inmate of the ashram in a bid to defame him.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8634696.stm
 
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#20
Students clash at Indian beef festival
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... tival.html

Rival students clashed at a beef-eating festival at a southern Indian university, as Hindu activists fought with low-case Dalit
groups who organised the event.
12:35PM BST 16 Apr 2012

Police fired tear gas on Sunday evening to break up the fighting, in which at least five people were injured and two vehicles were set ablaze at the
Osmania University in the city of Hyderabad.

Hindus, the religious majority in India, regard cows as sacred and the animals are often used in temple ceremonies as well as allowed to wander at will through the country's busy towns and markets.

In the traditional Hindu caste system, Dalits (formerly known as 'untouchables') are considered the lowest of low castes, and some Dalit groups reject Hindu religious practices such as the ban on eating beef.

Beef biryani and other beef dishes were served to 200 people at the festival before about 50 students belonging to a right-wing Hindu group tried to
enter the venue, police said.

"The organisers told us that they were not going to cook beef on the campus but were only bringing in cooked food from outside," senior officer Y.
Gangadhar told AFP.

"There was some stone-pelting forcing us to throw tear gas shells to bring the situation under control."

The event, the first of its kind at the university, was to campaign for beef to be included on menus at student hostel accommodation.
"It is unfortunate that people who consume beef are looked down upon by the upper castes, but for centuries beef has been part of our diet," B.
Sudarshan, a Dalit research scholar and festival organiser, told AFP.
"What is wrong in consuming beef? Those opposed to it can advise people not to have beef but they can't force their diktat on us."

Hyderabad student politics have a history of violent confrontation, with previous clashes over the proposed creation of Telangana state, which would becarved out of the present state of Andhra Pradesh.

The city has attracted major investment from global firms such as Microsoft and Google and is a symbol of India's emerging economy, but also suffers
from deep inter-religious tension.

Many Indian States have introduced various jail terms for cow slaughter in recent years in a trend seen as reflecting radical Hindu views and anti-Muslim sentiment.

Source: AFP
 
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#21
Indian villagers shave their heads to mourn dead monkey

Nearly 200 Indian villagers have shaved their heads to mourn the death of a monkey from their local temple.The macaque drowned when it fell into a pond after being chased by dogs. Afraid that its death may bring them bad luck, the villagers held a funeral procession and cremated the animal according to Hindu rituals. Another 700 villagers shaved their beards off.

Monkeys are considered sacred by Hindus and there are temples dedicated to monkey god Hanuman across India. Hanuman is generally depicted with a human body, a red monkey's face and a tail and his followers believe that worshipping him will liberate them from fear and danger. ...

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-29235319
 
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#22
Activists from India's governing party have vandalised a coffee shop, complaining of immoral behaviour.

Members of the BJP's youth wing were shown on TV waving the party flag and smashing windows, chairs and tables.

Local BJP chief V Muralitharan said the youths had merely gone to check whether "TV video of young boys and girls behaving inappropriately" was accurate.

Some social commentators have accused hard-line Hindu groups of engaging in "moral policing".

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-29763519
 

Peripart

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#24
OldTimeRadio said:
The film claimed that the Ganges was not a significant health risk because the waters are so incredibly filthy that germs simply can't live there.
That's just about as reassuring as "crocodiles ate all the sharks" from the old XXXX advert.
 
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#25
At least six people have died in a standoff between police and an Indian religious leader who is believed to be holed up inside his sprawling ashram along with thousands of devotees — some of whom are said to be armed.

The guru, 63-year-old Sant Rampal, is wanted for questioning in a 2006 murder case, but has repeatedly ignored orders to appear in court.

Riot police tried to storm the ashram compound in Haryana state on Tuesday, but Rampal’s followers, some of them using guns, rocks and batons, fought them off, authorities said.

About 200 people were injured, including security forces.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/world/six- ... 98751.html
 
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#26
Indian scholars on Monday condemned the execution-style killing of leading scholar, M M Kalburgi, an academic and writer from southern Karnataka state.

The motive for the killing is unknown, but Kalburgi, who was 77, had been given police protection in the past after receiving death threats from Hindu hardliners.

“Security cover was withdrawn last year on Kalburgi’s insistence, as he wanted to be accessible by anyone being a public figure and popular in literary and social circles,” Karnataka additional director general of police Alok Mohan told AFP.

Kalburgi, who taught at Kannada University in Karnataka, regularly spoke out against superstitions and had questioned the worth of idol worship by Hindus, who form the majority in deeply religious India.

Writers and scholars expressed outrage as they gathered in the state’s literary heartland of Dharwad on Monday for his funeral as well as in the state capital Bangalore.

http://nation.com.pk/international/...worship-and-angered-hardline-hindu-groups-was
 
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#27
Ground report: How rumours about cow slaughter triggered riots in Mainpuri

Two Muslim men were nearly killed in Uttar Pradesh last week as they skinned a cow that had died of natural causes. Why did a mob attempt to set them afire?.

The two men, 55-year-old Mohammad Shafiq and 27-year-old Mohammad Kalam, were skinning a cow when they were accused of slaughtering the animal. Very rapidly, a mob of 1,000-1,500 people, according to police estimates, converged on the spot, a stretch of open land next to a small irrigation canal just beyond a predominantly Hindu basti.

Shafiq and Kalam, who work as butchers, were stripped and beaten. A police party that attemptedto control the crowd was roughed up as well. Three of its vehicles – a jeep, a Bolero and a motorcycle – were burnt. After the police succeeded in rescuing Shafiq and Kalam, the mob loaded the cow onto a cart and paraded it through Karhal.

Along the way, it looted the vegetable market, ransacked and torched shops belonging to Muslims, and burnt an effigy of Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan.

http://www.scroll.in/article/762036...out-cow-slaughter-triggered-riots-in-mainpuri
 
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#29
Indian scientists join protests over killings of prominent secularists

National science academies decry religious intolerance and government's perceived embrace of superstition.

Leading Indian scientists have voiced concerns during the past week over religious intolerance and the killings of three noted advocates of rational thinking.

The action is an unusual occurrence in a country where scientists rarely step out of their research domains to comment on social or political issues. It follows an outcry by leading writers, who since September have been returning their national awards in protest against what they see as the government's failure to curb religious intolerance in India.

Anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar was killed in 2013, communist politician Govind Panasare in February of this year and literature scholar Malleshappa Kalburgi in August. All three killings have been blamed on members of extreme right-wing Hindu groups. The killing of Kalburgi triggered the protests from the writers, which intensified early this month after a mob in a town near New Delhi killed a Muslim man who was rumoured to have slaughtered a cow (Hinduism considers cows to be sacred animals).

On 22 October, a group of scientists followed up the writers' protest by launching an online petition to India's president, Pranab Mukherjee, protesting against the killings. It gathered 268 signatories.

http://www.nature.com/news/indian-s...ver-killings-of-prominent-secularists-1.18682
 
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#30
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