Madras High Court Orders Signage Restricting Non-Hindus in Temples to Uphold Hindu Rights

The Madras High Court has issued a directive to the Tamil Nadu HR&CE department, instructing them to place signage in all Hindu temples, clearly stating that non-Hindus are restricted beyond the ‘Kodimaram’ area within the premises. Justice S Srimathy of the Madurai Bench emphasized the fundamental right of Hindus to practice and profess their religion. This ruling came in response to a petition from D Senthilkumar, seeking exclusive access for Hindus to the Arulmigu Palani Dhandayuthapani Swamy temple and its sub-temples, along with the installation of display boards to enforce this regulation at all entrances.

The notable Palani Murugan temple, situated in Dindigul district, was specifically mentioned in this context.

The respondents in the case included the Tamil Nadu government, represented by the Principal Secretary of the Department of Tourism, Culture and Religious Endowments, The Commissioner of the HR&CE Department, and the Executive Officer of the Palani temple. The HR&CE department oversees the administration of Hindu temples across Tamil Nadu.

In response to the petition, the court ordered the installation of boards stating “non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple after Kodimaram” at the temple entrances, near the flagpole, and at prominent locations within the shrine. The court also mandated that non-Hindus seeking access to specific deities within the temple must provide an undertaking affirming their faith in the deity and willingness to adhere to Hindu customs and practices. Entries for such visits would be maintained in a register by the temple authorities.

Furthermore, the court stressed the importance of maintaining temple premises in accordance with temple rules, customs, and practices outlined in the agamas.

Although the respondents suggested confining the order to the Palani temple alone, the court dismissed this plea, asserting that the issue raised was of broader significance. The court highlighted that these restrictions aim to promote communal harmony among different religions and maintain peace in society. Therefore, the court directed the State Government, HR&CE department, and all involved in temple administration to adhere to these directives in all Hindu temples.

The court reiterated the fundamental rights of Hindus to practice and profess their faith, emphasizing that while individuals of other religions also have these rights, they should not interfere with Hindu customs and practices. Temples are not intended as tourist or picnic spots, and must be respected accordingly.

The court referenced specific incidents of non-Hindus allegedly misusing temple premises, such as consuming non-vegetarian food within temple grounds or attempting to conduct prayers with their sacred texts near sanctums. Such incidents, the court asserted, infringe upon the fundamental rights of Hindus as guaranteed by the Constitution.

Consequently, the court held that it is the duty of the HR&CE department to safeguard temples from such unwanted occurrences and ensure the protection of Hindu fundamental rights. Failure to do so, as evidenced by past incidents, is a neglect of constitutional duty.

The Madras High Court’s ruling underscores the importance of respecting Hindu customs and practices within temple premises, ensuring the fundamental rights of Hindus are upheld, and maintaining the sanctity of these religious spaces.

https://www.ndtv.com/tamil-nadu-news/madras-high-court-to-tamil-nadu-cant-allow-non-hindus-beyond-flagpole-in-temples-4962278#pfrom=home-ndtv_bigstory

India’s Population Dynamics: Religious Growth, Caste Challenges, and Demographic Projections

India has experienced a significant population surge since Partition, with numbers skyrocketing from 361 million in 1951 to over 1.2 billion in 2011. The United Nations Population Division predicts that India’s monthly population growth of about 1 million individuals could lead it to surpass China as the world’s most populous nation by 2030.India's Population Dynamics Religious Growth Caste Challenges and Demographic Projections

During the period from 1951 to 2011, all major religious groups in India witnessed growth. Hindus increased from 304 million to 966 million, Muslims from 35 million to 172 million, and Christians from 8 million to 28 million. However, there are indications that Christians might be undercounted in census data. This discrepancy arises from individuals identifying as Hindu to access government benefits meant for Scheduled Castes, which Christians are not typically eligible for. The 2015 National Family Health Survey showed that 21% of Christians interviewed identified as Scheduled Castes.

India’s caste system, a hierarchical social structure, has historically influenced societal roles and opportunities. Affirmative action programs, known as “reservations,” aim to mitigate caste-based disparities by allocating government jobs and educational seats for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes. However, these reservations are not extended to Muslims and Christians, prompting debate over their exclusion from poverty-alleviation programs.

India's Population Dynamics Religious Growth Caste Challenges and Demographic Projections

India has implemented various measures to control population growth, including contraceptive promotion and penalties for large families. These efforts have led to a slowdown in population expansion since the 1990s, with growth rates declining for all religious groups. While Hindus remain the majority, the growth rate of religious minorities has tapered off, particularly among Muslims and Christians.

India's Population Dynamics Religious Growth Caste Challenges and Demographic Projections

 

Despite slower growth rates, India’s major religious groups continue to gain millions of followers. Hindus added 138 million people between 2001 and 2011, while Muslims increased by 34 million. Christians, however, experienced the slowest growth rate among the three largest groups.

 

India’s religious composition has remained relatively stable since Partition, with Muslims experiencing a modest increase in percentage share while Hindus declined slightly. Christians have consistently comprised 2-3% of the population since 1951.

India's Population Dynamics Religious Growth Caste Challenges and Demographic Projections

Minor religious groups, including Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains, have seen their numbers double or triple over the decades. Geographically, Christians are concentrated in Southern states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu, while Sikhs are prevalent in Punjab.

 

The 2011 census revealed about 8 million people identifying with smaller religious groups, with over 80 lakh claiming no affiliation with the six largest religions. The census allows for an open-ended response to religion, with over 83 smaller religious groups represented.

India's Population Dynamics Religious Growth Caste Challenges and Demographic Projections

Looking ahead to 2050, demographic projections suggest continued growth for Muslims and Hindus, with Muslims expected to comprise around 18% of the population. Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains, however, are projected to decline as a share of the population due to lower fertility rates.

India's Population Dynamics Religious Growth Caste Challenges and Demographic Projections

India’s population dynamics, influenced by religious demographics, continue to shape its societal landscape, with implications for policies and societal inclusion.

 

Kumar Gallery presents 27 MASTERS

Kumar Gallery is pleased to present 27 MASTERS, a group show of master artists spanning from the Bengal school, J P Gangooly, Jamini Roy, Bireswar Sen; to Progressives M F Husain, F N Souza, S H Raza, Krishen Khanna, K H Ara, Ram Kumar, Akbar Padamsee; to tantric abstractionists G R Santosh, Biren De, Sohan Qadri; to important modernists K S Kulkarni, N S Bendre, A Ramachandran, J Swaminathan, B Prabha, Satish Gujral, Sakti Burman, George Keyt, A P Santhanaraj, Badri Narayan, Jatin Das; to eminent sculptors Amar Nath Sehgal, Prodosh Das Gupta, Sankho Chaudhuri, and Dhanraj Bhagat.

Picture : TheUNN

Works in the exhibition span themes relevant to 2023. Ramachandran’s Visions of War, with its reflections on propaganda, ideology, religion, history, and the specter of nuclear war has never since World War II been more relevant on account of the Ukraine War. The exhibition invites viewers to further reflect upon themes of the vitality of life as expressed through sexuality in art, the historical socioeconomic fabric of India, and the integration of philosophy into modern life.

Exhibition opens online on February 5th 5PM IST. Select works will be on exhibit at Kumar Gallery Hotel Hyatt Regency & Kumar Gallery Sainik Farms (By Appointment)

Mr. Virendra Kumar Jain of Kumar Gallery is the pioneer in promoting contemporary Indian art in our country as well as abroad. Most of the top ranking artists of today owe their beginnings to him. It was due to relentless efforts Kumar made in creating awareness of modern vocabulary of the mode of painting that has made it possible for most of us to find a niche in the history of world art. What our society has gained through such developments is too obvious to mention. – Satish Gujral

This essay pays tribute to a champion and great supporter of Modern Indian Art, Shri Virendra Kumar, founder of Kumar Gallery. With the dizzying ascent and soaring value of the market for Modern Indian Art in recent years, it is all too easy for connoisseurs to defer to price as a proxy for aesthetic value. Yet Modern was once Contemporary, and there was a time when the evolution of style was the result of a hard-won struggle against the prevailing commercial trends. It was precisely at those crossroads in the history of India that Virendra acted as the principal tastemaker and visionary patron for serious, avant-garde artistic expression.

Picture : TheUNN

Virendra Kumar was born on 26 January 1933 to an illustrious and philanthropic Jain family. For generations the family had provided patronage to musicians, sculptors, and painters, architects and had commissioned numerous temples. Most notable amongst direct patrilineal ancestors of the family were Raja Harsukh Rai (1740 – 1807) and his great grandfather Deep Chand Sah, who respectively built the Naya Mandir and Lal Mandir in Delhi, and the latter of whom was the treasurer for the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Oral histories of the family trace the lineage back further to influential Jain traders during the Tomara dynasty (8th – 12th centuries), principally located in the area where the Qutb Minar is now located.

In many ways, known and unknown, the shape of what we now understand as Modern Indian Art was shaped by the efforts of Virendra Kumar and his brothers at Kumar Gallery. Their contributions as promoters and tastemakers came precisely at the hour of need for the first generation of contemporary artists in independent India’s.

Virendra’s comprehensive patronage and unwavering belief that Indian artists could compete with their Western contemporaries was the quintessential catalyst that manifested the latent potential of India’s nascent artistic ecosystem. In recognition of the role that Virendra Kumar played, and in appreciation of his sincerity and resolve, M.F. Husain, termed him, ‘The Kahnweiller of Indian Contemporary Art.’ For more details, please visit: https://kumargallery.com/about-us/

Pope Francis Makes the College of Cardinals More Universal

Unless his reign is short, a Roman Catholic pontiff will appoint most of the men who vote for his successor. But Pope Francis’ additions to the College of Cardinals since his election in 2013 also have served another purpose – tilting the leadership structure of the Roman Catholic Church away from its historic European base and toward developing nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The pope recently announced that he will appoint nine new voting cardinals (in addition to four other cardinals who are over 80 and therefore ineligible to vote). After this latest group is elevated at a Nov. 28 ceremony in Vatican City, the College of Cardinals will have 128 voting members, 42% of whom are European, down from 52% in 2013.

Francis’ appointments have increased the overall representation of the Asia-Pacific region within the body of voting cardinals from 9% in 2013 to 15% in 2020, while increasing the representation of sub-Saharan Africa from 9% to 13%. These figures include cardinals who were named by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and St. John Paul II.

Francis, an Argentinian who is the first pope from outside Europe since the eighth century, still has picked more cardinals from Europe than from any other region. Of the 73 newly appointed or currently eligible voting cardinals Francis has named so far during his papacy, 38% are from Europe, 21% from Latin America and the Caribbean, 18% from the Asia-Pacific region, 14% from sub-Saharan Africa, 7% from North America and 3% from the Middle East-North Africa region.

Among the nine cardinals Francis has chosen this year, four are from Europe, with three from Italy and one from Malta. Two were born in the Asia-Pacific region (Brunei and the Philippines), one is from Latin America and the Caribbean (Chile), one is from sub-Saharan Africa (Rwanda), and one is from North America (the United States). The American is Wilton D. Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, who will become the first African American cardinal.

Given that, as of 2010, only about a quarter (24%) of the global Catholic population is from Europe, the continent remains heavily overrepresented among voting cardinals. By this measure, the most underrepresented continent within the church’s leadership – even with Francis’ new picks – is Latin America and the Caribbean, which is home to 39% of the worldwide Catholic population (again, as of 2010) and has 19% of the cardinals.

First Ever ‘Decolonized’ English Translation Of Famous Ancient Indian Scripture

Ten years in the making, a new English version of the world’s most translated – and mistranslated – ancient Indian scripture could be the purest because it does not include colonial, western or Christian distortions.

Written more than 5,000 years ago – some calculate 7,500 years ago – the Bhagavad Gita is considered the ultimate guide on how to navigate life’s struggles and dilemmas and find meaning within existence. It is the central and enduring sacred text of Hindu and other eastern cultures that can be found in households worldwide.

The book also has prevailing global influence as a “leading book of yoga,” and a following that includes Arianna Huffington who recently wrote: “The Bhagavad Gita is a source of wisdom in this crucible time.”

Translated hundreds of times

Considered a literary masterpiece with universal appeal, the Gita has been translated hundreds of times in 75 languages since 1785. It even provided the premise of the multi-star Hollywood movie, The Legend of Bagger Vance.

When local Vedic (Hindu) scholar and linguist Jeffrey Armstrong embarked on being the first Canadian to translate the Gita into English, he thought he was doing a straight Sanskrit-to-English translation. Through his research, he discovered that previous western versions had distorted the Gita with concepts, words and theories that do not exist in Sanskrit or Indian cultures.

Armstrong spent 10 years “decolonizing” the text to capture it accurately. The Bhagavad Gita Comes Alive: A Radical Translation released this week on Amazon, timed with Diwali celebrations. Armstrong says the book’s teachings are more relevant than ever.

“As we navigate a changing world amidst a global pandemic, climate change, and universal calls for social justice, the Gita offers guidance and lessons that are timely, including about ethical and moral dilemmas, politics, and cooperating with nature,” said Armstrong, vice-chair of the Vedic Friends Association and scholar with the British Board of Dharmic Scholars.

A few of the Christian words and concepts that Armstrong avoids in his translation include: God, heaven, hell, soul, and sin. “These words and concepts cannot be used as synonyms for Vedic and yogic words and philosophies. I offer the Gita in its true essence where I keep key Sanskrit words and use English to support their true meaning and intent.”

For example, the word “soul” originated with the Greeks and is defined as the essence of a human being who has one lifetime followed by consequences. The Bhagavad Gita Comes Alive replaces “soul” with the correct and intended Sanskrit word, “atma,” which means “the invisible, immortal being with no beginning or end.”

Testimonials

Dr. David Frawley – American Hindu scholar who was awarded India’s third highest civilian honour, Padma Bhushan, by the Indian government:

“There has long been demand for a version of the Gita that corrects distortions. With this translation by Jeffrey Armstrong, who deeply understands the connotations and subtle connections of the Sanskrit terms around which the Gita revolves, we finally have an extensive and profound English version of the Bhagavad Gita.”

Professor Ved P. Nanda: Head of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), a North American non-profit organization that aims to preserve and promote Hindu ideals and values. The University of Denver’s international law department is named after Nanda, who is an awarded adjunct professor at the university. The Indian government awarded Nanda its third highest civilian honour, Padma Bhushan:

“Jeffrey Armstrong has produced a master translation, carefully preserving its intended meaning. The Bhagavad Gita Comes Alive: A Radical Translation enables the reader to unlock the profound messages which are obscured by other versions.”

\Jeffrey Armstrong is an award-winning author, linguist, and poet. He has been teaching the Vedas for more than 40 years. He also had a successful 15-year career as an executive in Silicon Valley and public speaker addressing Fortune 500 companies. His other books include Spiritual Teachings of the Avatar, and Karma: The Ancient Secret of Cause & Effect.

TheUNN WhatsApp Group

Join and follow our WhatsApp group for daily news and updates. It's completely free!

-+=