Tag: Hinduism

Prospects Dim for Religious Freedom in Nepal

Nepal A new constitution that Nepal’s parliament is scheduled to put into effect before May 28 may not include the right to propagate one’s faith.

The draft constitution, aimed at completing the country’s transition from a Hindu monarchy to a secular democracy, contains provisions in its “religious freedom” section that prohibit anyone from converting others from one religion to another.

Newsweek Depiction of Obama as Lord Shiva Upsets Some Indian-Americans

Newsweek’s depiction of President Obama on its latest cover has irked some Indian Americans who, fresh off Obama’s visit to the world’s largest democracy, are not happy with the image of the U.S. president as the Hindu diety, Lord Shiva.

The Newsweek cover shows Obama with several arms carrying policy issues while balancing on one leg. The headline reads: “God of All Things” with a subtitle, “Why the Modern Presidency May be too Much for One Person to Handle.”

Shiva, who is one of three pre-eminent gods in the Hindu religion along with Brahma and Vishnu, is considered the destroyer of the world, which must end, metaphorically speaking, in order to be reborn as a more universalistic place. However, the god’s purpose is not to foretell an apocalyptic ending.

Shiva is often manifested as Lord Nataraja, who has multiple arms and balances on one leg, and is viewed as dancing in a representation of the rhythm and harmony of life.

Goat sacrifice fight spurs fatal stampede in India

An argument over sacrificing goats during a Hindu festival triggered a stampede that killed 10 people Sunday in a packed temple in northern India, officials said.

More than 40,000 people, many inebriated, had taken their goats to the Tildiha village temple in Bihar state to offer sacrifice and prayers to the goddess Durga on the last day of the Navratri festival.

As the worshippers lined up before the butcher, a scuffle broke out and some people were trampled, Banka district spokesman Gupdeshwar Kumar said.

Continued Ban on Converting Others Proposed in Nepal

Nepal A legislative panel in Nepal has proposed retaining a ban on converting others in the country’s new constitution.

Parliament has yet to decide on the proposal, but Christian leaders said they fear it is likely to be approved given that Nepal’s largest political party, led by former Maoist rebels, sympathizes with the deposed king’s wishes for such a ban. The country is forging a new constitution as part of its transition from a Hindu monarchy to a democracy.

Indian Supreme Court Defers Religious Site Verdict

India’s Supreme Court stepped in at the last minute to delay the issuance of a verdict that was to decide whether Hindus or Muslims had rights to a controversial religious site in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

The Indian government prepared extensively for the ruling on the Babri Masjid site, where a Hindu mob destroyed a mosque in 1992 sparking widespread rioting nationwide that left an estimated 2,000 people dead. Since then, the government deployed thousands of troops to the site, taken out ads in newspapers appealing for calm in the wake of the verdict, and officials asked the public to handle the verdict without knee jerk reactions.

Though there was a mosque on the site in 1992, many Hindus believe that the site is the birthplace of Lord Ram and that a temple once existed there.

India Braces for Court Verdict on Divisive Mosque Site

India is bracing for a historic verdict Friday on whether Hindus or Muslims have rights to a disputed religious site, in a test of whether the issue will stir passions as it did in 1992, when a mosque at the site was destroyed by a Hindu mob and an estimated 2,000 people died in rioting that followed.

Since then, the Babri Masjid, a mosque in the town of Ayodhya in the state of Uttar Pradesh, has come to represent the deep and violent divisions that occasionally erupt within India’s multifaith democracy.