Banaras, known as cultural capital of India and sacred city of Hindus, records about one-fourth of its total population (1.65 million in 2010) as Muslims. The importance of Muslims in Banaras is noticed by existence of their 1,388 sacred sites. There are over 3,300 shrines and sacred sites of Hindus. A professor of cultural geography and heritage studies, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) Rana BP Singh conducted a detailed study and survey of Muslim sacred sites. The study titled ‘Muslim shrines and multi-religious visitations in Hindus’ city of Banaras: Co-existential Scenario’ gives a detailed account of such sites.
— The Times of India
Jat couple who fought their own to save Muslims
Torched houses and barren streets stare at you as you enter Fugana – one of the nine villages worst hit by the September 8 communal clashes that shook Western Uttar Pradesh and displaced more than 50,000 Muslims. Step a little deeper into the village, you will spot a rare sight – a Muslim woman going about her daily chores. Noorjehan, 50, did not abandon her house during riots, though she knew she was the only one in the community to stay back.
— The Tribune
Govt plans PF-like corpus for Muslim education
In a unique initiative modelled after a Haj fund in Malaysia, the Ministry of Minority Affairs is looking at a Provident Fund-like corpus raised through contributions from the community, for investing in higher education infrastructure for Muslims. It has asked SBI Capital Markets — an investment bank and the project advisor — to conduct a feasibility study and submit a report.
— The Indian Express
Hindus urge Scotland’s Muirfield golf course to allow women members
Hindus have asked Scotland’s Muirfield, The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, to open membership to women also. Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that women membership was long overdue and it would bring an end to 269-years old gender discrimination. Men only membership policy of Muirfield was highly inappropriate, immoral and archaic, Zed added.
— The Jet Newspaper
Regular Event gets Religious Twist
Until mid-December a board put up at the entrance of Azhagankulam, a nondescript village with an equal sprinkling of Muslim and Hindu population in Ramanathapuram district, served as a “warning” to troublemakers. The board read: “Warning: Campaigning using microphones and pasting posters are prohibited. Violators will be severely punished.”
— The New Indian Express
Top 10 Forgotten Ancient Religions
The ancient world was home to a huge variety of religions and belief systems. Most have faded away, their temples and statues vanished or half-sunk in the desert sand, their gods barely remembered. The religions on this list were all founded before most of the main religions of today (Christianity, Hinduism, Islam) and most of them have completely died out—although some are being revived by new practitioners.
— Humans Are Free
A Brief Note on Christians and Homosexuality
Especially with a certain television show’s antics, there have been recent flare-ups again in the culture wars, with some atheists (and unfortunately, some Christians) saying that Jesus wants His followers to use violence against gay people. Let’s put aside the question of whether Jesus views homosexuality as a sin, not because this is irrelevant to the broader culture war, but because it’s irrelevant to the very specific issue I am discussing.
— Free Advice
Spiritual journalism – stirrings of a new awakening in media
Spiritual journalism is not about vague thoughts. It seeks to connect with people, as much as journalism itself. With existence in today’s world becoming increasingly complex, a large number of people, especially the youth, are seeking nirvana or salvation via television or print media. Thus, one finds news organisations devoting increased attention and resources on coverage of spiritual and ethical concerns. A critical change is in the way the field is covered and how much space and airtime are allotted to it. The number of religion reporters — particularly in television, which has largely ignored the topic — is growing as it becomes clear that religion and spirituality are topics that permeate daily life.
Top religion stories of 2013
After the jump, the top religion news stories of 2013, based on a poll of the Religion Newswriters Association. Strangely downplayed or omitted: the persecution of Christians in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East; the new assaults on religious liberty; the new prominence of aggressive atheism; the rise of the “nones.”
Does religion affect economic growth and happiness? Evidence from Ramadan
A fascinating paper by Filipe R. Campante and David H. Yanagizawa-Drott of Harvard. They look at economics around Ramadan month celebrated by Muslims. It seems growth comes down during the month but people are happier:
— Mostly Economics
Islam to become Ireland’s second religion by 2043
Islam will become Ireland’s second religion within the next 30 years because of dramatic population growth and immigration.
God is the Highest Perfect Term of Our Being
We are to exceed our human stature and become divine; but if we are to do this, we must first get God; for the human ego is the lower imperfect term of our being, God is the higher perfect term. He is the possessor of our supernature and without His permission there can be no effectual rising. The finite cannot become infinite unless it perceives its own secret infinity and is drawn by it or towards it; nor can the symbol-being, unless it glimpses, loves and pursues the Real-being in itself, overcome by its own strength the limits of its apparent nature. It is a particular becoming & is fixed in the nature of the symbol that it has become; only the touch of that which is all becomings and exceeds all becomings, can liberate it from the bondage to its own limited Nature. God is That which is the All and which exceeds the All. It is therefore only the knowledge, love and possession of God that can make us free. He who is transcendent, can alone enable us to transcend ourselves; He who is universal can alone enlarge us from our limited particular existence.
— The New Indian Express