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Tribals in Jharkhand: Religion and Identity Politics

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Divisive and fragmented politics of identity, even if not new, has led to the disintegration of social norms governing behaviour, thought, and social relationships. Not just that, they also have long term implications such as religious disputes, and even demand for separate state on the basis of language, religion, and political interests. The recent controversy and divide among Christian and non-Christian tribals over the portrayal of Mother Mary (statue) in Singpur village in Dhurwa near Ranchi, if not addressed properly religiously and politically, is going to have far reaching consequences on the peace and harmony of the State in future. The statue shows a dark complexioned Mother Mary carrying infant Jesus Christ in a sling, just as tribal women do in a white Sari with a red border, on which the followers of Sarna (animist) Dharm have a reservation. Historically, tribes in Jharkhand follow Sarna Dharm (religion) and worship nature, particularly trees. However, with the advent of Christianity in the nineteenth century, a good number of tribals adopted or were converted to Christianity. The Christian population in Jharkhand is about 4.1 percent (Census, 2001), of which majority is tribals. Thus, the majority of tribals who later adopted or converted to Christianity also follow many traditions of tribal culture such as celebration of Sarhul, Karma and other festivities.
Economic and Political Weekly

Extremist religion will be the defining battle of the 21st Century
Religious extremism has become biggest source of conflict around the world and could be the defining battle of the 21st century, Tony Blair has said. Referring to conflicts in the Arab world from Syria to Egypt as well as those in Nigeria and the Philippines Mr Blair said: “There is one thing self-evidently in common: the acts of terrorism are perpetrated by people motivated by an abuse of religion. Is is a perversion of faith.
The Telegraph

Of Womanhood, Culture, Religion and Hypocrisy
A people’s norms and values are contained in their cultural expectations. Religion has a regulatory effect on society as it moulds the national consciousness. However, culture and religion seem to be oppressive to the individual as his/her aspirations may be thwarted due to societal expectations. Women especially find themselves at the receiving end of such expectations as embraced in culture and religion. Although men may also be at the brunt of societal expectations, they are not always victims as they take advantage of cultural norms and values outlined in culture and religion to oppress women.
All Africa

Why We Must Protect Freedom of Religion in the US
There are a lot of good things about America today. Unfortunately, there are also great political and social forces attempting to destroy the very things which created our free society. The people pushing these forces ignore the foundations of our country in order to usurp power over the people, instead of upholding the one document that protects the rights of all the individuals in our country, the Constitution with its Bill of Rights.
Self Evident Truths

Is religion a mental illness?
The religious make all kinds of wild claims without a shred of evidence. It is solely based on wishful thinking. Religion makes the most absurd and arbitrary demands of its followers. Religion threatens eternal punishment or death if those demands are not followed. Last but not least it’s followers show utter contempt for rational thinking and a never ending urge to impose itself not only on believers, but also onto nonbelievers.
Democratic Progress

If God exists, why doesn’t he prove it?
One of our professors liked to tell the story of how his atheist friend would gather people around him and ask them why, if God exists, he does not simply show himself? Then he would look up to heaven and call out: “God, if you exist, prove it by striking me dead!” When nothing happened, he would ask his audience, “So if God really exists, why didn’t he strike me dead?” My professor was witness to these little performances on more than one occasion. Once, when his friend asked the group, “So if God really exists, why didn’t he strike me dead?” he leaned in and whispered, “Just give him time.”
The Lake News

China official seeks tougher rules on religion after Xinjiang blasts
A senior Chinese official called for stricter management of religious activities, state media said on Monday, following explosions in China’s western region of Xinjiang which authorities say were masterminded by a religious extremist. Police shot dead six people and six more died when explosives they were carrying detonated in Xinhe county, according to weekend media reports. Blasts struck a beauty salon and a vegetable market.
The Times of India

 

 

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