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Rahul Gandhi’s demand and the cabinet’s decision to declare Jains a national minority is a welcome but overdue decision. It rectifies an inexplicable omission since a community based on a unique faith comprising less than 0.5 per cent of the population was nationally not recognised as a religious minority! Apart from the general apathy of successive governments and the absence of a persistent demand by the Jain community, the main reason was the 2005 decision of the apex court in Bal Patil vs Union of India.
1984: A reckoning awaits
Arvind Kejriwal has demanded a Special Investigation Team (SIT) be set up to probe the genocide of Sikhs in 1984 following Indira Gandhi’s assassination. Rahul Gandhi in his interview to Arnab Goswami on TimesNow said “some Congressmen may have been involved” in the genocide. Clearly, the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom deserves far more media, public and legal scrutiny than it has received.
— The Economic Times
Freed from the shackles of guilt
In its best moments, guilt can protect and guide us, much like the pain that teaches us to avoid a hot stove or sharp objects. When we respond to guilt with confession and repentance, we can move forward to live a better life on a higher plane. But guilt can be destructive and debilitating.
UK schools replace secular philosophy courses with religious ones
As Saffrey notes, this is going to make it harder for secular philosophy to disentangle itself from religious philosophy—a struggle that’s been going on for years. And I think it will certainly devalue philosophy degrees in the UK. Imagine having to study Alvin Plantinga or Richard Swinburne rather than Plato, Mill, Rawls, or Singer! Instead of pondering what makes a good life, or how can one construct a good ethical system, students will be reading justifications of the nonexistent.
— Why Evolution is True
Tony Blair, conflict and religion: a case of Huntington redux
In 1993, the American political scientists Samuel Huntington wrote an article in Foreign Affairs entitled “The Clash of Civilizations?” Three years later he wrote his argument up in a book form – The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Despite the cautious question mark in the title, the article was unreservedly bold: wars and international politics used to be driven by ideology, now by nationalism, and next by differences of cultural identity at the broadest level – civilisational differences. He mapped out the great civilisations – Western, Orthodox, Islamic, Confucian, Hindu, Buddhist, Japanese, Latin American, “possibly African” – and argued they would be pitted against each other, sometimes in alliances such as the Confucian-Islamic alliance he saw emerging.
— Dan Smith’s Blog
Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Jain community was on Monday accorded minority status by the Central government which will enable them to avail of benefits in government schemes and programmes. The decision to grant minority status to the community of about 50 lakh was taken at a meeting of Union cabinet, a day after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi took up this issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
United by Dharma, divided by law
On January 20, the government of India met a long-standing demand of the Jain community and officially declared them as India’s sixth religious minority community after Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians. As a minority, Jains would get a share in central funds earmarked for welfare programmes and scholarships for religious minorities. They can also manage and administer their own educational institutions.
— Business Standard
After Jains, many Hindu sects will seek to be minorities, too
Just days after the Congress dynast charged his principal rival with trying to divide while his own party seeks to unite, the Union cabinet has chosen to contradict his words with action instigated by him. A cabinet that kowtows to Rahul Gandhi has decided that the country’s five million Jains deserve to be cleaved from the so-called majority Hindus and be accorded the status of a national minority. This means India now has six national minorities – Muslims, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians, Buddhists, and now Jains. To the best of anybody’s knowledge, no Jain has ever been discriminated against in independent India because he was a Jain. The average socio-economic status of the Jain community – which has many adherents from the business class – is also well above that of most other communities in India, including Hindus, in terms of literacy levels (94 percent for Jains), incomes, share of GDP, etc.
— First Post
Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Committee chief spews venom against India
A controversial video has appeared on social networking site Facebook showing Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) president Sham Singh patting the back of Kashmiri separatists and stating that PSGPC has always been extending warm welcome to Kashmiri Sikhs. “Muslims of Kashmir may or may not vote for Pakistan but Kashmiri Sikhs will first vote for Pakistan, we have worked hard for past 11 years , ever since the formation of PSGPC,” said Sham Singh in the video that has gone viral on the net. Sham Singh whose credentials of being a Sikh have always been questioned has been shown addressing a meeting.
— The Times of India
10 ways praying actually benefits your health
If you are a religious or a spiritual person and pray every day, there is now proof that you might be doing your brain and body a huge favour. According to a new study spiritual or religious practice may fight off depression – particularly in people who are predisposed to the disease – by thickening the brain cortex. The study conducted by Lisa Miller, professor and director of Clinical Psychology and director of the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Teachers College, Columbia University, included 103 people who were at a high risk of depression. Their level of risk was based on their family history.
— The Health Site