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Challenges for Hindus in the 21st Century: 10 Reasons that will Surprise you!

Hindus make up 89 percent of the population in Nepal, 82 percent in India, 52 percent on Mauritius, 38 per cent and 37 per cent in the South Pacific and the Caribbean

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A man posed as Shiva, a hindu deity. Image source: www.ibtimes.co.uk

According to Heinrich von Stietencron, “Statistics have taught us to regard Hinduism as the third largest contemporary religion in terms of the number of adherents, after Christianity and Islam. Hindus make up 89 percent of the population in Nepal, 82 percent in India, 52 percent on Mauritius, 38 per cent and 37 per cent in the South Pacific and the Caribbean; and they also live, as extremely large and, for some years, rapidly growing minorities, in the USA and Canada, Australia, Southeast Asia, the Arab countries, Africa and Europe. The Hindus number around 900 million in total.”

François Gautier, a French political writer and a journalist based in India mentions about the challenges faced by Hindus in just 10 points. In the present day scenario, a huge mass of Hindus has come face to face with a number of challenges posed by the 21st century. It is essential that we look at the following-

  • Polytheism and Difficulties: Hindus have a large number of deities, whom they worship in an elaborate manner. The practice of polytheism has led the Christians and the Muslims, who are devout monotheists, to question Hinduism.

But we have to remember that since the very beginning, Hinduism has believed in monotheism. It believed that there is one God and the others are just reincarnation or manifestations of his one true self. This belief of Hinduism had been persistent since the Vedic Ages. However, in the modern times, the ritualistic worship and narrow sectarian outlook towards other religions have brought Hinduism at loggerheads with people from other beliefs.

Hindus must reassert and reinterpret their religion and set an example for religious tolerance which had been preached by the Vedic sages in ancient times.

Slum children are a common sight in any film on India, made by a foreign director. Image Courtesy : screencrush.com
Slum children are a common sight in any film, made in India, made by a foreign director. Image Source: screencrush.com

  • The Image of Impoverished India: The foreigners have an image of India which is highly stereotypical in nature. They believe that India is a nation of poverty-stricken people and therefore they disregard the Hindus and treat them with contempt. They are not taken seriously anywhere outside India. There is definitely, an economic crisis in India and there is a recurring issue of deficit budget in India but the fact that India has grown over the years is undeniable.

According to Gautier, the economic liberalisation of 1991 has changed the face of trade, insurance, and banking. There has been no famine since Green Revolution. Unemployment is being dealt with schemes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme. Thus, it is the time that the people residing in abroad start taking Hindus seriously, feels Gautier.

  • Hinduism and Caste: The Caste System of India had been there since the ancient times. What’s new? The concept of reservation that came into being after India became independent in 1947. B.R. Ambedkar fought for the emancipation of the lower castes and against caste discrimination. But never did he once disregard the question of merit while talking about reservation for them in educational and occupational institutions, feels Gautier. But time and again, first world countries look down upon India due to the system of caste that prevails in our society. Yes, it is definitely not desirable but at least we have a system to try to help them develop themselves.

The 1993 Mumbai Blasts. Image Courtesy : bbc.com
The 1993 Mumbai Blasts. Image Courtesy : bbc.com

  • Hindu Fundamentalism: According to Gautier, while studying comparative religion, we learn a simple truth. No religion in its core is violent or preaches violence. It is through the ages of transformation and the influence of people who practice the religious fundamentalism that a religion comes to meet ends through violent means. India has always been home to a multitude of other religions. As Rabindranath Tagore had pointed out that India never had the racial or any kind of unity like Europe or America. But the basis of unity in India was something entirely different, rooted in the brotherhood of men.

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On the other hand, Gandhi was devout Hindu who believed in Satyagraha and abstained from all kinds of violence. The British Press created a hullabaloo over the Babri Masjid incident but what they never care to see that not one Muslim was killed in the process unlike the attacks and bombings of Mumbai in 1993, where a number of Hindus were brutally killed in vengeance. Not only that, history remains witness to the narrow parochial nationalism of Europe  and  its results. The Holocaust and the World Wars were the events which destroyed mankind.

  • Hindus in the West and their Lack of Respect for India: Hindus in the West have sought to blend in with the foreigners, forgetting the importance of their own culture. After all, Britain should still be indebted to India because of all the riches that belonged to us and was taken away by them. Their civilization became rich owing to our wealth. Yet, they never seem to utter a word of gratitude. The Hindus is west, instead of spreading the best of their culture in abroad, feeling ashamed of their origin. That is unacceptable and cruel. They have to keep in mind that theirs is a culture not worth forgetting. They should try to retain their originality instead of becoming an Anglophile.

Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google. Image Courtesy : africanews.com
Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google. Image Courtesy : africanews.com

  • Political Power: Hindus look down upon politics as a dirty field of work, riddled with corruption and crime. They tend to stay away from participating in politics apart from casting a vote on the day of the election. Often, India is deprived of bright young people who would have been an asset to Indian politics because they have been raised with the notion that politics is not a desirable career option for them. Top foreign companies like Google and Apple are led by Hindus. Therefore it is essential that they run for political offices as well.

Indian Prime Minister Modi with American President, Obaba.
Indian Prime Minister Modi with American President, Obama. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

  • Modi Agenda: America often brings up the issue of Gujarat riots in order to malign Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But what they choose to overlook is the noticeable development Modi brought about in his own state Gujarat and how not only Muslims but hundreds of Dalits and lower caste Hindus got killed in the riots of 2002 in Gujarat.

Narendra Modi with Chinese Foreign Minister. Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons
Narendra Modi with Chinese Foreign Minister. Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons

  • India Equivalent to China: Foreign investments have found their way to China but refuse to happen in India. India is China’s geopolitical partner. But the West seems to ignore that fact and donate everything to China, turning a blind eye to the sub-continent of India. It is unfair for India. Modi is aiming for liberalisation of the economy and it is the primary duty and opportunity for countries abroad to help India. China is a democracy just for the sake of calling it one, however, India is a democracy for real and that never seems to be the concern of the foreign countries.

The sculpture of Arjuna of Mahabharata. Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons
The sculpture of Arjuna of Mahabharata. Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons

  • The Greatness of Indian Mythology: Whilst, the westerners are occupied with their illustrious Greek and Roman myths, Hindus have their own series of mythological epics. They possess the Iliad and the Odyssey like we boast of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. These are not only amazing reads but these are epics that teach you everything and every value that you need to know about Bharatvarsha. The myriad of characters and their personalities are no less than the Gods and Goddesses of Greece and Rome. Not only that, our history has witnessed great warriors like Shivaji, Maharana Pratap, Lakshmi Bai who are at par with Alexander, Porus, and Joan of Arc of the West.

Chaitanya and his disciples. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons.
Chaitanya and his disciples. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons.

  • Spreading Happiness in the West: Tagore had said, India had been under the influence of spiritual people like Chaitanya , Nanak, and Kabir, which is why the minds of the Indians are quite a bit different from that of the people in the West. Swami Vivekananda had enthralled the audience in Chicago Conference by his speech on Hinduism and India. Thus, the concept of spirituality had always remained an integral part of Hinduism. We had Ayurveda treatments i.e. natural cures for illnesses and pranayama, a form of yoga, from the very beginning. India is a nation of people who want to practice the art of tolerance and peace as preached by Hinduism.

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Hinduism is by large misinterpreted and mistaken to be something it is not. With the change of time, the religion should also alter its age-old rituals which have become meaningless today. Otherwise, it will be difficult for Hinduism to survive in a world where people look down upon the politics of religion.

-Modified by Aitreyee, a staff-writer at the Newsgram. The article was originally published on the official blog of Francois Gautier

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4 COMMENTS

  1. very good article and really a true patriot of india will think like this.हमें अपने धर्म और देश को नए समय के साथ सही चीज़ लेकर आगे बढ़ाना है .योग उअर भजन कीर्तन ,कर्मा योग हे हमारे धर्म को सही दिशा दे शक्ति है .हमारा देश हमेश और आगे भी विश्व गुरु बना रहेगा.वन्दे मातरम

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PM Modi inaugurates Ferry Service, Calls it his ‘Dream Project’

Calling it his dream project, PM Modi has called the service "a landmark occasion for entire South-East Asia".

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia

Gujarat, October 22, 2017 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first phase of the Ghogha-Dahej Ro-Ro ferry service, a first-of-its-kind project in India, calling it “a landmark occasion for entire South-East Asia”.

Describing it as his dream project, Modi said the ferry service was his “invaluable gift to India” and claimed that the even for South-East Asia, this was the first project of its size.

He said it were his efforts that gave birth to this ferry service which he had heard about only in his school days.

“It seems implementation of all good works are my luck,” Modi joked. “New changes don’t come from cliched attitude but new thinking. We changed the way of thinking,” he said.

He said the service would shorten a 360-km distance to 31 km or a journey of seven hours to one hour. (IANS)

 

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Hinduism is Not an Official or Preferred Religion in Any Country of The World, Says a New Report

Though Hinduism is the third largest religion of the world, it is not the official state religion of any country according to a Pew Research Center Report

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Hinduism is not an official religion of any country in the world. Instagram.
  • No country has declared Hinduism as its official state religion – despite India being an influential Hindu political party
  • Hinduism is not an official or preferred religion in any country of the world, according to a Pew Research Center report.
  • 53% of 199 nations considered in the study don’t have an official religion
  • 80 countries are assigned either an “official religion” or “preferred religion”

Nevada, USA, October 16: Hinduism is the primeval and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion followers of moksh (liberation) being its utmost desire of life. India is among the category of nations where the government do not have an official or preferred religion.

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank headquartered in Washington DC that aims to inform the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.

The report states that a country’s official religion is regarded as a legacy of its past and present privileges granted by the state. And a few other countries fall on the other side of the gamut, and propagate their religion as the ‘official religion’, making it a compulsion for all citizens.

It adds up on the context of allocation that more than eight-in-ten countries (86%) provide financial support or resources for religious education programs and religious schools that tend to benefit the official religion.

Hinduism
Islam is the most practiced official religion of the world. Instagram.

Commenting on Hinduism, the report states:

In 2015, Nepal came close to enshrining Hinduism, but got rejected of a constitutional amendment due to a conflict between pro-Hindu protesters and state police.

Although India has no official or preferred religion as mentioned in the Constitution,it was found by PEW that in India the intensity of government constraints and social antagonism involving religion was at a peak. “Nigeria, India, Russia, Pakistan and Egypt had the highest levels of social hostilities involving religion among the 25 most populous countries in 2015. All fell into the “very high” hostilities category,” the report added.

As per the 2011 census, it was found that 79.8% of the Indian population idealizes Hinduism and 14.2% practices to Islam, while the rest 6% pursuit other religions.

While Hinduism stands up with the majority, Article 25 of the Constitution of India contributes secularism allowing for religious freedom and allows every Indian to practice his/her religion, without any intervention by the community or the government.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, applauded the Hindu community for their benefaction to the society and advised Hindus to concentrate on inner purity, attract spirituality towards youth and children, stay far from the greed, and always keep God in the life.

According to Pew, these are “places where government officials seek to control worship practices, public expressions of religion and political activity by religious groups”.

-by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram.  She can be reached @tweet_bhavana

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Paintings Which Beautifully Depict Scenes From Ramayana

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Ram lifting the bow during Sita Swayambar. Wikimedia Commons.

Ramayana, the ancient Indian epic which describes the narrative of Ayodhya Prince lord Rama’s struggles. The struggles include- exile of 14 years, abduction of his wife Sita, reaching Lanka, destruction of the evil. It is strongly ingrained in the Indian culture, especially, the Hindu culture since a long time. Hindus celebrate Diwali based on the narratives of Ramayana.

The story of Ramayana gives out the beautiful message that humanity and service to the mankind is way more important than kingdom and wealth. Below are five paintings describing the scenes from Ramayana:

1. Agni Pariksha in Ramayana

Ramayana
Agni Pariksha. Wikimedia.

When Lord Rama questions Sita’s chastity, she undergoes Agni Pariksha, wherein, she enters a burning pyre, declaring that if she has been faithful to her husband then the fire would harm her. She gets through the test without any injuries or pain. The fire God, Agni, was the proof of her purity. Lord Rama accepts Sita and they return to Ayodhya. 

2. Scene From The Panchavati Forest

Ramayana
scene from the panchavati forest. wikimedia.

The picture describes a scene from the Panchavati forest. It is believed that Lord Rama built his forest by residing in the woods of Panchavati, near the sources of the river Godavari, a few miles from the modern city of Mumbai. He lived in peace with his wife and brother in the forest.

3. Hanuman Visits Sita

Ramayana
Hanuman meets Sita. Wikimedia.

Hanuman reaches Lanka in search of Sita. At first, he was unable to find Sita. He later saw a woman sitting in Ashok Vatika, drowned in her sorrows, looked extremely pale. He recognized her. After seeing the evil king, Ravana making her regular visit to Sita, he hid somewhere in the Vatika. After Ravana left, Hanuman proved Sita that he is Rama’s messenger by showing her his ring. He assured her that Rama would soon come to rescue her. Before leaving Lanka, he heckled Ravana. Agitated by Hanuman’s actions, Ravana ordered to set Hanuman’s tail on fire. With the burning tail, Hanuman set the entire city on fire.