Hindu Marriage Bill was a need and Hindus wanted it to be passed but it was neglected for ages. Due to lack of legislation for non-Muslims, they have been facing problems. Hindu and Christian girls have been kidnapped and forcibly converted to another religion (Islam) which is a serious problem in Pakistan. In Sindh, forced conversion…
- 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.
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
Washington, October 15, 2017: A court in Pakistan’s Punjab province has sentenced three men of a minority religious group to death on charges of violating the country’s controversial blasphemy law.
Mubasher Ahmad, Ghulam Ahmed and Ehsan Ahmed were found guilty and convicted by the trial court Wednesday for insulting the prophet of Islam.
The men were tried under Section 295-B of Pakistan’s penal code, commonly referred to as the blasphemy law, which recommends either life imprisonment or the death penalty for anyone found guilty of deliberately insulting Islam.
The men were arrested in May 2014 in a remote village in Punjab province after residents filed a complaint with the police and accused the defendants of tearing down a religious poster.
Four men were arrested at the time. The fourth man, Khalil Ahmad, was shot dead by an angry man while in police custody just a few days after the incident.
Saleemuddin, a spokesperson for the Ahmadi community, told VOA that the charges against the defendants and the court’s verdict were unfair.
“The convicted men were trying to take down a poster, which had anti-Ahmadi slogans and text that urged the community to socially boycott the already persecuted Ahmadi community,” Saleemuddin said.
“We will challenge the trial court’s decision in high court,” he added.
Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims, but Pakistan’s state does not recognize them as such and labels them heretics. There are more than a half-million Ahmadis living in Pakistan under the constant threat of persecution.
The Ahmadi community “is one of the most mistreated communities in the country. They have had been a target of blasphemous charges, sectarian violence and target killings,” said Mehdi Hasan, a prominent human rights activist in Pakistan.
Ahmadis ‘a threat’
The death sentence for the three individuals came just a few days after Muhammad Safdar, a prominent member of the ruling party and son-in-law of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, publicly denounced Ahmadi community members as a threat to Pakistan and urged the country’s institutions not to hire them in the military or the civil service.
Safdar’s remarks stirred a debate in the country on the issue of minorities and their rights.
Pakistan Minister of the Interior Ahsan Iqbal, without mentioning Safdar by name, denounced the anti-minority rhetoric coming from politicians.
“It is tragic to see hate speech against minorities in National Assembly. We believe in inclusive Pakistan. Pakistan respects all minorities,” Iqbal said in a tweet.
Abuse of law
“Blasphemy is a very sensitive issue in Pakistan. We’ve seen several incidents where angry mobs killed those accused of committing blasphemy without giving them a right to face the trial,” human rights activist Hasan told VOA.
Rights groups say the controversial blasphemy law has often been abused to settle personal vendettas and disputes. Due process is often ceremonial, the rights activists add, and decisions are often informed by the growing religious intolerance in the country.
Even if courts do drop charges against defendants, mobs and local residents attack them, and law enforcement authorities look the other way in most cases, the activists charge.
Social media posts
Nadeem James, a Christian, was sentenced to death last month in Punjab after the court established that he sent a blasphemous poem to a friend via WhatsApp, an instant message application.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in a recent report said 15 people were arrested on charges of blasphemy in 2016, including 10 Muslims and five members of religious minorities.
In April 2017, Mashaal Khan, a journalism student, was accused of posting blasphemous content online and was beaten to death by fellow students at Abdul Wali Khan University in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Pakistan’s government is being criticized for strictly enforcing the blasphemy laws.
In April 2017, the government used newspapers and mobile phone services to warn its citizens not to post or upload any blasphemous materials on social media.
The government has also reportedly encouraged people to report those who violate the blasphemy law. (VOA)
Hinduism being the world’s oldest religion does not have any proper beginning story like the other monotheistic religions like Christianity and Islam do. It has no human founder. Therefore it leads us to the question that if there was no human who started Hinduism then how did its teaching come to being. Well, there is no definitive way to answer this question. What we can answer though are the nine beliefs of Hinduism. Hinduism is a religion which believes that if a person realizes the Truth within himself then only he can reach a point where the consciousness of man and god are one.
Our beliefs determine our thought process and attitude toward life which lead us to our actions. It is said that we create our destiny from our actions. Beliefs regarding matters such as God, soul, and cosmos often shape our perceptions towards life. Hindus believe in a variety of concepts but there are few critical ones which shape the basic belief of Hinduism. The following are the nine beliefs which not exactly very comprehensive but they form the base of the spirituality of Hinduism.
All Pervasive Divine Power
- Hindus believe in a one, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.
Divinity of the Sacred Scriptures
- Hindus believe in the divinity of the four Vedas, the world’s most ancient scripture, and venerate the Agamas as equally revealed. These primordial hymns are God’s word and the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion.
- Hindus believe that the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation, and dissolution.
Belief in Karma
- Hindus believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words, and deeds.
Reincarnation and Liberation
- Hindus believe that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved, and moksha, liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained. Not a single soul will be deprived of this destiny.
Worship in Temples
- Hindus believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, sacraments and personal devotionals create a communion with these devas and Gods.
Belief in a Enlightened Satguru
- Hindus believe that an enlightened master, or satguru, is essential to know the Transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry, meditation, and surrender in God.
Propagation of Non-Violence and Compassion towards living things
- Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered and therefore practice ahimsa, non-injury, in thought, word and deed.
Respect and Tolerance for other faiths
- Hindus believe that no religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine paths are facets of God’s Light, deserving tolerance, and understanding.
Prepared by Saloni Hindocha (@siatipton)