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By Nithin Sridhar
The Kerala High court has ruled that people belonging to Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribe who have been converted to Christianity can claim their SC/ST benefits if they return back to Hinduism according to a report published in The Times of India.
The court was hearing a petition filed by 46-year-old MA Chandraboss of Ramapuram and his 18-year-old daughter Alida. They were born as Christians, but their ancestors belonged to Hindu Cheramar community. It was their father who had converted from Hinduism into Christianity. But in 2009, the whole family returned to Hinduism by undergoing “Shuddhi” (purification) ceremony conducted by Arya Samaj.
This year when Alida sought admissions through Common Entrance Examination under SC/ST quota, her claim was rejected. The Kerala High court which heard the case upheld the claim of Alida for reservation under SC/ST quota.
The court observed that: “The 2nd petitioners (Chandraboss’ daughter) definitely was brought up in her father’s house, maybe as a Christian, but a Christian-Cheramar. There being generally no accepted caste discrimination in Christianity, the identity in the Cheramar community was essentially retained.”
The judgment gains significance in the backdrop of conversion and ghar-wapsi (return home) activities that are happening across the country.
The Christian Evangelism: At the root of all conversion activities carried out by various Christian missionaries and evangelists is the belief that it is their duty to spread the word of Gospel across the whole world i.e. to Christianize the whole world.
The introduction to the document “Lausanne Occasional Paper 14: Christian Witness to Hindus” released by Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization in 1980, starts by saying: “We give thanks to God Almighty for his gracious act of salvation in Jesus Christ, which has made possible the entrance into the Kingdom of God for over 565 million Hindu people dispersed throughout the world, with the majority in the Indian sub-continent. We rejoice in the fact that the saving Word of God preached faithfully by God’s servants has brought about a Christian population of about 19 million people in India alone. However, we are conscious that God longs for the whole Hindu people to know Jesus Christ and live under his Lordship (Isa. 17:7, 8). We regret that, after so many years of sincere effort by so many faithful people, the number of Christians in India is still less than 3% of the population.” It is this faith that drives all activities of Christian evangelism be it in India or Africa.
Conversion per se is not wrong when a person willingly and out of conviction in specific doctrines accepts those doctrines. But, it can turn into a social menace that breaks the society, when conversions are carried out by employing force, financial incentives, medicines, miracles, and other unethical means.
The doctrines of Christianity is rooted in monotheism which is unlike Hinduism and various Hindu traditions including that of tribals. Therefore, an unethical conversion of a person will lead to family conflict and if the conversion is of the entire family or many families then it creates fault-lines within the society. It will further isolate such families from their ancestry and cultural identity.
But various evangelists are known to practice these unethical tactics including the practice of “inculturation or indigenization”.
According to Kaj Baag, in Pioneers of Indigenous Christianity: “Indigenization is evangelization. It is the planting of the gospel inside another culture, another philosophy, another religion.” This means in the Indian context, the implanting of Christian theology into Hindu culture and traditions by adopting symbols that are unique to Hindu culture. While discussing on the methodology to be adopted to convert, the Lausanne report says “Communicate the gospel through indigenous methods such as bhajans, drama, dialogue, discourse, Indian music, festival processions, etc.” This and other attempts like using Hindu symbols like Aum, Ochre robe etc. are nothing but Inculturation tactics.
Further, Lausanne document suggests various tactics to be adopted to convert Hindus. It speaks about Rural Evangelism, Urban Evangelism, and Student Evangelism. It says how the missionary people must train Christian students to befriend Hindu students (so that they can be influenced) or how Christian missions must financially help poor students (in order to attract them towards Church).
It is with respect to such unethical activities that the Niyogi Commission Report on Christian Missionary Activities in Madhya Pradesh published in 1956 notes: “that the largest number of converts is from such backward classes living in areas where due to various causes only Mission schools and hospitals exist. Most conversions have been doubtless insincere admittedly brought about in expectation of social service benefits and other material considerations”
It is these attempts at using unethical means to convert innocent people that has become a contentious and problematic issue in India.
The “Ghar Wapsi”: Certain Hindu organizations like VHP and Arya Samaj have been carrying out “Ghar Wapsi” (returning home) program across India including Kerala. There has been a lot of criticism especially in the media regarding these programs but a complete silence regarding evangelism practiced by missionaries. The fact is that a ghar-wapsi or returning to home is only possible when a person went out of the home in the first case. In this case, the re-conversion of Christians into Hinduism has been only possible because, they or their ancestors were once converted from Hinduism into Christianity by ethical or unethical means.
Therefore, this calls for a deeper introspection of the whole issue. In this context, the decision of the high court is very significant. The judgment has shown that returning back to Hinduism will be beneficial to many families who were converted into Christianity by giving incentives and false promises of upliftment. This is not to suggest that there is no caste menace in the society.
Instead, it points towards the fact that many evangelists only utilized the weaknesses be it poverty or caste to convert innocent Hindus into Christianity without delivering any real benefit to them. Those who converted retained their caste identities even after converting to a religion whose theology recognizes no caste system.
High court has also made this observation: “It is to be noticed that Christianity, as it is generally understood, does not have any caste discrimination and the very fact that the 1st and 2nd petitioners (Chandraboss and his daughter) were all along issued with community certificates as belonging to Christian-Cheramar would indicate that they had their origin in the Hindu-Cheramar community.”
In another incident that was reported in December 2014, 30 year old Mr. Selvam revealed that he and his family had converted to Christianity 16 years ago as they were promised a better life and better means of livelihood. Therefore, they returned back to their ancestral Hinduism.
The High court decision to allow SC/ST’s claim quota benefits will help many families who were converted out of their Hinduism in the past under false pretext of better life, but who continued to live a disadvantaged life devoid of both financial benefits and ancestral culture and traditions, to return back to their ancestral faiths and practices and also avail all financial benefits available for their upliftment. It is for a similar reason that even the Supreme Court had given a similar judgment in February.
Between zoom meetings, webinars, you're walking a tight rope to balance work from home and domestic chores, in all this its easy to forget about taking care of yourself. It's imperative to squeeze in a few hours to indulge in yourself, whether its a massage or a hair spa treatment.
It comes with a range of accessories which includes the 40mm Airwrap long barrels, 30mm Airwra barrels, a Firm smoothing brush, a Soft smoothing brush, a Round volumising brush, the Pre-styling dryer, a non-slip heat-resistant mat to place your styler on, a Storage case and even a Filter cleaning brush. A Storage bag (Iron/Fuchsia) securely stores your Dyson Airwrap when you're on the move.
The different styling attachments cater to unique hair needs and are designed for different hair styles. | File
The different styling attachments cater to unique hair needs and are designed for different hair styles. For instance the 30 mm barrels create and set voluminous curls. With clockwise and counter-clockwise barrels for symmetrical curls. The 40 mm barrels create and set loose curls or waves. The Firm smoothing brush creates a straighter style with less frizz ad fewer flyways, with firm bristles engineered to control unruly, frizz prone hair. The pre- styling dryer takes hair from wet to damp, ready for styling. The round volumizing brush directs air into the hair to give body, and the bristles create tension to shape hair as it dries, Ideal for limp, flat hair. To create a sooth, blow-dry finish. With soft bristles engineered to be gentle on the scalp.
It features three precise airflow speeds, to suit your styling and four precise heat settings, including constant cold shot. The cold shot immediately deactivates the heating element, for cooler air to set your style. The Coanda to curl barrels harness an aerodynamic phenomenon and the Coanda to smooth which uses Dyson brushes to attract hair to the surface of the brush, propelling air along the hair strands for a smooth, straighter style. It's powered by the Dyson digital motor V9, a 13-blade impeller spins at up to 110,000rpm, generating 3.2kPa. Powerful enough to produce the air pressure needed to create the Coanda effect. The intelligent heat control measures airflow temperature over 40 times a second, intelligently controlling the heating element to keep the temperature under a 150 degree Celsius. Preventing extreme heat damage. "Great styling and takes lesser effort than the usual blow drying. Saving lots of visits to the salon, absolutely love it!" says a salon regular who switched her weekly visits to the salon for the at home Dyson experience. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Dyson, hair, hair styles, styling, airflow, non-slip heat-resistant mat, Pre-styling dryer, olumising brush, smoothing brush, Dyson Airwrap
An international team of astronomers has identified 366 new exoplanets, using data from the NASA Kepler Space Telescope's K2 mission. The findings, described in a paper published in the Astronomical Journal, showed a planetary system that comprises a star and at least two gas giant planets, each roughly the size of Saturn and located unusually close to one another.
The discovery is significant because it's rare to find gas giants -- like Saturn in the solar system -- as close to their host star as they were in this case. The researchers cannot yet explain why it occurred there, but it makes the finding especially useful because it could help scientists form a more accurate understanding of the parameters for how planets and planetary systems develop.
An international team of astronomers has identified 366 new exoplanets, using data from the NASA Kepler Space Telescope's K2 mission. | NASA
"The discovery of each new world provides a unique glimpse into the physics that play a role in planet formation," said lead author Jon Zink, a UCLA postdoctoral scholar. The findings could be a significant step toward helping astronomers understand which types of stars are most likely to have planets orbiting them and what that indicates about the building blocks needed for successful planet formation, acoording to the study. "We need to look at a wide range of stars, not just ones like our sun, to understand that," Zink said.
The term "exoplanets" is used to describe planets outside of the solar system. The number of exoplanets that have been identified by astronomers numbers fewer than 5,000 in all, so the identification of hundreds of new ones is a significant advance. Kepler's original mission came to an unexpected end in 2013 when a mechanical failure left the spacecraft unable to precisely point at the patch of sky it had been observing for years.
But astronomers repurposed the telescope for a new mission known as K2, whose objective is to identify exoplanets near distant stars. Data from K2 is helping scientists understand how stars' location in the galaxy influences what kind of planets are able to form around them. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Astronomers, discover, possible, exoplanets, telescope, mission, planets
By Dr Anil Batra
The winter comes with its own set of hassles. New moms have to be careful because they have to take care of themselves and their babies. It becomes imperative to protect babies from the harsh season. The immune system of newborn babies is developing, which makes them susceptible to respiratory infections. But, you can take preventive measures to keep your child warm and safe. Newborn babies need extra care until their immune system becomes stronger to protect their bodies from the harmful effects of viruses and bacteria that usually become more active in the winter season. A drop in the temperature can aggravate different processes in the body, therefore, moms need to take extra care of newborn babies during winters.
New moms can follow the given tips to take care of their little ones and protect them from the harmful effects of harsh winds blowing outside.
Keep the temperature warm in the baby's room: Use a portable heater in the baby's room to keep the temperature warm. The air becomes dry due to the excessive use of a heater. Therefore, keeping a humidifier to balance the moisture levels.
Apply moisturizer: The baby's skin is very sensitive and the harsh, dry, and cold air can make the skin dry. Therefore, apply a good moisturizer to keep it soft and smooth. Choose a moisturizer made of milk cream and butter, especially for children. This will keep the skin of your baby soft.
Massage: Massage is important to keep your baby's skin soft and healthy. Massage helps to improve the blood circulation in the body that helps in boosting strength. Use a natural oil to massage the body of your child. Make sure the room is warm where you massage the baby.
Massage helps to improve the blood circulation in the body that helps in boosting strength. | Photo by Khoa Pham on Unsplash
Avoid using heavy blankets: You can comfort your baby by laying a light blanket to keep your baby warm. Avoid using a heavy blanket to cover your baby during winters because your baby would not be able to move his arms and legs while sleeping. In this process, your baby may pull it up on its face and this can cause respiratory distress. Thus, use a light blanket and keep the room temperature optimum.
Dress your baby comfortably: Choose comfortable dressing for your baby. Avoid wrapping your baby in thick sweaters, gloves, and socks. This will restrict its movement and he/she will become irritable. Choose clothes depending on the room temperature. The clothes should cover his/her baby but should not restrict movement. You can use light gloves and socks to cover your hands and feet to keep your baby warm at night.
Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding is the most important activity that can keep your baby healthy. Breast milk consists of required nutrients and antibodies that will enhance the immune system of your baby and will protect him/her against diseases. During breastfeeding your baby will feel warm and cosy that will also give him comfort.
Avoid using a heavy blanket to cover your baby during winters because your baby would not be able to move his arms and legs while sleeping | Flickr
Maintain proper hygiene: Mothers should be careful when handling newborn babies in winters. You will be the first point of contact for your baby. Therefore, make sure you keep yourself clean and healthy. Wash your hands before handling your baby. Germs can easily enter your baby's body through your dirty hands. Therefore, make sure you wash your hands or sanitize them before attending to your baby. Also, ask visitors to wash their hands.
Take care outdoors: If you want to take your child outdoors make sure it is not freezing temperature. Take your child out for fresh air only if the temperature is not too cold and remember to cover your baby properly before taking them out. Taking your baby out will help to give fresh air and will improve their health.
Common issues that may arise in newborn babies during winters:
Winter brings flu and other viruses that can easily spread and affect anyone. Common issues that may arise in newborn babies during winters include the following:
- Skin allergies
- Digestive issues
Parents can take care of their newborn babies from various diseases that may affect them in the winters in the following ways:
* If your baby suffers during the winter season, you should consult a pediatrician.
* You can give a homemade solution if your baby suffers from a cold. Check with the doctor and you can only give a saline solution or nasal drops.
* Keep your baby well hydrated. Keep breastfeeding your baby and also give water if necessary.
* Cuddle your baby lovingly and give him warmth along with other precautions.
* In the first winter, you can take preventive measures to take care of your little ones and keep them safe. Maintain proper hygiene and keep your house warm. Avoid visitors if your child is not feeling well.
It is not necessary to give a bath to your baby every day. You can bathe your baby after 2-3 days in winter. | Photo by Aditya Romansa on Unsplash
How often to give a bath to your baby in winter?
It is not necessary to give a bath to your baby every day. You can bathe your baby after 2-3 days in winter. You can sponge bathe your newborn every other day in winter. Check the temperature of the room before giving a bath to your baby. The room temperature should be warm and comfortable for your baby. Check the temperature of the water. Make sure the water is not too hot or cold. The temperature of the water should be right for the body of your baby. Check the temperature by touching the water with your elbow or wrist. Use mild soap and shampoo to bathe your baby in winter. Also, apply oil and moisturizer to the skin to keep it soft and prevent skin allergies. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Winter, care tips, newborn, baby, hygiene, breastfeeding, blanket