April 10, 2017: According to Census 2016 Summary Results by Central Statistics Office (CSO) of Government of Ireland reportedly published on April 6, Hinduism is one of the fastest growing religions in Ireland and it grew over 34 percent from 2011 to 2016. According to this report, there are 14,300 Hindus now in Ireland.
Orthodox was the only other religion which grew faster than Hinduism during this time period. Religious groups whose population declined during this period included Roman Catholics (the predominant religious group in the country), Church of Ireland, Christian, Presbyterian, and Apostolic or Pentecostal. The number of Irish Catholics fell by 105,800. “No religion” that is people with no religion grew by nearly 74 percent numbering 468,421, while “Not stated” also grew by about 72 percent.
President of Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, commending the Irish Hindu community for their contributions to the society and nation in Ireland; urged them to continue with the traditional values of hard work, higher morals, stress on education, the sanctity of marriage, etc.
Rajan Zed also advised Hindus to focus on inner search, stay pure, explore the vast wisdom of scriptures, make spirituality more attractive to youth and children, stay away from the greed, and always keep God in the life.
Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents.
Prepared by Upama Bhattacharya. Twitter @Upama_myself
Science says that water bodies are not living entities, as water does not need food, does not grow, and reproduce. Water is required for life, but in itself it is nonliving.
However, many cultures across the globe believe that rivers are living beings or Gods/Goddesses and they just take the form of water bodies.
The Maori tribe in New Zealand considers the Whanganui River as their ancestor and the Maori people fought to get it a legal status as a living being. In 2017, a court in New Zealand gave this river the status of living being and same rights as humans, to protect it from pollution. Thus, now if someone pollutes in it then it is considered equivalent to harming a human.
Rivers are sacred in Hinduism also. Hindus believe that the Ganga descended from heaven and call her Ganga Maa. A few days after New Zealand’s court decision, Uttarakhand high court in India gave the Ganga and Yamuna rivers and their tributaries the status of living human entities. The Court-appointed three officials as legal custodians. However, the court did not clarify many aspects related to this decision.
After this verdict some of the questions, which naturally came to mind, were:
Can Hindus still do rituals of flowing ashes, leaves, flowers, diyas in river or no? Can a dam be built on the river after this judgment? If some damage, to a person, animal, plants, or property, occurs because of river e.g. overflow, hurricanes, flooding etc., how the river will pay the liabilities? What if all rivers, oceans, ponds etc. are given the status of living beings? Will drinking water from river become a crime? What about taking water and using it for routine needs, agriculture or building structures? Will it be illegal? If a child throws a stone in water, will it be a criminal act? Will fishing be considered stealing? What about boating? If someone is using heat near water and water evaporates, is it equal to taking the body part of a human being? What about taking a bath in the river?
Ecuador’s constitution recognized the Right of Nature to exist, specifically Vilcabamba river, in 2008.
Then Bolivia passed the law of the right of mother earth and granted Nature equal rights as humans.
Many communities in the U.S.A. passed the Right of Nature law.
These laws are creating a dilemma or quandary also, as people need to use these resources. We cannot live without using natural resources. However, there is a difference between using natural resources and afflicting or destroying these. So, please use natural resources very diligently. Try not to vitiate nature.
On World Water Day (March 22), please start taking care of rivers, so that there is no need for future celebrations. It should not be a one-day celebration anyway, we should scrupulously look out for nature all the time.