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Tarkulha Devi Temple in UP is the host of Animal Sacrifice Ritual connected with a Martyr

Devotees from far-flung areas, including Bihar and Nepal, visit the temple and propose animal sacrifice to appease the deity.

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Goats, Wikimedia

Gorakhpur, April 12, 2017: Tarkulha Devi, a temple in Gorakhpur has been following an uncanny ritual which involves animal sacrifice, Bali as it is called among the local folklore. The practice has its roots in the lore of a martyr who was hanged by the British 160 years ago.

Tarkulha is one of the many manifestations of Goddess Durga. The goddess derives the name Tarkulha Devi from the tarkul (palm) tree.

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The temple witnesses devotees coming from all over to sacrifice goats almost daily either as thanksgiving for the fulfillment of their wishes or to ward off the evil eye. The sacrifices heave on Navami and Dashami during the Navratri. It is known that over 500 goats are sacrificed each on Navami and Dashami alone, mentioned HT report.

“The entire year, people visit the temple to offer a sacrifice when their wishes are fulfilled. But the number increases during Navratri,” stated Dinesh Tiwari, a priest at the Tarkulha Devi temple. And those who don’t wish to sacrifice animals offer coconuts to the goddess, he further added.

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Ordinarily, Navratra is a period throughout which Hindus abstain consuming non-vegetarian food.

Devotees from far-flung areas, including Bihar and Nepal, visit the temple and propose animal sacrifice to appease the deity. Most adherents bring the goats with them while the others buy from shops outside the temple for Rs 2,500 or more. The animal is then bathed and offered sweets, a butcher beheads the sacrificial goat consequently.

“It is a long-standing tradition. The devotees, whose wishes are fulfilled, sacrifice the goats and distribute its meat as prasad,” told Manohar Tripathi, a devotee associated with the temple.

The meat is distributed as ‘prasad’ (consecrated food) to the faithful who cook it in earthen pots and enjoy a feast on the temple premises. The animal waste is buried.

The history of the temple is connected with Bandhu Singh, a devotee of Tarkhula Devi. Singh was hanged by the British who found him guilty of killing their soldiers.

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Bandha Singh, skilled in guerilla, used to worship Goddess Tarkhula under a tarkul (tree along with Gurra river which used to flow through dense forest), said Dr. PK Lahiri, member of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural heritage (Intach).

“Bandhu Singh used to sacrifice animals and offer heads of the British at the feet of Devi,” said Dinesh Tiwari.

Bandhu Singh beheaded the British when they traversed the forest. As the news proliferated and reached to a British official, the court sentenced him to death. However, the rope broke thrice at the time of the crucifixion.

The fourth time, he implored the goddess for mercy, declaring he was in extreme pain, and his prayer was answered. Finally, he was publicly executed at Alinagar crossing on August 12, 1857.

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“Every time, the noose was placed around his neck and the lever was pulled, the rope broke and he escaped miraculously till he was finally executed. It is said that at the time of Bandhu Singh’s execution, a thunderstorm hit the area. The branch of a Tarkul tree, where he used to worship the goddess, broke and blood started oozing out of it,” Lahiri told HT.

Ever since then, people commenced idolizing Tarkulha Devi. They started offering sacrifices the same way Bandhu Singh did when he was alive.

– Prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: Nainamishr94

 

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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“Sacrifice Bad Habits, Not Animals This Eid”: RSS Muslim Wing

Eid-ul-Azha (Bakrid) will be celebrated on September 2

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Bakri Eid
Islamic Bakri Eid animal sacrifice in India. Wikimedia
  • Animal sacrifice during Bakrid is a bad practice like Triple Talaq, says MRM
  • On September 11, a march from Lucknow to Ayodhya was planned in support for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya
  • Eid-ul-Azha (Bakrid) will be celebrated on September 2

Lucknow, Aug 31, 2017: The Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), an RSS affiliate, has appealed to Muslims to sacrifice bad habits and not goats this Eid-ul-Azha (Bakrid).

According to PTI report, “Animal sacrifice during Bakrid is a bad practice like Triple Talaq. People should boycott those advocating sacrifice on the day. Giving ‘Qurbani‘ during Bakrid is ‘haram’ (not approved) in Islam”, said MRM Convenor (Awadh Prant-UP) Syed Hasan Kausar.

“If anyone wanted to give sacrifice, he should shun his bad habits and cut a (symbolic) goat cake on Bakrid,” he said.

Kausar said that there were many superstitions amongst Muslims surrounding animal sacrifice and remarked that those with better education would “understand Islam.”

Meanwhile, MRM co-convenor K A Khurshid Agha supported a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

“As per Quran, prayers can not be offered at a disputed place, so how can the Babri mosque be constructed at the disputed site in Ayodhya,” he said.

Previously, Manch had announced that it would start a nationwide campaign to urge Muslims against consecrating cows on Eid-Ul-Azha primarily in Uttar Pradesh, West Bihar, and Bengal.

A resolution was passed against cow slaughter at an event presided by Indresh Kumar, senior RSS leader, in New Delhi where MRM leaders met Islamic scholars associated with the organization.

ALSO READ: Tarkulha Devi Temple in UP is the host of Animal Sacrifice Ritual connected with a Martyr

Agha said that “Muslims were confused about how to follow the path of Allah and they should come up against animal sacrifice.”

On September 11, a march from Lucknow to Ayodhya was planned in support for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya by the organization. The march will reach Ayodhya on September 17, during which the MRM will organize presentations at every third kilometer to convince people about the construction of the temple.


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Threatened, Thrashed And Raped : Afghanistan’s Invisible Taliban Child Brides and Widows are Trapped in Sex Slavery

Child and forced marriage are outlawed but remain common in Afghanistan, particularly among poor families eager for dowries

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Taliban
Child and forced marriages are a common practice among the Islamist Taliban. VOA
  • Child and forced marriage remain a common practice in Afghanistan, particularly among poor families in lure of dowries.
  • Young child brides of Islamist Taliban are denied educated and are often treated as sex slaves
  • After the death of their militant husbands, Taliban widows are shunned by their family and society alike and remain beyond the reach of government aids

London, August 24, 2017: Fatima’s Taliban husband was so controlling that he refused to allow her to bathe and threatened to burn her face if she dared wear makeup, suspicious that his 12-year-old Afghan wife was trying to make herself attractive to other men.

He would not let her step outside their home in Afghanistan’s western Farah Province, even when she fell sick, and beat her for burning her hand baking bread, complaining that her mother had taught her nothing to justify the dowry he paid.

“My father sold me to a man at a time when I didn’t know anything about the responsibilities of marriage,” she told Reuters in a phone interview from the capital, Kabul, where she and her young daughter are hiding.

“He became my lawful husband and began to rape me and beat me every single day for not consenting [to sex],” said the 18-year-old, who would not give her full name.

Child and forced marriage are outlawed but remain common in Afghanistan, particularly among poor families eager for dowries.

Half of all girls are married by the age of 15.

ALSO READ: Ghana Chooses Girls Over Brides, Launches ‘End Child Marriage’ Campaign

Among the most invisible victims are the wives of Islamist Taliban hardliners who, when in power, barred women from education and most work and ordered them to wear burqas outside the home, before being overthrown in 2001 by U.S.-led forces.

“Being family members of the most dangerous and ruthless fighters who have plenty of enemies among the people makes it difficult for these women,” said Shukria Barakzai, a parliamentarian and women’s rights campaigner. “They are treated as sex slaves and left completely helpless.”

Taliban child brides
Taliban women are denied access to education or work and are ordered to wear burqas and stay inside houses. VOA

Agonized, emboldened

When their militant husbands die, life often gets worse for young Taliban brides. Their families are too scared to take them in, society treats them as pariahs, and they risk further violent abuse as unprotected single women.

About a year into their marriage, Fatima’s 25-year-old husband — she calls him a “veteran criminal” with stockpiles of ammunition in their home — blew up a police officer and was jailed for 18 years.

He was released in late 2016, after serving just four years — a common phenomenon in Afghanistan, where the Taliban often hold influence over the government.

But he never came home.

His brothers told Fatima they believed he had sacrificed himself in a suicide attack and become a martyr.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, estimates that several hundred women become Taliban widows each year.

“My brother-in-law was planning to force me to marry him and sell my four-year-old daughter to a Taliban commander,” she said, referring to the dowry that would be paid for her child.

“This evil plan agonized me and at the same time emboldened me to run away, regardless of the consequences.”

Under the pretext of attending a village wedding with her mother-in-law, Fatima ran away with her child.

Her father would not take her in, but her cousins helped her get to Kabul.

“Every one of my in-laws is a Taliban member and they vowed to slay my whole family to bring justice,” she said.

To the Taliban, justice means killing Fatima and her family for the shame she brought by running away from home.

Taliban widows and child brides
Tliban widows continue to remain outside the reach of government and rights groups to seek support. VOA

Jihadis in training

Zari, another Taliban widow, who was forcibly married at the age of 14, was not so lucky.

Three years after her husband died in a suicide attack, she remains trapped in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, tormented by his cousins who rape her repeatedly and are raising her sons, aged nine and 11, to become jihadis.

The men, who are members of the Taliban, come to the house where she lives with her elderly mother-in-law a couple of times a week to rape her, threatening to kill her if she tells anyone.

“I urge the government to rescue me and my sons as their future is in grave danger,” the 26-year-old, who declined to give her real name, said in a phone interview.

“They plan to send both of my sons to Pakistan to participate in jihad. … They take my elder son for religious indoctrination and training to become a militant like his father.”

Neither the government nor rights groups can access Taliban widows living with their in-laws in remote, rebel-controlled territory. Conflict makes it impossible for them to provide for themselves, forcing them to live with their in-laws.

Neither boy goes to school because Zari cannot afford books or uniforms with the money she earns weaving or from her cows.

“I want to escape with my sons, but my family is not ready to accept me and jeopardize themselves,” she said, adding that her family did not know they were marrying her into the Taliban.

ALSO READ: Taliban Terrorist Group behead 30-year-old Afghan Woman for Divorcing Husband and living with another Man

Afghanistan has about 5 million widows, said a spokeswoman for the women’s affairs ministry, Kobra Rezai. It can only afford to provide about 100,000 of them with about $100 a month in financial support and skills training, she said.

None are Taliban widows.

The government does not want to be seen to be supporting them, Rezai said, a position condemned by Barakzai, the parliamentarian.

“Circumstances push [Taliban widows] into a precarious position and compel them to continue their lives as sex slaves in the hands of Taliban,” she said. “Even their children have no way out of this vicious trap.” (VOA)