Tamil Indian man attempts to break curse by marrying dog

14 November 2007,  CHENNAI, India (AFP) — An Indian farmer has married his dog in a bid to overcome what he believes is a curse caused by him having stoned to death two mating dogs in his rice field, press reports said.

The 34-year-old farmer, identified as Selvakumar from Sivaganga district in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, fell on bad fortune 15 years ago after killing the dogs and hanging their carcasses from a tree.

A few days later, his hearing and speech were impaired and he was unable to walk.

Doctors were clueless, but an astrologer finally told him he was cursed by the spirits of the dogs he had killed. He could undo the curse only if he married a dog and live with it, the soothsayer said.

After a long search for a ‘suitable bride’, Selvakumar managed to get a four-year-old mongrel bitch from a friend and had a fully-fledged Hindu wedding in front of villagers and elders on Sunday, eyewitnesses said.

The canine bride, named Selvi, was adorned in a sari and flowers and brought to the temple by village women. A Hindu priest conducted the ceremony.

The reports, however, said Selvi the dog attempted to make a run for it — apparently due to the large crowds — but was eventually tracked down and returned to her new ‘husband’.

“The dog is only for lifting the curse and after that, he plans to get a real bride,” a friend of the groom said.

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Indian teachers ‘purify’ low caste students with cow urine

Mumbai, April 22, 2007 ,

Indian teachers have been sprinkling cow urine on low-caste students to purify them and drive away evil.

In India, millions of people formerly known as “untouchables” remain oppressed at the bottom of the ancient Hindu caste system.

The Times of India reported yesterday that upper-caste headteacher Sharad Kaithade ordered the ritual after taking over from a lower-caste predecessor at a school in a remote village in the western state of Maharashtra earlier this month.

He told an upper-caste colleague to spray cow urine in a cleansing ceremony as the students were taking an examination, wetting their faces and their answer sheets, the newspaper said.

“She said you’ll study well after getting purified,” student Rajat Washnik was quoted as saying by the CNN-IBN news channel. Students said they felt humiliated.

Hinduism reveres the cow, and its dung is used in the countryside as both a disinfectant and as fuel.

In 2001, Hindu nationalists promoted cow’s urine as a cure for ailments ranging from liver disease to obesity and even cancer.

The newspaper said the two teachers were arrested after angry parents complained to police. They have been released on bail.

India’s secular constitution bans caste discrimination, but Dalits – those at the bottom of the caste system – are still commonly beaten or killed for using a well or worshipping at a temple reserved for upper castes, especially in rural areas.

Dalits, once known as untouchables, make up around 160 million of India’s billion-plus population.

In February, the New York-based Human Rights Watch group said India was failing to protect its lower-caste citizens, who were condemned to a lifetime of abuse because of their social status.

Reuters

46 per cent Indians believe ghosts exists, 24 percent consult a palmist

93 per cent Indians believe in God

New Delhi, January 24, 2007

Here are some common beliefs about religion — Indians used to be very religious but no longer are, religion is the domain of women and the elderly, and educated and urbane India has no time for religion.

If you also thought so, it is time you took a look at the findings of the HT-CNN IBN State of the Nation Survey conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS). Every alternate respondent in this survey — 7,670 to be precise — was asked a series of questions about their religious beliefs, attitudes and practices. The findings are bound to surprise you.

The survey found that urban, educated Indians are more religious than their rural and illiterate counterparts. Yes, women are more religious, but metropolitan women are far more religious than rural women. Predictably, the youth are a little less enthusiastic about religion. But the point is: religion in the country is on the rise.

If there is one social group that is least enthusiastic about religious practices, it is the adivasis. And if there is one group that is more religious than any other, it is upper caste Hindus who have been exposed to modern life more than others.

Consider these facts:

1) 93 per cent believe in god; education makes no difference
2) 64 per cent visit a temple, mosque or gurudwara regularly
3) 53 per cent pray daily; the educated pray more regularly
4) 46 per cent believe ghosts exist
5)  24 per cent consult a palmist
6)  68 per cent participate or take interest in religious functions of other religions

Do you think these figures reflect the rise of the BJP? Not quite. The party gets a little more than average support from among the very religious, but so does the Congress.

So what drives people to religion? Sociologists tell us that the stress of urban living pushes people to search for anchors in their lives. Since they cannot go back to their villages, they recreate a community through religion. That explains the religiosity among those who live in big cities.

In the process, religion changes from a personal experience to something that is more public and congregational. Hence, the proliferation of jalsas, satsangs and ratjagas. Market and the media play a greater role in defining religion.

Religious programmes on television are the latest vehicle for religious communication.

(Kumar and Yadav are social scientists working with the CSDS, Delhi)

Sanjay Kumar and Yogendra Yadav, Hindustan Times

80 percent of Indians questioned “God had a human form”

India sees God as creator, not controller – report

Sun Nov 26, 2006

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Most Indians perceive God as a macro-manager responsible for controlling things like the earth’s rotation, rather than being in charge of the actions of humans on a day-to-day basis, a survey said on Saturday.

According to a poll conducted for the Times of India newspaper across 10 cities with 1,007 respondents — which included people of Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Sikh faiths — Indians were not convinced that God controlled our daily lives.

“(God) is seen as the Creator — 91 percent feel God controls macro-affairs like the rotation of the earth or the cycle of life and death,” the newspaper reported.

“A significant 46 percent said (God) was an observer, not a controller.”

Predominately Hindu India is seen as being a deeply religious country where idol worship and superstitious beliefs are widely adhered to, but the poll found that only one third of Indians sensed the presence of God in idols.

While 80 percent of Indians questioned thought God had a human form, 23 percent felt God was male and 11 percent believed God was female. Forty-nine percent thought God took both a female and male form.

The poll, conducted by market research firm TNS for the daily newspaper, also found 54 percent of Indians believed God answered their prayers and 56 percent thought God was never unjust.

The newspaper said that while India is often perceived as a land of God-fearing people, God is seen by many as more a source of energy than someone to be feared.

Zodiac sign will bring super power status for India by 2011 : RSS chief

Quoting Swami Vivekanand, RSS Chief, K.C. Sudarshan said “India will become a super power in year 2011 thanks to the excellent zodiac combinations.” The centenary celebrations got off to a spectacular start and would conclude on Feb 18, next year in Delhi.

Muslims and Christians in the country “should accept that their ancestors were Hindus”, even though their style of worshipping God may be different today, RSS chief K C Sudarshan said tonight.

“By nationality these Muslims and Christians are Hindus and due to conversions by their ancestors they are practising different means of worship,” Sudarshan said addressing a mammoth gathering of swayamsewaks during the inauguration of birth centenary celebrations of second RSS chief Madhav Sadashiv alias Guruji Golwalkar here.

Former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Swami Satyamitrnand Giriji Maharaj, founder of bharatmata mandir, Haridwar, Buddhist monk, Bhadant Gyanjagat Mahasthivir of Vishwa Boudha Pratisthan, former Bihar Governor M Ramajoise, also addressed the function.

During his brief speech, Vajpayee recalled his association with late Golwalkar in 1940 when he was a tenth- class student. He called for uniting the people in the country to fulfil the dream of late Guruji. Vajpayee also recited a poem in the honour of Golwalkar.