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RSS body demands action against Global Hunger Index surveyors for ‘defaming India’ The Swadeshi Jagran Manch urged the Centre to take steps against a German NGO which ranked India 107th among 121 countries on the index. The Swadeshi Jagran Manch, an affiliate body of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on Sunday urged the Union government to take action against German non-governmental organisation Welt Hunger Hilfe which last week ranked India 107th among 121 countries in the Global Hunger Index, PTI reported. The index has been prepared in an irresponsible manner to defame India, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch claimed in a statement. Ashwani Mahajan, the co-convenor of the body said that India was self-sufficient in food grains and a net exporter country. In the Global Hunger Index released on Friday, India fared worse than its neighbours Pakistan (99th), Nepal (81st) and Bangladesh (84th) for the second successive year. In 2021, India was ranked 101st out of 116 countries on the index that calculates the hunger levels and malnutrition across the world. This year, India had the highest child wasting rate in the world of 19.3%. Child wasting rate – one of the four indicators of the index – refers to the share of children under the age

Federal government appears bent on cornering minority community on issues of land and properties besides conversion An Indian Supreme Court order on Sept 26 seeking a government response to a petition that pleaded for strict action against “religious conversion through fraud and intimidation” will not translate immediately into a national law against conversions to Christianity and Islam. The general allegory among those who accuse Christians of converting through fraud and allurement is that missionaries use their educational and health services to attract and trap poor Hindus and tribal people. The church is possibly right in steeling itself for government action on various fronts. At the top of its apprehensions is the government seeking a greater role in running educational institutions, and possible revocation of British-era land leases on which these are built. Places of worship — India has some majestic and historic cathedrals, churches, and hilltop chapels — may perhaps not be threatened for fear of international rebuke. But the process of safeguarding the land and buildings could take years of court battles and hundreds of millions of rupees in legal fees. The clamor for action, as well as the threat to church lands, comes in the wake of a sustained political campaign that began

For much of September, Leicester in the United Kingdom saw sporadic bouts of communal tension between Hindus and Muslims. The incident, while unfortunate, was purely a local law and order issue that the city police handled. Unusually, because of the charged communal situation in India, the issue became the focus of prime time television debates in India. A UK journalist pointed out that communal programming by India’s pro-government news channels, already under criticism for pushing hate, had “completely distorted” the events in Leicester. This mainstream media programming was driven by intense social media interest in India about these faraway events. A BBC investigation estimated that half of the tweets about tensions in Leicester actually originated from India. Much of the communal messaging that pushed hashtags such as #HindusUnderAttack displayed “classic signs” of “inauthentic activity, ie a likelihood that individuals are deliberately using multiple accounts to push a narrative”. The BBC singled out OpIndia, the Hindutva website based in India, for spreading misinformation around Leicester. Representing Hindutva, not India However, what was truly odd about this narrative over Leicester was that the government of India soon barged into the conversation. On September 19, the Indian High Commission in the United Kingdom issued an official statement

It is not that Indian churches are without their problems. But Dilip Mandal is wrong to use proselytisation as the yardstick to measure Indian Christianity. Periodically, experts of mainstream media come up with theories on why Christianity is a “failed project” in India. Recently, senior journalist and author Dilip Mandal put forth the argument that Christianity has no future in India and, therefore, there is no reason for the Rashtriya Swayamevak Sangh or the Vishva Hindu Parishad to spread false alarm or panic about the proselytising capacity of Christian missionaries. Mandal also points out that the Christian population in India is either static or dwindling. Mandal is, obviously, not open to recognising the idea that conversion was not the main purpose of the educational, medical and social work of Christian missions in India. Compassion International, a Christian organisation mentioned by him, in a detailed statement pointed out that their sole purpose in India was social outreach. And no official complaint of conversion has been filed against organisations such as Compassion International. Dilip Mandal’s severe criticism that the Christian missionary’s work in India became “a tool for Brahmins and elites” seems baseless. He argues that the failure of Christianity in the early centuries in

István Perczel could well be a modern-day Indiana Jones for Kerala’s elite approximately 60,00,000-strong Syrian Christian community spread across the globe. But instead of engaging in gun fights and discovering lost treasure and ancient cities, The Hungarian scholar of Byzantine history and early Christianity is bringing to life a forgotten body of Malayalam scholarly literature—one that is written in a script based on the Syriac alphabet, an ancient writing system that dates back to the 1st century AD, and shares similarities with Phoenician, Hebrew, Arabic and Sogdian. He is now on a quest to develop an InScript keyboard for the lost script—the first of its kind—for which he had to decode thousands of palm-leaf documents lying forgotten in cupboards. They were arguably the oldest written historical records of the Syrian, or Saint Thomas Christians, a community that converted long before colonisation and missionary expansion in India. Most of the records, popularly believed to have been destroyed in the 16th century by the Roman Catholic Church, are written in Garshuni Malayalam. While Garshuni is traditionally referred to as Arabic in a Syriac script, the records Perczel is digitising are Malayalam written in the Syriac script. It was used by the Kerala Syrian Christian

‘Burning Lanka’ tells all what not to do, says Uday Kotak In the backdrop of the country's economic crisis, Kotak Banker Uday Kotak has come out with an intriguing comment as an outbreak of violent civil unrest in neighbouring Sri Lanka forced a regime change in the island nation with the resignation of its Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, on Monday. “The Russia Ukraine war goes on and the going gets tough. True test of nations is now. Strength of institutions like the judiciary, regulators, police, government, Parliament will matter. Doing what is right and not populist is crucial. A ‘burning Lanka’ tells all what not to do!” Kotak Mahindra Bank CEO Uday Kotak said in a tweet on Tuesday. Couched in generic terms, there was no explicit indication that this was a rare bit of advice to the Modi government from one of its most ardent supporters. The Modi government has been battling a crisis on several fronts: inflation has shot through the roof and is expected to cross 7.5 per cent — an 18-month high — when the government statisticians come out with the numbers for April on Thursday. Rising food and fuel prices, surging commodity prices, a severe disruption in supply chains, and

Pro-Hindu BJP seeks to woo voters in cash-strapped Manipur state 03/04/2022: State elections in Christian stronghold Manipur kicked off the polling season with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vowing to retain power. In the first phase that began on Feb. 28, elections were held for 40 seats, while polling for 20 constituencies in the hilly northeastern region will be held on March 5. Initially, the first phase of voting was slated for Sunday, Feb. 27, but following protests from Christian leaders it was rescheduled to Feb. 28. According to the last official census, Christians make up 41.29 percent of Manipur's population and Hindus marginally more at 41.39 percent. Muslims represent 8.4 percent. However, Christians have a decisive say in 20 of the 60 seats in the hill state. In the remaining 40, native Meitei Hindus hold sway. The BJP bagged a mere 21 seats in the 2017 elections. The Hindu party then came to power by forming an alliance with two smaller parties — the National People's Party and the Naga People's Front. The latter is essentially based out of neighboring Nagaland and draws its strength from the Christian Naga population. Elections in Manipur and other northeastern states are guided by one

They will no longer be mere spectators to media attempts portraying them in a poor light, say nuns and priests in Kerala: Catholic officials in the southern Indian state of Kerala have begun lodging police complaints against what they call a rising trend in media to defame the Church, particularly priests and nuns. “Our priests and nuns have lodged more than 160 police complaints across the state against certain online, mainstream and social media platforms for portraying Catholic priests and nuns in a poor light,” said Father Michael Pulickal, secretary of Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council's commission for social harmony and vigilance. Catholic religious men and women are no longer going to be mere spectators to the deliberate attempts to denigrate their image before the public by publishing lies, half-truths and misleading facts, he told UCA News. Father Pulickal said Kerala police were refusing to register their complaints in some cases but the bishops’ council and other church bodies will “not succumb to pressure” and continue their campaign “for legal action until we get justice.” The government had failed to take disciplinary action and hence “our people are going to lodge as many complaints as possible until the authorities initiate action against those trying to destroy

The Wire News: In the 48 hours before polling ends, candidates are not allowed to put out election matter—whether through TV or theatrical performance—calculated to influence voters. Yet that is precisely what the prime minister did. A shorter version of this piece was first published on The India Cable – a premium newsletter from The Wire & Galileo Ideas – and has been republished here. To subscribe to The India Cable, click here. On the face of it, the interview Narendra Modi gave ANI, a news television channel. on the eve of the first phase of elections to the state legislature in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is a violation of India’s election law, which prohibits the display of “election matter” in any form in the 48 hours preceding the closing of polls. “Election matter,” Section 126 (3) of the Representation of the People Act says, “means any matter intended or calculated to influence or affect the result of an election.” In the last 48 hours, candidates are simply not allowed to put out election matter, whether it is through TV or a theatrical performance. Frankly, I don’t know which of these two categories Modi’s interview falls into but the answers he

(Edited for a Western Reader) A little after noon on Dec. 6, Rahul Raghuvanshi was about halfway through writing his maths exam paper in St Joseph’s School in the town of Ganj Basoda in Madhya Pradesh state’s Vidisha district. Suddenly, loud cries of “Jai Shri Ram!”, the war cry of Hindu nationalist groups, tore through the silence. There were sounds of smashing glass. Before he could react, the 17-year-old student saw a group of angry men outside his ground-floor classroom window, attacking the panes with iron rods. Shrieking in fear, Raghuvanshi and his 13 classmates jumped from their seats and were bundled out of the room by their teacher and the external examiner who had come to conduct their mid-term Class 12 exams under the Central Board of Secondary Education. They sought shelter in an empty classroom on the first floor. Their school seemed to be under siege by a mob of “400 or 500 people,” according to estimates by the principal and several teachers. The enraged crowd—largely members of the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the two most violent Hindu nationalist groups affiliated to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Modi —had gathered to protest the “first holy communion” ceremony

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