NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 17, 2017 (Greater Kashmir): Governor N.N. Vohra, Chairman of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), presided over the 32nd Meeting of the Shrine Board here on Monday, an official spokesman said. "Regarding the duration and date of commencement of the Yatra 2017, keeping in view its foremost concern of safeguarding the safety and security of the pilgrims, the Board decided that a 40-day Yatra would commence on 29th June 2017, an auspicious day of Skanda Shasthi as per Hindu Calendar and conclude on Shravan Purnima (Raksha Bandhan) on 7th Aug 2017. The Board directed that the CEO should arrange a special pooja at Chandanwari on the day of Jyesth Purnima, which falls on 9th June this year, to invoke the blessings of Lord Shiva for the smooth and safe conduct of the pilgrimage," the spokesman said.
"The Board deliberated at length in regard to the number of Yatris who would be allowed to register, date-wise and route-wise, for this year's Yatra. Considering the carrying capacity of the existing tracks and other available infrastructure in the Yatra area, the Board decided that 7,500 Yatris, per day per each of the two routes, excluding Yatris who would travel by helicopters, would be allowed to register for the pilgrimage," he added.
It is the nature of desire never to be fulfilled, but he who utterly gives it up is eternally fulfilled at that very moment.
-- Tirukural 370
BELGIUM, January 15, 2017 (academia.edu): Jakob De Roover of Ghent University here published today an insightful paper, "Scheduled Castes vs. Caste Hindus About a Colonial Distinction and Its Legal Impact." We excerpt from his conclusion:
Today, commentators often react with indignation when one points out the anomalies confronting the classical account of the caste system. Worse, questioning this orthodoxy and its hackneyed claims about "the plight of the Dalits" is often equated to denying the existence of injustice in Indian society. The fact that there are groups in Indian society much poorer and more deprived than others is not in doubt. Neither is the fact that members of some jatis treat members of other jatis in unethical and inhumane ways. However, the point is that these situations and events cannot be coherently conceptualized in terms of "the caste system" and its oppression of "the Untouchables" or "Dalits."
The idea that there are two distinct categories or groups in Indian society--namely, Caste Hindus and Scheduled Castes--never described its social structure. No common characteristics are available that allow(ed) one to recognize these as two communities or categories across India. Thus, no empirical investigation could show that they existed in the Indian social world. Since this distinction is flawed, it cannot offer a stable foundation for legislation that aims to address injustice in Indian society. In fact, the available facts indicate that the laws providing caste-based benefits fail to pass the Supreme Court's test of reasonable classification: there appear to be no intelligible differentiae that distinguish all the persons grouped together as Scheduled Castes from others excluded from that group.
Indeed, the class of Scheduled Castes exists, but only in the Indian legal and political system. Through their caste policies and censuses, the British spread the idea that "Hindu society" was characterized by an opposition between Caste Hindus and Untouchables. Thus, in spite of the recurring discovery that this distinction failed, it could not but have its effects in a society under colonial rule. The crucial step came in the Government of India Act of 1935 and its caste schedules. Eventually, the Government of India (Scheduled Castes) Order of 1936 ordered that "the castes, races or tribes, or parts of or groups within castes, races or tribes specified in Parts I to IX of the Schedule to this Order shall, in the Provinces to which those Parts respectively relate, be deemed to be scheduled castes so far as regards members thereof resident in the localities specified in relation to them respectively in those Parts of that Schedule."
Strikingly, the leaders and intellectuals of postcolonial India not only succumbed to the colonial account of "the caste system," but also accepted the social divisions among the people of India created by British legislation. It is as though they felt compelled to transform the tenuous distinctions inherent to the colonial account into existing social divisions in India. The King's Excellent Majesty, Edward VIII, had ordered how the people of India should be divided into Scheduled Castes and others. After 1947, Indian political and intellectual elites began to enforce this royal decree in their country. This is the work that the caste legislation of contemporary India continues unto this day.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, December 28, 2016 (LA Times): Bathroom mats. Toilet seats. Shoes. Dog tags. All of these items have, in recent years, gone on sale adorned with images of Hindu deities, particularly that of Ganesha, known most commonly in the West for His elephant face. "It is inappropriate, and it is offensive to devotees," said Rajan Zed, a Reno, Nevada-based Hindu activist who protests against such commercial products.
"I haven't seen Christ on toilet seat covers. Or any symbol of Islam," said Vasudha Narayanan, a professor of religion at the University of Florida. "If you wouldn't do it with one, why do you want to do it with something else? Or at least wouldn't it behoove you to check?" The use of these images in a secular context, and particularly in a context that is in direct opposition to the basic tenets of the Hindu religion, displays a lack of respect, Narayanan said.
Every few months, Zed said, he receives a message about some insensitive commercial use of a Hindu image. Most recently, Zed called on Amazon to pull deity-decorated skateboards and bedding from its online shelves. (This was not the first time the retailer got itself into hot water over such practices. In June, the hashtag #boycottAmazon trended on Twitter in India after users discovered doormats with images of Hindu deities available for sale. Amazon removed the items within days.) Most of the time, when Zed reaches out to companies to ask them to stop selling an item or displaying an advertisement, he said, they apologize and comply. "It's ignorance, basically," Zed said. "People don't know our traditions and our deities."
Much more at "source" above.
In the beginning, love arose, which was the primal germ cell of the mind. The seers, searching in their hearts with wisdom, discovered the connection of Being in Nonbeing.
-- Rig Veda 10.129.4