SINGAPORE, December 4, 2016 (Straits Times): Nearly 20,000 Hindus queued up under the morning sun to enter the renovated Sri Siva Durga temple after a special consecration ceremony on Sunday Dec 4. The temple in Potong Pasir had undergone a two-year, US$2.7 million reconstruction.
All Hindu temples undergo renovations and repairs every 12 years, and the temple and its deities have to be re-consecrated through a ritual known as maha kumbabhishekam. The temple's vice-president G. Krishnamurthi, 45, said he was "extremely delighted" by the turnout. It helped that the rebuilt temple could accommodate more people, he said. It can host 500 worshippers, up from 300 previously.
Other races and religions in the community helped out for the event. Volunteers from the Mahakaruna Buddhist Society distributed breakfast and drinks to the crowd. The Church of Ascension, located next to the temple, brought forward its Sunday service to Saturday evening so that its car park could be used for the event. A nearby coffee shop removed its tables to make space for the devotees, and also voluntarily stopped the sale of alcohol in the morning as a mark of respect.
INDIA, April 23, 2015 (Economic Times by Sadanand Dhume): Is India's overwhelming Hindu majority shrinking? A recent survey by the Pew Research Center echoes news reports based on leaked figures from the 2011 census. For the first time since independence in 1947, fewer than four in five Indians self-identifies as a Hindu. The Pew survey suggests a more nuanced picture than the overheated rhetoric that grabs the headlines. With fertility rates comfortably above the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman, in absolute terms India's Hindu population is growing, not declining. Over the next 35 years, it will swell by over 300 million people to total nearly 1.3 billion.
In relative terms, however, these numbers suggest a gentle but steady decline compared to other faiths. In 1951, not long after the ravages of Partition, India was about 85% Hindu. By 2050 it will be 77 per cent Hindu. Most of the change in India can be explained by a sharp projected uptick in the Muslim population thanks to higher fertility rates. The average Indian Muslim woman bears 3.2 children; the average Hindu has 2.5 children. Over the next 35 years, Muslims in India will swell to about 311 million, or more than 18 per cent of the population, up from their current 14 per cent share. The survey predicts that by 2050, India will house the world's largest Muslim population, ahead of Indonesia and Pakistan.
India will need to find a way to talk about religious demographics as other nations do -- mostly without fuss, rancor or wild policy suggestions. Over the coming decades, India's changing religious demographics will likely upend politics as we know it, particularly in states with large Muslim populations such as West Bengal and Assam. To understand what these changes mean, India's public square needs to host a debate that reflects neither the apathy of the Left nor the shrillness of the extreme Right. This means talking about aggregate trends without losing sight of individual rights. Only then can the country confidently come to terms with its changing demographic future.
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No one can describe the Truth adequately. Even the great Shankara failed to do it.
-- Satguru Siva Yogaswami (1872–1964), Sri Lankan mystic
LEICESTER, ENGLAND, November 30, 2016 (BBC): The Shree Sanatan Mandir, one of Leicester's oldest and largest Hindu temples, has urged worshippers not to give new five pound notes in donations after the Bank of England confirmed they contain animal fat. The notes are made from small amounts of tallow, derived from animal waste products, which has angered a number of groups who are against animal harm.
Vibhooti Acharya, from the temple, said the revelation has been a source of "frustration" among Hindus as hurting animals is against their beliefs. She said: "No-one was informed and it's been thrown upon us. We don't have the opportunity to choose. There needs to be a decision made between committee as to whether we accept five pound notes in religious ceremonies in future. We have to give a reasonable amount of time for resolve, [but] we can't really take any drastic steps because it's just not practical." She said the temple will encourage people not to bring in the fivers as charitable donations and will put up notices to make them aware. However, Ms. Acharya said it was a "matter of choice" and the temple will accept them for now.
CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND, December 3, 2016 (BBC): A vegetarian cafe is refusing to accept the new #5 note after it emerged the currency contains animal products. Sharon Meijland, owner of the Rainbow Cafe in Cambridge, has put up signs warning customers about the policy.
Mrs. Meijland said she had made a "promise" to customers that the cafe was an "ethical establishment". "Tallow's an animal product isn't it? Our whole business is based around not having anything like that on the premises," Mrs Meijland said. Posters have been put at the cafe entrance and at the cash till. Since the posters went up on Wednesday no customers had complained, she said.