INDIA, January 28, 2015 (India Facts by Dr. JK Bajaj): The long-awaited religion data for the Census of 2011 has not been published yet. But it seems that some journalists have been allowed to have a quick look at the figures. Consequently, many stories have appeared in the press; already several articles have been written to reassure the Hindus that the share of Muslims in the population of India has not really changed by too much and there is no serious demographic imbalance developing between different communities in India. But the reported figures seem anything but reassuring.
According to the reports, the Muslim population has grown by 24.4 per cent between 2001 and 2011. Average growth of the total population during the decade has been only 17.7 per cent; the growth of Hindus is much lower at only 14.5 per cent. The reports and various articles try to convey that the Muslim growth may be higher compared to the average, yet their rate of growth has declined substantially in comparison to the previous decade, when the Muslim population had grown by 29.50 per cent. But what is critical in maintaining the demographic balance between different communities is not the absolute rate of growth but the gap between their respective growth rates. The Muslim rate of growth in 2011 is nearly 38 per cent above the national average; in 2001, the gap between the growth of Muslims and the national average was somewhat lower at 36.8 per cent. The rate of growth of Hindus, on the other hand, has declined about 20 per cent below the national average. This is a matter of great concern.
A surprising aspect of the data that has been reported is the sharp decline in the share of Hindus in the total population of India. According to these reports, the proportion of Hindus has declined by 2.1 percentage points, from 80.45 per cent in 2001 to 78.35 per cent in 2011. Since the share of Muslims has increased by only 0.8 percentage points, what accounts for the larger decline in the share of Hindus? We do not have the detailed figures yet. But the large decline in the Hindu share is most likely to be associated with a spurt in the number of persons counted under "Other Religions and Persuasions".
Much more at 'source'.
MALAYSIA, January 29, 2015 (by Vincent Tan, The Star): In conjunction with the 125th year of celebrating Thaipusam at Batu Caves this year, the silver chariot underwent a US$41,300 upgrade. It will make its maiden journey, called the vellotam from the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple in Batu Caves to the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 31 at 8pm.
The silver chariot carrying Lord Muruga and His consorts Valli and Theivanai will head back to Batu Caves on Feb 1 at 10pm for the Thaipusam festival. Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Dhevasthanam chairman Tan Sri R. Nadarajah said the chariot would stop at several points to receive and offer prayers, and is expected to reach Batu Caves at about 2.30pm on Feb 2.
Four million people are expected to witness the Thaipusam festival at Batu Caves this year, added Nadarajah.
Discipline your speech. Speak the truth at all costs. Speak little. Speak sweetly. Always utter encouraging words. Never condemn, criticize or discourage. Do not raise your voice and shout at little children or subordinates.
-- Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh (1887-1963)
NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 24, 2015 (Indian Express): The share of Hindus in India's population has shown the sharpest dip in a decade since Independence and has dropped below 80 per cent. According to figures of the religion census of 2011, yet to be officially released, Hindus comprised 78.35 per cent of the total population of 1.2 billion, compared with 80.45 per cent of the total population in 2001. In absolute terms, however, the Hindu population increased 14.5 per cent from 827 million to 950 million during the period (2001-11).
The 2011 religion census data also shows that the share of Muslims in the population has risen 8/10th of a percent from 13.4 per cent in 2001 to 14.2 per cent with some border states showing a high increase. This decadal increase in share, however, is lower than the 1.7 percentage points increase registered in the previous decade, 1991-2001.
The share of Hindus over the previous five decades -- between 1951 i.e. post-partition and 2001 -- dropped 3.65 percentage points from 84.1 per cent to 80.45 per cent of the total population. Again in absolute terms, the Hindu population more than doubled (172 per cent increase) from 300 million to 830 million during the 50 years till 2001. The drop in share of Hindus, due to a steady dip in the rate of growth of the Hindu population, comes on the back of rising education and income levels of the majority community.
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, January 28, 2015 (Free Malaysian Today): Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, an ad hoc apolitical human rights group working across the political divide, has called on Hindus this year to boycott Thaipusam at Batu Caves if the Committee insists on desecrating an ancient Hindu rite and practice, "milk abishekam"( showering ceremony), by employing motorized equipment to shower the milk from the devotees onto the Deity."Devotees should observe Thaipusam at other temples in the country which observe the right practices according to Hindu rites."
"Hindraf is totally mystified and appalled by the attitude of the Batu Caves Committee," said Hindraf Chief P. Waythamoorthy (firstname.lastname@example.org) in a statement. Waytha said the matter was brought to Hindraf's attention through a video on You Tube which has since gone viral. Waytha alleged that the Committee had no regards for the feelings of thousands of devotees who had undertaken severe penance to participate in showering their "paal kadum" (pots of milk) in the final ritual, abishekam, during Thaipusam.
"The purpose of showering the milk on the Deity (abishekam) is a process of cleansing oneself of sins and to satisfy any debt bondage to the deity," explained Waytha. "This practice is observed worldwide in India, Fiji, Sri Lanka, South Africa, USA, U.K, Australia and Singapore, among other places, during the Thaipusam month where milk is being showered individually by the priests who normally chant mantras as they do so. "There are no mantras chanted under the motorized method intended to be practiced in Batu Caves." It not only desecrates Hindu rites, he reiterated, but also insults the individual devotee who had painstakingly undertaken severe penance to fulfill their devotion to the deity.
See video of "motorized abhishekam"--audio is the workers talking to each other about making adjustments to the position and flow of the setup: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH7gO8QeWrQ