Whanganui River

Sacred Rivers in India, New Zealand Granted Legal Personhood

March 31, 2017

Last week, India became the second nation this month to grant legal personhood status to a river, raising ethical and practical questions about how to regulate environmental protections.

As of Monday, March 20, the Ganges river and its main tributary, the Yamuna, will be accorded the rights and responsibilities of a living person. The rivers are the first non-human entities to be granted such a status, The Guardian reported.

The crux of the...

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Hindu Nationalist Group Celebrates Donald Trump's Birthday

Hindu Nationalist Group Celebrates Donald Trump's Birthday

June 17, 2016

7,000 miles from New York City, an unlikely group of passionate Donald Trump supporters threw the presidential candidate a 70th birthday party Tuesday.

Hindu Sena, a small Hindu nationalist group in India, marked the occasion with a 15-pound eggless chocolate cake, balloons, and an orchestra. After a rousing chorus of the “Happy Birthday” song, the group’s founder lovingly pushed a piece of cake into the mouth of a larger-than-life poster of the real estate mogul holding a rifle. Banners around Jantar Mantar, a popular gathering site in downtown New Delhi, read, “Long live...

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Fatal Protests Mark Anniversary of Tibetan Uprising

Fatal Protests Mark Anniversary of Tibetan Uprising

March 10, 2016

Last month, two Tibetan Buddhist teenagers died of self-immolation just weeks before the 57th anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising.

Dorjee Tsering, a 16-year-old student who was living in India as a refugee from Tibetan China, had been considering how best to protest China’s continued rule of Tibet for some time. Radio Free Asia reported that Tsering had told his parents he wanted to do something to express his support for Tibet’s freedom from Chinese rule.

Tsering’s mother, Nyima...

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Navratri festival approaches

Navratri festival approaches

October 7, 2015

Hindus worldwide are preparing for the nine-day festival of Navratri, which celebrates the goddess Durga. In India's westernmost state known as Gujarat, these celebrations, which include colorful displays of song and dance, will be closed to non-Hindus in residential neighborhoods. Citing "love jihad," or attempts made by Muslim men to supposedly lure Hindu women into marriage, the right-wing Hindu Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) issued a pronouncement barring non-Hindus from attending.

The group's general secretary Ranchhod Bharwad...

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How Hindu is Yoga?

How Hindu is Yoga?

June 26, 2015

Last Sunday, June 21, Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi joined a record-setting number of people around the world to celebrate the first International Day of Yoga. After Modi proposed the celebration to the United Nations General Assembly last year, 170 countries signed on as co-sponsors, hosting public yoga lessons from New York’s Times Square to Seoul.

Hindu nationalist parties’ recent efforts to spread yoga within India, however, and Modi’s ties to such parties, have caused alarm among India’s religious minorities, especially Muslims, who fear that the country is losing its...

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Indian state bans beef

Indian state bans beef

April 6, 2015

Neha Thirani Bagri and Nida Najar of the New York Times report from India on Maharashtra state’s recent ban on the slaughter, sale, and possession of beef—now crimes punishable by up to five years in prison.

Although the majority of Maharashtrans are Hindu, not all are thrilled to see the religious reverence for cows written into law, and worry that it reflects wider changes triggered by the election of Prime Minister Narendra...

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