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News & Trends - Indian Society Lifestyle Standards

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News & Trends - Indian Society Lifestyle Standards
#41
<!--QuoteBegin-Ravish+Sep 27 2006, 12:32 PM-->QUOTE(Ravish @ Sep 27 2006, 12:32 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Out of the different classifications indicated above India should fall under which category. We have to see the composition of the Indian population and the influence of different religions and cultures on the Indian social structure.
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a) 'India' is a nation-state. 'Bharat' is little more than that.

b) Religious Beliefs/Faith systems : Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, and various sects of Sanatan Dharma. many Indians also follow faiths originated outside India like Christian, Islam, Judaism, Parsi.

b) 'Hindu' is the name of culture or civilization. There are heated debates about the term 'Hindu'. But things become clear when you see the 4 components of culture mentioned above - Values, Norms, Institutions, Artifacts. Let us identify the indigenous examples of these 4. Remember, we have to find examples, which are widely accepted, but we shall have to leave out some exceptions too, since India is a vast nation and ancient civilization.

(examples only)
b1) values - principles of dharma & karma are utmost; most important goals of life is moksha/nirvana/kaivalya; there can be unlimited number of paths to reach that goal; everyone is free to chose a path suitable to him; all form of life is sacred - animal, insect, vegetation or others; nature is sacred too, since it is nature which preserves the life (etc.)
b2) norms - cow and Bharat are mothers; saints and masters of all faiths are to be revered
b3) Institutions - varna system; gender based segregation of roles;
b4) Artifacts - Temples; Music forms; Languages; Scientific finds;

Above stem from traditional culture. Many is today's society have developed conflicting values, therefore they vehemently reject and protest against that culture. (What caused the change of values in them is a different topic)

<!--QuoteBegin-Ravish+Sep 27 2006, 12:32 PM-->QUOTE(Ravish @ Sep 27 2006, 12:32 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->It resulted in the provision that the State shall not have any religion. At the same time elaborate provisions have been made to ensure that the Citizens shall have the full liberty to practice any faith of their liking. As a result of such a provision the activities of <b>propagators</b> of each faith obviously enjoy certain freedom of action. This has obviously affected the social system of the country.
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There is lot said about this myth in other threads. 'State shall not have any religion' and 'propogators enjoy freedom' was not the spirit when the constitution was originally developed. As a matter of fact, 'secular' word was introduced to constitution by Indira Gandhi during emergency (apart from 'socialist').

<!--QuoteBegin-Ravish+Sep 27 2006, 12:32 PM-->QUOTE(Ravish @ Sep 27 2006, 12:32 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->This education is under the English education system, and they get exposed to the liberal and other thoughts of the West. At the same time very few of the students get exposed to Hindu and other Indian thoughts and customs to the same extent as they are exposed to the thoughts of the West.
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I agree, if you are referring to the Macaulay's English System. Yes, the root cause reason of many westernized influences is western-centric education. However Language of English is important to learn in today's world. (but, learning English does not require whole education being in English medium)

<!--QuoteBegin-Ravish+Sep 27 2006, 12:32 PM-->QUOTE(Ravish @ Sep 27 2006, 12:32 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->In fact, soon a time may come when one will fined more Sanskrit scholars in the EU well versed in the provisions of the Hindu religion and ancient Indian customs than the number of such experts in India.
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No. That is exaggerated. Thankfully, India is still full of people with sanskars. In fact, just like you are noticing increased drinking and gambling, the number of people aware about their roots and culture is also growing very fast. Both are growing together. Get the right perspective. Stop being pessimistic. Both tendencies of society are not mutually exclusive. We need to fight the tamasik tendencies, but remember majority people have ALAWYS been tending towards tamasik tendencies, it is only now that they have become openly indulgent. People of such tendency have ALWAYS been in majority too. So that doesn't alarm me.

Also the tendencies you mentioned are not for India alone. These are worldwide phenomena. Just give the freedom and money, and majority humanity's conscience is ready to rock.

<!--QuoteBegin-Ravish+Sep 27 2006, 12:32 PM-->QUOTE(Ravish @ Sep 27 2006, 12:32 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Thirdly, the influence of the Western Culture through increase in travel, Western  Education, exposure to the Culture of the West are all contributing factors in the framing up of the current social structure of India.
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Yes social structure is being changed due to globalization. But as I see it, it is more towards positive, rather than negative. People who are traveled far and wide are able to really recognize their roots from a distance, and come back to it.

<!--QuoteBegin-Ravish+Sep 27 2006, 12:32 PM-->QUOTE(Ravish @ Sep 27 2006, 12:32 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->So it appears to me that India falls under the melting pot category, somewhat similar to the USA.
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Well, classical Hindu society was indeed like a melting pot, where all sub-cultures were able to share their attributes to larger section, and learn from larger section as well. This is why India was able to very easily absorb any immigrant group more harmoniously than Europe, America or Australia did.

However present "democratic" setup is ensuring the emergence of sub-national identities, and therefore creating "multi-culturalism" where each sub group would vociferously defend its 'identity', and fight all attempts of national emotional culture-hood. (Vande Matram issue was latest example of this)
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#42
I agree - some of the problems are irrelevant and exaggerated. Drinking, gambling, drugs and prostitution have existed since time immemorial.

Those who indulge in such habits, either indulge in them moderately or destroy themselves to the point that they are eliminated from the gene pool. Either way, the effect on Hinduism - the religion, not the culture - is neither devastating nor unprecedented.

edit: btw, the above is not a sarcastic comment. I realize that it is counter-intuitive, but I actually mean that. These vices are indulged in by people who, usually, can afford to indulge. If, a poorer man indulges in them, the loss of health and wealth for him and his dependents is usually drastic and visible enough to have a salutary effect on those around him.

I understand how painful life can be when you have such addictions, but we are talking from the point of view of Hindu religion here, not the individual(s) affected.

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#43
<!--QuoteBegin-Bodhi+Sep 27 2006, 02:52 PM-->QUOTE(Bodhi @ Sep 27 2006, 02:52 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->classical Hindu society was indeed like a melting pot
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One good example. Look at some of the traditional festivals of India. Let us take "Deepawali". All sub-groups of Hindu soceity found enough reason to celebrate that single festival together, and found the reasons for celebrating it from within their different faiths.

Sanatanees celebrate Deepawali to celebrate return of Rama to Ayodhya. Buddhists celebrate it for Buddha's enlightenment. Sikhs celebrate, as Guru Govind Singhji included it in Khalsa festivals to be celebrated (along with Baisakhi -which again falls on another larger Hindu festival), Jains celebrate Deepawali for their own reasons.

This way all the Indic culture's sub-cultures/faiths celebrate the same festival, on same day, in exactly same way - by lighting the lamps.

Now, if you were to consider other sub-groups residing in India to be counted a part and parcel of same larger soceity and culture, must they also not start sharing the Deepawali festival for their own reasons too? Find the reasons if they don't exist, and Hindu soceity would welcome those faiths. (Does not mean they have to discard other festivals of their religion). But at least adopt to Indian culture.
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#44
<!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo--> Vishwas, Prem et al,
I don't know as to what makes u downplay the devastating effect of gambling. Had Pandavas not gambled, they would not have lost land and lady?
Don't forget:
History repeats itself if u don't learn from history.
Same is true of any other addiction, be it drinking etc.
Remember only a few yrs back, China was known as nation of 'aphimchis' and after winning over this vice today, it's all new history made.
PS: but I agree with Vishwas as to what is to be done about the problems raised by Ravish. We should not fall short of actions!
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#45
Imagine a nation where girls wearing jeans is considered taboo. Or even showing hair/ankle. Forget dating. No mushrooming casinos, bars, cybercafes, pubs etc. No TVs to corrupt youth about Western culture. No liquor. Ban certain types of meat. No dancing at weddings.
How many of you would like to live in such a nation? Remember Afghanistan under Taliban, wasn't too long ago.

Gambling, liquor drinking etc have existed since the times of the worlds oldest profession. And they all will exists probabily till end of the world or time, whichever comes first. Even in US consumption of acholol was highest during the 30s prohibition era.

I don't understand why anyone should have a problem with gambling. Dot com bust anyone? <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo--> I know people who almost lost land and lady like Dharmaraj Yudhisther. At least casinos if (a big IF) run properly keeping the shady characters out, could boost tourism and help local economy.

And what's wrong with foreign liquor? Aren't those extra taxes cool? I remember being served toddy in a small Indian local village and can say for sure that it was more potent than any wine or beer I might have tried since.

And are the families any worse or abusive towards Hinduism is one dances to tunes of some Western or Hindi pop rather than pure Kathak or Oddissi etc? Girls without <i>gungat</i> were once frowned upon, but with changing times they have adapted their attire maybe per professional needs, but does it make them any more or less Hindus?

While the questions being raised so far are valid, are indicators listed a true representative of the lack of faith in Hinduism? And these people any less Hindus? Just as anyone eating beef doesn't become more secular, anyone indulging in that occasional libations doesn't become any less Hindu.
I agree with Bodhi - we need to define the problem statement first. Any solution that's suggested has to keep up with changing times else all is just wishful thinking.
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#46
<!--emo&Tongue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tongue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='tongue.gif' /><!--endemo--> <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'><span style='font-family:Times'>When India is burning, Viren, Bodhi et al r playing flute!</span></span>
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#47
Care to elaborate Capt Kumar on how you plan on stop the 'burning' of India? Make sure that it's a little more than hot air that you are blowing through your own flute when you respond.
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#48
<!--emo&:blink:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/blink.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='blink.gif' /><!--endemo--> Viren,
While I am contemplating but correct me if I am wrong in understanding so far:
If u can't beat them, join them.
  Reply
#49
<!--QuoteBegin-vishwas+Sep 27 2006, 02:42 PM-->QUOTE(vishwas @ Sep 27 2006, 02:42 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Thanks, Ravish!
Clearly, you have exerted a considerable amount of thought-effort in this matter. I would like to hear from you about what can be done to reverse the process.
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I dont think Ravish is suggesting any solution. From what I understand after reading his recent posts in various threads, one of the following is possible:

a) He loves Hindu traditions deeply, and therefore disappointed seeing the change in those.
b) He is not really concerned about tradition. His only point is "What are you guys talking about Hindu Rashtra and future? Hindu culture is decaying, rotting, and the process is irreversible."
c) He is a genuine thinker, but out of touch with reality.

Though, I wish the first one was true, it doesn't seem so. A self-admitted beef-eater would not love Hindu tradition. Then it is either 'b' or 'c'.

arre Veeren bhai. Our Captain saheb is only cheering. Dont get angry. Cheers. Yes I know you told me to not get into personal choice of eating etc. I will not. It is just that beef-eating is the Lkshman Rekha of a Hindu. Is paar or Us paar.
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#50
Thanks for your very thoughtful analysis of my mind.Such an exercise for a non entity like me may not be worth the time of the contributers of this forum.Mioreover, my personal likes and dislikes are unlikely to influence the future course of the problem presently under referance.
Without prejudice to analysis of my mind, which I do not mind at all, I make the following humble submission on the topic of discussion.
Gambling, prostitution etc are normal human activities. The point I was trying to make was that the present life style of Indians is moving in a direction where traditional values are getting left behind, and religious rituals are getting extinct or modified to such an extent that nothing is left of its originality.
Unlike Islam, the Hindu religion is somewhat docile in its character. The preachers and holy men generally advocate the observance of the religious rituals through persuasion. On the other end, we often find that many orthodox Hindus refuse to see the reality around them and try to live in a world of make believe, pretending that time and social environment has not brought any change in this co-religious compatriots. They refuse to accept the erosion of the religious and cultural values that is taking place in the society at large. Just like, many Indians refuse to believe that the use of English language in India is increasing significantly all over the country.
Now what is the remedy to this gradual decline in the traditional Hindu values and customs? As time is changing, it is inevitable that the traditional values and customs will also get modified to suit the prevailing social conditions. However, this change has been much profound amongst the Hindus rather than the Muslims of India. Amongst Christians, particularly in Europe there has been excessive in fact, even in Roman Catholic countries, the attendance in Churches have declined sharply.
All will agree that each religion has its own characteristics. In the Hindu religion, there are several interpretations to each of the major provisions. Some scholars are of the view that Hindus should be strictly vegetarian and while some others give a different ruling. Similarly, in the case of eating of pork, some say it is not banned under Hindu religious provisions but the current reservation amongst certain sections of the Hindus is due to the influence of Islam during the long period of Muslim rule over India. With regarding to the eating of beef also some scholars challenge that there is no specific provision under Hindu religious text that bans it while many other are of the view that its consumption is banned. I am no expert on the religion and am not in position to comment on which is the correct interpretation.
The Indians living abroad, particularly in the West are today more religious minded and try to cling to their cultural values, with varying degree of success. The reason is very simple. Many Indians who have presently gone abroad find the alien culture too difficult to adopt and as such fall back upon their own culture. There are of course many exceptions but those who assimilate with the culture of the foreign land generally do not mix socially with the fellow Indians who have remained Indians culturally and in thinking. This is one of the main reason why you will find that a far lower percentage of Indian professionals get married to foreign spouses, when one compares this to the percentage of such mixed marriages amongst other nationalities. Most Indians living abroad make it a point to attend most religious functions at the local Hindu temple if there is one in the vicinity , or even if there is an ISCON temple. This is more to overcome homesickness and for socializing .However, no such enthusiasm will be noticed in India.

The net result of all these different interpretations and contradictory statements has made the Hindu religion weak. The codification of the religious provisions is very essential to make it work effectively, particularly in the present day world when an individual is exposed to so many cross currents of thoughts and ideas.
  Reply
#51
Ravish,
please explain the following:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->On the other end, we often find that many orthodox Hindus refuse to see the reality around them and try to live in a world of make believe, pretending that time and social environment has not brought any change in this co-religious compatriots. They refuse to accept the erosion of the religious and cultural values that is taking place in the society at large.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
What are the orthodox supposed to do in this situation? And, what are they doing, that you find objectionable? In fact, in my previous posts, I have been advocating that <b>we all do mostly what the orthodox are right now doing themselves</b>.
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#52
Ravish,

In addition to Vishwas' comment,

<!--QuoteBegin-Ravish+Sep 28 2006, 11:24 AM-->QUOTE(Ravish @ Sep 28 2006, 11:24 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->traditional values are getting left behind, and religious rituals are getting extinct or modified to such an extent that nothing is left of its originality.
....
Unlike Islam, the Hindu religion is somewhat docile in its character. The preachers and holy men generally advocate the observance of the religious rituals through persuasion.
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What is "originality"? Hindu is a living religion, continuousely evolving over time. It never "originated" at any given moment in history. There is no "originality". Unlike Christians and Muslims, we see time - not as a straight line but a circle. So with time, rituals keep changing, though values remain same. Krishna came and left his mark on Hinduism, Buddha and Mahaveer came, modified it. Shankar modified it and, so did Madhvacharya. Numerous Bhakta-Saints of middle ages left their imprint on Hindu religion too.

Cows keep changing, milk remains the same. Pot in which you milch the cow keeps changing - but milk remains the same.

So, the point is: Hindu is a living and learning religion. It knows how to adopt to the outer norms of changing soceity, times and tendencies. Norms are only the shell which carries the essence. Essence remains the same. Dont worry about changing shape, colour, size of shell.

And by the way, this flexible nature of Hinduism, I think, is its unique strength. Which is stronger - flowing water or rigid stone? Stone gives way to flowing water.

You mentioned 'constant' Islam. Sufi sects, especially Kadari, Chishti and Nakshbandi, wanted and tried their best to modify the outer norms to suit the era and land. But Islam did not allow change to the outer norm. See how they are clinging on to it, and making their religion so much fundamentalist. You consider that 'strength'?

<!--QuoteBegin-Ravish+Sep 28 2006, 11:24 AM-->QUOTE(Ravish @ Sep 28 2006, 11:24 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->However, this change has been much profound amongst the Hindus rather than the Muslims of India. Amongst Christians, particularly in Europe there has been excessive in fact, even in Roman Catholic countries, the attendance in Churches have declined sharply.
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Yes, as I said, western religions consider the moments of time to be "frozen". They don't change, thereby becoming extinct and irrelevant as time moves on. As soon as people become free to chose, they liberate themselves away from the deadbody of the so called religion. See this happening in Europe. And to avoid that is why Islamic world is so much under tight control of mullas. Just allow free thinking and see how many muslims are left.

On the contrary, Hindu is a changing religion. Knows to change itself as per the outer changes.

<!--QuoteBegin-Ravish+Sep 28 2006, 11:24 AM-->QUOTE(Ravish @ Sep 28 2006, 11:24 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->In the Hindu religion, there are several interpretations to each of the major provisions. Some scholars are of the view that Hindus should be strictly vegetarian and while some others give a different ruling.
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Which 'provisions' are you talking about? There is no 'code of conduct' indoctrinated for "Hindus". Depending upon one's spriritual orientation, one must decide one's lifestyle. There are variuos lifestyles feasible depending upon what kind of spiritual path you chose. There is on one size fits all standard. Of course there are social morals one has to live by. But those morals are attributes of soceity, and change by time.

The tribes of Arunachal Pradesh and NE, eat beef, because no other source of nutrition was available to them. Makes sense for them.

<!--QuoteBegin-Ravish+Sep 28 2006, 11:24 AM-->QUOTE(Ravish @ Sep 28 2006, 11:24 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->With regarding to the eating of beef also some scholars challenge that there is no specific provision under Hindu religious text that bans it while many other are of the view that its consumption is banned.
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There is no specific "provision" for cannibalism too, neither in Hindu, Islam, or even Christian books. Eating human flesh is ok, then? To be left with just a personal choice of an individual's eating habits?

<!--QuoteBegin-Ravish+Sep 28 2006, 11:24 AM-->QUOTE(Ravish @ Sep 28 2006, 11:24 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Now what is the remedy to this gradual decline in the traditional Hindu values and customs? As time is changing, it is inevitable that the traditional values and customs will also get modified to suit the prevailing social conditions.
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What do you suggest? What about you yourself? Are you living upto the ideals you think soceity should be following? What are those ideals you think should be there? What are you personally doing to make Hindu culture or soceity better, and move towards those ideals?
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#53
I am not qualified to do anything for the betterment of the situation.Life is too short and I try to enjoy it as much as my physical self allows me to do so plus the availability of funds.
I feel my own feeling towards god and religion is too personal a thing for discussion in a public forum. I prefer to keep it to myself.
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#54
I havent been following this discussion closely and dont have an opinion on this. One thing I noticed while skimming thru posts is the claim that NRIs somehow become more religious. My personal experience has been opposite. While I get more concious of my Hindu heritage in mlechcha presence I dont think I have become more religious after moving out of Matrubhumi. In India while going to school everyday I would bow my head to all Hanuman temples while driving, here I make a concious effort to go to a temple atleast once a month or so. In other words I am more concious in the US while in India it was all around me.

The number of puja-vidhis that I do in the US have also come down drastically mainly because there are no trained pundits available in the US and there is huge planning involved in getting anything done. In India vidhis would just be a part of life. Basically I do it more conciously in the US while in India I did it habitually without realising.

I think somebody mentioned (Ravishji ?) that only Indians have problems with inter-racial marriages. I have not found that to be the case (in the US atleast). I had read many stats on this but even anecdotally I can say that the US is perhaps as segregated (if not more) then India. Even after so many centuries of African Americans in the US, they are a distinct identity. Same with the hispanic population. Koreans same thing. There are different churches for different communities.
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#55
Yesterday I was talking to someone who recently transferred to Delhi. Recently they had tragedy so I asked them how they passed Pitra Prakash (Shaarad) days. They told me here in Delhi, temple do thing differently. During Shaard Pandit/Priest don’t take food cooked by them but ask them to put in buckets based on type of food (cooked rice, kheer…). They had kept separate containers for uncooked food (rice, floor, lentil, sugar.. etc). She wanted priest to have food cooked by her, but priest convinced her to come back to temple around 12.15 pm and see herself. She went back to temple; temple was full of poor kids and adults sitting in line eating food left in temple. Everyday temple was feeding poor during “sharad days” and now temple is cooking meals during Navarati from uncooked food to poor.
This is ofcourse off from tradition but a very good change.
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#56
<!--QuoteBegin-Ravish+Sep 28 2006, 01:10 PM-->QUOTE(Ravish @ Sep 28 2006, 01:10 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->I am not qualified to do anything for the betterment of the situation.Life is too short and I try to enjoy it as much as my physical self allows me to do so plus the availability of funds.[right][snapback]58111[/snapback][/right]
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Thanks, that explains all.

Soceity is a collection of individuals, therefore betterment starts with own self. First do yourself, what you expect the soceity to do. Doing one thing in own life and expecting others to do something else, never works.

Living own life for 'eat, drink and be merry', and complaining that the soceity is going bad?

<!--QuoteBegin-Ravish+Sep 28 2006, 01:10 PM-->QUOTE(Ravish @ Sep 28 2006, 01:10 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->I feel my own feeling towards god and religion is too personal a thing for discussion in a public forum. I prefer to keep it to myself.
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yes. nobody asked you to do that.
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#57

Much obliged for your valuable advice and will try to mend my ways.
Jai Hind
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#58
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Sep 28 2006, 01:24 PM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Sep 28 2006, 01:24 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->This is ofcourse off from tradition but a very good change.
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There are many such things. Traditionally, the Hindus burned the dead bodies in Shmashan on the river banks. Pyres burnt for hours causing tremenduous river pollution. Now electric pyres have replaced the traditional mode in all major cities, which hardly takes 5 mins to burn the body. Now there are many rituals which have become merely symbolic due to this - e.g. Kapal Kriya.

But is the change not for the better, healthier environment? I would say yes and welcome this change.
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#59
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->But is the change not for the better, healthier environment? I would say yes and welcome this change. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
These changes are positive and according to current environment.
Atleast for 2 months, poor kids and adults will get healthy food during festival season. Plus no wasteage of food and ofcourse good Karma.

Most encouraging part, priest are doing on their own and bringing positive change in society.
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#60
Here is an interesting version of the Orthodox day school concept I was talking about. Madrasas can work in the same way as Jewish Orthodox day schools do in the US. Hindus need schools like this that al least some in the community can use. if we want this religion to survive.

On Madrasas
Extract:
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On madrasas

In "All is not right about madrasas" (Open Page, Sept. 24), the author argues that madrasas are doing a disservice by teaching students that Muslim women should stay at home, observe purdah, and serve their husbands. What is wrong in the teaching? <b>Are not the husband and children a woman's foremost responsibility? Is it not the duty of mothers to look after their children? The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Women can go to work if they want to. But yes, Islam insists that the duty of women is to raise a good family.</b>

Is wearing purdah an issue? The advocates of women's freedom must begin by lifting the veil from their minds that identify the purdah with oppression. The author's contention that well-to-do Muslims avoid sending their children to madrasas is wrong. <b>I have seen rich parents sending their children there. Little boys and girls returning from madrasas in the morning and going to school later are a common sight in south India.</b> People like Arshad Alam should be more careful while writing things that may lead others to think that Islam is outdated and that it requires correction.

Maymoona M.,
Thrissur, Kerala
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