religion of india

One of the things I hate surrounding the dialogue of India/Pakistan/Bangladesh Partition is how people from these countries just blame the Partition on the British. Let’s have a conversation about how lots of Hindu leaders (Nehru) weren’t willing to make compromises for the Muslims which left a separate state as the only option for the Muslim leaders and population. Let’s not disguise the blatant Islamophobia in the leaders of (future) India, who had as much a hand to play in Partition as the leaders of Pakistan and the British.

I understand that yes, the British definitely capitalized off religious tension and exacerbated it to a large extent. But Indian leaders had lots of opportunities to preserve unity if they’d been willing to compromise to safeguard the Muslims and other religious minorities. Don’t throw the religious prejudice in our history and communities, which is a VERY large part of the equation that resulted in Partition, under the rug and put the blame on the British. It’s our fault too and we need to take responsibility for that if we want to move forward as one people, regardless of our nationalities.

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Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

It is dedicated to Parvati, known as Meenakshi, and her consort, Shiva, here named Sundareswarar. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2,500 year old city of Madurai and is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, mentioned since antiquity inTamil literature though the present structure was built between 1623 and 1655 CE.

Shani Dev is the Hindu god of Saturn and tragedy. He is often considered quick to anger and often cruel, but it is my personal belief that this is a misunderstanding. Shani Dev’s lessons are crucial to spiritual enlightenment in that he is responsible for challenging one’s ego and harshly teaching them humility. It is often a painful but completely essential journey in life.

He is especially powerful during the Sade Sati, or the seven and a half year period in which Saturn is closest to the Earth in its twenty-one year orbit. We recently completed such a cycle, the most recent Sade Sati having ended in January 2017. Whatever your beliefs, it’s difficult to argue that 2016 wasn’t an especially grueling year. The belief in the baleful effects of Saturn span across multiple cultures, and it’s my belief that someday science will be able to explain the gravitational pull of Saturn and its effects on the human body which, being around 70% water, already freaks out enough on every full moon (again, the effects of the gravitational pull).

Here Lord Shani is pictured as embodying Saturn itself. His eyes are closed, limiting his dreaded gaze, while his hand rests over his third eye. His other hand grips his broken ankle, the origin of which differs depending on belief. His limp is why he is named “The Slow One” (as well as Saturn’s long orbit around the Sun). A personal touch I added is that I accidentally drew his back with a hump from scoliosis. I unwittingly gave him the back most familiar to me: my own. Still, I decided not to change this, as scoliosis and back surgery are tragic obstacles that have humbled me and made me a better person. It is also my personal belief that Shani Dev in some way feels the tragedy he puts people through, and that he suffers with them. When they learn from their suffering and forgive their offenders, Shani is at peace.

Lotus Temple - Delhi, India 

A holy place of worship for followers of the Bahá'í Faith, the Lotus Temple has won numerous architectural awards, making it one of the most recognisable buildings in India. Like all other Bahá'í places of worship, the temple is open to anyone of any religion. The “petals” of the lotus flower are made of pure marble imported from Greece.