Priyadarshini Sen is an author at Religion News Service.
Hindu nationalists open self-styled religious courts as a rebuke to Sharia law
ALIGARH, India (RNS) — Last year, the right-wing Hindu Mahasabha Party demanded the closure of all Muslim Sharia courts in India. When their petition was denied, the party set up its own unsanctioned courts across Uttar Pradesh, based on Hindu principles of justice.
A school where Muslims and Hindus pray together stirs strife in divided India
ALIGARH, India (RNS) — Founded to help poor children of both of India’s predominant faiths, the Chacha Nehru’s inclusivity has irked Muslim and Hindu leaders alike.
Pollution of a sacred river becomes a symbol for India’s environmental challenges
BANGALORE, India (RNS) — This city’s early 1990s tech boom outstripped its waste management plans, leaving its Vrishabhavathi River choked with industrial waste.
In Kashmir’s war-torn landscape, imams take up the environmental cause
SRINAGAR, India (RNS) — After years of conflict that have harmed the Kashmir Valley’s natural beauty, locals here have more faith in religious leaders to protect their heritage than they do the government.
Atheist ashram on Lord Krishna’s home turf roils India’s Hindu nationalists
(RNS) — Two brothers who once devoutly supported the Hindu nationalist agenda have turned to rationalism, attracting attacks from religious leaders and politicians.
Refurbishing holy site, India’s Modi levels ancient spiritual landscape
VARANASI, India (RNS) — Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘dream project’ at an 18th-century shrine to Lord Shiva has swept up monasteries, old-age homes and shops that had existed for generations.
India’s Hindu prime minister touts hometown’s Buddhist links as vote nears
VADNAGAR, India (RNS) — Is Indian Prime Minister Modi’s interest in Buddhist antiquities genuine, or just a play for votes among his country’s dispossessed?
India’s Hindu nationalists vow to restore deity’s birthplace to former glory
AYODHYA, India (RNS) — Local politicians are attempting to remake a town whose name is synonymous with anti-Muslim violence into a tourist destination for Hindus from India and around the world.
India’s Supreme Court threatens hereditary priesthood at Jagannath temple
PURI, India (RNS) — Replacing their hereditary rights to perform temple rituals with salaried, merit-based priests, say the workers at the Jagannath Temple here, would corrupt a centuries-old practice.
Neglect and paradoxical rules on preservation threaten India’s historic Hindu Sun Temple
BHUBANESWAR, India (RNS) — The uncertain fate of a 13th-century temple to the Hindu sun god has many demanding that the government re-examine its approach to cultural preservation.
India’s Durga Puja celebrates divine feminine with modern takes on ancient ritual
KOLKATA, India (RNS) — Elaborately designed bamboo pandals have serious themes, from the trafficking of women to child labor at tea shops to the plastic surgery obsession among young adults.
Indian court raises LGBT hopes of finding home in traditional faiths
NEW DELHI (RNS) — Fearing censure, gay and transgender Indians have long kept away from mainstream religious spaces. But a Supreme Court ruling striking down a ban on homosexuality has galvanized many to practice their faith more openly.
India’s Bnei Menashe community sets sights on immigrating to Israel
MANIPUR, India (RNS) — So far in 2018, more than 430 Bnei Menashe have immigrated to Israel, making it one of their largest exoduses from India since 1989.
Far from home, Rohingya Muslim refugees count their blessings at Eid
(RNS) — Among the 17,500 Rohingya refugees who fled persecution in Myanmar, a small band has landed in near Kolkata where they can observe the holiday ending the holy month of Ramadan with a semblance of security and the flavors of home.
Indian women breaking down barriers to religious leadership
PUNE, India (RNS) — As ideas about gender equality spread in India, female clergy are slowly gaining acceptance in the country’s male-dominated religions, solemnizing marriage, birth and death ceremonies for Hindus and adjudicating religious matters for Muslims.