There is a space for everyone, provided it is based on dharma — compassion, reciprocity and social responsibility. Hindu culture forbids divorce. Yet Hindu personal laws permit divorce. Hindu culture allows gods, and men, to have many wives. Yet Hindu personal laws forbid polygamy. Does it mean Hindu personal laws are opposing Hindu culture? Or, does it mean they are being true dharmashastras, updating responsible social behaviour, i.e. dharma to suit the times (kala), the place (sthan) and the people (patra)? There are separate marriage laws for diverse communities in India, such as Hindu and Muslim . Why can’t there be a separate same-sex union law for queer people? Dharma-shastras are guided by Vedas, and shaped by tradition and wisdom. They have changed constantly from Apasthamba to Vasishtha, Gautama to Manu to Yagnvalkya, responding to contemporary economic, political and social challenges. This dynamism differentiates dharma-shastras from the biblical idea of God’s … [Read more...] about Can gay marriage be part of Hindu culture?
PARIS: The pressure rises with each gruesome attack. After three in five weeks, France’s Muslims are feeling squeezed. A spotlight of suspicion was trained on them again even before the latest acts of extremist violence, including two beheadings. President Emmanuel Macron has forged ahead with his effort to rid Islam in France of extremists, part of a project he labels “separatism”, a term that makes Muslims wince. Amid intensifying rhetoric and fresh attacks by outsiders, including the killings of three people Thursday (Oct 29) at a Catholic church in Nice, Muslims in France have kept their heads down and chins up. But deep down, some are squirming, feeling they are being held responsible. “It’s worrisome for Muslims,” said Hicham Benaissa, a sociologist who specialises in Islam in the workplace. Within his network, he said, some “talk about leaving France. The situation is tense. There is fear.” Islam is the second religion in France, which has the largest Muslim population … [Read more...] about French Muslims, stigmatised by attacks, feel under pressure
PARIS: Rallies in dozens of cities across France were expected on Sunday (Oct 18) in a show of solidarity and defiance following the decapitation of a teacher outside his school for showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. The beheading of history teacher Samuel Paty in a Paris suburb Friday has sparked outrage in France and memories of a wave of violence in 2015 sparked by caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. "It is absolutely important to show our mobilisation and our solidarity, our national cohesion," education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told France 2, calling on "everyone (to) support the teachers". One rally was set to take place at the Place de la Republique in Paris, a traditional site of protest where around 1.5 million people demonstrated in 2015 following a deadly attack on Charle Hebdo's office by gunmen. Rallies were also expected in Lyon, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Nantes, Marseille, Lille and Bordeaux. … [Read more...] about France to rally in solidarity, defiance after beheading of teacher
PARIS: The streets of Paris and eight other French cities were deserted on Saturday (Oct 17) night on the first day of the government-imposed 9pm curfew that is scheduled to last for at least four weeks. The measure was announced by French President Emmanuel Macron to curb the resurgent coronavirus as new infections peaked to over 30,000 a day. Macron said the curfews were needed to stop local hospitals from becoming overrun. In France, nearly 20 million people are covered by the curfew and eerily deserted scenes were observed in Marseille, Lyon, Lille and Toulouse as well. The curfew runs until 6am daily. The country is deploying 12,000 extra police officers to enforce the new rules. Many bar and restaurant owners have bristled at the order. An earlier months-long lockdown to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the spring devastated the sector. “I have the right to question the government’s approach. I think it’s a catastrophic measure for the … [Read more...] about French COVID-19 curfew produces eerie quiet on streets of Paris
PARIS: New COVID-19 infections, hospitalisations and deaths all spiked further in France on Tuesday (Oct 13) as the nation braced for additional restrictions that President Emmanuel Macron may unveil in nationally televised speech on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Jean Castex refused to rule out local lockdowns while French media reported that curfews in COVID hotspots were under consideration. France's five largest cities - Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse and Lille - are among nine metropolitan areas already on maximum alert, meaning bars and gyms are closed and restaurants operate under strict sanitary conditions. French health authorities reported 12,993 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, up on Monday's 8,505, but down from Saturday's record of 26,896 and Sunday's 16,101. But the seven-day moving average of new infections, which averages out weekly data reporting irregularities, stood above the record 17,000 level for the second day running, at … [Read more...] about France’s COVID-19 cases keep surging as new restrictions loom