Archive for the ‘Religion’ category

We got Federal level Hindu Endowment Board?

July 3rd, 2014
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I was quite surprised to read that one the portfolio to be handled by newly minted Minister in PM Department, (Gerakan President and recently elected Teluk Intan MP) Mah Siew Keong is overseeing the Hindu Endowment Board.

Mah, who is Gerakan president, also has the responsibility of overseeing the Hindu Endowment Board, which administers endowments such as land, property, burial grounds or funds given for the benefit of the Hindu community.

source: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/07/02/Mah-portfolio-minister-pm-dept/

I asked MIC via tweet, but as usual, no response. I think asking the party office bearers also would be get same results.

Google search also didn’t reveal anything other than the Penang Hindu Endowment Board.

If such a board exists, who are its members? When was it established? Where’s the accounts? Why no info about it on PM Dept (JPM) website? How to contact the board? What does it administer and how? Added: Doesn’t creation of a board requires an Act of Law?

How many Hindus in Malaysia are aware such a board exists?

BTW, a frivalous question, is Mah a Hindu?

 

UPDATE 10/7: According to futher clarifications, the HEB referred to Mah’s portfolio is the Penang HEB of which chairman is currently Penang DCM Dr Rama. Mah’s job is to oversee the board which basically consists of presenting the board’s accounts in cabinet (sort of overglorified report presenter). That’s all. He has no power in running the board since Penang HEB is under Penang HEB Ordinance. A bit of history, the British created a Mohammedan and Hindu Endowment Board Act in 1906 to centralise and organise funds for these two religions (Islam and Hinduism). The Act was for straits settlement states (Penang, Malacca and Singapore). Prior to Malaya’s independence in 1957, the laws were streamlined, and all concerning Islam went into respective state jurisdiction. Only Penang enacted the Penang HEB Ordinance to maintain its board at state level. Singapore after splitting from Malaysia also maintained its Act. Thus there is not Act nor Ordinance (except in Penang) in Malaysia for establishment of any HEB.

DNA tests reveal interesting news on caste system

August 30th, 2013
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To quote the important statements:

Their finding, recently published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, made waves when it was revealed that genetic mixing ended 1,900 years ago, around the same time the caste system was being codified in religious texts. The Manusmriti, which forbade intermarriage between castes, was written in the same period, give or take a century.

Thangaraj says the study shows only a correlation between the early caste system and the divergence of bloodlines, and whether one caused the other is a debate better left to historians. Nonetheless, it puts a stake in the ground, marking the moment when the belief that one should marry within one’s own group developed into an active practice.

He also doesn’t want the early signs of a caste system to overshadow another finding of his study — how completely the population mixed 2,000 years ago. He points to the Paliyar tribe in the foothills of southern India. Their villages are inaccessible by car, and outsiders cannot visit them without a government permit. “They’re still in the forest,” says Thangaraj, “but still they have some affinities with other groups. At some point in time, everybody was mixed.”

Regardless of the manusmriti, its interesting to note that genetic mixing was prevalent till 1,900 years ago in India, and it originates from two main bloodline groups: Africa and Eurasia. As mentioned, nearly every Indian can be traced to genetic mix of these two groups. Full article below.

 

India caste

Dr. Kumarasamy ThangarajKumarasamy Thangaraj takes a blood sample from an Andaman islander, as part of his research into the genetics of India’s castes

Kumarasamy Thangaraj traveled 840 miles (1,350 km) off of the eastern coast of India by plane, then ship, then six hours by car, then ship again to collect blood samples from an isolated tribe of hunter-gatherers on the Andaman Islands. Their blood, he explained through an interpreter, would help him understand a pivotal moment in India’s genetic history. The tribesmen had never heard of a gene before or an academic study for that matter, and the whole pitch struck them as an interesting diversion from their usual routine of spearfishing.

“They mostly laughed,” Thangaraj says, before they offered up their arms in exchange for food. A few needle pricks later, they returned to their boats to fling short wooden spears into the water with uncanny aim, while Thangaraj made the long journey home to Hyderabad. He deposited the latest samples into a blood bank, alongside another 32,000 samples from his countrymen.

The collective bloodlines at the Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, India’s leading genetic-research institute, pose a unique riddle for researchers. On the one hand, geneticists can trace nearly all bloodlines back to two ancestral groups, one hailing from Africa, the other from Eurasia. These groups mingled, married and swapped genes. A mixture of their genetic material can be found in nearly every person on the subcontinent today.

But at some mysterious point in history, these braided bloodlines began to fray. The population divided along linguistic, religious and tribal lines, to the point where it separated into 4,635 distinct genetic groups. Europe and Asia look positively homogeneous in comparison, says Thangaraj. He and his collaborators at Harvard Medical School wanted to know when exactly the Indian melting pot stopped melting.

Their finding, recently published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, made waves when it was revealed that genetic mixing ended 1,900 years ago, around the same time the caste system was being codified in religious texts. The Manusmriti, which forbade intermarriage between castes, was written in the same period, give or take a century.

Thangaraj says the study shows only a correlation between the early caste system and the divergence of bloodlines, and whether one caused the other is a debate better left to historians. Nonetheless, it puts a stake in the ground, marking the moment when the belief that one should marry within one’s own group developed into an active practice.

He also doesn’t want the early signs of a caste system to overshadow another finding of his study — how completely the population mixed 2,000 years ago. He points to the Paliyar tribe in the foothills of southern India. Their villages are inaccessible by car, and outsiders cannot visit them without a government permit. “They’re still in the forest,” says Thangaraj, “but still they have some affinities with other groups. At some point in time, everybody was mixed.”

It’s a point that he stresses to anyone who wants to turn bloodlines into battle lines. On Aug. 15, on India’s independence day, a mob from the Rajput community in Biharattacked men, women and children in the Dalit community. They beat them with rods, killing one and injuring 54. “Look, we were all brothers and sisters 2,000 years back,” Thangaraj says of this sort of violence, “why are you fighting now?” Although he did observe one notable outlier from the extended family: the spear-wielding fishermen of the Andaman Islands have no trace of the genetic mix that pervades the mainland. Proof that the only the thing that really could have stopped India’s ancestral populations from mixing was an 840-mile schlep to a remote tropical island.

Read more: http://world.time.com/2013/08/27/what-dna-testing-reveals-about-indias-caste-system/#ixzz2dQiYOQ2x

Thaipusam holiday in Kedah soon?

July 15th, 2013
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I know, got plenty of serious things to blog about….am still compiling materials. In the mean time, what PR govt failed to do in last 5 years may come back to haunt it. Newly elected BN govt is saying that wheels are set in motion to make Thaipusam a public holiday in Kedah. Not sure if its possible by 2014 (still got 7 months++). If it succeeds, then it will look bad on PR especially the PKR reps who were even EXCO in the state. If the promised Tamil schools are completed by next election and no other controversies, then can say the Indian votes in Kedah are secured for BN for GE14.

Let’s see how this progresses…(and back to more serious stuff like conversion and IPTA intakes — coming up soon)

 

 Kedah is likely to get a public holiday for the Hindu festival of Thaipusam, in keeping with an election promise of the Barisan Nasional.

The application for a Thaipusam public holiday is to be discussed at the weekly meeting of the state executive council on Wednesday, said State Religion, Indian and Siamese Community Affairs, Human Resources and Tourism Committee chairman Mohd Rawi Abd Hamid.

“I hope the outcome of the meeting will bring good news to Hindus in Kedah because the time has come for Thaipusam to be a state public holiday as Kedah has almost 20,000 Hindus,” he said after a visit to the site of the Sri Ramakrishna Organisation building in Alor Semadon, here, Sunday.

The Sri Ramakrishna Organisation was established to conduct free motivation, religious, computer and music classes for youngsters. The organisation has applied for RM40,000 from the state government to conduct these classes.

Meanwhile, Kedah MIC treasurer R. Muniandy said the application for a Thaipusam public holiday was submitted a long time ago.

In 2008, the Pakatan Rakyat promised to consider the matter if it won the election but the promise remained just that after the pact came to power in the state.

“We are thankful to the BN for having taken the initiative to grant the Thaipusam public holiday much-awaited by Hindus in Kedah,” he said. – Bernama

source: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2013/07/14/Kedah-to-get-Thaipusam-holiday.aspx

Tamil schools not allowed to take holiday for Ponggal???

January 9th, 2013
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Another ridiculous move by the MOE if the news below is true. Previously, Tamil schools can take special holiday for Ponggal which falls in mid January.  And surely no one in the right mind will put a day before Thaipusam as replacement class! What in the world are these guys having for food? Is this only in Kedah or nationwide directive?

THE Indian community is unhappy over the Education Ministry’s decision not to allow Tamil schools to take a day off as a special holiday for the Ponggal festival which falls on Jan 14, reported Tamil Nesan.

It quoted Sungai Petani MIC division deputy chairman T.H. Subra as saying that education officers did not understand the significance of the festival.

He was also unhappy that Jan 26 had been marked as a school day to replace additional holidays given for the Chinese New Year celebration.

“This is unsuitable as most Hindu children will be busy preparing for Thaipusam, which falls on Jan 27,” he said, adding that until last year, Tamil schools were given the flexibility to take three days off a year for religious festivals.

He urged education officers to be fair to all communities.

source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2013/1/9/nation/12549401&sec=nation

2013 Deepavali Date Confusion: 2 or 3 November?

January 8th, 2013
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There seems to be a confusion over Deepavali 2013 date. Do a search in Google and nearly every result show Deepavali is on 3rd November 2013 (Sunday), including our next door neighbor Singapore  (http://www.mom.gov.sg/employment-practices/employment-rights-conditions/leave-and-holiday/Pages/PublicHolidays2013.aspx).

Refer Wiki as well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali

However the calendar released by Bahagian Kabinet of Prime Minister’s Department lists 2 November as Deepavali (link here: http://www.kabinet.gov.my/images/stories/kelepasanam/2013_merged.pdf)

2013 Public Holidays Malaysia

[click to see larger view]

I’ve just sent feedback to Bahagian Kabinet to ask them to check since Deepavali supposed to be on 3rd. Hope to get reply from them. As far as I know, the festival date is consulted with KL Mariamman Temple Devasthanam, so wonder how they ended up with different date than rest of the world

Deepavali being a religious festival, is calculated based on astronomy. If you check the Hindu panchangam, it falls on ammavasai (no moon day), which is on 3rd of November this year.

Hope things can be clarified immediately as this involves religious festival and public holiday, where people will make plans for celebration and travel. Especially when Deepavali falls on Sunday because Monday becomes public holiday! 🙂