INDIA, November 18, 2017 (EPW by O.B. Roopesh): The appointment of Dalit priests to temples in Kerala has been engendered by the growing departure of Brahmin youth from priestly jobs, coupled with existing aspirations of the lower castes to become priests in Brahminical temples. This move is aimed at the formation of a cohesive "Hindu community" through the reconfiguration of caste practices, not the eradication of caste. On 9 October 2017, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) in Kerala decided to appoint 36 non-Brahmin priests, including six Dalits (from different Dalit castes), to the Brahminical temples of Travancore (Hindu 2017). The majority among the 36 priests are Ezhavas (belonging to the Other Backward Classes [OBCs] group). The TDB has decided to introduce a reservation policy in the recruitment of temple priests, a decision that has garnered attention across India for its "radical" nature. It is being celebrated as a revolutionary decision taken by the Kerala government and an indication of the progressive nature of Malayali society.
Caste is constantly being reconfigured in relation to the social conditions of Kerala. It increasingly makes visible the limitations of old categories. This is evident not only in the ascent of lower castes to spaces dominated by the upper castes, but also the changing caste practices of the upper castes. Thus, this is a reconfiguration, even contestation, of caste practices, but surely not the annihilation or eradication of caste. The formation of a cohesive "Hindu community" is a vital objective being pursued through such a reconfiguration of caste, not the annihilation of the system. This process began in the early decades of the 20th century and continues to date. Temples have become the centre of such discourses and a constitutive process of becoming Hindu in contemporary Kerala.
Much more of this long and scholarly account at "source" above.
KANPUR, INDIA, November 19, 2018: IIT Kanpur has developed a website on our treasures of Vedas, Shastras etc. Finally someone from today's science & technology field, is digging into what has already been done many many years ago. Each shloka is rendered in various languages and scripts, often with commentary and even audio rendering. Currently the site has Srimad Bhagavad Gita and other gitas, Valmiki Ramayanam, Brahma Sutra, Ramacharitmanas, Yoga Sutra, Shri Ram Mangal Dasji, Upanishads and more.
Rise above the cycle of unhappiness, desire, acquisition, excitement and unhappiness again.
-- Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, publisher of hinduism today
MANILLA, PHILIPPINES, November 13, 2017 (Economic Times): A musical performance based on the epic Ramayana today drew loud applause from world leaders and delegates at a grand opening ceremony of the two- day ASEAN summit. The play reflected India's cultural linkages with the Philippines and several member countries of the 10-member powerful bloc. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Donald Trump, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and several other leaders from ASEAN's partner countries attended the glitzy opening ceremony at the highly fortified Cultural Centre in this bustling metropolis.
The Ramayana in the Philippines is called Maharadia Lawana which means king Ravana. The Philippines' famous dance is called Singkil which is based on the Ramayana. "You would be happy to know that the @ASEAN opening ceremony included excerpts from the musical Rama Hari, based on the Ramayana. Various parts of the Ramayana were beautifully highlighted in the Rama Hari. his shows our deep historical bonds and shared heritage," Modi tweeted.
INDIA, November 14, 2017 (The Hindu by T. Ramakrishnan): India and Sri Lanka should take up repatriation of Tamil refugees at the earliest. In recent months, the focus of the media has been on the Rohingya refugees in India. But the plight of Sri Lankan refugees, who have been here for nearly 35 years, appears to have gone out of the public consciousness. The pathetic condition of shelters, restrictions on movement, and limited scope of livelihood opportunities affect the community of one hundred thousand-odd Sri Lankan refugees, who have been living in Tamil Nadu ever since the anti-Tamil pogrom in Sri Lanka in July 1983. Besides, statelessness is a major problem for a section of refugees whose roots are from central parts of Sri Lanka, generally called hill country. [These tea plantation workers came from India in the 19th century under the British and were never granted Sri Lanka citizenship, yet are not Indian citizens either.]
The refugees also suffer from social and psychological problems as reports of suicides, school dropouts and child marriage show. Many middle-aged refugees worry about their children's future, given the fact that 40% of camp refugees are below 18 years. As 28,500 refugees are said to be stateless, the Sri Lankan government, in 2003 and 2009, amended its laws to enable easier repatriation. Tamil political parties on the other side of the Palk Strait would love the refugees to return so that the strength of elected representatives from the Tamil-majority Northern Province will go up in the Sri Lankan Parliament. Yet, the voluntary reverse flow of refugees has happened only incrementally.
More at "source" above.