Sen's daily

August 23, 2014

Bahais in India seek recognition as a minority (corrected)

Press Trust of India, August 22, 2014. Corrected in the light of a report on India Tomorrow, August 23.

On August 22, delegations representing the Bahais and Kashmiri Pandits met the Minority Affairs Minister of India, Mrs. Najma Heptullah, in New Delhi to ask that they be accorded minority status, which has been so far given to Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Jains. The Bahai delegation, from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais in India, comprised Nelakshi Rajkhowa and Farida Wahidi; the Pandits were represented by a delegation of the Jammu and Kashmir Vichar Manch organisation. Pandits are Brahman Hindus who are socially disadvantaged in Kashmir, most of the community having fled from religious and nationalist terrorism.

In January this year, Jains became the sixth religious minority to be given national recognition in India. This allows them to benefit from central funds earmarked for welfare programmes and scholarships for minorities and for their educational institutions to be classified as minority educational institutions.

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  1. So, so brave!!

    Comment by writersdream9 — August 23, 2014 @ 14:46 | Reply

    • To me, it’s a puzzle why the Bahais seek this status in this state. They are not a disadvantaged minority in need of positive discrimination. Perhaps it has something to do with the status of Bahai schools in the state, or is a step towards recognition as a religion recognized throughout India, as has happened in Indonesia recently. Indian personal law (marriage, divorce etc.) is still sectarian, meaning that Muslims have one law, Hindus another, and the rest may have a problem. Perhaps in the long run the goal is acceptance of Bahai law as governing personal status issues between Bahais.

      Comment by Sen — August 24, 2014 @ 01:12 | Reply

      • Sen, What comes to mind is that within this request is the acknowledgement of the authority held by the government and the attitude of submission to the authorities as enunciated by Baha’u’llah in the Holy Writings. The compliment of that is that in doing so, in establishing contact in this manner, an integration of the Baha’is within this society naturally occurs, strengthening and unifying both elements.

        Comment by dale ramsdell — August 24, 2014 @ 09:41

  2. I believe minority status would simply mean that the government legally acknowledges the Baha’i Faith, recognizing property rights, Baha’i marriages, etc. It’s odd they would need to ask for this now, since the huge Baha’i Temple in New Delhi has been there for years.

    Comment by Candace Jacallen — August 25, 2014 @ 01:52 | Reply

    • The Bahai institutions in India are obviously able to own properties, so my guess is that’s its to do with status in the eyes of the government, and family law issues. It would be nice to have a comment from an Indian Bahai in the know.

      Comment by Sen — August 25, 2014 @ 11:50 | Reply

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