Indian Church refuses to heed the last wish of a believer

Mary John Akhouri, a Christian Catholic lady died the other day in Mumbai, India. She was 94. Her last wish was to be buried in the premises of a church in which she was baptised at  her native place in Kerala next to her father’s grave.

But when her body was brought for burial the church authorities refused permission. Their objection was she had married a Hindu man.  They said that those who do not follow the Christian way of life will not get buried in the church.

Normally this issue might not have got much publicity,,but for the fact that the lady was the grandmother of a celebrity, the Bollywood film star Priyanka Chopra.

The actress Priyanka Chopra with her granny Mary John Akhouri

The actress Priyanka Chopra with her granny Mary John Akhouri

Church trustee Abraham PV told NDTV, “We could not bury her because after her marriage she lived like a non Christian – like a Hindu. After that she never came back to join us again. If she had given us a petition while she was alive, we would have done everything we could.”

The family was shocked. They insisted she was always a Christian.

 They insist that she was a regular church-goer and had even gone for confession and partaken of the Holy Eucharist just a couple of years ago in the very same church which refused to bury her next to her father, as per her last wish.

No amount of pleading could change the heart of the clergy. The family was about to go back to Mumbai with the body. Hearing their sorry plight, a Bishop arranged for burial at another church some distance away. Thus the funeral happened, not as per the wish of the deceased , but still in a church premise.

But then came a shocker. The kind hearted Bishop was suspended from his duties, allegedly for facilitating the burial.

Then the final twist. Fearing a backlash of bad publicity the church head reinstated the Bishop the very next day.

And still some people will say religions are humane !


Institutionalised victim blaming

Under current policy, the university investigates students who report sexual assault for violations of the school’s strict honor code, which bans premarital sex, same-sex dating, alcohol consumption and being in the bedroom of someone of the opposite sex, among other things. This means a student who reports a sexual assault could end up being placed on probation, suspended or expelled if the university finds them to have been in violation of the honor code.

An honor code in a university? Must be in an Islamic country or a culturally conservative Asian or African country.

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Religion and phobias

“Why are you so anti Hindu ?” or “why are you so anti Muslim?” or “why are you so anti Christian ?

Questions like these are asked of me quite frequently in social media. My reply is this.

I am not against Hindus or Muslims or Christians. I usually debate and criticise ideas, not persons following them. So when I criticise a Hindu custom of not allowing equal rights to women devotees or a Muslim custom of forcing veil or burqa on women, I will not become anti Hindu or anti Muslim. When a Dalit is killed for marrying an upper caste girl I will call it a religious killing because casteism is part and parcel of Hinduism. Similarly when an atheist is hacked to death as per Quranic verses, I will call it again a religious killing.

Theists and some apologists for religion feel that only those who actually kill or cause harm, or order it, should be criticised, but not the idea, the religion concerned. This is like saying Hitler should be criticised but not Nazism. This is  giving free pass to dangerous inhuman irrational ideas. I do not want to give such a free pass.

Does that make me Hinduphobic or Muslimphobic ?

What is a phobia ? As per Oxford Dictionary it is “an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something”.

No, I do not have such a fear or aversion of Hindus or Muslims or of any theists as an individual.

Does that make me Hinduism-phobic or Islamophobic ?

It is true that I have an aversion to most religions. I also have a fear, may be not extreme due to my location,  that I can be harassed or harmed  by people inspired by love and devotion for religions, because I debate and criticise them. I consider it as a rational fear. So I can be justly called Hinduism-phobic or Islamophobic or Christianity-phobic if a person who is allergic to peanuts can be called peanut-o-phobic, an aversion and fear, but not an irrational one.

Temple fire works accident kills more than 80

Woke up this Sunday morning to hear the shocking news of death of more than 80 people in a fire works accident in my state of Kerala in India, around 170 miles from my town.

Temples in Kerala usually have big fire works display along with its annual festivities. Some temples will even have a fire works competition between two neighbourhood communities. Around 100 meters from my house also such a fire works display take place, though at a much smaller scale. Many of these explosive material are handled very carelessly and accidents do happen very often.


Temples are  located in very populous areas and huge crowds throng during this time at the premises. Any minor fire can cause massive damage. Being an issue related to religion and tradition, safety concerns take a back seat. Human lives have low value when it comes to festivities related to god.

Does the mythical gods require such dangerous  fire works displays for them to bless us?

Let me condole this tragic loss of life, which might have been prevented if safety of human lives were given much more importance than the pomp and splendour of religious festivals.


Now Indian women can worship Lord Saturn but ….

It is the fundamental right of a woman and the government should protect it.

Lofty words from a court in India. The court was disposing off a petition challenging the barring of entry of women in to sanctum sanctorum of a temple for the god Shani ( Lord Saturn ).

Similar struggles by women wanting to enter religious shrines which traditionally barred their entry is taking place in many parts of the country. Overall the courts were seen taking a progressive non discriminatory view on this issue.

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This time they targeted kids on swings

The bomber managed to enter the park and blew himself up near the kids’ playing area where kids were on the swings.



At least 70 people were killed in a suicide attack in Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park of Allama Iqbal Town, Lahore Pakistan on Sunday evening, rescue sources said. Hospital sources added that over 250 were injured.

The attack was claimed by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan Jamaatul Ahrar.

Iqbal Town Superintendent Police Dr Muhammad Iqbal confirmed this was a suicide attack that took place at a children’s park, where a large number of families, especially women and children, were present.

The area is a renowned residential area of Lahore. The blast was just outside the exit gate and a few feet (metres) away from the children’s swings.

DCO Captain (Retd) Muhammad Usman said the head of the suicide bomber was recovered. Ball bearings were also found at the site.
Eye witnesses said there were pools of blood and scattered body parts spread across the site of the attack.

Witnesses said they could hear children screaming as people carried the injured in their arms, while frantic relatives searched for loved ones in nightmarish scenes at the park near the centre of the city.

“We carried out the Lahore attack as Christians are our target,” Ehansullah Ehsan, spokesman for the hardline Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location. He said the group would carry out more such attacks, vowing to target schools and colleges alongside government and military interests.


Religion based isms continue to kill in cold blood.

Sources : Dunya news TV, The Dawn , AFP, @ZeshanMalick