The belief in the Hindu gods of love, and in their followers’ worship of them, has become so widespread that there are many thousands of Hindus in India today who believe in none other than Vishnu and Krishna.
“The concept of Krishna and Vishnu has not only become the core belief of Hinduism, it has become the dominant religion in India,” says D. S. Sivaramakrishnan, a Hindu sociologist and author of the forthcoming book Hindu Gods: Religion and Society in a Modern Age.
“For a long time, the religion was largely ignored by the general public and was relegated to the fringe.”
In India, as elsewhere, religion is often a social construct.
Its roots lie in ancient India, when many of the gods were regarded as divine beings.
In ancient times, the Vedas and other sacred texts, as well as stories about the gods and their followers, were passed down orally and were passed on by generations.
“This gave rise to an idea that gods could be spoken of by their names,” says Sivaraman, a professor of history at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
“As a result, Hinduism developed from a religious tradition and the idea that there were gods, and that there was an important role for the gods in shaping and shaping human beings.”
In fact, Hindus worship many gods, including Krishna, who is regarded as the son of Vishnu, and other deities, such as Shiva and Lakshmi.
Hinduism has a history dating back at least to the second century BC, but its origins date back as far as the second millennium AD.
The religion has had several gods over the centuries, but they have mostly been regarded as manifestations of the Hindu deity, who was a creator of the world.
They have been worshipped as gods of war and warlike qualities, while some have been associated with medicine and the pursuit of knowledge.
But despite their various attributes, these deities have been relegated to mythological status in India, which has led to a significant reduction in the number of Hindus who identify with them.
Siva is one of the most popular Hindu gods in the world, with about one in six Hindus saying they know him.
In India’s western state of Maharashtra, which includes Mumbai, more than two-thirds of the population identifies as Hindus, according to a recent survey by the National Sample Survey Organisation.
The percentage of Hindus identifying as Hindu has fallen in India since 1991, when it stood at around 65 percent.
The Hindu community in India is growing, but the number is also declining.
Hindu temples in Mumbai have seen an 80 percent increase in the past five years.
Some of those temples are more than 80 years old, but newer ones are mostly built in modern cities.
“We have become so used to having these temples and our rituals that we have forgotten that there is an actual community behind them,” says Sharmila Srivastava, a writer and a member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the main Hindu organisation in Maharashtra.
“So we have become the only people to have lost their way.”
Sivamani, who lives in the western city of Calcutta, was not aware that the VHP had such a large presence in her neighbourhood.
She says that the association between Hinduism and politics has not always been positive.
In the late 1990s, the VPC began holding rallies against the ruling Congress party in Maharashtra and other states, which helped consolidate the alliance of right-wing Hindu parties.
In 2002, when the Congress party won power in Maharashtra, the state’s chief minister and the then BJP leader Pramod Mahajan had visited India.
“After the 2002 elections, the RSS got a huge boost from this,” Sivamasan says.
In 2006, a court in Maharashtra banned the VGP from holding public meetings.
“People felt that this was a government-sponsored campaign to divide the community and sow division,” she says.
“That’s why people did not go to public meetings.”
A group of prominent members of the VJP were arrested and charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, but were later released without any charges.
In 2011, the group was banned for its links with the BJP.
The organisation is now fighting to keep its membership intact.
“A lot of our members are young and have left the organisation.
I think we are the only organisation in India that still has members,” Siva says.
Sivalamani says she feels safe in her home town of Calabar.
“I am happy to be in a community where there is no discrimination,” she adds.
The VHP says it does not hold any rallies against its leaders, but it has been active in campaigning for the rights of its members.
“In this context, we are trying to build a community, to educate people and to ensure that the community