'Indian Society Needs To Change'

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Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2001 | As the Kumbh Mela religious festival was coming to a close in Allahabad earlier this month, millions of Hindu pilgrims were witness to an unusual sight: scores of saffron-clad swamis exhorting people not to take a holy dip in the waters. The protest, against what the swamis characterize as "obscurantist and superstitious religious practices," was organized by the 125-year-old Hindu reformist organization, the Arya Samaj. Its outspoken leader, Swami Agnivesh, talked to TIME South Asia contributor Maseeh Rahman in New Delhi on why he went to...