Pseudo-Secularism

Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Totalitarians

Sep 2008, 1612 hrs IST, Tarun Vijay

So what if you expose and warn about the grave fallout of continuing with the special status to Kashmir, that strengthens feelings of separation, we will go ahead with it.

So what if Mahatma Gandhi and Vivekananda had opposed vehemently the proselytization campaigns of the Christian aggressive 'harvesters', we will support them.

So what if the RSS guys were amongst the first to rush to help Bihar flood victims; we shall continue to paint them as barbaric goons busy burning down faith places, who had no time to help the poor, deluged fellow citizens.

So what if a Hindu monk and three others, including a woman monk, were killed brutally by Christian assailants using AK47, we shall put the victims in the category of unmentionables and keep on repeating, 'Hindus attack churches.'

So what if a Google search on Vatican's scandals produces 1.5 million results in less than 0.37 seconds and that includes how a Pope turned his palace into a whorehouse and how their bank swindled millions and the papal authority helped the disintegration of the Soviet Union, not to say apologies on gay scandals. We shall continue to reward those Vatican's protégés who use derogatory terms against Hindu monks and testify against their country in a foreign senate.

The icons of hate and barbarism look good and acceptable if made of saffron headbands and tridents. It looks photogenic. Have you ever, even in the passing, saw an icon of hate created out of green flag Jihadis who kill five- year-old girls in the thick of night (Wandhama and Doda) or the Christian rifle wielders who kill an 84-year-old monk and an ochre-robed lady celebrating Krishna's birthday? Have you ever heard or read the agony and pains of those who just want to remain what they are religiously and get killed for that alone?

Waiting for a voice of reason


If I say attack on any religious place - Hindu, Muslim or Christian - is inhuman and as bad as the attacks on American Indian temples and Iran's fire temples, I look around to hear a feeble voice condemning attempts to snatch my Ram and Krishna by firangs and their cohorts who declare 'your God is bad, we have been ordained to bring you to our ministry of heavens - come or else.'

Snatching others' gods is a good business and in the media they are portrayed as noble souls who couldn't find solace in their New Zealand, Australian or Dutch surroundings where Churches are being used for secular purposes in the absence of a laity. So they came to India for spreading education and providing medical help. What's wrong if they also convert? At least they are doing good service.

Hence, if a Hindu monk is killed, he must have done something really bad to invite such a death (that's actually written in a petition to the Indian President by a Christian leader). If, in reaction, churches are torched, that's the handiwork of the goondas of the dead swami - condemn it and caricature Hindus as attackers.

The media, government, parliament and even those who negotiate stairs to power romping on the sacrifices of 'bad, violent, semi literate' saffronites keep a safe distance. Orissa Government and the officials might have thought correctly that the sadhu killed must have been a discarded, mentally ill person who didn't open showrooms of Gods and nirvana in Haridwar and Rishikesh and came to the jungles of Kandhs to educate them. If he were a great soul, at least a few bigwigs from Delhi would have attended his funeral. The Vatican was shaken up and spoke on Orissa, Delhi kept silent on a swami's murder. So be it.

A noble light extinguished

Lakshmanananda was a soul Vivekananda would have been proud of. He carried forward the work of Adi Sankara in the region inhabited by the most disadvantaged people. He left comforts of a religious person enjoying dollar grants and global following and based his small centre to spread new techniques of farming and modern education fortifying faith as a resistance to foreign allurements. He died a martyr but the state government stopped even the mourners to attend his shraddha - the religious ritual done after the 13th day of death, barricading all roads that led to his place.

What the Christian evangelists did to the tribal of the Americas, New Zealand and Australia, completely annihilating and subjugating them to an extent that nothing of their pre-Christian civilization survives, (post Columbus, violence saw seven crore aborigines being killed in America in a span of 100 years and millions in Puerto Rico, Brazil and Australia, just for the lust of gold and to spread the Gospel) the same is being repeated in India's tribal lands to Christianize them with an aggression unknown to the Eastern world, which had believed in the principle of 'live and let live' declaring and practicing the mantra that every path leads to one God hence there is no need to proselytize or convert.

Uninvited harvesters


Nobody understands what's the urgency of the Western forces to earmark billions of dollars to change the faith of India's poor and struggling masses? Who has invited them? They say it's their right to spread the message of the Gospel and bring heathens under the umbrella of Christ. Which Christ do they talk about and who has given them a right to deride and demonise and insult the gods and goddesses of other faiths and say you won't have salvation unless you turn Christian? Why as Hindu tribals they can't reach the God they have been worshipping for ages?

We are the only place of Hindus on this planet that has survived the assaults of Turks, British, Portuguese and all other Abrahamic faiths that brought their book under the shadow of swords and bayonets. Still, they find it uncomfortable to tolerate a great Hindu civilization flourishing and send their proselytizers and dollars to ensure that this millennium becomes a Christian one after conquering Europe, America and Africa. Is that fair and should that be acceptable?

If Hindus can't assert their Hindu characteristics and protect their society in India, would they be expected to do so in Saudi Arabia? And why all the liberal concepts to demoralize and reduce us in numbers are put to action only in Hindu Buddhist majority nations a like India, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Nepal and not in Pakistan or Malaysia or the Arab states? Communism and Christianity have become the biggest annihilators of Hindus in the modern age, yet the largest stocks of candles and peace psalms remain stored in their backyards. What an irony, indeed!

As a Hindu, I celebrate the birth of Jesus as was started by my ideal Vivekananada and is still practiced in all the Ramakrishna maths all over the globe. I could write a piece on Jesus I adore and still be an adherent to my faith. I can show almost every Hindu religious centre in our great pilgrim places having pictures of Jesus with respect and saying all paths lead to one god. Before Swami Dayananda's Shudhi movement, it was impossible to convert to Hinduism as to be a Hindu you had to be borne in a Hindu family, yet we always welcomed and provided equal rights to other faiths - Christians, Muslims, Jews and Parsis. We respected their gods and what, in turn, did they do to us?

The 'return gift'

They consolidated their position to reduce us in numbers and published literature to convince that Hindu gods are good for nothing, so become Christian. They abused Hindu hospitality and then complained against them. Show me a single Christian school in India having a picture of Ram, or even a Vedic scientist like Bhaskaracharya who was father to us all - including Christians of this land? Denying your Pa and adopting new parents can't be called a spiritual experience.

India is passing through a phase of great memory loss. What was ours has been discarded and what we are is looked with suspicion and hate. So you will never find a place called Hindu Heritage Centre of Glory and Invincible spirit. You will never find a picture of Shivaji or Maharana Pratap in any Christian mission school, because they 'are Hindu icons' and not the national ones. But surely you may find pictures of those old proselytizers whose names are too Roman and Greek to be pronounced correctly for any Indian language user, just because they were the propagators of the Christian faith even though they had nothing to do with this land.

By the same yardstick, next time you go to drop your kid to a convent school, pause there to mark that although in some room pictures of Romulus and Remus, the traditional founders of Rome appearing in Roman mythology as the twin sons of the priestess Rhea Silvia, fathered by the God of war, Mars, are found and taught in their textbooks but never would you see a mention of Luv/Kush. Why? Because Roman twins belong to an acceptable memory to the Christian world and Luv-Kush belong to the Hindus. Hence they are unacceptable.

There are Hindus, very well meaning and lovable, who declare ad nauseam that they were educated in a Christian school and are proud of the fact they were never converted. May I also submit my name to the list of such honourables? I was taught in a Christian school and I love my teachers like Jacob sir and Father Benjamin. But should that stop me to say, sir, I do not approve of the work some people do in the name of the faith you belong to and as a Hindu I respect?

Seeing all these proselytizing absurdities Swami Vivekananda had cried - 'Oh God, you are not Christian, go back to Christ.' Today, there is no Vivekananda or his follower to say what he could say a hundred years before.

The eraser called secularism had made it sure that those who were Hindus just a couple of years before begin hating their fathers and grandfathers so much that when one of them pens a petition to the President of a Hindu majority India, and she too happens to be a devout Hindu, he uses intensely insulting words for the Hindu monk who was murdered at the age of 84 by the followers of his faith. He doesn't feel ashamed that his forefathers touched the feet of a Hindu monk, and he, a descendant of that family is behaving as if he was an enemy of that legacy.

Deny all that you had, delete all that was your history, forget all that belonged to you, and then only you become a good Vaticanised Christian. Is that the way Indian constitution should allow such barbarity in the name of secularism that has come to mean 'erase Hinduism' from Hindustan?

Oh, this is what Bapu said

This government swears by Gandhi and prints his pictures on currency notes as a mark of genuine respect. Now read what he said about conversions: 'It is impossible for me to reconcile myself to the idea of conversion after the style that goes on in India and elsewhere today. It is an error which is perhaps the greatest impediment to the world's progress toward peace. Why should a Christian want to convert a Hindu to Christianity? Why should he not be satisfied if the Hindu is a good or godly man?' (Harijan: January 30, 1937)

No conversion can take place without a straight hate attack. None can convert the other without telling him that the faith he has been following is useless, bad and his gods are incapable to assure salvation. Do you think when the Christian proselytizers go for a 'hunt' they say, 'yes sir Ram and Krishna are also as good and great as our gods?' If they say so, where will be the scope to convert? If just love and compassion are the vehicles to proselytize, what's the need to get the billions of dollars as grants from Western countries? And have you seen the literature they publish to deride and insult Hindu practices and pantheon? It's too ugly even to refer to them. Just go to Catholic sites and ask for the literature they send abroad to gather dollars, it must open your eyes.

Friends who live Jesus

There are good Christians whose life and ideals are worth emulating and who really live Jesus. I know highly respected Syrian Christians of Kerala who are a symbol of goodness and brotherly behavior. They never believed in proselytisation and in fact when there were news- items about Russian Orthodox Church opposing a Krishna temple in Moscow, I had contacted their Arch Bishop and he did help saying Krishna belongs to our nation.

Like Wahabis amongst Sunnis, aggressive Vatican followers do not represent the Christian world that are sowing the seeds of hate and distrust in the Indian society.

Wherever they have pockets of influence that very area demands secession from India. Why? Do Vatican's followers have guts to denounce the Church openly supporting Nagaland's NSCN (IM), a terrorist insurgent movement? The NSCN (IM)'s open declaration is that they are fighting to create a Nagaland for Christ. Has Vatican denounced that too as a 'violation' against the land that has ensured all liberties to propagate their faith?

In a land where democracy and pluralism run in our veins, why are we shy to say no to the totalitarianism of a few?

Isn't it the time when all of us must sit together to think and devise methods ensuring never again a Kosi bundh breach will occur and our people suffer, and guarantee a respectful living for each and every Indian and resolve to win a few more gold medals at the London Olympics and eradicate poverty from India's map as well as terrorism?

Are these questions less important than the issues of conversion and Hindu-Muslim, Christian issues? Will our gods be angry with us if we simply stop telling people about the religious book they MUST read and work for their happiness through providing vehicles to move ahead? Are our gods jealous of other gods and want us to read only what He thinks must be read or is He a Universal symbol of love and just love?

Decide ye, the followers. Choose totalitarianism or pluralism. The choice is yours but then the consequences will not be in your hands.

The author is the Director, Dr Syamaprasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.

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