Pseudo-Secularism

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Attacking temples and their traditions is the typical strategy of Abrahamic faiths and their agents like the Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu, in the process of de-Hinduising Hindu nations

Pashupathinath temple trapped in politics

Tuesday, 06 January, 2009 , 03:39 PM

The Maoist government in Nepal had issued orders to sack Indian priests traditionally officiating in the hoary Pashupathinath temple and appoint Nepali priests in their place. The government’s decision was challenged in the Supreme Court in Nepal and the Supreme Court passed a ‘stay order’ on the government’s decision on 1 January 2009. On 2 January, a group of Maoists numbering about hundred belonging to the Young Communist League (YCL) stormed the temple and physically removed the Indian priests, violating the Supreme Court order. This act, resulting in the disruption of the customary worship called ‘Nitya Puja’ for the past four days, has shocked the people of both India and Nepal causing widespread agitation in Nepal.

The ancient Pashupatinath Temple is the symbol of Nepal and this magnificent temple, which has a glorious history, is located on the banks of river Bagmati in Katmandu. ‘Pashupathi’ (Protector of all living beings of the universe), the presiding deity, resides in the temple in the form of a ‘Jyotirlinga’ and successive rulers of Nepal have made significant contributions to develop this magnificent temple for the ‘Swayambu Linga’, which, as its very name suggests, came into existence on its own, identified by a cow, which offered her milk everyday to the lingam. The four faces of the ‘svayambu linga’ namely Tatpurusha, Aghora, Sadhyojata and Vamadeva, represent the four Vedas and four Dharmas. Visited by thousands of devotees everyday whose numbers swell into millions on auspicious days and festivals, Pashupatinath temple and its surroundings is one of Hinduism’s most important ‘teerthasthalas’ and veritably a world heritage site.

In the sixth century, Sage Adi Sankara established the worshipping pattern here as per ‘Agama’ rules under the leadership of South Indian Brahmin Priests and since then the tradition has been maintained. As per this tradition, only the head priests (two or three in number) called ‘Rawals’ hail from South India; the rest (more than a hundred) are all ‘Bhandaris’ and hail from Nepal and they all live around the temple. The Nepali Bhandari priests protesting against the irreligious and anti-Hindu Maoist government for interfering in temple affairs have taken the painful decision not to perform their duties in the temple. The Bhandari priests have also been the traditional protectors of all this ancient temple’s assets and wealth used for maintaining the temple’s religious, administrative affairs and its social responsibilities.

Concerned citizens in Nepal have formed a ‘Sangharsh (struggle) Committee’ to launch a sustained and organised agitation in the event the Maoist government continues to defy the Supreme Court order directing the authorities to allow the Indian Priests to perform the traditional worship. Shiv Sharanraj Bhandari, the coordinator of the ‘struggle committee’, has said that they would have a dialogue with the government by setting two pre-conditions of allowing the Indian Priests to continue and guaranteeing the assets of the temple until new and tangible arrangements are made.

The Maoists are supposed to be ‘atheists’ without any religious affiliations and hence the people of Nepal feel that this intervention by the government is totally unwarranted and uncalled for. After seeing the widespread agitation, the Maoist Prime Minister Prachanda, whose government has ordered the sacking of Indian Priests and appointment of Nepalese Priests, has issued a ‘duplicitous’ statement that he never intended to displace the Indian Priests and that the appointment of Nepalese Priests was a mere coincidence! He has also appealed to the people not to politicise the temple row.

At this juncture, it is imperative to note that the Maoists, immediately after dethroning the King, forced the other parties in the 601 member Constituent Assembly to proclaim the abolishing of the 240 year ‘Monarchy’ and declaring the Hindu Kingdom as a ‘Secular and Federal Democratic Republic’. The ‘Vatican’ openly exulted over the declaration and welcomed it for obvious reasons. As expected the Christian Missionaries have started operating in Nepal in full swing with the connivance of the Maoists amidst reports of frenzied activities in the harvesting-Hindu-souls industry. Even as the Maoists were spearheading the agitation against the Monarchy, Ian Martin of UNMIN (United Nation’s Mission in Nepal), allegedly favoured for the position by the World Council of Churches, was operating covertly from behind the scenes to de-Hinduise the Nepal State and get Nepal declared a republic.

The leaders of both the two most vicious Abrahamic religions have a ‘divine’ mandate to propagate their faith throughout the world and convert peoples of other faiths to their respective monotheisms. Attacking Hindus and Hindu territory is a rewarding exercise and they derive maximum satisfaction out of it. Since the historically tried and tested methods of direct persecution and inquisition are no longer possible, at least overtly, they use ‘secularism’ and play the ‘minority’ card to the hilt to achieve their politico-religious objectives. In other words, secularism is the ‘route’ leading to Christianisation or Islamisation of non-Islamic and non-Christian nations! This is what has been happening in India since independence. But in Nepal, as long as the Monarchy was actively wielding the state, there was little that the church could do and hence, they clandestinely struck a deal with the Maoists and covertly helped them in their agitations against the monarchy, not unlike the church in Sri Lanka covertly promoting the separatist Tamil groups including the terrorist LTTE to wage its war against a determined Buddhist clergy.

Perhaps to fulfill his side of the quid pro quo which he entered into with the forces that paratrooped him to center-stage in Nepal’s politics, Prachanda, himself an alleged convert to Christianity, has started to move the coins towards the de-Hinduisation of Nepal in the name of ‘secularism’, which is nothing but ‘anti-Hinduism’ as practiced in India. India, which is being ruled by a ‘secular’ dispensation (Congress led UPA) has failed the people of Nepal by allowing the CPI (M) to handle the Nepal affairs resulting in the abolition of Monarchy and legitimisation of Maoists’ agitation. The inept Seven Party Alliance (SPA) also played into the hands of Maoists thereby causing irreparable damage to Nepal. So, it is quite natural for Prachanda to listen to his ‘masters’ voice in India and the fact that he made his first visit to China after assuming office shows how beholden he is to his masters.

Attacking temples and their traditions is the typical strategy of Abrahamic faiths and their agents like the Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu, in the process of de-Hinduising Hindu nations. Close on the heels of becoming a republic, the process of ‘inculturation’ by the church in Nepal within the convivial climate of Hinduism, will follow in Nepal too, like in India, and by the time the Nepali Hindus become conscious of this cancer, it may well be too late. On the one hand the Maoist government presides benignly over aggressive evangelisation and on the other it has bared his fangs against Hindus and ‘Hindu’ culture and tradition, as seen in the obscene interference by the government in the affairs of Pashupatinath Temple.

Interestingly however there seems to be a sharp and visible division among the Maoists both within the government and out side it on this issue. While the Minister for Culture and State Gopal Kirati has been vehement in going ahead with the so-called temple reforms despite the Supreme Court’s order, Nepal’s Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav, representing the Indian-origin Madeshi people has protested strongly the move to interfere in temple affairs publicly declaring that the Maoists were trying to capture Nepal’s holiest Hindu Shrine. Ram Baran Yadav, President of Nepal has also opined that the government’s intervention in temple traditions is inappropriate.

Meanwhile many leaders from India are believed to have expressed their concern to Prachanda and he has assured them that the Indian Priests would be restored. He must understand that India and Nepal are culturally and religiously united following the principles of Sanatana Dharma. Even today, many Nepali priests are working in Temples all over India and many Nepali students learn Vedas and other scriptures in ‘Patashalas’. In fact, the temple traditions serve the purpose of ‘cultural bond’ uniting the two countries. Changes in temple affairs particularly any change in customary practices must always be brought about only when the bhaktas (devotees) want it and only with the guidance and blessings of Religious Gurus, and only in strict accordance with Agama rules. Hindus must resist all attempts by anti-Hindu politicians to interfere in temple affairs. It is hoped that the Nepalese government will act responsibly.

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