For nearly two thousand years the Abrahamic faiths have been seeking to extend the hegemony – odd as it may sound, of their respective philosophies – by proselytizing people for love or for money and quite often by the sword. They have been vying for space in Europe and West Asia, which was the cause for intense strife known in the past as crusades. Their onslaughts in Africa and the rest of the world have often resulted in bloody demographic decimation and genocide of the infidel.
The persecution of Jews in various countries of Europe including in non-religious communist nations ironically by those who profess to be followers of the prince of peace has been well documented. The creation of Israel as a culmination of their persecution by one of the crusading faiths has only extrapolated into the twentieth century the strife between them; the other bitterly complaining it as a sleight-of-the-hand awarding of land belonging it.
Their campaigning for hegemony in South Asia has been equally bloody. Hitler’s genocide of six million Jews in six years appears minuscule compared to the genocide of eight hundred million Hindus by Islamic invaders in five centuries between the tenth and the fourteenth.
The approach of Christians in India has been much more subtle although proselytizing campaigns with the Bible in one hand and the sword in the other have not been unknown. The campaigns of Francis Xavier (Sainted later) in Goa and Robert Clive in the rest of India may be cited as examples of this approach.
Health, education and exploitation of the weaknesses of the Hindu faith such as the caste system are subtle vehicles that the clever Christian proselytizers have employed to achieve their objectives. The naïve under-privileged or the tribal populations in the far reaches of India have never been told that there are as many distinctions, denominations and hierarchical rungs and under-privileged in the Christian world, only they had a different nomenclature.
The two principal objectives of corporate management are growth and profits. The organizational structure of the Church is often cited as a typical management case study, the other universal application being the armed forces. Just as in corporate management, the harvesting of souls is run like a business with the twin objectives of growth and profits, each feeding the other. The dwindling numbers of Church-goers in the West following secularization of societies is naturally a cause for concern for the top management. (The word secularization has an altogether different connotation in contemporary India which simply means adopting an anti-Hindu intellectual stance!) The remedial strategy adopted by the top management ironically is akin to Hitler’s Lebensraum concept but by more subtle means.
The current strife in context!
As is their wont the secular exponents found in the recent Hindu-Christian violence in Orissa and Karnataka grist to their anti-Hindu mill. The violence in Orissa followed the brutal murder of a revered Hindu pontiff Swami Lakshmananda Saraswathi who happened to be the state vice president of the Viswa Hindu Parishat. He was murdered along with four other inmates of his Ashram including a woman devotee.
In the zeitgeist of Indian secular ethos Hindus are expendable. Swamijis and office bearers of Hindu organizations like the Bajrang Dal, the RSS and the VHP are even more equal – in being expendable! The Hindus should shrug off violence against them so that exponents of the Indian brand of secularism can praise the resilience of Indian secularism and syncretism.
This was the norm till the Bombay train blasts of July 11, 2006 in which two hundred and thirteen people were killed and more than 700 injured.
Pics by Ritesh Uttamchandani, reproduced from: http://mumbaitrainblasts.wordpress.com/
The city reportedly went about its business the next day in cynical disregard for the dead, and the secular exponents were all praise for Bombayites’ resilience in the face of grave danger. The first lead in a secular newspaper the next day was that the serial bomb blasts were the handiwork of Hindu organizations!
The refrain of – theresilience of Indian secularism – continued till Delhi was bombed in 2008. The bombings of Jaipur, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad were explained away as an expression of Muslim anger against the BJP as these states were ruled by the party. The secular alibis for the mass murders included social alienation, exclusion from main stream society, poverty, poor representation in government jobs and anger against Ayodhya and Gujarat riots that followed the savage burning of fifty nine Karsevaks in February 2002.
With its eyes firmly locked on secular vote banks, the congress government did its bit to fuel disinformation by constituting the Justice Rajinder Sachar committee to prepare a report, ostensibly on the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community in India. The other members of the committee include Mr. Sayyid Hamid, Dr. T.K. Ooman, Mr. M.A. Basith, Dr. Akhtar Majeed, Dr. Abu Saleh Shariff and Dr. Rakesh Basant with Dr. Syed Zafar Mahmood, a civil servant, appointed by the prime minister as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to assist the commission.
The committee’s job was all the more easier as it was given the theories; it was only expected to go out and find facts to fit into them! Lo and presto, it did it and how? Try as you might, you can notaccuse the committee of objectivity or doing anything right either by commission or omission. The committee’s report, to borrow from information technology jargon, was doomed to be GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) right from inception. The committee set out with faulty assumptions, faulty data collection, faulty analysis and of course ended up in arriving at faulty conclusions.
The following may be summed up as the report’s errors of commission and omission. The report did not take into account the bulk of educated employed Muslims that migrated to Pakistan when the country was partitioned. It did not take into account the numbers of Muslims engaged in trades and other professions. It excluded the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes from corresponding Hindu figures thus annulling any equity in its comparisons. Last but not least it excluded educated / well off Muslims from comparisons.
The committee ignored the fact that the country did provide fair and equitable opportunities to all and those Muslims who availed of them did prosper – in filmdom, in industry, in government / university jobs or in politics. If you go by the findings of the report, Asghar Ali Enginner, A. G. Noorani, Azim Premji, Syed Shabuddin, the Khan trio and other Muslim celebrities of Bollywood and a host of other Muslims in high places (Sayyid Hamid, T.K. Ooman, M.A. Basith, Akhtar Majeed, Abu Saleh Shariff and Syed Zafar Mahmood included) – all need reservations in government jobs!
The National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) has concluded that the findings of the Sachar committee were manipulated.
For a detailed analysis of the issue see “The Sachar report: A flawed number game” by Nitish Sengupta (The Asian Age, 16.10.2008).
When it was found that highly educated and well-paid professionals too took part in the terror attacks the groundswell of public opinion forced the secular exponents to change their refrain but only just. Forced on the back foot they had to a do balancing act by finding villains in the majority religion to appease their minority vote banks. Therefore the bogey of the Bajrang Dal was raised with a pliant media orchestrating it as the root cause of anarchy.
Returning to the main story, the strife between the Kandhas a Scheduled Tribe (ST) and the Panas a Scheduled Caste (SC) is not new. Under the Indian constitution, the STs can enjoy reservation benefits even after conversion to Christianity, whereas the SCs lose them if they convert. It is this legal loophole that is a godsend for the proselytizers. The statistics speak for themselves: the Christian population of Kandhamal district in 1961 was 2%, 6% in 1971 and 27% in 2001.
The proselytizers were only trying to extend their successes from the north eastern states: for example, in the last century they were able to convert 100% of the Nagas (in Nagaland) and 80% of the Mizos (in Mizoram).
According to Francois Gautier, “In Tripura, there were no Christians at the time of independence. There are 1, 20,000 today, a 90 per cent increase since 1991. The figures are even more striking in Arunachal Pradesh, where there were only 1,710 Christians in 1961, but 1.2 million today, as well as 780 churches! In Andhra Pradesh, churches are coming up every day in far-flung villages and there was even an attempt to set up one near Tirupati.”
There were clashes between the converted Kandhas and the unconverted Panas even as far back as 1992, when the VHP did not exist in Orissa and the Bajrang Dal was yet to be borne.
Swami Laksmananda a Vedic scholar has been running schools and colleges, for the unconverted Panas. However both the converted Kandhas and the unconverted Panas were thronging to his satsangs and discourses in great numbers. This is the fly in the proselytizers’ ointment. They wanted to do away with him and according to a recent report of the region’s inspector general of police – ‘a religious group’ – recruited the Maoists to do the hatchet job. Is it difficult to imagine who the unnamed religious group was? India’s secular media blotted out these facts but went to town with the violence that followed the brutal killings, painting it as the handiwork of Hindu organizations.
For a detailed analysis of the issue see “Kandhamal and Bengaluru” by S. Gurumurthy (The New Indian Express, 11.09.2008).
The happenings in Mangalore Karnataka were again true to form: a neo-convert pastor in Andhra Pradesh wanted to be lauded for being more loyal than the King. His pamphlet, the product of a prostituted, putrefied and suppurating mind portrayed Hindu gods and goddesses in the most obnoxious manner possible accusing them of incest, debauchery and worse.
A Kannada translation of this rag entitled “Satya Darshini” was published by the Newlife Church and disseminated in Karnataka. Here are a few excerpts from it:
“Urvashi – the daughter of Lord Vishnu – is a prostitute. Vashistha is the son of this prostitute. He in turn married his own Mother. Such a degraded person is the Guru of the Hindu God Rama.” (p. 48).
“When Krishna himself is wallowing in darkness of hell, how can he enlighten others? Since Krishna himself is a shady character, there is a need for us to liberate his misled followers.” (p. 50).
“It was Brahma himself who kidnapped Sita.” (p. 39)
“Since Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva were themselves victims of lust, it is a sin to consider them as Gods.” (p. 39)
“When the Trinity of Hinduism (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) are consumed by lust and anger, how can they liberate others? The projection of them as Gods is nothing but a joke.” (p. 39)
“God, please liberate the sinful people of India who are worshipping False Gods.” (p. 39)
This was the background for the Bajrang Dal activists’ protests in Mangalore. They were protesting mainly against Newlife prayer houses but as they could not distinguish one denomination from the other, it appears, they protested against a catholic church too.
For a detailed analysis of the issue see “What made Hindus angry in Karnataka” by Francois Gautier (The New Indian Express, 06.10.2008).
strong style=”color:#330000;”>More sinned against than sinning?
While the print and electronic media aired exaggerated reports of these incidents the violence unleashed by the Christian groups against the police during their demonstrations were airbrushed.
The Archbishop of Bangalore chose to berate the Chief Minister of the state in the full glare of media cameras, when the CM sought to meet with him and commiserate with him for the violent protests. The secular exponents did not utter a word of reproof against such a blatant insult meted out to the democratically elected leader of a state.
Consider the secular exponents’ quiescence vis-à-vis Muslim protests against the cartoons that appeared in a Danish newspaper and the furore against granting political asylum to Taleema Nasreen.
Consider also the secular exponents’ quiescence when Christian groups protested against the screening of the movie Da Vinci Code eventually forcing some secular state governments to ban it, even though it was freely exhibited in many Christian nations including Italy, next door to the Vatican.
For the record, this article does not support either the Danish cartoonist or the Bangladeshi writer or the American novelist inasmuch as they hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims or Christians.
The quintessence of Indian secularism as it is in vogue appears to be not in separating the state and religion as the word originally connoted but in opposing Hinduism, its philosophy and social mores. On the other hand a pilgrimage to Azamgarh to commiserate with the families of those arrested for acts of war on the Indian nation and seeking a ban of the Bajrang Dal was seen as an avowal of their secular credentials by some!
The mantra of Indian secular exponents who would rather wear secularism on their sleeve is to oppose any opposition of Hindu organisations – which for them come under the collective moniker of the Sangh Parivar. Therefore if Hindu organisations protest against aggressive efforts to proselytize, then the secular exponents must rush to the defence of the proselytizers. Indian secular exponents dotingly refer to members of the Sangh Parivar as goons. For them, there are no goons in other religions and that is a fact. Every time there is a reference to religious fundamentalism in other religions the spectre of Hindu fundamentalism had to be invoked, in the name of balance!
Tags: Bajrang Dal ; Managalore; Hindu-Christian violence; Kandhamal, Newlife Church; Proselytization; Secularism;