Posts Tagged 'karnataka'

Love jihad – real or a myth?

Love jihad – real or a myth? A detailed study by an NGO. Good work. Read at your leisure.
http://samvada.org/wp-content/Voice-for-Justice-Book.pdf

Urgent Appeal to support Flood-hit victims

Urgent Appeal to support Flood-hit victims
We have seen the extent of damage on TV and read it in newspapers. Now, it’s time for us to do something. Here is an appeal from ‘Youth for Seva’ to provide support to the victims in all possible ways. Already 4 full-time volunteers from YFS are working at the relief camps at Bagalkote and Raichur. We are working in partnership with ‘Seva Bharati’ which is running relief centers in Bagalkote, Raichur, Belgaum and Gadag areas serving over 30,000 people.

Families are being provided with basic necessities like blankets, bed sheets, utensils and ration for few days. It costs only Rs.1000/- to support one family. In the long term, we plan to take up rebuilding of homes in villages in collaboration with Seva Bharati.

To manage funds exclusively for this cause, our parent organization (Hindu Seva Pratishthana) has opened a bank account in the name of “H.S.P.Natural Calamities Relief Fund”

Please write cheques in the name of “H.S.P.Natural Calamities Relief Fund” and send it to our office at:
“Ajitashree”, 8/28 Bull Temple Road
Basavanagudi, Bangalore 56004

To do online transfers, the account details are below. After the transfer, please send an email to info@youthforseva.org with your complete address to send the receipts.
“H.S.P.Natural Calamities Relief Fund”
A/c# 64050593389
State Bank of Mysore
Shankarapuram Branch.

Note: All your contributions are eligible for tax exemption under 80G.

For further information, you may contact Ashok 9341980237 or Vikshut 9945429131.
Thanks


http://www.youthforseva.org
Experience the joy of giving

Mangalore Vs Kolkata

http://www.chowk.com/articles/mangalore-vs-kolkata-sankrant-sanu.htm

Mangalore vs Kolkata
Sankrant Sanu March 5, 2009
Tags: freedom of speech , Kolkata , Mangalore , The Statesman , CPI(M) , India
Standing up against Muslim and Hindu zealots
Is government, media and even civil society in India intimidated by Islamic religious zealots?

Religious zealots abused women sitting in a pub in Mangalore in Karnataka, India. Zealots from another religion violently protested against the publication of an article in the Statesman in West Bengal.

While the government in Karnataka proceeded to arrest the religious extremists in Mangalore, the government in West Bengal succumbed to their variants in Kolkata, arresting the editor instead. The first incident received widespread media-coverage and editorial condemnation and while the second, in comparison, was largely papered over. What lies at the heart of this difference in approach?

‘The Statesman’ in Kolkata reproduced an article titled ‘Why should I respect these oppressive religions’ written by Johann Hari that was first published in the Independent London. http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-why-sh ould-i-respect-these-oppressive-religions-1517789.html . The article recommended that the right of free expression should not be curtailed by religious zealotry. It ended with promoting membership of the National Secular Society in UK for fighting for secularism and freedom of speech.

As a result of the article, a Muslim group of 4,000 people protested outside The Statesman’s office and demanded arrest of the Editor and Publisher. Some violence broke out. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) led government of West Bengal could not resist the pressure. The Editor and Publisher of The Statesman were arrested for publishing the article.

There are some interesting parallels and contrasts between this incident and what happened in Mangalore. A few weeks ago, a Hindu group beat-up some women in Mangalore who were visiting a pub. Civil society was outraged and the Karnataka government took swift action, arresting the perpetrators and standing up for civil liberty.

Both these cases are fundamentally about free expression and speech. In Mangalore the issue was of the freedom for women to visit pubs without intimidation by religious zealots. In Kolkata the issue was the right of a newspaper editor to publish a reasoned academic critique of religious fundamentalism (and a defense of free speech) without intimidation by a different set of religious zealots.

The issue is not about the relative merits of defending visits to pubs versus the right to a reasoned academic discussion and debate in a free democratic society. Far more interesting is the response of the Indian establishment, media and civil society.

1. While in both cases, a private group of religious zealots wanted to curtail free expression, in Karnataka the BJP-led government sided with free expression by arresting the Hindu religious zealots. In West Bengal, the communist-led government sided with the Muslim religious zealots by arresting Ravindra Kumar and Anand Sinha, the editor and publisher of the Kolkata-based English daily The Statesman.

2. While the violence by the religious zealots of the self-styled “Shri Ram Sena” received huge media coverage and condemnation by the national and coverage by international media the larger violence by a bigger mob of religious zealots in Kolkata received hardly any coverage in relative terms. A preliminary analysis shows that the Mangalore incident received about hundred times the media coverage of the incident in Kolkata.

3. While it was heartening to see civil society rally around in large numbers against the acts of a small group of private Hindu vigilantes in Mangalore—including starting a Facebook group which garnered over 50,000 members , the state did take quick action against the vigilantes; on the other hand, the draconian actions of the state itself against free expression in Kolkata—a case which really requires civil society to be more vigilant—hardly evoked a response. Even more surprising is the apathy of the Indian media to rally to the defense of the editor of the Statesman–one of their kind. The Indian media downplayed the incidence, and with the notable exception of Vir Sanghvi of the Hindustan Times, there were few editorial condemnations.

The Mangalore pub violence and that of the mob in Kolkata are both outrageous strikes against civil liberty. However if our goal is primarily civil liberty rather than the advocacy of particular political or religious agendas, it behooves us to understand the mechanics of this differential response by the state, media and civil society. In order to do so, here are some preliminary questions.

1. Is an attack of freedom of expression of a newspaper editor less significant than that of a woman going to a pub?

2. How much of the frenzy about the Mangalore pub incident media-orchestrated? Why would the media choose to orchestrate it?

3. Does the Indian media, on the average, have a political or religious bias? Is this bias institutionalized or decentralized? Where does this stem from?

4. Vir Sanghvi, in his article on this topic writes: “It is now clear that the liberal society has been suckered into relaxing its standards for free speech by militant Islamists.” Is this true? What are the consequences of this?

5. Is the response by the state in Kolkata due to “political compulsions”? Why is the communist government of West Bengal under political compulsion from Islamic zealots while the BJP-ruled state of Karnataka not under similar political compulsion from Hindu zealots?

6. It is interesting to note that Johann Hari, who wrote the original article in The Independent, is known for his advocacy of secularism. Yet few Indian secularists stood up for him. Has Indian secularism essentially turned into apologia for Islamic religious zealotry? What will this mean in terms of long-term consequences for Indian civil society?

Bhairappa;s article – English version

IT HAPPENS ONLY IN INDIA

(English translation of the article written by Kannada writer S. L. Byrappa on religious conversions. The article is translated by Shri. Manoj Deshpande)
Saturday, November 1, 2008

http://medsyn.blogspot.com/2008/11/it-happens-only-in-india.html

For the last four decades, Christian missionaries in India have been indulging in religious conversions and this trend has become fairly aggressive and far more pronounced with Sonia Gandhi’s coronation. However, the mass media have chosen to ignore reporting this. States like Orissa and Karnataka have reacted sharply to the scale of operations of Christian missionaries. This has been dutifully reported by all newspapers and TV channels across India. Self-proclaimed ‘Secularists’ and Left parties have taken this opportunity to announce that India has met its doom in this backlash and have thereby supported the missionaries! It is certainly a pity that they do not care to recognise that the common man on the street clearly understands what the truth is. Sonia Gandhi’s sycophants, self-proclaimed intellectuals and secularists have gone to the extent of blaming pro-Hindu organisations, Seers and BJP governments for the situation and are helping Christian organisations bent on getting India censured at the international level by United Nations and other such organisations. The Congress Government at the centre controlled by Sonia Gandhi has initiated steps to dismiss the state governments in Orissa and Karnataka. The only thing hat has stopped them is perhaps the realisation that these governments may be reinstated by popular vote which will not serve their purpose. In order to be seen as taking action the Government at the Centre and Left parties, aided by the English media, are blaming Bajrang Dal for the riots. However, no one has bothered to investigate if Bajrang Dal is really involved in these riots and whether how many of these riots are being instigated in the name of Bajrang Dal. Have they concerned themselves with finding out if these riots could have been caused by the neighbours or communities of those who have converted due to the temptations and misinformation campaign induced by the missionaries?

Francois Gautier, a French Journalist residing in India has expressed concern over he conversions that are taking place in India with the tacit support of Sonia Gandhi. He says: “I am a Christian by birth and a Westerner by origin. I have studied mostly in Catholic schools. My Uncle Hugh Gautier, who was one of the noblest men I knew, was a priest in a beautiful church in Paris. My father, who was a famous artist in France, lived his entire life as a devout Catholic. They were regular visitors to the Church. Having come from this background, I get disturbed when I notice the extent to which Christianity is spreading across India under Sonia Gandhi’s rule. According to Census 2001, there are 23.4 Lac Christians in India, which amounts to about 2.5%, and that is fairly negligible. However, India today has Christian Chief Ministers in five states: Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Most politicians in Sonia Gandhi’s inner circle are either Christians or Muslims. It seems like she doe not trust Hindus. Ambika Soni, a Christian, is Congress’ General Secretary and a powerful member of Sonia’s coterie. Oscar Fernandes is a minister who implements Centre’s policies. Margaret Alva is entrusted with motivating Maharashtra Congress with fear. Congress in Karnataka is virtually A K Antony’s domain and Sonia’s secretaries belong to various Christian organisations in India. Walson Thampu, a known anti-Hindu, is the head of NCERT’s (National Council for Educational Research and Training) Educational Committee. Sonia Gandhi nominated a known Hindu-baiter, John Dayal, to her National Integration Committee. Another anti-Hindu, Kancha Elliah, has implicit approval of the Government to plead to UN & US Congress to look into matters related to caste discrimination in India. I have nothing personal against Sonia Gandhi. However, it is disconcerting to note that the number of conversions have increased exponentially since she has assumed the top-post in India. Approximately four thousand foreign Christian missionaries are actively converting people to Christianity in various states in India today. At the time of independence there were no Christians in Tripura; today, their numbers stand at 1.2 Lacs. Their numbers have risen by 90% since 1991. This is more pronounced in Arunachal Pradesh: it had 1770 Christians in 1921 as opposed to 12 Lacs today. Moreover, there are 780 churches there. A church is built almost every day in the remotest parts of Andhra Pradesh, apart from the plan to build a church at Tirupati. Mizo, Bodo and other such rebellions in the North-eastern states are actively fuelled by Christian missionaries. More than twenty thousand people have lost their lives in the last two decades due to these movements in Assam and Manipur. State-owned Indian Airlines deplaned Swami Avimuktananda for carrying a stick – a symbol of his renunciation. It was just a harmless piece of bamboo. This could only happen in a weak state like India where a foreigner like Sonia Gandhi has been allowed to rule.” (Francois Gautier: http://www.francoisgautier.com/ 09343538419/09442123255)

The Indian media, especially English TV channels and newspapers celebrated The Pope’s visit to India. The Indian Government accorded hospitality reserved for heads of states to The Pope, who is the religious head of Roman Catholics. The President, The Prime Minister and the cabinet queued up to pay obeisance to him. A few pro-Hindu organisations argued that he is a religious head and his sole mission to India was to encourage conversions and therefore he should neither be allowed to enter India nor be accorded official welcome. These opinions were dismissed as Hindu-fundamentalist diatribes by the self-proclaimed modernists and the English media. And what did the Pope do? He proclaimed with exaltation: “Just as we planted the cross in Europe in the first millennium and in the Americas and Africa in the second millennium, we shall harvest the crop of our faith in this powerful continent (Asia) in the third millennium”. He did not bother to hide his true intentions. However, the media and the self-proclaimed Secularists who branded Hindu groups as fundamentalists chose to maintain clever silence over this proclamation.

The following list details the present population (percentage) of Christians (in countries that had previously been untouched by Christianity) due to the wide-spread activity of Christian missionaries: Angola (90%), Burundi (78%), Cameroon (35%), Central African Republic (82%), Chad (33%), Congo (62%), East Timor (98%), Ethiopia (52%), Equatorial Guinea (94%), Gabon (79%), Kenya (25%), Liberia (68%), Mozambique (31%), Nigeria (52%), Papua New Guinea (97%), Philippines (84%), Rwanda (69%), South Africa (78%), South Korea (49%), Sudan (30%), Tanzania (20%), Togo (23%), Uganda (70%) and Zaire (90%).

The USA contributes USD 145 Billion every year to fund Christian Missionaries across the world. Churches across the world spend USD 1.1 Billion towards research aimed at achieving religious conversions. This is for propaganda material in 300 languages about 180 topics. Books and articles are printed in 500 languages. They total 175000. Every conversion costs USD 3300. It does not mean that this amount reaches the Convert. It is the expense incurred in activities related to administration, planning and implementation of the conversion programme. In 1500 A.D, there were 30 Lac active Christian Missionaries. Their number stands at 64.8 Crore today. 54% of these people are non-Whites. The strategy is to train non-Whites, provide them with funds and involve them in religious conversions. This is similar to the time when the British employed Indians as Soldiers to rule India!

What brand of spiritual enlightenment is this? This is an issue that Indians do not understand. That is perhaps because Indians relate spiritual enlightenment to things like living in a hermitage in a forest or in caves in mountains or perhaps in the freezing heights of Snowy Himalayas where people manage to look inward. One cannot preach others until one is enlightened. And what would one preach about? To look inward! To understand oneself! Religion is a form of this enlightenment. Preaching it is called jigyasa. However, this isn’t the essence or method of Christianity.

To understand Christianity, we need to learn the features of Semitic religions. They are also called Prophetic religions. It means that these religions were established by a prophet each. The roots lie in the Jewish religion established by Prophet Abraham. Christianity, established by Jesus Christ, is a modified form of Judaism. Later, Prophet Mohammed established Islam borrowing various tenets of Abraham’s Judaism. The message common to these religions is that ‘God is not directly accessible to Man. You are, fundamentally, Sinners. God is exceptionally terrible and cruel and punishes without qualms. You will have to believe me, your Messiah, and follow my preaching to obtain an opportunity to avoid burning in hell. If you do not pay heed, you are sure to end up in hell. You will have to place faith in this religion. You will have to convert others to this faith. You will have to spread this message and convert people wherever you go, even if it necessitates the use of force. That is Religion; that is the code.’ Prophet Mohammed taught methods of torturing, killing and enslaving those who did not believe in Islam. These teachings are an integral part of Quran and have been highlighted in several places in the text. Prophets are intolerant towards Gods of other religions. I have described this is my novel AvaraNa.

Jesus Christ was one such Prophet. However, it is believed that he taught love and tolerance of a different variety as compared to the one preached by Prophet Abraham. Some Researchers wonder if Christ ever existed; and if he did exist, was he the kind of person depicted in the New Testament of the Bible? This view has found support after the discovery of Dead Sea Scrolls. Saint Paul, the founder of the Christian Church was the one who gave Christianity its present form. In one aspect, the Bible does not differ from the Quran: both propagate the view that if you do not abide by the Holy Scripture, you are destined to be consigned to the flames of hell. Christians (erroneously) believed that Jews had crucified Jesus and subsequently went on to torture and convert them, and those who refused to convert were tortured to the extreme. That is perhaps why Jews have refrained from converting others. Further, Jews have always been victims of torture and still do endure harassment in several parts of the world. Pope Pius XII knew that Hitler was executing Jews in Gas chambers. Hitler executed 60 Lac Jews in all. Pope Pius XII was notoriously known as Hitler’s Pope since he maintained studied silence over Hitler’s activities. He could have advised Hitler and perhaps reduced the number of people murdered during Hitler’s rule. It is widely believed that the Pope saw this as a sort of vengeance towards the people who crucified Jesus Christ. Christians have not been able to provide a suitable explanation to Pope’s behaviour during Holocaust.

The notorious Goa Inquisition (257 years between 1560 and 1817; 230 pages) conducted by the Portuguese Clergymen documents the persecution of those who refused to convert. The inquisitions presided by Joseph Stalin were modelled on Christ’s Inquisition. The Goa Inquisition was conducted behind closed doors in a big house in Goa. The priests subjected such men, women and children to torture with the belief that those who do not believe in Jesus must be under the influence of the Devil and therefore must be brought to faith by punishment. The screams of the victims used to echo in the vicinity deep into the night when they were whipped, their limbs ripped, and their eyelids were torn and their bodies were violated in the presence of members of their family.

Diego de Bordeaux, a priest and Miguel Vaz, the ruler of the territory had drafted a 41 point plan to torture Hindus into conversion. Under this plan, the then Viceroy of Goa, Antonio de Noronha released a directive to the province of Goa in 1566 that ordered: ” I hereby order that under the rule of my Monarch, no new Hindu temple shall be allowed to be constructed or repaired, in this province. Permission has to be sought to repair existing temples and the violation of this order will result in the destruction of the temple in case and the material inside such temples shall be confiscated”.

Other examples of his ordinances: Hindus shall not play musical instruments in their wedding ceremonies. Relatives shall not be invited for engagement. People shall not receive auspicious returns in weddings. There was a blanket ban on following rituals related to weddings, funerals, wearing traditional attire, growing revered herbs like Tulsi and following rituals related to penance and fasting. On September 22, 1570, an ordinance was issued that gave Hindus who converted to Christianity relief from paying taxes for a period of 15 years. They were required to stop using their Hindu names and family names. The Goa Inquisition would fill up several pages. Readers may refer to A K Priolkar’s THE GOA INQUISITION (Voice of India. New Delhi). Pages 79-84 of his book provide a full account of the Hindu temples destroyed by Missionaries with details of the places these temples belonged to. The book also contains a reference section with accounts by Portuguese authors of those times who have recorded these details. There is no difference between the Christian Missionaries and Muslim Kings who tortured Hindus and destroyed Hindu temples in response to those who refused to convert. Millions of Hindus in Goa fled to neighbouring states like Karnataka, Maharashtra and Kerala due to the lack of religious freedom. They call themselves Konkani Hindus. Chief among them were the GSBs (Gaud Saraswat Brahmins) and Saraswats.

Renowned Historian K M Panicker states thus in the twelfth chapter (PORTUGUESE RELIGIOUS POLICY IN MALABAR) of his book MALABAR AND THE PORTUGUESE (Voice of India, New Delhi, 1997- Reprint): The Rulers of Malabar never interfered in the ways of life of the Syrian Christians. This has been recorded by the Portuguese themselves. However, at the first available opportunity the Indian Syrian Christians proclaimed their loyalty to the King of Portugal. They submitted their ancient manuscripts and religious artefacts to Vasco de Gama. They also committed themselves to his mission of annexing Indian states. They invited him to build a fortress in Granganoor to accomplish his mission. The Hindu Kings of Kerala ended up paying heavily for the patronage they afforded to Syrian Christians. The Portuguese Viceroy was eventually ordered to convert the Prince of Cochin.

Renaissance was a period in Europe that opened the minds of the elite to the existence of other faiths across the world. The advancement in art, science and technology brought in a modern outlook in people in various nations of Europe and they began to question the methods and practices adopted by the Roman Catholic Church. This awareness resulted in gradual decline in the approach the Roman Catholic Church took in the matter of religious conversions. This also reduced Church sponsored torture for conversion across the world. The Protestants questioned the dominance of the Roman Catholic Church. The awareness created by modern Physics, Biology and Sociology resulted in an eventual rejection of the rule of Roman Catholic Church. The Church turned the tables on them by portraying that these new ideas had foundations in the theories originally propounded by the Church. It began referring to them as ‘Christian Science’. It then propounded a theory that Science and Faith are separate and faith cannot and should not be measured by the yardstick of Science.

The British who ruled India established their own Church of England. They did not want to destabilise their rule by directly confronting the faiths followed by people in India. They, therefore, began dissociating with the Missionaries outwardly. However, the British Government and the missionaries shared the same goal at one level: to destroy the sense of nationalism in Indians and thereby kill the spirit of resistance against the British rule. Systematically, through Macaulay’s education policy and dogmas such as Aryan Invasion, biased interpretation of Indian history, misinterpretation of caste system, commentary on Indian socio-political structures, census policy, the segregation of Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists from Hindu mainstream, supporting Muslim separatist movements etc., they injected their own divisive thought systems into University education to evolve a new breed of Indian citizens modelled on the British thought. The Missionaries deployed all these along with a sustained smear campaign on Hindu deities to ease the process of conversions. The Government allowed the missionaries a free growth path by granting their requests to open schools, colleges and hospitals across India and also allowed the allopathic system of medicine to gain wide acceptability. People who converted to Christianity received special favours and gained reservations in jobs and promotions. Converted Christians were indoctrinated into the ways of life of the British to ensure their continued loyalty to the Church and the British rule. The Indians were amazed at the kind of Institutions the British developed and I have seen this in Indians I know (however, we are now building much bigger institutions) However, we must not forget that they used the colleges to provide medical skills to Christians and to ensure their progress. Let us look at the support the British Government extended to Christians in building such institutions: A young man I know was praising the British for their enterprising nature that led to the conversion of forests to coffee plantations. A retired Revenue Official explained to me: A recommendation used to go out to the King’s Government from the resident British Official at Bangalore that some specified people had to be granted land for coffee estates. The recommendation was nothing but an Order. This order would then be passed down to a Taluk Amaldar through the District Administrator. The Amaldar would then appoint a revenue inspector to accompany a horse-ridden White King (all Whites were referred to as ‘King’ then) who would then go to a mountain top and point out an area of land with the tip of his index finger and demand that that land was needed. The revenue inspector would then obediently measure the land and report to higher officials. Within a week, the British Citizen would get thousands of acres of forests. The man would then employ locals to cut trees which he would sell to raise money for his coffee plantation. The Imperial Bank would lend money to such people (interest free) until the coffee trees bore fruit and once the crop yielded the interest rate would be one percent. Wasn’t it then brave of British citizens to build hill-top bungalows overlooking their vast coffee plantations? Well, how could Indians summon such courage? It is said that the Planters Association at Sakaleshpur bore a sign that read: “Locals and Dogs not allowed”.

These three Prophetic Religions born out of the desert and the religions born in India have one fundamental difference. All these Prophets claimed that their word was the ultimate truth and that God’s word has been sent through them. They demanded absolute submission and the alternative they offered was hell. They also propounded that God’s word, as pronounced by them, ought to be spread across the world as a message using violence if needed. Prophetic religions are basically blind-faiths. Indian faiths that derive their roots from the Vedas state: ekam sat viprAh bahudha vadanti (There is only one truth- the learned men explain it in different ways). This free thought has found echo in several Indian religious channels. In Jain philosophy syadvAda (syat = possibility; existence) holds prime position. It delineates that there is nothing that can claim to be absolute truth – including what I say. There is every possibility that the exact opposite may be true or both could coexist. Jains identify the possibility of existence of up to seven truths at one time. This is an expression of the previously stated Vedic philosophy of One Truth. All Indian religious testaments agree on this basic philosophy. They encourage debate. This is perhaps what differentiates Indian religions that encourage exploration of truth from Prophetic Religions that command unflinching obedience to the Gospel. The Sages (Rishis) behind Vedas (texts outlining the basic tenets of what evolved to become the Hindu way of life) and Upanishads (texts containing the essence of Vedas) were not Prophets. Koenraad Elst, a Belgian Scholar on Religious Evaluation, states in his book Psychology of Prophetism: “Prophets talk a great deal about themselves. They ascribe special powers to themselves and state that they have a special connection with the Creator of the World. Sages, on the other hand, talk about Universal Truths and that these truths can be divined in a state of awareness which can be achieved through practice”. Koenraad Elst’s book is a must read for anyone who has a serious interest in the study of religions. The Buddha was not a Prophet but a Sage who indulged in the study of treatise belonging to the age of Upanishads. His insights are not contrary to the ones presented in the Upanishads. One might want to consult R D Ranade’s A Constructive Survey of the Upanishadic Philosophy (see the second section of the fourth volume. This has been translated to Kannada by R R Divakar, D R Bendre, and S B Joshi within two years of the printing of the original. I have a 2004 edition of the Kannada version printed by Gurudev Ranade Samadhi Trust, Nimbal, Bijapur). Vedic Religions, Jainism and Buddhism use the term Dharma (Way of Life) and not the term Religion, employed by Prophetic Religions.

The Vedic philosophy made our spiritual leaders silent bystanders when the prophetic religions annexed India. When the invading Rulers forced millions of men, women and children into submission, torture and conversion, our spiritual leaders saw it as an aberration in their behaviour and not as a flaw with the religion that advised conversion by force. There is a story concerning the then Seer of Shringeri Mutt Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati which is seen to depict the broad-mindedness of Hindus. When a European approached him and requested to be converted to a Hindu, the Swamiji is said to have replied, “You become a good Christian. You will then be seen as a Hindu, as well”. Did the Swamiji know that a ‘good’ Christian is expected to convert as many people as possible to Christianity? Or was he ensnared by the magnanimity of the Vedic Philosophy of One Truth? Or was he not able to tide over the mental block of accepting a person of another religion into the Hindu fold? These questions remain unanswered. When Muslims were forcing Hindus to convert, or when the Portuguese were conducting their inquisition in Goa and Malabar, or even when Christian priests were going around converting people in the guise of social service Hindu Leaders remained complacent instead of proactively analysing the underlying philosophy of these predatory religions. Sri Vidyaranya who was the source of inspiration and Guiding force behind the establishment of the Vijayanagara Empire was well-aware of the cultural and political milieu of his times. However, I have not come across any work of his that analyses the issues of his period. To my knowledge, Swami Dayananda Saraswati and Swami Vivekananda were the only Spiritual Leaders who directly approached the task of analysis of predatory religions from the perspective of philosophical and spiritual assessment. The lack of awareness of predatory religions among the Hindu spiritual Leaders of the past and present times is prevalent among most educated Hindus. This predatory philosophy is the driving force behind suicidal Jehadis and missionaries who travel far and wide into the Indian hinterland to convert people.

It is natural to evaluate the utility of religion in rendering service to the community in context of economic progress of the state. In the west the concept of Welfare State brought in a social security net that included education, healthcare services, employment guarantee, unemployment support, care for the elderly etc. This brought in the awareness that the Government can protect the interests of citizens and religion, therefore, is not necessary to ensure service. A few decades ago, Indians used to look at the Christian Church and admire the services it extended to the community. Today, many Hindu Institutions have started serving people in the same manner. However, at the philosophical level, is community service the primary duty of religious institutions? It is gratifying to see Hindu Institutions doing community service in the context of failure of corrupt Governments and Politicians to do so. However, to what extent are these religious institutions fountains of spiritual knowledge? Are our religious institutions today equipped to meet the spiritual needs of people, beyond Social needs such as food, clothing, shelter, education and healthcare? If we are to believe that spirituality is the source of our moral enlightenment, then spirituality must not be measured on the scale of community service.

In 1975, I had represented India in a one-month conference on Moral Education organised by UNESCO in Tokyo. We visited a few schools in Japan to understand how Moral Education is imparted. One of them was a Christian Missionary School. After a discussion, I asked the Principal, “How is your School different compared to other schools in this country?”
“A very good question,” he said, “about thirty of our students have converted to Christianity after coming of age”.

To him, morals meant conversion to Christianity. A non-Christian, therefore, is immoral. A Muslim Leader has said this about Mahatma Gandhi: “He may be a Mahatma, but he is worse than a sinful Muslim because he is not a Muslim”. Such bigots are not sensitive to the fact that morals are not affiliated to religion and that religious conversions must not take place through violence, coercion, torture, temptation or misinformation.

I have a question about Mother Teresa, who has great standing in international media and is today on the verge of Sainthood: Did she allow desolate Children who were sheltered by Missionaries of Charity to follow their religions? I had been to her institutions after her death. All children there have been converted to Christianity. Is this not a ploy for religious conversion? The Vatican Church funded such institutions and ensured that their work was glorified in Western media which was promptly echoed by Indian media without question. It is a pre-requisite for a person to have performed miracles during her/his lifetime to be considered for Sainthood. Nuns at Missionaries of Charity at Calcutta gave statements that they have witnessed Mother Teresa performing miracles. Intellectuals in India observed studied silence to such pronouncements when in the past they had vociferously questioned Sai Baba’s claims of miracles.

Now, I wish to narrate what I have witnessed in a few small villages about six decades ago. Village folk used to come out to see Siddaganga Swamiji (who used to go out in a bullock cart for alms) when they heard drums being beaten. Shivakumar Swamiji who is a centenarian now was about forty years old then. Village folk used to collect grains and vegetables from all houses and send them to Siddaganga which was about forty miles away, in their own bullock cart. Swamiji never used to ask for rations. He used to tell people: “Please send poor children from your villages to our institutions. We will provide for them and educate them. Education is very important”. The number of children then was limited. Over a period of time, it has grown to about eight thousand. Swamiji followed the path of renunciation and through the process of seeking alms, increased the number of people benefitting from Dasoha by visiting three to four villages every day. He offered shelter to children of all faiths. I have seen even Muslim children there who were not wearing lingas (a sign of conversion to Lingayat caste of Hinduism). Their belief is that religion is a matter of personal preference; our job is to provide them value-based education. He got his dues only recently by the Kannada media when he turned a centenarian. He never got the publicity that Mother Teresa got. It is certainly not a matter of dissonance too that he did not get wide-spread press. It is one of the five principles of renunciation to offer the credit of all good deeds to God. Stating that one has achieved something fuels egotism. Such people cannot reach higher levels of Yogic attainment. Malladihalli Raghavendra Swamiji, Baba Amte, Dr. Sudarshan of BiligiriRanga Hills and several others have dedicated their lives to selfless service. However, none of them have received the press received by Mother Teresa despite rendering greater service since they were not serving Jesus!

A lot of people live by the philosophy that they will be true Christians only when they convert at least a few people to their faith. This motivates thousands of people to spend their time in converting people to Christianity in remote corners of India. They receive training, support, funds, guidance and of course political backup (in case of adversity) from foreign missionaries. Hindus know only losing people to conversion and not gaining people. The Judiciary has interpreted a law related to religious conversion. However, who will implement it? When Hindus hand over people attempting to convert others to Police Custody, they are branded as fundamentalists by the media. Police does not take action. People who violate the law do not get punished. People who attempt to stem conversions are targeted by Christian institutions, political parties, self-proclaimed intellectuals and sundry entities of all hues. The Government arrests them on the pretext that they were spreading communal disharmony. Congress is used to sacrificing the interests of Hindus and defending such acts from the time of Nehru. Mahatma Gandhi had lost control over Congress before independence. Nehru’s viewpoints were always contrary to the Mahatma’s. Today, Congress is being controlled by a lady from the country that hosts Vatican City. It is essential for money-minded Congressmen to toe her line if they wish to stay in Congress. They then do not summon courage to criticise her policy of sponsoring conversions. Non-Congress Politicians like Devegowda, Mulayam Singh, Lalu Prasad Yadav and others have an eye on the lower-caste vote bank and choose to dissociate themselves from the BJP which has been branded as a pro-Hindu party. Communists swear by anti-Hindu principle. Today’s intellectuals are products of Macaulay’s education system. Most of our politicians are hypocrites who spend their mornings performing rituals in Hindu temples and publicly proclaim that they visit Masjids to pray to be born as a Muslim in their next life! Such politicians sit before statues of Gandhi fasting till noon to oppose people who resist conversions. Dalit Intellectuals oppose the suggestion to ban conversions. They fear that they will lose the trump card of threatening to convert to Christianity or Islam. The Church is attempting to provide reservations to Dalits who convert to Christianity thus eradicating the barrier for Dalits to convert; this is again opposed by Dalit intellectuals. They do not want to share the Dalit quota with Dalits who convert to Christianity. Y Samuel Rajashekhara Reddy, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, is implementing a strategic plan to first provide reservations to Muslims and then extending it to Dalit-Christians. Dalit intellectuals who encourage the Dalit community to convert to Buddhism choose to place themselves under the Dalit category in official records. They also advise Hindu spiritual leaders who oppose conversion to mind their own business. Are Hindu spiritual Leaders meant only to bless self-serving politicians who fall at their feet in full public view during elections?

In such circumstances, when a few people oppose mass conversions, the pro-conversion lobby makes a big issue of it. Christian institutions appeal to Christian-dominated international media to stop the ‘doomsday’ in India! France has prohibited children from wearing religious symbols- especially Muslim and Sikh headgear- to bring in a sense of French nationalism. The Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh had planned to submit an appeal on behalf of the Sikh Community (to allow Sikh boys to wear religious headgear) to French President Sarkozy. However, he ended up assuring them that he will take immediate action on the riots in Karnataka and Orissa on his return without bothering to explain the situation. He is now attempting to place these state governments under President’s (read Congress’) rule on the pretext of the anti-conversion riots in these states.

Some people may go underground to protect themselves from the backlash they experience when they try to oppose conversion which should actually be stopped by a democratically elected government. Who will be responsible for their acts if they choose underhanded means to oppose conversion in future? Do we not have people who feel that they should react to the situation since the Government and political parties have shown lack of will and capacity in countering Islamic Terrorism? The US has not faced another act of terrorism since September 2001. People die every single day in some part of our country due to acts of terrorism. It is foolish to expect power-hungry politicians will stop this. Terrorists plan to usurp power by continuously committing acts of terror all over the country. Lenin, Mao Tse Tung, Prachanda, Naxals have all employed this technique. Wouldn’t Hindu people be tempted to tread this path? Would we be able to stop them through public criticism of such acts when this happens?

Politicians, Media and self-proclaimed intellectuals who base their power-play on religion will have to reflect on this question today with sincerity and responsibility.

Francois Gautier ends his article with these words: “Are we moving towards a Christian India under the stewardship of Sonia Gandhi? If yes, then it is a great loss not just for India but for the whole world because spirituality in its truest form is alive only in India today”.

Suggested Reading:
1. ARUN SHOURIE: HARVESTING OUR SOULS (ASA)
2. ARUN SHOURIE: MISSIONARIES IN INDIA (ASA)
3. MATILDA JOSLYN GAGE: WOMAN, CHURCH AND STATE (VOICE OF INDIA, NEW DELHI)
4. SITARAM GOEL: CATHOLIC ASHRAMS Sannyasins or Swindlers? (VOICE OF INDIA)
5. SITARAM GOEL: HISTORY OF HINDU-CHRISTIAN ENCOUNTERS (A.D 304 TO 1996) (VOICE OF INDIA, NEW DELHI)
6. Dr. NAVARATNA S RAJARAM: Christ matada ugama mattu sadyah stHiti (hosa sHOdhagaLu) JAGARANA PRAKASHANA, BENGALOORU
7. Dr. NAVARATNA S RAJARAM: DEAD SEA SCROLLS AND THE CRISIS OF CHRISTIANITY (MINERRA PRESS, LONDON)
8. N S RAJARAM: PROFILES IN DECEPTION: AYODHYA AND THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS (VOICE OF INDIA)
9. N S RAJARAM: CHRISTIANITY IS COLLAPSING EMPIRE AND ITS DESIGNS IN INDIA (HINDU WRITERS FORUM, NEW DELHI)

What made Hindus angry in Karnataka

What made Hindus angry in Karnataka

Francois Gautier
06 Oct 2008 02:12:00 AM IST

I WAS born in a Catholic family. My uncle was a priest, a wonderful man of warmth and compassion and I spent most my early years in Catholic boarding schools. When I was young I wanted to become a missionary and to ‘convert’ pagans in Asia. What I was taught by priests was that Hindus worship false gods and they needed to be brought back to the True Word by Jesus Christ.

 

Then of course, I came to India and discovered that actually Hindus, far from being the heathens, as had been portrayed in Europe, not only believed God’s diversity, the wonderful concept of avatar, but had given refuge to all persecuted minorities of the world, whether the Syrian Christians, the Parsis, the Jews (India is the only country in the world where Jews were not persecuted), the Armenians, or today the Tibetans.

 

I am also aghast at the one-sided coverage by the Indian media of the Christian- Hindu problem: blasts after blasts have killed hundreds of innocent Hindus in Varanasi, Delhi, Mumbai train blasts, Jaipur, etc. Yet, neither Manmohan Singh nor Sonia Gandhi have pronounced once the word ‘Islamic terrorism.’ But when furious Hindus, tired of being made fun of, of witnessing their brothers and sisters converted by financials traps, of seeing a 84-year-old swami and his Mataji brutally murdered, of reading blasphemy about their Gods, vent their anger against churches, many of them makeshifts, the Indian government goes after the soft target which the Hindus are. The same thing applies to the United States: they never warned Muslim organisations in India about the killing of Hindus, but when dollars are used to buy new converts and it angers the majority community of India,Washington has the arrogance to issue a warning, and Manmohan Singh does not have the pride to tell the US to mind its own business.

 

Neither the Indian press nor the western correspondents bothered to write about what made Hindus angry in Karnataka: Newlife, one important westernfunded missionary centre ( http://www.newlifevoice.org), began making conversions in and around Mangalore by accosting poor people in market areas, or in bus stands, befriending them and then taking them to churches to introduce them to the father.

 

Upon introduction they were paid Rs 2,500 per person and then taken to the Velankanni shrine, in Tamil Nadu, where they would get another Rs. 3,000.

 

When they finally converted to Christianity by changing the name, they got an incentive of Rs 10,000 onwards.

 

Newlife would then give them instructions to abandon wearing tilak on forehead, not to visit and offer prayers at the Hindu temples, replacing the photos and idols of Hindu gods and goddesses with a Cross, etc.

 

But what really angered local Hindus was when Newlife went one step further and published a book in Kannada — Satya Darshini — which was widely distributed by its missionaries. Here below is the translation of some of the most abusive passages: “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. (page 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 (page 50). It was Brahma himself who kidnapped Sita.

 

“Since Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva were themselves victims of lust, it is a sin to consider them as Gods. (page 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. (page 39). God, please liberate the sinful people of India who are worshipping False Gods. (Page 39).” When blasphemy and much worse is brought against the most sacred Hindu Gods, Hindus are supposed to take it meekly as sheep and let themselves be converted to a foreign religion! There are more than 4,000 foreign Christian missionaries involved in conversion activities across different states.

 

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.

 

Christians throughout the ages have strived on the concept of persecution and as a brought up Catholic, I remember feeling bad about all those martyred saints of Christianity. Christians in India like to say that they are only two per cent and can do no harm. But it is a sham: in the Tamil Nadu coastal belt from Chennai to Kanyakumari, there must be now 10 per cent Christians posttsunami and the same may be true in other parts of south India.

 

My heart goes out to Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa who took a courageous stand against unethical Christian conversions, but is now under pressure from the Centre.

 

The BJP, having learnt from bitter experience that the Congress has no qualm in invoking President’s rule under fallacious pretexts in states which are ruled by non-Congress governments is in a quandary: it must show some action against militant Hindu groups while remaining true to itself.

 

This is why Yeddyurappa took some action against Hindu groups while saying that his government will not tolerate forcible conversions and will take stringent action against missionaries involved in conversions.

 

And ultimately, the blame must fall on Hindus: they are 800 million in India, the overwhelming majority; they have the brains, they have the money and they have the power. But either their intellectual and political class sides with the minorities, out of fear, inferiority complex imbedded by the British or just sheer crass political opportunism, or the bigger mass is indifferent inert, selfish, un-civic conscious. Every Hindu is the inheritor of the only surviving spiritual knowledge which at the moment is under a concerted attack by Christian missionaries, Americanisation, Marxism and Islamic fundamentalism.