Tuesday, August 16, 2016
God is great! Whose God?
I fail to pass the political litmus test that many self-identified progressives see as their default position: namely, being “secular”, pro-minority. I am a hard core Hindu, and my views have to be taken as that of someone who lived most of his life as a member of the Sangh Parivar.
The other day I was watching a video clip received on Whatsapp. It was an unidentified Moulvi having a question-and-answer session, obviously after a discourse to Muslim Indian workers in some Gulf Country at an ‘Islamic Centre.’ After answering questions such as “can we eat food cooked by non-Muslim roommates?” Moulvi had greater concerns. He expressed shock at the Muslims who lived and ate with non-Muslims for years, and did nothing to stop them from a sure passage to hell! Why didn’t they try to bring them into the “True religion” and prepare them to go to Heaven?
I would take this Moulvi’s kind thoughts for the non-Muslims as genuine in the context of Quran 22.19-22 which offers horrendous punishments for those who fail to get converted to Islam. The position of Islam through all its violent and torturous history always had been that it was bringing a blessing to the lands that were conquered.
The Christian “Missionary position” is no different. Through the innumerable services, discourses, encyclicals, conventions and the like, the Church machinery reiterates what Jesus Christ himself said: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6). This view is sacrosanct: adherents of any kind of Judaism, or non-religious Jews, Hindus or Muslims are "unbelievers". They don't believe in Christ, don't believe in His Holy Church, and hence they are unbelievers, and therefore out of favour with God, the Father, period. On either side of the pilgrim route to Sabarimala pronouncements similar to Quran 22.19-22 quoted from Bible are painted on walls. It doesn’t however get described as hate-speech or outside the realm of polite expressions within a secular society in which a huge majority are persons belonging to the category of “unbelievers.” Is this as simple and innocent as it is powerfully presented by many “secular” scholars and observers?
In fact, the point of friction, not only in the Indian society but worldwide, has been the propensity of Christianity and Islam to proselytise. Those of us who grew up in a culture that took in Bhagavad Gita and in general the Vedic wisdom (The Rig-Veda declares: "Truth is one; sages call it various names- Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti.") that inculcates a belief that all path leads to the same goal: “ekam sankhyam c yogam ca”, it is a sacrilege, and violation of their very identity in society to be told in unmistakable terms that they are the basest creatures on two legs. Hindus just don’t resort to Kalashnikov assault rifle and other sophisticated means to counter such demeaning insinuations. But they are no less agitated and upset!
Gandhiji was opposed to religious conversions, because “no religion can claim absolute truth, and all religions are fundamentally equal.” "Hinduism with its message of ahimsa is to me most glorious religion in the world” was Gandhiji’s view. He compared the religious fervour and the exclusivism was similar to finding one’s own wife the most beautiful woman in the world. The Father of the Nation especially hated Christian conversions of “untouchables” as it was exploitation of their pathetic conditions and he also accused the Church of using social services to net in converts. But astonishingly, the Minorities subcommittee of the CAI altered the wording of Article 25 was modified to include the right to propagate, i.e to convert! A wit has aptly put it as, “a seemingly equal right to peddle one’s religion becomes unequal and unfair, much like giving wolves and sheep the right to eat one another”.
There is a very sophisticated operation in place by the evangelical groups, with a clear target for souls, marketing campaigns, mass prayer and fraudulent healing meetings. Evidence is available in plenty on videos on YouTube, social media, press reports, and on the ground. Pastors have been openly tweeting about souls converted, and saving people from idol worshipers. Some pastors have tweeted with glee about converts reaching 60 million, declaring a target of 100 million, and have also requested for financial support for this openly.
When some very “active” Hindu organisations organised “ghar vaapasi” programmes for the re-entry of former coverts to other faiths, the proselytizing religions in India and in other parts of the world proclaimed that it was an attack on “religions freedom” Constitutionally guaranteed here. Xian/Muslim assertions against ‘Hindu communalism’ and Ghar vaapasi appear not only grotesque, counter-factual libels, but as a precise inversion of the truth! That the minorities who scrupulously and conscientiously practice/promote conversions and openly declare it as their “religious duty” find re-conversions to Hinduism bothersome is strange! Doesn’t this outrage over ghar wapsi, smack of double speak?
There indeed is a problem with this double speak. Even as Pope Francis approved Islam as “a religion of peace, one which is compatible with respect for human rights and peaceful coexistence,” Islamists consider Christian Church as a Trojan horse bearing rotten Western values and Western military invaders, within increasingly Islamized societies. The Islamic State and other Muslim militants are busy torturing and killing Christians (often using grisly methods such as crucifixion) in Nigeria, Indonesia, Somalia, Libya, Central African Republic, Uganda, Lebanon, Kenya, Pakistan, Sudan, and Iraq. How can the Christian Church deplore without convulsions and contortions the methods they had themselves employed in the past?
Currently the Hindus in Kerala who had somnolently watched ceaseless conversions of the tribal and other poor sections of the community over the years seem angry and upset about a new phenomenon called “love Jihad,” an alleged activity under which young Muslim boys and men are said to target young girls belonging to non-Muslim communities for conversion to Islam by feigning love. Official statistics confirm about dozens of girls reportedly missing under suspicious circumstances everyday in the State. Parents belonging to Hindu and Christian communities suffer from extreme anxiety and fear from the time their young daughters leave homes for schools or colleges till they are back home. Sangh Parivar organisations as well as Parish priests hare making public statements and passionate exhortations against this new attack on their way of life. Most of the cases are of couples falling in love, then eloping and marrying, and then disappearing for a while only to surface again in black hijabs, abaya. or burqa and not so uncommon these days, publicly expressing revulsion to their earlier life, belief systems et cetera. Some of them go to combat areas in the Middle-east to help Jihad! Those girls who refuse to get converted are sexually assaulted by multiple individuals, impregnated, and dumped!
Christians have elaborate Church machinery that can monitor, prevent or otherwise handle the issue nationally and internationally. Roman Catholic Church, in the forefront of the soul-harvesting business doesn’t take kindly any such activity in their midst. Pope Benedict XVI visiting Brazil in 2007 fulminated against “the rapacious rascals stealing” his lambs, more on the lines of the leaders of the CPI (M) reviling the CPI for accepting into their fold Marxist outcasts! Pope Francis is perturbed too, for more than 90 percent of Latin Americans were earlier identified as Catholics and that number has now hit 69 percent. Pew Research points out that in nearly every country surveyed, the Catholic Church has experienced net losses from religious switching, mostly to other spinoffs. So the thrust into Asia’s poorer regions for soul harvesting!
Whenever their conversion campaigns peak, the Hindus resist. Then Christians resort to “intolerance” campaign. In the Temple village Thiruvathavur, near Madurai in Tamil Nadu which had no Christians a church sprang up on unauthorized land just to force Hindus to remove it so that an “intolerance” campaign could be started with lavish media cooperation! Church attacks were stage-managed right in the National Capital Territory to embarrass the “Hindu Nationalist Government!” Rapes of Nuns were alleges dand the victims disappeared when the inquiry ordered.
So the Hindus are in the vice grip of two powerful international conversion armies. The main problem here is the Hindu's loose social organisation (if there is any left) which is a kind of open architecture, like the one O. Abdulla laughed at, in the "Hindu way of life," during an interview with me: "it is no great thing that in your school there are no period bells ringing, no compulsory attendance, and no examinations!" This coupled with the early Communist radicalization which made it intellectually fashionable, "progressive" and adventurous to reject and revile one's own faith, traditions and "decadent" life style. It is partly this attitude, particularly the adventurism of the adolescent and youth period that makes persuasion by other religions to convert easy. And once the trap is obvious, it’s too late and shameful to go back. What happens later is some kind of "trauma-bonding" with the oppressor similar to the Stockholm syndrome. Some of these people turn to extremism in their anxiety to make virtue of necessity!
For the media and politicians of the left persuasion, Hindu views opposing conversion and blatant Hindu-baiting by minority communities, cross the high threshold of expression to hate speech that can be legitimately prosecuted while that of Xians and Muslims, however offensive, do not! The media can’t criticize Islam’s unreformed insistence on global domination. If Islam gets offended it would push the faithful to go trigger-happy, with Kalashnikovs, grenades and long knives. The ‘free’ press leapfrogs to protect “peace-loving” “secular” Islamist who needed only our “understanding”! If the Christian Church is offended, the enormous funds flowing through NGOs will stop irrigating the watering holes of the Fourth Estate! The Hindu majority is very much in a minority position, one that risks social and political ostracism, if not outright harassment if its case is defended! !The Hindu offers a lower cost of displeasure and danger than the others if censured, stigmatised and denounced! How long can the Hindus chant Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti with conviction?