Debating India


RSS and Christians


Wednesday 3 December 2003, by NOORANI*A.G.

Article paru dans Frontline, vol.15, n?26, Dec. 19, 1998 - Jan. 01, 1999.

The Sangh Parivar’s violent hatred against Christianity is deep-rooted and decades old, as is the case with its animosity against several other communities.

ON December 4, 1998, nearly 23 million Christians across the country observed a protest day demanding that the governments at the Centre and in the States check the growing violence against members of the community. A letter of protest, drawn up by the United Christians’ Forum for Human Rights (UCFHR), said: "Since January 1998 there has been more violence against the Christian community than in all the 50 years of the country’s Independence. Nuns have been raped, priests executed, Bibles burnt, churches demolished, educational institutions destroyed and religious people harassed." This is persecution in the strict dictionary meaning of the word "pursue with enmity and ill-treatment". Mabel Rebello of the Congress(I) told the Rajya Sabha that day that "50 per cent of these (incidents) have occurred in Gujarat where the BJP is in power".

On October 8, Gujarat’s Director-General of Police, C.P. Singh, confirmed in an interview to Teesta Setalvad, co-editor of Communalism Combat (October 1998): "One thing was clear in the pattern of incidents. It was the activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal who were taking the law into their own hands, which posed a serious danger to peace in Gujarat. Many of the attacks on the minorities were after these organisations had whipped up local passions of conversions (by Christian missionaries) and allegedly forced inter-religious marriages... our investigations revealed that in most cases these were entirely baseless allegations."

Two disturbing features of the campaign stand out in bold relief. One is that the attacks mounted steeply after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Government assumed office in March 1998. The Archbishop of Delhi, Alan de Lastic, said: "What I have noticed is that ever since this Government came to power at the Centre, the attacks on Christians and Christian missionaries have increased" (Sunday, November 22). The other is the Government’s wilful refusal to condemn them. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s remarks on December 5 were virtually forced out of him. Union Home Minister L.K. Advani has been false to his oath of office ("do right to all manner of people in accordance with the Constitution and the law without fear or favour, affection or ill-will"). He said in Baroda on August 2 (The Hindu, August 3): "There is no law and order problem in Gujarat." Three days later the DGP said, according to The Hindustan Times (August 6), that "the VHP and the Bajrang Dal were taking the law into their own hands." He also said that incidents of communal violence had increased manifold over the last few months; recently the crime rate in the State had increased by as much as 9.6 per cent. On an average, 39 crimes of serious nature like murder, rape and dacoity were reported in the State every day." A member of the investigation team sent by the Minorities Commission revealed: "After initial reluctance, the officials named VHP and Bajrang Dal allegedly involved in the mob attacks on Christians and Muslims" (The Indian Express, August 12). Advani’s certificate of good conduct speaks for itself.

Christians did not rush to register their protest, as they did on December 4, but for long kept pleading for succour. On October 1, the national secretary of the All India Catholic Union (AICU), John Dayal, pointedly remarked: "The AICU is surprised that Union Government and members of the ruling coalition, including the BJP, have not come out categorically in denouncing the violence against Christians."

The Bajrang Dal has threatened Christian-run educational institutions in Karnataka with dire consequences if they did not "Hinduise" them. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Rajendra Singh declared at an RSS camp in Meerut on November 22: "Muslims and Christians will have to accept Hindu culture as their own if Hindus are to treat them as Indians" (an Agence France Presse: report in The Asian Age; November 23). The UCFHR bitterly complained in an open letter published on November 19: "The state has failed to do its duty in protecting the life, dignity and property of the victims. At many places, it seems as if the Centre and the State governments have tacitly supported the communal groups. How is it otherwise that the State governments have not taken any action against the virulent and anti-national statements of the VHP, RSS, Jagran Manch and Bajrang Dal? " (emphasis added, throughout).

While the Sangh Parivar’s animosity towards Muslims is well-known, its attitude towards Christians has taken many people by surprise. But, Vishwa Hindu Parishad general secretary Giriraj Kishore said in Chandigarh on November 25: "Today the Christians constitute a greater threat than the collective threat from separatist Muslim elements." Describing G. S. Tohra, president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, as a "separatist", he said, "all minorities including Muslims and Christians must accept that their ancestors were Hindus." Ergo, they must all return to the Hindu fold.

Violence in speech inevitably inspires violent acts. As the Jaganmohan Reddy Commission that went into the Ahmedabad riots (1969) noted, once communal tension is created in a city, all that is needed is "only a match to set on fire and a fan to fan the city ablaze." Riots erupt over trifling incidents only because the atmosphere has been fouled up. Hence, the need for "a proper appreciation of the communal atmosphere in a State, in a town or in any particular area," the Commission stressed. Those who spread hate are the real perpetrators of violence. The ones who wield the weapon are their mindless agents.

We have tended to ignore a fact that brooks no neglect - the real cause of the communal riots is the rise of the Sangh Parivar. There was communal peace even in the early years after Partition. A Home Ministry review presented to the National Integration Council in 1968 noted: "From 1954 to 1960, there was a clear and consistent downward trend, 1960 being a remarkably good year with only 26 communal incidents in the whole country. This trend was sharply reversed in 1961." That was when riots erupted in Jabalpur - thanks to the Jan Sangh, the BJP’s ancestor. Communal violence has not "looked back" since.

Justice P. Venugopal, a former Judge of the Madras High Court, who inquired into Hindu-Christian clashes in Kanyakumari district in March 1982, noted: "The RSS adopts a militant and aggressive attitude and sets itself as the champion of what it considers to be the rights of Hindus against minorities. It has taken upon itself the task to teach the minority their place and if they are not willing to learn their place, teach them a lesson. The RSS has given respectability to communalism and communal riots and demoralise administration (sic). The RSS methodology for provoking communal violence is: (a) rousing communal feelings in the majority community by the propaganda that Christians are not loyal citizens of this country..." Report after report has indicted the RSS specifically or its affiliates (Ahmedabad 1969; Bhiwandi 1970; Tellicherry 1971; Jamshedpur 1981; and Mumbai 1993).

VIOLENCE is an integral part of the RSS credo. "It should be used as a surgeon’s knife... to cure the society... Sometimes to protect non-violence itself violence becomes necessary," RSS leader M.S. Golwalkar said in 1952. (Spotlights: Guruji Answers, pages 110 and 188). In his fine work India as a Secular State, Donald Eugene Smith recalled the desecration of a church in Bihar in 1955 and the almost total destruction in 1957 of the Gass Memorial Centre at Raipur.

V.D. Savarkar wrote repeatedly in his book Hindutva (1923): "Hindutva is different from Hinduism." For once, he was right. Hinduism is a great religion, it is ancient. Hindutva is an ideology of hate. It is recent. He grouped Muslims and Christians together as ones who do not share "the tie of the common homage we pay to our great civilisation - our Hindu culture." He added: "Christian and Mohammedan communities who were but very recently Hindus... cannot be recognised as Hindus as since their adoption of the new cult they had ceased to own Hindu civilisation (Sanskriti) as a whole... For though Hindusthan to them is Fatherland, as to any other Hindu, yet it is not to them a Holyland too. Their holyland is far off in Arabia or Palestine."

They are not the only offenders: "Look at the Jews; neither centuries of prosperity nor sense of gratitude for the shelter they found can make them more attached or even equally attached to the several countries they inhabit."

Golwalkar revealed on May 15, 1963 that his first book We or Our Nationhood Defined was based on Savarkar’s brother Babarao’s book in Marathi on the same theme, Rashtra Mimamsa. Golwalkar’s second book, Bunch of Thoughts, praised the book Hindutva and amplified its ideology. The BJP has used it as a political weapon with dangerous consequences. Chapter XII of Bunch of Thoughts is devoted to three "Internal Threats" - Muslims, Christians and the Communists. Of the first two he wrote: "Together with the change in their faith, gone are the spirit of love and devotion for the nation. Nor does it end there. They have also developed a feeling of identification with the enemies of this land. They look to some foreign lands as their holy places." They are asked to return to the Hindu fold.

Not that that will be of much help. "For a Hindu, he gets the first sanskar when he is still in his mother’s womb... We are, therefore, born as Hindus. About the others, they are born to this world as simple unnamed human beings and later on, either circumcised or baptised, they become Muslims or Christians." The hatred is unconcealed. They have no right to proselytise. Hindus alone have it, for, "returning to one’s ancestral faith is not conversion at all, it is merely home-coming."

Bunch of Thoughts first appeared in 1966 but the good work has been stepped up since. To the three "internal threats", a fourth is added - "Nehruism" - and among the perils we face is "Macaulayism". In Delhi functions an outfit, Voice of India, which proclaims: "We are not general booksellers and handle only books listed in this catalogue. Please do not ask for other books." It is an outfit with a mission. For the catalogue has an "appeal" which reads thus: "Hindu society and culture are faced with a crisis. There is a united front of entrenched alien forces - Islam, Christianity, Communism, Nehruism - to disrupt and discredit the perennial values of the Indian ethos. All who care for India need to know what is happening, and what is to be done if a major tragedy is to be averted. Voice of India aims at providing an ideological defence of Hindu society and culture, through a series of publications."

SOME people were surprised by Advani’s assertion at a seminar on November 6 at Sarnath that "the Buddha did not announce any new religion. He was only restating with a new emphasis the ancient ideals of the Indo-Aryan civilisation." The Buddha, he added, derived his teaching from the Bhagvad Gita and was an avatar of Vishnu. Rebuttals from Buddhists were swift and sharp (see "Hindutva’s fallacies and fantasies", Frontline, December 4, 1998).

However, no one familiar with the stuff churned out by this factory, for over four decades, would have been surprised. Its literature is intolerant of any cultural and religious diversity. It fosters a siege mentality among Hindus and speaks disparagingly of all others - not excluding Sikhs and Jews. That is not all. A Hindu who does not share its bigotry is attacked as being "anti-Hindu". Its literature represents the spirit, outlook and ethos of the Sangh Parivar. The writings cited below reveal a revolting virulence. Its moving spirit is one Sita Ram Goel.

The Parivar’s organ Organiser only recently (October 18, 1998) published a paper he had written in 1983. He wrote: "The English-educated Hindu elite which controls the commanding heights in government, educational institutions and mass media has failed the test either because it has become indifferent to Hindu society, as a result of having imbibed the current cosmopolitan culture, or because it has been trained to look at Hindu society through eyes which are not of its own ancestral culture and, as a result, has become sceptical about, if not actually hostile to, the merits of Hindu society. This desperate situation has been made more difficult by a degenerate politics through which vote-hungry, sloganised, short-sighted and nominally Hindu politicians weaken Hindu society by dividing it on the basis of caste, sect, language and region, disarm Hindu society by sanctimonious and one-sided appeals in the name of traditional Hindu tolerance, strengthen alienated and aggressive communities by supporting their separatist demands in the name of secularism." His intolerance brings all within the sway of his indictment, bar the Parivar itself.

TO return to Advani’s notions on Buddhism, a pamphlet entitled "Buddhism vis-a-vis Hinduism" published 40 years ago by Ram Swarup for the outfit asserts: "Buddha, his spiritual experiences and teachings, formed part of a Hindu tradition... A good Buddhist has perforce to be a good Hindu too." He went on to attack "foreign" religions. "The indigenous religions of the countries of the two Americas have been completely overwhelmed. In the African sub-continent (sic) the local religions are under a systematic attack from Islamic and Christian ideologies." The Parivar takes a dim view of the United States.

Golwalkar was asked in July 1967: "What is your opinion about present-day America? " There was lot to comment about - racial conflict, Vietnam policy, and so on. All he could say was: "Do you not yourself see that the American youth is fast dissipating himself in all kinds of sensual indulgence? " Simplistic, sweeping, defamatory judgment comes easily to the tribe.

Ram Swarup’s tract Hinduism vis-a-vis Christianity and Islam continued his refrain about "native" faiths. "What is happening in India is also happening elsewhere. In America even the vestiges of once (sic), a rich spiritual culture of the Indians, is no more." He developed the theme in its sequel Hindu View of Christianity and Islam (1992). "The two ideologies have been active and systematic persecutors of pagan nations, cultures and religions... We have spoken here with sympathy and respect not only of pagan Americas and Africa but also of the pagan past of Egypt, Greece, Rome, Iran, Syria and Arabia." V.S. Naipaul is in good company with the Sangh Parivar. Unlike him, it indicts Christianity as well as Islam on this score.

"Hinduism can help all peoples seeking religious self-renewal, for it preserves in some way their old Gods and religions, it preserves in its various layers religious traditions and intuitions they have lost. Many countries now under Christianity and Islam had once great religions; they also had great Gods who adequately fulfilled their spiritual and ethical needs... during the long period of neglect, they lost the knowledge which could revive those Gods, Hinduism can help them with this knowledge. In its simplest aspect, Europeans can best study their old pre-Christian religion by studying Hinduism."

Ram Swarup goes on to quote approvingly: "Gore Vidal says that from a ’barbaric Bronze Age text known as Old Testament, three anti-human religions have evolved - Judaism, Christianity and Islam’; he also calls them ’sky-god religions’."

Ram Swarup damns all three religions as "great persecutors". The Hindu response of old was wrong. He writes:

"First, they tried to ’reform’ themselves and be like their rulers... One God, a revealed Book and prophets.... The Brahmo Samaj, the Arya Samaj, and the Akalis also claimed monotheism and iconoclasm ... in the case of the Akalis, the new look has also become the basis of a new separatist-militant politics....

"The second way the Hindus adopted was that of ’synthesis’. The synthesizers claimed that all religions preach the same thing. They found in the Bible and the Quran all the truths of the Upanishads and vice versa. They culled passages from various scriptures to prove their point... It is by such methods that they proved that the Bible and the Quran were no different from the Upanishads...."

The wrath wells up as he proceeds and delivers a message which explains why the country has had to undergo what it has all these years, especially since 1990: "India became politically free in 1947, but it is ruled by anti-Hindu Hindus. The old mental slavery continues and it has yet to win its cultural and intellectual independence. India is entering into the second phase of its freedom struggle; the struggle for regaining its Hindu identity. The new struggle is as difficult as the old one. Hindus are disorganised, self-alienated, morally and ideologically disarmed. They lack leadership; the Hindu elites have become illiterate about their spiritual heritage and history and indifferent and even hostile towards their religion... India’s higher education, its academia and media are in the hands of a Hindu-hating elite."

Note what Ram Swarup has to say of the caste system:

"Once when Hinduism was strong, castes represented a natural and healthy diversity, but now in its present state of weakness these are used for its dismemberment. Old vested interests joined by new ones have come together to make use of the caste factor in a big way in order to keep Hindus down.

"Hindus have been kept down too long. Everyone including the victims think that it is the natural order of things. Therefore, now when the Hindu society is showing some signs of stir, there is a great consternation. Already a cry has gone out of Hindu fundamentalism, we must expect more of it in future." The readers have been warned. But India will not be the only country to be saved. "America is awaiting to be rediscovered in a characteristically Hindu way, not the Christian way".

THIS represents a worse-than-narrow world-view. It is redolent of the bigotry of medieval times. This book was published in 1992. His earlier pamphlet, "Cultural Self-Alienation and Some Problems Hinduism Faces", also characterised "castes and denominations" as expressing a "natural and healthy diversity". The ignorance is astounding. "To Marx, the British conquest of India was a blessing." Hinduism faces attacks "both from inside and outside. While the forces of self-alienation are increasing within society, external enemies have intensified their attack.... Communism, Islam, Christianity have powerful international links... their World-Centres. Commu-nists have their Comintern working overtly or covertly." By 1987, Ram Swarup ought to have known that the Comintern was dissolved on May 22, 1943 and that the "Islamic International, a kind of Muslim Vatican, Rabitah al’-alam al-Iscaniya" (Muslim World League) is a Saudi-sponsored non-governmental organisation (1962) which counts for little in India. Hindus, by comparison, are at a disadvantage, he moans. "They do not even have a government of their own." Socially, they are falling prey to "vulgarity"; that is, "gambling, drinking, vulgar film music... Cinemas (sic) are becoming great moral and social pollutants."

So, combat these and go over to the offensive and "look at Islam, Christianity and Communism... from the Hindu angle." Sikhs are not spared. Ram Swarup adopts a dual approach in Hindu-Sikh Relationship (1985). He woos them as "the members of Hindu society" and denounces them for thinking that "they were different". Base motives are freely attributed: "Thanks to the Green Revolution and various other factors, the Sikhs have become relatively more rich and prosperous. No wonder, they have begun to find that the Hindu bond is not good enough for them and they seek a new identity readily available to them in their names and outer symbols. This is an understandable human frailty."

He defends the storming of the Golden Temple. It "became an arsenal, a fort, a sanctuary for criminals. This grave situation called for necessary action which caused some unavoidable damage to the building." There followed "protest meetings, resolutions", which he deprecates. "The whole thing created wide-spread resentment all over India which burst into a most unwholesome violence when Mrs. Indira Gandhi was assassinated. The befoggers have again got busy and they explain the whole tragedy in terms of collusion between the politicians and the police. But this conspiracy theory cannot explain the range and the virulence of the tragedy. A growing resentment at the arrogant Akali politics is the main cause of this fearful happening."

This is of a piece with the Organiser’s defence of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination in its editorial (January 11, 1970) - "turned the people’s wrath on himself." Its editor then, K.R. Malkani, is now vice-president of the BJP.

SITA RAM GOEL does not lag behind. His pamphlet "Hindu Society under Siege" (1981) paints a frightening future: "The death of Hindu society is no longer an eventuality which cannot be envisaged. This great society is now besieged by the same dark and deadly forces which have overwhelmed and obliterated many ancient societies. Suffering from a loss of its elan, it has become a house divided within itself... Hindu society is in mortal danger as never before."

One is reminded of the loonies of California, the minutemen who lived in dread of a Soviet conquest of the U.S. The familiar ghosts of old are revived - "Islamism", "Christianism" and a new one to keep them company, "Macaulay-ism" (the educated Hindu who rejects the Parivar’s voodoo credo and the mumbo-jumbo of its shrill rhetoric).

"Ideologically, Communism in India is, in several respects, a sort of extension of Macaulayism, a residue of British rule. That is why Communism is strongest today in those areas where Macaulayism had spread its widest spell." In no other parts of the country, though, are Indian languages and culture more highly respected than in West Bengal and Kerala. "Macaulayism is wedded to Secularism and Democracy. It has to find out for itself as to who are the enemies of Secularism and Democracy and who their best friends. This can be done only by looking beyond the United Front of Islamism, Communism and Christianism."

In the U.S., the minutemen belonged to the lunatic fringe. In India, the Parivar’s ideology is espoused by the party in power, even if it be through dubious alliances. Scruples are not the Parivar’s strongpoint. On April 4, 1980, L.K. Advani and A.B. Vajpayee endorsed a formulation in the National Executive of the Janata Party which pledged its members to accept "unconditionally and strive to preserve the composite culture and secular state established in our country." After splitting the Janata Party both rejected the concept of India’s "composite culture." On April 8, 1998, at the BJP’s Agra session, its then president, Advani, denounced the concept of composite culture - just as the Jan Sangh had done in December 1969.

HARSH NARAIN was a Visiting Professor at Aligarh Muslim University and Reader at the North-Eastern Hill University. His Myths of Composite Cultural and Equality of Religions (1990) reveals the unspoken thoughts of the Parivar; the sub-text beneath the avowed text.

"Mere permanent settlement in a country does not entitle a plunderer to be looked upon as indigenous. It must first be seen whose interests he is out to serve. What is his attitude towards Indians? Take an example. European settlers entered America and ruined the original inhabitants, whom they named ’Red Indians’. To expect the remaining Red Indians to regard their European-born rulers as equally indigenous would be a cruel joke beyond their understanding.

"Islam was out to deal a death blow to the equilibrium, exuberance, and cosmopolitan character of Indian humanity, later designated as Hindu culture in juxtaposition to Indian culture."

To him, the Taj and the Qutub Minar are specimens exclusively of Muslim, not Indian, sculpture. For, he holds: "The Muslims have been religiously indifferent to, if not contemptuous of, Indian sculpture. Thanks to the taste of the Sufis, the Muslims took some fancy to Indian music. The main gamut of Indian literature has also been untinged with Muslim literature and historic-cultural allusions... Urdu language and literature, the much-vaunted symbols or vehicles of composite culture, are not the result of intermingling of Hinduism and Islam but reflected the Muslim image in Indian garb... nor have the Hindu heroes and servants been fortunate enough to be honoured by the Muslim community."

This can only be deliberate falsehood, since he flaunts familiarity with Urdu. The much-maligned Iqbal wrote whole poems in praise of the Buddha, Ram, Guru Nanak, and Swami Ram Tirtha. He was an admirer of the Sanskrit poet, Bhartruhari, and had drunk deep at the fount of the Gita and the Upanishads. Another great poet, Maulana Hasrat Mohani, a confirmed leftist, wrote nostalgically of the soil of Mathura and in praise of Krishna. He was also an ardent admirer of Bal Gangadhar Tilak. But this is understandable of one who stoops to libel one of the greatest mystics and martyrs of all time, Mansur al-Hallaj. He was beheaded and his life forms the subject of the feat of scholarship, Louis Massignon’s four-volume The Passion of al-Hallaj. He is accused of converting to Islam "the Dudwalas and Pinjaris of Gujarat." No authority is cited in support of the charge.

Harsh Narain holds that while "a sizable section of the Sufis had been comparatively free from the proverbial emphasis on coercion ... the role of Sufi tradition in bridging the gulf between Islam and Hinduism or laying the foundations of a composite culture has been greatly exaggerated."

All this and more only in order to expose "the mad propaganda of composite culture" and to prove that "Muslim culture cannot be said to be an integral part of Indian culture and must be regarded as an anticulture or counter culture in our body politic." This is no different from the RSS chief’s demand (November 22, 1998) that the minorities Hinduise themselves.

The author turns his attention to Jainism ("failed to develop any cultural identity of its own") and Buddhism ("basically a life-negating religion, having little interest in social order, strictly speaking"). Conclusion? "Our national culture, Indian culture, is a unity describable as Aryan culture, Hindu culture... Indian culture is Hindu culture... Muslim and Christian cultures are counter-cultures." And Parsi culture is "something like" a sub-culture.

So "Hindu culture alone deserves the credit of recognition as the national culture (abhimanin) of this country, as the culture owning and possessing this great nation, along with other Indian-born cultures like Buddhist and Jain cultures as its sub-cultures; Muslim and Christian cultures being in the nature of tenant-cultures. The distinction of master-possessor-owner culture and tenant-parasitic culture has its own significance." One can guess what he is hinting at.

Sita Ram Goel writes in the same vein. His ardour is reflected in his three books Catholic Ashrams, Papacy and History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (304-1996). His preface to the second edition (1996) of the book on Hindu-Christian encounters explains a lot: "The Sangh Parivar, which had turned cold towards Hindu causes over the years, was startled by the rout of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 1984 elections, and decided to renew its Hindu character. The Ramajanmabhumi Movement was the result. The Movement was aimed at arresting Islamic aggression. Christianity or its missions were hardly mentioned. Nevertheless, it was Christianity which showed the greatest concern at this new Hindu stir, and started crying ’wolf’. Its media power in the West raised a storm, saying that Hindus were out to destroy the minorities in India and impose a Nazi regime. The storm is still raging and no one knows when it will subside, if at all." Thus "the storm" was unleashed for reasons of power through election victories.

Goel’s writings alone prove that the Parivar’s ire against Christians is decades old. In an article published in March 1983 he had asserted that the ancient Hindu precept sarva dharma samabhava (all religions are equal) should not be applied to Christians or Muslims.

IT is with some hesitation that one turns to Goel’s book Jesus Christ: An Artifice for Aggression (1994); so wantonly offensive it is. The focus now is not on the missionaries, or politics, or history. The target is the faith itself; Christianity as a religion. Why? Because hitherto "we Hindus have remained occupied with the behaviour patterns of Muslims and Christians and not with the belief systems which create those behaviour patterns. We object to Christian missions, but refuse to discuss Christianity and its God, Jesus. We object to Islamic terrorisms, but refuse to have a look at Islamic and its prophet, Muhammad. I see no sense or logic in this Hindu habit."

Is there any other country in the world where such theses are written for such a purpose? One wonders. "Now, I could see why the history of Christianity had been what it had been. The source of the poison was in the Jesus of the gospels."

The Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary is attacked wantonly. There are chapters on Jesus of history, of fiction and of faith. The thesis? He did not exist in history. "The quantum of crimes committed by Muhammad’s Islam was only slightly smaller than that of the crimes committed by the Christianity of the Jesus Christ... The parallel between Jesus and Hitler was seen as still more striking. The Nazi creed, as laid down by Hitler, did not sound much different from the Christian creed as preached by Jesus in the gospels."

Goel is dismayed to find that Jesus Christ "should continue to retain his hallow" (sic) in India. "Christianity is accepted as a religion not only by the westernised Hindu elite but also by Hindu saints, scholars, and political platforms."

Jesus Christ has been "praised to the skies, particularly by Mahatma Gandhi." But, "it is high time for Hindus to learn that Jesus Christ symbolises no spiritual power, or moral uprightness. He is no more than an artifice for legitimising wanton imperialist aggression. The aggressors have found him to be highly profitable so far. By the same token, Hindus should know that Jesus means nothing but mischief for their country and culture. The West where he flourished for long, has discarded him as junk. There is no reason why Hindus should buy him. He is the type of junk that cannot be re-cycled. He can only poison the environment."

THE virulence of the language reveals the depths of the hatred. This is what Indians are up against - a powerful hate group, enjoying the patronage of many politicians in power and in the administration, which is out to wipe out all traces not only of secularism and democracy but of religious tolerance, religious and cultural diversity and, indeed, of decency itself from India.

It shall not come to pass. The answer lies not in forging a united front of the minorities; it lies in a renewal of the secular ideal in our politics and in the nation at large.

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