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|February 4, 1999||
'Hindu organisations are involved in social work'
How Readers reacted to Varsha Bhosle's recent columns
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 20:01:24 +0500
I think Varsha has done a great job by bringing out the facts on the 'good' work done by the missionaries. Let me share why our so-called 'intellectuals' and 'secular' journalists do not write what Varsha has written. Simply because most of them have gone to these missionary schools where they were taught to respect Jesus.
They were also taught that India and Indian culture is great but Europe, its culture and Christianity is better and more practical. This is called subtle conversion, which has been done to an entire class of people in the country. Unfortunately they are the ones who form the majority of the ruling and journalistic classes.
I have taken a vow never to send my children to these missionary schools, which are rightly known as convents, the schools that teach religion. I request all you secular readers to follow suit and put your children in real secular English medium schools like the DPS, National Public, Sri Kumarans etc. Let our children respect the greatness of India.
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 08:00:03 PST
Excellent article. Keep it up, Varsha.
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 11:13:23 -0500
I have been reading the various columns written by Ms Bhosle and the responses by her fans and her enemies. Some of them are good arguments. However, lots of them are simply meaningless rambling. Varsha is sincere, forthright and courageous, and some of her emotions I can very easily connect. What I don't understand is the fact that we Hindus try to pretend that unless we maintain the status quo, Hindu society would crumble and therefore, things should go on like this. Has anyone sincerely thought about the root cause of Hindu society's ills and suggest a way out?
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 14:40:40 -0500
Lots of discussion going on about conversion. Could Rediff please ask some experts to shed light on "Why Hindus by nature are so opposed to conversion?" You see, the point I am trying to make is, there are predominantly Christian countries, Guyana and Malaysia for instance where Hinduism has thrived over the years, suggesting Christianity is more tolerant toward practice of freedom of religion. I am sure most of your readers would like to read articles on this human behaviour.
By the way, the religious demography of Guyana is 35% Hindu, 50% Christian, 10% Muslim.
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 11:54:52 -0800 (PST)
Your piece is a lopsided approach to a not-so-significant issue. Agreed, under the banner of secularism, the Omniscient have got away with infractions. Isn't this universally applicable? Are we then to ignore the saffron garb packaged crimes? Are these infractions pardonable?
Secondly, are those responsible for continuing stratification of Indian society excluded from your definition of miscreants? May be, it is too disturbing a fact for you to accept the years of tyranny and torture rural Indian faces/d due to Brahminisation. Isn't that a gruesome crime? Isn't this a good enough reason for "stepping on others toes"? Why do you think this must be ignored and conversions condemned?
Because it is simple. By not accepting responsibility and certainly unwilling to forgo the acquired glory, the upper caste or upper echelons will do anything in their control to crush every action threatening their status.
Varsha, your insensitivity is obvious from the big laundry list of "crimes" you quote. Again, I emphasise, why do you overlook the atrocities, torture, rape, murder, extortion, fear, and hooliganism currently enveloping India? I guess we will need volumes to fill crimes committed under each of these heads. However, with the blessings of its sister organisation (enjoying the helm of affairs), the Bajrang Dal, VHP, RSS, and the ilk have found renewed strength and out to expose the Omniscient. Please. Let's set our homes right first. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others!
India does not need another religious cold war. Awareness and Action is the need of the hour. The torturer, murderer, extortionist, and the rapist need to be exposed. Unfortunately, who will bell the cat? Because the so-called " upper caste" fattened and used to torturing are the ones who control power. Will they then want the nuns and padris to create awareness and empower the underprivileged? No, because, it is a direct threat to their THRONE and acquired power.
Rather than mimicking the missionaries' goals and involving in constructive activities, they will indulge in targeting the doers. And the best way to do this is give it a religious connotation -- in this case conversion because Indians are gullible. It does not need a rocket scientist to figure that if the missionaries (only) goal was conversion through allurement, then by now 70% of the population would be Christians. Get it right Ms Bhosle. We need activists to overthrow the Thackerays, Advanis, Rithambaras, Sawarajs, and the Yadavs. Why do you think it is the privilege of some to torture the rest?
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 13:58:19 -0800 (PST)
I normally do not read Varsha's articles as they are often full of rhetoric. But I want to thank Rediff as well as Varsha for this well researched article, which tells us the other side of the story with documentary evidences. I, however, do not fully agree with the author, when she writes "Be constructive: Force Hindu temple trusts to do what the Church does. Where do all their zillions go? In laddoos and pedhas? ...".
This seems to suggest that Hindu organisations only shout at Christian missionaries and they themselves do nothing for the welfare of weaker and neglected section of Hindu society. It is true that temples should play a greater role in the reconstruction of society. However, a number of Hindu organisations are involved in grass root social work for the upliftment of the weaker sections of the society. Some such organisations are the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Seva Bharti, Vikas Bharti in Bihar, R K Mission and Swadhyay Parivar. And these organisations are running thousands of schools, dispensaries and similar other projects under developed and remote areas. They have also been given various awards by their respective state governments for their excellent services. While everyone knows about the social work being done by Christian missionaries, hardly few Indians know about the Hindu organisations as their work never gets media coverage. For the last several years, I myself am supporting a tribal child in Rajasthan through the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram.
I want to quote a very inspiring example wherein about 15 NRIs, including 5 young couples, sold bhel puri during the Independence Day fair last year in the Los Angeles area. These volunteers themselves bore the cost of raw material and transportation. All the profit was sent to the India Develop and Relief Fund (USA), which supports some of the above mentioned social organisations in India.
The above example is not an isolated one. There are many service-oriented people in our society and some of them are silently playing their role in actual constructive work. But most do not know about such genuine organisations. I request the journalists and columnists not to indulge in partisan views and criticism alone, but also highlight the selfless constructive workers and organisations, so that more and more people get the inspiration to join them. Then only we can build a better India.
Dr Rajni Garg Pomona College, California
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:22:30 -0700
I have to agree with Varsha Bhosle on this: rather than rail against the missionaries, why don't wealthy temples such as Tirupati ("The Vatican of the East") subsidise the establishment of hospitals, schools, and other such welfare institutions throughout the country for the betterment of our poor?
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:24:11 -0800 (PST)
Varsha wrote a lot of truth in her article, but ended with the statement. "If you don't have the zeal and the intellect to beat missionaries at their own game, don't whine, you ninnies. And don't brawl, either, for you play right into their international hands. Be constructive."
This is based on the incorrect and somewhat popular misconception that Hindu organisations are not involved in social work. This is far from the truth! The largest tribal organisation in India is a Hindu organisation -- Vavanvasi Kalyan Ashram. They have almost 8,000 projects all throughout India. Last February (before Dangs became international) I saw their activities in that district. They are running several schools, providing medical care, running mobile clinics. They work at one with the tribals in that area. In fact there's really no distinction between the tribals and workers of the parishad. In that same area a close friend of my family (an NRI like myself) retired early from his highly successful business and now works full time with the poor in these areas. These cases are not exceptional. In fact the majority of long lasting positive social change has been performed by Hindu organisations. If I have a gripe, it's that these organisations do not receive any real press coverage and that the workers of these organisations normally don't go out of their way to advertise what they are doing.
By the way, I was so impressed with the work of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram that I made a web page on Rediff: http://members.rediff.com/chetang
Chetan Gandhi USA
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 23:56:39 PST
All the stories that you have given are true, it's really sad that it had happened. But the bottom line is that we are Indians. If you are going to make an issue out of it based on religion it's bad for the country and for all Indians. I honestly believe secularism is the one and only good point in our country which carries us into the 21st century. Else we don't have anything to say for ourselves.
With people like you willing to feed fuel to fire there will always be no end to what's going on in our country. I don't mind even if a fascist ruler comes to the country only if he's able to lift our country to heights we have not seen in a long time. Give me one leader and if you want to become one be it, but please spare the bullshit and carryon with writing what would be beneficial for the country. For one state's not going to give an general impression on what's the truth. You could not write anything bad about people who are opposed to saying Vande mataram at school, why are you writing about people who are just turning the other cheek to you? My name is Xavier and they call me Raj.
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 12:38:24 -0700 (MST)
Dear Varsha Bhosle,
I am a regular reader of your column and almost every one is very impressive. Great Job. Your column "Mysteries of digital life" is good. But the only thing I feel so bad after reading this column is the last paragraph. I am not happy with some of the words you used in there. Well, those may be the ones you might use commonly, but it doesn't sound good when it comes to publishing. It is true that we are learning a lot from America, but it is not good or healthy for our culture to learn the dirty way they speak. I, and many readers like me, will be very happy if you could refrain from such filthy language in your future columns.
Thanks for your time.
Date: 28 Jan 1999 14:50:49 -0500
I don't understand why Indians are so hung up on what the US has to say? We don't care what Pakistan or Sri Lanka says about us?
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 16:01:57 -0500
Here is an eye-opener: In an inter-office communique of the Methodist Church dated April 6, 1971 Blaise Levai, after his trip, reports about 'Some Observations About India'. He writes: "Church growth continues: Bishop Eric Mitchel, for example, stated that in his district last year more than 10,000 converts were made in large mass conversion services. He cautioned, however, this was not for public information since the Government of India would immediately send officials to check on such proceedings."
Now if these clandestine conversions were not by fraud, inducement or allurement then why Bishop Mitchel would bbe so afraid of the public and the Government of India as stated above? This was reported 28 years ago about one missionary there in one district alone. Multiply this number by say 28, 30 or 50 years for hundreds of missionaries actively doing so throughout the country and you might get some idea of what the VHP, Bal Thackeray or Shiv Sena is trying to expose.
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 15:53:28 -0600
Issue-less, wastage of space and time. Written for the sake of writing something and highly inconsistent. It shows absolute ignorance. I wonder if you could at least decide the fields and topics about which you can write intelligently. Imagine a person calling a PC "shit piece" in an article posted on the very same medium. You irritate me, Varsha.
Rediff guys, please get rid of this person. I can assure you that you will be loosing a lot of readers b'coz of writers like Varsha.
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 18:07:32 -0500
Ms Bhosle's article was, I felt, the rant of an ignorant person. Obviously, all these digital interruptions to her are beyond her understanding. To question technological progress especially those in the electronic & telecommunications fields are the exclamations of a person that has neither the time nor patience to appreciate them.
Frankly, I failed to see the point of the article. Communication is essential to human beings, technology has all been about communicating effectively. It's ironic to be able to read this article over the Internet. I'm sure she would not have imagined such prompt responses a few decades ago.
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 18:15:39 -0500
My first words about this article: Thought-provoking; and undoubtedly very well written, with the condiments of humour. However, I did feel that there were slight exaggerations when concerning westerners and cellulars.
Bottomline: I like it... and am looking forward to more like this.
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 17:47:32 -0600
"It's strange that in all my travels in the West, I never even noticed the mobile phone. Perhaps not so strange, for Westerners have an in-built horror of trespassing upon other people's space. Here, we haven't heard of the concept. Thing is, the cellphone's not an instrument of work. Along with being the ultimate status symbol, it's a psychological crutch. When you see women strolling through markets with it in hand (when their handbags can accommodate at least a dozen), they're saying: See? Not only can I afford to dish out Rs 80 for a call, but I'm also a popular, needed person. That it's an incredibly stupid price to pay in place of the Rs 2 call, is neither here nor there."
Living in the "West" I can attest to the fact that there are plenty of mobile phones on display if you only tried not to walk around with eyes closed. As to the cheap shot at Indian psyche, aren't Indians a soft target for everybody, especially Indians. All in all, the article is gratuitous, and self-indulgent, and doesn't justify the space it is published in. Perhaps you were short of ideas? Usually your articles are more readable than this, Varsha.
Date: Fri, 29 Jan 1999 08:34:29 +0100
Well, here in Erlangen, Germany, quite a large percentage of population use mobile phone. And in many other cities of Europe also I have seen considerable use of mobile phones. I guess, in Europe, they don't consider calling someone over mobile phone as intrusion to that person's privacy.
Dr Supratik Bose
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