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PHOTOS: Proxy baptism of Mahatma Gandhi by US church

Last updated on: February 29, 2012 08:12 IST

PHOTOS: Proxy baptism of Mahatma Gandhi by US church

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Mahatma Gandhi has been baptised in proxy by a United States church, drawing sharp reaction from his grandson and others.

Gandhi was baptised by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, headquartered in Salt Lake City in Utah on March 27, 1996; the confirmation of which was completed on November 17, 2007 at Sao Paulo Brazil Temple, according to researcher Helen Radkey.

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Image: Mahatma Gandhi was baptised on March 27, 1996 at the Salt Lake Mormon Church
Photographs: Reuters

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is more popularly known as Mormon Church, one of the fastest growing churches in the US.

Mitt Romney, the leading Republican Presidential hopeful; Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; and John Huntsman, former US ambassador to China, are among the few top Mormons.

Radkey, who has now been excommunicated by the Mormons, made the revelation in an e-mail to Nevada-based Hindu activist, Rajan Zed.


Image: The baptismal font in the Salt Lake temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


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Proxy baptism of Mahatma Gandhi by US church

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In the email, Radkey, who is from Salt Lake City, said she viewed the record on baptism of Gandhi on February 16 but it had since disappeared and was no longer available in the database of the church.

It was unusual for a record to vanish, said Radkey, who of late has been in news because of bringing out in the public similar unknown facts and secrets of the Mormon Church.




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"I have not come across other Indian leaders baptised by Mormons. My copies of the Gandhi record are dated February 16, 2012. The record disappeared shortly after that date. I assume Mormons did not want others to know about Gandhi's baptism," she told PTI.

Arun Gandhi, a grandson of Gandhi who lives in Upstate New York, told The Huffington Post that he was "surprised" to hear about the posthumous baptism.

"It bothers me in the sense that people are doing something when a person is dead and gone and there is nobody to answer for that person. That's not the right thing to do," he was quoted as saying.


Image: Mahatma Gandhi with Manu and Abha, his grandnieces
Photographs: Getty Images

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Arun, who teaches non-violence in the US, noted that his grandfather was against proselytising of any kind, whether it involved Hindus or others.

"He thought people must decide for themselves which religion they want to follow and they should follow that religion. It's not up to others to force them. He was respectful of all the religions," he said.


Photographs: Getty Images

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Proxy baptism of Mahatma Gandhi by US church

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"This is deeply offensive," said Suhag Shukla of the Washington-based Hindu America Foundation, adding that Gandhi was against proselytising.

"The proxy baptism of Mahatma Gandhi is deeply offensive, not only to Gandhi's legacy as a devout Hindu, but to Hindus world over," Shukla told PTI.

Zed said, following the revelation, he wrote to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints president Thomas S Monson on February 24, but has not received any answer yet. "Monson should apologise for this. He also needs to explain how this happened."


Image: Gandhi was against proselytising, said Gandhi's grandson Arun
Photographs: Getty Images

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