September 2, 2002


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Varsha Bhosle

Towards Balkanisation, IV: Catholics

Towards Balkanisation, Part I
Towards Balkanisation, Part II
Towards Balkanisation, III: Missionaries

In May, the UK-based Market & Opinion Research International published a poll which indicated that 61% Kashmiris wanted to remain Indian citizens while 6% wished to be Pakis. Although Lord Eric Reginald Avebury, the man behind the poll, has been known for his strongly pro-Pak tilt, Pakistan still called it India's "PR ploy" - which is a perfectly understandable reaction from the US's newly annexed territory. But, what would you call those Indian citizens who took umbrage at these findings...?

Take a look at these snatches: "Unfortunately, the unpublished fact was that only 9% of the people in Srinagar thought so, while 13% preferred a Pakistani citizenship. The happier figures came from Jammu... Many questions remain about the survey, including the one as to who financed it. Mori does not do things for free. Their interest at all times, it makes clear, are commercial... Interestingly, there is no record if Mori ever conducted a similar survey in PoK... [MORI's Indian partner] has reason to keep that matter confidential. The report sent by PTI and used by the India media patriotically, has larger dimensions than the ones published."

The question that pops up is: even if 80% of Srinagarvasis want to go with Pakistan, why is the non-publishing of that statistic "unfortunate"? Are we to understand that the people of a tiny part of Jammu & Kashmir must control the destiny of the entire State...? As my friend Subhash Kak put it: "Would it be right for the entire State of Michigan to be granted independence if the African-Americans of the greater Detroit region should agitate for it? Or, should just Detroit be granted independence if the African-Americans of the city start a violent campaign for it? Would it be appropriate for the US to grant independence to Miami, or allow it to become a part of a greater Cuba, just because it has a Hispanic majority?" Would any country in the world allow such a scenario to be translated into reality...?

Nope, the writer casting suspicion on MORI is not a pinko but an entity just as foul: John Dayal, national secretary of the All India Catholic Union and national convener of the United Christian Forum for Human Rights. Dayal's essay on the MORI survey is available on the website of the All India Christian Council and -- of course -- those of "dalitstan" and "khalistan." Such, then, is the role of the Catholic Church in India...

In truth, I'd have tackled a different subject this week -- but for the abusive messages from Catholic readers, who wanted it known that the Adventists, or Protestants, or Baptists, or Mormons, or whatever, are the bad guys. Which is quite hilarious. For, why would it matter to a Hindu which sect of Christianity was implicated in the latest act of poaching when ALL of them do it on a regular basis -- and Catholics, since before the others arrived?? In fact, John Dayal and his Catholic cohorts are the worst act I've ever seen! Far worse than the Muslim Board, which enters my crosshair only when its dicta on legal issues goes contrary to the Constitution. But Christian activists are a different breed - they aggressively seek to weaken Hindu society in terms of numbers as well as space.

Still, the emails went on and on about "the percentage of Christians in India still remains 2.5-3% of the Indian population" and why an 85% majority shouldn't be worried about conversion... I ask you, what's this "majority"?? Today, my mother, brother and I occupy a 3-bedroom apartment. Tomorrow, if Martians took over two bedrooms while one of them shared the single room left to us, we'd be a majority in that reduced space -- an artificially compressed majority. Once upon a time, Hindus were a majority in a far larger Hindustan. Therefore, today's "85%" not only means shit, but should also be an impetus to ensure that this space does not shrink any further. So stuff that "majority" argument where the sun doesn't shine.

Christian leaders in India have always gotten away with a lot: While Bukhari & Co get showered with scathing editorials for far less nonsense, various Bishops and Reverends don't get even a fleeting mention. Possibly because most writers come from Christian schools. Take, for instance, the July 2000 ruckus between the National Commission on Minorities and the Catholic leadership: The NCM had investigated relevant cases and affirmed that the attacks on Christians in UP and Haryana were isolated incidents, with commission member John Joseph saying that Christian militants, too, were active in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and the North-East.

Was that, is that, a lie? Or even an exaggeration? Yet, the Catholic Bishops Conference of India and the All India Catholic Congress demanded Joseph's expulsion for having "deliberately derogating Christian churches and threatening them." Truth is the one thing that our "secularists" cannot face. Hence, no op-eds.

The Parivar-atrocities-on-Christians bit, I thought, had worn thin by now. That is, before I read last week's mail on raped nuns. I don't get it: Did the "secularists" and Christian fundamentalists renounce newspapers after the initial reports on the rapes at Jhabua...?

  1. Investigations by the police -- controlled by the Congress government of MP -- revealed that all the 24 rapists of Jhabua were Bhils, 12 of them were Christian, and none was associated with the Parivar.
  2. While Jhabua was a half-truth, Jhajjar was a total lie. One newspaper, on the authority of our favourite Catholic propagandist, reported that nuns in Haryana had been raped by you-know-who. But investigations by another newspaper revealed that a mahila mandal had shouted at them for interfering in local politics - and that is all. There was no case for the police.
  3. So also, the nun of Baripada, Orissa. Forget about signs of rape, the doctors couldn't find signs even of struggle -- the marks on her body were reported to be "superficial and self-inflicted." And guess what -- the police were told that all the clothes she'd been wearing were burnt immediately after the assault. How convenient.

Nevertheless, all these cases were circulated at the international level by the Church and thugs of the Sabrang/Sahmat variety. As were the bomb blasts that rocked AP, Goa and Karnataka: The Sangh Parivar was promptly pronounced guilty by the media, till the Bangalore police -- controlled by the Congress government of Karnataka -- found it to be the handiwork of the ISI-backed Deendar Anjuman.

It's plain as pike why pinkos and Christians have been taking these fabrications to town since 1998: "With the BJP in power, Hindu extremists are able to assert themselves more stridently than ever... For years, the VHP has been organizing 'reconversion' camps. That campaign has lately been stepped up in MP, which has a large, partly Christian, tribal community" (Asiaweek, October 30, 1998). For the missionaries and the pinkos, it was essential then -- just as it's crucial now -- to totally discredit any Hindu agency that works towards getting people back into the Hindu fold. Hence the attack on the IDRF at the Congressional Committee on International Religious Freedom. (BTW, do read Ramesh Rao's article on the conspiracy against the IDRF for details on fund distribution.)

Now for some Q&A that should shed more light on my stand:

Reader James: "Do you actually think this is a laudable goal, to ensure that people do not attempt to stray from the groups into which they were born? To presume that all choices made by people in difficult circumstances are ipso facto the product of coercion?"

I'm not against conversion per se. If people absorb and thus prefer another religion, by all means, let them convert. My objection is to the deceptions missionaries use to attract the poor of Third World countries: Bribery is not OK. As Yvette Rosser writes, "Many unethical methods have been used to 'save the souls' of these simple rural folk. One tactic is to throw a stone statue of the God Hanuman in a pond along with a wooden crucifix. The Adivasis are told that the Christian God is more powerful because he floats to the top and Hanuman sinks to the bottom." All those who've reconverted say the same things -- we were promised free education and jobs if we converted, but we followed the old way all along. What sort of "soul-saving" is this? Worse still, missionaries don't tend the flock forever: It's just a numbers game -- as in "Go 1 million."

"On a higher level, it is too bad that you seem to feel like Hinduism is not robust enough to survive the minor -- indeed 'trivial' -- challenges it now faces from Christianity. It has managed to survive thousands of years, despite VASTLY more concerted historical efforts by Islamic and Buddhist attempts to proselytize Hindus."

Hinduism's surviving the past is no guarantee that it can withstand the present (there were no pinkos then). For centuries, Pakistan and Bangladesh were a part of India; only in the last century, that changed. What's the guarantee that a "Christistan" won't be carved out over the next 50 years...? Technology, reach, market, ethics -- everything has undergone a quantum change. A new age requires a different thought -- for Hindus, one VASTLY different from simply wishing troubles away. Why would I passively watch the way of my forefathers become a minority religion in the land of my forefathers?

Reader Soumya: "Which individual does not want social equality, religious, social and economic freedoms? If the other Hindus would unite to help them obtain what should have been provided to them in the first place, the missionaries would take their business elsewhere. No sense in blasting the missionaries if we cannot clean up our own back yard first."

I agree -- we should clean up our backyard first. However, when some of us begin to do that by opening schools and hospitals for and giving jobs to Dalits and Adivasis, the "secularists" raise Cain over "Hindutva laboratory." What else are "secularists" but pawns in the hands of pinkos and evangelists?

Secondly, is social equality granted to Christian converts? If so, why did John Dayal oppose the Census 2001 form with: "A Scheduled caste, or Dalit, Indian citizen is being forced to chose only between the Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist faiths, and is not allowed to claim that he belongs to the Muslim, Christian, animist, indigenous, agnostic, or no-faith categories." If conversion to Christianity certifies social equality, why would there be a "Dalit Christian"? As for guaranteeing economic freedom, don't make me laugh.

"Along with opening schools and giving jobs to the people (which is very commendable and should be supported), the Sangh Parivar has been known to promote Hindu pride by encouraging intolerance towards non-Hindus, and denigration of their religion. There is a big difference between promoting pride in Hinduism by educating children and raising people's awareness of the religion."

Your opinion has been formed by "facts" reported by the left-leaning media. "Secularist" opinions, I reject. And anti-Hindutva "reports," I verify. How many urban people have personal knowledge about this promotion of hatred? Why are the findings in the vernacular press different from those in the English counterpart? Instead of giving in to prejudice, it's better you ponder the cause and effect of such reports.

However, I must clarify: Since January 1, 2000 -- the day after Vajpayee, Advani & Co released Masood Azhar to the Pakis -- my support for the Sangh Parivar is entirely issue-based. The Parivar is suffused in some awful evils -- but "Hindutva laboratory," I'm afraid, is straight out of Antonio Gramsci. To wit: "Members and front organizations must continually embarrass, discredit and degrade our critics. When obstructionists become too irritating, label them as fascist, or Nazi or anti-Semitic... The association will, after enough repetition, become 'fact' in the public mind."

Alexander Solzhenitzyn, after his stint in the gulag, realised, "To destroy a people, you must first sever their roots." And Hinduism is the lifeblood of India.

Towards Balkanisation, V: Adivasis

Varsha Bhosle

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