A response to Karan Thapar's article:
|Hindustan Times Article "Whos the real Hindu?" http://humanrightsi|
9/9/2008 11:06:50 AM
Views expressed here are author"s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer is at the bottom.
(This is a response by Dr. Arindam Bandyopadhyay to the article by By Mr. Karan Thapar, "Who"s the real Hindu?" Hindustan Times, August 30, 2008)
Dear Mr. Thapar,
I am responding to your recent article "Who"s the real Hindu?" Hindustan Times. Hope you will have the opportunity to see it -
Dr. Arindam Bandyopadhyay.
"Does the VHP have the right to speak for you or I?"
(Definitely not for you, even if I am to assume that you are a Hindu, may be accidentally by birth, as was claimed by our first Prime Minister.)
"Do they reflect our views? Do we endorse their behaviour? They call themselves the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, but who says they represent all of us?"
(I agree. They definitely do not represent people like you and your journalist - intellectual crowd like Vir Sanhgvi, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose and Barkha Dutt, nor the activists of the kind of Teesta Setalvaad, or the politicians like the Lalus and the Mulayams.)
"This Sunday morning, I want to draw a clear line of distinction between them and everyone else. My hunch is many of you will agree."
(Now where did you get the right for doing that? Did we give you the right? How did you imagine that even if we do not agree with VHP, we will agree with you?)
"Let me start with the question of conversion - an issue that greatly exercises the VHP"
(and, for your information, a certain Mr. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi who said "proselytizing under the cloak of humanitarian work is unhealthy, to say the least" and "If I had the power and could legislate, I should stop all proselytising.
"I imagine there are hundreds of millions of Hindus who are peaceful, tolerant, devoted to their faith, but above all, happy to live alongside Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Jews."
(Smart move - lump all the non-Hindu religions together. Please leave the Sikh, Buddhist, Jains and Jews alone - they do not belong to the faiths you seem to represent- the "peaceful, tolerant, devoted to their faith" Muslims and Christians.
And "happy to live alongside"?
Yes, we did live happily alongside for the 700 years of Muslim rule. Only we lost maybe just a 100 million Hindus and had to accept, Jizya tax and put up to few atrocities such as having our daughters and sisters raped, our temples vandalized and razed and our properties taken away, but mostly we were happy to live like a second or third class citizen - we sure lived alongside.
Are you also representing the Hindus of Pakistan and Bangladesh, in your hundreds of millions? May be they don"t count since they are not Indians. Should I, say, include Hindus of Jammu and Kashmir or do Hindu minorities matter like their Islamic and Christian brethren?
And what about the 200 years of British rule, which Will Durant described as the most sordid and criminal exploitation of one nation by another in all recorded history.
Let me remind you what Lord Curzon, the late Viceroy of India, had said about India, "Powerful Empires existed and flourished here while Englishmen were still wandering painted in the woods, and while the British Colonies were a wilderness and a jungle. India has left a deeper mark upon the history, the philosophy, and the religion of mankind, than any other terrestrial unit in the universe."
And when the British left after a successful "loot" of over a trillion dollar (in today"s value) that funded the British Industrial revolution, India was transformed from a producer of about 25 percent of world GDP in 1750, to only 2 percent in 1900. Those 200 years of "benevolent" Christian British rule, left India with 20 million famine-related deaths, a literacy rate of 11% (1947) and a life expectancy of 25yrs (1921).
Sure some people did happily live alongside at that time and some still do praise the Christian British for "civilizing" us.
How about Goa under Inquisition from the Portuguese Church- requested by the venerated St. Francis Xavier himself, an unmatched saga of mayhem for over two centuries that outlasted even the inquisition in Europe and left less than 20,000 adherents to the their Pre-Christian faith from an original 250,000.)
"If any one of us were to change our faith how does it affect the next man or woman? "
(Now let"s start to look at some opinions of a few famous people about Christianity and Conversions.
Let me start with Swami Vivekananda. I hope he passes your scrutiny as an original Hindu of a Non- VHP kind. He was sent to represent Hindu Dharma to Chicago over a century ago - thankfully he had no secular media to face. And these are his words, "They come to my country and abuse my forefathers, my religion, and everything; they walk near a temple and say "you idolaters, you will go to hell" ... "If all India stands up, and takes all the mud that is at the bottom of the Indian Ocean and throws it up against the Western countries, it will not be doing an infinitesimal part of that which you are doing to us."
How about some westerner"s comment? Thomas Jefferson, the former US President, had mentioned, "Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced an inch towards uniformity. ...were the Pope, or his allies, to send in mission to us some thousands of Jesuit priests to convert us to their orthodoxy, I suspect that we should deem and treat it as a national aggression on our peace and faith."
This is what Pitrim Sorokin, a Harvard sociologist had said, "During the past few centuries the most belligerent, the most aggressive, the most rapacious, the most power-drunk section of humanity has been precisely, the Christian Western world..During these centuries western Christendom had invaded all other continents; its armies followed by priests and merchants have subjugated, robbed or pillaged most of the non-Christians. Native Americans, African, Australian, Asiatic populations have been subjugated to this peculiar brand of Christian "love" which has generally manifested itself in pitiless destruction, enslavement, coercion, destruction of the cultural values, institutions, the way of life of the victims and the spread of alcoholism, venereal disease, commercial cynicism and the like."
And this is what thy holy Pope John Paul II, in 1999, on his visit to India said, "Just as in the first millennium, the Cross was planted on the soil of Europe, and in the second on that of the Americas and Africa, we can pray that in the third Christian millennium a great harvest of faith will be reaped in this vast and vital continent (of Asia)."
I could expand or should l trust your journalistic curiosity to do some search yourself?
In case you still do not get the message - it is about preservation of dharma, of righteousness, of choosing between good and evil, of standing against atrocities, of pride and self-esteem, of patriotism and liberty.)
"And even if that happens with inducements, it can only prove that the forsaken faith" Do you mean "Hinduism? Did your mask slip for a moment? "had a tenuous and shallow hold." (on people of your stripe). "So why do the VHP and its unruly storm troopers, the Bajrang Dal, froth at the mouth if you, I or our neighbours convert? What is it to do with them? Let me put it bluntly, even crudely. If I want to sell my soul - and trade in my present gods for a new lot - why shouldn"t I? "
(Sure you can sell your soul and you proved it well. But let me reinforce the basics, never taught or learnt by you.
The reason is the concept of Bhartvarsha, the land later named as India, and her over 8000 yrs old Civilization, called the Indus - Saraswati Civilization. It is the purity of Bharat"s religion and culture and the tradition of her indigenous people who later came to be labeled as "Hindus" by foreigners. People of different faiths, languages and customs, lived and survived in this civilization. Jews and Parsis got their shelter after been persecuted everywhere. Tribes and sects lived happily in remote places without fear of their identity being trampled. And that was all because the "forsaken faith" of Hinduism did not preach proselytizing.
India is not a Muslim or Christian country even after 900 years of invasion, torture and annihilation because of the Hindus. You may not agree but there are many who do agree with what Annie Besant had to say, "After a study of some forty years and more of the great religions of the world, I find none so perfect, none so scientific, none so philosophical and none so spiritual than the great religion known by the name of Hinduism. Make no mistake, without Hinduism, India has no future...And if Hindus do not maintain Hinduism who shall save it? If India"s own children do not cling to her faith, who shall guard it? India alone can save India and India and Hinduism are one.
So if by this time you do not understand, Mr. Thapar, let me tell you once more clearly that the true Hindus, who have not sold their souls and who do not trade their gods, feel that the existence of Bharatvarsha and her Spiritual soul is threatened.
It is the only country in the world where the majority of the population are actually fighting for their right to live peacefully without being terrorized, to safeguard their culture and tradition, to prevent their history from being wiped out, to save their temples from being taken over, to defend their faiths in their religious deities and icons, to save their saints from being humiliated and murdered, to preserve their heritage from being destroyed, to pray to their own God of faith and to visit their own pilgrim sites, in their own country and with their own money.
Their unity is deliberately being divided. Their elected government and politicians are deaf to their needs. Taxes paid by them are openly and specifically allocated for the prosperity and development of their adversaries. Their newspaper and television media, by and large, ridicule them and identify with foreign faiths with foreign masters. Atrocities committed on them are not even reportable or "narrated objectively" whereas a mere allegation against them is good for headline news and warrants unqualified condemnation, without investigation or verification.
There is no body that they can trust. They have no spokesmen, no Government to ensure their welfare, no media to express their anguish, no academic to pen their chronicle.
They have their backs to the wall.
Their country has already been broken down to pieces - they cannot allow any further fragmentation.
They have realized that they have to fight back.
And that is what has started to happen - if you can put your ears to the ground - be it in Orissa or Jammu, you can hear the reverberations.
"Even if the act diminishes me in your eyes, it"s my right to do so. So if thousands or even millions of Dalits, who have been despised and ostracized for generations, choose to become Christian, Buddhist or Muslim, either to escape the discrimination of their Hindu faith or because some other has lured them with food and cash, it"s their right. "
(I was sure waiting for this topic to surface.
Have you ever heard of Dalit Christian Mr. Thapar? A little enquiry on your part will tell you that the Dalit Christians, who account for over 70% of the 25 million Christians in India, have been largely converted by exploitation, coercion and the false hopes of egalitarian status but still suffer from the segregation, oppression and discrimination, only now at the hands of their fellow Christians of the upper castes. Conversion into the new faith has not redeemed them from the stigma of "untouchablity". A Dalit Christian has minimal say in the leadership and control, has minimal access to education (despite a wide network of Christian missionary schools and colleges), job opportunities and entrepreneurship development. Even in the local church communities, controlled by Christians of the "upper castes", Dalit Christians often have separate entries, separate place to sit, separate cups at the Eucharistic celebration, separate communion rails, and even separate cemeteries. Thus ends the Christian promise of equality, human dignity and egalitarian status through conversion
Have you ever criticized the Christian organizations for their Dalits and why they are "ostracized"?
You are fully aware that caste discrimination is a degenerated, socio-political evil manifestation of an ancient vocational order according to mental inclinations and unrelated to birth right. You also know this has been declared illegal in modern India. India had a President, a deputy Prime Minister, a Chief Justice, and currently has the Chief Minister of its largest state belonging to the lower caste. India is also the only country that has had religious minorities as its head of state not once but repeatedly, after its modern birth. But give me an honest answer. Who do you think perpetuates this social evil any more than our politicians and our media? So why is it that this ill politics of contemporary Indian society, of its lawlessness, exploitations and dominations, conveniently blamed primarily on Hindu religion?
Have you ever demonized the "faith of Christianity" for its Crusades, Inquisitions, anti Semitisms, witch burnings, black slaveries and the destructions of Mayans, Incas and Australian aboriginal civilizations, the African and Asian Colonization, besides the two world wars.
As a leading media personality, what have you or your clan done to eradicate this system, other than parroting the same politicians and laying the blame on Hindu Dharma that ensured a just state for thousands of years, with no caste problem, until the British landed on its soil?
And how does that justify Christian proselytizing and domination over the lower castes and tribes of the Indian populace?
At least bring a modicum of integrity to your profession, Mr. Thapar. Can you, for once, clear the web of lies, half-truths and disinformation that clouds your thoughts and write a "truthful" article on any of the topics like Joshua project, the 10/40 window, the Project Thessalonica, the Maranatha Volunteers, etc.)
"Arguably you may believe you should ask them to reconsider, although I would call that interference"( so conversion, by hook or by crook is okay but asking to reconsider is "interference",) "but you certainly have no duty or right to stop them. In fact, I doubt if you are morally correct in even seeking to place obstacles in their way. The so-called Freedom of Religion Acts, which aim to do just that, are, in fact, tantamount to obstruction of conversion laws and therefore, at the very least, questionable."
(So, the law of the nation is now incompatible with your Christian sympathy. How patriotic? Can you tell me why the church leaders including the holy one at Vatican, while saying that they do not indulge in forced conversions, are so worked up and demand the revocation of the law?)
"However, what"s even worse is how the VHP responds to this matter. Periodically they resort to violence including outright murder"
(So when an octogenarian VHP leader and his associates are killed brutally by mercenaries, it is not really violence or murder. It was the evangelist way of giving the message of their only God to a "heathen" idolator. It is okay to do so because they are subhuman Hindus of the VHP kind.)
"What happened to Graham Staines in Orissa was not unique"
(I am sure you know very well that it had nothing to do with VHP or Bajrang Dal, but you had to make your "anti VHP case". If you honestly do not know, I request that you consider an alternative profession.
Keeping in mind your selective amnesia and incompetence, I seriously doubt whether you remember the unique, sister Abhaya "suicide" case, who was "blessed" by the father in the Kottayam convent. It is been reported that a former Congress Prime Minister had tried hushing up the case and that the High court, had reprimanded the CBI for tampering with some relevant CDs. The case remains undecided for 16yrs.
Funny, no body called this a failure of the "Hindu" judicial system.)
"Last week it happened again. Apart from the utter and contemptible criminality of such behavior, is this how we Hindus wish to behave? Is this how we want our faith defended? Is this how we want to be seen? I have no doubt the answer is no. An unequivocal, unchanging and ever-lasting NO!"
(Depends on what kind of Hindu you represent.
In case you do not know, protest and violence is a natural instinct of all life forms, especially to defend the integrity of their being. Surely, you cannot be dreaming of depriving Hindus of their right to self defense. Though the world likes to believe and promote the "Gandhi" image of Hindus, there are other icons of Hindus - starting from the "mythological" Ram and Krishna to the Shivaji and Rana Pratap and the Subhas Bose and Bhagat Singh.)
"The only problem is it can"t be heard. And it needs to be. I therefore believe the time has come for the silent majority of Hindus - both those who ardently practice their faith as well as those who were born into it but may not be overtly religious or devout - to speak out." (They are speaking out - listen to the people of Jammu ,Orissa and Gujarat). We cannot accept the desecration of churches, the burning to death of innocent caretakers of orphanages, the storming of Christian and Muslim hamlets even if these acts are allegedly done in defense of our faith."
(But we should gladly accept the desecration of our temples, the Christian - Marxist mercenaries killing our Hindu monks and the Islamic terrorist bombing our hospitals.
We should accept the diversion of temple funds for churches and mosques, and the subsidy from the Hindu majority"s money to visit pilgrimages to Mecca and Jerusalem.
We should also accept the largest state subsidy to those secessionists of Kashmir, who howl anti-India slogans and hoist Pakistani flag, and yet successfully clamor to disallow the temporary use of a mere 40 hectares of land for the Hindus, on way to a pilgrimage in their own country.
We need to assure them that Hindus will take it lying down.
Why don"t you show us the way, Mr. Thapar?
Why don"t you announce Mr. Thapar, that the next time a Christian or Muslim wants to kill some Hindu that you choose to be the sacrificial cow; if they want to rape somebody they can pick her up from your family; and if they want to practice the art of "suicide bombing" they can go to your office address?)
"Indeed, they do not defend but shame Hinduism. That"s my central point. I"m sorry but when I read that the VHP has ransacked and killed I"m not just embarrassed, I feel ashamed. Never of being hindu but of what some Hindus do in our shared faith"s name."
(You already expressed a solution - sell your soul and trade your god. Have you considered the possibility that the majority of one billion Hindus may be embarrassed by people like you or actually consider the VHP inadequate to meet the challenge of defending India"s honor.)
"This is why it"s incumbent on Naveen Patnaik, Orissa"s Chief Minister, to take tough, unremitting action against the VHP and its junior wing, the Bajrang Dal."
(What kind of action Mr. Thapar? The one you prescribed for Mr. Modi, some time ago after the foolish, rabid Hindu fanatic Gujaratis elected him again as their Chief Minister? Do you remember writing, "Only the sudden removal of Narendra Modi can stop this..."
How many Modis are you willing to stop? How do you propose to derail the progressive Gujrati in his march towards his freedom - economic and spiritual? Did you not hear the five crore voices speaking through the ballot in Gujrat or the voices in Himachal and Karnataka?)"This is a test not just of his governance, but of his character. And I know and accept this could affect his political survival. But when it"s a struggle between your commitment to your principles and your political convenience is there room for choice? For ordinary politicians, possibly, but for the Naveen I know, very definitely not. So let me end by saying: I"m waiting, Naveen. In fact, I want to say I"m not alone. There are hundreds of millions of Hindus, like you and me, waiting silently - but increasingly impatiently. Please act for all of us."
(It is said that during the British rule there was never more than 20-30 thousand British national in India at any one particular time. The British managed to rule for 190 years with the help of the "brown sahibs" who, as Thomas Macaulay defined, are a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern, a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, words and intellect.
Today how much we wish that the British had taken their pet brown sahibs along with them.
Max Muller, more than a century ago, while translating the Vedas, had wished that his translation "will tell to a great extent... the fate of India, and on the growth of millions of souls in that country. It is the root of their religion, and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last 3000 years."
If he was alive today, Mr. Muller could have been a very happy man to know you Mr. Thapar.
May Jesus and Allah together bless you, since you have chosen to forsake, the shallow faith of your forefathers.
We pray that may each member of the billion strong community, that you have chosen to misrepresent and misguide, find you and your ilk, worthy of pardon.
May India once again rise to forgive her own treacherous brood?)