Thursday, June 25, 2009

USCIRF: UPA backtracks significant outcome by Sankaracharya's talks

dr.jayant bhadesia ( has posted a new blog entry.

http://www.vijayvaa DisplayArticle. aspx?id=649
USCIRF: UPA backtracks

Sandhya Jain

23 June 2009

On 12 June 2009, Kanchi Sankaracharya Swami Jayendra Saraswati engaged in a dialogue with Cardinal Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran, president of Vatican's Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

The most significant outcome of the talks was Sankaracharya's revelation that exactly one month before the Mumbai meeting, Pope Benedict XVI met the Chief Rabbinate of Israel at Jerusalem and agreed to cease all conversion activities among the Jews. The Sankaracharya demanded a similar commitment from the Church for Hindus. When told conversions were mainly done by Protestants, he invited the Cardinal to return with all Christian denominations so the issue could be permanently resolved.

Kanchi Perivaar politely reminded Cardinal Tauran of Vatican's evangelising agenda by recalling that in 1999, Pope John Paul II stated, on Indian soil, that the mission of the Vatican was to plant the Cross in Asia in the third millennium to facilitate the Christianizing of the world, as this alone would cause the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. He sought an explanation for the First Coming of Jesus Christ, when there was no Christianity or Church to convert the world. Few Hindu leaders have spoken so firmly and effectively for Hindus in the post-Independence era.

Politically, Sankaracharya made the most significant intervention in public life when he denounced the US Commission on International Religious Freedom as "an intrusive mechanism of a foreign government" to interfere in India's internal affairs. He demanded that USCIRF, which UPA gave permission to visit India just prior to the general elections, be denied permission to enter the country on this intrusive mission: "We will not allow external interference into our internal affairs."

On 17 June, USCIRF announced in Washington that it has been refused visas to visit India, following criticism from Hindu conservatives (read Kanchi Acharya). The USCIRF is an American government body; commissioners are appointed by the US President. Its visit to India would be like Dr. Manmohan Singh sending the National Human Rights Commission to investigate racist attacks on Indians in Australia.

Until and unless that happens, there is no justification for an American body to investigate religious freedom (sic) in Gujarat and Orissa. Indeed, this singling out of two states suggests the extent to which US-funded evangelicals are active therein; it is shameful a national government could even countenance inviting a foreign body to so blatantly support politico-religious conversions in non-Christian nations.

USCIRF uses its annual reports to interfere in India's internal affairs. It delayed its 2008 report in the hope of getting permission to visit India and make direct inroads into civil society and government agencies. The 2007 report is outright offensive; it lauds the advent of a Congress-led coalition in 2004, implying this furthered an evangelical agenda! Certainly the Commission revoked its 2002 designation of India as a "country of particular concern" in 2005. It openly attacks BJP state governments for not permitting Christians to freely convert the poor and needy.

USCIRF is enraged by anti-conversion laws in Indian states, most notably Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Arunachal Pradesh. It falsely claims only BJP governments have passed anti-conversion laws, but is unable to explain why Congress-ruled Himachal Pradesh suddenly rushed through a similar law in December 2006.

After clashes in Kandhamal on 24 December 2007, USCIRF issued a statement on 10 January 2008, condemning the violence in which five persons died. The clashes followed a near lethal attack on Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati (who finally succumbed to gunfire on 23 August 2008); there was also the provocation of Christians erecting religious statues at a Hindu religious site, a common occurrence all over south India. Yet western Christian nations feel Hindus have no right to defend their faith from imperialistic religions which convert people for the political goal of world dominion.

Given the misuse of foreign funds for conversions, Kanchi Perivaar proposed that the monies sent to India, ostensibly for Church charity work, be used only for social causes like health and education, and not for religious conversion. He proposed the funds be distributed to all organisations doing such charitable work, irrespective of religious affiliation, and a Committee formed to distribute and monitor the usage of these funds.

While this is an excellent idea, I believe the time has come for the Indian Government to put an end to the 'poverty tourism' that is a public humiliation of our poor, and consider a ban on foreign donations for so-called social causes. India's NGO sector has evolved into a money-minting industry; most professional NGOs are Left-leaning (read anti-Hindu) activists well networked with the national (even international) bureaucracy, and hence not lacking in funds. They also corner the lion's share of the Indian governments' ever-increasing outlays for social schemes.

These NGOs should be re-designated as a service industry and taxed, so they can make profits openly. Everyone knows the old concept of voluntary social service was replaced by paid social work only to garner funds and profits. Traditional Hindu bodies like the Arya Samaj and Sangh Parivar outfits raise their monies from society. Organisations that take government money to do social work (ie., run government projects) should be treated at par with municipal contractors; if nothing else this will drive the IAS and IPS babus out, and leave those with genuine delivery skills in the sector. Restrictions on foreigners and external funds will also curtail the new and growing menace of sexual abuse of minors, mostly poor children.

Calling upon religions that entered India from outside to respect Hindu dharma and not subvert or destroy it, Perivaar observed that most Western, Muslim, and even Asian countries nationally resolve to protect and defend the culture and the religion from which their cultures derive. India alone officially promotes "an irreligious and unspiritual creed called secularism." Designating secularism as an administrative quality and not the soul of the nation, which is religious and spiritual, he advised the government to affirm commitment to protect the soul of the Indian nation. He strongly endorsed the move by the Buddhist Mahasangha and Joint Committee of Buddhist Organizations to press the Sri Lankan government to pass a national anti-conversion Bill.

Kanchi Perivaar has summed up the agenda for any national government in India; the onus is upon the UPA to prove whether or not it is up to the task.

The author is Editor, www.vijayvaani. com


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