Christian imperialism comes to India - II
Dr Gautam Sen
Politicians whose political careers the church sponsors and also, as a corollary, helped achieve vast wealth through theft then allows bribery to be financed locally, as in the case of Andhra Pradesh. The church gains access to the stolen resources and uses them to facilitate religious conversion, i.e. the victims of church subversion end up paying for it as well.
The Catholic Church has always promoted religious conversion through a phenomenon now described as inculturation, although it is as old as the church of Peter itself. Providing relief to the poor has been a source of huge political strength for the Christianity since its very inception, as even the last pagan Roman emperor Julian recognised, and the basis for its claim to conscience. Along with it, the church established a tradition of insinuating itself with pre-existing local pagan practice and custom, which has proved extraordinarily adept in deceiving and alluring potential converts to their faith. These are methods that other Christian denominations have also adopted, but the Vatican raised it to an art form of immense efficacy. This is how it managed to turn Korea into a largely Christian country and similar duplicity has been practised across Asia and Africa. In the latter, the number of Christians rose from 90 million at the beginning of the 20th century to over 350 million today. Walking around Bhayander, in the outskirts of Mumbai recently, I came across what appeared to be idols of Radha and Krishna along the roadside, only to discover, on closer examination, that they were, in fact, Jesus and Mary masquerading as traditional Hindu idols.
Nowadays, Christian clergy across India can be seen in the traditional ochre robes of Hindu holy men as well as sporting religious marks on their foreheads and church entrances adorn the sacred Hindu symbol Om. Statues of Jesus and Mary are often placed circumspectly alongside Hindu idols in some Hindu temples in acts of outrageous duplicity. Befuddled Hindus acquiesce because they revere the holy in all its incarnations, even if they prefer their own particular path of worship. But such acts of deception are a prelude to their total extirpation by Christian aggressors and merit violent resistance. Having effectively extinguished European Jewry the church seeks to destroy remnants of the Hindu intelligentsia, which it regards as an obstinate intellectual and spiritual dissenter against its world historical struggle for domination. In addition, some Christian converts to Hinduism are in fact infiltrators, sowing confusion by duplicitously re-interpreting Hindu scriptures and feigning empathy. And, revealingly, some are advocates of interfaith dialogue, a purely diversionary subterfuge to confound Hindus. More alarmingly, one infamous American supposed convert to Hinduism advocates formal Hindu concordats with the church to legitimise religious conversion, which would profoundly compromise their ability resist its diabolical machinations within India.
Interfaith dialogue was sponsored early in the 20th century as a vehicle for disarming and neutralising other religious dispensations, especially, pagans, whom Christians intended to convert. They have never recognised the validity of Hinduism and cognate faiths like Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. And Christians have steadfastly refused to cease evangelical activity within these communities, or even discuss the issue at their own official interfaith conclaves. Yet they persist in engaging in cynical dialogue with these faiths, sipping tea together and dwelling on the divine, while preparing to destroy them altogether. Indeed, once they have acquired numerical preponderance they have resorted to legislation, by the state authority, to curb the faith of the remaining non-Christian communities, which had been turned into a minority in their own country because of Christian evangelism. This is happening to Buddhists in Korea and indeed secular ideas like evolution are being removed from Korean school textbooks at the behest of the church. And both Christian and Muslim majority provinces of India only permit Hindu worship at their discretion.
The spread of the tentacles of the church in Nepal in the past two decades was helped by an archaic and corrupt monarchy and astonishingly semi-literate political leadership. It seems highly likely that Maoism in Nepal became a vehicle to destabilise the country, allowing Christian evangelists to take advantage of genuine local grievances that derived from the total failure of governance and resulting poverty, accentuated by a population explosion. They became the patrons of Maoism, a phenomenon also evident from their human rights propaganda on behalf of Naxalites in India. For Christian missionaries, Nepal and its uneducated and poor, were easy targets for conversion, en masse, like the Nagas and Mizos of India. And the US itself is seeking a foothold in the region as well, adjacent to the Chinese border.
Now foreign NGOs and Christian evangelists have successfully implanted the notion of political rights for ethnic and caste groups across the whole of Nepal and made a national consensus impossible and rendered it virtually ungovernable. Simultaneously, conversions to Christianity are proceeding apace, often through Korean missionaries who can blend easily with the local population owing to their physical appearance. Shockingly, payments were accepted by leading Nepali politicians from the US Kathmandu embassy, clearly on behalf of Christian evangelists, to remove the word Hindu from the Nepali Constitution and declare the country secular. Indian government policy in Nepal also facilitated outcomes sought by the church and the US through either complete ineptitude or deliberate complicity to end Nepal’s Hindu identity. Of course the adoption of policies sought by the church could have been enforced by routing them through India’s quasi Catholic Congress party leadership.
(The writer is President, World Association of Hindu Academicians)
Interlocutors' Report X-Rayed-I
Bhupender Yadav, MP
The recently released Report commissioned by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India “A new compact with the people of Jammu & Kashmir” submitted by interlocutors—eminent journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, academician Radha Kumar and former Information Commissioner M M Ansari seems to have attracted a fair amount of criticism on their understanding of Jammu and Kashmir affairs.
The much-awaited 179-page report was commissioned with a mandate to “hold wide ranging discussions with all sections of opinion in Jammu & Kashmir in order to identify the political contours of a solution and the roadmap towards it.” However, the Report at the outset itself fails the mandate by not being able to penetrate the separatist point of view in Jammu & Kashmir or failing to identify the role of the State government. The mandate also clearly states the objective of the report to create roadmaps towards solutions for the grave problems besetting Jammu & Kashmir but they seemed to have failed the mandate here as well.
The premise of their roadmap is “to encourage Pakistan and Pakistani-administered Jammu & Kashmir to enter into dialogue…” The esteemed panel of interlocutors commissioned by the Government of India seems to have ignored that Jammu & Kashmir as seen by the Indian Constitution is an integral part of the country and all matters pertaining to Jammu & Kashmir is an ‘internal’ issue that cannot allow a third party to interfere and undermine India’s final authority in the matter.
Moreover so, the Report goes on to deplorably refer to Pakistan Occupied Areas of Jammu & Kashmir as Pakistan Administered Areas of Kashmir. After the division of India, newly formed Pakistan intruded into Kashmir and illegally occupied a large stretch of area - known as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). PoK belongs to the state of Jammu & Kashmir and as per the Instrument of Accession it is as part of India as all the other states are. The 1994 unanimous resolution of the Indian Parliament acknowledges Pakistan Occupied Kashmir as an integral part of India. The resolution firmly declares that “a) the state of Jammu & Kashmir has been , is and shall be an integral part of India and any attempt to separate it from the rest of the country will be resisted by all necessary means; b) India has the will and capacity to firmly counter all designs against its unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity; c) Pakistan must vacate the areas of the Indian State of Jammu & Kashmir, which they have occupied through aggression; and resolves that- d) All attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of India will be met resolutely. The resolution was unanimously adopted, Mr Speaker: The resolution is unanimously passed.”
The callous change of terms by the interlocutors will have dire consequences on India’s position in the matter. It is a question of worry that a government initiated body has so loosely without consent of the nation manipulated the stand of the country. If in their definition of the matter, referring to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir as Pakistan Administered Kashmir is a step towards a solution then the interlocutors need to reassess their knowledge of the gravity of the situation.
The Report also suggests “Freedom from all forces of religious extremism, ethnic or regional chauvinism and majoritarian conceits that disturb communal and inter-regional harmony”. Such utopian suggestions are welcomed but without a road map it is futile to discuss such purposeless suggestions. The interlocutors would have benefitted by giving a thought to a step by step process to achieve this goal. Furthermore, it has not taken into account that the very same country they are inviting to “open” dialogue with, has consistently indulged in State sponsored terrorism in order to create unrest in the region. There has been no mention of Pakistan’s role in aggravating religious tension and creating disharmony in Jammu & Kashmir, and neither has there been any discussion or solution driven recommendation on the situation of Hindus in the valley or the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits, West Pakistan Refugees, PoK refugees and those who are forcefully displaced by the act of terrorism. Some have even fled their homeland fearing religious persecution, terrorism, and a dysfunctional State machinery that has miserably and shamefully failed to protect its people.
The Report also offers no solution to the ongoing insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir. Instead, it suggests a dilution of anti-terrorism steps. The report recommends a review of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) imposed in Kashmir and suggests amending the Public Safety Act (PSA) completely overlooking the objective of creating a road map that solves the central problem of years of unrest. These Acts themselves are not the problems. The interlocutors seem to forget the focal point of their mandate.
In sharp contradiction to the steps taken by the Government of India to counter terrorism in the state, the Report states; “the choking of dissenting forces through harsh laws, the detention of political prisoners without the due process of law; the failure to bring to book those guilty of violating human rights; and, not least, violence perpetrated by militants and by the security forces. That these are alleged violations of human rights...” It is outrageous to comprehend how the report looks at the Indian Army and the terrorists in the same light.
The Report also analyses the complete financial funding allotted by the Central Government to the State. In its recommendation it demands for “freedom from economic structures, policies and programs that frustrate efforts to promote inclusive economic growth and balanced development of all parts of the State”.
There are as many as sixteen Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS), which are entirely or, in some cases largely, funded by the Centre. The implementation of relevant schemes for rural employment, health care, nutrition support, drinking water and sanitation, education for all, water management and productivity in the agricultural sector, have helped to reduce illiteracy and the incidence of poverty. However, an assessment of the programmes reveals that most schemes have not been fully implemented, as judged from the utilisation of resources.
In the MNREGA (Rural Employment Scheme), on an average, at least one-third of available grants could not be utilised, even though there was excess demand for jobs by the rural poor. In all the years the target fixed for completion of works undertaken, was missed, which indicates a lower level of performance than expected. Under the Indira Awas Yojna (IAY) scheme financial support is provided to the poor for construction of houses. In the years 2007 to 2011, on an average, only 65 per cent of the total available fund was utilised. The results demonstrate that neither were the funds fully utilised nor were the fixed targets achieved, which again reflect inefficiency in the implementation of the scheme. In the case of the Swarn Jayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojna (SGSY), where finance is provided for to self-help groups and self employed individuals who may be engaged in various economic activities, a major chunk of Central grants has lapsed due to non-utilisation of available funds. The story is the same in all the other schemes such as Prime Minister’s Grameen Sadak Yojna (PMGSY), the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF), the Integrated Watershed Development Programme (IWDP), etc. Clearly, an assessment of the utilisation of funds and realisation of targets reveals unsatisfactory progress ever since the launch of the flagship programmes, namely National Rural Health Mission, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, JN National Urban Renewal Mission, and Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojna. The meagre resources earmarked for providing socio-economic services have never been utilised in any financial year. Even the guaranteed entitlements for grant of pensions to widows, old and physically challenged persons have not been extended to all the eligible beneficiary groups.
Again when the Report demands for ‘local equal rights’ it fails to hold the State government accountable. They further observe that the Youth of the State is also frustrated and it is difficult to assess how many people have benefitted from youth aimed grants and schemes. Such conjectures are ineffective in finding resolutions. While the Report states that “If political status is key to a resolution, governance is key to its implementation” then the interlocutors must accept the fact that for the crisis it speaks about, the solutions must come from within. The State holds the power to effectively allocate funds allotted by the Centre. As the Report subsequently agrees that this is not the case, it needs to with no ambiguity hold the State government ineffective. Suggestion of such relaxed recommendations is not befitting of the problem we are faced with.
Finally, the report also discusses Article 370. But surprisingly, the interlocutors’ report advocates further strengthening of Article 370 to ensure “meaningful autonomy” for the state. The interlocutors’ report further suggests upgrading the article from a “temporary provision” to a “special provision”. However, the interlocutors have failed to justify their stand, on the special provision of Article 370. The comparison in their report between Article 370 and Article 371 is confused. The report has little comprehension of the spirit of the Constitution.
Unfortunately, ‘A New Compact with the People of Jammu and Kashmir’ is not path breaking. It does not provide a road map to a sustainable solution to the problem in Jammu and Kashmir and neither does it give new hope towards a resolution to the thousands of effected and displaced residents of the State living in uncertainty. The Report has been written either in a process to appease the State government or under trepidation of the reaction that the State government may have to criticism. Either way the prime objective of this team of interlocutors has been defeated.
Secularism in India
Dr Bhagwati Prakash Sharma
Muslims and other religious minorities are being painted as backward to justify reservations and bestow other benefits upon them, as the Constitution of India, otherwise forbids discrimination among citizens except for the backward classes and the SCs and STs. Otherwise, as per NSS data, the Muslims in India have been securing fastest economic progress in the country, since last more than one and a half decades.
The political parties, pursuing fissiparous politics of communal appeasement in India have begun to harp on a farce lie that the Muslims and other religious minorities are very backward and falling behind the mainstream society out of persistent deprivation. To the contrary, the Muslims have secured fastest economic progress in terms of poverty alleviation in last more than one and a half decades. In terms of monthly per capita consumption expenditure (MCPE) also, their progress had been comparable with the Hindus and much better than SCs and STs.
The rate of decline in poverty per annum for the Muslims has been 2.8 per cent between 1993-04 to 2009-10, as against 2.4 per cent for Hindus and SCs, and 2.1 per cent among STs. However, the decline in poverty for the community has been much better in rural areas. It was 3.4 per cent, against 2.4 per cent for Hindus. The same was little lower to 1.8 per cent in urban areas. The period between 2004-05 to 2009-10 was the most productive in terms of poverty alleviation for other religious minorities and Muslims. The poverty for other religious minorities and the Muslims has come down by 6.3 per cent and, 5.8 per cent respectively vis a vis 4.0 per cent and 5.1 per cent respectively for the Hindus and SCs and STs. Other religious minorities even have a better record of poverty reduction vis a vis Hindus in urban areas too. Likewise, the rate of growth of real monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE) too had been three per cent for other religious minorities while for the Muslims and Hindus, it was 1.9 per cent per annum. For the SCs and STs it was 1.7 per cent per annum during the period of 1993-94 to 2009-10. These findings are revealed in a paper presented in a seminar at United Nations by Sukhdev Throat and Amaresh Dubey, based on the government data of the National Sample Survey Organisation compiled in the 3 rounds of survey conducted in 1993-94, 2003-04 and 2009-10.
The myth of backwardness of the minorities, further needs to be exposed, fully well. The acid tests of backwardness can be the level of nutrition, the consequent child and infant mortality rates, the level of self-employment amongst any community, financial inclusion by having a bank account or the level of literacy. Muslims have the lowest child and infant mortality rates of 25.4 and 58.8 per thousand while these rates are 32.4 and 77.1 for Hindus, 39.5 and 83 for SCs and 46.3 and 84.2 for STs, 29.3 and 76 for OBCs. Other religious minorities including Christians etc. have even lower child and infant mortality rates than Muslims. Nutritional status of women among Muslims, as reflected by mean height, percentage of women below 145 cm. and percentage of women with Body Mass Index (BMI) below 18.5 Kg/m is much better than SCs and STs as well as Hindus as a whole. Another very important attribute of being socially and economically empowered is self-employment, which is highest among Muslims in comparison with all other socio-religious groups of the country. Literacy among Muslim women is also comparable with other communities and better than SC and ST women. The literacy among Muslim males is also higher in comparison with the Hindus in 11 states (including union territories) and amongst women in 13 states (including UTs). From the point of view of financial inclusion, inspite of the Islamic belief that interest based system is un-Islamic, Muslims constitute 12 per cent of all account holders in Scheduled Commercial Banks.
In light of the aforesaid facts, the repeated assertions of the government appear to be a blatant lie that Muslims and other religious minorities are backward and further regressing fast. Rather, such false pronouncements of backwardness on communal basis, vivisect the society and pose serious threat, to the unity of minds and hearts of people of India.
The government’s actions aimed at appeasing the minorities, which comprise:- (i) showering of doles, worth thousands of billions of rupees under various heads and (ii) offering reservations in admissions and public employment, are absolutely unconstitutional and the governments at the centre and states, doling out the nation’s resources, unconstitutionally, for narrow political gains deserve impeachment. Indeed the Article 14 of the Constitution grants to all citizens of the country, the right to equality and Article 15 protects citizens against any discrimination, on the basis of religion caste, race and sex. Exemptions are granted under Articles 15(4) and 16(4) against the aforesaid rights of ‘equality’ and ‘protection against discrimination’ only for making special provisions and reservations for SCs, STs and backward classes alone. There is no mention of minorities either in articles 15(4) or 16(4) providing for the special provisions and reservations. The Articles 29 and 30, which deal with the minorities, merely provide for, for to the minorities, the right to preserve their language, script and culture and the right to establish and run educational institutions of their choice. In these articles, related to the minorities, neither there is any mention of provision for any special and preferential grants for preserving their language, script and culture or for the institutions established and run by them. Nor, there is any provision of reservations for minorities. Thus provisions of any special grants for minorities, from the exchequer are unconstitutional. Reservations are not permissible for minorities under the constitution, even in the institutions established and run by the minorities. If the constitution makers would have had any intention of permitting such reservations in the institutions established and run by the minorities, they could use the words in the Article 30(1)….. “shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions ‘for their wards’ or ‘for minority community students’ or ‘for them’. Instead the Article 30(1) reads as ….. “shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. So, reservations are not permitted for minorities, even in the minority run institutions and every citizen has equal right to seek admission in such minority run institutions as well, Rather, any such discrimination is prohibited in Article 29(2) dealing with minorities. The two Articles of the Constitution related to minorities are indeed clubbed under the heading Cultural and Educational Rights and read as under:
Article 29 “Protection of interest of minorities”:- (1) Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof a having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.
(2) No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.
Article 30 “Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions”- (1) All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
(2) The state shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.
Thus, the only protection given to the minorities is to the extent that institutions under their management should not be discriminated in disbursing grants. Otherwise, the Articles 15(4) and 16(4), explicitly allowing the government to make special provisions and reservations in public employment respectively for SC, ST and backward classes against the right to equality and the right of protection against discrimination, has no mention of minorities. Likewise, under the Articles 29 and 30 (related to minorities), the minorities are given right to conserve their language, script and culture, as well as right to establish and run institutions of their choice, without any provision of preferential treatment in the matters of financial support or of reservation for minorities, even in the institutions run by them. Therefore, the billions and billions of rupees being poured as preferential support to minorities while discriminating against the mainstream society, attract impeachment of the governments for this discrimination and funds need to be recovered from the authorities sanctioning the grants, unconstitutionally.
Rather, the Justice Rangnath Mishra Commission appointed for Religious and Linguistic Minorities in 2004 and the National Commission for minorities established in 1993 by enacting an Act in 1992 were also ultravires the constitutional provisions. As the Constitution does not provide for appointment of such commissions for minorities. The Articles 338, 338 A and 340 provides for such commissions for SCs, STs and Backwards Classes. The part XVI of the Constitution providing for the scope for special provisions relating to certain classes do not mention for such provisions for minorities on the basis of religion. In the light of the aforesaid discussion, the financial benefits doled out of public money, upon the minorities are altogether in violation of the Constitution and deserve panel action in the way, the corruption cases of misappropriation of public funds are dealt with. Such misappropriation of funds, for minority appeasement leading to the communal vivisection of society is in hundreds of billions of rupees.
Learning lessons from the fissiparous policy of communal appeasement pursued in the pre-independence period ever since entering into the Lucknow Pact in 1916 and participation in Khilafat in 1919, which led to the tragic partition of the country, is most imperative today. It needs a reversal of policies of communal appeasement comprising the doles from exchequer for the minorities and reservations in admissions and public employment for them, and right to equality of citizens respected.