Current Issue
Organiser Home
Editorial
EXPOSE
Reports
Comment
The Moving Finger Writes
Media Watch
Thinking Aloud
Bookmark
A PAGE FROM HISTORY
RETROSPECT
Kids Org.
News Round-up
Readers’ Forum:
INTERESTING PEOPLE
PERSPECTIVE
Kerala Newsletter

Previous Issues
September 04, 2011

August 28, 2011
August 21, 2011
August 14, 2011
August 07, 2011

July 31, 2011
July 24, 2011
July 17, 2011
July 10, 2011
July 03, 2011

June 26, 2011
June 19, 2011
June 12, 2011
June 05, 2011

May 29, 2011
May 22, 2011
May 15, 2011
May 08, 2011
May 01, 2011

April 24, 2011
April 17, 2011
April 10, 2011
April 03, 2011

March 27, 2011
March 20, 2011
March 13, 2011
March 06, 2011

February 27, 2011
February 20, 2011
February 13, 2011
February 06, 2011

January 30, 2011
January 23, 2011
January 16, 2011
January 09, 2011
January 02, 2011

December 26, 2010
December 19, 2010
December 12, 2010
December 05, 2010
November 28, 2010
November 21, 2010
November 14, 2010
November 7, 2010

October 31, 2010
October 24, 2010
October 17, 2010
October 10, 2010
October 03, 2010

2010 Issues
2009 Issues
2008 Issues
2007 Issues
2006 Issues

Organiser
About us
Advertisement
Circulation
Contact us

Subscribe

February 27, 2005
Organiser Home
Cover Page
Column
Editorial
Debate
Readers´ Forum
Opinion
At Random
The Moving Finger Writes
Sangh Samachar
Kids'' Org.
Bookmark
Media Watch
Open Forum
Variety
Orissa Newsletter
India That Is Bharat
Think It Over
Agenda


February 27, 05




Page: 7/50

Home > 2005 Issues > February 27, 05

Debate
Church-wary Red

By Sandhya Jain

During his tenure, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had tentatively suggested that the Indian society should debate the merits of religious conversion, as it provoked conflicts and stress among communities. Unfortunately, professional secularists raised such a furore over the remark that meaningful discussion was ruled out. Yet Shri Vajpayee was only reflecting a deep-felt concern of the Hindu community that there was need to suitably amend the fundamental right to propagate one?s religion, as minority groups insist upon interpreting it as a right to carry out conversions.

Now, West Bengal Marxists are beginning to feel that there may be some merit in the Hindu view that the concept of nationhood lies at the core of conversion, and that fiddling with faith can impact adversely upon the sense of nationalism as well. CPM cadres working in the Bengal countryside have found an unacceptable link between proselytisers and Western churches, between ?spiritual altruism? and a disturbance in the state?s ?socially tranquil chemistry? (Pioneer, February 10, 2005).

Anxious not to sound like a Red version of the VHP, Marxist leaders claim that certain Western capitalist interests ?are trying to employ their Kerala experiment in rural Bengal?, with a view to uproot their government. But the truth is that the Left is disturbed that under the cover of educational activities, the Church is indulging in politics. Left Front chairman, Biman Bose has already directed CPM cadres to monitor Church activities in tribal and rural areas, and the matter was discussed in the draft political resolution of the party?s recent 21st State Conference at Kamarhati, North 24 Parganas.

Though Shri Buddhadeb Bhattacharya has avoided public comment, party sources say the Chief Minister?s prescient observations about certain religious institutions have finally found political expression. Four years ago, when Buddhadeb spoke out against questionable activities in the madarsas, he was sharply rebuked by Chief Minister Jyoti Basu. Since then, much water has flowed down the Hooghly and the CPM is now scrutinising the activities of churches in the districts of Nadia, Midnapore, Purulia, Bankura, Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri.

Will the Marxists ultimately come to accept that in every country there is a connection between national interest and the faith and perceptions of the majority community?

Officially, the party still claims that ?conversion is not our concern.? But senior leaders are shocked at ?the amount of money being poured in the poor tribal belt to whip up anti-government centrifugal emotions in the name of education.? What is more, in the northern part of the state, some Church groups are said to be flirting with anti-national groups, like the Kamptapuris and the Maoists.

It would be interesting to see if the Marxists ultimately come to accept that in every country there is a connection between national interest and the faith and perceptions of the majority community. To ordinary Hindus, India is not just a modern nation, but the world?s oldest living civilisation, with a distinct identity, culture, and worldview that should not be subordinated to theories imported from Europe, that have no relation to India?s own historical experience. Hindus have found that conversion to Semitic faiths undermines and destroys the nation's civilisational ethos, as it involves disbelief in and disrespect for the original culture and way of life. The social fabric is inevitably ruptured, causing a sense of loss and grief among those whose kinsmen accept alien traditions.

It was precisely in this context that Mahatma Gandhi said: ?If I had the power and could legislate, I should certainly stop all proselytising. It is the cause of much avoidable conflict between classes... In Hindu households, the advent of a missionary has meant the disruption of the family, coming in the wake of change of dress, manners, language, food and drink? (Harijan, May 11, 1935).

When told that conversion no longer involved change in the outward forms of culture, Gandhiji countered: ?Vilification of the Hindu religion, though subdued, is there? The other day a missionary descended on a famine-stricken area with money in his pocket, distributed it among the famine-stricken, converted them to his fold, took charge of their temple and demolished it. This is outrageous. The temple could not belong to the converted, and it could not belong to the Christian missionary. But this friend goes and gets it demolished at the hands of the very men who only a little while ago believed that God was there.?

Gandhiji was emphatic that those who had converted to Islam or Christianity under pressure could return to the Hindu fold if they wished: ?If a person through fear, compulsion, starvation or for material gain or consideration goes over to another faith, it is a misnomer to call it conversion.... I would therefore, unhesitatingly re-admit to the Hindu fold all such repentants without much ado, certainly without any shuddhi... I regard no man as polluted because he has forsaken the branch on which he was sitting and gone over to another? If he comes to the original branch, he deserves to be welcomed and not told that he had committed a sin by reason of his having forsaken the family to which he belonged. Insofar as he may be deemed to have erred, he has sufficiently purged himself of it when he repents of the error and retraces his step? (Harijan, September 25, 1937).

Indian Marxists may now be the latest converts to this viewpoint. With CPM cadres actively monitoring the local churches in their areas, it may be only a matter of time before divergent voices converge on the issue of a national ban on proselytisation to non-native faiths.




Previous Page Previous Page (6/50) - Next Page (8/50) Next Page


copyright© 2004 Bharat Prakashan(Delhi) Ltd. All Rights Reserved
Designed and Hosted by KSHEERAJA Web Solutions Pvt Ltd