Saturday, September 20, 2008

Religion, terrorism, and politics

Recently I had a discussion with an eminent CPI (M) think tank. He seemed confident that in the next general elections the Left parties would emerge stronger than they are now. His rationale is simple.

The Muslims are against the US. By pushing the 123 Nuclear Agreement with America, the Congress has alienated the Muslims. Since BJP too is anathema, this minority community is likely to vote for the Left. Combined with this would be the Dalit factor. Generally speaking, the low castes are not happy with the Congress or the high caste dominated BJP. We will have to wait and see how correct this assessment is.

The BJP and the UPA need to rise above petty politics and stand together on issues that affect national security, both internal and external. Any number of stringent laws can be enacted but the important thing is to use the available tools effectively.

The atrocities against minorities by extremists, with or without the support of the politicians, are as bad as the terrorist activities of the fundamentalists. Both the Central and State Governments have failed to tackle the menace.

There are enough provisions in our laws to prevent forced conversions. Attacking churches and eminent educational institutions at random is not the civilized way to handle alleged complaints. They should be reported to the appropriate authorities so that the law can take its course.

It is the duty of the government to ensure that no individual or organization, whether Christian or not, receives foreign funds for illegal activities. It is also the responsibility of the authorities to prevent individuals or organizations from taking the law into their own hands by attacking citizens and disrupting the peace within the country.

The Christianity I know does not tolerate forced conversions. If any missionary does that, he is not only breaking the law of the land but that of the Church as well.

One problem in India is the mushrooming of neo churches, ashrams and god men without any sanctity. They do not, often, conform to accepted or acceptable practices. In many cases, making money seems to be the major objective. This too has to be controlled by the government. There should be effective registration procedures.

The established Churches have clear organizational pattern and strict operational guidelines. Their priests are taught and trained for almost a decade in several relevant fields including philosophy and theology. There may be erring priests like in any society, but by and large they are competent and committed to serving others.

Many people do not seem to realize that Christianity is not a Western religion. And, it has been in India for two thousand years, coexisting smoothly with Hinduism. Monarchs and men much wiser than the troublemakers of today had accepted that symbiosis which proved beneficial for the country.

A great service the Church provides is in uplifting the poor and the underprivileged that have been, in many cases, neglected by society and the elected authorities. It would be a great step forward if the energy and money spent on mobilizing movements against minorities are utilized for the benefit of the underprivileged. Surely, the more fortunate citizens of our society owe that much to the lesser entities who have suffered by the misuse of the caste system for a very, very long time.

We must understand that a country is as strong as its weakest social link.


Also see:

History of conversions to Christianity in Kerala – an overview

Kerala: Kudallur Mana and ‘Nazrani Thampuran’

Caste System: Is Kerala still a madhouse?


Anonymous said...

But the Kerala boy and girl gone spreading the Word in Orissa has to live ? Their families at home that live on the money sent in from Orissa have to live? The Hindu guys also have to live?

It is not about God; it is all about food, survival, money.

Unknown said...

anonymous, I really can't make out what you are saying.

Is there any reported instances of the missionaries sending home to Kerala money collected from the poor people of Orissa?

Anonymous said...

The latest violence against Christians could be an attempt to ignite Hindu nationalism ahead of the elections.
It could be yet another political drama by the more wiser to ignite a hatred against Hinduism-oriented parties and thus consolidate the minority votes for their benefit, ahead of the elections and to gain more political mileage than expected at the current scenario.

Or is it a chain of small actions-reactions designed to weaken India and sow instability and anarchy in our country , with a definite eye to influence our future policies by trying to influence public opinion ahead of the elections?

It is sad hearing about these incidents, as while at school we all were taught that we are Indians foremost and everything else came second, the 'Unity in Diversity' of India, the freedom of religion and faith etc etc.

What is happening to our essence of "Bharath Matha"?

What about the feelings of numerous patriots belonging to these minorities who held and still holds India above everything including religion or beliefs?

These people who ever is igniting this new wave of violence and communal hatred, are not doing it in the any interests of our country.

First there was so called Maoists-Christians who stared the violence in Orissa. (A Maoist is and will be an Atheist, if i am not mistaken). Then we hear of alleged Bajrangdal activists attacking chruches in Karnataka, and the latest some incidents in Alwaye, Kerala.

Looks like more carefully orchestrated to form mass public sentimence ahead of the elections.

Maddy said...

abe - you are very right. the use of religion in politics as you very well know has been prevalent from the earliest days of history. the problem is actually the apathy of the educated man, he stays far away from the masses & politicians making no comment or resistance and this makes the 'twister' politician stronger.

Unknown said...

Kariyachan, thanks for the comment.

In my opinion, India can truly emerge only when the politicians start putting the country above themselves.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Maddy.

We Indians should learn to blow the whistle.