By C I Issac
Article 25 of the Indian Constitution guarantees its citizen the right to practice and propagate their religion. It doesn’t mean total destruction of the other man’s religion or nonhierarchical unorganized religions. This right is not conferred only to a particular religion; it is applicable irrespective of all religions and religious practices of India. In no way with this article, the founding fathers of our Constitution thought of any sort of conversion. Their intention was the healthy coexistence of all cultures and religious groups.
Conversion by brainwashing, coercion, allurement, incentives, etc. is cruel in cultural terms. So it doesn’t come under the purview of Article 25 of our Constitution. Such subversive practices seem just under the law of the wilderness, that is power is correct, ormatsya naya (fish justice).
The architects of our Constitution were well aware of the fact that the death of a religion is the death of a particular culture or sub-culture or a civilization associated with that religion. In the observation of Arnold J Toynbee, every civilization has a universal Church (religion). Henceforth the religion and human civilization have umbilical association.
Each civilization, whether it is small or large or extra-large, has its own knowledge system. For instance, today our alleged socialised social orders are pursuing the traditional medical knowledge of our tribal social orders. They have additionally a substantial, objective, and observationally demonstrated information framework, which they obtained through generations. We, as an enlightened society, are bound to secure all societies and their commitments in place.
Along with the death of the Inca, Maya, ancient Greek or Roman etc. civilization, we lost an immense knowledge system. For instance, the technology behind the ‘Golden Raft’ of the Mexicans was buried along with their en mass conversion to European religions. For a long stretch, the innovation stayed as a conundrum to the exploratory society’s reality world over.
The above said lost civilizations had their own religious practices. They are naturally evolved religions, that is, it has no founders. So they never discussed to enhance their religious frontiers. Almost all these civilizations died of the wild and brutal interference of founder oriented religions. They indiscriminately destroyed whatever things they found in their targeted (prey) societies or religions which are usually indigestive to them.
In India, Muhammad Bin Bakhtiyar Khilji burned the library of Nalanda University on the ground that the content of the books kept in the library are not in conformity with the messages of his religious books and the founder of his religion. The destruction of Nalanda is not the loss of the Hindus, but it is the loss of the mankind.
An anatomy is essential, in the light of the above said past experience, over the recent deliberations associated with Ghar Wapsi (re-conversion). Usually, the present-day deliberations (of certain media and Church circles) conclude that it was a movement started only after May 26, 2014. It is not a new movement enunciated from the ever shrinking Hindu society. It was started in modern times in 19th century CE, during the days of Swami Dayananda Saraswati. It was not a non-existent movement before it. He startedshuddhi movement. R C Majumdar says the purpose of shuddhi was national in character: “to realize the ideal of unifying India nationally, socially and religiously” (R C Majumdar, An Advanced History of India, p878).
Since the fall of Rajputs in the 2nd Battle of Tarain, Muslim dogmatists brutally and ferociously converted Hindus to Islam. Hence the Muslim population of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are the ‘lost sheeps’ of Hindu dharma. Since 16th century onwards, Christians are in operation to carving out a sizable number to their fold by using fourfold tactics (chaturupayam). In the above situation, a proud Hindu could not remain as an onlooker. That is why Swami Dayananda Saraswati came to the forefront and the tempo is still going on unnoticeably.
After the 1921 Moplah Riot of Malabar, the British Indian government issued license to Arya Samaj to reconvert those forced to abdicate Hindu Dharma willing to return to poorva dharma. The status of this license is still in force. Since thereupon, thousands returned to their poorva dharma.
Attacks on places of worships are not a new incident in our country. Behind it there are varied reasons, viz, local issues, personal vengeance, etc. For instance, I may cite some attacks on churches prior to April 2014. Catholic Church at Kuddu in Lohardga district of Jharkhand was ransacked and the priest was injured in the last week of August 2004. Church complex is hardly a kilometer from Kuddu police station. No arrest has been reported so far. It was the second attack in three months. An earlier attack on this church was on June 9 same year. (New Indian Express, August 24, 2004). It was the UPA government in power then.
In Orissa, a Catholic church was attacked by almost 300 persons and its ideals and holy costumes of the altar were burned out destroyed. The church is more than 50 years old. (Christian daily Malayala Manorama (Kottayam, August 28, 2004). The Prime Minister then was Dr Manmohan Singh.
Fr Job Chittilappally, 71, Vicar of St Varaprasada Matha Church, Thurithiparambu near Chalakudi in Kerala was found dead with stab injuries. (The Hindu, Kochi, August 29, 2004). Then again Dr Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister and A K Antony, the chief minister of Kerala. (The same evening Antony resigned from the office of CM). Of all these incidents, the Church hierarchies did not find any fault with the government. Moreover, what about the mysterious deaths within the four walls of the convents of India?
The psychology of the Church is religiously and politically motivating. So they wanted a halo of martyrdom to all, because martyrs and saints are fuel material for the monstrous engines of the church (like jihadis for Islam) without which it cannot sustain.
So it is necessary to quote Dr S Radhakrishnan. “The intolerance of narrow monotheism is written in letters of blood across the history of mankind from the time when first the tribes of Israel burst into the land of Canaan. The worshippers of the one Jealous God are egged on to aggressive wars against people of alien cults. They invoke Divine Sanction for the cruelties inflicted on the conquered. The spirit of old Israel is inherited by Christianity and Islam. Wars of Religion which are the outcome of fanaticism that prompts and justifies the extermination of aliens of different creeds are particularly unknown in Hindu India.” (The Hindu View of Life, 1927, Oxford University, p 55).
Before winding, let me quote Swapan Dasgupta, a senior journalist: who, referring to a large demonstration of Christians just days ahead of Delhi assembly polls and discussed how it was a signal for all to vote against the BJP, wrote: “Whatever the real motivations of the clergy of various Christian denominations, there is no doubt that it has succeeded in putting Christians at the centre of a previously non-existent political divide. …… These are just the opening shots of a political battle, using Christians as a human shield.” (Deccan Chronicle, April 3, 2015).
Don’t forget the bitter experience of Indira Gandhi – the misuse of peace loving, patriotic Sikh community for her political ends. Similarly of US experience from Afghanistan.
C I Issac
Author is Member of Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) & former Head of Department of History, Mahatma Gandhi University Kerala