Foreign funding of NGOs reaches new high – R. Vaidyanathan

Prof. R. Vaidyanathan“In the context of the Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) report on anti-development activities of many foreign-funded NGOs, it may be time to constitute a commission of experts including those from the IB to comprehensively study this sector. Also, to use experiences of other countries like Russia, China and the US in dealing with NGOs and formulating regulation to govern them. Perhaps, it is also time to re-look the foreign funding of NGOs in the context of compulsory CSR contributions introduced in the Companies Act 2013—since we are no more the white man’s burden!” – Prof R. Vaidyanathan

NGO India is a fascinating country. The number of stock exchanges we have, as per official records is 20, but the number of functioning exchanges is only two. The number of scrips listed on the Bombay Stock Exchanges (BSE) is nearly 9,000, only 3500 of these are traded at least once a year, and the top 50 securities constitute nearly two-third of the turnover. Actually only 250 to 300 are “active” traded scrips. Interestingly, the latest Handbook of Statistics on Indian Securities MarketNGO Foreign Donations published by the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has dropped the column for number of scrips listed on the BSE! It is one way to solve the issue of numbers.

In a similar fashion, we decided to probe the number of not-for-profit or non-governmental organisations (NGO) in India. Being in the teaching line, we have the habit of probing issues that are otherwise not to be probed at all! Let sleeping dogs lie is the national dictum in such matters.

NGOs are also known as Voluntary Organizations (VOs) or Voluntary Agencies (VAs) and more recently as Voluntary Development Organizations (VDOs), Non-Governmental Development Organizations (NGDOs) or Non-Profit Institutions (NPIs). There are equivalent names for NGOs available in different Indian languages. In Hindi NGOs are called Swayamsevi Sansthayen or Swayamsevi Sangathan.

Prior to the enactment of the Societies Registration Act of 1860, voluntary action was guided mainly by religious and cultural ethos. Subsequently, a series of legislations addressing the non-profit sector were promulgated. The starting point in this respect was Article 19 of the Indian Constitution which recognized a number of civic rights including the right “… to form associations or unions”. It constitutes the legal basis of relevant legal provisions applicable to the non-profit sector. There are also non mandatory provisions that allow any group with the intention of starting a non-profit, voluntary or charitable work to organize itself into a legally registered entity. However, given the optional nature of these provisions, there is a large group of voluntary bodies that are not registered.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India and the UN Volunteers (UNV) programme had organized a Forum in January 2006 at UNDP’s Delhi office to discuss the issues relating to implementation of the UN Handbook on Non-profit Institutions (NPIs) in the System of National Accounts in India.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the Planning Commission, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), NGOs, UNV Headquarters, and the Centre for Civil Society Studies of Johns Hopkins University, which is leading the effort to implement the UN NPI Handbook throughout the World.

At this Forum, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP India Resident Representative stressed the need to implement the UN Handbook in order to capture the contribution of NPIs to the national economy. It was mentioned that the voluntary sector played a significant role in the economic and social change of the country and contributed significantly to the development in both rural and urban areas. The Forum therefore urged that India should take suitable steps to implement the UN Handbook on NPIs and compile accounts of NPIs functioning in the country.

The National Policy on the Voluntary Sector, adopted in May 2007, presumably under the guidance of the National Advisory Council, pledges to encourage, enable and empower an independent, creative and effective voluntary sector, with diversity in form and function, so that it can contribute to the social, cultural and economic advancement of the people of India. It constitutes the beginning of a process to evolve a new working relationship between the government and the voluntary sector, without affecting the autonomy and identity of voluntary organizations (GoI Planning Commission, 2007). Accordingly, it is expected that the enabling environment will be further enhanced to encourage the development and active engagement of the non-profit sector, including volunteerism, in the community’s affairs and developmental efforts.

So we can conclude that at the beginning of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)’s second term, the so-called voluntary or NGO sector was fully ensconced in decision-making and fund collecting activities.

NGOs can be registered under several regulations or none—the latter is more common.

The main statutory laws governing the various types of registered non-profit organizations are: The Societies Registration Act, 1860; The Indian Trusts Act, 1882; Public Trust Act, 1950; The Indian Companies Act (Section 25), 1956

Religious non-profit organizations can be registered under: the Religious Endowments Act, 1863; The Charitable and Religious Trust Act, 1920; Mussalman Wakf Act, 1923; Wakf Act, 1954 and the Public Wakfs (Extension of Limitation) Act, 1959

By 2009, a total of 33 lakh societies reported as “Societies registered under the Societies Registration Act/ Mumbai Public Trust Act”. Of these, the State Directorates of Economics and Statistics (DES) were able to collect information for about 22.58 lakh units and computerize the information relating to about 21 lakh units.

But when the Central Statistics Office (CSO) sent people searching for these NGOs in the states, it could not trace lakhs of them. Of the roughly 22 lakh NGOs it tried to verify, only 6.95 lakh could be traced.

These figures did not include non-profit organizations registered under the Charitable and Religious Trust Act, 1920, which, if counted, would add a few thousands to the number. Then there are non-profit companies under the Indian Companies Act,1956, and other laws that also help set up trusts.

The numbers also did not include many groups and associations, which, in common parlance are referred to as mass-based groups, usually operating at block and village levels, at times federating into larger organizations for specific purposes or campaigns. A study by PRIA and Johns Hopkins University suggested, nearly 50% of the total voluntary organizations in India were not registered under any law.

The antiquated societies registration law is blind when it comes to classifying these registered groups. It treats all registered societies the same way. These numbers include societies that run hugely profitable schools, colleges, hospitals and sports bodies in the country. Remember, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is also an NGO, registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act. The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) too is an NGO, under the law.

The major findings from the CSO Survey are as follows

The CSO’s study covered only the societies registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860/Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950 and companies Registered under section 25 of Indian Companies Act, 1956.

Data available from the first phase shows that there are about 31.7 lakh NPIs registered in India and that 58.7% of these are located in rural areas. A majority of NPIs are involved in community, social and personal services, cultural services, education, and health services.

The number of NPIs formed after 1990 has increased manifold. This is the post economic reform period when global powers began to show interest in India. There were only 1.44 lakh societies registered till the year 1970, followed by 1.79 lakh registrations in the period from 1971 to 1980, 5.52 lakh registrations in the period from 1981 to 1990, 11.22 lakh registrations in the period from 1991 to 2000, and as many as 11.35 lakh societies were registered after 2000.

Since there is no clause in the Act for the de-registration of defunct societies, the first phase of the survey results give number of societies and their distribution on the basis of records available with the registering authorities.

About 18 lakh societies have been visited during the second phase, i.e. 57.6% of the registered societies. Out of these, results are available for 4.65 lakh. The top three sectors where these societies were engaged is as follows: engaged in Social Services (35%), followed by Education & Research (21%), and Culture & Recreation (15%). The top three activities account for 71% of the registered societies.

The data on total work force includes volunteers and paid workers. Out of the 144 lakh work force, only 11 lakh are paid workers. The CSO used the sum of their operational expenditures to come to a value of their economic output at a whopping Rs 41,292 crore!

Non Profit Institutions are also registered under the Indian Companies Act (Section 25), 1956. The financial data in respect of 2,595 companies listed with Ministry of Corporate Affairs has been obtained and analyzed. However, no information could be obtained in respect of the workforce of these companies and activities/purposes in which they are involved.

CSO decided to limit the coverage to the Societies registered under Societies Registration Act 1860, Mumbai Trust Act and the Indian Companies Act (Section 25), 1956. This is because a majority of the NPIs are registered under Societies Registration Act 1860. This also means that NGOs under various religious non-profit organisations were excluded and they constitute a large number.

The study found that in most States, the provision of submitting financial statements is not strictly enforced. Even if societies file financial statements with the registrar’s office, there is no mechanism to maintain this database.

Maharajas among NGO’s

A category of NGOs are registered with Ministry of Home Affairs under Foreign Contributions Regulations Act (FCRA). These can be called Euro or Dollar NGOs who get funds from private charities as well as Government organizations abroad.

Trends over last 10 years

Year No. of Registered Associations No. of Reporting Associations Amount of Foreign Contributions Rs Cr
2002-2003 26404 16590 5046.51
2003-2004 28351 17145 5105.46
2004-2005 30321 18540 6256.68
2005-2006 32144 18570 7877.57
2006-2007 33937 18996 11007.43
2007-2008 34803 18796 9663.46
2008-2009 36414 20088 10802.67
2009-2010 38,436 21,508 10,337.59
2010-2011 40,575 22,735 10,334.12
2011-2012 43,527 22,702 11,546.29
Total 2002-2012 97,383.53 Rs Crore
(Source: Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division, FCRA Wing)

The salient features for 2011-2012 are as follows

I. A total of 43,527 Associations have been registered under the FCRA until 31 March 2012. During 2011-12, as many as 2001 associations were granted registration and 304 associations were given prior permission to receive foreign contributions.

6. 22,702 Associations reported a total receipt of Rs 11,546.29 crore as foreign contributions. [Under or non-reporting is common.]

III. Delhi reported the highest receipt of foreign donations at Rs 2,285.75 crore, followed by Tamil Nadu (Rs 1,704.76 crore) and Andhra Pradesh (Rs 1,258.52 crore). 

7. Among districts, Chennai reported the highest foreign donations (Rs 889.99 crore), followed by Mumbai (Rs 825.40 crore) and Bangalore (Rs 812.48 crore).

8. The list of donor countries is headed by the US (Rs 3,838.23 crore), followed by UK (Rs 1,219.02 crore), and Germany (Rs 1,096.01 crore).

9. The list of foreign donors is topped by the Compassion International, US (Rs 183.83 crore), followed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, US (Rs 130.77 crore), and the Kinder Not Hilfe (KNH), Germany (Rs 51.76 crore).

Believers Church Logo World Vision IndiaVII. World Vision of India, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (Rs 233.38 crore) received the highest foreign donations among NGOs, followed by the Believers Church India Pathanamthitta, Kerala (Rs 190.05 crore) and Rural Development Trust, Ananthapur, AP (Rs 144.39 crore) 

VIII. The highest foreign contribution was received and utilized for Rural Development (Rs 945.77 crore), Welfare of Children (Rs 929.22 crore), Construction and Maintenance of school/colleges (Rs 824.11 crore) and Research (Rs 539.14 crore). Activities other than those mentioned above received Rs 2,253.61 crore. 

Interestingly establishment expenses (Building / Cars/ Jeeps / Computers / Cameras etc.) constituted the bulk of expenditure in most of the NGOs.

Need of the Hour

In the context of the Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) report on anti-development activities of many foreign-funded NGOs, it may be time to constitute a commission of experts including those from the IB to comprehensively study this sector. Also, to use experiences of other countries like Russia, China and the US in dealing with NGOs and formulating regulation to govern them. Perhaps, it is also time to re-look the foreign funding of NGOs in the context of compulsory CSR contributions introduced in the Companies Act 2013—since we are no more the white man’s burden! – Vaidyananthan’s Blog, 2 July 2014

» Prof R. Vaidyanathan, Finance and Control, has taught at IIM Bangalore for over three decades and is consistently rated as one of its most popular teachers. Prof Vaidyanathan has coined the term India Uninc for the largest component of the Indian economy comprising small entrepreneurs, households. Prof Vaidyanathan sits on the advisory boards of SEBI and the RBI. 

See also

Dharm Jagran spends Rs 50 lakh a month to ‘bring back home’ converted Hindus – Rajiv Srivastava

Reconverting to Hinduism

Hindu activist raising the Bhagwa Dwaj over a Cross.“Re-conversion holds no meaning if the members of the caste they belong to don’t accept them back into their fold, … and … [an effort is made] to ensure that the re-converted families aren’t discouraged. The cost on an average the Dharm Jagran has to bear on community feasting comes to around Rs 40,000 to 50,000 per month.” – Rajiv Srivastava

For reconversion or ‘ghar wapsi‘ of Hindu families that converted to other religions, outfits like Dharm Jagran have to bear a huge cost. An offshoot of the Rashtriya Swayemsewak Sangh (RSS), Dharm Jagran coughs up on an average Rs 8 to 10 lakh per month alone mainly as fuel cost and some miscellaneous expenses in the western UP area alone.

Claiming that on an average 1,000 families are re-converted, mostly in western UP region in a month, the cost incurred on such programmes comes to around Rs 50 lakh per month. The average cost incurred on each family comes to around Rs 5,000, Dharm Jagran’s western UP in charge Rajeshwar Singh told TOI.

The fuel cost incurred is meant for the outfit’s about 100 full-time volunteers, whose job is to identify people who converted to other religions from Hinduism, make them aware about what good they are missing by not being a Hindu and convince them to re-convert. ‘Ghar wapsi‘ is what Rajeshwar Singh called this re-conversion as.

Interestingly, this is not the only expenditure incurred by the Dharm Jagran. Since most of these volunteers are full-timers, they have a task in hand to carry on such awareness campaigns in the region throughout the year. On most of the occasions, once a family gets convinced to re-convert, volunteers have to pay for the affidavit on behalf of the family head, Ajay Sinha, a full-timer (as they are called within the organization) from Shahjahanpur told TOI. Interestingly, the requirement of affidavits is mandatory only in case of certified Christian converts, Rajeshwar told TOI, added that while for the ghar wapsi of those whom he refers to as “crypto-Christians”, there is no need for certificate as such people are not converted on papers but have adopted the tradition and culture associated with Christianity.

Since the number of certified Christians is far less as compared to the ‘crypto’ category, the expenditure on affidavits hardly comes to Rs 2,000 per month, he said. According to a rough estimate, ghar wapsi of around 1,000 families is done on an average every month in the western UP area, Rajeshwar claimed.

Though not every time, the organization also spends money for holding ‘shuddhi yagya‘ (purification ritual), a must for those who are reconverting. Since most of the times such yagyas are held with the contribution from Shuddhi Yagnaeither the family re-converting or through voluntary contribution by like-minded people, the average expenditure on such yagyas comes to Rs 20,000 per month per district, Rajeshwar said.

But holding shuddhi yagyas or submitting affidavits is not end the job for the Hindu outfit. The fact that the re-conversion holds no meaning if the members of the caste they belong to don’t accept them back into their fold, he said and added that [an effort is made] to ensure that the re-converted families aren’t discouraged. The cost on an average the outfit has to bear on community feasting comes to around Rs 40,000 to 50,000 per month.

A full-time volunteer from Meerut praant requesting anonymity said on an average RSS provides Rs 12 to 15 lakh as annual budget to each of Dharm Jagran’s praants and rest is through contributions from the respective districts. This funding by the RSS is reviewed annually, he said.

Such expenditure is nothing in view of the impact of such efforts, said Ajay from Shahjahanpur. Rajeshwar claims members from other communities claim to spend at least Rs 3 crore on one family that converts to their religion from Hinduism. Rajeshwar claimed he was busy with his aim of ‘ghar wapsi‘ of around 20,000 families or 1.25 lakh individuals in December. – The Times of India, 22 September 2014

What is religion good for? – Maria Wirth

Maria Wirth“Neither Christianity nor Islam has a solid philosophical basis. They consider as absolutely true what simply cannot be absolutely true: a story about the Highest does not qualify as That which always is, as it depends on thoughts. Further, the claim that the Highest, by whatever name it is called, is a separate entity apart from creation is scientifically not tenable.” – Maria Wirth

Yuri GagarinIn many parts of Europe, religion has become an important topic only in the last few decades. In the 1970s, religion or rather Christianity, which used to mean religion then, seemed obsolete. It was considered something for children and old people. Ever since Christians got the freedom to leave the Church not so long ago (in the 19th century in northern Germany), many did so. And after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin came back from space and declared that he had not come across God, the Church lost out further.

Just an example: when I was a child in the 1950s, in our small town mass was held every day at 6.30 a.m., at 7 a.m. and 3 times a week at 8 a.m. Since long now, there is no daily mass. Only the three services at 8 a.m. have survived. When I was a child, three hours of fasting were mandatory before taking Holy Communion. Now it has been scaled down to half an hour. Earlier, missing Sunday mass was a grave sin that would be punished with hell fire. Now one can attend it on Saturday instead of Sunday.

Religion seemed on its way out, yet suddenly it is back and very prominent in the public discourse. The main reason is the increasing visibility of Islam in Europe. When the first Turks came to Germany as “guest workers“, it was considered great that our boringly uniform society turned “multicultural”, with more interesting looking people on the streets. Meanwhile this enthusiasm has dimmed considerably. Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that the multicultural experiment has completely failed.

It is for the first time, after Christianity had crushed the Pagan faith in Europe, that the locals are confronted in their midst with a substantial population of followers of a different religion, which, as aggressively as Christianity, proclaims that it alone is the true religion, and whoever does not join it, is damned to hell forever. Moreover, many of those followers seem to take their religion really seriously.

This jolted Germans who did not identify foremost with being Christian anymore. Yet apparently, now they feel the need to counter Islam with Christianity. Angela Merkel exhorted Germans to go back to Christian values. In 2011, she invited the Pope to address the Parliament. While strolling through Munich city on a Sunday morning last winter, I saw many, including, fashionable youngsters, streaming into a big old church. Later I came to know that the priest of this church was very popular. Yet even in the small town where my mother lives, I saw many young parents take their kids to church for the children’s service. It would have been an unusual sight in the 1970s, when those same parents would have opted for a picnic instead.

What draws people to religion? What is it good for?

The most important point is in all likelihood an intuition in human beings that there is a higher, unfathomable power that is the cause for this vast universe and is also the cause for our own existence. Further, there is an intuition that this power somehow knows us and even guides us in life by this small voice of our conscience. There is an inner communion possible, be it through prayer or a feeling of awe.

Jesus of NazarethThis intuition makes sense. It is natural and does not require the label of “religion” and for many thousands of years it never had this label. The logical consequence of this intuition was to search for that power in oneself and outside. It prompted people to become mystics and scientists who pondered on what is true. We know that this went on for ages in the Indian subcontinent as many invaluable ancient texts are preserved.

However, in the last 2000 years of the long human history, this intuition that there is a higher power was exploited to promote ideologies that claim supremacy and strive for world dominion. An elaborate story was invented about this higher power. It was called “God, the Father”, and it was claimed he had one son and had sent this son down to earth, etc. To make matters worse, it was declared that this story is the only truth, and everyone has to believe it. As soon as Christianity became state religion of the Roman Empire, its followers rolled over mystically inclined locals and forced their belief on the people of vast areas in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

Muhammad of MadinaA few hundred years later, another story was woven around this higher power. It was claimed that this power has spoken again through a prophet, and this was for the very last time that it has made its Will known. No more direct message from the highest power in future. Unfortunately, here too, this story was declared as the only truth and everyone has to believe in it.

It did not take long and the followers of those two different stories were at each other’s throat with each one claiming that the highest power wants everyone to believe their story and not that of their rival. Obviously, the highest power was misused as a front for gaining world dominion. The second story got in many areas soon the upper hand “with fire and sword”, as we can unfortunately vividly imagine. And of course, it did not bypass the wealthiest land on earth at that time – India.

Both these stories were called “religions”. In fact, Christianity and Islam are the main religions that come immediately to one’s mind when one hears “religion”. Hinduism is often not even mentioned when religions are listed, and this should be taken as a compliment.

In the Indian tradition, the intuition that there is a higher power was not exploited to enforce belief in one story as the absolute truth and to rule the world. Here, not one story, but innumerable stories developed. These stories exist peacefully side by side. Devotees of Ram, Krishna, Shiva, Ganapathi, Devi, etc., are reminded that they must never be narrow-minded as Ram himself worshipped Shiva.

In India the natural, mystical path was pursued. The Rishis pondered deeply and came up with profound insights. They defined absolute truth as That which is always – in past, present, future, and which shines out of itself. Is there anything that fits this definition, as the whole universe obviously does not qualify as being absolutely true? Yes, there is, the Rishis declare: Pure, thought-free consciousness is absolutely true. But to really know this as true, everyone needs to find out in himself.

Neither Christianity nor Islam has a solid philosophical basis. They consider as absolutely true what simply cannot be absolutely true: a story about the Highest does not qualify as That which always is, as it depends on thoughts. Further, the claim that the Highest, by whatever name it is called, is a separate entity apart from creation is scientifically not tenable.

Only the Hindu tradition is solidly grounded and does not have to fear scientific discoveries. In fact, it is supported by and can lead to further scientific discoveries, as western scientists found out and took advantage of, for example in nuclear physics.

Not surprisingly, those religions, which don’t have a solid philosophical basis, rely on force and on catching young, impressionable minds. They expanded their reach by violence and kept their flock in check by brainwashing children and by threatening the adults with severe punishment if they dared to disagree with the story/ dogma that had to be accepted blindly as truth.

Ever since Christianity lost its power to enforce blasphemy laws and punish heretics, it lost followers. Nobody knows how many Muslims would leave Islam, if heretics were not punished and there were no blasphemy laws in place.

In contrast, the Hindu tradition has no blasphemy laws and does not need any. Its philosophical basis is solid. Even in the face of danger to one’s life under Muslim rule and of being exposed to ridicule under British rule, most Hindus held on to their tradition.

However in independent India, an insidious teaching that “all religions are the same and deserve respect” did a lot of harm and enticed many to convert for some benefits. “Respecting other religions” was said to be in tune with Hindu values, not realizing that it meant respecting those whose explicit goal is to wipe out Hindus.

VoltaireClearly, something is wrong with religions that need to threaten their followers with grave consequences, whether in this life or in the afterlife, if they dare to question the story they have been told to believe as the only truth. Further something is clearly wrong with the claim that the Highest is partial towards one group and will be exceedingly cruel to all others in his creation – letting them burn in hellfire for ever and ever.

Some Christians realized this and also dared to say it. Voltaire suffered in prison for his outspokenness. One of his comments is still highly relevant. He said, “Those who can make you Mark Twainbelieve absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

Mark Twain also called the bluff of the organized, dogmatic religion. He said, “Religion was born, when the first conman met the first fool.”

However, dogmatic religions are still going strong. Too few people question. Too few dare to look closely. Too few object to the outrageous claims that are made. Is it not outrageous to claim that Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, will burn in hell if they don’t convert? If a cricketer is not allowed to say this on the field, why are preachers allowed to spread this “absurdity” all over? Does it not encourage those who believe it to commit atrocities?

Those who had the good fortune to grow up in the Indian traditions, which allow freedom of thought and a genuine enquiry into truth, need to be alert and guard this freedom. If this freedom is lost, humanity will be truly miserable.

Sadly, it is lost already in many places on this earth. Saddest of all, it is lost in what is today Pakistan and where thousands of years ago human civilization had reached great heights. – Maria Wirth Blog, 14 September 2014

» Maria Wirth is German and came to India for a holiday after finishing her psychology studies at Hamburg University. She decided to stay and has been here 33 years.

Nepal flooding presents Gospel opportunities – Katy Hearth

Nepalese Children

This article is written by a Christian missionary, Katy Hearth of the Christian Aid Mission, one of the largest US-based Christian NGOs operating in India and Nepal. She shamelessly invites her fellow missionaries to exploit the critical flood situation in Nepal for evangelical work and conversion of Hindus and Buddhists to Christianity. She even finds an opportunity to falsely accuse Indian Prime Minister Modi of persecuting Nepalese Christians (when he has just given a billion dollar development loan to Nepal plus half a million dollars in flood aid). No doubt Modi will have to deal with these soul-scavenging Christian missionary NGOs soon, and how he does it—when he does it—will be interesting to see. — Editor

Christian Aid MissionNepal (Christian Aid Mission) — Nearly 300 people have died and more than 100 are missing due to severe Nepal flooding. Heavy rain, which began August 13, has affected 25 of Nepal’s 75 districts, overflowing riverbanks and causing landslides. More than 22,000 people have been displaced.

“Most of the believers from two of our churches lost their shelters, household items, cattle, and food grains,” says a ministry leader supported by Christian Aid Mission, your link to indigenous missions, in Bardia. Bardia is one of the four districts most-affected by Nepal’s flooding.

The leader reports that he has “never, in the past 52 years,” seen this kind of flooding in Bardia. “All of the sudden, the Orai River changed its course, and within a few minutes entire villages were washed away without any time for the people to react.”

Before the rains began, the majority of the flood victims lived in extreme poverty. They now have nothing.

Many homeless families are living at the school run by this ministry–a school that recently received negative attention from a news channel in Nepal after it became known that several children converted to Christianity there. Converting someone to a religion other than Hinduism was illegal in Nepal until 2008, when it Narendra Modi with his Nepalese godson Jeet Bahadurchanged from the world’s only Hindu Kingdom to a secular state.

India’s newly-elected Prime Minister, a Hindu Nationalist, is fueling Christian persecution in Nepal. The Nepal flooding is presenting local Christians with an opportunity to share the love of Christ with their persecutors.

International aid agencies are trying to help the victims but aren’t able to communicate with and reach many regions that remain without electricity and are inaccessible to outsiders.

The Nepalese government is ill-equipped to respond to such a disaster. According to one ministry leader assisted by Christian Aid Mission, the government is calling upon “each able individual to contribute 100 rupees [$1] for the people in the affected regions.”

Indigenous ministries inside Nepal are in a unique position to reach out to their hurting neighbors in Jesus’ name immediately, with help wired directly from Christian Aid Mission.

Among the most-needed items are food, blankets, and tents. Your gift will enable native missionaries to provide these basic necessities to those who have lost everything. – Mission Network News, 27 August 2014

Nepalese army rescue a cow in flooded Bardia
Nepalese women search for higher ground in flooded Bardia
Nepal Map

See also

Hinduism & Paganism – Koenraad Elst

Dr. Koenraad Elst“It happened to my European ancestors long ago, and I see it happening today in India. The Christian plan is to make the same destruction of Paganism happen all over India as well as the rest of the world. However, the rediscovery of the indigenous Pagan heritage among the natives of Latin America as well as those of Europe threatens to jeopardize their project, though as yet only marginally. They have a more acute fear of Islam, in spite of—or, on the contrary, proven by—their numerous gestures of reconciliation with Islam, such as the Pope’s apology for the Crusades, contrasting with their lack of apologies to the heirs of the far more unjustly treated Pagans [and Hindus].” – Dr Koenraad Elst

Yazidi Peacock God at Lalish TempleThe Christian challenge

Numerous British and more largely Western neo-Pagans seek contact with Hinduism.They recognize a similarity, both positively and negatively, both in their own religion’s characteristics and in the misfortunes that have befallen it. The extermination in summer 2014 of all the Yazidis (Kurdish Pagans) on whom the Islamic State could lay its hands has reminded many Pagans as well as many Hindus of what their own ancestors have had to suffer. We will start with a major negative experience of western Pagans of Hindus, viz. the challenge of Christianity, before addressing the similarities in contents.

Extermination of Paganism

European Paganism was exterminated by Christianity. The result was more thorough than in the case of the partial Islamization of South Asia, but far less violent. Initially, the Christians were a small and vulnerable community in the mighty Roman Empire. They had no real option but to adapt to the prevailing religious pluralism and to the law of the land. They have no separate systems of laws like Islam and ancient Judaism. So they didn’t have a law system to impose and could leave a society intact all while subverting its religion.

Rather than overthrowing a polity, they chose to work through its established authorities. All conversions were welcome, but the most promising ones were those of the king and his confidants. In Rome, the conversion of emperor Constantine changed history, turning a minority religion into the official and ultimately the only permitted religion. In the case of England, for instance, Pope Gregory the Great decided on a mass conversion after he saw some handsome young British slaves at the slave market in Christian Rome. (Slaves in Christian Rome? A modern line of apologetics is that Christianity was disliked by the elites because it wanted to abolish slavery. Not true at all, though it limited slave-taking to the remaining Pagan populations. The nearest were the Balkanic Slavs, hence the very word “slave”.) So he sent missionaries to work among the British elites and the royal court. Once enough of them were converted, or were at least turned favourable to the missionary effort, they in turn loaded the dice in favour of Christianity. Part of the deal in many countries concerned was that the Church would support the king against unsubmissive nobles, thus encouraging the centralization of power, or champion the ambitions of whichever nobles were most amenable to accepting the Christian message.

A very powerful factor was the monopoly on education which the first monasteries came to enjoy. This must ring a bell among present-day Hindus, considering the role of Jesuit and other Christian schools among the Indian elite. Another was the prestige of the Roman Empire as more civilized and more advanced than what the Pagans could muster. Before and during the conquest of the Roman Empire by the Goths, they embraced Christianity thinking this was an integral part in their advancement. That the Romans, for instance, built in stone rather than wood counted as an impressive innovation, but had nothing to do with Christianity. A similar thing is seen today: numerous Chinese and Koreans who migrate to the United States become Protestant overnight because they assume that this is a central element in becoming a real American. Among some Indian tribals, modern medicine passes as “Jesus medicine”, meaning “medicine coming from the same West as the missionaries”, though Jesus himself was an old-fashioned faith-healer who never used medicine. So, Christianity profited and still profits maximally from “merit by association”.

Catholic AshramsChristian subversion

One has to give it to the Christians that they were clever. They outwitted their opponents just as they are outwitting Hindus today. Thus, in the conversion of the masses, they made it a point not to destroy existing shrines: they replaced the central God-statue with a crucifix, but otherwise they allowed the masses to keep on visiting their old shrine, so that they would gradually attach to Jesus the aura of sacredness that they used to associate with their own gods. Many cathedrals were built on Pagan temples or open-air sacred places, but fairly rarely have Christians destroyed temples; only the “idols” in them. They adopted holidays and celebrations but gave them a new Christian meaning. They turned old Gods into Christian saints. They Christianized the procession, originally the triumphal march of a Pagan God, now a display in the streets of the sacred wafer representing Jesus. They accommodated the idea of pilgrimage, mostly to a purported relic of Jesus or a saint, even though the Christian view made nonsense of the idea that you can go on pilgrimage to the Omnipresent One. Like today in India, they used inculturation as a mission strategy.

And it worked. At the elite level, Pagan religion disappeared. It is common nowadays to bewail the injustice to the Jews because they were forced to live in ghettos; but the Jews were at least tolerated as a standing witness to the “truth of the Old Testament”. By contrast, there were not even ghettos for worshippers of Zeus, Venus or Thor.

As the Dutch poet Lucebert wrote: “Everything of value is vulnerable.” When a body dies, one of the first thing to degenerate and disappear is the brain, while the bones can last for centuries. The fabled secret traditions of the Druids were killed off by Christianity and remain forever unknown, but many popular practices and indeed also superstitions have survived till recently. The Middle Ages, though Christian at the elite level, saw the survival of numerous Pagan institutions and practices especially among the rural folk (both Latinate Pagan and Germanic Heathen mean “rural, rustic”). The Reformation in the 16th century delivered a body blow to the remaining Paganism, as Protestants started weeding out everything that was not Biblical, while the Catholics saw themselves forced to purify Catholicism and eliminate a number of practices that had come about as compromises with Paganism. A final blow was the Industrial Revolution, which saw the rise of an anti-religious mentality: it hurt European Christianity badly but it also flushed out the remaining Pagan practices among the common people.

So, Christianization was mostly effected through subversion and mass psychology. Instances of the threat of violence included the forced baptism of the Frankish king Clovis’ soldiers (“head off or head under [the baptismal water]”), or the threats by the king of Norway which convinced the Icelanders to adopt Christianity. Instances of effective violence include the lynching of the Neoplatonist scholar Hypatia or the slaughter of thousands of Saxon nobles by Charlemagne. These were smaller affairs than the wars between Catholics and Christian “heretics”, such as that in the 5th-6th century between the Byzantine Catholics and the Gothic votaries of Arian Christianity, and in the 17th century the Thirty Years’ War between Catholics and Protestants. One serious case of a Christian holy war against Pagans was the subjection of the Baltic area by the Teutonic Order in the 13th-14th century; but that was after Christians had developed the concept of Crusade mirroring the older Islamic concept of Jihad.

India Crossed-OutChristian strategic acumen

The practical impact of this assessment is that it won’t get you very far to remind your audience of the violent element in Christian history, such as the burning of maybe 50.000 witches in the 16th-17th century. That violence was certainly there, but not enough to explain Christianity’s conquest of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Even the Native Americans, who had so much to reproach the Christians for, turned Christian in large numbers. (Indians do well to remember that the fate of the American “Indians” was in fact meant for the people of the continent the Conquistadores had set out to reach, viz. “India”.) You will have to take into account other factors, such as:

(1) “merit by association”, viz. Christianity’s piggy-backing on a literate and materially more advanced culture, then in Europe like more recently in Asia; to which should now be added the propaganda linking Christianity with social causes and human rights;
(2) Christianity’s self-righteousness due to a belief in being the sole possessors of the truth, and the consequent contempt for non-Christians, a far more negative attitude than anything the Pagans could muster; or in other words, the unmatched power of hatred; as well as the consequent importance they attach to religious identity, which means the pressure to convert in a mixed marriage is usually on the Pagan partner;
(3) The Christian care to distinguish between Pagans and Paganism, which gave them a good conscience and strong motivation, because they believed they were loving the Pagans all while hating and demonizing Paganism, and that the effort to convert the Pagans was the supreme form of expressing their love for them;
(4) the Christian development of a sophisticated missionary strategy emanating from a goal-oriented strategic centre.

By contrast, Pagans have mostly been in retreat because:

(1) they have been on the defensive in material and “soft power” respects (though even where this applies less and less, such as in the Indian elite and in China, there are now numerous conversions to Christianity due to the other factors) and have successfully been demonized in matters of human rights;
(2) they don’t think of religion in terms of truth, so that Christianity might be a nuisance but not a “false” religion; believe in the good things claimed for Christianity; and don’t make sharp distinctions between the secondary aspects of the religion (which may be innocent or even laudable and are often borrowed from Paganism anyway) and its core truth claims, which are patently false; so that they consider conversion to Christianity as only a minor change which may often be justified;
(3) since they have comparatively little theological schooling and no catechism, they fail to distinguish between Christians and Christianity, and are easily duped by the existence of some fine Christians into thinking that the Christian truth claims must be innocent as well;
(4) the confused, unorganized, “me too”- imitative, uninformed and amateurish nature of their self-defence.

It happened to my European ancestors long ago, and I see it happening today in India. The Christian plan is to make the same destruction of Paganism happen all over India as well as the rest of the world. However, the rediscovery of the indigenous Pagan heritage among the natives of Latin America as well as those of Europe threatens to jeopardize their project, though as yet only marginally. They have a more acute fear of Islam, in spite of (or, on the contrary, proven by) their numerous gestures of reconciliation with Islam, such as the Pope’s apology for the Crusades, contrasting with their lack of apologies to the heirs of the far more unjustly treated Pagans [and Hindus].

Hindu activist raising the Bhagwa Dwaj over a CrossWhat to do after Christianity?

In Europe, at least, and to my knowledge also in Latin America, there is no direct or imminent threat of Christian violence. The battle can be won by consciousness-raising, which already happens automatically though it would benefit from a sharpening of its focus. Since the democratization of knowledge and of the scientific outlook, people have left the Churches in droves because they just cannot bring themselves to believing Christianity’s defining dogmas anymore. These ex-Christians (the majority of my own generation in the formerly very Catholic Flemish part of Belgium) are rarely tempted to turn back to the faith of their childhood, even on their deathbeds. Some Christian apologists find hope in demographics, asserting that the remaining Christian couples have more children (viz. just above the reproduction level) than the ex-Christian couples. True, but even of these born-again Christian couples, many children when growing up are just as susceptible to the temptation of scepticism as my generation was. After all, we have been there before: in the decades when Christianity decisively lost its majority, both the Christian birth-rate and the differential with the secularized minority were even bigger than now. I, for one, born in 1959, am the second of five siblings. Of my staunchly Catholic parents’ fourteen grandchildren, only six have been baptized – and that too is only a formality which doesn’t mean that they will be Catholics as adults. The last real hope of the Churches is the inflow of immigrants. In my country, the remaining Catholic churches are mostly filled with Polish or Congolese “new Belgians”. But there again, after a while many tend to conform to their ex-Christian environment. So, very much in contrast to India, where Christianity is making impressive gains, in Europe Christianity is largely a thing of the past.

That doesn’t mean these ex-Christians have lost the feeling for the higher things and immersed themselves in consumerism and sheer animality, as Christians tend to think. Nor are they without morality, which had unjustly been identified with being a Christian. But neither religiosity nor morals can be deduced from or made dependent on the defining dogmas of Christianity, which have been pin-pricked as delusional. Belief in Salvation through Jesus’ Resurrection cannot be revived, but that doesn’t mean the subtler dimensions have died. So now our job is to oversee the development of a new worldview and a different way of life, punctured by old-new rituals and celebrations. It is here that renascent Paganism in Europe seeks inspiration from Hinduism as the biggest and most developed surviving Pagan civilization.

» Dr Koenraad Elst studied at the KU Leuven, obtaining MA degrees in Sinology, Indology and Philosophy. After a research stay at Benares Hindu University he did original fieldwork for a doctorate on Hindu nationalism. As an independent researcher he earned laurels and ostracism with his findings on hot items like Islam, multiculturalism and the secular state, the roots of Indo-European, the Ayodhya temple/mosque dispute and Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy. He blogs at http://koenraadelst.blogspot.in/

About the St Thomas reference in Shashi Tharoor’s book Pax Indica – Poulasta Chakraborthy

Shashi Tharoor

St Thomas by Georges de la Tour  (1593 – 1652)This sounds like a good story. And that’s what it is: a good story. All those statements on Thomas made by Tharoor, Nehru and Prasad are not based on any solid historical evidence. They are just repetitions of a well established legend. – Poulasta Chakraborthy

Page 280 of former minister and current Member of Parliament, Shashi Tharoor’s book Pax Indica contains an interesting assertion.

Christianity arrived on Indian soil with St. Thomas the Apostle (‘Doubting Thomas’), who came to the Malabar Coast sometime before 52 CE and was welcomed on shore, or so oral legend has it, by a flute playing Jewish girl. He made many converts, so there are Indians today whose ancestors were Christians well before any Europeans discovered Christianity.

Although Tharoor identifies the incident of St. Thomas being welcomed to Malabar by a flute-playing Jewish girl as part of folklore, he states that the arrival of St. Thomas to the Malabar Coast as a historical fact.

The good news is that he’s not the first one to state that myth as a historical truth. The biggest of political leaders in India have obediently accepted this historical myth. In one of his works, the nation’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru wrote:

Few people realise that Christianity came to India as early as the first century after Christ, long before Europe turned to it, and established a firm hold in South India….

This statement was repeated in a different way by Dr. Rajendra Prasad in his St. Thomas Day speech at New Delhi, in 1955:

Remember St. Thomas came to India when many countries in Europe had not yet become Christian and so these Indians who trace their Christianity to him have a longer history and a higher ancestry than that of Christians of many of the European countries. And it is a matter of pride for us that it happened….

This famous legend as well as the assertion that Christianity came to India before it went to Europe is a tactic to make it a sort of indigenous religion, even if it came from the Middle East. The statements made by our great leaders are based on the following incidents:

St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Christ (itself a disputed fact), came to India in 52 CE. He landed at Maliankara (Cranganore) in Kerala, preached the Gospel, produced miracles, and got many converts.

Then he went to Mailepuram (Mylapore), and from there to China, but after some time returned to Maliankara, and from there came again to Mylapore where he spent the rest of his life preaching, converting a large number of the low-caste Hindus.

The aforesaid points make St. Thomas appear as socio-religious reformer who aimed to ameliorate the woes of local residents—specifically those suppressed under the caste system. As every tale of reformers goes St. Thomas was also disliked by the orthodox elements (which in the Indian context are the Brahmins) of the land that were determined to finish him. This risky situation made Thomas take refuge in a cave at a mountain located near the present St. Thomas Mount. Unfortunately the great Saint was murdered by one of those zealous Brahmins at St. Thomas Mount. His body was brought to Mylapore and buried in 73 CE.

This sounds like a good story. And that’s what it is: a good story. All those statements on Thomas made by Tharoor, Nehru and Prasad are not based on any solid historical evidence. They are just repetitions of a well established legend.

Syrian bishop with Pope Benedict

Now let’s see what some historical, and even Christian religious texts have to say about this tale:

  1. D. Burnell, in an article in the Indian Antiquary of May 1875, writes, “The attribution of the origin of South Indian Christianity to the apostle Thomas seems very attractive to those who hold certain theological opinion. But the real question is, on what evidence does it rest? Without real or sufficient evidence so improbable a circumstance is to be at once rejected. Pious fictions have no place in historical research.”
  2. Prof. Jarl Charpentier, in St. Thomas the Apostle and India, writes, “There is absolutely not the shadow of a proof that an Apostle of our Lord be his name Thomas or something else — ever visited South India or Ceylon and founded Christian communities there.”
  3. Rev. J. Hough, in Christianity in India, writes, “It is not probable that any of the Apostles of our Lord embarked on a voyage … to India.”
  4. Cosmas the Alexandrian, a theologian, geographer and merchant who traded with Ethiopia and Ceylon, visited Malabar in 520-525 CE and provided the first acceptable evidence of Christian communities there as noted in his Christian Topography. There is no mention of any Thomas in his works.
  5. Regarding the fabled Apostle of Jesus, Thomas, early Church Fathers like Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Eusebius had stated outright that Apostle Thomas settled in ‘Parthia’, and established a church in Fars (Persia). This is supported by the 4th century priest Rufinus of Aquileia, who translated Greek theological texts into Latin, and the 5th century Byzantine church historian, Socrates of Constantinople, who wrote an Ecclesiastical History, the second edition of which survives and is a valuable source of early church history. None of those sources speak of St. Thomas visiting India.
  6. Bishop Stephen Neill who had spent many years in South India examined the St. Thomas story as late as 1984. “A number of scholars,” wrote Neill, “among whom are to be mentioned with respect Bishop A.E. Medlycott, J.N. Farquhar and Jesuit Dahlman, have built on slender foundations what can only be called Thomas romances, such as reflect vividness of their imagination rather than the prudence of historical critics…. Millions of Christians in India are certain that the founder of their church was none other than the apostle Thomas himself. The historian cannot prove it to them that they are mistaken in their belief. He may feel it right to warn them that historical research cannot pronounce on the matter with a confidence equal to that which they entertain by faith.”

And to top them all, in September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI himself declared that Thomas never came to India. But his declaration was toned down after a complaint from the so-called St. Thomas Christians who still believe Thomas came to India and converted their ancestors. Now the question: where did it all begin?

Bardaisan / BardesanesThe chief source of this tale is a Gnostic Syrian fable, Acts of Thomas, written by a poet named Bardesanes at Edessa around 201 CE. The text says the apostle went from Palestine eastwards to a desert-like country where people are ‘Mazdei’ (a term used for Zoroastrians) and have Persian names. The term “India” in Acts is used as a synonym for Asia.

The Acts identifies St Thomas as Judas, the look-alike twin of Jesus, who sells him into slavery. The slave travels to Andropolis where he makes newly-weds chaste, cheats a king, fights with Satan over a beautiful boy, persuades a talking donkey to confess the name of Jesus, and is finally executed by a Zoroastrian king for crimes against women. His body is buried on a royal mountain and later taken to Edessa, where a popular cult rises around his tomb. Even in this story, it is clear that St. Thomas never visited India.

Thomas of CanaThere is another popular fable among Indian Christians about one Thomas of Cana, a merchant who led a group of 400 Christians from Babylon and Nineveh, out of Persia in the 4th century CE, when Christianization of the Roman Empire motivated the Persians to persecute their Syriac-speaking Christian minority. These Christians apparently landed in Malabar around 345 CE.

Based on this tale, a section of St. Thomas Christians believe Thomas of Cana to be known as St. Thomas.

And so it is clear that nothing much is known about St. Thomas beyond these stories which have been refuted by historical evidence.

Even after reading the refutation of this tale of St. Thomas by strong historical evidence, the likes of Tharoor will claim that these ‘fables’ are historical facts, in no less than a full length book of the genre Pax Indica belongs to. The reason is not far to seek: Tharoor’s parroting of the St. Thomas myth arises from the Indian secularist template for keeping the secular fabric of India intact.

Sita Ram GoelBut there are deeper, more fundamental reasons why the St. Thomas myth must be debated and re-debated.

The reason is given in detail by Sita Ram Goel in his Papacy: Its Doctrine and History.

Firstly, it is one thing for some Christian refugees to come to a country and build some churches, and quite another for an apostle of Jesus Christ to appear in flesh and blood for spreading the Good News. If it can be established that Christianity is as ancient in India as the prevailing forms of Hinduism, no one can nail it down as an imported creed brought in by Western imperialism.

Secondly, the Catholic Church in India stands badly in need of a spectacular martyr of its own. Unfortunately for it, St. Francis Xavier died a natural death and that, too, in a distant place. Hindus, too, have persistently refused to oblige the Church in this respect, in spite of all provocations. The Church has to use its own resources and churn out something. St. Thomas, about whom nobody knows anything, offers a ready-made martyr.

Thirdly, the Catholic Church can malign the Brahmins more confidently. Brahmins have been the main target of its attack from the beginning. Now it can be shown that the Brahmins have always been a vicious brood, so much so that they would not stop from murdering a holy man who was only telling God’s own truth to a tormented people. At the same time, the religion of the Brahmins can be held responsible for their depravity.

Fourthly, the Catholics in India need no more feel uncomfortable when faced with historical evidence about their Church’s close cooperation with the Portuguese pirates, in committing abominable crimes against the Indian people. The commencement of the Church can be disentangled from the advent of the Portuguese by dating the Church to some distant past. The Church was here long before the Portuguese arrived. It was a mere coincidence that the Portuguese also called themselves Catholics. Guilt by association is groundless.

To reword a phrase used by the famed novelist S.L. Bhyrappa ‘Secularism can never be strengthened by projecting historical lies.’ Hence it is imperative for students of history as well as those claiming to be historians to challenge these distortions in our public discourse. – India Facts, 1 August 2014

References

  1. Ishwar Sharan, The Myth of St. Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple
  2. Sandhya Jain, Merchant Thomas to Saint Thomas
  3. Tejasvi Surya, The Mylapore St. Thomas Myth that just doesn’t seem to die: Part 1 [and 2]
  4. Ishwar Sharan, Wikipedia & Encyclopaedia: Their counterfeit St. Thomas entries exposed

Rajiv Malhotra: The interview the Christian Post didn’t publish – The Chakra

Being Different

Rajiv MalhotraRajiv Malhotra informed The Chakra that many months ago he was approached by a journalist named Myles Collier from The Christian Post, who told him that their media wanted to interview him on his book Being Different. He asked that it be done by email, so that there was an accurate record and no misunderstanding later. This was accepted by his editors, and what followed was an email exchange in which Rajiv answered every question asked via email. Below is a complete list of all the questions and his answers. Rajiv was told that the interview would appear very soon and that he would receive the url, but never heard back after the interview. His prediction at the time was that once the senior editors saw his responses, they would not want to publish it, because one of his conditions was that any alterations in what he said required his prior written approval. Rajiv has forwarded all his responses in full and has allowed us to publish them. – The Chakra Editor

1. For those not familiar with your work what is the main thesis of your book, Breaking India?

a) The book explains the role of U.S. and European churches, academics, think-tanks, foundations, government and human rights groups in fostering divisive identities between the Dravidian and Dalit communities on the one hand and the rest of India based on outdated racial theories.

b) Its how outdated racial theories continue to provide academic frameworks and fuel the rhetoric that can trigger civil wars and genocides in developing countries.

c) The Dravidian movement’s 200-year history has such origins. Its latest manifestation is the “Dravidian Christianity” movement that fabricates a political and cultural history to exploit old fault lines. I refer to this as the “breaking India project”. Please see:

2. What kind of reception has your book garnered?

a) The reception in Indian think tanks and defence study networks has been very good. The book was launched by senior Indian retired security and military officials. See videos at:

b) There has also been a very good reception among the general public in both India and the US. The book has already gone through 5 print runs and become a national best-seller. Breaking India was quoted during the recent controversial Kodankulam protests.

c) The latest jacket’s endorsements are also self-explanatory–please see:

d) It has been translated into Tamil and the Hindi edition will soon be ready as well.

3. When specifically considering the situation of the Dalit’s Dr. Joseph D’souza describes it as the “greatest human rights violation in history” — is this an accurate portrayal?

a) Calling the situation of the Dalits the “greatest human rights violation in history” is an example of the sensationalist pandering and politicization that Breaking India explains. Anyone researching atrocities objectively must examine the following ones: White European Christian conquerors of America against Native Americans and Australian aborigines, Spanish Inquisition against women and native faiths, Portuguese Inquisition against Indians, Christian slavery of Africans, Christian colonization of Asia and other continents during which hundreds of millions were killed. In fact, Christianity was built by the sword ever since the time Emperor Constantine hijacked it and turned it into a dogma for state theocracy.

b) Joseph D’souza is trying to help cover up this White Christian guilt of perpetrating many of history’s worst atrocities. Non-White Christians like D’souza perform this cover up for White Christians, and for this they earn funding and career opportunities. I refer to such persons as ‘sepoys’, after the Indians who served under British rule and helped police and control other Indians. This role is similar to that of the Anglo-Irishmen who were used by the English to colonize Ireland.

c) Of course, all violations of human rights are to be condemned, and we must work hard to give dignity to every human across the globe. But one cannot distort history in order to open the door for Western interventions as has been their strategy for centuries.

d) There’s a long history of many Indian communities becoming poor and disenfranchised due to dislocation under Islamic and British oppression, and many of them turned into present day Dalits. This is not a “Hindu problem” per se as is the fashion to call it in the Christian press. In fact, Dalit Christians have litigated against the Indian Church for prejudices against them that are institutionalized within Christianity – including separate burial grounds, and bias in the allocation of funds.

e) Most Christian nations that were former colonies, such as the ones in Latin America, Philippines, etc. have far worse per capita statistics of crimes than India does.

f) Also, the Church remains racially very much divided even in rich Christian countries like USA: That’s why there are separate Black churches, Korean churches, Hispanic churches, etc. Even among Indian Christians in USA there are separate churches for Tamils and Malayalees, etc.

g) So human rights activism must begin at home – Christians must work within Christian society to solve internal problems, rather than trying to export cures for social maladies they are suffering themselves, and especially diseases they have spread elsewhere. The human rights record of atrocities by Christendom is woven deeply into the tapestry of world history.

h) The Church has no moral authority to intervene in other countries using the pretext of bringing them human rights.

i) India’s sovereignty and its internal institutions for improving the lot of all its citizens must be respected and strengthened.

4. There are many organizations dedicated to helping and empowering the Dalit’s, yet you have made the claim that western influences actually hinder progressive movements and contribute to an ever hostile social environment—why is this?

a) India, like any former colony, has its own share of social injustices that need to be continually addressed and resolved.

b) But separatist forces supported and funded by external nexuses are constructing a dangerous and fictitious anti-national grand narrative. This has been forged specifically to alienate Dalits from their own culture and country by exacerbating societal divisions. This is the latest version of the old divide-and-rule strategy practiced by European colonizers everywhere.

c) All democracy-loving Americans should worry about the consequences of allowing narrow-minded Christian organizations to undermine the largest democracy in the world.

d) Dalit communities are not monolithic and have extremely diverse histories and social dynamics – so you cannot lump all of them in one box. Also, not all Dalit communities are at the same socio-economic level or homogeneously poor. Nor are they static or inherently subordinate to others. Indeed, there are several Dalit billionaires, top politicians and other leaders – a Dalit has even been the President of India.

e) While Dravidian and Dalit identities were initially constructed separately, there is now a strategy at work to link them in order to denigrate and demonize Indian classical traditions as a common enemy. This, in turn, has been mapped on to a newly manufactured Afro-Dalit narrative which claims that Dalits are racially related to Africans and all other Indians are “whites.” Thus, Indian civilization itself is demonized as anti-humanistic and oppressive.

f) This has become the playground of major foreign players, both from the evangelical right and from the academic left. It has opened huge career opportunities for an assortment of middlemen including foreign-funded NGOs, intellectuals and” champions of the oppressed.”

g) While the need for relief and structural change is immense, the short-sighted selfish politics is often empowering some individual leaders rather than the people whose cause is being championed. The” solutions” often exacerbate the problems. See:

5. What is your current feeling as to the situation created by outside organizations and the impact that has on the Dalit population?

a) Genuine grievances and injustices certainly do exist. There is no whitewashing here.

b) But the book shows how such existing fault lines are used by transnational forces to subvert India and brand Indian civilization as hopeless and in need of being replaced by a superior imported variety. This can make Dalits believe that their liberation lies in toppling India’s civilization and nationhood.

c) Politicized Christianity in India maps Biblical notions on to a Marxist interpretation of” class struggle”, i.e. Liberation Theology, even though the American sponsors do not support such ideology domestically where they live. So they are pulling the strings of society and politics half way around the world in an alien place without having any skin in the game. This is hypocrisy.

d) My research tracked the money trails from the West where funds are raised for “education,” “human rights,” “empowerment training,” and “leadership training,” but end up in programs designed to produce angry youths who feel disenfranchised from Indian identity. Already the Baptists have created separatist movements in India’s northeast region by converting the natives and shifting their loyalties.

e) Similar interventions by some of the same global forces have resulted in genocides and civil wars in Sri Lanka, Rwanda, etc.

6. There has been a great deal of discussion over the role of Hinduism in India and its propensity to keep “undesired” individuals oppressed, I was curious as to your thoughts about the role of Hinduism and the Hindutva in India?

a) It is ironic that Christians are able to make such assumptions at a time when Hindu ideas are being appropriated into Christianity to create a more benevolent theology for Christianity. Hindu metaphysics and praxis have been digested into Christianity for a long time, but very systematically for at least 200 years, into such diverse areas as: sacredness of the earth and the divine feminine; yoga and the human body as not being inherently sinful but being inherently divine; animal rights and vegetarianism; the inherent unity of consciousness as opposed to the dualism of Judeo-Christianity; etc.

b) I am writing a whole series of books on how major Christian thinkers have acknowledged Hindu sources for some of their most important rethinking on Christianity. Unfortunately, subsequent Christians like to dilute these Hindu influences and eventually forget them entirely, and replace them with Judeo-Christian sources, in order to hide the “Hinduism inside” that exists at the heart of much of today’s reinterpreted Christianity.

c) So, on the one hand, we have this very frantic appropriation going on, and the Hindu origins are being erased. Simultaneously, on the other hand, the very same Hindu sources are being abused as “oppressive”. How could Hindu ideas be useful to liberate Christianity from Christianity’s own shackles, and yet Hinduism be branded so vehemently as oppressive?

d) I am reminded of the way Greek thought was appropriated by St. Augustine and others in order to start Christian theology (prior to which Christian historians admit that the Bible lacked philosophical content), and yet the very same Greek society was condemned as “pagan” and finished off. I have referred to this as a form of arson: the arsonist robs the bank and then burns it down to hide the evidence. The Christian West has perfected this type of activity over the centuries: appropriate and simultaneously destroy the source.

e) I am amazed at the sweeping assumptions in your question. It is hypocritical for Christians to point fingers at the alleged “propensity to keep undesired individuals oppressed” in Hinduism, given Christianity’s track record on oppression of indigenous cultures, sexual abuse of children, persecution of great scientists and thinkers who did not accede to Christian dogma of the time, systemic repression of women and homophobia.

f) As for Hindutva, that is a specific political movement and you will have to interview its leaders for their views. I can only speak for Hindu dharma as an individual practitioner-scholar, and not for any institution.

7. How do you respond to those who would call the research found in your book sound, however claim that your interpretation and subsequent propaganda message is wrong?

a) This statement is too general to be possible to answer. There are many issues discussed in my works, and hence you have to cite a concrete example of what troubles you, so I may be able to address it. Breaking India exposes propaganda; it does not create it. It is the result of a fact-finding mission undertaken over decades and the result of rigorous analysis, not sloganeering.

b) I anticipated that my findings will trouble many persons who have a vested interest to defend a fabricated history, a fabricated grandiose notion of their own religious supremacy and exclusivity, and who are in many cases also sustaining their careers and lifestyles based on pushing ideas on behalf of powerful global nexuses.

c) If any objections to my research come from persons who do not fall in these categories and are based on primary sources, I will consider them respectfully and modify my views if necessary.

8. The Dalit Freedom Network and Operation Mobilization are two groups that are building schools which offer English-medium education with a Christian world-view perspective while also offering vocational training to help abused and trafficked individuals in India. If local programs are not offering opportunities for marginalized people why would it be negative for Dalit’s and other lower caste members to exercise choice and work towards a better future?

a) Mahatma Gandhi lashed out against Christian missionaries numerous times because they linked their social work to conversion. I agree with his posture. Christians who are genuinely motivated must provide unconditional help from one human to another.

b) To denigrate another’s culture is a form of himsa (harm) and violates the dharmic principle known as ahimsa. Christians must learn mutual respect for others and not use mere “tolerance” as a cover up of hatred. For more details on my principle of mutual respect and how it differs from tolerance, please see:

c) Regarding the groups you have named, I oppose their political projects and my book exposés what they are up to. DFN (with two directors from OM) uses the Dalit face to hide that it is a hardcore operational wing of American right-wing agendas in India. The Dalit label gives it the emotional appeal and aura of legitimacy to intervene in India’s affairs. DFN brings speakers and activists from India to testify before US government commissions, policy think-tanks and churches, with the explicit goal of promoting US intervention in India (Breaking India, pages 222-223).

d) What most of my American Christian friends are shocked to learn is that the kind of Christianity being propagated in India is often similar to the radical, medieval Christianity that was based on performing “miracles” and on hate speech. Most modern Christians in USA have rejected that Christianity, but the obsession for numerical growth in Christian population has become the evangelical obsession. The sole focus is on numbers, not quality or genuine religiosity.

e) There are also many good indigenous grassroots movements in India working for Dalit causes, which do not get the type of prominence or funding that Western-supported NGOs do. They are sadly underfunded because they lack the sophisticated fundraising and publicity machinery. Yet such indigenous organizations have a far better efficiency in the use of funds for making a
positive impact than the foreign ones do.

f) My American Christian friends are grateful to get informed about this, as it enables them to make better choices in philanthropy, and be more careful before they fund certain foreign missions. Since my book is beginning to impact the evangelists’ fund-raising in the US, they want Christian media like yours to poison the credibility of my work.

g) But any religious community must be open to external criticism and self-reflection in order to improve its religious standards. Given Christianity’s long history of abuses, it would be foolish for American Christians to fail to examine my findings with a receptive mind.

9. Can you explain your thoughts related to difference anxiety?

a) I coined the term “difference anxiety” to refer to one’s anxiety that the other is different in some way—be it gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age or religion. The alternative is difference without anxiety, and better still is celebration of difference.

b) To appreciate this very Hindu principle, one must start by observing that the cosmos is built on the principle of difference—in plants, animals, geographies, and even each moment in time is unique. So differences in culture, human cognition and worldviews are entirely natural.

c) It is interesting that westerners are so protective of the diversity of plants and animals, but the same emphasis is not placed on protecting civilizational and faith diversity. The reason is that Westerners are driven by the urge to control externally – control over other humans, nature, etc. Homogeneity based on fixed canonized norms helps one control; hence difference and especially flux are a cause for anxiety. Therefore, Western religions have traditionally pushed for monocultures.

d) Western Monotheism is more appropriately described as “my-theism,” meaning that my idea of theism is the only valid one.

e) In Hinduism, sva-dharma is the path for a given individual, the “sva” prefix literally meaning “my.” It’s like “My Documents” or “My Favorites” on your computer. God made us unique individuals, each with a purpose based on past conditioning, including experiences in past births, and each of us is equipped to discover his or her sva-dharma.

f) To prevent repetition of some of the worst organized, large scale atrocities in world history that were committed for the sake of spreading a uniform theology, it is time we respected difference. Please see:

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