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


  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:


Hindus for Hitler – Koenraad Elst

 “Germany must become the sword of the Catholic Church.” – Kaiser Wilhelm II quoting Pope Leo XIII; Leo Lehmann in Behind the Dictators

“Thus the Catholic Church is more secure than ever. [...] She will remain as a beacon light.” – Adolf Hitler; Leo Lehmann in Behind the Dictators

“The Third Reich is the first power which not only recognizes, but puts into practice, the high principles of the Papacy.” — Avro Manhattan quoting Vice Chancellor Von Papen; Bill Hugh in Secret Terrorists

“The National Socialist commandments and those of the Catholic Church have the same aim.” Edmond Paris in The Secret History of the Jesuits 

“I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.” – Adolf Hitler; John Toland in Adolf Hitler 


Adolf HitlerHindus for Hitler

Anti-Hindu writers love to portray Hindu revivalism as a form of “fascism”. Given the Hindu movement’s record of service to democracy and abiding by democratic norms, they have a hard time sounding serious. Fortunately for them, they find perfect allies in the rare but vocal Hindus who do applaud Adolf Hitler.

Wendy Doniger

During the commotion around the publisher’s withdrawal of Wendy Doniger’s book Hinduism, an Alternative History, the author herself held a plea pro domo: her article “Banned in Bangalore”, NYT, 5 March 2014. In it, she mocked the ignorant Hindu objection by Dina Nath Batra in his official complaint “that the aforesaid book is written with Christian Missionary Zeal”. When an internet Hindu reproduced this allegation, she replied: “Hey, I’m Jewish.” So far, so good: it is fair and correct to notice that Hindu activists are too smug and too lazy to study their enemies, so that they make embarrassing mistakes about Wendy, including her religious denomination.

Prof Wendy DonigerBut then: “I was hit with a barrage of poisonous anti-Semitism. One correspondent wrote: ‘Hi. I recently came across your book on hindus. Where you try to humiliate us. I don’t know much about jews. Based on your work, I think jews are evil. So Hitler was probably correct in killing all jews in Germany. Bye.’”

This may be an invention: the New York Times readers would not know the ins and outs of Indian politics, but they can be counted on to hear the alarm go off at the mention of anti-Semitism. So Wendy may have invented this case of anti-Semitism so as not to have to bore her readers with categories on Indian public life which they don’t know nor care about. As Vishal Agarwal (The New Stereotypes of Hindus in Western Indology, Hinduworld Publ., Wilmington DE, 2014) has documented, her contentious book contains hundreds of wrong statements, from innocent slips and incorrect data to wilful and ideologically motivated misrepresentations. So, we should not deem her above inventing this outburst. On the other hand, there really are internet Hindus who are capable of utterances like this. They don’t write books or papers, but the inboxs of Hindu activist websites have dozens of examples.

If the above-quoted e-mail really exists, we can infer that it was written by a Hindu who had thus far been ignorant of Jews and anti-Semitism (most Hindus are ignorant about the “Jewish question” in Europe and the Middle East), and who became anti-Semitic on the spot, namely by extrapolating from Wendy to her community, which upon her own declaration is Jewish. The generalization from an individual to her community is of course logically unsustainable, but very common among the kind of people who vent heated reader’s letters. But all these details will be lost on the average reader, who simply comes to associate “Hindu” with “anti-Semitism”. And that was the point of her whole exercise. But Hindu loudmouths don’t see through such tactical schemes and readily take the bait, freely providing their enemies with all the anti-Hindu ammunition they need.

Vinayak Damodar SavarkarHindu pro-Semitism

Hindu activism has always been sympathetic to the Jewish people and Jewish state, at least since 1923 when Hindu leader V.D. Savarkar in his trail-blazing book Hindutva expressed his support for the Jewish project of a state of their own. He had nothing with the Jewish theology of the Promised Land, which he may even not have known, but he observed the nationalist logic that the Jews were a really existing nation and therefore were entitled to their own nation-state. That is also why the Hindu nationalist parties were the only ones in India who, until the advent of diplomatic recognition in 1991, advocated full relations with Israel.

Hindus in general have always admired the revival of Hebrew as mother tongue of Israel, where Hindus themselves are not even capable of pushing through a common second language to replace English. They also feel familiar with Judaic believers as a fellow target of the Christian missionaries, and feel an affinity with the Jewish quasi-Brahminical book-orientedness and the ritualism, food prescriptions and sheer ancientness of Judaism. For what it is worth: Aristotle thought the Jews descended from “the philosophers of India”.   

Yet, Hindus also have a soft corner for conspiracy theories. In the past, they used to make up their own. But now with the internet, they have access to the minutely developed Western conspiracy theories, and the master theory among these is the Zionist World Conspiracy. The blogsite Vijayvaani, for instance, has published a few articles in this vein, e.g. that 9/11 was a inside job masterminded by the CIA together with the Mossad. Amazing how the Mossad managed even to fool Osama bin Laden, who genuinely believed that his Al-Qaeda men had done it; but anyway, that is what millions of conspiracy theorists believe, now including some Hindus.

Quite separate from this phenomenon, there is also a widespread sympathy for Adolf Hitler in India. Among Indian Muslims, this has the same motivation as among Palestinians, viz. Hitler’s anti-Semitism. This is ingrained in Islam and included in the Prophet’s precedent behaviour: he partly exiled and partly murdered the Jews of Arabia, where after the completion of his conquest no declared non-Muslim was left alive. But the same veneration for Hitler also exists among Hindus, though for very different reasons. Most Hindus only know of Hitler as the challenger to the British Empire and thus indirectly as a factor in India’s independence, while they denounce his enemy Churchill as a racist and as responsible for the millions of deaths in the Bengal famine of 1943. Usually they don’t know about Hitler’s anti-Semitism and have only a vague idea of the Jews’ place in European history.

Mein Kampf ed 1926-27A petition against Mein Kampf

In the spring of 2014, some members of the professional Indology list issued a petition to dissuade the leading publishing-house Motilal Banarsidass from republishing a translation of Hitler’s book Mein Kampf. This book is very popular throughout the Muslim world, but also in India. Motilal replied graciously and withdrew the book from distribution. The petition’s author, Prof. Dominik Wujastyk (London/Vienna), related on the list that many Hindus he had spoken to, expressed admiration for Hitler, but once they were informed of his massacring the Jews in his domains, they recoiled in horror and embarrassment.

Hindus have a very mistaken view of Hitler. They don’t even realize that Hitler was only forced into war with Britain against his will; that he favoured British domination over India as the realization of his dream (white Aryans ruling over the “inferior races”) and the model for his planned domination of his “vital space” in Eastern Europe; that he opposed the Freedom Movement and advised the visiting British Foreign Minister to have the Congress leadership including Mahatma Gandhi shot. History moves in strange ways, and it is a fact that through WW II, Hitler bankrupted Britain and forced it to relinquish its prized Indian possessions; but he was no friend of the Hinduism or the Indians

Alfred RosenbergNazi Hinduism?

The blogsite Hindu Human Rights has received an e-mail making the following four points, rendered with corrected spelling. We will answer them one by one.

1. “The Myth of the Twentieth Century [by Alfred Rosenberg] is the book on social ideology of Nazism which CLEARLY states the state destruction of Christianity by proxies like Positive Christianity. And replacing it by HINDUISM and German paganism.”

The Nazi high command was inimical to Hinduism, which is briefly lambasted in both Mein Kampf and Hitler’s war-time Table Talk, published by Henry Pickering. Rosenberg was frowned upon by Hitler and other high Nazis for bringing in pre-modern concepts such as this “myth”. But as the Nazi movement was not a monolith (fairly obvious yet news to most experts of the period) nor a religious movement, his ideological idiosyncrasies were tolerated. Yet, even he did not advocate Hinduism as the religion for Germany. Contrary to popular opinion, a return to Germanic Paganism was also not favoured by the Nazis, and emphatically denounced by Hitler in Mein Kampf. The impression that the Nazis revived Germanic Paganism, eagerly fostered by the Christians who try to pass as having been anti-Nazi all along, is due to the 19th-century revival of Paganism-lite which had entered general German culture somewhat, principally the celebration of the Solstices and the use of a particular type of candle. These were incorporated in the rituals of the Hitler Youth and the SS, not because they were Pagan but because they were German.

Post-Christian society does not want to do away with the scientific worldview and admits at most of a very restricted rehabilitation of religion, divested of all its superstitions. This was what was meant by the “Positive Christianity” enshrined in the Nazi charter, the party’s official religious commitment (as opposed to Germanic Paganism, which later on was even outlawed along with all other non-conventional religions or “cults”).  Though raised as a Catholic, later in life Hitler became a typical ex-Christian, retaining a soft corner for Jesus (whose alleged “work”, the struggle against Judaism, Hitler flattered himself as continuing, and whom he defined as blue-eyed and non-Jewish), but ridiculing belief and religiosity as such. Thus, he mocked his Spanish allies during Spain’s civil war, who should have relied on their prayers to the Virgin Mary rather than on the German air force to defeat their enemies.  

While rank-and-file Nazis usually continued their Christian practices, the Nazi leadership consisted of hard-headed military men contemptuous of any religion. Yet they appreciated the organizational achievements of Christianity. Thus, the SS was partly inspired on the Teutonic Order of warrior-monks, and dimly also on the Jesuit Order. Hitler also lambasted systems of hereditary priesthood, which Hindus know well enough through the Brahmin caste, praising instead the Catholic system of celibate priests, necessarily drawn from the common people and thus in greater solidarity with the nation than can be expected of a priestly class locked in its separateness.

The Nazi attitude to Christianity is complex and is not helped by simplistic notions such as Pius XII being called “Hitler’s Pope”. The Nazis had Christian roots and largely Christian voters (in particular, their anti-Semitism had never existed in Germanic Paganism but was central to the Christian scheme), but in the event of victory in World War II, its top cadres planned a secularization and a replacement of Christianity by secular nationalism. A symbol of this planned reform was the replacement of the Christian greeting “Grüss Gott” (not by “Grüss Wotan” or “Grüss Krishna”, as this Hindu Nazi implies, but:) by “Heil Hitler”.

Maybe our Hitler-admiring correspondent is not a Hindu but a secularist. Hitler, at any rate, had no Hindu leanings but was very much a secularist.

German Christian Flag“God-believing”

2. “4% had converted to German Paganism and 1.5-2% to atheism. These pagans and atheists where the most dedicated Nazis. Source: State University of New York George C. Browder Professor of History College of Freedonia (16 September 1996), Hitler’s Enforcers: The Gestapo and the SS Security Service in the Nazi Revolution, Oxford University Press. pp. 166–. ISBN 978-0-19-534451-6. Retrieved 14 March 2013.)”

The 1939 census listed more than 90% of the Germans as Christians, thus necessarily also a majority among those who had supported Hitler in coming to power. It is not fashionable in Christian circles to bring up this fact, as they prefer to highlight anti-Nazi Christians (such as the Weisse Rose student group) and falsely pretend that Christianity was as much a force against Nazism as against Bolshevism. Hindus who want to study any aspect of National Socialism or World War II are very poorly equipped to see through this pro-Christian and anti-Pagan slant in many works on the subject. We have the impression that our correspondent has swallowed it hook, line and sinker. 

In this Christian climate, the “atheist” category, good for some 2%, was frowned upon and identified with “godless Bolshevism”. That is why atheist-minded Nazis joined the other category, Gottgläubig, “believing in God”. This was a vague category of “unspecified religious”, including deism, German peri-Christian mysticism (Hildegard von Bingen, Meister Eckhart, Cusanus, Rudolf Steiner), pantheism, Germanic Paganism and other eccentric religions. The reduction of this category to “Germanic Paganism” is ruthless Christian propaganda, then already used to mobilize the Anglo-Saxon populace against the Nazis, who were depicted as bizarre exotics and Satanists; and it has only spread since and is even being taken over by a Hindu who fancies himself anti-Christian.

The category included many pacifists and other groups temperamentally disinclined to strong-arm Nazism. But yes, it also included Nazis: a top Nazi who strongly identified with this category was Heinrich Himmler, chief of the SS. He was creating a new religion out of the bits and pieces he found in many places: memory traces and ancient Germanic religion (the seeress Veleda), Germanic folklore, German-Christian mysticism, German-Christian nature lore, Christian organizational forms, witchcraft and excentric forms of modern science. The religion essentially died with him. It was an interesting attempt of what people will try when the post-Christian condition leaves them looking for something to fill the “God-shaped hole”. But with their own rich and unbroken lineage of spiritual masters, Hindus surely have no need for this syncretic attempt at all. 

Aryan FamilyThe Aryan Invasion Theory

Replying to an argument in an earlier discussion about the so-called Aryan invasion of India, but relevant here, he also reveals:

3. “I am an Out-of-India theorist. Which puts proto-Aryans’ light-brown [skin] with dark hair and eyes like North-Western Indians. On what basis [have] you claimed I consider blonde and blue ‘better’?”

Apparently, our correspondent has earlier been accused of considering one race better than another. We simply accept his protestation that he rejects any claims of racial superiority. But he should expect this kind of allegation if he perforce wants to speak out in favour of the Nazis, who did believe in racial superiority, and very firmly.

In the Nazi scheme of things, the Aryans had invaded India, tried to protect their genetic purity by imposing caste apartheid, but ended up mixing with the natives to some extent. (This scenario is still taught by most Indologists, secularists, Dravidianists and neo-Ambedkarites.) So, to a Nazi, any Indian is definitely inferior: either he is an inferior native if Dravidian or low-caste; or he is an upper-caste Indo-Aryan with some superior Aryan blood in his veins, but unfortunately mixed with some native blood. That is why North-Western Indians are more European-looking, but not fully: their Aryan racial purity has been compromised by some admixture with the dark-skinned natives. So, to Hitler’s mind, they are better off being ruled by the superior pure Aryans from Britain. That is why during their only meeting, he told collaborator Subhas Chandra Bose to his face that Indians have the best possible deal as colonial underlings.

At any rate, the Aryan Invasion Theory was a cornerstone of the Nazi worldview, taught in every Nazi-controlled school. They had it in common with their arch-enemy Winston Churchill, who used the AIT to justify the presence of Britons in India, who had only taken over India the same way that their Vedic cousins once had.

Obviously, the superior Aryans had to have originated in Europe, and then proceeded from there to colonize India, as was their wont. Anything coming in from India was tainted with the inferior native race, witness the Gypsies. In order to racially purify Europe, the Gypsies along with the Jews had to be removed, first according to some yet to be worked out master-plan, then during the war by simple extermination.

If our correspondent really is an Out-of-India theorist, then on this point he is diametrically opposed to the Nazi position.  

Krishna & ArjunaBhagavad Gita

4. “The Nazis had often quoted the Bhagavad Gita to the SS, famously by Himmler. Goebbels had criticized the British take-over of India heavily in his news articles. In the time when the majority of Western countries heavily supported racism (see the reaction to the Japanse proposal of equality in the League of Nations), the CLEAR claim of Goebbels of India as great and ancient … and then the specific Nazi glorification of Hinduism in their literal scriptures speak for themselves.”

In the racial worldview of the Nazis, the biological inferiority of the Hindus was an overriding fact. That is why Hitler mocked their supposed otherworldliness, a trait typical of inferior people who fail in this world and hence have to withdraw in an imaginary world. This in contrast with the down-to-earth Germanic realism, which naturally had to result in competence, victory and conquest. (The exception were the marginal Germanic neo-Pagans, whom he also mocked because they lived in the past and dreamed of a pre-Christian utopia instead of embracing the post-Christian world of science and domination.) But the Gita, being ancient, could be stretched to have been written by the early Aryans who had freshly entered India and were not yet tainted by racial admixture.

At the same time, Orientalism had deeply penetrated German culture. While it could be denounced, it could not entirely be wished away. And so, yes, it had affected Himmler, who swallowed all he could lay his hands on in terms of the occult, secret societies and unconventional religion. He did not propagate the Gita, as some Hindus seem to believe, but he did read it and took some ideas from it – while very purposely leaving out others.

Nazism was still in its infancy and could have taken very different directions. The Army High Command, for instance, invaded Poland on 1 September 1939 thinking it was starting a brief local war, more or less completing the German claim on historically German lands (if, as nationalists often do, you only consider the time of your nation’s greatest expansion). It did not glorify war, which it saw as an extension of politics, meant to project power conditioned by a political plan. There was no plan to conquer Germany’s Western and Northern neighbours, for instance, no ambition to rule these countries, and they only embarked on this invasion (May 1940) reluctantly, with Hitler himself masterminding a very daring strategy which wonderfully succeeded. The ensuing offensives likewise established the German reputation for invincibility, which made many in India go wild (including Mahatma Gandhi, whose Quit India Movement of August 1942 was predicated on an Axis victory). But then Hitler’s strategic luck ran out, the generals tried to save the situation with more careful tactics, but their position continued to decline to inevitable defeat.

In this scenario, not that unusual in military history, the SS and its view on war stood out. Normally, war is sometimes considered a necessary evil, and then embarked upon in a spirit of embracing the inevitable. This is also the case in the Mahabharata, the larger work of which the Gita forms part: Krishna tries non-violent solutions to the enmity between two groups of cousins, and only when these fail, does he counsel a merciless war. This was the first point where Himmler went against Krishna’s example, upholding a modern interpretation of Charles Darwin’s evolution theory: war is a natural and good test to decide who shall survive and who is not worthy of survival. He arrived at the view that war for war’s sake is a good thing. It is only a careless and superficial reading of the Gita (shared, incidentally, by Wendy Doniger) that can see it as a justification of “war for war’s sake”. But I agree that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and that the Gita can be a dangerous book in the hands of an incompetent do-it-yourself amateur like Himmler (or a Sanskrit-knowing yet equally incompetent Indologist like Wendy Doniger).

Benedictine SwastikaA second point is the Gita’s doctrine of Nishkam Karma, “action without desire (for its benefits)”. We see traces of it in Himmler’s decision to organize the “final solution of the Jewish problem in Europe”. This expression already existed in the 1930 and meant a planned emigration of the Jews from Germany. A forced emigration is neither pleasant nor fair, but at least it is preferable to being slaughtered. Its relatively innocuous meaning changed drastically in 1941 with the invasion of the Soviet Union. At first, German Jews were being resettled in the conquered territories, but this proved impractical and external emigration was now ruled out by the war circumstances. So something more sinister was being worked out: the secretive extermination of the Jews. People knew vaguely of a plan to deport the Jews to new settlements, so people were not overly upset when they saw the Jews around them being taken away. In some occupied countries, even Jewish committees themselves helped organize the deportation to what they thought were new labour sites in the East.

What did happen was that Himmler took it upon himself to do what race theorists thought best for the German people: eliminate the Jews. He accepted that his SS men would handle this tough task. He relieved even ordinary soldiers of this difficult task, for he had seen how killing, as with a neck shot, was difficult and often became unbearable for ordinary men. He saw this as a kind as ascetic dutifulness: take upon oneself a thankless task, not expecting any reward but doing what has to be done. This ascetic sense of duty could easily be sourced elsewhere, e.g. in Stoicism, widely known among the educated classes of Europe; but it is also present in the Gita, though nowhere applied to the task of extermination.

He could perhaps have used Krishna’s explanation that killing isn’t really killing, just as dying isn’t really dying, because death is only like taking off your clothes to put on fresh ones tomorrow, i.e. in a next incarnation. But he didn’t. Possibly he believed it himself, but as a Nazi, he did not want to propagate an airy-fairy pre-modern doctrine like reincarnation. The Nazi scheme nowhere envisions that the Jews were destined to come back to haunt their killers. The karmic implications taught by the Gita and by much of Hindu tradition did not figure in Himmler’s plans. Nor did the bulk of the Gita, dealing with the Sankhya philosophy’s worldview and its applications, with the need to become a yogi, with the worship of Krishna etc. So, maybe Himmler got a few half-digested ideas from the Gita which he could have gotten from elsewhere too, and most of the Gita’s 18 chapters simply have nothing to do with his project.

As for Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, I know only little of his very considerable output, and have never heard of his utterances in favour of India’s independence. If true, I would expect them to be plastered all over the place by the numerous intellectuals who have an interest in associating Hinduism with Nazism. At any rate, if true, it was never taken over by the Nazi movement of regime. Goebbels has a record of deviating from official Nazism, and not always in a good sense. Thus, he was responsible for the Kristallnacht vandalism and murders, which heavily damaged Germany’s international standing, was resented by the common Germans because they had never voted for riots and disorder in their streets, and disapproved of by the other top Nazis. Not because these disapproved of ill-treatment of the Jews, but because they didn’t want disorder and unexpected private initiatives.

That National Socialists praised Hinduism to the skies and fostered studies of Indian culture, is a fable spread by anti-Hindu authors such as Sheldon Pollock. At most, some Nazis could be found who praised the culture of the still-pure Aryans entering India. Really existing Hinduism, by contrast, was only looked down upon. If living in the Nazi era, our Hindu correspondent could expect to be treated like the Gypsies.

Romani Children in AuschwitzConclusion   

Our correspondent ends his mail in the all too familiar scatological fashion: “If you are unable to give credible answers to these points and break them, based upon reliable references, you are the son of a bitch, a proud brown babu of the British barbarians. And all you can do is trolling like other idiots.”

It is easier to catch mosquitoes with honey than with vinegar, so you would expect internet warriors seeking to convince people to use agreeable language. Instead, many internet Hindus couldn’t care less about the impression they make on their public. After all, they are not into it because they are out to convince people and score an argumentative victory. No, they are into it just to vent their emotions. They foam at the mouth not because they somehow think this has a better chance of convincing anyone, but because they have so much anger and excitement in their hot heads that they simply have to let off steam.

As for the contents, this man surprises outsiders by not thinking strategically at all. He plays massively into the hands of the enemy. A general planning a battle should study the strength and the characteristics of the enemy, as well as the characteristics of the battlefield. This man, by contrast, seems oblivious of the massive anti-Nazi mood in most of the world, which only gets grimmer as time passes. India has the advantage of having extracted more good than evil out of World War II, of having terminated the war-generated animosities in 1945 itself, and of therefore being able to take a more distant view of the different parties in that war including National Socialism. But this doesn’t mean that anything goes. Maybe the Holocaust and other war crimes did not affect you personally, but the facts themselves have to be taken into account.

For victory, you should not only know the enemy, you should first of all know yourself. In this case, a knowledge of Hinduism would at once reveal the fundamental differences with the Nazi worldview. Any contacts or similarities could never be more than accidental. Thus, in the much-maligned Hindu caste society, the Jewish community would simply have formed a caste (as indeed it did on the Malabar coast), just as it effectively did in Germany for many centuries; the Nazi desire to eliminate it, however, constituted a break with this arrangement. Hitler may have been wrong on many things, but he was at least right in one respect: that as a Nazi, he could only hold Hinduism in contempt. Either you are a Nazi or you are a Hindu.

Dr. Koenraad Elst» Koenraad Elst distinguished himself early on as eager to learn and to dissent. He 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, which he obtained magna cum laude in 1998. 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/

Hitler and the Catholic Church

Hitler and the Catholic Church

Hitler and the Catholic Church

See also

Govt not obliged to assist Jesuit Fr Prem Kumar or any other Indian missionary abroad – B.R. Haran

B.R. Haran“Fr Alexis Prem Kumar is an employee of a Christian evangelical organisation and has gone on his own to Afghanistan. He is not a government employee and he has not gone as a government worker. The Jesuit Refugee Service and the Catholic Church alone are responsible for his safety and security, and not the State or Central Government or the Indian Consulate in Herat.” – B.R. Haran 

Alexis Prem KumarTwo weeks after the attack on the Indian consulate at Herat in Afghanistan, an Indian national, Fr. Alexis Prem Kumar, director of Jesuit Refugee Service, Afghanistan, was abducted by armed militants allegedly belonging to the Taliban. He was kidnapped while visiting a school for refugee children in Sohadat township, 34 kms from Herat city. Before moving to Afghanistan in 2011, Alexis Prem Kumar was working among Sri Lankan refugees in Shenbaganur, Kodaikanal, for about six years, as director of JRS Dindigul, which belongs to Madurai Jesuit Province. He completed his theological studies at the Theological Centre in Beschi College, Dindigul. 

The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international Catholic organisation claiming to serve “Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Internally Displaced Persons”, working in the fields of education, emergency assistance, health and nutrition, income generating activities, and social services – typical claims of any evangelical organization. The JRS was founded in 1980 by Fr Pedro Arrupe, Superior General of Society of Jesus, in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, for Vietnam refugees. 

Later the JRS was officially registered as a Foundation at the Vatican State in March 2000. With a workforce of 1400 people including 78 Jesuits and 66 Religious, operating at national and regional levels in 50 countries, it claims to have benefited 600,000 individuals directly. However, the JRS has not come out with facts about the number of individuals it has brought into the order of Society of Jesus and how it benefitted by working in these 50 countries. 

The Jesuit Refugee Service clearly states that, “JRS is an apostolic work of the Society of Jesus. For more than 460 years Jesuit priests and brothers have served the Church in new and unexpected ways. Men on the move, ready to change residence, occupation, and approach – whatever is necessary to advance the Church’s mission: teaching the word of Jesus Christ and preaching his Good News – a radical service of faith in a world that respects neither faith nor the justice it entreats”. 

The JRS also involves in dialogue with other religions and cultures (interfaith dialogue). The Jesuits are notorious for their “academic research” on inter-religious understanding and meeting points, encounters of Christianity and other religions especially Hinduism, Christian Vedanta, and many other inculturation and interfaith stuff. With such a ‘mission statement’ and ‘academic research’, one can easily infer the main agenda of the JRS. Alexis Prem Kumar reportedly went to Afghanistan on a “student visa” to pursue his “doctoral research”, whatever that is! 

Mullah OmarEvangelists getting abducted by Taliban are not a new phenomenon in Afghanistan. In the summer of 2007, 23 South Korean Christian volunteers, all members of the Saemmul Church in Bundang, south of Seoul, went on a mission to Afghanistan. They were kidnapped by the Taliban, who executed two before releasing the rest after a 42-day detention. Similarly, in the summer of 2012, four aid workers of an international humanitarian organisation, Medair, were kidnapped. Like ‘education’ and ‘health’, ‘humanitarian work’ is another guise for indulging in evangelization. Medair, which claims to specialize in emergency relief work providing food aid and nutrition, is yet another Christian organisation. The said four workers were abducted while visiting a project site in the northern province of Badakhshan. 

In the summer of 2010, 10 people who were running an eye care operations for impoverished Afghans were killed by gunmen as they travelled between Nuristan and Badakhshan provinces. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that the workers were proselytizers; all 10 belonged to International Assistance Mission, another Christian organisation. 

Meanwhile in Tamil Nadu, Fr Alexis Prem Kumar’s father Antony and brother Manoharan, who reside in Devakottai, Sivaganga district, have petitioned the Collector of Sivaganga to take immediate steps for his rescue. The Sivaganga MP PR Senthilnathan (AIADMK) has petitioned Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to seek the intervention of the Central Government to rescue Fr Alexis Prem Kumar (she has already done so). 

The External Affairs Ministry, Indian Embassy in Afghanistan and the Afghan authorities are coordinating efforts to rescue Prem Kumar. The Afghan authorities have reported that Prem Kumar is alive and that one person allegedly involved in the kidnapping has been held by the police. Search operations are going on. 

One sympathises with Prem Kumar and his family, but it is also a cause for concern that such persons are creating unnecessary hardship to the State and Central Governments and the foreign embassies. Fr Alexis Prem Kumar is an employee of a Christian evangelical organisation and has gone on his own to Afghanistan. He is not a government employee and he has not gone as a government worker. The JRS and the Catholic Church alone are responsible for his safety and security, and not the State or Central Government or the Indian Consulate for that matter. It is important to note that the JRS did not take the Indian Government’s consent to take an Indian citizen for its so-called aid work. If at all it has any official understanding with the Afghan government, it should have sent its workers from Vatican and Rome only, or taken the support of local groups in Afghanistan. 

Indian Consulate HeratWhile Government officials face huge risks in terror-infested countries like Afghanistan in the line of duty, private persons who go to such places on their own without the knowledge or consent of the Government must realise that they get into trouble because of their stupid decisions which makes the Government’s work all the more difficult. A lot of time and public money is spent unnecessarily. The Government cannot take responsibility for the security of evangelists who indulge in the business of proselytizing on behalf of the Vatican. 

Hence it is imperative that the Government place a blanket ban on private persons going to terror-infested spots and also on dubious organizations which engage in evangelical activities in the guise of aid work. – Vijayvaani, 7 June 2014

» B.R. Haran is a senior journalist in Chennai.

Why Christians and Muslims should vote for Narendra Modi – George Augustine

Narendra Modi : India FirstNarendra Modi Slogan

George Augustine“It is the nexus between the corrupt politician and the clergy powered by international resources that makes the ordinary Indian Muslim and Christian helpless pawns in the game their self-proclaimed religious leaders play for gaining or keeping power. This explains why unelected Muslim and Christian leaders appear in public for press releases on political issues and talk on behalf of “minorities” or speak against Narendra Modi.” – George Augustine

India FirstIndia, a secular democracy or a theocracy?

In a secular democracy, as is professed by India, the state should not interfere in the personal beliefs of its citizens. The freedom of faith or religion is the right of an individual. So, it follows, in a truly secular state, all its citizens ought to be perceived by the state as one and the same. No favour and no discrimination should be meted out on the basis of birth or belief. Thus in a secular state there just cannot be any ‘religious’ minority, unless we are all talking mumbo jumbo without knowing what ‘secularism’ is, or we are talking of theocracies, the states that are ruled not by the law of humans, but by the law of a god.

However, we are talking of India, our own country, a democracy, with its fabulously continuing culture that originated in the remote past. A nation that is seen as a real mother by its citizens, a notion that is enshrined in the concept, Bharat Mata. No nation on earth except India can boast of an unbroken civilisation that is still intact despite the collective assault on its culture for centuries. Let alone the physical assault that the subcontinent absorbed in the last 1500 years, alien ideologies that are hardly more than stone-age ethical sentiments came to settle here in various ways, entailing diabolical restraints on the freedom of thought and expression.

The value of a culture and civilisation is not determined by the amount of restrictive laws legislated by a nation, but the degree of liberality (freedom from law) it can afford its citizens. In this respect we should be proud of our cultural inheritance and the ancient land that gave deliverance and a home to millions of foreigners fleeing persecution, thus saving their skins from savage onslaughts on alien shores in different eras of time.

Muslims and Christians in India are not foreigners and except for a wispy streak of foreign blood in a negligible portion of their collective population, all of them descend directly from the same ancestors as the rest of their compatriots whom everybody calls Hindu. All Indian Muslims and Christians are converts from the various Hindu communities stratified by ethnicity or profession. Any Indian regardless of his/her religious persuasion is primarily regarded by an ordinary foreigner (as opposed to a professional religionist) as a Hindu pagan. This means the “religious minority” politics played out in India does not reflect the real identity of an Indian in the global milieu. We Muslims, Hindus and Christians are all put in one basket by the foreigner, because civilizational background and culture matter more instinctively in every human being than one’s personal belief. The true culture of Muslims and Christians of Indian origin is therefore Hinduism, the tolerance of diversity. One’s personal belief could be very different from the cultural values one imbibes from the family and the environment.

In this background, Narendra Modi’s ‘India First’ slogan appeals to all Indians alike, no matter what their religion is. Let us now see whether Narendra Modi is really an anathema for the Muslim and Christian.

M. Karunanidhi with Catholic bishops of Tamil NaduFor whom does the Christian or the Muslim matter?

Born in a Christian community in Kerala more than a decade past the bloody partition of India, this question never arose for me or any of my Hindu or Muslim friends in those days of growing up. And that was the case with the vast majority of ordinary Kerala Muslims and Christians.

Conversely, Christians and Muslims or anybody with a different belief system were characteristically viewed by Hindu communities as members of just another community like themselves, but following different traditions and rituals. However the imperialist and fascist impulse of certain international organisations by claiming superiority and exclusivism in certain religious ideologies and doctrines is bringing to surface the wide ideological chasms that divide the people of the same blood. The tolerant and pluralistic cultural outlook of the Hindu worldview clashes with the intolerant and exclusivist ideological strains promoted from alien lands.

In general, there are two groups of people for whom being a Muslim or a Christian matters the most.

The first is the professional religionist (clergy) of all nationalities, whose life and vocation, bread, butter and rice is all religion and for which he is ready to kill or even die for. I am not talking about the sanyasi or the fakir who has left society for his own spiritual welfare, but the religionists who are more concerned about the spiritual welfare of others and proceed to interfere in other people’s lives. These religionists are not elected representatives of their own religious communities, but are members of international organisations, mostly nominees of a handful of people sitting overseas, some in places as far away as Rome. For such select people who work for global organisations with an anti-Hindu cultural agenda, the success of their own action plan depends on dividing the people in India on the basis of religion and caste.

The second group is led by the unscrupulous politician and his acolytes who join hands with the above-mentioned, self-proclaimed religious leaders for gathering votes. The moment these two vested interests are out of the political scene in India, it would be like the removal of a stinking dead rat that had been lying in the attic for ages, which will inevitably bring a whiff of fresh air to the whole of India!

The Muslims and Christians in India are politically kept away from their Hindu compatriots by these two groups by engineering an ideological and cultural divide between them. The existing cultural differences between these groups were deliberately introduced and promoted by foreign imperial interests who stand to gain by dividing India, just like they did during the colonial times. Operating under secular names and banners, these Western non-governmental organisations are channelling funds to fuel the anti-Indic industry. An atmosphere of fear and mistrust is disingenuously sowed by foreign agents through their henchmen on the ground like Kancha Ilaiah, John Dayal, Cedric Prakash and the Owaisi brothers, names that ought to find mention in the Disgrace List of any self-respecting Indian.

It is this nexus between the corrupt politician and the clergy powered by international resources that makes the ordinary Indian Muslim and Christian helpless pawns in the game their self-proclaimed religious leaders play for gaining or keeping power. This explains why unelected Muslim and Christian leaders appear in public for press releases on political issues and talk on behalf of “minorities” or speak against Narendra Modi.

Ramachandra Guha: Blinded by Nehru worship!Modi phobia

In any discourse right now in Indian politics or in academic circles, there is both a sense of elation as well as a phobia among different segments of the population whenever Narendra Modi is mentioned. His name springs up spontaneously on everyone’s lips even when engaged in petty talk. We can rightly place the elation as a sign of hope amidst desperation.

But Modi phobia, which presupposes a current complacent state among those afflicted, assumes manic proportions in the authoritarian clergy and corrupt politicians. The actual situation today is: there has been no time like the present when the political situation in India is so grim that doing nothing to change things would be condoning the dismantling of a great civilisation and a great nation. Because, its people cannot see themselves as belonging to one nation, but only as Christian or Muslim or Hindu.

Narendra Modi is viewed as a true nemesis by undemocratic religious brokers (clergy) who want to have an illicit share of power in India for ideological reasons. Is a bishop nominated by the Vatican (an independent foreign state) entitled to make pronouncements on local politics in India? But, almost all bishops do that to get their sponsored candidates (the second group) elected, so that they can get an illicit share of power in diverting and breaking down a democracy for ideological purposes.

Moreover, there are several minuscule groups of academicians who are terrified of Narendra Modi, for they perceive they have everything to lose when Modi comes to power. This group also called “eminent historians” and their other partners in the academia have been enjoying uncontrolled access to state policy and control on education and mass communications. In return they supply ideological support to their political masters and slaves through skewed scholarship. This latter group has genuinely something to worry about, because their concocted history would itself be history when the UPA government is gone and their noxious work erased forever from school textbooks. To this group one may also add foreign academicians who have made Indian culture and civilisation their butter and bread, a study whose foundations were laid by bible-thumping missionaries who were all out trying to evangelise the Indian masses during the colonial period.

The common thing that all the three groups would face if Narendra Modi becomes the Prime Minister of India is loss of power. All three groups are inherently undemocratic. So, Modi’s electoral victory would be the defeat of undemocratic forces. Particularly the religious professionals with an international agenda know the power equations and do whatever they can to control the way the Muslims and Christians in India think and act. For this reason they sow the fear of Modi in ways and kind that would amaze anybody for their ingenuity and ruthlessness.

The perception that it is the exit door for corrupt politicians and clergymen from Indian politics when Narendra Modi becomes the Prime Minister of India is pure speculation, but it monopolises the minds of these groups, though I would bet with them and hope Modi will take note. This will ensure that their growing power in Indian polity is curtailed. It will also jeopardise their centuries-old plan of demolishing the last remaining ancient culture on earth and superimpose a queer, but pop worldview that does not correlate with reality.

Modi with imams & Xian priestThe hollow tactic of demonising Modi

We are told that Narendra Modi is evil, he killed thousands of Muslims and he will kill again over and over again. He is a Hindu nationalist, a right-wing extremist, beware, he will kill all of you! I am sure not many people believe all that they hear, but it is natural to have misgivings. Hearing this Goebbelsian refrain one is ought to think: what if riots broke out when Modi comes to power, either he or his villainous opponents will kill all of us! It is incredible how infective a repeated lie is among the masses. But has Modi killed anybody?

When Narendra Modi became the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001, disaster struck twice in close succession. More than 20,000 people were killed due to a severe earthquake in 2001 followed by the planned massacre of nearly 60 Hindu pilgrims in Godhra and the subsequent riots that claimed almost 1000 people in 2002.

The way Modi handled the Gujarat riot situation and its aftermath is a model lesson for future rulers, when he reached out to every Gujarati without caste and religion and got their cooperation to achieve a common end – peace and prosperity. Watch Modi’s appeal to the people of Gujarat made immediately after the Godhra massacre to refrain from violence and how the media twisted his words to tarnish his character. Modi gets elected by his fellow Gujaratis time and again not for killing Muslims, like some people would have us believe. And he has been doing what a genuinely secular, elected ruler should be doing: governing his state without corruption, favour or discrimination, leading his people from the front. Not by handing out doles come election time, as we have been long used to, but by creating infrastructure, jobs and trade, enabling the poor to break the cruel cycle of poverty and lead an active and dignified working life.

Undaunted by utmost calamity and worldwide ignominy piled up on him merely for professing to be a pagan Hindu by his allegiance to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Narendra Modi brought an ancient state back on its feet and to full glory. Gujarat is the only state in India where an ordinary man can fix an appointment and meet a Chief Minister. It is the only state in India that promotes a sincere work culture and encourages young people to work hard and excel. Modi by his own example inspires youngsters from all castes and religions to work, persevere and overcome, even in the face of cruel adversity. Good things about Modi’s effective style of governance and redressal of grievances are in public domain, though sectarian media has chosen to ignore it for obvious reasons.

What the political fathers and mothers of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh did to handle the riots that presided over the partition of an ancient land, would pale in comparison to Modi’s deft handling of the riots. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in India in communal riots since 1947 to the present day (excluding Gujarat 2002) and our media have not named even a single one of the chief ministers or prime ministers who were ruling at that time and none of the rulers past and present was able to quell these riots as well as Modi did.

Narendra ModiModi the man

Narendra Damodardas Modi, born in 1950 in a poor family from a backward community, worked hard even as a child. In a corrupt political and social climate, when one had to be filthy rich as well as associated with a political dynasty in order to be successful, Narendra Modi rose in politics by the dint of hard labour and sheer determination. His idealism and desire to serve his country took him to the RSS and then to the BJP, where he proved himself with an impeccable record. Incorruptible and result-oriented, he set standards in conduct and governance in his own party and then in his own state. Modi is a hard worker by nature and we can reasonably expect him to work harder once he becomes the Prime Minister of India.

If you are indeed in the mood to judge Narendra Modi as a man, you have to go by what he has actually done and is doing rather than rely on hearsay and repeat what the dubious mass media is vomiting. The only charge against Modi that is repeated over and over again from the rooftops is that he is a murderer. This irrational and contemptuous charge is completely fabricated and rooted in a hatred of India. You can confidently believe he is innocent because his powerful enemies – all suspicious, slimy characters that include the UPA government with all its state machinery and deceptive foreign agencies operating in India through their proxies – have been exhausting themselves, desperately trying to frame him in vain for culpability in the riots.

Another evidence that exposes this blatant lie is the UPA government’s own official version, according to which about 30% of those killed in the 2002 Gujarat riots were Hindu and died in police action to quell the riots and many policemen too died. Then how can Modi’s government be held responsible for a riot that was engineered through the Godhra massacre perpetrated by Muslim members of the Congress party?

George W. Bush, whose government denied a US visa for Modi on the charge of persecuting Muslims, was responsible for killing tens of thousands of innocent Muslims in just a few days. The Obama administration tows the same line committing atrocities against Libyans, Egyptians and Syrians. And tens of thousands of innocent Muslims are shot down, beheaded or hung in Islamic countries, from Pakistan via Saudi Arabia to Egypt, on a daily basis, but the media can regurgitate only the Gujarat episode, because their intention is not to find justice to a wrong, but to destroy a Hindu pagan who challenges the global imperial order imposed on India. None of the media ever mentions this aspect of disparity. This is the kind of pseudo-secular hypocrisy that is enacted at a global scale by the widespread use of cheap media and that finds a counterpart in India through the cancer-like network of the anti-Hindutva coalition.

There is too little of Modi’s private life in public domain just like ordinary Indians, and in his public life we haven’t yet heard of any relative of his setting up shop to capitalise on his good office. He walked away from everything personal to pursue his true calling of offering his life in the service of the nation. After spending two years in the Himalayas in a spiritual search, Narendra Modi joined the RSS. It is outrageous and outright incredible to accuse Narendra Modi of even killing a fly, let alone a human being. There is also absolutely nothing to indicate that he harbours a hatred against Muslims or members of any other religion. We have no grounds for harbouring such suspicion, for he has so far performed his duties like a hundred percent Hindu following the immemorial tradition and attitude of his ancestors, which I may remind is the true tradition of all Indians, namely Hindutva, wherein true secularism is the flesh and blood of Rajya-dharma (code of governance). The personal faith of a ruler has no significance in the ancient code of law of our ancestors, the Dharmasastras.

Modi the “Hindu nationalist” visits a temple only once a year on Gujarati New Year’s day, but this didn’t stop him from demolishing 200 Hindu shrines built illegally in public spaces in Gandhinagar, even causing a rift with the VHP in the process, but he competently saw the job of an administrator to the end, dutifully and forcefully. Without going into the merits of Modi’s decision, his dispassionate action showcases a truly secular leader while setting a benchmark of neutrality for future leaders to follow without sectarian colourings and flavourings. Modi’s slogan “India First” chimes very well with his actions. He has produced excellent economic results for all communities as a sincere ruler, which none can deny.

A detractor of Modi might say at this point that Narendra Modi’s progress is negative in terms of the Human Development Index. If this accusation is even partially true, you can’t blame Modi for neglecting the nutrition and health of those who elected him. First of all, this kind of indexes are prepared in Western countries by natives or westernised Indians like Amartya Sen and the limit values that are applicable in those countries are invalid in an Asian country like India. For example, the healthy weight of a European according to his height need not be very healthy on an Indian frame even at the same height. The highest priorities of the HDI are life expectancy and time spent at school – two factors that are entirely dependent on the wealth one possesses. So, once an overall economic feasibility is achieved, healthy life and education are a given for anybody. Here too, Narendra Modi is on the right track.

Fr Anthony ElenjimittamSecularism or pseudo-secularism

Narendra Modi’s opponents are primarily members or allies of the Congress party (overt and covert like some regional parties in UP or the Communists in general) and the rest, like the AAP and its overseas backers, are those who are only intent on dismantling what is left of the ancient Indian civilisation. The chief accusation of this motley crowd is that Modi is anti-secular. Since none of Modi’s actions or statements has been religious enough to be considered anti-secular and the only accusation against Modi has been the killing of Muslims, we can correctly surmise that these detractors practise a kind of religious minority appeasement which they call “secularism”.

Incidentally, this phenomenon was noticed and expressed as soon as our nation was born by a professional religionist, Reverend Father Anthony Elenjimittam, who appears to have deviated from his professional obligations and versions due to his overwhelming love and respect for his own original, native civilisation. In 1951, the reverend coined the term “pseudo-secularism” to describe the stark hypocrisy of India’s rulers who appropriated power when the British left. In his book, Philosophy and Action of the RSS for the Hind Swaraj, Elenjimittam appreciated and lauded the wonderful work of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) in reestablishing the ancient cultural heritage in India, which had been the object of severe tampering and tinkering by Christian missionaries sponsored by the British colonialists. Elenjimittam’s accusing finger was pointed at Jawaharlal Nehru for his unadulterated pseudo-secularism, favouring Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir and then trying to scuttle the action plan of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who took pride in his own civilisation.

Narendra Modi’s anti-secular credential is supposed to be his membership in the RSS. Father Elenjimittam had this to say about Nehru and the RSS: “While the veteran Congress leaders, with Pandit Nehru at the top, continue to shout from the housetops in and out of time about their new fad of pseudo-secularism, it is the conscientious and thoughtful youth of the RSS and allied patriotic forces which work and worry, strive and strain to preserve the quintessentials of Dharma, Culture, Religion, Philosophy, which are inestimable gifts of India to the world at large”.

Jawaharlal Nehru, we may note, is the father of pseudo-secularism in India and which hypocritical feature, like a bad canker, established itself at the root of polity to the detriment of the whole nation. It became the primary official policy of the Congress-led governments in India and perpetuated to this day by the UPA government, becoming as it were the bane and curse of one of the most dignified of nations.

We have only to look at the state of affairs of the nation today to note that the so-called minority as well as the majority are ultimately in the same boat that is doomed by the vomit-inducing storm in a teacup called pseudo-secularism. All dignified folks regardless of faith and caste suffer without exception when the nation is afflicted by a malignant disease. All those who thrive prosperously in such condition are the disease-causing germs – the criminals who pilfer and loot in the name of governance and commerce.

The Congress party and the UPA coalition pose themselves as the lord and saviour of the “religious minorities” in a “secular” India. It is generally assumed (and also true to a certain extent) that Muslims and Christians as a rule vote en masse for the Congress party, and overtly religious parties like the Muslim League and the Kerala Congress (Christian regional party) invariably ally themselves with the Congress. However, except for the extreme elements in these indigenous groups who never fail to exploit such hypocrisy, minorities as well as majorities suffer extremely badly chiefly from poor governance.

The pseudo-secularism is ultimately found to be merely a cunning instrument that fetches votes in the elections. With the Hindus split irrevocably in terms of caste through official dispensation, and Muslims and Christians isolated from the rest by the stiff boundaries of minority politics, the pseudo-seculars have reduced the Indian exercise of democracy to a musical chair where only members of one family and their cronies get chairs to sit on. Rest of the people are supposed to clap hands and cheer the ruling family and friends and endlessly vote for them without absolutely any sense of what this is all about.

The so-called guardians of secularism – the Congress-led parties and the Communist parties – have been ruling us so far by dividing us into castes and religions and with absolutely no sense of being citizens of one single country. People in general are ashamed to say one is a nationalist for the simple reason that it is scorned at by internationalist neo-colonialists who have interests in every part of the globe where there is some resource or the other to make money with. Using foundations operating in Western countries, the imperialists give generous cash awards along with titles, which in the long term turns out to be too cheap as real mercenary fees.

Jawaharlal Nehru’s pseudo-secularism expanded itself into an exclusive club that excelled in self-effacement. The ethnic clones of Macaulay came to throng this club with internationalist credentials rather than nationalist ones, became it also meant money and prestige bestowed through the connivance of foreign intelligence agencies. The role of CIA money in the so-called ‘Liberation Struggle’ led by the church to oust a democratic government in Kerala in 1959 gives an indication as to what is happening right now with the Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man’s Party). Its leader Arvind Kejriwal is a staunch member of the pseudo-secular club and has been recipient of benefits from organisations with known ties with the CIA. The paradox is you will not find a single, real “aam aadmi” (common man) either in this party or the pseudo-secular club in general. It is also worthwhile to note that it were the organisations (NGOs) affiliated to the CIA that first began to spread lies against Narendra Modi.

Narendra ModiSeven reasons to vote for Narendra Modi

First, Narendra Modi has excellent secular credentials. He is a Hindu, a member of the oldest civilisation and religion in the world that has preserved diverse other religions and religious practices and traditions and ethnic minorities through time immemorial by its inherent principles. No other religion can boast of this magnanimous credential. Adhering to the principles of the RSS and claiming to be a Hindu nationalist is enough reason to consider Modi as a secular administrator, which none of the sectarian and exclusivist religionists or Communist can claim.

Second, Narendra Modi has proved in Gujarat that it is possible to rule and progress in India and that too without corruption or crony capitalism. Socialists, communists and pseudo-secular intellectuals like Arvind Kejriwal might not like the development achieved by Modi, but they are certainly not the ones benefitted by Modi’s agenda. It is the real common people who are at the receiving end of the fruits of Modi’s style of governance.

Third, it is high time for India and the new generation of Indians to get out of the yoke of Western dominance. India has been aping the West in all fields from education and technology to philosophy of medicine, believing our own traditions and philosophy are inferior to these. India under the pseudo-secular Nehruvian yoke means playing second fiddle to the so-called developed nations. Look at all the international organisations and the order of international power hierarchy. Five permanent members in the Security Council to decide all that is needed to be decided all over the world. All others are spectators to see the exploits of the big five in the Council who are there in the first place by virtue of their bigger guns. Narendra Modi is the only leader in India today capable of leading India without an inherited colonial baggage, for which he and ourselves should thank the RSS. He is the only Indian leader who has the stature and the qualities to guide the Indian nation to the forefront of world nations.

Four, by voting for the Congress or the UPA or Kejriwal you are not doing anything to change the governance of India. Whereas Congress knows how to loot amidst anarchy, Kejriwal knows how to make that anarchy and leave the voters alone to fend for themselves. Voting for either of them means you are voting for the nation to be doomed and helping advance the destructive agenda of the CIA-affiliated organisations like the Ford Foundation. Any meaningful change calls for a strong leader and there is none in India at the moment who is stronger than Narendra Modi.

Five, by voting for Narendra Modi you are affirming the world’s view of India’s rising prominence in world affairs. Modi is one Indian leader who got international recognition the hard way. Emerging unscathed out of the acrid cloud of misinformation and outright lies, Modi now commands respect by his uncompromising honesty and hard work. One after the other, the UK and the USA, who once cried for Modi’s blood and shed crocodile tears for the Muslims of Gujarat and not for their own innocent victims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt and Syria, are turning back to Modi like sulking hyenas, smelling a change for the better in Modi’s stature and fortunes.

Six, by voting Narendra Modi to power, we are playing the only ace that we have to stand our ground in international business and commerce. Modi represents the renowned Gujarati business acumen, which is precisely what India needs at this moment to regain her ancient wealth and a lion’s share in world trade. There is no Indian politician who can match Modi in business sense and it would be utter stupidity to ignore Modi and bet on the likes of Rahul Gandhi or Arvind Kejriwal who can’t hold a steady job even temporarily.

Seven, by voting for Narendra Modi, we are going back to the fountainhead of our civilisation and making a deliberate choice for Hinduism, to take pride in our sterling heritage of liberality and generosity. We are affirming that we are Indian Christians and Indian Muslims, which is our real identity. We also make a point here that the real Indian trait of tolerance for all religions and faith is not an imported idea, but rooted in Dharmasastras, the code of laws of our ancestors. The freedom that we have to believe what we want to believe is enshrined in this code of laws, and therein lies the glory of our ancient Indian civilisation.

Narendra Modi at the helm of Indian polity will be the best remedy for an economically and socially ailing nation. He is the best man to oversee India’s transition from a country that also ran to a world leader. For Christians and Muslims in India, this is a rare opportunity to ward off international pressure and stand up on their own feet and assume direct responsibility and political empowerment. By voting for Modi, it is a win-win situation for Christians and Muslims: freedom from international yoke and laying a ground wire to our own civilizational depths. – IndiaFacts, 24 March 2014

» George Augustine has a master’s degree in English language and literature and is an independent writing and editing professional who works in Kerala and Germany. He has written numerous articles on faith and religion on internet forums and blogs. His interest in science and technology is nurtured by professional translation assignments.

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The bane of a Catholic childhood – Maria Wirth

Maria Wirth“An adult who has not been taught about eternal hell in childhood in all likelihood will not believe it exists. How could God be so cruel to let his children burn in hell for ever and ever? And that too on the basis of only one and possibly disadvantaged life? Even the most heartless parent would not wish such a fate for his disobedient offspring. Yet a child does not reason and believes what he is told and eternal hell appears real and terribly frightening for young minds.” – Maria Wirth

Dominus JesusThe Second World War had ended only five years before I was born in western Germany. And already as a child I ‘knew’ who is good and who is bad and who is right and who is wrong: the Russians were bad and the Americans were good. The Roman Catholics were right and the Protestants were wrong and all others very wrong. For long I never questioned those axioms. They seemed to be fundamentals. Everyone around shared them. I never had seen a Russian, but surely they were not normal people like us Germans. They were terrifying. They had taken part of our country and could come for more. Whereas the Americans had sent us food and when their army convoys drove through our small town, the soldiers threw chewing gum and waved to us children. No doubt they were good.

When I grew up this mind-set weakened but lingered. I still remember my first meeting with Russians: I was sitting in the foreigners’ office in Trichy in 1984. It was still the cold war era. On the same bench next to me two men were sitting. The officer said to them “She is German” and to me, “They are Russians”, and we immediately bent forward and stared at each other. Then we laughed. The barrier was broken.

Christian DevilLuckily I also managed to breach the other barrier that is more difficult to overcome because terrible punishment is threatened if one dares to ‘leave the true faith’ – the barrier that made Catholics, or at least Christians, right and others wrong. It was instilled very effectively from childhood. Whenever ‘Catholic Church’ was mentioned, and it was often mentioned, a long prefix went with it: “alleinseligmachende”. It meant that the Catholic Church alone is capable of saving one’s soul. And if one goes astray it held out the most horrific punishment that can be imagined: burning eternally in hellfire. An adult who has not been taught about eternal hell in childhood in all likelihood will not believe it exists. How could God be so cruel to let his children burn in hell for ever and ever? And that too on the basis of only one and possibly disadvantaged life? Even the most heartless parent would not wish such a fate for his disobedient offspring. Yet a child does not reason and believes what he is told and eternal hell appears real and terribly frightening for young minds.

I still remember that at the age of nine I had skipped Sunday Mass. Skipping Sunday Mass was at that time a cardinal sin with hell as punishment. How much I feared I could die before I had confessed my sin to the priest! I did not doubt that in that case I would go to hell.

Fortunately some of our nuns in boarding school were exceptionally hypocritical. That made it easier to get out of the mindset that only Catholics go to heaven and others go to hell. Further, the priest who was teaching religion was not convincing with his proof that ‘our’ God exists. I found, however, proof in physics: if this whole universe, we included, is basically one energy, then this all-pervading energy must be God. A God that is for everyone, not just for Christians.

I share these personal details to show how easily children are influenced and in many cases for life. I had heard of ‘brainwashing’ already in primary school. The Russians were doing it, we were told. I imagined then that brains were actually washed. Later I realised that it was about repeating a falsehood till it is believed it to be true. I felt it was bad to do this to people, little realising that we too were brainwashed. We too were told falsehoods and made to believe them. Our whole society collaborated to impart certain views: Russians were bad. Heathens go to hell. God loves only Catholics. And we children believed it.

There is reassurance and a sense of strength in belonging to a big group of like-minded people and great danger—the danger that ‘others’ who don’t belong to one’s group are eyed suspiciously and even hatred for them can be easily whipped up. And when hate is whipped up, human values, love and kindness have no place anymore and the ugly face of mankind comes to the fore. It happened in Nazi Germany, it happened in communist countries and it happened in the numerous religious wars over the centuries and is still happening in the name of religion.

Strangely, religion, which is meant to connect us with God and make us virtuous, is the major cause of conflict in our world. Yet it may not appear so strange if one takes a closer look at the two big monotheistic religions: Christianity and Islam. Both religions claim that they alone are the ‘only true religion’ and that their God is ‘the only true God’ and everyone has to join them to be saved. Naturally, this is a recipe for conflict. These supremacy claims need to be examined and shown for what they are: claims that are neither based on reason, intuition, science or common sense, depending entirely on blind faith that is indoctrinated in childhood. Unless it is generally acknowledged (which actually should be easy because it makes sense) that there is truly only one ‘God’ or however one wants to call That to which we all (Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Atheists, etc.) owe our existence, there is little chance for humanity to live in peace.

It is natural to think that one’s religion is the best and there is nothing wrong in this attitude. Or else, why would one follow it? But does anyone own the Truth? Does Truth not own us? Is Truth not upholding all of us?

UNICEF and those in education would have a task cut out for them, if they were to take up the issue of brainwashing of children into hating the ‘other’. There is, however, one problem: are those in politics, education and religion and those working for UNICEF still afflicted from their own brainwashing as children? Do they still divide humanity into those who are good and those who are bad? Into those who are right and those who are wrong? Into those who go to heaven and those who go to hell? Or can they see that we all belong to one big family whose members are different in many aspects and carry different labels, yet nevertheless we all are siblings, permeated and animated by the same life force? – Maria Wirth Blog, 30 March 2013

» Maria Wirth is a German and came to India for a holiday after finishing her psychology studies at Hamburg University. She visited the Ardha Kumbha Mela in Haridwar in April 1980 where she met Sri Anandamayi Ma and Devaraha Baba, two renowned saints. With their blessing she continued to live in India and dived into India’s spiritual tradition, sharing her insights with German readers through articles and books.


Pope Francis lacks moral audacity, avoids apology for clergy sex abuse – Barbie Latza Nadeau

Barbie Latza Nadeau“Executive director of SNAP Clohessy says that while the pope is a ‘master of symbolic gesture’ he seems to lack the moral courage to effectively address the Church’s most devastating crisis.  ‘He comes from the developing world where this crisis is still percolating and has yet to burst into the public arena and force a real Church response,’ he says.  ‘An effective pope must use both carrot and stick. He must be a pastor and a policeman.  Compassion is wonderful but only goes so far. When dealing with predators and enablers, anger is also necessary.'” – Barbie Latza Nadeau

Pope Francis: Aren't unsolicited kisses a form of molestation?There is no question that Pope Francis has put a shine on the tarnished Catholic Church through acts of humility and courage in the first eight months of his papacy.  Cold calls to Catholics and random acts of kindness—including  rumors that he regularly sneaks out of Vatican City at night to help feed the poor in Rome—have endeared him to the most ardent naysayers.  But the first Latin American pontiff hasn’t won everyone over quite yet.

Advocates of the clerical child sex scandal say the pope still has done little to address the Church’s disgraceful record on child abuse.  And on Monday, he seemed to miss another big opportunity to apologize for the Church’s sins.  In a meeting with 13 Dutch prelates in Rome, he apparently intended to flick at the issue.  According to prepared remarks given to those who attended the meeting, he was planning to say, “I wish to express my compassion and to ensure my closeness in prayer to every victim of sexual abuse, and to their families; I ask you to continue to support them along the painful path of Catholic Church: Charges will be made in the International Criminal Courthealing, that they have undertaken with courage.”  But those in attendance said he veered off script and instead held an open conversation with the clergy present, failing to focus on the sex abuse problem in the Dutch Church as he may have intended, according to the prepared remarks.  Last year, the Dutch government issued a harsh report against the Catholic Church after investigating more than 20,000 valid claims of child abuse by priests since 1945.  They called out the Dutch Church’s failure to “adequately deal with the abuse.”

Monday’s missed opportunity is not the first time this popular pontiff has punted on the issue.  In a broad interview published in several Jesuit magazines in September, he also chose not to address the issue at all, which disappointed many Catholics who were hoping to hear from the new pope on this contentious topic.  In another interview in October, this time with La Repubblica the pope again remained silent on the subject of sex abuse, missing what many Italians felt was a golden opportunity to put his views on the record.

David ClohessyAdvocates like David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP: Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests say that the pope doesn’t need openings to make an apology or do more.  “He needs no opportunity with his massive global bully pulpit,” Clohessy told The Daily Beast.  “He could have apologized any time over the past eight months.”

Clohessy says that while the pope is a “master of symbolic gesture” he seems to lack the moral courage to effectively address the church’s most devastating crisis.  “He comes from the developing world where this crisis is still percolating and has yet to burst into the public arena and force a real church response,” he says.  “An effective pope must use both carrot and stick. He must be a pastor and a policeman.  Compassion is wonderful but only goes so far. When dealing with predators and enablers, anger is also necessary.”

To be fair, Francis has a lot on his plate as he confronts the Church’s mountain of problems, including allegations of financial corruption.  In July, he did make child abuse illegal on Vatican grounds, including the creation and possession of child pornography and prostitution of minors.  Apparently that law had never made into the Vatican legal code.  But he also made it illegal to leak secret documents kept sacred in the Holy See, effectively enabling Church officials to continue to hide any evidence of a cover-up when it comes to sex crimes that have been reported to the Vatican.

Victims of clerical sex abuse protest in front of Vatican.Hope is not lost for real changes in how the Church deals with this delicate issue.  On Tuesday Francis began a two-day meeting with his papal posse of reforming cardinals who have been tasked with advising him about how to fix the ails of the global Church. It seems impossible to think that better handling the child sex abuse problem would not be somewhere near the top of their agenda.  Clohessy, who also worries that a papal apology would be a band-aid and only give the wrong impression that the Church is addressing the problem through dialogue rather than action, is not optimistic.  “Papal apologies these days mean nothing,” he says.  “One apologizes for harm when harm is done.  But the abuse and cover-up crisis continues. Adults can heal themselves with or without church officials’ apologies. Kids, however, can’t protect themselves without Church officials’ actions.” – The Daily Beast, 3 December 2013

» Barbie Latza Nadeau is an American journalist based in Rome. 

Francis as Pontifex Maximus

Pope Francis IS the successor of Roman Emperor Constantine who gave the title ‘Pontifex Maximus‘ to the Bishops of Rome, not the ‘poor fisherman from Galilee,’ a fictional character in the Gospels whose historical reality has yet to be established. Constantine also gave his red shoes and red cape, worn only by emperors, to the Roman Bishops as the official vestment of their supreme pontiff’s office. -- Editor

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