VHP gives Modi until May 2015 to decide the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue – Piyush Srivastava

Sri Ram Lalla Temple, Ayodhya

Ram Lalla Virajman“We are against any formula other than handing over the entire 70-acre land to us.” – VHP 

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has given Prime Minister Narendra Modi a May 2015 deadline to decide the vexed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue, threatening mass campaigns for the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

VHP spokesperson for Ayodhya affairs Sharad Sharma told Mail Today: “The VHP doesn’t believe in trivialising the issue. We need entire 70 acres of land, which is dubbed as disputed because of the litigation filed by Muslims.” 

Sharma said: “Modi has come to power because the BJP raised agendas of development and national growth. We didn’t want to disturb the government in the beginning. It was decided at a meeting of VHP leaders and important saints that the Centre should be given one year to take the country on the path of development and fulfil its other promises made to the people during the election campaigns. 

“The saints will hold a meeting with the PM after May 2015 and demand that a law be enacted in Parliament to pave the way for construction of the Ram temple at the same site.” 

The VHP leader alleged that some people with no locus standi have been trying to show interest in the case. 

Hashim Ansari & Gyan DasHe said: “We understand the eagerness of Hashim Ansari, the oldest surviving plaintiff from the Babri Masjid side. He keeps raising trivial issues out of sheer frustration. Now and then, he takes the help of Akhara Parishad chief Mahanth Gyan Das and comes up with a bizarre plan. Every time, Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav or his representative meets him and Ansari peacefully returns to his ivory tower. We really don’t care about his gimmicks.” 

Ansari and Gyan Das have sought time from the PM for a meeting while claiming that they have reached a compromise formula on the Janmabhoomi-Masjid issue after discussions with major saints of the country. 

Ansari said: “We believe that there can be a temple and a masjid on 70 acres of the disputed land with a 100-feet high wall that will separate activities of the two communities in their religious sites.”

However, when asked why he was trying to stitch a formula with the help of Gyan Das, who doesn’t figure in the case, Ansari said: “He wants peaceful co-existence of Hindus and Muslims in Ayodhya. This is why I stand with him. I am 93 years old and can die any day. I am in a hurry for a solution to this problem.” 

Das said: “But we don’t want the VHP to mess around because its leaders don’t want peace in the country.” 

But while rejecting his theory, Additional Advocate General of Uttar Pradesh Zafaryab Jilani, who is also a counsel for the All India Muslim Personal Law Board which looks after the related case of the Sunni Central Waqf Board, said: “The VHP is part and parcel of the case because its leader represents Ram Lalla Virajman in court. There is no possibility of arriving at a compromise formula without involving the VHP.” 

The Allahabad HC, in its 2010 judgment, had ordered to trifurcate the disputed 70 acres of land and give the makeshift temple area to Ram Lalla Virajman (a party in the case) while handing the Chabutara (platform) and Sita Ki Rasoi (kitchen of goddess Sita) to Nirmohi Akhara, besides an unspecified one-third portion to the Sunni Central Waqf Board. 

Triloki Nath PandeyRam Lalla wants Supreme Court to expedite case, says Triloki Nath Pandey of the VHP

Triloki Nath Pandey — Ram Lalla’s next friend — wants the Supreme Court to expedite the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case. 

Pandey, who pursues the case on behalf of the God, told Mail Today that he is frustrated to see delay in the case that has been pending in the apex court since 2010. 

“The case was filed in a lower court in 1950, but the order was pronounced finally in 2010 by the Allahabad High Court. Enough is enough. We cannot wait for so long for the apex court to take up the case. We moved the SC against the order of the Allahabad High Court. We want the 70-acre disputed land in Ayodhya to be trifurcated. Even the God wants to be liberated from the make-shift tent,” said Pandey. 

“There shouldn’t be confusion in anybody’s mind that the next friend of Ram Lalla, that is me, belongs to the VHP,” he said. 

Proposed Ram Temple in AyodhyaPandey said the high court order was almost in favour of the Ram Janmabhoomi. 

“The high court had rejected the theory that there was a masjid at the disputed site. One third of the land was allotted to the Sunni Central Waqf Board. I was the first on behalf of the God to oppose it and move the SC against the HC order. This means that the God is not ready for any compromise,” he said. 

He also reminded that Mohammad Hashim Ansari — the oldest surviving plaintiff in the case — is one among nine plaintiffs. A single plaintiff cannot give a solution without the support of the remaining eight plaintiffs. 

“We are against any formula other than handing over the entire 70-acre land to us,” Pandey said. 

He alleged that a section of Muslim leaders have been urging the VHP to withdraw its claim over Gyanvapi Mosque, which is adjacent to Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, and Shahi Idgah that is close to Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple in Mathura in return of Ram Temple in Ayodhya. – Mail Online India, 25 February 2015

Ayodhya Dispute Players

Anti-Christian Acts: Myth and Reality – Vivek Gumaste

VG Icon“When the BJP first came to power in the late 1990s we heard of anti-Christian incidents perpetrated by members of the Sangh Parivar, the majority of which proved to be blatant falsehoods. We need to recall those events to give a reality check to a similar campaign of unsubstantiated calumny that is raising its head again to discredit the BJP government.” – Vivek Gumaste.

Cardinal Baselios CleemisIt stands out as a master-stroke of ideological gamesmanship; a Machiavellian exercise par excellence; a deceptive, cruel phantasma specifically conjured up to mislead the public, hijack the moral discourse in the nation and embarrass the government on the international front.

It is a ditto replay — the same suffocating hysteria, the same unsubstantiated hype and the same haste to condemnation.

When the Bharatiya Janata Party first came to power in the late 1990s we heard of anti-Christian incidents allegedly perpetrated by members of the Sangh Parivar, the majority of which proved to be blatant falsehoods deliberately blown out of proportion and distorted to gain political and religious mileage.

We need to recall those events to give a reality check to a similar campaign of unsubstantiated calumny (church attacks in Delhi) that is raising its head again to discredit the current BJP government.

Rewind to 1998 to review a much publicised incident involving the rape of four Christian nuns in Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh. Even before any details of this crime were available, major newspapers had conducted a trial, established the criminal guilt of Hindu organisations, and communicated this message to the country and the world at large by splashing this news across their front pages — a clear case of the press playing the part of accuser, judge and jury rolled into one.

Francois GautierIt was left to Francois Gautier, the correspondent in South Asia for Le Figaro, France’s largest-circulated newspaper, who went to Jhabua to unearth the truth. This is what he wrote in the Hindustan Times (February 1, 1999):

“This massive outcry on the ‘atrocities against the minorities’ raises also doubts about the quality and integrity of Indian journalism. Take, for instance, the rape of the four nuns in Jhabua. Today the Indian press (and the foreign correspondents — witness Tony Clifton’s piece in the last issue of Newsweek) are still reporting that it was a ‘religious’ rape.

“Yet I went to Jhabua and met the four adorable nuns, who themselves admitted, along with their Bishop George Anatil, that it had nothing to do with religion. It was the doing of a gang of Bhil tribals, known to perpetrate this kind of hateful acts on their own women.

“Yet today, the Indian press, the Christian hierarchy and the politicians continue to include the Jhabua rape in the list of atrocities against Christians.”

A few days later, the home minister released a list of the criminals, a list forwarded to him by the Congress government (whose leader happens to be Christian) of Madhya Pradesh at that time: 12 of the accused were Christians!

Christian groups initially questioned this finding, but when confronted with irrefutable proof chose to ignore it. And the newspapers?

Deendar AnjumanYes, they reported it in some hidden corner of their papers following what has become an accepted strategy for some: Create hype, discredit your adversaries and finally when the truth comes out, report it in small print.

Other similar incidents confirm my view-point. In 2000, a series of bomb blasts occurred in churches across Karnataka, Andhra and Goa. Again, without evidence Hindu groups were promptly indicted for these attacks. Eventually, it turned out to be the handiwork of a Muslim organisation, Deendar Anjuman with Pakistani links.

The group was caught red-handed with Om symbols in their possession meant to frame Hindu groups (Centre to consider banning Deendar Anjuman).

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary and glaring proof of a frame-up, our media continued to blame Hindu groups invoking a bizarre logic: “But it is clear that such organisations have become active in an environment of intolerance and bigotry that the Hindu Right is squarely responsible for creating” (Frontline, July 22, 2000).

St Sebastian's Church, DelhiAnother series of church attacks in Karnataka in 2008 were investigated by the Justice B. K. Somasekara Commission of Inquiry which categorically stated: “There is no basis to the apprehension of Christian petitioners that politicians, the BJP, mainstream Sangh Parivar and the state government are directly or indirectly involved in the attacks” (Clean chit for BJP, Parivar).

While not denying the occurrence of some isolated anti-Christian hate attacks, an objective assessment indicates that the broader anti-Christian narrative was wilfully orchestrated with an ulterior motive in mind.

With this past scenario as the backdrop, let us focus on the current spate of church attacks. In a hard-hitting article, Rupa Subramanya (Crying Wolf: Narrative of ‘Delhi church attacks’ Flies in the Face of Facts) after examining each individual ‘incident in detail and taking into account the facts available concludes: “There’s no evidence whatever that these six incidents in Dilshad Garden, Jasola, Rohini, Vikaspuri, Vasant Kunj and Vasant Vihar are related or part of a pattern of attacks on minority institutions.”

She rightfully avers: “It’s also necessary to keep the nature and quantum of these incidents in the proper perspective. Crucially, it’s not just churches that are periodically vandalised alone, according to the Delhi police, 206 temples, 30 gurdwaras and three churches and 14 mosques were burgled in 2014.”

Finally, she poses the million dollar question: “Why exactly are church leaders and their friends in the media so eager to establish there’s a communal angle to these recent incidents when the facts say the opposite? What are they hoping to gain? It’s irresponsible and downright dangerous if they promote their agenda in the face of the facts.”

George Alencherry, Kuriakose Bharanikulangara & Narendra ModiThe rights of every Indian, regardless of her/his religious denomination, must be safeguarded. Genuine atrocities must be brought to the fore and addressed suitably to ensure a climate devoid of fear for that is what our country and our age-old tradition is about.

But any campaign must be backed by the strength of truth and honesty. It cannot be a ploy to gain ideological advantage or a camouflage to pursue illicit conversions unhindered. We need to look through these old shenanigans. – Rediff, 25 February 2015

» Vivek Gumaste lives in New York City and writes for the Hindustan Times and Rediff.com.

Abusing the RSS is creative secularism – Rakesh Sinha

Prof Rakesh Sinha“A class of intellectuals, including a large part of the media, habitually blames RSS for everything and anything. Following the Modi government’s advent, secularist intellectuals and the media have left no stone unturned to create an anti-government atmosphere by using events and undesirable statements, none of which are due to any responsible leader of the RSS.” – Prof Rakesh Sinha

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)Not a single newspaper or TV channel lets go of news and  views about the RSS and its affiliates. Not surprising, since India today is governed by the saffron party. Concomitantly, the opinions and statements of the fraternal organisation definitely attract media attention; the Parivar’s behaviour, acts and influence on the government are matters of interest. One can’t blame the media for microscopic attention-seeking.

But sadly, a class of intellectuals, including a large part of the media, habitually blames RSS for everything and anything. Following the Modi government’s advent, secularist intellectuals and the media have left no stone unturned to create an anti-government atmosphere by using events and undesirable statements, none of which are due to any responsible leader of the RSS.

Rashtra Sevika SamitiOn population, two or three leaders have appealed to Hindus to produce more children. The statement was deliberately misconstrued as an RSS attempt to revert the population policy. None tried to know the RSS’s perspective on women. Most critics are ignorant of the Rashtra Sevika Samiti, the RSS’s women wing, formed in 1936. It has been doing outstanding work in empowering women. Unlike the Left’s slogan-shouting women wings, it works silently. This instance alone exposes Indian academics’ and intellectuals’—predominantly left-Nehruvian—non-serious approach to dialogue with and discourse on RSS.

Their anti-RSS approach has remained consistent, whenever the Jana Sangh or BJP is in power. In 1967, coalition governments were formed in seven states with the Jana Sangh as a partner. The Left raised howls about the existence of minorities being under threat. After 1977, much credit for the deconstruction of the Janata Party government must go to the same intellectuals who poisoned the political environs. In the 90s, the Vajpayee government endured the same hostility. The repetition of the same abuse, allegations and modus operandi can be seen in their actions.

Indira Gandhi & Sanjay GandhiDisagreements with the RSS can in no way obscure the fact that it is a reality of India’s social and political life. The Sangh is a force with an alternative ideology with huge organised following. Neither can any serious student deny that the RSS stood for democracy and suffered the most when Indira Gandhi’s regime turned totalitarian.

Abusing the RSS has become creative secularism of Nehruites and Marxists. They have dealt with it polemically. There has been not even subtle difference between propagandist literature of the CPI/CPI(M) on the RSS and those written by pseudo-secular social scientists.

Moreover, they’ve gone to the extent of alleging that the RSS is funded by the CIA in one of their works, CIA interests in RSS. American writings on RSS are Commies are only base for this, which betrays slanderous intellectualism.

The first work on RSS was published 25 years after its formation in 1951, Militant Hinduism in Indian Politics: A Study of RSS by J. A. Curran. It was published by the International Secretariat, Institute of Public Relations of the US. Another important work was again by a foreigner, Craig Baxter, on the Jana Sangh, also dealing with the RSS, and The Vice President, Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari, releasing the book entitled “Muslims in Indian Cities”, edited by Laurent Gayer and Christophe Jaffrelot, in New Delhi on September 10, 2012.two other important works, by Walter Anderson in the 80s and later by Christophe Jaffrelot in 90s. All of them are critical but serious study.

Pseudo-secularists are masters in manipulating and distorting facts. One such hilarious allegation is that the RSS was inspired by Mussolini, in proof of which they quote an Italian scholar, Marzia Casolari. This was enough for a secularist journal’s cover story, its only basis being Hindu Mahasabha leader Dr B. S. Moonje’s personal meeting with Mussolini. No RSS leader in the pre-Independence era travelled overseas, or ever praised Hitler or Mussolini. And a March 7, 1934, debate in the Central Provinces Legislative Council on the RSS demolished the myth of Moonje being one of the founders of the RSS. The Sangh itself had voiced serious displeasure with Moonje’s approach to imperialism and the Muslim question, and he was even pulled up by RSS leader Martand Jog for his irresponsible statements in Dr Hedgewar’s presence in 1932. Moonje later wrote in his diary that he would not use the RSS platform in future. But secularist lies and deceit have no regard for historical facts and archival records. They are the real hybrids of Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci and Hitler’s propaganda minister Goebbels. – The New Indian Express, 22 February 2015

» Prof Rakesh Sinha is Hony Director of India Policy Foundation. Contact him at  rakeshsinha46@gmail.com.

Sri Guruji (M. S. Golwalkar)

 

How Mother Teresa became a saint – Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens“Mother Teresa was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women. … She was a friend to the worst of the rich, taking misappropriated money from the atrocious Duvalier family in Haiti (whose rule she praised in return) and from Charles Keating of the Lincoln Savings and Loan. Where did that money, and all the other donations, go?” – Christopher Hitchens

I think it was Macaulay who said that the Roman Catholic Church deserved great credit for, and owed its longevity to, its ability to handle and contain fanaticism. This rather oblique compliment belongs to a more serious age. What is so striking about the “beatification” of the woman who styled herself “Mother” Teresa is the abject surrender, on the part of the Church, to the forces of showbiz, superstition, and populism.

Fr Donald McGuire SJ & Mother Teresa MCIt’s the sheer tawdriness that strikes the eye first of all. It used to be that a person could not even be nominated for “beatification,” the first step to “sainthood,” until five years after his or her death. This was to guard against local or popular enthusiasm in the promotion of dubious characters. The pope nominated MT a year after her death in 1997. It also used to be that an apparatus of inquiry was set in train, including the scrutiny of an advocatus diaboli or “devil’s advocate,” to test any extraordinary claims. The pope has abolished this office and has created more instant saints than all his predecessors combined as far back as the 16th century.

As for the “miracle” that had to be attested, what can one say? Surely any respectable Catholic cringes with shame at the obviousness of the fakery. A Bengali woman named Monica Besra claims that a beam of light emerged from a picture of MT, which she happened to have in her home, and relieved her of a cancerous tumor. Her physician, Dr. Ranjan Mustafi, says that she didn’t have a cancerous tumor in the first place and that the tubercular cyst she did have was cured by a course of prescription medicine. Was he interviewed by the Vatican’s investigators? No. (As it happens, I myself was interviewed by them but only in the most perfunctory way. The procedure still does demand a show of consultation with doubters, and a show of consultation was what, in this case, it got.)

John Paul II & Mother TeresaAccording to an uncontradicted report in the Italian paper L’Eco di Bergamo, the Vatican’s secretary of state sent a letter to senior cardinals in June, asking on behalf of the pope whether they favoured making MT a saint right away. The pope’s clear intention has been to speed the process up in order to perform the ceremony in his own lifetime. The response was in the negative, according to Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, the Canadian priest who has acted as postulator or advocate for the “canonization.” But the damage, to such integrity as the process possesses, has already been done.

During the deliberations over the Second Vatican Council, under the stewardship of Pope John XXIII, MT was to the fore in opposing all suggestions of reform. What was needed, she maintained, was more work and more faith, not doctrinal revision. Her position was ultra-reactionary and fundamentalist even in orthodox Catholic terms. Believers are indeed enjoined to abhor and eschew abortion, but they are not required to affirm that abortion is “the greatest destroyer of peace,” as MT fantastically asserted to a dumbfounded audience when receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. Believers are likewise enjoined to abhor and eschew divorce, but they are not required to insist that a ban on divorce and remarriage be a part of the state constitution, as MT demanded in a referendum in Ireland (which her side narrowly lost) in 1996. Later in that same year, she told Ladies Home Journal that she was pleased by the divorce of her friend Princess Diana, because the marriage had so obviously been an unhappy one …

Mother Teresa & Michele Duvalier of HaitiThis returns us to the medieval corruption of the Church, which sold indulgences to the rich while preaching hellfire and continence to the poor. MT was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction. And she was a friend to the worst of the rich, taking misappropriated money from the atrocious Duvalier family in Haiti (whose rule she praised in return) and from Charles Keating of the Lincoln Savings and Loan. Where did that money, and all the other donations, go? The primitive hospice in Calcutta was as run down when she died as it always had been—she preferred California clinics when she got sick herself—and her order always refused to publish any audit. But we have her own claim that she opened 500 convents in more than a hundred countries, all bearing the name of her own order. Excuse me, but this is modesty and humility?

The rich world has a poor conscience, and many people liked to alleviate their own unease by sending money to a woman who seemed like an activist for “the poorest of the poor.” People do not like to admit that they have been gulled or conned, so a vested interest in the myth was permitted to arise, and a lazy media never bothered to ask any follow-up questions. Many volunteers who went to Calcutta came back abruptly disillusioned by the stern ideology and poverty-loving practice of the “Missionaries of Charity,” but they had no audience for their story. George Orwell’s admonition in his essay on Gandhi—that saints should always be presumed guilty until proved innocent—was drowned in a Niagara of soft-hearted, soft-headed, and uninquiring propaganda.

Mother Teresa & Pope John Paul IIOne of the curses of India, as of other poor countries, is the quack medicine man, who fleeces the sufferer by promises of miraculous healing. Sunday was a great day for these parasites, who saw their crummy methods endorsed by his holiness and given a more or less free ride in the international press. Forgotten were the elementary rules of logic, that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. More than that, we witnessed the elevation and consecration of extreme dogmatism, blinkered faith, and the cult of a mediocre human personality. Many more people are poor and sick because of the life of MT: Even more will be poor and sick if her example is followed. She was a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud, and a Church that officially protects those who violate the innocent has given us another clear sign of where it truly stands on moral and ethical questions. – Slate, 20 October 2003

» Christopher Hitchens, now deceased, was a columnist for Vanity Fair and author of the book The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice.

Mother Teresa on the cover of SF Weekly.

 See also

Evangelism abetted by Christian principal in a Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam college – IndiaFacts Staff

Dr M. D. Christopher

SVU College of Arts, Tirupati“Until Hindus take back their temples, it is advisable not to donate to Government-controlled temples. If Hindus really wish to donate, then they will be better served by donating it to a Hindu organization which really cares for Hindu causes and the Hindu community.” – IndiaFacts Staff

The Principal of the Sri Venkateshwara Arts College who goes by the name of Dr M. D. Christopher has been accused by the students of college and various student organizations that he is aiding Christian proselytization. If one looks at the happenings at the SV Arts College in the recent months, there is a strong possibility that this allegation is indeed true.

Evangelist literature is being distributed to students in the college campus. The manner in which the evangelist books are distributed is quite alarming and would not have been possible without the helping hand of the college administration. The students of the hostel are specially targeted for this soul harvest. Evangelical books and other literature arrived in a postal package and were addressed to each student by his name and they were in fact delivered to his room in the hostel. The students say that such distribution of books has happened many times over.

Students allege that complaints about this missionary activity to the Principal  and TTD officials have fallen on deaf ears. The students of the college directly point fingers at the Principal. The Principal has appointed to his staff a person named Rajkumar. Rajkumar is alleged to have given out the names and addresses of the students to the missionary organization distributing the literature. In spite of repeated complaints, no action was taken by the Principal. The Principal is also accused of appointing non-Hindu staff. A complete report (from TV9 Telugu) on this incident can be found here.

SVU College of Arts, TirupatiVandalism at Sri Venkateshwara Arts College

The walls of SV Arts College were painted with portraits of freedom fighters, poets and kings a couple of years back for the World Telugu Conference. The students and the local community over there were maintaining it well and keeping a watch to ensure that there were no posters/bills pasted on them.

However, a couple of days ago, miscreants disfigured these portraits by placing a Christian cross mark on the faces of the luminaries. Even the much celebrated Sri Krishnadeva Raya of the Vijayanagar empire was not spared from this crude expression of superiority of faith.

The College already facing the brunt of missionaries boiled again with student and religious organizations taking up protests. Whether this was done by mischief mongers or by Christians will perhaps be revealed in an investigation but the blame again has to be placed primarily on the shoulders of the college Principal and TTD for not keeping such vandalism in check especially when this very College with same Principal has been in the eye of storm for the past few months for missionary activities. The complete report (from NTV) on the vandalism at SV Arts College can be viewed here.

YSR taking communion from a Christian priest.TTD: Trojan Horse and a symbol of secular Government tyranny

During the YSR and Kiran Kumar Reddy-led Congress rule in Andhra, the state witnessed evangelism on a massive scale. The TTD too was not spared. There were reports in the Telugu media about the employment of Christians in TTD. Due to public outrage, a Government order was also issued directing the TTD to have only Hindus on its payroll. Swami Paripoornananda of Sri Peetam, Kakinanda had to protest again as the order was never implemented.

A Christian pastor was recently apprehended by the police after making a video of him along with his comrades visiting Tirumala and calling the Hindus as devil worshippers. The TTD staff have repeatedly failed miserably to stop such incidents. On many occasions, missionaries used to distribute evangelist material openly but the TTD was utterly inefficient in stopping this vulturesque preying on Hindus.

First, the TTD should not have hired a Christian principal or any staff it a college run by it. After reports and strong evidence of support for evangelism by this Principal, it should have dismissed the Principal. On the contrary it asked the police to lathi-charge the protesting students.

The reason for this incapacity of the TTD is because it is subject to political influence and appointment of people to positions including the Endowment / Executive Officer are appointed by the ruling party. How can the Hindu community be served if the administration is not seen as a service of the Divine but as a career option?

Many Hindus are not aware of the fact that several prominent temples including TTD which gets thousands of crores as revenue are taken over by various state governments and the most of the revenue goes to the state treasurer. This is the reason one sees many hundis placed all over precincts of Government controlled temples. Many mindless rituals are done just to extract money from the devotees worldwide. The TTD has become a master at selling tickets to various redundant rituals and utsavams.

This Government control of temples is a throwback to the colonial past where the Christian British and Muslims Kingdoms used to take over the revenue generated from temples as tax. It was also a mechanism to hurt the Hindus in terms of demography. Donations made by devotees which would have gone to the development of the poorest of the community went to a foreign colonizer. At the same time, the British government planted several Christian missions across the country which targeted the same poorer section of the Hindu demographic that would have gained benefits from the donations made to temples.

State Institute of Temple AdministrationNearly seven decades after Independence, the pattern has not changed. Secular state governments have taken over several Hindu temples, the Community’s money is looted by the government—money, which is supposed to protect the right to practice and propagate the Hinduism, one of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. Hindus live in an independent and secular country but their fundamental right to freedom is severely curtailed. How is the Hindu community supposed to take care of its poorest when the community’s hard earned money is taken away from it?

The Christian community which has a huge proselytizing mission with massive funds backing it, has extensively benefited in Andhra and elsewhere as they have targeted the poor amongst the Hindus for conversions. They have gained massively in demographics due to this tyranny perpetrated on the Hindus. A foreign religion is being given such massive advantage over a native religion which swears by nationalism and deep-rooted philosophical and spiritual traditions spanning thousands of years. How long will it be before India becomes another Philippines or a South Korea, nothing more than a Christian outpost of the West.

Imagine the number of schools, colleges, hospitals and other institutions Hindus could have built and sustained and how it would have changed the lives of poor Hindus. The secular state governments and the central government have become the biggest roadblocks to the prosperity and safety of Hindus.

Swami Dayananda SaraswatiThe long-term goal for Hindus should be to free Hindu Temples from Government control. There are several organizations working across the country towards this goal.

The Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha already has filed a case in the Supreme Court. In a seminar on temples, I had once heard from Swami Dayananda Saraswati that none of the state governments from the south had answered the questions put forth by HDAS in the honorable Supreme Court. Given the rate at which the judiciary functions, one should expect that Hindus are in a for a long grind and by that time, severe damage would have been done.

It would be better to lobby with a supposedly pro-Hindu central government to remove the Hindu Endowments Act completely from the Constitution. Please contact the various BJP Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly and ask them to remove this draconian act that is killing the Hindu community.

Narendra Modi & Rajnath SinghThe silence of the Narendra Modi Government in this regard is disheartening. The Government is aware of the problem, it is also aware of the fact that it is the Hindus that voted them to power. It’s been nine months since the NDA came into power and yet it has not taken any concrete steps to provide equality to Hindus. Hindus need to make their collective voices heard and bring pressure on the Modi Government. If it fails to act despite this, the BJP should be shown its place in the sun.

Many times, Hindus complain that Hindu organisations could have better spokespersons to represent them in the media. However, the travesty is that people donate to a government controlled temple like the TTD in crores but not to a Hindu organization that could protect our Dharma. That should tell us something.

In the end, until Hindus take back their temples, it is advisable not to donate to Government-controlled temples. If Hindus really wish to donate, then they will be better served by donating it to a Hindu organization which really cares for Hindu causes and the community.

Tirumala Tirupathi DevasthanamsThe road ahead

The TTD has taken a token action of ordering an investigation and a criminal case has been registered. But that by itself does not guarantee that such incidents will not recur in the future. Readers are requested to call up the official TTD numbers or email them to immediately dismiss the college principal on the grounds that he happens to be a Christian. Please ask the TTD to remove any non-Hindus from its payroll be it from colleges or from temple administration and all institutions run by it. To get a swift response from the TTD, readers should contact the Executive Officer(EO).

E-mail Ids:

Executive Officer: eo@tirumala.org

Joint Executive Officer, Tirumala: jeotml@tirumala.org

Joint Executive Officer, Tirupati: jeotpt@tirumala.org

Chief Vigilance & Security Officer: cvso@tirumala.org

Public Relations Officer: pro@tirumala.org

Phone Numbers of TTD Officials:

Executive Officer: 0877-2264160(c), 4977(o), 4393(o)

JEO Tirupati: 0877-2264877(c), 4231(o)

PA to the Executive Officer: 0877-2264545

Public Relations Officer: 0877-2264392

Central Reception Officer: 0877-2263922

Chief Accounts Officer: 0877-2264752,4213

Chief Vigilance & Security: 0877-2264390

Devasthanam Law officer: 0877-2264317

Dev. Educational Officer: 0877-2264396

Dharma Prachara Parishad: 0877-2264490,92,93,94

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Article Source: IndiaFacts, 22 February 2015

 

Religious Freedom: Whose freedom is it? – Virendra Parekh

Virendra Parekh“The Church claims the right to freedom of religion, by which it means its own right to convert others, and never the other way round (recall its strong condemnation of Ghar Wapsi). Christian evangelical efforts in the world today constitute nothing less than an open declaration of war on other religions. What it forgets is that if missionaries have a right to preach the Gospel, ancient societies professing pacifist non-proselytising religions have a right to defend themselves.” – Virendra Parekh

Narendra ModiThanks, but no thanks. That would be the reaction of discerning missionaries to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much awaited intervention in the ongoing discourse on tolerance and religious freedom. He has obliged them at last, but with a twist which negates much of the favour.

On the face of it, it would be a matter of immense satisfaction to the Church that the political head of a non-Christian secular country attended a purely religious function (organised by the Church to celebrate the sainthood of Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Euphrasia) and spoke of ‘tolerance’, ‘freedom of faith’ and ‘the individual’s right to adopt the religion of his choice’.

The satisfaction was heightened by the context. Having availed of India’s hospitality for two days, the US President Barack Obama thought it fit and necessary to harangue us heathens on virtues of tolerance and religious freedom. “India will succeed so long as it is not splintered on religious lines,” he intoned in Delhi.

The hypocrisy of this moral grandstanding was astounding. Obama’s remarks were made shortly before he flew to Saudi Arabia, a country which openly denies religious freedom in theory and practice. Pakistan routinely and systematically persecutes its Hindu and Christian minorities, but remains Obama’s frontline ally in the so-called war on terror and receives guns and dollars in large quantities. Yet “Nowhere is it more important to uphold religious freedom than in India.” Back home in Washington he bemoaned the “acts of intolerance that would have shocked Gandhiji.”

Obama also has a Christian agenda for South AsiaThe hand of the missionary network behind the remark was too obvious to be ignored. It was no coincidence that the US Commission for International Religious Freedom, which was instrumental in the blacklisting of Mr. Narendra Modi after the 2002 Gujarat violence and believes that religious freedom in India is comparable to that in Afghanistan and Turkey, welcomed the President’s remarks. As pointed out by Vamadeva Shasta [see comment below], Obama, like Bill Clinton before him, is connected to Southern Baptist groups who have global missionary networks, but would not mention this in public or condemn the bigotry of Southern Baptists, who would not accept the Hindu, Buddhist or Sikh paths as valid.

An editorial in The New York Times asked the prime minister to break his ‘deafening’ silence on religious intolerance.

And now Narendra Modi has spoken what was expected of him, but with important improvisation. For the missionaries, it is bad enough that he wants every Indian (and not just Hindus) to have equal respect for all religions. He appealed to ‘ALL’ religious groups (and not just Hindus) to act with restraint, mutual respect, and tolerance in the true spirit of this ancient nation.

He went on to say “My government will ensure that there is complete freedom of faith and that everyone has the undeniable right to retain or adopt the religion of his or her choice without coercion or undue influence.” This reference to the right to adopt a religion of one’s choice is no doubt a big (and reckless) concession to the Abrahamic creeds. But there is a double qualification here. The right to retain one’s ancestral faith precedes the one to choose another; secondly, the change of religion has to be made ‘without coercion or undue influence’, if at all. The standard Hindu position is that we should stick to the tradition we are born into, while respecting and learning from other traditions. Modi went as close to that as possible under the Constitution.

But Hindu intellectuals and organisations need to go further.

They should ask bishops and maulavis whether they are prepared to extend the same tolerance to Hinduism and Hindus that they routinely expect from others as a matter of right. If they are, they should stop conversions and jihadi terrorism. If they are not, how can they expect tolerance from the Hindus?

Ram SwarupFor Abrahamic religions, religious tolerance and freedom of religion is a one-way street. According to World Christian Encyclopedia tolerance means that Christians should “show genuine religious tolerance to at other expressions of faith in Christ.” But so far as other, non-Christian religions are concerned, religious toleration “does not deny their convictions about Christ and his church or abandon proclamation, evangelism or conversion”. The Christians retain their right to “believe other religions false and inadequate” and to “attempt to win (adherents) to faith and Jesus Christ.” (The World Christian Encyclopaedia by David B Barrett OUP 1982 reviewed by Ram Swarup in The Times of India, July 14, 1985)

This view of religious tolerance and freedom of religion is implicitly accepted by the modern West in its dealings with other, especially eastern traditions. But they run into a big problem: How to sound liberal without ceasing to be. You scratch them a little and the old theology of Christian superiority shines forth undiminished.

In the last hundred years, western scholars have developed a new intellectual apparatus to attack non-Christian religions and gods. The language of this attack is not theological but psychological. Brazen attempts to subvert and destroy other traditions are paraded as right of the individual to practice a religion of his choice.

This touching concern for individual rights is a cloak for theological arrogance. In Christian theology, a pagan is more than just a nasty physical fact; essentially, he is a lost soul needing to be saved by Jesus and his Church missionaries. Thanks to the powerful Eleanor Roosevelt with the Spanish version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rightsmissionary lobby in the UN, its Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 states that every individual has a right to embrace the religion or belief of his choice. This has been interpreted as the right of the Church to seek converts among the world’s peoples without hindrance by whatever means and regardless of the consequences to the man and society. It has opened the doors for questionable proselytisation and conversion tactics with lethal consequences to native traditions across the world. The missionary apparatus is a real threat to the genuine freedom of faith.

The Church claims the right to freedom of religion, by which it means its own right to convert others, and never the other way round (recall its strong condemnation of Ghar Wapasi). Christian evangelical efforts in the world today constitute nothing less than an open declaration of war on other religions. What it forgets is that if missionaries have a right to preach the Gospel, ancient societies professing pacifist non-proselytising religions have a right to defend themselves.

Hindu organizations should work for a new and equitable definition of freedom of religion to end this theological warfare and bring peace among religions. The UN must recognize explicitly that countries, cultures and peoples of tolerant philosophies and religions who believe in live and let live too have a right of protection against aggressive, systematic proselytizing. The new charter will assert that an individual’s right to religious freedom includes the right to practice his faith in peace free from uninvited attacks upon his faith and family, and not to be forced to compromise his faith as price of accepting help in times of societal or personal upheaval.

M. K. GandhiThis is the view that Narendra Modi should articulate next time when he holds forth on freedom of religion. Most of the non-Christian world, targeted by the Church, will endorse this view. He could also share with his buddy Barack a few things Gandhiji said about the missionary activity and conversions.

In a note to a missionary, Dr. Thornton, Gandhiji wrote, “if the missionary friends will forget their mission viz. of proselytising Indians and of bringing Christ to them, they will do wonderfully good work. Your duty is done with the ulterior motive of proselytising. When I go to your institutions, I do not feel I am going to an Indian institution. This is what worries me.”

Gandhiji’s advice to the missionaries was five-fold. First, stop conversions altogether as “it is the deadliest poison that ever sapped the fountain of truth.” Second, if you must convert, direct your efforts to those who are in a position to assess these matters properly. Do not target the poor, the illiterate or the destitute. Third, even for that effort, it would be better for non-Indian missionaries to return to their countries and attend to problems there. Those problems are large enough to engage all the missionaries that can be made available there. Fourth, in doing any kind of work among people, compliment the faith of the people, do not undermine it. Do not denationalise them. Finally, instead of living the life of the Church, live the life of Jesus, of piety, of the Sermon on the Mount. Let that life, that example, persuade people to embrace Christianity if they will, not this salesmanship.

Like the Mahatma, many modern Hindus have wondered why the Church cannot emulate the example of the Ramakrishna Mission and make the tribal understand his own religion better. What is the need for introducing him to Christ, the Bible and Christianity when his own objects of devotion, veneration and spirituality can serve him equally well?

Like communists, the Church too has contributed a lot to the corruption of language, loading innocuous phrases with self-serving but sinister meanings and connotations. It is time to undo the damage not just to the language but also to the thought. That will be the beginning of real tolerance and freedom.

» Virendra Parekh and is a Senior Journalist in Mumbai, writing in English and Gujarati on nationalist, economic and political themes and issues. He is the Executive Editor of Corporate India.

Narendra Modi addressing at the National Celebration of the Elevation to Sainthood of Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Euphrasia, in New Delhi on 17 Feb 2015_

Modi may end up winging it on his own – Bharat Karnad

Bharat Karnad“Current policies generally seem unchanged from Manmohan Singh’s days which, perhaps, explains the popular disillusionment with Modi. For Modi to pull things back, … it will require him to return to Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s nationalist ideology and the BJP’s root social self-help principles. … Without the right intellectual heft and expertise in the Prime Minister’s Office and in government, Modi may end up winging it on his own without taking the country or even himself very far.”- Bharat Karnad

Narendra Modi & Amit ShahThe Delhi poll-quake produced an outcome almost everybody in the political firmament, including many within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, it seems, craved for—the crashing of the Narendra Modi juggernaut. It has highlighted the shortfalls in Modi’s nine-month rule encapsulated in the opposition’s jibe that he is “All talk, no action”. Paperless cabinet meetings, ministers staying late in office, civil servants turning up in time for work do not, apparently, constitute the social and economic revolution the people expected. Arvind Kejriwal, in the event, has emerged, remarkably, as the rival the prime minister will be judged against.

Arvind Kejriwal & Manish SisodiyaModi’s achievements to date amount, in substance, to an easy camaraderie with world leaders and exhortations to the people. In contrast, the 49 days of Kejriwal’s first tenure as chief minister had such impact it carried his Aam Aadmi Party to an overwhelming victory in the capital and, the day after the declaration of the poll results, for instant changes—government tankers appeared in water-starved parts of the capital, touts disappeared from the regional transport offices, and bribe-demanding police turned into paragons of propriety. While Modi’s “corruption-free India” remained a slogan, Kejriwal’s campaign motivated the citizens to use mobile telephony to trap wrongdoers, and become the agent of change they desired.

The irony is that as a former chaiwallah who made it to the top on his own, Modi has a better story to tell, but has failed so far to parley it into policies that encourage and reward personal initiative and individual effort, reduce the profile of the government as employer of the first and last resort, and to embark schemes to grow jobs by growing the economy. Over the months the people found that Modi did not trim government waste, or reconfigure the system, or rectify its ways of doing business with the people, or ramp up the abysmal-quality services it delivered, or devise policies to encourage and incentivise private enterprise, or initiate training schemes to up-skill the potential industrial workforce needed for the country’s industry to be at the cutting edge, or facilitate a take-off by the manufacturing sector by putting teeth into his “Make in India” policy, or attract the fabled foreign investment to get trillion dollars worth of infrastructure and connectivity projects going. More disheartening still, pronouncements aside, labour and judicial reforms, like their economic counterpart, have stayed stuck in the political and administrative quagmire.

Narendra Modi at Madison Square Garden, New York (September 28, 2014)By way of relief, Modi sought visibility on the international stage where “success” can be gleaned by managing the pomp and attendant pageantry and playing to the delirious non-resident Indian crowds from New York to Sydney. The trouble is the law of diminishing returns kicks in fast. While the occasional international summit and Madison Garden-do is fine, too many foreign jaunts and diplomatic jamborees quickly pall, giving the impression of a democratic leader seeking escape or diversion from his failures on the domestic front.

Problematically, Kejriwal has scored in the areas Modi appears deficient. The AAP supremo did what he promised—improve, even if slightly, the everyday life of the majority—the underclass surviving in miserable slums and shanty towns by ordering cut-rate electricity and water for it. Populist programmes cannot be long sustained because the policy of “robbing Peter to pay Paul” is guaranteed ultimately to alienate both but, in the interim, he can coast. Relying on his “brains trust”, Kejriwal has been inventive—like asking the Centre to allot Delhi a coal block as a captive source of energy for thermal power plants in the capital region. He has less in common with the lowliest in the land than does Modi but compensates with the kind of empathy, humility, and ability to connect with the common folk the PM seems unable to match. And, bad optics—the supposedly expensive suit he donned in his session with Barack Obama—hasn’t helped.

The Left liberals comprising the bulk of the country’s media, intelligentsia, and political parties, who have benefited from the quasi-socialist nanny state, see Modi’s failure as rooted in a faulty ideology symbolised by the carryings-on of the Hindu fringe. The miniscule minority forming the more responsible liberal Right in the country, among whom this analyst counts himself, on the other hand, is a frustrated lot. With the government identified by Modi as the mother of most ills afflicting the state and society, he was expected to slash government, rid the system of the careerist civil servant-dominated decision-making, redefine the national interest along hard nationalist lines, and shape policies accordingly. Instead, Modi empowered the bureaucrats.

Meanwhile in the policy-making field, too, Kejriwal has taken the lead, appointing domain experts to advise him on innovative solutions and policy options. Other than in the economic field where outside experts have been installed in the NITI Aayog and as advisers, they are conspicuously absent in most of the rest of the Modi government. Thus, the technical ministries at the Centre continue to be run by generalist civil servants, foreign policy by the prime minister’s instincts (which has resulted in inadequate attention paid to neighbours—Iran, Myanmar, Pakistan, compounded by ill-thought out actions, such as the nuclear compromise with Obama, in violation of an Act of Parliament, that could make the indigenous nuclear energy programme extinct), and defence is constrained by the limited imagination of external affairs. Judged broadly, the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyayacurrent policies generally seem unchanged from Manmohan Singh’s days which, perhaps, explains the popular disillusionment with Modi.

For Modi to pull things back, which he can do in the remaining four odd years in office, it will require him to return to Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s nationalist ideology and the BJP’s root social self-help principles. He will also have to bank on conservative strategists from outside, who helped Atal Bihari Vajpayee chart an expansive national security policy and set India on the great power course, to fill his strategic policies with meaningful content. Without the right intellectual heft and expertise in the Prime Minister’s Office and in government, Modi may end up winging it on his own without taking the country or even himself very far. – The New Indian Express, 20 February 2017 

» Prof Bharat Karnad is India’s foremost conservative strategist at the Centre for Policy Research. He blogs at the Security Wise web site.

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