Ford Foundation and its CIA connections – D. P. Satish

Ford Foundation Banner

Ford Foundation HQ, New Delhi

D. P. Satish“The US-based Ford Foundation is not new to controversies. Many call it a front for the American external spying agency CIA. There have been thousands of articles and research papers on Ford Foundation’s CIA links. Even in India, the Ford Foundation is accused of funding the NGOs and movements which actually work against India’s social, political and economic interests.” – D. P. Satish

Ford Foundation, New DelhiWorld’s largest NGO funding agency the Ford Foundation has now come under the scanner of the government of India. As expected it has led to a controversy.

Some beneficiaries of Ford Foundation money and some activists are up in the arms condemning the government’s decision to put Ford Foundation under the surveillance of intelligence agencies.

The US-based Ford Foundation is not new to controversies. Many call it a front for the American external spying agency CIA. There have been thousands of articles and research papers on Ford Foundation’s CIA links. Even in India, the Ford Foundation is accused of funding the NGOs and movements which actually work against India’s social, political and economic interests.

James Petras, a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghampton University, New York, and author of Globalization Unmasked: Imperialism in the 21st Century, throws light on the inseparable relationship between the CIA and the Ford Foundation.

In a 2001 article titled The Ford Foundation and the CIA, he writes, “The CIA uses philanthropic foundations as the most effective conduit to channel large sums of money to Agency projects without alerting the recipients to their source. From the early 1950s to the present the CIA’s intrusion into the foundation field was and is huge. A US Congressional investigation in 1976 revealed that nearly 50% of the 700 grants in the field of international activities by the principal foundations were funded by the CIA (Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War, Frances Stonor Saunders, Granta Books, 1999, pp. 134-135).”

The CIA considers foundations such as Ford “The best and most plausible kind of funding cover” (Ibid, p. 135). The collaboration of respectable and prestigious foundations, according to one former CIA operative, allowed the Agency to fund “a seemingly limitless range of covert action programs affecting youth groups, labor unions, universities, publishing houses and other private institutions” (p. 135).

CIA LogoThe latter included “human rights” groups beginning in the 1950s to the present. One of the most important “private foundations” collaborating with the CIA over a significant span of time in major projects in the cultural Cold War is the Ford Foundation. This essay will demonstrate that the Ford Foundation-CIA connection was a deliberate, conscious joint effort to strengthen US imperial cultural hegemony and to undermine left-wing political and cultural influence. We will proceed by examining the historical links between the Ford Foundation and the CIA during the Cold War, by examining the Presidents of the Foundation, their joint projects and goals as well as their common efforts in various cultural areas.

According to Petras, by the late 1950s the Ford Foundation possessed over $3 billion in assets. The leaders of the Foundation were in total agreement with Washington’s post-WWII projection of world power. A noted scholar of the period writes: “At times it seemed as if the Ford Foundation was simply an extension of government in the area of international cultural propaganda. The foundation had a record of close involvement in covert actions in Europe, working closely with Marshall Plan and CIA officials on specific projects” (Ibid, p.139). This is graphically illustrated by the naming of Richard Bissell as President of the Foundation in 1952. In his two years in office Bissell met often with the head of the CIA, Allen Dulles, and other CIA officials in a “mutual search” for new ideas. In 1954 Bissell left Ford to become a special assistant to Allen Dulles in January 1954 (Ibid, p. 139). Under Bissell, the Ford Foundation was the “vanguard of Cold War thinking”.

One of the Ford Foundation’s first Cold War projects was the establishment of a publishing house, Inter-cultural Publications, and the publication of a magazine, Perspectives in Europe, in four languages. The Ford Foundation’s purpose according to Bissell was not “so much to defeat the leftist intellectuals in dialectical combat (sic) as to lure them away from their positions” (Ibid, p. 140). The board of directors of the publishing house was completely dominated by cultural Cold Warriors. Given the strong leftist culture in Europe in the post-war period, Perspectives failed to attract readers and went bankrupt.

Teesta SetalvadAnother journal, Der Monat, funded by the Confidential Fund of the U.S. military and run by Melvin Lasky was taken over by the Ford Foundation, to provide it with the appearance of independence (Ibid, p. 140).

In 1954 the new president of the Ford Foundation was John McCloy. He epitomized imperial power. Prior to becoming president of the Ford Foundation he had been Assistant Secretary of War, president of the World Bank, High Commissioner of occupied Germany, chairman of Rockefeller’s Chase Manhattan Bank, Wall Street attorney for the big seven oil companies and director of numerous corporations. As High Commissioner in Germany, McCloy had provided cover for scores of CIA agents (Ibid, p. 141).

McCloy integrated the Ford Foundation with CIA operations. He created an administrative unit within the Ford Foundation specifically to deal with the CIA. McCloy headed a three person consultation committee with the CIA to facilitate the use of the Ford Foundation for a cover and conduit of funds.

With these structural linkages the Ford Foundation was one of those organizations the CIA was able to mobilize for political warfare against the anti-imperialist and pro-communist left. Numerous CIA “fronts” received major Ford Foundation grants. Numerous supposedly “independent” CIA sponsored cultural organizations, human rights groups, artists and intellectuals received CIA/FF grants.

One of the biggest donations of the Ford Foundation was to the CIA organized Congress for Cultural Freedom which received $7 million by the early 1960s. Numerous CIA operatives secured employment in the Ford Foundation and continued close collaboration with the Agency (Ibid, p. 143).

From its very origins there was a close structural relation and interchange of personnel at the highest levels between the CIA and the FF. This structural tie was based on the common imperial interests which they shared.

The result of their collaboration was the proliferation of a number of journals and access to the mass media which pro-US intellectuals used to launch vituperative polemics against Marxists and other anti-imperialists. The Ford Foundation funding of these anti-Marxists organizations and intellectuals provided a legal cover for their claims of being “independent” of government funding (CIA).

Arvind KejriwalHe concludes that the Ford Foundation is well situated to replay its role as collaborator to cover for the New Cultural Cold War.

The Ford Foundation claims that it helps the third world to strengthen democracy. If we go by this argument, that should keep India safe because the US claims to further the cause of democracy while India is the largest democracy, right?

According to journalist Surajit Dasgupta, that notion is wrong. He says that the Americans often follow an Indira Gandhi-like policy: Romancing with nefarious elements till they serve as Pentagon’s puppets. A deep probe into the cia-on-campus.org [dead link] site reveals that the Ford Foundation has dirty pro-Islamic businesses it would rather be silent on.

There have been a number of reports by journalists about it founding anti-Israel NGOs. It is also worth noting that Henry Ford created the Ford Foundation while he was involved in and impressed by Nazi Germany, two years before he received his award. Remember, Ford also had a factory in Imperial Japan and, for some unexplained reason in March 1945, Japan sent orders for a pro-independence committee to be formed in Indonesia.

Former Ford Foundation president Richard Bisell acknowledged that the purpose of the Ford Foundation was not “so much to defeat the Leftist intellectuals in dialectical combat as to lure them away from their positions”. In other words, you make them work in ‘harmless’ activities, and not in those that may eventually pose a threat to the interests of the US Administration. – IBNLive, 25 April 2015

» D. P. Satish is IBN’s correspondent south of the Vindhyas. He tweets at @dpsatishcnnibn.

Embassy of the United States of America, New Delhi

See also

Irfan Habib still searching for the Saraswati River – Yvette Rosser

Ostriches & Marxist Historians

Yvette Rosser“I was professionally embarrassed for Irfan Habib regarding his lack of scholarly research, when thirteen years ago, he made this uniformed comment, ‘It matters little that the ‘mighty Sarasvati’ supposedly flowing down to the sea through the desert is a sheer figment of the imagination with no support from geography or geology.’ (Outlook, February 13, 2002.) Back then, I wrote: ‘these are very strong words for a respected historian to use when there is overwhelming documented scientific evidence that a huge river did flow in that part of western India 3800 years ago.’” – Dr Yvette Rosser

Irfan HabibIn the 17 April edition of The Hindu, a sarcastically penned article, printed prominently at the top of the page in the Opinion-Comment section, titled “Searching for Saraswati”, was written by the renowned historian, Professor Irfan Habib.

The attached cartoon reminded me of an article I wrote in 2003, titled “Ostriches and Archaeologists”, which discussed the long-standing disputes between a vocal group of Indian historians (formally self-identified as Marxist historians, but since the fall of the USSR, now calling themselves ‘progressives’) versus the Archaeological Survey of India (aka: mainstream Indian archaeologists).

My humorous title, “Ostriches and Archaeologists” reflected the absurdity that archaeologists are digging in the earth to discover historical artifacts, while this group of historians, colleagues of Professor Habib, have their heads buried in the sand refusing to look at the emerging evidence regarding the discovery of the paleo-geographic river bed of the long-dried up Saraswati River, as well condemning as other pre-modern (aka: Medieval) archaeological excavations.

Prof B.B. LalIn 2003, I vetted a copy of that article, “Ostriches and Archaeologists” to Professor B. B. Lal, who is often referred to as the father of Indian archaeology. Months later, I visited him at his home and his son who is a pilot and an officer in the Indian air force said to me that he hadn’t realized that his father, an octogenarian scholar, was a revolutionary. I replied with the famous quote, that in times of deceit and cover-up, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.[1]

In my research regarding India’s Social Sciences a dozen years ago, under the heading “Historiography in the Headlines” I noted that there was a vocal group of historians in India, who for decades have used the mainstream media to further their causes, while consistently refusing to look at archaeological evidence. Irfan Habib was among the usual signatories who critiqued not only archaeologists, but their material finds as well.  Even the artifacts were condemned as communal and saffron, if they incidentally lent credence to the ancientness of Dharmic traditions.

Artifacts are not saffron unless they were buried in ochre colored soil for a few thousand years. Facts are not Saffron, unless you are afraid of them and hope to sarcastically trivialize the emerging data, which Habib does like a seasoned pro. Using the reducto ad absurdum fallacy to reduce the argument to the absurd, converting an intellectual debate into a lopsided political one and avoiding the facts by ridiculing the supposed ‘intention’ and source of the data, Professor Habib’s critique was mostly political with very few historical considerations.

Instead of talking about merits of the case his strategy was to be distracted by side issues, bringing up controversies then changing the topic, and by sleight of word, Habib uses a bait-and-switch methodology to avoid the real issues at hand.

IVC SiteFor reasons tied up with ideological predispositions, there is a group of very vocal historians in India who have staked their professional careers against the research emerging from IVC sites in western India.  These professors fight pitched battles in the media and on the Internet to oppose the very existence, much less the evolving nomenclature of the Sindhu-Saraswati culture. Yet, strangely, despite being supposedly objective academicians, they are operating in complete denial of archaeological and other contemporary scientific data. For some strange reasons that are very detrimental to India’s social sciences, these historians’ minds are closed to dispassionate examination of contemporary historiographical research.

I was professionally embarrassed for Irfan Habib regarding his lack of scholarly research, when thirteen years ago, he made this uniformed comment, “It matters little that the ‘mighty Sarasvati’ supposedly flowing down to the sea through the Desert is a sheer figment of the imagination with no support from geography or geology.” (Outlook February 13, 2002.)  Back then, I wrote: “These are very strong words for a respected historian to use when there is overwhelming documented scientific evidence that a huge river did flow in that part of western India 3800 years ago.”

More than a decade ago, being thus astonished, I commented that “perhaps Professor Habib can be excused for not being up to date in paleogeology and satellite imaging, or even contemporary research on ancient Indian geographical history, since his specialty is Medieval India, but it is surprising that, being thusly uninformed, he has taken such a strong stand.”

You can well imagine how surprised I am when I witness, more than thirteen years later that Professor Habib has still not updated himself professionally. Yet ironically, he continues to use his valuable time to write op-ed pieces in the popular press condemning his archaeological ‘others’—a sad testament to the sorry state of social sciences and historiography in India.  After reading a random news report about some local water reclamation project in Haryana, Habib based his supposedly academically informed critique entirely on that scant bit of yellow journalism, and due to the dreaded saffron dominance in Haryana, Habib is overtly political in his critique. Facts be damned!

Ghaggra-Hakra (Saraswati) RiverThe only professional study to which Habib refers in this article is from the eighties. Whereas in the last thirty years there have been scores of scientifically sound research projects including paleogeological studies (with chemical analyses of soil samples), geographical studies, climatic studies, satellite imagery and landstat photography, isotope analyses, dozens of excavations by Indian and non-Indian archaeologists that support the hypothesis that there is a dried up riverbed of a great river that ran approximately where the seasonal rivers Ghaggar-Hakra now flow, as can be seen in satellite images. It ran down and around, heading in a southwesterly direction, wandering as rivers do over the millennia, from where it gained strength fed by other rivers, between the Yamuna and Sutlej, just where the ancient Hindu scriptures tell us this river used to run, and as Habib finally concedes in the last two paragraphs of his paper.

Ultimately, 4000 years ago, the legendary Saraswati River dried up due to tectonic activity and climatic changes, first slowly over centuries, forming numerous oxbow lakes before sinking into the sands of Rajasthan and disappearing into the sands of time.

Contrary to Habib’s claim in The Hindu, the Saraswati didn’t emerge from a ditch in Haryana, but as actually mentioned in the article upon which he based his critique, and in countless other documentations, the Saraswati originated in the Himalayas, where it emerged from the “foothills of the Shivaliks in the Adi Badri area” which is between Dharmasala and Simla. Hardly a “nullah” in Haryana!

In fact, recent research of soil samples in the Rann of Kutch and where the Saraswati emptied into the Arabian Sea have found Himalayan sand particles, particular to Uttaranchal in the sedimentary composition. These tests were conducted years after the 1980’s era study cited by Habib in The Hindu.

In Habib’s characterization, he sarcastically suggested the BJP government in Haryana should dig ‘two or three tube wells … to create an official spring.” Habib is confused as to the course of the ancient river. He should actually know this bit of geographic knowledge since he is an Indian historian who continually writes about this issue in the media!  He knows well that the Saraswati ran between the Yamuna and Sutlej as mentioned prominently in the Vedas and other historical Sanskrit texts and has can be seen on a modern landstat map.

Ghaggar RiverSeemingly, Habib cannot overcome the fact that in contemporary India, there is no roaring and raging Saraswati River running between the Yamuna and Sutlej, where the Saraswati was located. But I urge Professor Habib to visit the area and he would see that even today, the buried courses of the Saraswati still yield sub-surface water in the Rajasthan desert. “This sub-surface water in the desert comes from the Himalayan precipitation that flows through the buried courses of the Saraswati. Since the meagre rainfall (150mm) in the Rajasthan desert cannot contribute substantially to the perennial supply of sub-surface water, it is the quietly flowing Saraswati under the sub-surface of earth that is the source of year-round sub-surface water.” Dr Kar adds, “Field investigation by the researchers confirmed the existence of buried courses of the Saraswati River. It has been found that the areas through which the Saraswati flowed supports lush green vegetation today even during the summer months in the desert. In fact, some wells dug along the buried course of the Saraswati have yielded sweet water only at 30 to 40 metres.” [Quote from: Dr Amal Kar, senior geomorphologist at the Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI) in Jodhpur.]

I urge Professor Habib to visit the area before he condemns it again. He may also see, like the senior geomorphologist at the Central Arid Zone Research Institute, what seems like “a miracle in the Thar desert!” Or maybe it is just an ancient dried up river that still exists in some capacity below ground. Professor Habib may remember that after the dreadful earthquake in Bhuj in 2001, a spring opened up in the desert and clear fresh water flowed for days. There are many such stories across that broad area, from decade to decade, that report the emergence of a spring even after a mild earthquake.

But Professor Habib mocks the whole issue and dismisses the arguments and lumps all the informed and involved scholars into some kind of saffron stew that need not be heeded by the readers of The Hindu. He also seemingly dismisses satellite photography. No wonder for the last five millennia, Hindus thought that the Saraswati River must be mythical since they couldn’t find it on a map. Through the centuries, the popular lore considered that this non-existent, mythical Saraswati River, praised so prominently in the Rg Veda must be an underground river and it was presumed to meet the Ganga and the Yamuna at Prayag, in Professor Habib’s backyard. That old myth of an underground Saraswati has been demolished by contemporary research. A Times News article on June 15, 2002, stated that Habib, who “has written extensively on Saraswati, feels the exercise is a ‘waste of money.’” Then why, decade after decade, does Professor Habib continue to sensationalize the Saraswati and keep on writing ‘historiography in the headlines’ harping on a topic he refuses to research?

Heinrich Zimmer was a professor of Indology at Heidelberg Near to the end of his editorial comments in The Hindu, Habib cited Heinrich Zimmer for advocating the concept that the Saraswati is not an independent river but actually another name for the Indus. Heinrich Zimmer, whose excellent books on Indian art were published posthumously by Joseph Campbell passed away in 1943, decades before either the paleo-geological studies or satellite photography revealed the existence of the Saraswati River. [2]

To conclude his tirade directed towards researchers excavating along the banks of the Saraswati River, Professor Habib knowledgeably cites the verses in the Rig Veda where the Saraswati is mentioned and other relevant Sanskrit texts, such as the Panchavimsha Brahmana and the Manusmriti, where “Brahmavarta corresponds exactly to Haryana.”

In his final, strangely-worded sentence Habib writes, “From ancient tradition itself we thus have a depiction of the Saraswati that mocks neither geography nor history.” If that is true, why then did Professor Habib write an entire article that mocks the scientists researching the Saraswati River? Why, then, after all these decades didn’t he do his research? He would know that no scholars are trying to ‘stretch’ the Saraswati to pass below Allahabad. Obviously, purposes other than those of reason and common sense are at work guiding Irfan Habib’s perspectives.

Scholars researching the Saraswati River have embraced this relevant quote by Mahatma Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Ultimately, research regarding the Saraswati River will continue moving forward and Professor Habib will prattle on in the popular press about saffron artifacts.  The sheer volume of the evidences will win the argument. – IndiaFacts, 23 April 2015

References

  1. That article “Ostriches and Archaeologists” emerged from my PhD dissertation, which was an investigation of historiographical approaches used in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. My dissertation: “Curricula as Destiny: Forging National Identities in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh”, compared secondary Social Studies textbooks in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, three countries with thousands of years of shared history but very different contemporary perspectives of those events.  Among resulting publications: Islamization of Pakistani Social Studies Textbooks, RUPA, New Delhi, 2003. (See this review: http://ic-edu.blogspot.com/2009/03/book-review-islamisation-of-pakistani.html)
  2. Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization by Heinrich Zimmer. Edited by Joseph Campbell (1946).

» Dr Yvette Rosser first visited India in 1970, where she met Neem Karoli Baba who advised her to go to graduate school. She subsequently attended the University of Texas at Austin, where her Master’s thesis in the Department of Asian Studies examined the treatment of India in the social studies curriculum and how India and Hinduism are described in academic treatments. Her 2003 Ph.D. dissertation, Curriculum as Destiny: Forging National Identity in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, is a study of the politics of history in South Asia.

Saraswati River Map

Blame it on the Kellys – Bharavi

Julian the Apostate presiding at a conference of Christians

George Alencherry, Kuriakose Bharanikulangara & Narendra ModiRecently, there have been several well-publicized incidences of violence against Christians and/or their institutions in India.  A cry went up to the heavens: “persecution of Christians by the Pagan Hindus!” it proclaimed, and we heard much wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Modi’s buddy ‘Barack’ tut-tutted, and invoked Gandhi, no less, much as one might dust off a three-piece suit for a memorable occasion, and wagged his disapproving finger at Modi’s naughty and hell-bound Pagan brethren.  So much so that Modi had to signal contrition by converting his first shIvaratri after assuming office to a shAvaratri.

In unvarying accordance with hoary church tradition going back to the pre-Nicene ‘father’ Tertullian, the Christian establishment in India and their equivalents abroad rubbed their hands in glee, for here was a heaven-sent opportunity to cry persecution, claim martyrdom, and generally indulge in assorted passion plays pillorying the Hindu Pagans.

Such claims, going back centuries to the imaginary Apostle Thomas who never visited India but was slain by imaginary Brahmins anyway, are par for the course.  More recent history has church bombings by the Islamic Deendar Anjuman attributed to Hindus, as was the rape of Christian nuns in Jhabua by tribal converts, not to mention other incidents noted on this website.

TertullianTertullian sets the boilerplate

This millennial tradition of bearing false witness against the Pagan is evidence of the incorrigible and unregenerate ways of the insufferably self-righteous Christian establishment that has assiduously busied itself with motes in its neighbours’ eyes, but has studiously refrained from dealing with beams in its own, such as the Christian terrorism raging for decades in northeastern India with the stated goal of establishing ‘Nagalim for Christ.’  But lest we get ahead of ourselves, we must defer to Tertullian, who was rebutting charges of impiety and sedition leveled against Christians by the Romans:

“But go zealously on, good presidents, you will stand higher with the people if you sacrifice the Christians at their wish, kill us, torture us, condemn us, grind us to dust; your injustice is the proof that we are innocent. Therefore God suffers that we thus suffer; for but very lately, in condemning a Christian woman to the leno (prostitution) rather than to the leo (lion) you made confession that a taint on our purity is considered among us something more terrible than any punishment and any death.  Nor does your cruelty, however exquisite, avail you; it is rather a temptation to us. The oftener we are mown down by you, the more in number we grow; the blood of Christians is seed.”[1]

Now, such was the situation that the early Christians found themselves in.  The Romans who treated fights to the death as a matter of light entertainment did not think much of killing those whom they thought were either deviant Jews or a seditious burial society that routinely blasphemed all the Gods but their own, profaned sanctuaries and were prone to rioting on the slightest pretext.

But to the Pagan Hindus, used as they are to countenancing, even encouraging extremely idiosyncratic personalization of religion, and not even requiring a token sacrifice to the king’s genius as a mark of fidelity, Christianity is just not worth persecuting.  After all, those who worship shIva can hardly object to the worship of a shAva on a shUla, certainly not with the Aghoris still at large. Did not the God-child Tirugnanasambandar’s very first lisping verses describe His beloved shIva as the one who “besmeared with the ashes of the cremation ground, hath stolen my heart away?”  So, if the votaries of a Middle Eastern tribal godman’s corpse and its associated belief of a second coming in the same flesh after two thousand years want to celebrate or mourn, indulge in ritual cannibalism or insist that the end of the world is nigh, it’s generally their own business, and absolutely no skin off the collective Hindu Pagan nose.

Former IPS officer Julio Francis RibeiroNow, strictly from the vantage point of law and order, this would be a really admirable state of affairs (Mr. Julio Ribeiro, please note), but from the Christian viewpoint it is highly unsatisfactory for it does not furnish the required numbers of martyrs to ‘seed the faith’ by claiming the higher moral ground in good conscience. The Pagan Hindus are anyway doomed to be ‘eternally barbecued’ (pace Vivekananda) as per doctrine, but it would be even better if this could be more conveniently attributed to the persecution of some ‘martyrs’ by the accursed Hindus. Otherwise, they might have to be apologetically and sheepishly placed in Dante’s Limbo, already bursting at the seams with other virtuous Pagans of Greco-Roman provenance.

The Hindu reader, clueless as a rule, might protest that even if some sections of Hindu society were to furnish such martyrs, he heartily abominates and abhors the offending sections. Surely that would still not justify condemning all of Hindu society?  But then, the Christian god was never exactly sugar and spice (symbolizing the female aspect of humanity, be it noted) and, to his eternal credit, never claimed to be so. In fact, he’s downright careless when he is not being callous, something Mark Twain astutely pointed out in extenso:

“…They had offended the Deity in some way. We know what the offense was, without looking; that is to say, we know it was a trifle; some small thing that no one but a god would attach any importance to.  It is more than likely that a Midianite had been duplicating the conduct of one Onan, who was commanded to ‘go into his brother’s wife’—which he did; but instead of finishing, ‘he spilled it on the ground.’ The Lord slew Onan for that, for the lord could never abide indelicacy.  The Lord slew Onan, and to this day the Christian world cannot understand why he stopped with Onan, instead of slaying all the inhabitants for three hundred miles around—they being innocent of offense, and therefore the very ones he would usually slay.  For that had always been his idea of fair dealing. If he had had a motto, it would have read, ‘Let no innocent person escape.'”[2]

So, it should not come as a surprise that, after the initial excitement and salivation over the prospect of a fresh crop of martyrs, potentially more ‘saints,’ those who spat venom at Hindu society (see for comparison Matt. 22.33)[3] have implemented the second half of their famous time-tested strategy once the truth came out—and ran.

Pope FrancisFishing for men and the heretics

It is not for nothing that Jesus claimed that he would make of his first apostles ‘fishers of men’ (Matt. 4.18-19).[4] It presents the kernel of the ‘great commission’ that the generic Christian Church, ranging from that of the snake handlers of the Appalachia to that of the self-crucifying Filipinos, and including the overdressed and pretentious pontiff of Rome en route, sincerely believes. Hindus may find this surprising, but the great commission includes making good Protestant evangelicals of idolatrous Catholics, and good Catholics of renegade Protestants as well.[5]  As an instructive old joke goes:

The Heretic

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said, “Stop! Don’t do it!” “Why shouldn’t I?” he said. I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!” He said, “Like what?” I said, “Well, are you religious or atheist?” He said, “Religious.” I said, “Me too! Are your Christian or Buddhist?” He said, “Christian.” I said, “Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, Me too! Are your Episcopalian or Baptist? He said, “Baptist!” I said, “Wow! Me too! Are your Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord? He said, Baptist Church of God!” I said, “Me too! Are you Original Baptist Church of God or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?” He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God!” I said, “Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?” He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915!” I said, “Die, heretic scum!” and pushed him off.[6]

So, regardless of all the genuflecting and crawling Hindus indulge in before Christian godmen in ‘interfaith conventions,’ hoping to get a modicum of approval or sympathy from them, nothing is going to materialize. Rather, it is high time Hindus realized that they are regarded with polite amusement at best, or held in outright contempt at worst, when making such abject spectacles of themselves. Rather, Hindus should merely adhere to the principle of ensuring a thorough investigation of every crime and breach of public order in any form, and demand that the offender(s) be brought to to justice in a timely manner. Along the course, they should not neglect to ‘cut, paste Ned Kellyand preserve’ the calumny of the Church against Hindu society whenever it is in evidence. Perhaps IndiaFacts could initiate a ‘Catalogue of Ecclesiastical Calumniation,’ but not without first taking the precaution of allocating sufficient digital memory to the project.

Blame it on the Kellys

The time-tested policy of Christianity is to blame the Pagans for everything that goes wrong.  The song “Blame it on the Kellys” written by Shel Silverstein and first performed by Waylon Jennings, admirably summarizes the Christian strategy, though it has nothing to do with Christianity per se.  The song itself is about the Australian outlaw (‘bushranger’) Ned Kelly, who is something of a folk hero in Australia, so much so that every crime is humorously laid at his gang’s door.

(You can listen to the song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtSKntQ0ir4)

Someone stole old Banyon’s pig. Blame it on the Kellys!
Pinched my cart and horse and rig. Blame it on the Kellys!
Someone robbed the Sydney mail, sacked the jailer and put him in jail,
and if the potato crop should fail—they’ll blame it on the Kellys.
Blame it on the Kelly boys, blame it on the Kellys,
shame, shame upon the name, blame it on—the Kellys.

If anybody steals a horse, blame it on the Kellys!
Anybody breaks the law, blame it on the Kellys!
If anyone does something new, or does what you would like to do,
and if the troopers don’t know who—they’ll blame it on the Kellys.
Blame it on the Kelly boys, blame it on the Kellys,
shame, shame upon the name, blame it on—the Kellys.

They’re posted up on every wall. Blame it on the Kellys!
There’s no crime too great or small, to blame it on the Kellys!
They killed a thousand so they tell,
you know they’re bound to burn in hell,
I think I’ll steal a horse myself—and blame it on the Kellys.
Blame it on the Kelly boys, blame it on the Kellys,
shame, shame upon the name, blame it on—the Kellys.

Someone killed old Jim Divine. Blame it on the Kellys!
Was a dark and deadly crime.  Blame it on the Kellys!
Someone killed old Jim Divine, we don’t know the place or time,
but the poor old boy was a hundred and nine—
Oh, blame it on the Kellys !

Blame it on the Kelly boys, blame it on the Kellys,
shame, shame upon the name, blame it on—the Kellys.

Blaming the Pagan Hindu, be it noted, is in deadly earnest, not in jest. As the chief Catholic godman the late John Paul II proclaimed in 1957:

“…just as in the first millennium the Cross was planted on the soil of Europe, and in the second on that of the Americas and Africa, we can pray that in the Third Christian Millennium a great harvest of faith will be reaped in this vast and vital continent”

JesusIn other words, the Pagan Hindus are destined for the same fate as their European and American Pagan brethren in earlier millennia.  Thus, bearing false witness against the hated Polytheists, Idolators, Pagans, Heathens et al is merely one of the means of bearing ‘witness to the truth’ as Christian doctrine would have it.  The only unforgivable sin, as per Christian doctrine, is the ‘original sin’ of Adam, transmitted down generations much as a debilitating parasite might.  It is ‘cured’ only by an acceptance of Jesus’ crucifixion as a blood sacrifice to atone for this ‘sin’ for all time to come.  For all else, like child-abuse for instance, there are always the expedients of absolution and indulgence devised by the ingenious and inventive Church.

After all, when the end of the world is at hand and the second coming of the godman Jesus is practically around the corner, a few well-placed lies cloaked with crafty dissimulation and obfuscated with egregious half-truths are indispensable to the success of the ‘Great Commission.’

Notes and references

  1. Tertullian, The Apology, Chapter 50.
  2. Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth, Letter X.
  3. Jesus abuses the Pharisees – “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”  No sign of showing either cheek there, what to speak of the other one!
  4. “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.  And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.”
  5. “Pope warns against ‘wolves’ of Protestants Evangelicals’ rise in Latin America viewed as divisive.”  The Pope’s (John Paul II) pronouncements deserve to be read in full by all Hindus who have a weakness for anything in flowing robes.  They should note especially the allusion to ‘shepherd’ and ‘flock’ which is an accurate enough description of matters as they stand. (http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1992-10-13/news/1992287130_1_new-evangelism-evangelical-churches-roman-catholic-church)
  6. See http://www.nobeliefs.com/jokes.htm
  7. John Paul II, Address to the Sixth Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), Manila (15 January 1995). [Insegnamenti XVIII, 1 (1995), 159].

The straitjacket of Islamism – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

Ravi Shanker Kapoor“Would Indian Muslims like the Shariat to be imposed in toto? Would they like Muslim criminals to be given the punishments as per the Islamic law, like the chopping of limbs and beheading? Seems unlikely, otherwise they would have been clamoring for that as well. Therefore, it turns out that the entire hullabaloo for the sanctity of Shariat and personal laws is bogus; it is an agenda of convenience. What the ulema means is that Shariat can be changed not in consonance with the spirit of the Indian Constitution but according to their whims and fancies.” – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

Muslim women in MumbaiWhen the Bharatiya Janata Party is in the Opposition, it bemoans about Muslim appeasement, the clout of mullahs, and so on. However, when in power, it doesn’t bother about the nefarious activities of Islamists. The recent outrage is a fatwa against a survey which found that two out of five Muslim women want a change in the Shariat law, almost one-third demand the right to divorce, and 80 per cent favor equal rights in property as men. It is conspicuous that the BJP has not reacted to the disgraceful attempt to assail academic freedom and silence the voice of women.

Ala-HazratThe Sunni Barelvi Markaz of Dargah Ala Hazrat has passed a fatwa decrying the findings of a survey by a research student of the law department at Mahatma Jyotiba Phule (MJP) Rohilkhand University on Muslim women’s views on marriage, divorce, iddat (the fixed time period after divorce or death of husband), and maintenance allowance, reports The Times Of India (April 11). The survey, ‘Status of Muslim women and protective laws in socio-legal system,’ was conducted by Shumaila Anjum, a research scholar of MJP Rohilkhand University. She spoke to 100 women belonging to different sections of society in the Rohilkhand region. Condemning the survey, the muftis of Dargah Ala Hazrat said, “Shariat law cannot be changed and no one has right to demand amendment in it.”

Needless to say, this is bunkum. Any law, sanctioned by any religion, can be and should be changed if the situation demands so. The Constitution of India and criminal and civil laws of India are not the photocopies of Dharmashastras; the Christian canon is not the law in the West. Even in the case of Muslims, they can and do live in the countries like the UK, the US, and Australia which do not accept Shariat in any form. So, why can’t they discard Shariat and embrace the uniform civil code in India?

Dr Subramanian SwamyFurther, as Subramanian Swamy once pointed out, would Indian Muslims like the Shariat to be imposed in toto? Would they like Muslim criminals to be given the punishments as per the Islamic law, like the chopping of limbs and beheading? Seems unlikely, otherwise they would have been clamoring for that as well. Therefore, it turns out that the entire hullabaloo for the sanctity of Shariat and personal laws is bogus; it is an agenda of convenience. What the ulema means is that Shariat can be changed not in consonance with the spirit of the Indian Constitution but according to their whims and fancies.

Muslim fundamentalists are not just trying to perpetuate the medieval laws but also introduce Islamist practices like Shariat-compliant financial instruments. A Shariah-compliant equity mutual fund proposed by State Bank of India (SBI) is a case in point. The fact that it was conceived in December last year—that is, when the BJP was in power—proves that the ruling party’s stand against Muslim appeasement is just empty rhetoric. The fund was withdrawn because of the prodding of—who else but—Swamy. He wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged him to restrain the country’s biggest bank from starting the financial instrument.

Raghuram RajanIn a newspaper interview in October 2012, Swamy had warned against Islamic finance: “Since such organizations will encourage only Muslim customers, the international Muslim organizations [may] want to use this as a tool to encourage people to convert to Islam.”

The dropping of SBI’s Shariat-compliant fund should not be seen as the end of Islamic finance in India. We must remember that Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan favors Islamic banking, despite the fact that his predecessor D. Subbarao had rejected the idea. In a nutshell, the forces of Muslim fundamentalism are active in various walks of life. They want the community to remain straitjacketed in Islamism. And the BJP is not interested in breaking the straitjacket. – IndiaFacts, 15 April, 2015

» Ravi Shanker Kapoor is a journalist and author. He upholds freedom of expression, individual liberty, free market, and open society. He is an uncompromising opponent of Islamism, communism, and other totalitarian ideologies. He is also a critic of intellectuals, as evident from his third book, How India’s Intellectuals Spread Lies (Vision Books).

Sensational is not sensitive – Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar Etteth“Last month, as actress Meryl Streep lit candles at the premier of Leslee Udwin’s film in New York, another film on the gang-rape, Daughters of Mother India directed by another woman, Vibha Bakshi, won the National Award for the best film on social issues. … Bakshi defines the difference between Udwin’s film and hers as one that sensitises audiences to crimes against women as opposed to the BBC documentary that sensationalises the issue.” – Ravi Shankar

Vibha BakshiHypocrisy is the mainstay of civilisation. Without it, man cannot move forward, or else his consciousness will be stranded in the mudslide of evil and prejudice, which has many faces. Sometimes hypocrisy also manifests itself as political correctness—good intentions unappreciated by another culture, which it seeks to change in its own form. Such is the case of America and India’s Daughter, the BBC documentary on the December 16 Delhi Gang-rape. The ban comes up for review in the Delhi High Court on April 15. To see or not to see is not the question, but to be shown or not to be shown is the quandary.

Daughters of Mother IndiaLast month, as actress Meryl Streep lit candles at the premier of Leslee Udwin’s film in New York, another film on the gang-rape, Daughters of Mother India directed by another woman, Vibha Bakshi, won the National Award for the best film on social issues. The I&B ministry called it “explicitly and determinedly turning the spotlight on the burning issue of rape in the country and the brutal mentality that drives it”. Bakshi defines the difference between Udwin’s film and hers as one that sensitises audiences to crimes against women as opposed to the BBC documentary that sensationalises the issue.

Perhaps sensationalism is the cliché that rules showbiz. The West, particularly America, has always used sensational techniques to glorify itself as well as shock people through art and cinema—from American Sniper to Madonna’s topless protest against Instagram. India’s Daughter obviously can’t be a chick flick even if Hollywood tried. At home, however, no Bollywood film will sell sans masala and sensationalism—not even part-nouveau films like Aamir Khan’s PK or Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider. Both got a liberal dose of Right wing rage, with saffron outfits calling for bans. Now that the BJP government is ruling at the Centre, it is a sitting duck for socially correct dung missiles, because the radical right is supposed to be against sex and women’s liberation.

Stop the War on WomenLast week, Purvi Patel, a 33-year-old woman living in her parent’s house, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for having an illegal abortion, induced by pills bought on the Internet.  In another case, a woman gave birth to twins, of which one was stillborn. She was arrested and charged with criminal homicide, because she had delayed a cesarean operation cited as the cause of the stillbirth. Meanwhile, a court ordered a seriously ill pregnant woman to go in for a cesarean, disregarding her pleas. Both mother and child died. A woman was jailed to prevent her from having an abortion. A mother was detained for not performing a diabetes test during pregnancy. A woman who miscarried spent a year in jail for murder. Even more absurd was the case of a woman who wanted the services of a midwife, which her doctor objected to, and the court took the foetus under protective custody. She was arrested. The most notorious case for abortion rights was in 2011, when a woman was arrested and imprisoned for 435 days for murder because she had tried to kill herself while pregnant.

Pakistan? Afghanistan? Syria? Kurdistan? Saudi Arabia? India? Nah. All this happened in the citadel of freedom and equality, the United States of America. The first case mentioned here was in Indiana, the next in Utah, the third in Washington DC, then Ohio, followed by Oregon and Louisiana.

As a society gets wealthier, science moves from e=mc2 to entertainment. Art becomes auction fodder and fashion becomes a necessity than a luxury. This gives rise to a class of lazy liberals who are sanitised by their privileged positions. Away from their ozone-friendly, gated existence is a world full of savagery and ancient prejudices, even in modern Western societies. A cultural safari into these regions on which the lights don’t shine will either turn them into champions of self-defence or true sensitisers against discrimination. – The New Indian Express, 12 April 2015

Purvi Patel is led out of the courtroom in handcuffs after being found guilty of felony neglect and feticide on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, inside the St. Joseph County Courthouse in South Bend.

The claim of a “Greater China” is fanciful Chinese self-aggrandisement – Mohan Guruswamy

Mohan Guruswamy“The point of this narration is to bring home the fact that India’s claim over Arunachal Pradesh doesn’t rest on any great historical tradition or cultural affinity. We are there because the British went there. But then the Chinese have no basis whatsoever to stake a claim, besides a few dreamy cartographic enlargements of the notion of China among some of the hangers-on in the Qing emperor’s court. The important thing now is that we have been there for over a hundred years and that should settle the issue.” – Mohan Guruswamy

Modi & XiPrime Minister Narendra Modi will soon be in Beijing following up on the Chumar incident blighted visit by Chinese’s President Xi Jinping. Meanwhile, the Chinese seem to be either testing the waters or ratcheting up the dispute over control of either the whole of Arunachal Pradesh or part of it. They have made a string of pronouncements on the subject, including strongly protesting the recent visit to Itanagar by the Indian Prime Minister.

The Chinese have based their specific claim on the territory on the premise that Tawang was administered from Lhasa, and the contiguous areas owed allegiance to the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal ruler of Tibet. Then the Chinese must also consider this. Sikkim, till well into the 19th century, was a vassal of Tibet and Darjeeling was forcibly taken from it by the British! By extending this logic could they realistically stake a claim for Sikkim and Darjeeling? Of course not. It would be preposterous. History has moved on. The times have changed. For the 21st century to be stable our borders must be stable, whatever be our yearnings.

At the crux of this issue is the larger question of the national identities of the two nations and when and how they evolved. The Imperial India of the Mughals spanned from Afghanistan to Bengal but did not go very much below the Godavari in the South. The Imperial India of the British incorporated all of today’s India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It was the British who, for the first time, brought Assam under Imperial India in 1826, when they defeated Burma and formalised the annexation with the Treaty of Yandabo.

It was only in 1886 that the British first forayed out of the Brahmaputra Valley when they sent out a punitive expedition into the Lohit Valley in pursuit of marauding tribesmen who began raiding the new tea gardens. Apparently, the area was neither under Chinese or Tibetan control for there were no protests either from the Dalai Lama or the Chinese Amban in Lhasa.

The next important year was 1913, when the Tibetans declared independence after the collapse of the Qing dynasty and the establishment of a Republic in China under Sun Yat Sen. They attacked and drove the Chinese garrisons in Tibet into India over the Nathu La. Also, in 1913, the British convened the Simla Conference to demarcate the India-Tibet border. The British proposed the 1914 McMahon Line, as we know it. The Thubten Gyatso the 13th Dalai LamaTibetans accepted it. The Chinese Amban however initialed the agreement under protest. But his protest seemed mostly about the British negotiating directly with Tibet as a sovereign state and not over the McMahon Line as such.

Things moved on then. In 1935, at the insistence of Sir Olaf Caroe ICS, then deputy secretary in the foreign department, the McMahon Line was notified. In 1944, J.P. Mills, ICS, established British Indian administration in North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), but excluding Tawang which continued to be administered by the Lhasa appointed head lama at Tawang despite the fact that it lay well below the McMahon Line. This was largely because Henry Twynam, the Governor of Assam lost his nerve and did not want to provoke the Tibetans. In 1947, the Dalai Lama wrote to the newly independent India laying claim to some of the areas around Tawang. The Chinese delight in reminding us of this.

On October 7, 1950, the Chinese attacked the Tibetans at seven places on their frontier and made known their intention of reasserting control over all of Tibet. As if in response on February 16, 1951 Major Relangnao ‘Bob’ Khating of the IFAS raised the Indian tricolor in Tawang and took over the administration of the tract. The point of this narration is to bring home the fact that India’s claim over Arunachal Pradesh doesn’t rest on any great historical tradition or cultural affinity. We are there because the British went there. But then the Chinese have no basis whatsoever to stake a claim, besides a few dreamy cartographic enlargements of the notion of China among some of the hangers-on in the Qing emperor’s court. The important thing now is that we have been there for over a hundred years and that should settle the issue.

Arunachal Pradesh has a very interesting population mix. Only less than 10 per cent of its population is Tibetan. Indo-Mongoloid tribes account for 68 per cent of the population. The rest are migrants from Nagaland and Assam. As far as religious affinities go Hindus are the biggest group with 37 per cent, followed by 36 per cent animists, 13 per cent Buddhists. Recent census figures suggest a spurt in Christianity, possibly induced by pocketbook proselytising. In all, there are 21 major tribal groups and over 100 ethnically distinct sub-groupings, speaking over 50 distinct languages and dialects. The population of about a million is spread out over 17 towns and 3,649 villages. With the exception of a few villages of Monpas, who live north of the McMahon Line, it is an ethnically compact and contiguous area. In fact, in future boundary negotiations India could make a case for inclusion of the few Monpa villages left behind north of the McMahon Line.

It is true that historically Imperial India never had a direct border with Tibet till the British took Kumaon and Garhwal from Nepal in 1846, and extended its domain over Arunachal in 1886. On the other hand, the formidable Himalayas were always culturally and traditionally a part of India and formed a natural barrier against ingress from the north, whether Tibetan or Chinese. The Himalayas may no longer be the barrier they once were. As China and India emerge as the world’s great economies and powers, can India possibly allow China a strategic trans-Himalayan space just a few miles from the plains?

Prof Ge JianxiongThe view from the Chinese side about what exactly constitutes China is no less confused. Apparently like the British, the Manchu’s who ruled China from the 17th to the early 20th century had a policy of staking claim to the lands that lay ahead of their frontiers in order to provide themselves with military buffers. In a recent article in the China Review magazine, Professor Ge Jianxiong, director of the Institute of Chinese Historical Geography at Fudan University in Shanghai writes: “to claim that Tibet has always been a part of China since the Tang dynasty; the fact that the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau subsequently became a part of the Chinese dynasties does not substantiate such a claim.”

Prof. Ge also notes that prior to 1912 when the Republic of China was established, the idea of China was not clearly conceptualised. Even during the late Qing period (Manchu) the term China would on occasion refer to the Qing state including all the territory that fell within the boundaries of the Qing Empire. At other times it would be taken to refer to only the 18 interior provinces excluding Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, Tibet and Sinkiang.

Prof. Ge further adds that the notions of “Greater China” were based entirely on the “one-sided views of Qing court records that were written for the courts self-aggrandisement.” Prof. Ge criticises those who feel that the more they exaggerate the territory of historical China the more “patriotic” they are. The mandarins in Beijing would do well to take heed to Prof. Ge’s advice: “If China really wishes to rise peacefully and be on solid footing in the future, we must understand the sum of our history and learn from our experiences.” It makes equally good sense to us. – Asian Age, 13 April 2015

» Mohan Guruswamy has held senior positions in government and industry, and is a policy analyst studying economic and security issues. He also specialises in the Chinese economy.

India-China Border

The politics of conversion and reconversion – C. I. Issac

Prof C. I. Issac“R.C. Majumdar observes that the purpose of shuddhi was national in character: ‘to realize the ideal of unifying India nationally, socially and religiously’ (An Advanced History of India, p 878). Since the fall of the Rajputs in the Second Battle of Tarain, Muslim dogmatists brutally and ferociously converted Hindus to Islam. The Muslim population of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are the ‘lost sheep’ of Hindu dharma. From the 16th century onwards, Christians have been in action, carving out sizeable numbers to their fold by using fourfold tactics (chatur-upayam). In this situation, a proud Hindu could not remain a silent onlooker.” – Prof I.C. Issac

Prof Arnold ToynbeeArticle 25 of the Indian Constitution guarantees its citizen the right to practice and propagate their religion. It doesn’t mean total destruction of the other man’s religion or non-hierarchical unorganized religions. This right is not conferred only to a particular religion; it is applicable irrespective of all religions and religious practices of India. It is not a constitutional provision for one-way traffic or a non-return valve. 

In no way with this article did the founding fathers think of any sort of conversion. Their intention was the healthy coexistence of all cultures and religious groups. Conversion by brainwashing, coercion, allurement, incentives, etc. is cruel in cultural terms. So it doesn’t come under the purview of Article 25. Such subversive practices seem just under the law of the wild, that is, might is right, or matsya nyaya (law of the fishes). 

The architects of our Constitution were well aware of the fact that the death of a religion is the death of a particular culture or sub-culture or a civilization associated with that religion. As observed by Arnold J Toynbee, every civilization has a universal Church (religion). Hence, religion and human civilization have an umbilical link. Each civilization, whether small or large or extra-large, has its own knowledge system. For instance, today our alleged socialized social orders are pursuing the pharmaceuticals of our tribal social orders. These have a substantial, objective, and observationally demonstrated information framework, obtained through generations. We, as an enlightened society, are bound to secure all societies and their commitments. 

With the death of the Inca, Maya, ancient Greek or Roman civilizations, mankind lost an immense knowledge system. The technology behind the ‘Golden Raft’ of the Mexicans was buried along with their en masse conversion to European religions. The above mentioned lost civilizations had their own religious practices. They were naturally evolved religions, that is, they had no founders. So they never discussed the spread of their religious frontiers. Almost all these civilizations died of the wild and brutal interference of founder-oriented religions. 

 Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar KhiljiThey indiscriminately destroyed whatever they found in their targeted (prey) societies or religions which they found indigestible. In India, Muhammad Bin Bakhtiyar Khilji burned the library of Nalanda University on the ground that the contents of the books there were not in conformity with the message of his religious books and founder of his faith. The destruction of Nalanda is not the loss of Hindus; it is a loss to mankind. 

The above narrative is essential in the context of recent deliberations over ghar vapsi. Certain media and Church circles contend that this movement began only after 26 May 2014. But this is not a new movement begun by the ever-shrinking Hindu society. It was started as the shuddhi movement in the 19th century by Arya Samaj leader, Swami Dayananda Saraswati. 

R.C. MajumdarSwami Dayananda Saraswati observes that the purpose of shuddhi was national in character: “to realize the ideal of unifying India nationally, socially and religiously” (An Advanced History of India, p 878). Since the fall of the Rajputs in the Second Battle of Tarain, Muslim dogmatists brutally and ferociously converted Hindus to Islam. The Muslim population of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are the ‘lost sheep’ of Hindu dharma. From the 16th century onwards, Christians have been in action, carving out sizeable numbers to their fold by using fourfold tactics (chatur-upayam). In this situation, a proud Hindu could not remain a silent onlooker. That is why Swami Dayananda Saraswati took the lead and the tempo continues Swami Shraddhanandunobtrusively. After the 1921 Moplah riot of Malabar, the British Indian Government issued license to Arya Samaj to reconvert those forced to abdicate Hindu Dharma and willing to return to their poorva-dharma. The status of this license is still in force. Since then, thousands have returned to their original faith. Every State’s gazettes since 1947 will prove the tempo of ghar vapsi in the Republic of India. 

Attacks on places of worships are not a new incident in either, and are due to varied reasons, such as local issues, personal vengeance. We may cite some attacks on churches prior to April 2014. The Catholic church at Kuddu, Lohardaga district, Jarkhand, was ransacked and the priest injured in the last week of August 2004. The church complex is hardly a kilometer from Kuddu police station, but no arrests have been made so far. It was the second attack in three months, the previous one being June 9 the same year, when the UPA was in power. 

In Orissa, a Catholic church was attacked by 300 persons, its idols and holy costumes destroyed and altar burned. The Prime Minister then was Dr. Manmohan Singh (Malayala Manorama, Kottayam, August 28, 2004). On 29 August 2004, Fr. Job Chittilappally (71), Vicar of St. Varaprasada Matha Church, Thurithiparambu near Chalakudi in Kerala, was found dead with stab injuries (The Hindu, Kochi). Dr Singh was the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister was A.K. Anthony; he resigned the same day. 

In all these incidents, the Church hierarchies found no fault with the government. Then we have the mysterious deaths within the four walls of convents in India, which meet with mysterious silence…. 

Sarvepalli RadhakrishnanThe psychology of the Church is religious and political. They want a halo of martyrdom because martyrs and saints are fuel for the gargantuan engines of the Church (like jihadis for Islam) without which it cannot sustain. As Dr S. Radhakrishnan observed, “The intolerance of narrow monotheism is written in letters of blood across the history of mankind from the time when first the tribes of Israel burst into the land of Canaan. The worshippers of the one Jealous God are egged on to aggressive wars against people of alien cults.They invoke Divine Sanction for the cruelties inflicted on the conquered. The spirit of old Israel is inherited by Christianity and Islam. Wars of Religion which are the outcome of fanaticism that prompts and justifies the extermination of aliens of different creeds are particularly unknown in Hindu India”. (The Hindu View of Life, 1927, Oxford University, p 55) 

This aspect was visible during the third and last phase of campaigning for the Delhi Assembly poll earlier this year, when a small demonstration of Christians received disproportionate publicity as a signal to all members of the community to vote against the Bharatiya Janata Party. Since then, the religious and secular leaders of various Christian denominations have successfully put the community at the centre of an anti-BJP fledgling movement, the full dimensions and objectives of which are yet to unravel. – Vijayvaani, 9 April 2015

» Prof I. C. Issac is a retired professor of history and vice-president of the Bhartheeya Vichara Kendram, Trivandrum. 

Kanchi Acharya Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal and VHP's Ashok Singhal

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