Evangelism and Hindu reaction

An interim glimpse of the Justice Somasekhara Commission whose mandate it was to look into the causes for and examine the acts of the various attacks on Churches and other Christian places of worship in Karnataka; has generated quite a spawn in terms of interviews, confessions, reports and opinion.  

In my opinion over intellectualizing the Hindu view in the manner of strenuously articulating a “defense against the Christian argument” is futile and has mostly proved to be fruitless. The reason for my saying so has been that no Church leader has really respected our stance with corresponding changes in behavior.

The argument for the right to Christian evangelism in Hindu society tramples upon the Hindu’s right to live in their traditions. This Hindu argument against evangelism is countered by accusing the Hindu of denying his traditions to some of his less fortunate brethren thereby denying “their right to freedom of religion”. The Christian claims to fill this void with his evangelism, his “right to propagate religion” amongst these less fortunate. Shortly, the Christian Church claims the right to fish in our troubled waters.

Liberals amongst Hindus buy into this argument of the Church and nudge Hindu protesters and ask them to “emulate the good that they(Christian missionaries) are doing”. These liberals on other good days berate politically conscious Hindus of “semitizing Hinduism by projecting attitudes and behaviors of the religions they fight against”. This is  plain and simple double-speak because the primary objective and God mandated mission of the Church is to evangelize – its various “services” are but important propellants it needs to move forward on its mission. The only way Hindu society can “emulate the good that they are doing” is by creating a similar evangelistic mission for itself. Such a thing is impossible unless of course Hindus “semitize” their religion.

The Church says salvation lies in accepting Jesus, the only begotten Son of God. The best Hindus can manage is to say salvation lies in the lights of each seeker. These seekers create many paths, some tried and trusted and some, quite novel to the seeker. Furthermore many Hindus may not seek at all but only behave well in society’s and their own interests. It is indeed difficult to see how such a society of Hindus can be semiticized let alone create the “service” props comparable to what the Church can command.

It is very doubtful that the Church’s methods can bring cheer to Hindu society’s less fortunate. If this was really the case and given Hindu society’s problems, Christian numbers would not have remained at current %ages. However, this creates a forensic dilemma (a veritable murder without a body) for Hindus who allege rampant evangelisation, a prime cause for the attacks on Churches. The Church points to this static growth and insists there is no “unethical” evangelism. Obviously it cannot claim against its grain that there is no evangelism. I’d wager that this puzzle will unravel only when reservations are announced for such sections as “Dalit” Christians.

It is difficult not to believe that Christian evangelism’s driving fuel is its financial clout only. It is this financial clout that greases its “service” props, otherwise called “commitment to serve humanity” required to drive its declared mission amongst the heathens. For the liberals amongst Hindus to push for such copy-cat behavior by concerned Hindu society; is akin to bringing upon ourselves a disaster. No two evangelising societies can live in peace within the same territory.

The Hindus are restless. They want to stop this evangelising machine but are ill-equipped to do it. Given their society’s framework and structure, they would not be able to build a comparable machine even if they could muster similar financial clout. For all this talk about “semitization of Hinduism”, they cannot even collectively stick with one God or Goddess long enough to make a difference. But these are Hindu society’s strengths; not weaknesses. The rush of evangelistic flood waters scatter and lose their destructive force when confronted with the compartments of Hindu social structures; its Jatis and Janajatis. Yes, some compartments will collapse and receive evangelistic ocean waters on impact but most others will remain impregnable. The Church cannot win unless it seeks out traitors who will open the doors of each compartment. In practical terms, this would mean the collapse of Hindu society’s middle classes, its “new elite” in the face of the charms of the Church.

Traditionally, Hindu States governing non-evangelizing Hindu societies have concerned themselves only with maintaining righteous Dharmic order. The Hindu State has never pushed a self-chosen theology down unwilling throats expect perhaps during its Ashokan phase. Diverse Hindu society which has never been short of its religious seekers and teachers has rarely clashed and physically fought over self-righteous dogma; let alone annihilated entire peoples in its holy missions. Hindu society has also by and large never gotten used to transgressions as instigated by the Church’s mission. However we know that any live organism will fight back to defend itself against alien and foreign behaviors. Hindu society being such a live organism seems to have chosen to bite and defend itself in its own way only because the State failed in its traditional duty to honor and defend righteous Dharmic order.

The case is not against lay Christians but the Adharma of the Church in its pursuit of an unholy mission of evangelism through financial allure couched in wishful theology. The case is against the dishonesty of the Christian Church that seeks to hide its sharpened dagger behind noble robes of service. The case is also against all such lay Christians who knowingly refuse to bring to bear their inherent decencies against the dangerous and unwinnable politics of Christian evangelism. The case is against those liberal Hindu elite who in their utter callousness play fast and loose with Hindu society’s concerns little realizing that Hindu society is already in search of a new elite that can know its mind and speak its language.

Hindu society without a Hindu State to represent it, will remain defensive and reactionary. This society is too large, too diverse and too widespread to be overcome by crusading missions of the Only God(s). In the meanwhile the crusading missions are being unravelled in their own games and their self-inflicted failures and disasters are becoming clearer to the people. Let us remember that the Church is actually fighting a two front war. One defensive front against such of its sheep that have grown brains, the other, offensive, in search of new unsuspecting flock. On the other hand Hindu society’s battles are waged on one front only. A defensive and reactionary front against the transgressions of its enemies. Our society is handicapped by the lack of its traditional State. But once it acquires such a State, it can only win the war.

The question is, how will such a Hindu State take form? Whilst perusing the Commission’s interim notes, one can find glimpses of such Hindu traits in its recommendations to the Government. However, I remain doubtful about their overall worth for the benefit of Hindu society. A later blog will try to analyze this matter.

– Namaste

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4 Responses

  1. […] … Dominus Jesus, the major Vatican document released… by Cardinal Ratzinger… called other world religions “gravely deficient,” denied that other religions can offer salvation independent of Christianity, and said non-Catholic Christian churches have “defects” and are not “churches” at all in the proper sense. An interim glimpse of the Justice Somasekhara Commission whose mandate it was to look into the causes for and examine the acts of the various attacks on Churches and other Christian places of worship in Karnataka; has generated quite a spawn in terms of interviews, confessions, reports and opinion.   In my opinion over intellectualizing the Hindu view in the manner of strenuously articulating a "defense against the Christian argument" is futile a … Read More […]

  2. It seems to me that a more pressing problem confronting India and Hindu society is that of wrenching poverty. Almost half of our population lives below the poverty line. Eighty percent of our people struggle to survive each day on less than two dollars. Nearly half of our children suffer from malnutrition. This should be the immediate problem to confront before a Hindu state can be formed. What’s the use of such a state if its people aren’t cared for?

  3. Vikram, whilst I agree with you on the issues that face Hindu society, I don’t see why you think the recognition of the need for a Hindu State is somehow less relevant as a positive factor in addressing the self same issues.

  4. If there is an immediate cause that deserves our focus and requires us to organize, it’s the upliftment of the burdensome lives of most of our brethren. We have to confront the fact that the vast majority of our people are toiling to endure overwhelming poverty. Mired in this impoverished state, how much value can they see in a far-off, idealized Hindu state? Their lives are centered around the struggle for survival. They’re looking for something that will help them in that endeavor in a substantive and immediate manner. Instead of wasting political and organizational capital on contentious but irrelevant (in terms of their impact on the daily struggles of Hindus) issues like Ayodhya, we need to put forward, and focus singlemindedly in that effort, practical policy measures to better their lives.

    To expand on the example of Ayodhya, you had 150,000 people mobilize and take action to address historical grievances and millions more vociferously supporting their cause. An issue like that pales into nothingness in comparison to the suffering faced by Dalits and other lower castes at the hands of people claiming to be their fellow Hindus.

    Why don’t we see a similar outcry and protests of that magnitude with regard to this issue? How can we make the case for a Hindu state to our oppressed brethren when we can’t even provide them with their fundamental rights within our community? How can we expect them to believe in the ideals of such a state when we can’t ensure that their basic rights as our brothers in faith, their right to enter their own temples, their right to practice their own faith and be treated as equal and fellow human beings, are protected right here and now?

    There is no matter as important and pressing to Hindus as the need for empowering the lower castes and to eradicate the hierarchical structure that elevates the few to the detriment of the many. I’ve encountered well-meaning individuals who share this concern, but there is nothing even close to a concerted and large-scale effort among Hindus to fight for this cause.

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