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Christianity in India the Hindutva Perspective

Christianity in India the Hindutva Perspective

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Vishwa Hindu Parishad - India
Vishwa Hindu Parishad - India

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Published by: vhpsampark.org on Jan 24, 2010
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Hansel does admit that a large number of Christians suffer from cultural alienation. He
also says that ‘Hindu students from an Urban English medium school’ suffer from the same
defect. He brings in the question of De Nobili’s plan of inculturation and that ‘a certain section
of Indian society felt perfectly at home with professing the Christian faith while retaining their
indigenous culture’. He says that ‘the solution once again boils down to coexistence’ and that
‘the answer to (those who suspect Christian’s commitment to Indian nationalism) is that the
contribution of Indian Christians to the nation’s development is disproportionate to their

Hansel identifies the schools causing the alienation as English medium schools, and not
as missionary schools. In one of our meetings, he had proudly said that 80% of all the schools
are run by missionaries. I had corrected him that it was 80% of the English medium schools at
best. Is hiding the missionary management yet another attempt at negation, Hansel?

The cultural alienation comes about due to the distorted way history is taught to our
Children. The source of this distortion is the calumny that has been heaped on Hinduism by the
missionaries, and those with a missionary zeal. It all starts with the so-called Aryan invasion
theory, which is supposed to have laid the foundation of Brahmanism and the ‘evil’ caste
system. Much before the calumny plan was put into effect this is what Abbe Dubois, who came
to India for the purpose of proselytisation, wrote,: “I have heard some persons, sensible in
other respects, but imbued with all the prejudices that they have brought with them from
Europe, pronounce what appears to me an altogether erroneous judgment in the matter of caste
divisions among the Hindus. In their opinion, caste is not only useless to the body politic, it is
also ridiculous, and even calculated to bring trouble and disorder on the people. For my part,
having lived many years on friendly terms with the Hindus, I have been able to study their
national life and character closely, and I have arrived at a quite opposite decision on this
subject of caste. I believe caste division to be in many respects the chef-d’ oeuver, the happiest
effort of Hindu legislation. I am persuaded that it is simply and solely due to the distribution of

the people into castes that India did not lapse into a state of barbarism, and that she preserved
and perfected the arts and sciences of civilisation whilst most other nations of the earth
remained in a state of barbarism. I do not consider caste to be free from many great drawbacks;
but I believe that the resulting advantages, in the case of a nation constituted like the Hindus,
more than outweigh the resulting evils.” (Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies, Rupa &
Co., pp 30-31.).

For missionary activity to succeed, it is obvious that the caste system must be presented
as utterly and completely evil. Similarly, for the same success, the past of the people who are
sought to be converted has to be negated. In the North-East, the people are taught that their
forefathers were head hunters. That this perverted history still continues to be taught is one of
the greatest calumny on Hinduism - and for this the blame lies not only with the missionaries,
but also those who are supposed to decide how history is to be taught.

As regards De Nobili, Shri Hansel is unable to tell what his real objectives were.
(Christian propaganda would have us believe that the Brahmins were oppressors. Yet De
Nobili tried to project himself as a Roman Brahmin, and even forged papers to prove his
identity. Curious!) So let me enlighten him. In the Editor’s introduction of Abbe Dubois book,
we come across the following: “(T)he chief cause (of Abbe Dubois’ disillusionment with the
lack of success of his missionary effort) undoubtedly was the invincible barrier of what we
may call nowadays intellectual Hinduism, but which the Abbe called Brahmanical prejudice.
He refers regretfully to the collapse of the Church, with its hundreds of thousands of converts,
many of them of high caste, established by the Jesuits Beschi and de Nobili in Madurai; but at
the same time he made no concealment of the real causes of their failure. ‘The Hindus soon
found that those missionaries whom their colour, their talents, and other qualities had induced
them to regard as such extraordinary beings, as men coming from another world, were in fact
nothing else but disguised Feringhis (Europeans), and that their country, their religion, and
original education were the same as those of the evil, the contemptible Feringhis who had of
late invaded their country. This event proved the last blow to the interests of the Christian
religion. No more conversions were made. Apostasy became almost general in several
quarters, and Christianity became more and more an object of contempt and aversion in
proportion as European manners became better known to the Hindus.”’ (p xxvii.) This
deception continues today in the so-called inculturation programme.

On the question of coexistence, once again Hansel should realise that the onus is on
Christians. It is they who have been spreading the calumny, and unless one sees a proper
recognition of the past, the future is quite bleak. Christianity has not assimilated itself with the
Hindu culture, in the way that the Shukas and Huns have done. The fault is with the Christians,
and not the Hindus. In the context of the controversy on Satanic Verses, Shri Clifford Longley
wrote, “The very presence of Muslims (in Britain) can only be on terms which are acceptable
to the majority.”

Finally, in this section, let me deal with the contribution of Christian to India. (There
are many Christians who support the Sangh parivar’s ideology. What does Hansel make of
their Christianity?) The real question that has to be addressed is whether this contribution is
due to their faith, or a secular characteristics. If the former, then what drives a Christian to The
Church, of course. And what is this Church? It consists of the Pope, the Cardinals, the Bishops,
the priests, and all those who run the organisation. The Pope says that many Cardinals and
Bishops proposed the following theme for the first year, 1997, when the celebration for the
Jubilee of the Year 2000 is due to begin: “Jesus Christ, the one saviour of the world, yesterday,
today, and for ever.” (Emphasis added.) The effect of all this is that the clergy can have a
tremendous power over their flock, because they can, technically, refuse to intercede between a
Christian and God. Of course, this power of intercessionary is never refused, because the use

itself will eliminate it - the person can go to someone else for the intercession. But, the person
cannot be sure of this, and so is fearful. A classic case of Catch-22!

Many times when my group pointed out issues that need to be taken up with the
Church, we found that there was reluctance on part of Hansel’s group to confront the
hierarchy. This is strange considering the claimed openness of Vatican II. But old habits die
hard. Brahmabandhab, the converted Hindu missionary who tried to reintroduce the methods of
De Nobili, said in context to a dispute he had with the Indian Church hierarchy: Roma locutta
est causa finita est
(Rome has spoken, the cause has ended). (Ashrams, p 37.)

As a Hindu believing in Ekam Sat, Viprah Bahudda Vadanti, I fail to understand why I
need any one to intercede between me and God. Why can I not have a direct line to Him?
While a person, on his own volition, may well choose Christ as his mediator, to insist that he is
the one mediator takes away man’s freedom to determine his own destiny. At the same time, I
feel it necessary to read the various scriptures, and their interpretations. After all, not every one
can be expected to work out the nuances of the various philosophies, and help from others is
always welcome. The great Hindu sages do not provide a unique path to salvation, but a
general guideline for it. For this reason, one who keeps a deity of Hanuman in one’s house, has
no problem of praying to Ganesh.

As a Hindu, I will also debate and interpret what all scriptures have to say. I find
Hansel’s reluctance to do so baffling, particularly when he wishes that the Christians awake.
(Does Hansel repudiate Matt 28:19, in view of the Pope’s statement against proselytisation?) I
am guided by what Mahatma Gandhi had to say on the subject: “My belief in the Hindu
scriptures does not require me to accept every word and every verse as divinely inspired .... I
decline to be bound by any interpretation, however learned it may be, if it is repugnant to
reason or moral sense.” (The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol XXI, p 246.)

Time and again, I have accused Hansel of negating history. I am sure that the question
that he would like to ask is why do we need to bother about history, particularly if it is
unpleasant? Will it not stand in the way of progressing forward? History has to be truthfully
told, because we have to learn from it, and not make the same mistakes as in the past. Mistakes
are avoided only when we recognise them as such. After a correct rendering of history, it lays
the groundwork to discuss what lessons to learn from it. Negation also means that those who
are descendants of the group that has caused harm do not wish to recognise that the
descendants of those to whom the harm has been done have a genuine reason to feel hurt about
the past. The objective is not to ask the present generation to ‘pay’ for the mistakes of their
ancestors - but this objective can be achieved only when the present generation distances itself
away from the actions of their ancestors. The Hindus have a genuine reason to ask why Francis
Xavier is revered by the Christians today.

The way the present-day Germans have recognised the harm done by Hitler’s
generation is an admirable characteristic, and one that needs to be emulated. In its Leader,
“Remembering Auschwitz”, The Economist (London, January 28, 1995) wrote: “The
‘relativists’ in Germany, who argue that the Holocaust was just one exceptionally dreadful
horror in a long list of human misdeeds, that many Germans suffered as badly as the Jews, and
that - by implication - it is time to accept that the redemptive debt has been paid, are sadly
wrong. True, modem Germany has been admirably relentless in its confession of mea culpa.
But humble self-analysis should be an eternal process for all mature nations. The Japanese,
belatedly and less rigorously, are beginning to teach their children the truth, in outline, about
wartime atrocities. The Russians have furthest to go in examining the degree to which they, as
people, were complicit in Stalin’s crimes. For Germans especially, the stain of the Holocaust
can never - should never - be erased.”

In our discussions with Hansel and his group, we have been informed that the present
Pope, John Paul II, is ultra conservative. And yet, he quotes approvingly from the apostolic
letter on the question of the Church recognising the sins of the past 2000 years, and the
rejection of proselytism. Such inconsistencies has made it difficult for my group to present our
views in a dispassionate manner. We have been consistently presented with shifting targets,
and every time an answer is given, another question is asked. For example, in discussing Shri
Shourie’s book, the argument was that he had quoted from Protestant writings. Have the
Catholics said similar things? When these were presented, the question became, but does this
represent the whole of the Catholics? And when the Pope is quoted, the question becomes, but
do the laity have to accept everything that the Pope says?

Hansel has talked about Christianity in glowing terms, and would like us to believe that
the Church has built a fair record in India. From this one would also conclude that the Church
has built a fair record in their ‘home’ nations as well. Does it not, then, seem strange that one
sees a decline in Church attendance - not only in terms of those offering prayers, but also those
who wish to devote their lives in spreading Christian values? Hansel manifests a syndrome that
the Germans call vorbeireden, talking past the point. It is a verbose device to circumvent the

Hansel, in his second last paragraph, accuses the RSS of being unconcerned about the
poor and marginalised, and wishes to perpetuate the age-old hegemony of the landlords and
traders. If his article was not meant to be serious, one could have a good laugh over these
meaningless expressions. At the same time, I do admire his excellent command over the
language! But, good English is no substitute for sound logic. In my group, only I could be
accused of being a trader, and none of us of being landlords in the pejorative sense.

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