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Dear Readers, V

Dear Readers, V

Author: Varsha Bhosle
Publication: Rediff on Net
Date: July 24, 2000

Whoof! Let alone answer it, if I had to read all the mail in response to Heaven's Gate, I'd have missed the next column.  Guys, thank you very much, and I'm sorry I can't respond to the positive mail individually.  I want to answer criticisms - but not those in the mode of: "And not just read the Panchjanya and write what you want" or "Hindu fundamentalists are blaming Christianity for their insecurity." Very boring.  I'll answer only the seemingly rational arguments echoed in several letters -- for that constitutes a debate:

I believe that instead of making sure that future generations of Indians regard themselves as Indians first, and then Hindus, Christians or Muslims, the blunder that the Bajrangis-RSS-BJP connection is making right now will cause the minorities to think differently and cause more problems in the future.

Are the minorities willing to give up their personal laws and adopt the Uniform Civil Code? How "Indian first" are they who reject a common civil code...? Uff!

If Hindu religion was providing tribals with all they needed why they would feel the need to convert? Are they being harmed by being educated, or having someone work with the lepers like Staines? Why would not someone convert after seeing people motivated to work for their welfare because they believed they had a message? Why don't Hindus work for the tribals and their welfare among lepers or educate them when needed or should they be left to be exploited as they have been for centuries?

Ok, listen up, dorks.  If I, as a rich American, go to an Indian village and offer a bag of money or a generator to a poor family in exchange for marrying their sexy young lad, wouldn't they agree on the spot? So do you say that this isn't necessarily a bad thing, and that instead of criticising me for buying a human being, people should solely reflect on the sins that brought the family to penury in the first place...? In which case, why stop there? Why can't I find an impoverished 13-year-old who'd gladly service me in exchange for a better life? As per your argument, society dare not criticise me since, after all, society never helped that poor boy, whereas I did.  Let's all do it! We'd all be humanitarians instead of paedophiles!

Even among doctors and shrinks, there's a professional code that bars them from accepting sexual offers from a patient under their care.  It's considered unethical to the extreme, even if it was the patient who had insisted.  Whether a person in distress offers you their body or their soul, the principle remains the same: When you aid someone, they can be very vulnerable and impressionable, and this fact cannot and must not be dismissed.

Many Hindus are against any gospels being shared with Hindu tribals or others but refuse to acknowledge or take the time to see what motivates Christians to devote their lives to serving the tribals in many many areas: in the health and educational fields.  What is behind their extreme sacrifice? Why do they not run to the US or other countries...

They don't try proselytising on this scale in the West because door-to-door missionaries get laughed out.  Samples of how a common American perceives this effluvium:

* A friend says that when missionaries knock on her door, her first response is to ask for their address.  When they ask why she wants to know, she says it is so she can visit them to push her beliefs.  So far, none have given their address.  SLAM!

* A missionary goes up to my friend and asks, "Can I talk to you about God?" She says, "Sure, what would you like to know?" End of interview.

* The more sincere you appear, the more baffled the missionary will be: Answer the door with an automatic weapon and say "Allah be Praised!!!" and just see what happens.

Asia is for the picking.  What motivates missionaries here is the ease with which a poor, uneducated tribal can be bought with a few pieces of silver and a promise of "salvation." Too, "extreme sacrifice" is a facet of devoted fundamentalists -- it's high time that Christian missionaries are recognised as such.

Why don't Hindus work for the tribals and their welfare...

Do you think Baba Amte, or the members of the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram are Muslims...?

Why can't you accept gratefully the works of Teresa, Sadhu Sundar Singh, and other scores of Christian missionaries who lived and died for people like you and me? They never got anything out of that.

They got "souls," buddy -- converts to Christianity.  As the "living saint" Teresa told Malcolm Muggeridge, "There is always the danger that we may become only social workers and just do the work for the sake of the work." What, do you think, she was saying...?

Why is there no mention of Graham Staines in your article.

Here it is: I'm happy for him now that he's got his set of wings.

I do believe Varsha's articles like the rest before only serve to show how much a fundamentalist in a journalist's garb can wreak havoc on the stability of minorities and their representatives...  It instigates otherwise docile armchair Hindus to have a warped outlook on the way religious freedom has been so profoundly expressed in our constitution...  And citing the percentage increase of the no.  of Christians in the NE...  well we embraced it with our hearts willingly and will do so and will die defending it.  Despicable.

I found this letter particularly interesting since it comes from an employee of rediff.com.  I'm not sure what he does, but I pray he isn't in the editorial department! Is Bhosle scared of being blacked out...? I'll explain: I do NOT like it when I get mail abusing Saisuresh or Amberish Diwanji because I *know* what guides them even when they write stuff I reject.  I've never questioned their integrity.  They speak their mind, just as I speak mine, and we may rip at each other -- on the basis of an issue.  One can't have democracy without anti-views and debates, and thoughts such as the above don't enter the minds of Ponytail or Amberish or any journalist worth his salt.  So, I doubt this dork will climb the editorial ladder in rediff.com -- but he'll do just fine at John Dayal's Delhi Mid-Day.

Why'm I reacting so strongly? Well, note that "otherwise docile armchair Hindus." It says: Thou shalt not initiate debates which could stir these passive and submissive Hindus...  This thought comes, not from a Bal Thackeray, but an ordinary Christian convert from the NE.  He illustrates my statement: "The Church, and Hindu secularists, like to say that a mere 2% shouldn't frighten Hindus -- and yet the NE is already at war."

About the Goa story the only reference you have given is a travelogue.  The circumstances in which the mayhem was conducted is never explained.  No doubt it wasn't the principles of a religion, it was probably an act of a person who subscribed to some or other religion.

Are you saying that since Amnesty International did not witness the Spanish Inquisition, it didn't occur...? The documents of travellers Marco Polo and Huan Tsang...  are they, too, of no historical value...? LOL!

For every missionary engaged in conversions, there are five others who work among the poor, the destitute, the sick, the deprived, the lepers and provide succour to them...  The worst atrocities on Hindus are committed by the Hindus themselves.

Read this *severely* abridged list, gleaned from just one year

* Fr Andre Vanderlyn, Belgium.  Convicted after admitted raping 10 children (Reuters, June 26, 1998)

* Fr John Gerald Stock, Canada.  Facing "68 sex-related charges involving 16 children" (London Free Press, Sept 10, 1998)

* Fr Ronald Bromley, Canada.  Faces 31 counts of sexual assault against 9 men (Evening Telegram, June 20, 1998)

* Bp Hubert O'Connor, Canada.  Charged with raping several school girls (Reuters, June 17, 1998)

* Fr David Crowley, UK.  Pleaded guilty to 12 indecent assaults on boys under 16.  (AP, June 26, 1998)

* Fr Marshall Gourley, Colorado.  Molested a boy "100 times" when the victim was seeking counseling from him (AP, August 23, 1998)

* Fr Laurence Brett, Connecticut.  Transferred out by the Diocese of Bridgeport because of his molesting children.  (AP, Sept 3, 1998)

* Fr Peter J Zizka, Connecticut.  "Accused in three civil lawsuits of having sexual relationships with three former parishioners when they were girls" (Hartford Courant, June 24, 1998)

* Bp Joseph Keith Symons, Florida.  "...resigned after admitting he molested 5 young boys in 3 Florida churches...  The church admitted promising victims' parents the priest would be sent where he could not bother children" (AP, June 5, 1998)

* Msgr Norman Goodman, Illinois.  13 altar boys are suing him, saying he used to fondle them as they prepared for Mass (AP, August 13, 1998)

* Fr Robert M Burns, Massachusetts.  First discovered molesting children in 1981; transferred to Charlestown where he raped several (Boston Globe, Sept 11, 1998)

* Fr Thomas DeVita, Michigan.  Confessed to sexual misconduct with a 16-year-old altar boy (Harbor Country News, August 27, 1998)

* Fr Daniel Herek, Nebraska.  Pleaded no contest to charges that he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old boy (AP, Sept 2, 1998)

* Fr Roger Fortier, New Hampshire.  Convicted in two cases of child sexual abuse and faces another case.  (AP, August 3, 1998)

* Fr Michael D Hughes, Oklahoma.  Pleaded no contest to charges that he raped two patients at the Medford Nursing Center.  Both patients were elderly -- one of whom was blind and mute (AP, June 9, 1998)

* Deacon Robert Foster, Oklahoma.  Molested a 12-year-old altar boy (AP, June 8, 1998)

* Rudolph Kos, Texas.  Serving a life sentence for molesting 4 altar boys more than 1,350 times.  (AP, July 9, 1998)

* Fr Xavier Ortiz-Dietz, Texas.  Serving a 20-year sentence after pleading no contest to 3 sexual abuse charges involving altar boys (AP, June 23, 1998)

* Albuquerque, New Mexico.  "Since taking over the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in the wake of the resignation of disgraced former-Archbishop Robert Sanchez, current-Archbishop Michael Sheehan claims he has removed 20 priests and settled 165 clergy sex-abuse cases, leaving the archdiocese nearly broke." (AP, March 22, 1998)

Such is the clergy...  Do not tell me how noble the missionary is.  Do not tell me that Christians don't commit atrocities.  We have in India raping Fathers Abraham and Topnu; Baptists arrested with explosives meant for NLFT terrorists; nuns who lie about being raped; and priests who grab land...  First, make an issue of such incidents, then tell me how evil Hindus are.

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