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Project Joshua and secularism?

Project Joshua and secularism?

Author: M.V. Kamath
Publication: Organiser
Date: October 12, 2008

The aim was to reach out to weaker sections of Hindus and Indian tribals. Are we to believe that Project Joshua was spending billions of dollars out of overflowing love for scheduled castes and tribal people? Whom is it fooling? What the missionaries get away with is the excuse that they are only 'propagating' Christianity and not converting anyone.

When so-called communalism raises its head and disturbances spread as they have in Orissa, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh in recent times, one can be assured that the first to be condemned would be the Bharatiya Janata Party and, of course, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. At the Central Government level thought is given to the imposition of Article 355 which demands better enforcement of vigilance in the state and stricter enforcement of law and order against rioters. No questions are asked either by the law enforcers or by our high-minded media as to what, in the first place, caused disturbances. The automatic presumption is that Hindus fundamentalists are behind the riots. The BJP is dismissed as natural advocates of Hindu chauvinism.

It is in this context that one must make an inquiry into why disturbances took place in Mangalore and some urban areas in North Karnataka. Hardly anybody is aware of the existence of a religious body called My Life and a publication called Satya Darshini which is distributed among an innocent public. The latest issue carried an article that set the first spark of anger. It is a wholesale damnation of Hinduism and its gods in the most offensive language. To quote a few examples translated form the original Kannada: "Urvashi, daughter of Mahavishnu, is a prostitute, Vasishta is this prostitute's son. He married his own mother. It is this despicable man who Ram, considered by Hindus as a god, chose to his teacher (guru)". Quote two: "Brahma himself is the one who kidnapped Sita. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are sex-obsessed and it is these three who are regarded by Hindus as gods. When such is the case, how is it possible for the triumvirate to give moksha to Hindus?"

A third quote: "When a golden deer appeared in front of the hutment of Ram during his vanavaas (life in the forest) and Sita asked Ram to get it for her, instead of enlightening her, Ram went after the animal. Isn't such a man stupid? How can such a man to God?

The article quotes a stanza from Aranyakanda which quotes Ram as saying that he had committed many sins in his past life and in his current existence, he is paying for them. Says the article: "How can such a man be God?". There are more such insinuations at Hindu gods. Now there are two ways of treating such kind of vicious writings. One, as our secularists would recommend, is to laugh and dismiss them as the ravings of a mad man. But in reality the sense of enlightened humour of our secularists does not come naturally to many devout Hindus who feel insulted. Their reaction, in the circumstances, in predictable. It has probably never occurred to our secular UPA government that Hindus are also human beings who could say that if hurt, they too would bleed?

Some weeks ago The Hindu carried an article from its own correspondent, Praveen Swami quoting an e-mail sent by the Indian Mujaideen, prior to the serial bombing of Ahmedabad, which said: "O Hindus, haven't you still realised the falsehood of your 33 crore mud idols and the blasphemy of your deaf, dumb, mute and naked idols of Ram, Krishna and Hanuman are not going to save your necks, inshallah, from being slaughtered by our hands?" And there is more on those lines. Hindus are expected to have another good laugh at this profanity. Say our secularists: "Why can't we laugh at such idiosyncracies? Not all Muslims think that way". Only such 'idiosyncracies' are followed by serial bombings that kill dozens of innocent people. Protestant missionaries get away with anything.

Evangelists are protected by people in power, like George Bush in the United States. Bush is an honest man. He claims to be a born-again Christian and not a secularist. As late as January 29, 2001 Bush apparently took a faith-based policy decision and established an office for an organisation called Project Joshua whose official mission was conversion in India. According to reports, the office was opened in the White House and was headed by a man called Jim Howey who is believed to have been legal counsel to Mother Teresa in the 1980s. In an article by one Debdas Thakur in The New Indian Express (September 10), a plan was prepared for conversion "with military precision". According to him "all ethnographic information about India's every nook and corner was made available in the US at the click of a mouse through transnational missionary organisation (TMOs)".

The aim was to reach out to weaker sections of Hindus and Indian tribals. Are we to believe that Project Joshua was spending billions of dollars out of overflowing love for scheduled castes and tribal people? Whom is it fooling? What the missionaries get away with is the excuse that they are only 'propagating' Christianity and not converting anyone. They point out that the Indian Constitution permits propagation, so what wrong are they doing? We are led to think that if any tribal or dalit family adopts Christianity it is out of sheer goodwill and under no compulsion whatsoever. We are expected to believe it. And we do. The country is hung by its own petard and one can almost hear the loud laughter in the White House on the naivette of Indians and how Indians can be duped through their own laws.

In any event no Hindu is expected to complain against missionaries. And the more our secularists indulge in their tomfoolery, the more upset become many Hindus who feel betrayed by their own countrymen. Worse, they have to accept the tag of communalism of the worst kind. It is to this sorry state that we have come to. India's respect for the law is cleverly and regularly misused, to the country's disadvantage. Missionaries sneak into India. Does anyone remember a man called Kenneth Haywood, living in an apartment in Mumbai's suburbs whose cover was recently blown up by an extremely smart Islamic terrorist group that hacked into his internet connection? Why was he given a visa to visit India in the first place?

The man has since apparently returned to the States. The police found out that he had links with a radical Christian Group called Poor Christian Centre which is part of the Pentecostal Christian Fellowship Ministries and which avers that "every believer has a personal responsibility to win souls into God's kingdom", which, in plain language means one should get as many converts as possible into the Christian fold by any means possible. The tragedy is that our own laws are used to damn us, which, one supposes, serves us right. That does not matter to secularists. Like God's children, secularists can do no wrong. Only devoted Hindus are to be downright blamed for their communalism. We live in a world of inverted logic.

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