September 3, 2008
“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction” Blaise Pascal, French Philosopher
India has the rare distinction of being número uno in many fields. I’m not talking about the new poster boy Bindra shooting the first-ever Indian Olympic Gold in an individual event in the Indian Olympic history! The other day a telling verdict was out: A total of 42% of Indians, that is, almost half of our country - men living in our backyard, live below the poverty line! A good 42% of them!! And the report says that it is a third of the world’s poor!!! Spare a thought to it if you can comprehend what it means. Our record of human rights is none to be proud of. And add to it crimes, communal violence, illiteracy, pollution and corruption. You have it all or most for sure! These are demons that sap our country’s resources no end. Another thousand years or so to toil 24×7 to obtain freedom from these evils. So dancing in the streets owning the achievements and billions of Mittals and Ambanis or our very own IT prowess and the cricket records of a select few can really wait.
For Past few days Kashmir has been bleeding. Bihar, Assam and UP are overflowing. Their misery knows no end. And as if that is nothing to be cared for, rogues were having a field day in Orissa! The hue and cry that has often been raised even by educated Indians is that there is a lot of foreign-sponsored conversion taking place in India and therefore the self-styled custodians of our culture are busy ‘converting’ other well-meaning and often uneducated or unemployed sheep to their fold! What a way of imparting education and driving away unemployment!!
The population of Christians in India is 2.3%, which is inclusive of Catholics, all Christian denominations and other sects. Hindus are 80.5% (2001 census). Can’t a person with an average IQ wonder if or why the 80% of the majority are afraid of the 2% of the minority? And how many of those 2% are not in the 42% who live below the poverty line? Mind you, Christians have been in India for about 2000 years! 2% for 2000 years after all the so-called aggressive conversion!! So, one thing is clear that there is more to the now number one accusation meted out at Christians than meets the eye!!!
When communal violence erupts, un-informed Christians (there is no lack of them either) point their fingers out towards Hindus. And that hurts. As all Christians are not saints, so all Hindus are not violent. Let’s get that straight. Besides, often violence is owned by or attributed to a few organizations only. My ignorant mind is not ready to accept that these organizations – you name them - are only made up of such people! There surely and most of all, are good, well-meaning and dedicated people who work for real issues.
Fanatics… Well, their tribe is everywhere. It is surely not proper to any one religion. I am of the opinion that there are Hindu fanatics, Muslim fanatics and Christian fanatics too. But all Hindus, Muslims and Christians are not fanatics. Another thing that needs to be reiterated is that our mission for “Sarva Jana Sukhino Bhavantu’ doesn’t need to be the outcome of our political or religious affiliations only. It is rather the hallmark of our Indian culture, of our Indian identity and our very existence!
People who are aware of westerners who are converted to Indian, Hindu philosophy or way of life and frequenting ashrams, temples both abroad and here in India would agree that a bit of western prosperity is flowing not only to Christians!!! Now was that another accusation towards Christians?
It really hurts to see my India getting converted to un-Indian, violent, intolerant and communal ideologies. I’d bet for that one conversion which all Indians need to be wary of and channel all of our energy to eradicate it from the face of the earth. Then, well, Sarva Jana Sukino Bhavantu will be our and our copyright only.