Friday, July 1, 2011

Secularly Communal - Charity Work Doesn't Need Religion

These very high intellectual persons who wake up every morning...see what they can find to demolish, to undermine, or cast away.” – Winston Churchill

Somehow that quote reminds me of the National Advisory Council (NAC). Whenever members of the NAC meet I wonder what sets their agenda. The outcomes have been either more subsidies or proposals on more communal laws. The quote also reminds me of the workings of a divisive media. Much has been written about the Communal Violence Bill and of the ‘Secular’ Indian media. We will get to all of this a bit later. This post loosely connects issues and events.

Read the post ‘Govt. Shouldn’tCensor News, But NBA Will...’ There was this mosque at Jangpura in Delhi. A relatively posh locality in Delhi. This mosque, Noor Masjid, was demolished by the DDA under orders from the High Court.  The mosque was built on encroached DDA land and therefore the court order for demolition. This followed with rioting by muslims in protest. Some newspapers and websites reported the incidents but TV news channels apparently blacked out the whole incident. The blackout was supposedly done through an understanding reached at the National Broadcasters Association (NBA) and supposedly to prevent the violence or riots from spreading. Sounds alright!

Then, there was this case of a Bangalorepastor: Bangalore Mirror, June 17  “A city pastor has been accused by his own wife of being a paedophile and of misappropriating church funds. The charges against K Shantaraju, the 45-year-old pastor of the Bethel Church and Bethel Student Centre in Siddhartha Nagar, Jalahalli West, are being probed by the police after a complaint was filed by his wife Priyalatha at Gangammanagudi police station on Wednesday…" This news was once again blacked out by our secular TV channels. That might hurt secular sentiments. Sounds alright!

Another incident from AP on June 29: Minor girl allegedly raped, killed by pastor (The Hindu): "A minor girl was sexually assaulted and allegedly burnt  to death at Nadendla village in Chilakaluripet mandal. The shocking incident came to light on Wednesday when police began an enquiry into the death of the girl, who was admitted with severe burns in the area hospital on Tuesday night. The police took the accused, Ajay Babu, a pastor at the village into custody. The police said that Ajay had allegedly lured the girl and when she demanded that he marry her, he strangulated and then burnt her to death". Blacked out again by TV channels. I presume communal harmony was the motive. Sounds alright!

Most churches and Christian organisations in the modern world, and in India too, are developed under the concept of charity work. And, of course, to preach the word of God or Jesus Christ. There is nothing wrong in the preaching. But there are those who operate under the principle that the poor or downtrodden will not be uplifted or their diseases may not be healed unless they convert to Christianity. Do you really need religion for charity work? Almost all faiths have charitable work undertaken in the name of their religion but currently the practice of conversion is most prevalent in Christianity. Quite often that sounds like Amway’s get-rich-quick schemes. One can also point to the miracle cures of a Benny Hinn or the many Hindu babas who offer such cures.

So why does the media blow out of proportions crimes by Hindu babas and swamis and yet maintain an eerie silence on crimes by other religious groups? I am no social scientist but simple logic tells me that if Hindus are in majority in India most crimes will likely involve Hindus. Although even that logic is not really sound when you think that our movies have more minority characters as ‘bhais’ or that blacks are stereotyped as more criminal in the USA. But this isn’t about mere crimes. This is about why, if at all, do we need religion to undertake any charity work. There are unconfirmed reports that many missionary workers first asked victims to accept Christianity before being served after the Tsunamis in India. If at all India is really ‘secular’ in the sense that all religions are equal why should conversions not be banned in all the states. Is changing one’s religion a substitute for miserable policies of the government which have consistently failed to uplift the poor? Keeping people in poverty and backwardness is also a recipe for religious confrontation.

John McCain, the Senator who ran for President against Obama, is on record stating that the USA was founded as a Christian nation. Well, that’s how politicians utter untruths and absolute fallacies and that is as pseudo-secular as some Indian political parties are. A closer look at the video below (From Religulous) will explain what the founding fathers of the US really thought about religion and why the US Constitution does not have the word God:

Senator Mark Pryor who features in the video is also an evangelical Christian and there is something truthful he says: “You don’t have to pass an IQ test to be in the senate”. Isn’t that true for our own parliament?

If you go back to your school textbooks or go to a current school textbook you will not find any mention of the various castes and sub-castes of India. So who taught you all this stuff about Kurmis, Gujjars and so on? Certainly not your school! This education has come mostly from politicians and the media who continuously divide the nation on these lines. This motivates the ‘marketing’ effort of various groups for religious undertakings. And if you’re still unclear where castes and identities are concerned here’s something to help you:

Joshua Project (Enlarge pic for better education)

That’s a map of the Joshua Project. It’s a great guide on emerging markets for religious products. Here are some more interesting pages on the growing ambitions of Christian evangelists and some on the media twists:

India Today: Independent churches mushrooming across India attracting foreign funding. Varsha Bhosale - The Balkanisation of India. George W Bush made a statement to the effect that “God wants people to be free and that is part of my foreign policy”! That was in additiional justification of the Iraq war. Not surprisingly since Bush II, the faithful, came into office in 2000 there has been a massive increase in evangelical activities in the US and across the world. Tehelka ran a story "Reaping the harvest" on this phenomenon.  The Indian tribal and backward class market is a clear target as the Joshua Project indicates.

The RSS mouthpiece Organiser carries an article titled “Sonia compromising Indian security, Congress capitulating before foreign powers”. Obviously, the RSS has its own reasons for these articles. However, not every part of this article can be dismissed as religious bias. All of these are indicators that we do not need more religion related bills.

The NAC’s Communal Violence Bill is bound to pit community against community rather than bring about any justice. There is a strong need to ban conversions, carefully limit influence of foreign evangelicals and religious outfits meddling in India. We have enough religious outfits of our own that are capable of creating abundant chaos.

The government itself has an organisation called the ‘National Foundation for Communal Harmony’ (NFCH). Why not pass more bills FOR communal harmony and create more branches of this organisation across the states? The NAC itself must be disbanded. It is the singular failure of the Congress party in bringing about communal harmony. Far from harmony the Congress has consistently indulged in identity politics which has seen the birth of many regional political parties on the ideology of ‘victimhood’. I am no fan of Mayawati but I doubt she has caused as much damage in five years as the Congress has in 60 years in UP. Blaming the RSS, the BJP and others can only do so much.

The Ten Commandments is a much revered scripture or document. If that were the only document ever needed we would be fine. That document still doesn’t mention child rape or child abuse. We have come to discover these crimes without religion. We can be just as sure that we don’t need religion for any charity work. We don’t need communal violence bills, we need governments to completely get out of religion. We need government to get out of the Tirupatis and the Gurvayoors. There can be better mechanisms to control temples without direct government involvement. The media should be talking about these issues but they won’t. Perhaps the same evangelicals with global ambitions also fund much of our media. Indian governments must stop being secularly communal.

PS: Do vote on the communal violence poll at the top-right of this page.


  1. Perfect example of conveying wrong messages across to audiences and spreading myths and twisted lies is below

    The title says its Advani who asked MMS to assert himself as PM and not sonia.

    Whereas , if you look at the contents, Advani has just reprodeuced what B Raman had written in an article.

    If this is not misrepresenting the message then what is?

  2. Iain Buchanan - The Role of Evangelicals in U.S. Imperialism

    Please paste it in a vodpod in your web site. This is 1 hr 14 mins video. Go thru this. All is revealed. This lecture is delivered in Malayasia.

  3. Banning religious conversion is a bad choice in my opinion, for this undercuts some fundamental freedoms.

    Rather there must be freedom (which presently we do not have) to discredit/expose the evil aspects of some of the minority religions.

    I think the "absolute freedom of expression" that you always speak of would go a long way in that right direction.

    The other aspect that we need to realize is that most humans do need religious education too. And if you do not give them good religious education, they will not become religion-free, rather they become susceptible to bad religious education.

    Hindu-parties have not bee so successful in taking any such good education to people. But of course, this is not the fault of Hinduism. This, in my opinion, has less to do with Hindus, much more to do with discriminatory financial and educational liberties accorded to minority religions.

    Thus, a religious level playing field is the way; and our current secularism is the very anti-thesis of that.

  4. Anonymous , the video of Iain Buchanan is awesome. Phew , no one knew this

    Anonymous 2

  5. 13 injured in Moradabad communal clash
    10 Aug 2011

    LUCKNOW: Curfew prevailed in parts of Uttar Pradesh's Moradabad city Wednesday after a communal clash involving Kanwariya pilgrims left 13 people injured, including two cops, police said.

    Violence broke out in Dasarai locality late Tuesday following heated arguments between some Hindu Kanwariya (Lord Shiva devotees) pilgrims and local Muslims.

    "On that day (Saturday) Kanwariyas wanted to take out their procession from an undeclared route, while members of the minority community were strictly against it. The Kanwariyas had then resorted to arson and vandalism. We believe Tuesday's communal clash is linked to that earlier incident only," said a police officer, who declined to be identified as he was not supposed to speak to the media.

    Members from both communities Tuesday resorted to firing, stone-pelting and fought pitched battles with the police. A police outpost in Aslatpur area and several vehicles were also set on fire.

    "A deputy superintendent of police and an inspector are among those injured. Five people, including the inspector, have received bullet injuries. The condition of all of them is stated to be out of danger," Superintendent of Police (City) Piyush Srivastava told IANS on telephone from Moradabad, some 250 km from here.

    "Around four-five injured people have already been discharged from the hospital," he added.
    Inspector General (Moradabad range) M.K. Bashal told IANS, "We have sought police force from various nearby districts. Besides police, Provincial Armed Constabulary and Rapid Action Force have been deployed in and around trouble-torn areas."

    Moradabad's District Magistrate Sameer Verma told IANS, "Curfew has been clamped in areas under six police stations. Senior police and district administration officials are camping in violence-hit areas to ensure no untoward incident takes place."

    The six police stations are: Katghar, Galshaheed, Majhola, Kotwali, Nagphani and Mughalpura.

  6. I read an article that said these so called "missionaries/preachers" even have targets given to them. They have to convert so many people to christianity within a specific period, very much like targets to sales persons.

    Have you also heard this....they say there is always an orphanage between a convent and a friary(male version of a convent)? Lot of their criminal activities does not come out in the open.


  7. though i'd heard about the 'joshua project', i never knew it was this exhaustive. now i see the real meaning of the proverbial 'missionary zeal'


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