The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

VHP demands apology from Russian archbishop


Senior vice president of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Acharya Giriraj Kishore has demanded an unconditional apology from Archbishop Nikon of Russian Orthodox Church for hurting the religious feelings of one billion Hindus. The archbishop in his letter dated November 29, 2005 to the Mayor of Moscow, Y.M. Luzhkov, has made undignified and unbecoming remarks against Lord Krishna and requested the mayor to harass the law-abiding and integrated Hindu community of Russia by denying and banning construction of a proposed Hindu temple in Moscow. “The VHP is very much concerned and pained to know your misplaced observations regarding Lord Krishna. This global Hindu organisation strongly condemns such denigration and demands you to withdraw the uncharitable remarks against Lord Krishna forthwith and tender an unconditional apology to the 1/6th population of the world for having undermined and wounded their feelings and sensibilities,” Acharya Giriraj Kishore said in his letter. He further states, “You will be well aware of the great works done by some Russian scholars on the great epics Ramayana (by Dr Barannikov of St. Petersburg) and Mahabharata. As all Indians and Hindus worldwide hold these Russian scholars in high esteem who have enriched the Russian literature by the Russian translations of the ancient Indian epics, we are surprised at your outburst that will only damage the reputation of Russia in the eyes of Indians. Such undignified outburst spreading disaffection between the people of your esteemed country Russia and those of India and elsewhere are below normal decency and courtesy of a civilised and cultured person and certainly unbecoming of a learned religious leader. You should have taken into account the history of our tradition and also strategic relationship between the two countries before making such atrocious statements. Please do not act as an initiator to destroy this mutual respect and affection.” The copy of the letter has also been forwarded to Russian President Shri Vladimir V. Putin, Mayor of Moscow, Shri Y. M. Luzhkov, Prime Minster of India, Dr Manmohan Singh, chairman, All Party Parliamentary Group on Russia, Ambassador of Russia to India and Archbishops of Mumbai and Delhi.


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