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.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Facets of assault on Hinduism

By Dr Gautam Sen

The contemporary assault on Hinduism is reaching acute proportions. The reason is pure opportunism. All the mannered subterfuges cannot hide the fact that a Christian bigot rules India for the first time since the end of colonialism. No nominal Hindu ruler has dared to underwrite Christian proselytising so brazenly though they surely laid the ground for the unfolding aggression. At present much of India is ruled directly by adherents of Catholic and Protestant denominations, in cahoots with foreign powers and assisted by Hindu renegades. The different denominations of Christian proselytisers have postponed conflict over a division of the spoils among themselves in favour of first displacing the Hindu upper castes, perceived as the principal obstacle to their unfettered rule.

Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have begun to imitate the de facto quasi-independent states of the North-east by gratuitously assaulting Hindus and curtailing their freedom of worship. The humiliation of Hindus to demoralise them is competing for pride of place with seizures of temple property and theft of temple income, with the diabolical collusion of Hindu beneficiaries. Under the covering fire of alleged atheistic virtue and Leftist claptrap the Church is increasing its stranglehold through state government ministers who answer to god and his Church rather than the electorate. All things Hindu are regarded with disdain by agencies of the state and its outward manifestations are treated as mere cultural spectacles, lacking the divine sanction enjoyed by the two semitic faiths. The propagation of Christian and Islamic interests at the expense of Hinduism has become an article of good faith and a means of establishing the legitimacy to govern for every political party.

As for the much longer historic conflict between Islam and Christianity that has defined modern world history, Hinduism has always been a mere footnote in relation to it. From the collapse of Byzantium in the Fertile Crescent and the repulsion of Islamic invaders by Charles Martel in the eighth century to the rise and collapse of the Ottomans, one or the other party continued to mop up other civilisations violently. Hindu India changed hands between Islam and Christianity over a span of almost thirteen centuries and its future is evidently being bartered once again.

Hindus themselves persist in playing the role of defeated collaborators as they have always done. They delude themselves into believing in their innate genius because they shine as individuals only to lose as a collective since they are apathetic to the need for aggressive political unity. However, their resistance has also always endured somehow since Hindu peasant revolts were common during both Muslim and Christian rule and various kingdoms, from Vijayanagar in the south to the Sikhs in north and the Marathas in west, fought conquerors. The final military reprise from Bengal in the twentieth century was deflected by a conspiratorial chorus within, in favour of political suicide rather than cause offence to India’s erstwhile colonial masters.

The issue that always needs to be borne in mind is that Christianity and Islam came to be established as a historic dyad that cannot be viewed in isolation from each other. Marxism was a peculiar heresy within Christianity, which like the Muslim Kharijites and the Christian Cathars and many before, was a passing phenomenon. The very nature of the two religions and their political form, articulating their paramount features, was determined by their involvement in constant warfare with their rival as well as internal struggles for political power. The brutality of medieval Christian crusader incursions into Islamic territory created a particularly virulent Islamic militancy. Their violent modern successors are equally indebted to the vicious assaults by Christian nations, mainly the Anglo-French and latterly Anglo-American imperialists. It must be remembered that the British, the Americans or both originally sponsored every instance of contemporary post-WW II Islamic terror.

Contemporary Christian ascendancy is assured since a grievously weak Islamic world can fight and impose costs on their historic adversary, but not win. As a result, it is possible for the Church to remain implicitly and explicitly in alliance with Islam in India. This is why Anglo-American Christian imperialism is acquiescing in Islam’s demographic conquest of parts of India as the price of its own eventual political primacy. Christians are confident that Islam is unlikely to succeed in making inroads in India through conversions either because it is radically at odds with the Hindu world-view. It may be noted in passing that though Muslims are victims today of Christian imperialistic assaults they rarely speak of the need for justice and equity as principles that ought to govern the world. Instead they only speak of Islam’s past glories, their own history of conquest and the need to restore their own imperial primacy.

As far as India is concerned, Christianity only needs to convert a relatively small proportion of the population to consolidate its already enormous hold. The current exact numbers of Christians are unknowable because Indian official statistics are manipulated to mislead on crucial counts, as obvious in recent years. The conversion to Christianity of a sixth to a fifth of the population, strategically concentrated to transmute into electoral victories, in alliance with disgruntled ethnic and caste groupings, should suffice to deliver a knockout blow to the core Hindu status quo. The elimination of Brahmins from Tamil Nadu and the murderous expulsion of Kashmir’s Pandits are an illustration of the plans afoot for India’s incumbent Hindu elites.

Alas, Christians control of a high proportion of India’s elite educational institutions both at school and college levels and continue to precipitate havoc. These institutions do not preach Christianity, except in the subliminal sense of asserting the superiority of economically advanced white Christian nations. But what Christianity does much more actively and insidiously is to wage psychological warfare against Hinduism and the nationalism, that is taken for granted elsewhere, in the name cosmopolitan secularism. This is their conscious central purpose: creating space for socialising a critical segment of the Hindu populace within the Christian-secular world-view. Their own societies are simultaneously Christian and secular in pursuing imperialist goals. Christianity provides an essential affirmation of historic white European superiority while secularism dominates the mundane business of statecraft. A deracinated Hindu intelligentsia, educated by Christian institutions, dominates the Indian media though their owners are canny businessmen selling their wares to the highest bidder. This intelligentsia’s Marxism itself is but an ideological variant of Christianity of no intrinsic conceptual merit except that it fuses with the same subversive purpose of conquest.

The British may have departed from India, but they left behind a thoroughly collaborationist native elite firmly in control. Right from the beginning communists collaborated with both the British and Islam in unexampled displays of self-hatred. The Partition was merely a case of adding insult to injury though Indian pan-Islam has been an ally of European imperialism since its very inception in the nineteenth century as a bulwark against Hindu political aspirations. The Nehruvian dispensation elevated every kind of political cant into a state of grace, ruining India’s economy and devastating its strategic interests, first with respect to China and then Pakistan. Yet now the Islamic Frankenstein is also beginning to devour its own creator, the contemporary Anglo-American sponsor of what has become Islamism. The gods are not neutral and they do have a perverse sense of humour as Hindu sages alone loudly proclaimed in their prescient epics.

(The writer taught political economy at the London School of Economics for over two decades).

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