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‘Freedom Of Faith’ Promises The PM, But His Party’s Actions Make It Sound Like A Joke

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By Kiran George:

“My government will ensure that there is complete freedom of faith and that everyone has the undeniable right to retain or adopt the religion of his or her choice without coercion or undue influence.” – Narendra Modi.

modi secular

I’m not particularly sure whether to snigger at the seemingly hypocritical untruths that this ‘great man‘ speaks or turn away and pretend that BJP is the epitome of all that is good and secular. The RSS and its Sangh Parivar allies have been out on a mission to turn India into Hindu-stan, offering lakhs to poor, tribal Muslims and Christians for a joyous welcome into the Hindu parivaar. The BJP had until a day ago, quite diplomatically and unexpectedly, largely distanced itself from the entire issue altogether, save for the occasional “I condemn” lines thrown in somewhere in between.

Let me begin with bringing in some clarity to a rather controversial subject – the BJP-RSS nexus. I have met far too many individuals who seem to share the same convoluted belief that the BJP is an independent party making independent, uninfluenced policies; and I really think it’s high time someone set the facts straight. For the uninitiated, a number of top BJP leaders, Modi included, are revered members of the RSS. The BJP quite appropriately accommodated a number of RSS imports into its party – Haryana CM Manohar Lal Kattar, three of the party’s General Secretaries (Ram Madhav, Ram Lal and P. Murlidhar Rao), and all four of the party’s Joint General Secretaries (V. Satish, Saudan Singh, Shiv Prakash and B.L. Santosh) are swayamsevaks.

The Rakshasutra programme organised by the RSS at BJP leader Venkatesh Naidu’s residence amply reflects how the Sangh Parivar is no more hesitant of displaying its merging identity with the BJP – this fact is further emphasized by the trademark black RSS cap donned by most BJP members, and the RSS General Secretary’s opening statements, where he takes pride in the fact that for the first time, the country is being led by somebody who has been trained by the RSS and will continue to do so for many more years to come.

The whole Sangh sponsored and initiated charade began last December when about 300 miserably poor Muslims in Agra were the first targets of the Sangh’s beloved ‘reconversion’ mission, allegedly lured into converting by promises of ration cards and plots of land. The Shiv Sena UP secretary Anil Singh strongly opposed it, but caught us off-guard with his reasons – “Hindus have always had a calm nature and have always respected other religions but Muslims are fanatics and revolting in nature. If Muslims convert or reconvert to Hinduism and then marry Hindus, it will lead to genetic abnormalities in the Hindu community”. Prime Minister Modi was, however, silent. The RSS publicly sought out donations for their conversion event in Aligarh, but our beloved PM remained silent. Churches were vandalized, mysterious fires destroyed the altars, and Christians in Kerala and West Bengal were converted. Senior BJP leaders appreciated the ghar wapsi programme, but Prime Minister Modi was silent. Then Obama came to India, emphasized on Constitution’s Article 25, and reiterated the Government’s responsibility to uphold freedom of religion and conscience in India – and two weeks later, Modi finally makes his opening statement condemning the conversions at a Christian function in Delhi.

Two and a half months is what it took for the country’s leader to awaken from a self induced slumber to take action and make a statement, but all the while being careful to avoid hurting the sentiments of brother, sister and parent right wing organizations. The BJP has never hesitated to publicly point fingers at the Congress for its misdeeds, both when necessary and unnecessary, and yet when the time comes to publicly bring to book the Hindu-extremist organizations for their absolutely intolerable actions in a democratic, secular country, the Prime Minister has only mild words of reproach to offer.

While the BJP’s top brass make rather interesting statements about ghar wapsi not being a government programme, what makes their words laughable is the back door-entry policy that the party seems to live by. Quite simply put, the BJP plays appeaser to the Togadias and Bhagwats of the Sangh Parivaar, taking fancy in putting up a moderate facade, thereby providing some sort of cover for their right wing comrades to carry on their Hindutva antics. Certainly a well thought out strategy, but how much longer does the party think we’re going to be fooled into believing their very disputably secular beliefs?

It has been eight months since Prime Minister Modi assumed power, and sabka saath, sabka vikas remains a cruel joke.

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  1. Khushal Jhajharia

    Well, the author has got some of her facts wrong. The religious conversions being conducted in the country are by the VHP and not by the RSS. I would also like to ask the author why “SECULAR” people like she is, remain silent when more than 3 lakh kashmiri pandits are pushed out of their own lands. For further information on the conversion activities being carried out by other religions and how they are funded by terrorist organizations please do refer the book written by Arun Shourie- “Harvesting our souls”.

    1. Kiran George

      With all due respect, I believe it is the person who has commented above has gotten his facts wrong. RSS actively heads as well as conducts the ghar wapsi programme, please read here for more.
      Also, like I earlier mentioned below, that conversions are being facilitated by other religions is the most shallow justification for the VHP-RSS drama that I have ever read. Please come up with better arguments. Thanks.

  2. Raj

    The Question we need to ask is – what are the development plans are getting implemented now.? … but we all can see the RSS , VHP and Sanghs plans getting implemented only leading to injustice.Talking about justice , its planning take over the judical system into its hands thats even more dangerous to democracy. Social injustice must not be tolerated by the media but bring it up and show what is being planned and done.
    Wake up sleeping Indians , if you sleep and don’t vote , we will lose the our freedom that we are having now to fundamentalist who all over the world are trying to take it to themselves and to ensalve people to their own demands.

  3. ABs

    What I don’t understand is the angst and Anti-Hindu attitude that most people have. Christian Missionaries and Muslim Clerics have demonized Hindus, and Hinduism, and yet, there is not a whisper of protest from the “Secular”, media. Conversion is not a one-way process, it is high time people understood that. If a Hindu man can be forced to convert (by demonizing his own culture of Hinduism, and by putting a fear of hell and damnation, as Christianity and Islam proscribe), why can’t Muslims or Christians convert of their own free will? The allegations were unfounded, and were based on the testimony of a few, possibly bigoted, rumor-mongering elements which so pervade our society. Hindu Temples were attacked and there is not a single protest in India, or by the so-called Secular Media. Church attacks could have done by anyone, Christians included, why does the blame go instead to the RSS, always?

    1. Kiran George

      Stating the obvious, just like attacks on temples aren’t initiated by Hindus, attacks on churches will not be initiated by Christians save for exceptions that I cannot conceive. Secondly, please refrain from presuming that the religion my name bestows upon me has anything to do with this article. I am not anti-Hindu or anti any religion. Christian missionaries have often engaged in the same tactics that the Sangh Parivaar parties are engaging in right now, and have been persecuted by the media for the same, albeit perhaps not adequately so. However, what is happening in the country now, is almost on a pan-India scale – pamphlets have been circulated promising 5 lakhs for a Muslim-Hindu conversion and 2 for a Christian-Hindu conversion. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that your statement proclaiming that the “allegations are unfounded” seem to suggest that you deem your own little knowledge of the ground truth as the only truth, and that the protests that ensued after the news started floating around comprise the mere idiosyncrasies of an overly emotional Indian public. You seem extremely over-assertive about your quite disputable presumptions about these very happenings being the product of “bigoted, rumour mongering elements”. Please cease using your over-defensiveness about the Hindu religion as a basis to counter any allegations made against right wing organisations and deeming them unfounded. The large scale reportage of the large scale right-wing undertaken conversions as against the small scale reportage of the small-scale Christian missionary undertaken conversions is hardly a sufficient ground for you to actively dismiss any hand of the VHP, RSS and others in this rather horrific set of actions, and your basis’ for any argument in your comment above are rather hollow.

    2. ABs

      There is a link in the Tweet above that shows the Christian Youth who attacked their own church, and blamed the Hindus. To me, this is typical of “bigoted, rumor-mongering elements”. The attack on Churches was not an “attack”, it was a case of burglary, and even in the case of the recent ruckus over a Christian School in Delhi, there was no damage done to Religious shrines and articles, unlike the picture portrayed by the media.

      In the Muzaffarnagar Riots, as well as the Godhra Riots, there were Hindu casualties as well, but there was no effort on behalf of the Media to interview them, only the Muslims were shown as “Victims”. This is a disgusting attempt at polarization along religious lines, to say the very least.

      “pamphlets have been circulated promising 5 lakhs for a Muslim-Hindu conversion and 2 for a Christian-Hindu conversion”

      Can we have evidence for the same? Can we have evidence that the Pamphlets were genuine, and printed at the behest of the Sangh Parivar, VHP, or RSS?

      I have to admit that if this is the state of the Indian Media, one of assuming the arrogant “holier-than-thou” position, my concerns for the sanctity of the Indian Republic increase. I am quite appalled at this view that somehow it is the media alone who knows the “ground reality”, this assumption is not only dangerous, but is, as I have constantly maintained, one of deceit and malice.

      Your allegation that your name had anything to do with my above comment is not only indicative of the viciousness with which minorities handles criticism, but is also indicative of the fact that you make such wide assumptions about people. I did not see your name until your reply, and I am also not a Hindu. If you make this assumption, based on my freedom to defend a particular Religion, then I must reconsider my position on whether I should take your post seriously. You jumped straight to the conclusion that I was Hindu on which assumption, I am at a loss to explain.

      It is interesting to see the media and the “youth” that this site seems to represent by looking at your assumptions alone. Absolutely disgraceful, and outrageous.

  4. bhuto

    One more hypocritical article. If Christians have converted Hindus for decades using the same tactics funded by so called secular western countries, what is wrong by VHP to follow the same tactics ?
    India is probably the only country in the world full of such hypocrite pseudo-secular opportunist anti-national elements making their own meaning of the word ‘secular’.
    Fortunately, most of the people in this country do not believe in such jokers.

    1. ABs

      Very true, sir/ma’am.

  5. Shankar

    Where were you ppl when there so many ppl coverted to Christians n other religions. Can you deny that only ppl from hindu are not converted to other. Look back the history n you will know the mass conversions.

  6. gk

    Why are the people like this author outraged now when Christian missionaries have used violence, coercion and monetary enticement to convert poor and the tribals. The missionaries/priests and christians continue to believe that all non-believers, hindus etc are worshipping devils and that they will burn in hell. It is really audacious for such people to selectively whine about conversions done by Hindus. Demonizing native culture and spirituality in order to convert people to a new socio-political framework is a crime against humanity and christians have indulged in such crimes for centuries in Europe, Americas, Africa and now Asia.

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