India isn’t Hindustan, Hindu State
Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharata Janata Party (BJP) was installed in New Delhi, Hindus linked to the party have virtually been running an allegedly distorted Narrative on the Church in India.
The party has also been conducting an isolated, if not widespread, campaign of politically-motivated “state-sponsored” acts of “terrorism”, for want of a better term, against Christians.
The Modi government believes that attacking the Church, for various reasons, will help unite Hindus under one platform i.e. the BJP.
The British, according to the distorted Hindu Narrative, forcibly converted many Hindus to Christianity during their 150-year rule over a large part of the Indian subcontinent, designated British India.
Based on the “bizarre” claims being made by BJP activists, appalling ventilators of ignorance, the Narrative is also being driven by collective amnesia bordering on paranoia and scenario-building.
If Hindus were forcibly converted by the British, they certainly have not done a good job.
Christian Small In Number
Christian form 2.3 per cent of India’s 1.3b population. Anglican, the denomination observed by the British, are a drop in the tiny Christian lake in India. The British were traders, Administrators and soldiers, conversion being the furthest on their mind.
However, the British reserved special preference for Anglo-Indians who at one time numbered 4 million. They included those born in India of British parentage on both sides.
In fact India’s Mughal Emperors, who immediately preceded the British Raj for 332 years, may have presided over the conversion of a large number of Hindus, allegedly by the sword. Muslims form about 10.9 per cent of India’s population but they claim to be more in numbers. Other Hindus who became Muslim are in Pakistan and Bangladesh, separated from Hindus by the British in 1947.
It was the Mughal who codified the term Hindu to describe the collection of local practices which varied from place to place. Codification distinguished the Mughal, as Muslim, from their Hindu subjects.
Hindus probably have no reason to pick on Muslims since, unlike the Church, they don’t openly rail against the caste system. Besides, any Hindu-Muslim conflict over the conversion and the caste system could easily degenerate into civil war.
Muslims in India are not noted for taking things lying down. It was not so long ago that they took to the streets for months over citizenship woes. The pandemic ended the nationwide protests.
The Church has been very vocal on the caste system which was in fact outlawed by the Indian Constitution in 1947. In law, there can be no discrimination.
The caste system, a violation of human rights, stands outlawed under international law.
The Church feels that India continues to be ruled amidst great social pressures by the caste system, especially on marriage based on the fear of Karma, and not by the rule of law, the basis of the Constitution.
The caste system, which began thousands of years ago apparently based on race and colour, allocates job functions for the castes and outcastes/casteless.
The caste system, for those unfamiliar, prohibits upward social mobility based on Karma, the law of cause and effect. Karma in Christianity, explained by the Parable of the Sower, excludes Hindu notions viz. past lives, karma from past lives, and reincarnation.
In Christianity, Karmic forces exhaust themselves sooner or later, the phenomenon is seen as neutral and not as Hindu perceptions hold.
The Church sees no reason for imposing prohibition on upward social mobility. That has incensed the Brahmin (priest caste) and upper caste in India no end.
The political climate in India is fraught with great dangers for the Church and the outcaste/casteless who reportedly form about 20 per cent of the population. Some estimates place the outcaste/casteless forming as many as 40 per cent if the criteria for classification under the caste system was strictly followed.
Brahmin for example, under the caste system, would automatically become outcaste/casteless if they “cross the waters” or marry outside the caste. Brahmin form the highest caste.
Likewise, caste Hindu including the low caste, would automatically become outcaste/casteless if they marry outside the caste.
New Delhi fears that civil war, based on caste, might break out in India if the Church continues with its Narrative on Karma. Hindus fear the Church’s preoccupation with Karma as euphemism for conversion.
Unlike Hindus who live in fear of interfering with Karma, the Church has been noted for carrying out works of charity all over India, especially among the outcaste/casteless and low castes.
The Church, it’s felt, presents the gravest threat to Hindu and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.
The outcaste/casteless and low castes, the Church preaches, have a right to self-determination, a cry which heralds further break-up of the Indian subcontinent.
The rise of BJP, the party linked with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi who has been blamed for the creation of Pakistan, may have hastened a process kept in check by the Congress Party for over half a century.
Christianity In India
Christianity is old in India.
Hebrew and Aramaic speakers brought Christianity, under the Syrian denomination, two thousand years ago to Kerala in southwest India. Christian tradition places St Thomas, one of the 12 Disciples of Jesus, in Kerala.
At that time, Brahma worship and Vishnu worship – the original Hinduism – was confined to north India.
The people in the south followed Sivalingga worship. Siva or AdhiYogi (1st Yogi) preached yoga (union) with the universe.
The Sivalingga worshippers were egalitarian. There was no place for the caste system.
Brahmin merged Sivalingga worship with Brahma worship and Vishnu worship after converting the Kings in the south. The former priestly class of Sivalingga worshippers were declared outcaste/casteless by the Brahmin with the consent of the Southern Kings. – New Malaysia Herald
About the writer: Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez keeps a keen eye on Malaysia as a legal scholar (jurist). He was formerly Chief Editor of Sabah Times. He’s not to be mistaken for a namesake previously with Daily Express. References to his blog articles can be found here.
The points expressed in this article are that of the writer’s, and do not necessarily reflect the stand of the New Malaysia Herald.
Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez has been writing for many years on both sides of the Southeast Asia Sea. He should not be mistaken for a namesake formerly with the Daily Express in Kota Kinabalu. JF keeps a Blog under FernzTheGreat on the nature of human relationships.