“Interfaith Dialogue” refers to interaction between two or more religious traditions, at both individual and institutional levels, leading to understanding of values and respecting them, resulting in prevalence of communal amity.
The compulsion to participate in interfaith dialogues arises due to two reasons. First, when the ‘state’ fails to take care of the majority community and panders to the minority communities; second, when the minority communities, emboldened by the state’s pandering, go overboard and interfere with the cultural customs and religious practices of the majority community, resulting in conflict and disorder.
Hindu Dharma and secularism
Hindus have co-existed with other indigenous creeds (Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs and others) without problems for ages, and the peace and harmony prevailing in this great Hindu land was affected only with the advent of Abrahamic faiths, mainly Islam and Christianity, which oppressed the Hindu majority in various ways.
Despite being at the receiving end for several hundred years, the Hindu majority was magnanimous at the time of independence and addressed minorities with concern while framing the Constitution, and ensured their safety, security and religious freedom. India even refrained from enacting a ‘Common Civil Code.’ The Hindu majority never treated Christians and Muslims as descendents of ‘invaders,’ but as fellow citizens.
Sanatana Dharma has been the character and culture of this great nation. Hindu culture treats the world as a divine family - Vasudaiva Kutumbakam - and welcomes outsiders as aspects of divinity - Atithi Devo Bhava!
Such exalted concepts make words like ‘secularism’ hollow and redundant in the Hindu ethos. Monotheistic religions have no space for non-believers (in Allah or Mohammed or Yahweh or Jesus). Christianity introduced the concept of secularism in western society in order to end sectarian fratricide; as Hindus have no concept or tradition of such murderous sectarianism, secularism in India can at best be a quality of administration by the state.
But the post-independence state has failed to understand this imported notion of secularism, and hence, far from steering clear of all religion, successive governments have failed even to treat all religions equally.
The privileged minorities
Minorities have been given extra privileges by an extra-solicitous Constituent Assembly. Beginning with Article 14, up to Article 30, they have been granted many freedoms, with the Hindu majority getting a raw deal. This has emboldened the minorities to provoke, hurt and disrespect the Hindu majority, while working to achieve their religious objectives. This has naturally resulted in repeated conflicts.
India has undergone major demographic changes in the 60 years since independence; the ineptness of Congress and other political parties has lost Hindu bhoomi in many states to minorities. All political parties have failed the Hindus, and particularly after the arrival of the foreigner-led UPA at the centre, a Christian agenda is being silently achieved to the detriment of this Hindu nation. Simultaneously, Muslim fundamentalists are being encouraged to wage war (jihad) against the nation.
India lost huge territory when Pakistan was born, along with the current Bangladesh. Since then, the north-east has been Christianised; Kashmir is in trouble; so is Goa; 50% of Kerala is lost to minorities; large parts of Maharashtra, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have become Islamic; a large portion of Karnataka, Andhra and Tamil Nadu have become Christianised.
Churches and missionaries of all denominations have become the second largest land owners in the country - next only to the government - and have been building churches and prayer houses anywhere and everywhere, totally disproportionate to their flock. A similar mushrooming of mosques disproportionate to Muslim population is also cause for concern.
History shows that both Islam and Christianity have been more ‘political’ in nature rather than ‘spiritual;’ they have spread worldwide through invasions and persecutions. India has borne the brunt of both Islam and Christianity through jihad and conversions respectively. Both religions have been successful, thanks to an inept political class and immature people who get carried away by ‘secular’ machinations of the political class and the Machiavellian agenda of the clergy of the Abrahamic faiths.
The unholy nexus between pseudo-secular politicians and minority community leaders, aided and abetted by foreign-funded media houses, has caused immense damage to the character of this Hindu nation. When things go beyond tolerance, the majority reacts spontaneously, as happened in Gujarat, Orissa, Karnataka and Jammu (Amarnath). After such reactions, the Hindu majority reverts to its usual tolerant self, hoping that the minority with which conflict took place would also settle down, but the ‘Marxist-media-minority’ nexus plays ugly ‘victimhood’ games in the international arena, bringing disrepute to the country.
In between, minority community leaders organize so-called interfaith dialogues to create a false picture of reconciliation, and successfully complete the exercise by forcing their pre-conceived ‘resolutions’ on the few ‘secularised’ Hindu leaders, using jugglery of words and making them sign a declaration accepting resolutions advantageous to minorities only.
Roman Catholics vs. other denominations
The Vatican is very clever in conducting such farcical exercises. The prime objective of the Vatican is Christianisation of the whole world. The same was pronounced by Pope John Paul II when he gave a “catholic” call for evangelization of Asia, particularly India, during his visit to the country in November 1999. He had the audacity to give such a call standing on Indian soil, that too, as India’s state guest! The Vatican has a history of achieving its objectives by creating divisions among local people leading to conflicts, and later through a healing touch by rehabilitation, education and healthcare.
While other Christian denominations are aggressive and overt in their evangelical activities, Roman Catholics are covert and subtle. The Catholic leadership doesn’t restrain the other denominations from indulging in aggressive evangelization, purely for the reason that this differentiation helps them to create concepts like “ethical” and “unethical” conversions, or “forced” and “unforced” (voluntary) conversions.
The Catholic leadership always blames other denominations for “unethical” and “forced” conversions during these so-called interfaith dialogues, in order to convince leaders of other faiths to accept the dangerous concept of “ethical” conversions. It achieved success in one such farcical dialogue at the Vatican in May 2006, where leaders whose names have not been made public in India, went ahead and signed a declaration accepting the resolutions prepared by the Vatican and the World Council of Churches!
There is another motive behind the Vatican’s interfaith dialogues. That is to indirectly put pressure and restrictions on other denominations which poach its targetted community for harvesting.
In this fight for “harvest” between various denominations, one question arises - what is the need for Hindus to agree for such dialogues and why should they participate? Hindus don’t indulge in blasphemy of other faiths, gods, and scriptures; they don’t indulge in conversion activities; they don’t interfere in other religious traditions; they don’t meddle with other faiths. On the contrary, Hindus have been amicable to others and they have been tolerating the propaganda (however provocative) of other religions.
Dhimmitude and disunity
How are they reciprocated? By hacking bodies (jihad) and harvesting souls (conversions)! Much of the so-called tolerance is simply dhimmitude, the result of being beaten up or beaten down for ages. Dhimmitude resulted from Nehruvian secularism and impacted Hindus so much that they cannot see the monster standing gleefully before their eyes; they are still in deep slumber.
Some religious leaders are averse to identifying themselves and their ‘teachings’ as ‘Hindu;’ they are more interested in marketing their wares in a global market, than in spreading dharma among the masses in the remotest hamlets. Some Hindu leaders are so magnanimous (naïve?) that they preach “all faiths are the same”! Faiths and custom-oriented traditional mathams have lost out to personality-oriented and business-oriented ‘cults.’
(To be continued…)
The author is a senior journalist; he lives in Chennai
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