Saturday, November 22, 2008

The latest rash of stories about Christian persecution in India

I found these a couple of days ago, but never got around to blogging about them.

Crunchy Con and True Discernment both linked to a Times Online story:

Extremist Hindu groups offered money, food and alcohol to mobs to kill Christians and destroy their homes, according to Christian aid workers in the eastern state of Orissa....

The US-based head of a Christian organisation that runs several orphanages in Orissa – one of India’s poorest regions – claims that Christian leaders are being targeted by Hindu militants and carry a price on their heads. “The going price to kill a pastor is $250 (£170),” Faiz Rahman, the chairman of Good News India, said.

A spokesman for the All-India Christian Council said: “People are being offered rewards to kill, and to destroy churches and Christian properties. They are being offered foreign liquor, chicken, mutton and weapons. They are given petrol and kerosene.”

Ram Madhav, a spokesman for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the largest hardline Hindu group, denied the claims. “The accusation is absolutely false,” he said.

So if RSS isn't killing pastors, what do they say that they are doing? Here are excerpts from their mission statement:

The idea of founding the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was conceived at a time when self-oblivion had overtaken the society. The struggle for potilical independence occupied the minds of people; this was but natural. However, what was askew was the tacit assumption that the advent of freedom would automatically usher in a revival of genuine nationalist values which had perforce receded during foreign rule. Looking to the West as the pinnacle of civilization, irrationally perpetuating the Britishers' self- serving theories of the 'White Man's burden'; that the Hindus were 'a nation-in-the-making', that the Hindus had achieved nothing of significance in the past, that Westernisation was the only hope for 'the dying race' that were the Hindus; unquestioning acceptance of myths floated by Westerners even in the name of history (e.g., that the Aryans came from outside), that life in Bharat was and had always been at a near-primitive state; - acceptance of such numerous myths had virtually become mandatory for anyone with the slightest pretensions to education or intellectuality.

That this breed still claims adherents even four and a half decades after Independence bespeaks the intensity of the overarching colonial legacy....

While efforts to hasten political independence were being pursued in 'various forms, there were few or no sustained efforts for restoration of the Hindu psyche to its pristine form. Indeed, it is the latter which should constitute the content or core of freedom.

Such was the backdrop for envisioning a country-wide movement such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh....

Dr. [Keshav Baliram] Hedgewar said often, "Even if the British leave, unless the Hindus are organised as a powerful nation, where is the guarantee that we shall be able to protect our freedom?" His words have proved to be prophetic. Conjointly with Independence, parts of Punjab, Bengal, Sindh and the frontier-areas were sundered from Bharat; and, four and a half decades after the nation's attaining freedom, Kashmir remains a thorn in the flesh.

Continuous efforts have been there to make Assam a Muslim- majority province. Likewise, no-holds-barred efforts to proselytize by Christian missions continue unabated. Even armed revolt has been engineered (e.g., in Nagaland) to carve out independent Christian provinces. Such activities receive ready support and unlimited funds from foreign countries and agencies keenly interested in destabilizing Bharat for their own ends.

Sangh's alone has been the voice of genuine patriotic concern amidst the cacophanous, politically inspired shibboleths of undefined secularism, etc.

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