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Reader comment on item: Reflections on the Revolution in France*
in response to reader comment: I'm still not totally convinced.

Submitted by hohovah (India), Nov 14, 2005 at 04:41

In principle at least, tolerance and dynamism come much more naturally to polytheisms like Hinduism than monotheisms generally. Because the faith or beliefs of another are considered by polytheism as but different paths to the same ultimate aim of self realization, an effort to either proselytize, "save from sin", or otherwise become benefactors is never contemplated.

Those Christian communities (Orthodox and Syrian) were in India only because of extreme persecution at home by their own ‘brothers-in-faith' for heresy. Later they began misusing the hospitality of the Hindu and their refugee status to undermine local pluralism. After the arrival of the Portuguese in the 15th Century, they suddenly lost every semblance of meekness and began participating, or otherwise supporting "missionary activities" with gusto.

For the monotheist, religion overrides all else in the ultimate analysis as it must, even in day-to-day, mundane existence. Not so for the polytheist, who sees religion only as an aid to salvation in the afterlife, being perfectly equipped, able and willing to accept the rule of secular law as established on the principle of rationality and according to changing needs of society. Moreover, since his sacred sites are extra-territorial, and he draws all his inspiration by harking back to people and events centered around those places, the monotheist in India can mentally never become part of the larger national scene. In fact, creating an identity crisis in neophytes and thus fuelling socio-religious schisms in is a major aim of missionary activity. Thus, insofar as non-Catholic groups are concerned, establishment of "national" churches and leaders can only be regarded as an integral part of policy, not principle.

Determination of caste by birth was essentially a result of unprovoked attacks on Indian territory, religion and culture by alien invaders sufficiently unscrupulous to disguise commerce as spiritualism, and who spared no effort to malign Indian traditions. The caste of no person was classically determined by birth, but strictly on merit. Caste mobility was an established principle. In actual truth, for those unfortunate people who apparently chose to convert, it was more like ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire', for caste discrimination still persists in both Catholic and "Heretical" (as the Caths choose to call other denominations) Churches.

The Hindu "fanatic", it needs to be emphatically noted, assassinated Gandhi because he perceived the latter as an unreasonable Islamophile. Apparently, the last straw was Gandhi's ‘blackmail' of the Indian government to expatriate to Pakistan a sum of Rs.55 crores even when that country was in illegal occupation of a large part of the former princely state of Jammu & Kashmir, which had ceded to India like all the other states. The "seekeroftruth" may do well to live up to the nom de plume.

The "crackdown" is wishful thinking in the current political setup. Even if it is in evidence, it is only aimed against the Mullah and the Missionary and for valid reasons, and there should be no doubt entertained about its dire need. One of the greatest of "dalit" leaders, Dr. Ambedkar, had declined mullah/missionary overtures to convert to Islam and Christianity along with his followers because he was a nationalist to the core and believed such change was certain to denationalize them.

Again, the practice of ‘sati' was the supreme honor saving device for the widow who eventually fell prey to loafing Muslim lechers who were too eager in their lust to evince patience to meet the 72 houris after being hauled up to jannat! It was more the influence of social reformers like Raja Rammohun Roy and others, and NOT Christianity, that forced the British government to make laws prohibiting the sati. That the law remains in place even after the British were kicked out of India and missionaries are crying hoarse about state discrimination against them, is testimony to the basic rationality of Hindu society and its genuine desire to modernize.

Religious freedom in no self-respecting country can mean the freedom to destabilize and secede, can it?

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