Indian Christians/ response to kandhmal

Indian Christians response to kandhmaal
"Forgive my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me", this is part of our Lord's prayer and we Christians say it by rote, that when I became an adult I found it increasingly difficult to say it without having a guilty conscience.
So I admire those Christians who can forgive those who trespass against them. When Gladys Stains could forgive or Pope Paul asked for forgiveness of his attacker this normally gave raise to admiration. That is why Gandhiji was admired by most of the christian world.

As a person who stayed in Orissa for nearly 17 years I found them to be the most simplest of Indians. We never felt discrimination, insecure etc during our 17 years of stay. In fact Orissa was tolerant of Muslims also, as I know Dr.Khan was a revered figure in our chowdwar area. So it came as a shock when one stains and his children were burnt alive by Dara singh. But his wife's reaction was admired by all. It was considered an isolated incident.
So when one Mr. John Dayal started frequenting Orissa and later became head of All India Christian Council and was nominated as member of minorities commission, I could anticipate some sort of disaffection being created amongst Christians of India. He as member of minorities commission was not promoting brotherhood amongst all religions but was working as a sectarian leader and was promoting even unethical issues like reservation for Dalit Christians.

Dr. Paul opposed reservation for Indian Christians offered in 1931 round table by Indian national congress. He said that Indian Christians will work, die and live like his Hindu brothers in an Independent India. If today, Antony George Fernandes or Rajashekahar Reddy are considered congress or NDA leaders but not Christian leaders; one must thank the vision of Mr. Paul.

Kandhmall was waiting to happen with Swami Lakhsananda taking up the work replicating what christian missionaries used to do before. He being a VHP leader must be getting funds from Hindu NRIs as is the case with christian NGOs like World Vision. The problem I see with many of my RSS friends is that they feel "Patriotism is the monopoly of Hindus".

For christian evengalists, this is a new type of challenge. An 80 year old Hindu Swami is practising what they were doing before all these 200 years. Instead of taking up this challenge they were resorting to "Reservation" as a cure for their challenge. Even if Ranganath Mishra commission report is accepted, the challenge posed by late Swami Lakshmananda is going to haunt the christian evangelists. This challenge is going to face them throughout India especially in Tribal regions where RSS is sending its pracharaks with funds from NRIs.

But was this situation exploited by our enemies? Like the Anjumaan did in Bangalore to malign BJP by throwing grenades in churches on instruction from ISI. Only the capture of real culprits will reveal the "Motive" behind this murder.

Indians throng Ajmer Urs, Velanganni shrine when they are faced with insurmountable personal problems. I got special flowers offered at Lakshman Jhoola of Jammu, Vibhuthi from Saibaba, apart from water from St.Lourdes, and sand from river Jordan. I even got the famous Leper Baba of Choudwar Orissa to perform Puja when my only daughter was afflicted with Schizophrenia. I didn't feel any dichotomy in doing these things while being an Indian Christian. The VHP people must think that these Hindus going to Velanganni shrine or perform Ajmer Urs in the light of their personal problems. Basically they shop for Gods as they do systems of medicine hoping for a miracle.

I received the following email from a Veer Savarkar, fan Dr.Godbole of Pune and I found the analysis of Orissa problem quite revealing. I may not agree with his comments on Gladys Staines but otherwise he expresses the fears of Hindus about conversion very well as well as its political connections.

The gruesome murder of 84-year old Swami Laxmanananda in Kandhamal, Orissa, has exposed the ease with which evangelical groups can access guns, grenades, and other murderous weapons in the pursuit of their agenda to impose their own religion by annihilating local faiths and cultures everywhere.

No one takes seriously the administration claim that the murder is the handiwork of Maoists. It is another matter that in Kandhamal there is little to differentiate Christians and Maoists – the cadres reputedly overlap, and both share the common goal of uprooting Hindu dharma. Indian media followed the Western media in raising a hue and cry over the murder of evangelist Graham Staines, but did not show the same respect to the octogenarian Swami who devoted his life to the welfare of the most downtrodden tribal communities.

The media gave space to the asinine remarks of Australian evangelist Gladys Staines, who has no locus standi to comment on the internal affairs of India , and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was quick to give audience to well-organised Christian leaders after the Bishop of Rome expressed displeasure over native Hindu reaction to grave provocation. The Italian origin and Roman Catholic faith of Congress party president Sonia Gandhi cannot be overlooked in this context – it constitutes a sub-text to the Christian vociferousness, which seeks to drown out the fact that the Krishna Janmasthami murders in the ashram premises was an exceedingly well-organised and premeditated crime.

The tremendous and spontaneous Hindu reaction – paralleling the upsurge over the Amarnath yatra land issue in Jammu – has taken the nation by surprise. But the root causes of the Orissa unrest have been completely glossed over by the media.

Kandhamal is part of the erstwhile undivided district of Phulbani; it was carved into a separate district on 1 April 1994. It derives its name from the Kandh (Kondha) tribes who dominate the area, comprising approximately 51.96% of the 6.5 lakh population of the district. Kandhs are Hindus and enjoy Scheduled Tribe status.

The other community with a significant local presence is the Panas, a scheduled Caste, who constitute about 16.89% of the district population. The Panas are overwhelmingly Christian and are educationally, economically and politically more advanced. They were the prime targets of the pioneering Christian missionaries who settled in Katingia village of Daringibadi block of Kandhamal in 1883. The Kandh tribe led by Chakara Bisoi, Dohara Bisoi, Dina Kondh and Lochana Kondh valiantly fought the British in 1857, and it was only in 1884 that the British finally managed to subdue this region with the help of converted Panas from present-day Ganjam and Nayagarh districts bordering Kandhamal.

Through untiring efforts spanning four decades, Swamiji succeeded in awakening the Kandhs. This in turn posed a major threat to the political and economic hegemony of the Church. The converted Panas are highly placed in Government and politics. Rajya Sabha MP Radha Kant Nayak is a converted Pana and a blue-eyed boy of the Congress president. He doubles up as chief of the local chapter of World Vision, a highly energetic Christian outfit. Nayak is also connected with the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). He uses his MP's fund to distribute largesse to converted Panas through his own NGO called ‘Nishwas'. His alleged role in the murderous attack on Swami Laxmanananda on 24 December 2007 has not been probed to the satisfaction of the local populace.

Christian bureaucrats like Issac Behera and retired IPS officer John Nayak, Lok Sabha MP Sugrib Singh, and former Steel and Mines Minister Padmanabh Behera are other heavyweights who are hand-in-glove with missionaries. The Church reportedly gets massive funds from USA, Italy, Australia and several European countries, and Swami Laxmanananda's demand for an enquiry into the quantum of foreign funds flowing into the region and their utilization should in the fitness of things be accorded the status of the last testament.

There is a long-standing dispute between converted Panas and Hindu Kandh tribals. Under the law, Panas cannot own forest land as they are not Scheduled Tribes. Throwing legality to the winds, several converted Panas have illegally grabbed forest land. Kandhs who have been rendered landless are forced to work as farm labourers on lands illegally occupied by Panas. Seething discontent over this state of affairs first manifested in the 1994 Kandh-Pana clashes that left 50 persons dead.

Despite a High Court order to evict encroached land, Christians continue to illegally occupy the land. Being Scheduled Castes, Panas are legally not allowed reservation benefits after conversion. One way they get around this law is by concealing their conversion. Radha Kant Nayak, a 1962 batch IAS officer, is widely reputed to have gained entry into the IAS through Scheduled Caste quota by fraudulently concealing his convert status. The growing clamour for public scrutiny of such cases is said to be behind the setting up of the Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission, which expectedly recommended reservation benefits for all SC converts.

Another way to beat this law is by securing Scheduled Tribe status. This will enable Panas to enjoy reservation even after conversion, as an oversight in the Constitution did not deprive ST converts of reservation rights. Naturally, Church-inspired organizations such as the Phulbani Kui Jana Kalyan Sangh are clamouring for Scheduled Tribe status for Panas.

Moreover, the delimitation of constituencies has resulted in the reservation of the lone Lok Sabha and all Vidhan Sabha Assembly segments for Scheduled Tribes. The posts of President of the Zilla Parishad, Block Chairmen and majority of elected Zilla Parishad members and posts in Panchayati Raj institutions have also been reserved for Scheduled Tribes. The flip side of this is a loss of political and social relevance for the Christian Panas and the Church. Hence the sense of urgency in the demand for Scheduled Tribe status for Christian Panas.

The Kandhs speak the Kui dialect, which is also known to the majority of Panas. Disregarding the fact that ‘Kui' is a dialect, not a community, Panas are falsely claiming to be Kuis and demanding ST status!

In 1981, the J.B. Patnaik government bowed to the Christian lobby and recommended that Kuis be included in the list of Scheduled Tribes. The Christian lobby won a major victory in 2002 when a Presidential order included Kuis in the list of STs. The Phulbani Kui Jana Kalyan Sangh promptly filed a writ petition in the High Court claiming that in Kandhamal district, Kuis were wrongly listed as a Scheduled Caste instead of Scheduled Tribe in land revenue records and consequently deprived of Constitutional concessions granted to STs.

Finally, the High Court asked the State Government to take a decision in the matter. Mercifully, the State Government submitted that as the Record of Rights of the Panas did not mention them as a Scheduled Tribe, their demand could not be met. The Orissa Government has consistently maintained that "this demand is not based on historical and anthropological facts."

Kandh organizations such as Phulbani Kui Seva Samiti, Nikhil Utkal Kui Samaj, Kui Kul Samiti and Kui Sanskritik Parishad are struggling to stave off the Pana demand for Scheduled Tribe status. They have formed an umbrella organization called Kui Samanvaya Samiti to safeguard the rights of Kandhs.

More than anyone else, Swami Laxmanananda was a symbol of Kandh hopes and aspirations. The missionaries knew that the resurgent Kandh Hindus could force them to close shop. With Swamiji out of the way, the Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar, Msgr. Raphael Cheenath could afford to indulge in some bluster. Speaking after Swamiji's murder, Cheenath bragged that the roots of the Church in these parts were deep and that the Church would continue to provide light for generations to come.

In Jammu, Hindus have risen in the defence of Dharma, throwing up new leaders in the process. Orissa – land of Jagannath , Lingaraja, Kalinga-Jina – cannot lag behind. It owes this much to Swamiji.

Dr. Godbole is a Pune-based endocrinologist, social activist and author. Most of the problem with VHP activists is because of the leadership of Sonia Gandhi, an Italian origin Catholic of congress party. They found to their horror that she gave up prime minister ship for a Sikh colleague while some of their own are unable to show the kind of sacrifice which is common to Indian ethos. When they get emails from abroad about some 8000 Hindu temples being destroyed by Muslim invaders and how forcible conversion was carried out by them and how Christian missionaries converted the locals, they just fume. They are unable to understand that in spite of aggressive conversion by even Aurangazeb, people chose to pay zizia and stay Hindus in face of Superior Force. 200 years of British rule has left 2% of population as Christians if one believes the allurements of money and force and deception.

Personally for me the biggest security is, "a self respecting Hindu neighbor who does not fear Christian conversion or Muslim orthodoxy, who is proud of his own ancient religion to which every Indian Christian or Indian Muslim traces his Origin".

As a young recruit posted in Chushul and standing in front of the memorial for Maj Shaitan Singh who died in Rezangla, I saw the withering bouquet left by late Air Vice marshal Pinto who died along with four more generals in a helicopter crash.

The epitaph in the memorial said something similar; "What is greater honour than for a man to die for the ashes and graves of his forefathers, or temples of his Gods?"

Ironically as Kandhmal was burning the body of Col J.Thomas, a Keralite Jacobite Indians arrived in Bangalore for burial while the body of NK.Mukesh kumar reached his native place in far away UP.

The enemies of India don't see the religion, caste, state of India, they only see Indians. When will Indians see other Indians in the same way!!

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