Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Christians are not Hindus

Nagaland Post published the statement of Mohan Bhagwat, RSS chief on 29th November, 2022 in which the RSS chief asserted that “all people living in India were by definition Hindus ……” “Anybody who agreed to sing Sanskrit verses in praise of Bharat Mata ….is a Hindu.” “People should understand that because they live in Hindustan, they all are Hindus. Hindutva is the name for the centuries old culture to which all the diverse streams owe their origin,” Bhagwat claimed.
The assertion of the RSS chief is nothing but bully. He is bullying the religious minorities as Muslims, Christians and such others in India with Hindu majoritarianism. Nevertheless, I am confident that Christians in India will survive as Christians no matter what suppressive tactics the RSS adopts to marginalize Christians.
Despite not being conversant with law as I am not a lawyer, the Indian citizenship is not constitutionally based on religion but on birth and on other conditions as enshrined in Art 5 and following till Art 11 of the Constitution of India. I am and so also every Indian citizen is registered as bona fide citizen of the country in the Census registry after every decade and listed too in the Electoral Roll as voters. It is therefore constitutionally clear that Hinduism is not the criteria for Indian citizenship. Claiming that Hindutva is the “culture to which all the diverse streams owe their origin” is unfounded and therefore untenable.
Nagaland is the 16th State in the Union of India, and therefore people living in Nagaland are Indian citizens. Yet, as much the RSS chief has asserted, I, too, am asserting that I am not a Hindu neither by blood nor by birth nor by ‘definition’.
Historically, I am from animism by religion which had no linkage with Hinduism whatsoever since animists of yesteryear never had any idolatry, be it animate or inanimate. Over and above, by sheer God’s grace, the advent of Christianity in Nagaland, some 150 years ago, had transformed the mindset of the Nagas and it brought tremendous transformations in our lands.
And today, the Nagas no more uphold the faith in animism but we have faith in Jesus Christ, the Savior and Lord Who is the only Son of the Living God Jehovah, the Creator, Sustainer and Deliverer.
I am a Christian and I do believe Jesus Christ Who died on the cross and rose again for humanity.
I also confidently assert that I never become a lesser Indian due to my Christianity, so also Mohan Bhagwat is neither a superior Indian for being a Hindu. In the eye of the constitution, all are equals irrespective of belonging to different religions and cultures.
The Living God Jehovah is a God of love and He does not classify humanity into superior and inferior races. God abhors high caste and low caste. In the Holy Bible John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that
He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” To God the Hindus, the Brahmins, the Dalits, the Muslims, the Buddhists, the Sikhs, the Ambanis/Adanis, the daily wage earners, the whites or the blacks are all equal. Religion does neither make a person inferior or superior.
What matters is to believe in the Truth. That Truth is the Living God Jehovah Who created the universe and everything that is in it. And mankind is created to have faith in the Creator and to worship Him alone but not to worship the creations.
Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay (perhaps he was the one who filed a petition in the Supreme Court sometime back for abrogation of ILP system in Nagaland which was eventually dismissed by the Court) has urged the GoI through the Home ministry to curb the alleged conversions from Hinduism to Christianity through coercion and ‘force’. Subsequently, the Supreme Court has directed the Union Govt. to submit an affidavit in detail on the alleged conversions through intimidation, threat, gift and monetary benefit, etc. as published by Nagaland Post dated 29.11.2022. Such allegation is ambiguous too as the supposed evidence can be extracted from the concerned individual through similar means of threat, intimidation and bribery too.
When I converted from animism to Christianity on my own volition, it was within the spirit of Art 25 which provides Right to freedom of religion. In the ongoing hearing is Supreme Court, the two member bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Raviumar observed that ‘it was not against religious conversions but forced conversions’.
Whereas, if the BJP Govt. in Delhi tries to implicate all willful conversions as coercion it goes against the constitutional provisions of religious freedom.
In the light of the above backdrop, what the Media Cell of Nagaland BJP issued its official statement that appeared in local papers dated 12/13.10.2022 cannot be overlooked. “The allegation of (that) BJP as (is) ‘anti-Naga, anti-Christian, anti-faith, and anti-custom’ are completely false, baseless and unfounded,” as asserted by the Media Cell of Nagaland BJP.
The BJP, as a political party may not or cannot afford to become anti-Naga directly. Nevertheless, the Nagas, as any other people, have one faith in God Jehovah and we live by that faith. The faith we have in God Jehovah is more important than the food we eat, the cloth we wear and the material possessions we own despite the variation in degrees of individual faith.
What Nagaland State BJP stated that “the Constitution of India guarantees equal right to every citizen of India to practice any religion of their choice and to honour and respect every religion.”
Yes, the Constitution has guaranteed the religious rights to every Indian irrespective of which religion one belongs to.
The Constitution never talks about religious majority or religious minority, but it only talks about freedom of religion as enshrined in Art 25, 26. Whereas, it is a matter of fact that RSS and its associates like Bajrang Dal, VHP, etc. and BJP are but one.
Whereas, there is no denying that there have been rampant violations of the constitutional provisions by the Hindutva organizations under the rule of BJP in the country.
Since Nagaland BJP has boldly and vehemently defended its party in India to be pro-Christian, it deems fit as to whether we the Christians in Nagaland in particular are Hindus as claimed by the RSS Chief? What does Nagaland BJP say when, in December 2021, the Union Govt. refused to renew the foreign-funding license for the Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa, the cancellation of foreign funding of Harvest India having more than 1,500 community centres across the country in which 2000 Pastors are engaged in the altruistic ventures, and the crack-down of foreign funding by Modi Govt. that resulted in the massive 40% decline against the social upliftment projects between 2014 to 2017-18. Instances of broad daylight vandalization of Christian churches in India, desecrating the modesty of Christian women, harassment and assaulting the Christians are too many to incorporate here. Yet, how does Nagaland BJP respond to the recent vandalization of a Church in Punjab which included the burning of the Pastor’s car which was consequently condemned by the Nagaland Christian Forum?
I do not hate BJP or RSS or its associates but I question the virulent anti-Christian enacted laws, decisions and actions of the Hindu fanatics under the patronage of political power with the ambition of transforming India into a theocratic country.
Again, it is the liberty of any Naga Christian to be a member of BJP if one’s conscience permits so, and yet persecutions of Christians in India should not be praised, endorsed and defended by means of double talk.

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