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January 17, 2022

India: Historian Tanika Sarkar on Modi's silence following calls for a genocide of Muslims and the Opposition’s lack of reaction

Genocide: Prime Minister, as a lifelong RSS activist, is committed to concept of Hindu nationhood 

Subhoranjan Dasgupta   |   Calcutta   |   Published 17.01.22 [The Telegraph]

[ . . .]

 

India: Meet Ali Sohrab, an Islamist radical peddling communal divide online | Sabrang India

 Meet Ali Sohrab, an Islamist radical creating communal divide online

Sohrab specialises in making social media comments against secular Muslims and Hindus, to add fuel to the communal fires

Hate Offender

The sudden death of senior journalist Kamal Khan of NDTV, who has been hailed as one of the best television journalists with a distinct style of reporting, was condoled by thousands who remembered not just his immense body of work, but also his humanism. Political leaders cut across party lines to mourn Khan who was a specialist in the socio-political affairs of his home state Uttar Pradesh. However there were some who added communal poison even as Kamal Khan’s names trended across social media platforms due to the massive influx of tributes that had come in for him as soon as the news of his demise was announced.

Among them was an a handle belonging to one Ali Sohrab, an Islamist radical, who likes to call himself a ‘public figure’ and has in the past claimed to be a journalist, but a study of whose social media timeline shows how his posts aim at rousing communal passions. His posts reflect an effort to radicalise Muslims, and focus on those impressionable Muslims who may be deeply religious, but don't necessarily harbour extremist ideas.

His latest tweet was on Kamal Khan, who he almost “accused” of being secular and liberal when reporting. According to Ali Sohrab, the celebrated journalist had praised the Hindu god Ram, and Sohrab accused Hindus of celebrating Khan’s death. However it is evident to anyone who has been on social media since yesterday, that Kamal Khan’s demise was deeply and sincerely mourned by thousands and his insightful reportage, especially from Uttar Pradesh has been hailed as being of the highest journalistic standards.

[ . . . ]

https://sabrangindia.in/article/meet-ali-sohrab-islamist-radical-creating-communal-divide-online

Rising Hate: Polarization and Defense of Indian Constitution | Ram Puniyani

 

Rising Hate: Polarization and Defense of Indian Constitution

 

Ram Puniyani

 

As we have entered; 2022 we are witnessing hate speech taking dangerous forms and many in saffron robes calling for genocide. There are apps like Tech Fog being used to vitiate social atmosphere. There are Trad groups; who are openly promoting caste system and ancient scriptures apart from calling from demonization of minorities in the worst possible way. We have seen the issues like Ram Temple creating massive violence followed by strengthening of communal forces in the country. The issues like Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, Krishna Temple in Mathura are dominating the political scenario apart from the issues related to beef, holy cow, non vegetarian food and love jihad. Muslims are being demonized in ever increasing intensity.

The Christian community, which is miniscule (2.3%), is faced with sub-radar violence in the form of attacks on Convent schools, attacks on prayer meetings and propaganda against their activities of alleged conversion by force, fraud and allurement.

At the same time the poor of the society are facing the uphill task of survival. We witnessed big miseries suffered by lakhs of them when sudden lockdown was imposed. The poor management of Corona crisis led to the dead bodies being burnt enmass or being thrown in Holy Ganga. The section of Corporate has run away to distant lands amassing huge social wealth of the nation, while other section of Corporate is flourishing at rapid speed at home and controlling the social wealth. The country is falling down in the global indices related to health, nutrition, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and democratic norms.

At political level the Hindutva politics is not only ruling at center and many states, its parent RSS if flouring rapidly and has already infiltrated in different wings of state apparatus and floated hundreds of organizations to spread the communal thinking in the society. There are also organizations associated with this which are trying to co-opt the deprived sections, particularly dalits and Adivasis through social engineering.

Communalism in India

Communalism in India began during colonial period when the changes related to Education, New Administration, Modern Industries, and modern transport changed the social dynamics at big level. This led to the rise of newer classes in society: Industrialists, workers, modern educated classes among others. Their associations started being formed and these associations were having nascent Indian nationalism at their core. The main representatives of these organizations were Bhagat Singh’s (Navjavan Bharat Sabha,), Ambedkar’s (Republican party of India) and Gandhi, along with Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Annie Besant, Sardar Baldev Singh’s Indian National Congress

The two major processes which accompanied the political changes were the process of social reforms; the high point of which was education and organization of dalits (Jotirao Phule and Ambedkar) and education for women (Savitribai Phule along with Fatima Sheikh). The struggle of dalits led by Phule and Ambedkar; also found its echoes in Gandhi’s massive movement against untouchability. The national movement led by Gandhi also brought the women forward into social space, Sarojini Naidu and Aruna Asaf Ali are among the few who were part of the massive change which women were undergoing.

At this time the older classes of landlords-Kings felt that their social-political power is declining and they exclaimed ‘Islam Khatre mein hai’ (Islam in danger) or Hinduism Khatre mein hai (Hinduism in Danger). The newer classes dreamt of secular, democratic India while from the old classes (Muslims, and Hindu landlords-kings) came up Muslim League and Hindu Mahasabha. Savarkar of Hindu Mahasabha brought to forefront the word Hindutva, which called for Hindu nation. In parallel Muslim League talked of Muslim Nation. Initially only Kings and landlords were part of these organizations, later affluent upper class/caste Hindu and Muslim elements also joined these streams, much later sections of middle class also came under the sway of these organization.

British Policy of ‘Divide and Rule’

It was British policy of ‘Divide and Rule’ which led to partition of the country. As such British had introduced this policy right from beginning but it was implemented with great intensity after the 1857 ‘First War of Independence’. The communal elements picked up the communal historiography introduced by British. In this version; history is presented through the religion of the Kings. It is King centric history, with religion of the king being the determinant of their policies alliances and war.

Both Hindu communalists and Muslim communalists picked up this version. Muslim communalists presented as if Muslims were the rulers and British should hand over power to them when they leave. Hindu communalists regarded Muslims as foreigners, who had attacked Hinduism, destroyed its temples and converted the people through violence. Both these versions are parallel and opposite to each other. The National and Rational history was out lined by Gandhi and Nehru among others. Gandhi in his book Hind Swaraj points out that both Hindu and Muslim kings ruled for power and had subjects from both the religions.

Nehru on similar lines pointed out the great synthesis of Hinduism and Islam in his book ‘Discovery of India’. He underlined the word Ganga jamuni Tehzeeb and described the Indian traditions of acceptance prevailing here from centuries. He also presented the richness of ancient India in all its glory.

Communal Organizations

Communal organizations started spreading hate against the ‘other community’ (Muslim League against Hindus and Hindu Mahasabha-RSS against Muslims) and this formed the basis of communal violence and polarization of society. In the beginning the communal violence was provoked around issues of pig in the mosque, beef in the temple, music band in front of mosques and random rumors related to violation of women’s modesty of ‘our community’.

While Muslim League continued to demand for the rights of Muslim community in Hindu majority country, the Hindu communalists kept harping that this country belongs to Hindus alone and Muslims have a secondary place in the nation.

Savarkar’s formulation of Hindutva, Hindu nation formed the ideological base of formation of RSS. RSS came up in the backdrop of threat perceived by upper caste due to rinsing participation of average people in freedom movement led by Gandhi and by the struggles of dalits for their rights. Dalits were inspired by Jotirao Phule and Ambedkar in their struggles. RSS founders were inspired by European concept of Nationalism, particularly that of Hitler and Mussolini. Savarkar was more inspired by Mazzini who was also the ideologue of fascism.

On one track Indian National movement was integrating people of all regions, religions and languages in to single thread of Indian-ness and the formulation “India is a nation in the making” was coined by Surendraanth Bannerjee. Gandhi came to be called Mahatma and Father of nation for his yeomen contribution of uniting the people as Indians and for leading the anti-colonial struggle.

Communal organizations kept aloof from freedom movement. They were supported by handful of elite in the beginning; later many middle class sections also joined them. With partition tragedy most of the communal elements left for Pakistan and Muslim League became a marginal organization. Hindu Mahasabha members involvement in Gandhi murder them discredited them. RSS was also discredited and remained in the shadows for some time.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

RSS after its formation decided to remain aloof from the anti British struggle and even from the active politics. It focused on training the young boys-men into ideology of Hindu rashtra. Its core unit is shakha, where the version of history which is taught is full of venom for Muslim kings, along with glorification of the past where the values of Manusmriti prevailed. In due course the number of its shakhas increased and today they cover all the Indian states. It trained the volunteers into Swayamsevaks (volunteers). Some of them were taken for more in-depth training camps and designated as pracharaks (Propagators).

These pracharaks enter into the field of education, media, and administration and also form organizations like BJP, ABVP, VHP and Bajrang Dal amongst others. Today there are over 200 such organizations affiliated to RSS which are pursuing the agenda of Hindu nation, against the values of Indian constitution.

The hate taught and spread through RSS shakhas was also picked up by the network of schools run by it-Ekal Vidyalaya, Sarswati Shishu Mandir. Lately the social media has intensified the spread of Hate through fake news and IT cell. Today the Hate has taken horrible proportion and open auction of Muslim women, and call for genocide against Muslims is being given openly (Haridwar Dharam Sansad).

It has taken up issues related to emotions around religious identity. The moral values of religion are nowhere to be seen in their political programs and actions. After the Ram Temple issue, the degree of Hate and violence went up at big speed. At the same time policies against rights of dalits, Adivasis, workers, farmers and women are in full display. The other major issue it has taken up is the Kashi and Mathura. Similarly lots of violence has been unleashed on the issues related to beef eating, cow slaughter, love jihad, Ghar Wapasi. Lately it is very active in undermining the role of Gandhi and Nehru in freedom struggle. It also operates through word of mouth propaganda. It never takes up the issues related to people’s welfare, bread, butter shelter and employment. It has nothing to do with betterment of health services and educational facilities.

Its supporters have unleashed and ideological battle against the contributions of professional historian, who have seen Indian history as synthesis Hindus and Muslim. These new ideologues of Right wing are attacking the presentation of Muslims Kings in proper light.

Threats to the Plural: Democratic India

Today we are in a situation where the values of Indian constitution are being openly violated. Calls are being given to undermine Indian Constitution. Freedom movement is being looked down; Godse is being upheld along with worsening situation of the poor and deprived sections of society.

Those who value, cherish and want to uphold the democratic norms and participate in the process of social change towards equality have a big challenge to face in the present situation. The power of communal forces has increased much more during last over seven years. The communal polarization and intimidation of minorities has gone up manifold. The economic downslide of the average people is frightening. What can we do to ensure that democratic values and norms are promoted?

Promoting Fraternity: Amity

We need to revive the spirit of freedom movement. The fraternity which came up during movement needs to be brought to the fore. Our groups working for social change and preservation of rights of weaker sections of society are scattered while working seriously for the causes they uphold.

A.      We need to form a loose federation of diverse social groups to coordinate our work. Whatever be the area, type of our work, we have to take up the cause of defense of democratic values as a priority. For this the organizations have to coordinate their efforts.

B.      All our social workers need to spend some energy to disseminate the values of amity and harmony. While citing kings and their religion a hate is constructed, we need to revive the spirit of saint traditions-Kabir, Tukaram, Namdeo, Nizammuddin Auliya, Khwaja Garib Nawaj, and Saint Guru Nanak. We need to revive the spirit of amity promoted during freedom movement.

C.      We also put proposals for forming workgroups for:

Social media with tasks of making small videos: afresh or from the available sources like Anhad's ‘Reimagining India’, Apporvanand's videos, Karavan-E-Mohabbat's videos or mine from my channel or Satya Hindi series.

D.       A team to liaison with different local groups of activists to disseminate it through their channels (Whatsapp, Instagram, face book etc.)

E.       A team to work on exploring to initiative weekly fortnightly meetings in localities: These centers can have cultural programs, book poster readings. video screenings of available sources- Anand Patwardhan's Vivek Reason and other documentaries, Ashok Kumar Pandey and Jaga Bharat's full length videos, or mine from my channel and other scattered one's. For this we need to liaison with different National groups like NAPM, Aruna Roy’s School for Democracy, Prashant Bhushan's Sambhabna Institute, Rashtra Seva Dal, Jaga Bharat, Irfan Engineer's Peace Centers, and National Solidarity Forum.

F.       We need to form delegations to meet political leaders to emphasize to have opposition unity in forthcoming delegations.

 

These are some out of the proposed measures; many more useful suggestions need to be brought to fore and implemented.

 

India: [Excerpt] A Political Genocide | John Dayal

by John Dayal (Indian Currents, 17 Jan 2022)

[ . . . ]

The Yogi, who is the head of the Gorakhnath cult’s chief math at Gorakhpur, in his five years in office had used the state machinery, and particularly its police, to harass and intimidate the Muslim community.

There have been indiscriminate arrests under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, known as UAPA, of dissidents, activists and Muslims. The most recent has been the tweaking of the anti-conversion laws to arrest Muslim youths in a relationship with Hindu women, or who have already married Hindu women. Inter-religious marriage, known sometimes as Love Jihad, just a term in Kerala where it was invented, has become a crime under the law in Uttar Pradesh. [This is also so in other north Indian states ruled by the BJP, specially Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat, with Karnataka trying hard to join them.]

Mr Modi has done much to deepen Hinduism in the UP landscape. The starting of the work on the Ram Temple in Ayodhya and refurbishing Varanasi, also his Lok Sabha constituency, have further cemented Modi’s image as the Hindu “Hridaya Samrat," ruler of the Hindu heart. And heartland, presumably. Many feel it was his pressure that made the Supreme Court rule in favour of the Hindus in the Babri Mosque ownership case.

The affirmation of the Hindu supremacy continues. On the eve of the Assembly elections, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal have been putting up posters around the ghats of Varanasi that read, “Non-Hindus are prohibited from visiting the Ganga’s bank in Varanasi.” Leaders of these groups shared on social media photos of themselves putting up these posters.

On paper, it would seem that no serious national political group can ignore the Muslims. With a 15% national and 19.5% in Uttar Pradesh presence, and concentrations in perhaps as many as 125 Lok Sabha constituencies, they can be a major force. Just in UP, they are 50.6% in Rampur district, 47.1% in Moradabad, 43% in Bijnor, 42% in Saharanpur, 41.3% in Muzaffarnagar, 40.8% in Amroha, 37.5 in Balrampur, 34.5% in Bareilly, 34.4% in Meerut, and 33.4% in Bahraich.

At the national level, even the 2006 Sachar Committee report had seen the political under-representation of Muslims and suggested ways to improve it, including a more rational delimitation of Scheduled Caste seats for Parliament and Assemblies. Gerrymandering, as the practice is known, has used delimitation to ensure that very few constituencies remain where a Muslim candidate can win on his/her own steam.

The big picture is that Muslims are thoroughly under-represented in Parliament, Assemblies and local bodies, community leaders have said.

Syed Mahmood Zafar, officer on special duty on behalf of the Central Government in the Sachar committee, has said that many constituencies reserved for SCs had a substantial Muslim population. As these seats fell in the reserved category, Muslims are not allowed to contest. With the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, Muslim representation in India’s most populous state plummeted from 17.1% in 2012 to 5.9%.

In the 12 Assembly elections, Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of 67 Muslim MLAs since independence. Later their number increased to 69. Of these, about 45 MLAs were from Samajwadi Party. Then 19.5 percent Muslim population of the state got 17.1 percent representation in the Assembly.

Outside of the elections, a different victory is being declared. “No matter who comes to power, we will not allow Muslims to rise up. We are in the process of awakening our youth. We will get mullahs out of graves and finish them from their roots. Wait for April 2, you will see we will create a situation where Muslims have to either convert to Hinduism or they will be sent to Pakistan,” Hindutva leader Pinky Chaudhary declared at the August 8, 2021 rally at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.

Supreme Court lawyer and former spokesperson of BJP, Ashwini Upadhyay, former Bajrang Dal member and founder of Hindu Force, Deepak Singh Hindu, and national president of a Hindu group called Sudarshan Vahini in Delhi, Vinod Sharma, were arrested two days later. They were subsequently granted bail.

And two months later, Upadhyay, Hindu and Sharma attended the Haridwar ‘dharam sansad’ or religious parliament, held from 17-19 December 2021, which called for a genocide against Muslims, attacks on Christians, arming Hindus and insurrection against the government if it did not allow ethnic cleansing.

Inevitable, if the 20% have been politically cleansed already.

SEE FULL TEXT AT:  https://www.indiancurrents.org/story-a-political-genocide-john-dayal-145.php

India: Video clip 'UP mein Kaba' --- super satirical in take on the communal powers that be | Neha Singh Rathore (in bhojpuri)

 https://youtu.be/8rc3b1EIi-A


January 15, 2022

Swami Vivekananda; Highlighting Humanism if Hinduism

Vivekananda: Monk who highlighted Humanism of Hinduism Ram Puniyani As we celebrate the birth anniversary (12th January) of the saffron robed monk who projected spirituality of Hinduism, the diversity and syncretic nature of India, it is very reassuring. His teachings are in total contrast to the present scenario, where many saffron robed are promoting hate and inciting violence in the name of same religion. Swami Vivekananda, the legend who conveyed the essence of Hindu religion as humanism and love; in his speech in Chicago will remain a landmark in times to come. He could make impact as he courageously put forth the great values of Hinduism while underlying the inhuman practices prevalent in the name of the same religion. Sunil Khilnani (Incarnations, page 305) quotes a valuable saying of his, talking of Hindu religion Swamiji says “No religion on earth preaches dignity of humanity in such lofty strains as Hinduism, and no religion on Earth treads upon necks of the poor and low in such a fashion as Hinduism.” For him poverty and caste system were the curses which needed eradication. In tune with that he sees God in the poor, Daridranarayan, and eradication of poverty and restoring dignity to the untouchables becomes his central concern. He did not see that religions are in conflict as he picked up values of meditation from Buddhism. For him knowledge was not restricted by boundaries and so for him Western science and rational philosophy were to be accepted and respected. He equally upheld the organizational energies of American social reformers. He was out to reconcile the best in human traditions irrespective of native or ‘Foreign’, and so Hinduism, rationalism and social radicalism were the ideals which he synthesized in his understanding and practice. While we are out to make temples and statues, he was against idol worship as was propounded by Brahmo Samaj. Unlike many; for him Hinduism was not to be mixed with politics. He had moved the length and breadth of country and knew the deeper syncretism prevalent in our country. While Hinduism’s blend with politics was based on ‘Hate other’, Vivekananda’s Hinduism was seeped with love and unity of religions. While opposing the unwanted social practices prevailing in society in the name of religion, he called for rational thinking which may go against blind faith and dictates of priesthood. While we are witnessing the phenomenon of love jihad to control the lives of women, he stood for freedom of women. And as we are currently made to look down on movements like farmers movement, he saw the contribution of struggles of people coming together for their interests, like workers movement in America contributing to betterment of workers conditions. When one sees the prevailing atmosphere where a social common sense has been created against Islam, Muslims and spread of Islam in India, his understanding about diversity in India comes as a breath of fresh air. His understanding is for promoting amity in the society. Rather than looking at Muslims as aliens who attacked Hindu culture, he says, “Our mother land is the land where confluence of two great traditions-Hinduism and Islam-has taken place. Make Vedas the brain and Islam the body of this land. In my inner self I dream of such an integrated India.” (Dr. Dattaprasad Dabholkar, Shodh Vivekanadacha, endnote 41). While we are witnessing the tragedy of violence and promotion of hate in the name of Religion, he saw God as one “May I be born again and again and suffer thousands of miseries so that I may worship the only God that exists, the only God that I believe in, the sum total of all souls- the miserable and poor of all races, of all species.” (Volume V/Epistles-First Series/LXXVIII/ Mary Hale, 9July 1897) While currently lot of efforts are being made to hide the source of caste system under the carpet, he frankly wrote, “I have no doubt that according to the ancient view in this country, caste was hereditary, and it cannot be doubted that Shudras used to be oppressed…(Volume Vi Epistles-second series/Sir, 17August 1889) For him the diverse religions are no obstacle, as he sees religions as the path for attaining liberty and cessation of misery. One should have freedom to choose one’s path and live in mutual respect with other religions. In the atmosphere of present dominating Islamophobia, globally and more at home the sage teaches us, “If ever any religion approached to this equality in an appreciable manner, it is Islam and Islam alone. ((Volume 6/Epistles-Second series/CXLII/ Sarfaraz Hussain, 10 June 1898) Currently social energies are being diverted to intimidate religious minorities. Muslims are being targeted for having spread Islam through sword and Christians for converting through force, fraud and allurement. He clarifies the real cause of conversions in tow of his letters, one to Pundit Shankarlal of Khetri (20th September 1892 and another to Haridas Vithaldas Desai in November 1894 (Volume 5/Epistles-First Series/II, Volume 8/Epistles-Fourth series Nov 1894, respectively). In these letters he points out, “Religious conversions have not taken place because of atrocities of Christians and Muslims, but because of atrocities of upper caste.” In matters of choice of food also he was very rational to point out that “We leave everybody free to know, select and follow whatever suits and helps him…Each is welcome to his own peculiarities and has no right to criticize the conduct of other.” Volume 4/Writings: Prose/What we believe in, 3rd March 1894) While he had no issues with beef he pointed out that cow meat was consumed during the Vedic period. It was also the object of sacrifice in the Vedic rituals. While speaking to a large gathering in the USA said: “You will be astonished if I tell you that, according to old ceremonials, he is not a good Hindu who does not eat beef. On certain occasions, he must sacrifice a bull and eat it.” (cited in Swami Vivekananda, The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Vol 3 (Calcutta: Advaita Ashram, 1997), p. 536.) It is obvious that those who have iconized the legendary Swami are totally against his teachings. He is for eradication of poverty, for restoring dignity of poor and downtrodden, is opposed to caste and is for a Harmony amongst all the religions. Wish we can honestly follow his teachings rather than pursue aggressive politics of Hate in his name.

January 14, 2022

India: Congress Party Leader Margaret Alva's Letter to Narendra Modi in January 2022

 https://countercurrents.org/2022/01/margaret-alva-questions-pm-modis-silence-on-attack-against-minorities/


Margaret Alva questions PM Modi’s silence on attack against minorities


To
Shri Narendra Modi
Prime Minister
Government of India
South Block, Raisina Hill
New Delhi-110 011.

Dear Prime Minister,

I write to you, the Leader of our great Democratic,Secular, Socialist Republic of India, governed by a Constitution which enshrines the fundamental rights and freedoms of Indian citizens, irrespective of caste, colour, race or creed, as a senior concerned citizen who has served my country for 50 years in various capacities.

You are a leader respected nationally and internationally. You travel around the world, calling on world leaders, including His Holiness the Pope, in Rome, proclaiming that India is a free democratic secular state. Your speeches and statements have been praised and extensively reported on, by the global media. Unfortunately, the reality on the ground here, presents a stark contrast to the image you project of India to the global community, especially in the context of minority rights and secularism.

Mr. Prime Minister, across India, highly organised and militant right wing extremist groups are terrorising, attacking and killing innocent citizens in the name of religion. I am appalled at the recent, widely reported statements, made by some religious leaders calling for genocide of non-Hindus, in order to create a Hindu Rashtra. What is even more shocking, is that there is no response or action either by your Central Government, or the State Government that’s controlled by the BJP, of which you are the undisputed leader, or the local administration, to crack down firmly on this virulent, toxic, hate speech, designed to create insecurity and fear amongst millions of minorities, who live here in the country.

From the early days of our freedom struggle, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians and indeed those from many other religious sects and denominations have fought shoulder to shoulder with our Hindu brothers and sisters, to win our freedom and defend our motherland. My parents-in-law, the late Joachim and Violet Alva, were freedom fighters who went to jail and became the first couple in India’s Parliament, she also becoming Parliament’s first woman Presiding officer. There are today thousands of minorities serving the nation in all walks of life, in all parts of the country. Are we now to be treated as second class citizens?

Mr. Prime Minister, how can you close your eyes and remain silent when atrocities on India’s minorities are mounting? Your silence Mr. The Prime Minister is misread as tacit approval and encouragement to the ever increasing violence and intimidation India’s minorities are being subjected to. When will you speak up and put a stop to this madness and violence?

My home state of Karnataka, where I was born and brought up, has boasted of a peaceful inclusive environment that has drawn people from all over the world. This Christmas, the State BJP government has gifted us the draconian “The Karnataka Protection of Right of Freedom of Religion Bill” in “recognition” of our services, which has provisions that have been previously struck down by courts and are clearly violative of the Indian Constitution. It makes all minorities, our institutions, practices, services and charities suspect. Personal liberties of privacy, of religion, of marriage, and decision making, are taken away, and the state becomes the arbiter of our personal lives, making us subject to probes, charges, and jail by the state and its officials, who will interpret the provisions of the law and imprison us
without trial.

We Christians are a disciplined, non-violent, service oriented community. If we were involved in mass conversions, why is our number under 3%? 200 years of rule by Christian colonial powers and work by so called “missionaries involved in forced conversions” should have shown in our numbers, which have been declining. Why then this false propaganda and violence against us? The work of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, for the poor, the sick and the abandoned,all over the world was hailed by Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji and Advaniji, and has brought honour and glory to India. Even she and her sisters have not been spared, with their funds frozen. Why?

Is this the India our freedom fighters fought for? Our Constitution makers sought to create? And the Father of the nation dreamt of, when he beseeched his countrymen to “wipe every tear from every eye”? Is this the India we have struggled over 70 years to build? Rulers and Regimes down the ages have tried to anes and kill Christianity but it has survived and reached all corners of the earth. It cannot be wiped out in India. We are part of this nation’s fabric. Indian blood flows in our veins and we are patriotic citizens who have, and will continue to serve our people and help build our motherland. History shows that Christianity has thrived and spread on the blood of martyrs. Christ taught us to love our enemies, do good to those who would harm us and forgive those who would kill us. This we will do, as we pray each day “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.

May Jesus Christ bless you my Prime Minister and guide you in your ways. May the love, joy and peace of Christmas remain with us all through the New Year.

Margaret Alva is a leader of the Congress party