On the Orissa violence

If you look back at the history of missionary activity, you will find that most successful activity has happened when there has been active backing by the state. Missionaries have generally piggybacked on conquests in order to spread the message of their version of God. The other popular method has been to impress upon and convert the ruler of a particular place, and then get his sponsorship to spread the message throughout the kingdom.

Once missionary activity has government backing, then it will run smoothly. The government will ensure that any hurdles to the activity are removed, and might even provide active support to the activity – my means of decrees and laws and rules.

Missionary activity can also take place in a secular democracy without active government banking – provided there is no opposition. An example of this would be the early years of Indian independence where Christian missionaries found fertile areas for activity in the tribal areas. Since the opposition to them hardly existed, and even when it did wasn’t organized, the activity was largely successful.

What has changed the equation is the emergence of the VHP as a defender of Hindu rights. An organized body which provides active support for opposition to missionary activity by other religions. From the Christian point of view, the smooth sailing that they had in the years after independence was broken by the VHP – for now there was a “flag”, behind which opponents of conversion could rally.

The situation has been uneasy for about 20 years now, and has seen the sporadic case of violence – such as the burning of Graham Staines, or when some nuns got raped. However, in the last 20 years, the VHP has only got stronger. Through the Vanvasi Kalyan Samitis (tribal welfare units of the sangh parivar), the VHP has managed to educate the tribals, and has become a major force in the tribal areas, especially in Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa. What has happened in the last 20 years or so has been a virtual tug of war between the VHP on one side and Christian missionaries on the other.

We should be happy if the current Orissa situation is defused with minimum damage. No one can be blamed for what has happened there in the last few days. There had been a bomb over there which was just waiting to explode, and the killing of that VHP Swami provided the spark.

However, the fact that the bomb has gone off once doesn’t mean that it won’t go off again. People need to learn from this. It needs to be accepted that the VHP is a strong force now, and will put a lot of effort in ensuring that Hindus remain Hindus. Apart from this, even though people might try to play the “secular” card, the missionaries need to understand that they don’t have any government backing, or protection. And that they are on their own now.

As I had remarked in the beginning of this essay, when missionaries are on their own, they cannot function too well. I don’t recall too many instances from history where msisionaries of any religion have done well, despite not receiving any government banking, in situations where the opposition to their activity is strong.

What we had in the last 60 years was a lopsided situation – with the uber-organized Christian missionaries on one side, and disorganized Hindu groups on the other. In a war where one side is significantly better than the other, there is no bloodshed – the weaker party just resigns. Hence, there had been no problem. However, in the new situation, the only way that Chrisian missionaries can actively continue their missionary activity is by spilling blood – both their own and that of other communities. The sooner they understand this, the better.

6 thoughts on “On the Orissa violence”

  1. I wonder how this entry has no comments, either people dont want to be branded a bigot by concurring with what you said, or many p-sec’s are just not able to digest the logic, wht do you say wimpy

    1. But its a good thing that VHP has intervened. The x-tian missionaries have a nexus with maoists and that is well proved with the north east states, where conversion is complete and insurgency is maximum. I think VHP shd also be active in andhra where this YSR reddy a christian in the garb of a reddy is promoting conversion.

  2. I am amazed by your statement “the only way that Chrisian missionaries can actively continue their missionary activity is by spilling blood – both their own and that of other communities.”

    So your inplication is that if the VHP guys kill someone it is not at all their fault – it is all the fault of the Christian missionaries.

    Quite ridiculous in my opinion. If A kills B the murder is performed by A, not by B or C or X.

    1. Can’t generalise but I know of a church vandalised by Hindu “extremists” which on further inquiry by local elite citizens revealed that the Church had got the land for the church by paying a pittance to a habitual drunkard — a farmer(he did some menial labour and gardening. He didn’t tend his orchard). The missionaries had given him few thousands, converted him to Christianity and employed his wife as a help in their institution. This guy spent all that money and came to “reclaim” his legacy and he was convinced that he could work as a gardener in that very place which he had “alienated”. After some days, he came and broke pots, uprooted plants and pulled out the fence as he was not given money to drink.

      This was duly reported as the handiwork of VHP and its chief, a lawyer was arrested. This was done because VHP had objected the missionaries putting golden chains with cross on kindergarten kids necks and giving them a bible in their newly started school and this person had gone to meet the principal(a nun) regarding this matter. The police later filed that VHP was not involved. The drunkard was arrested and produced before the court. The missionaries supposedly took his wife and kid to some place in North India.

      Same missionaries bought almost all orchards in that vicinity. They have huge institutions there including a ICSE school, terminal care hospital and a big church.

      1. Very true. Since you are in fact generalizing from this point, let us further generalize and take this to it’s logical conclusion.

        Probably it is the missionaries / Christians (since you have clubbed all Christians as missionaries) who are killing off the other Christians – just to cast unfair aspersions on the VHP.

        The same guys are also probably responsible for demolishing the Babri Masjid to cast unfair aspersions on the VHP.

        And most of all, the missionaries are also responsible for the traffic congestion in Bangalore, the floods in Bihar, global warming and the pothole in front of my house.

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