Thursday, September 24, 2020
Home Media People must listen to VHP because the Church's mission in India is not a...

People must listen to VHP because the Church’s mission in India is not a failure: Here is how The Print is wrong

Specious claims such as Mr Mandal’s are done with a view to discredit and vilify organizations such as VHP and RSS that are doing a service in alerting the general Indian public of possible threats to India’s secular fabric.

Once in a while, opinion pieces are published that seek to mollify upper-middle-class Hindu anxiety about rapid conversion by Christian denominations. One such piece by the business journalist turned archaeogenetics expert Mr Tony Joseph appeared in Outlook in 2015, which was rebutted in this Indiafacts article

In a fresh edition of Church apologetics masquerading as opinion, Mr Dilip Mandal again seeks to allay fears by declaring people should not pay attention to VHP because the Church’s mission in India a failure. To begin with, our position is that the Church in India wields power and influence far in excess of simple headcount. Their ability to influence public opinion has been taken for granted, to such an extent that one may point to such artefacts as the Hindu Civil Laws that largely reflect Christian values and ethical positions.

Be that as it may, we will turn our attention to the specific four claims he makes as part of his argument and examine the veracity in each of them. 

The demographic claim

Mr Dilip Mandal quotes figures of Christian demographics in large cities, but ignores the fact that large swathes in the North East of India – Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Eastern Manipur – are Christian majority. Native Meitei of Manipur are facing demographic pressures, such smaller tribes as the Bru-Reang have been ethnically cleansed from their original homelands.

- Advertisement -

Nagaland went to becoming a 100% Christian State from a small Christian minority in the space of a century. Arunachal Pradesh has seen a rise in Christian population to more than 30% in just a few decades of missionary activity. The forest regions of Central India, South Tamil Nadu, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Central Kerala are regions where local politics, voting patterns and even environmental policy is decided by the Church.

Liberation Theology

Mr Mandal points to the absence of a liberation theology driven approach of the Church as a reason for it’s failure in India. To posit that liberation theology is a theological approach that builds greater adherence to the Church is to ignore historical facts, especially the history of the last 4 decades.

The Church’s ecclesiastical authorities until the current Pope have been strongly against such theological innovations – both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI were conservative.  On the ground, one may note that such regions as Chile, Argentina, Southern Mexico and the Andean regions where priests preaching liberation theology, viz, attributing redistributive economic philosophy to Jesus Christ, are the where the Church has seen the highest erosion in congregational strength. On the other hand, in regions where the Church took positions in favour of traditional conservatism such as the United States, Northern Mexico, Brazil, Poland, Philippines and Romania are still strongholds of Catholicism.

All other denominations have not taken such a route to preach. It may also be noted that the elevation of Pope Francis, a leading liberation theologist, to the papacy does not have much to do with winning and retaining congregants, but to do with a sex scandal involving the highest members of the Papal Curia. This claim of Mr Mandal’s is thus a totally irrelevant one. However, Mr Mandal neglects to look at the Church’s role in ethnolinguistic sub-nationalist movements like Nagalim for Christ, the Mizo insurrection, it’s covert support of Kashmir separatism or its recent role in such chaotic events as Kudankulam agitations, Sterlite agitation, Niyamgiri agitation and Jallikattu protests.

Christianity and the Freedom Movement 

The leaders of the freedom movement, including the all-powerful Gandhi-Nehru faction, never expressed hostility to the Church. They may have expressed misgivings about conversions, but always held that the Church’s message was one of service and love to fellow human beings. The role of the Church in incubating and fostering the Dravidian movement, which played an obstructionist role in the Indian freedom struggle, has largely remained out of sight until very recent times.

Christianity and Caste

The Church has several tools for take-over of a new region. One such is the rapid conversion of social and political elites. This was the technique that succeeded spectacularly in Europe. However, it largely failed in India, since the first converts in South India turned Christianity into yet another bastion of privilege. Instead, when we look at newer Protestant denominations such as Baptists, Pentecostals and Lutherans, we note that they are making rapid strides in conversion among the downtrodden masses.

Mr Mandal also makes the mistake of taking Christian claims of Brahmin ancestry at face value. Christian converts have carried their caste to their new faith but for a few generations. Oldest Christian congregations often make claims of Brahmin ancestry for themselves, since the advantages conferred by early entry into the Church far outweigh those for new converts. They utilize their superior educational attainments and economic status to create a Brahmin or Kshatriya origin for themselves. The claims of Catholics in Central Kerala or that of Goan Catholics must be seen in this regard.

Schooling by Christian Church

Mr Mandal’s final claim that the Church runs separate schools for elites and the poor is indeed true. In recent times the Church’s dominance in elite English-medium schools is being challenged by private schools run by education entrepreneurs. But a quick glance at the list of aided Tamil medium schools in Pondicherry demonstrates a near-total dominance of schools run by Christian denominations. It is obvious that education for poorer people is in the hands of the Church

In the final reckoning, we offer up such proof as to the Church’s role in Indian elections or grooming entrepreneurs that are sympathetic to demonstrate its outsize role in India.

Specious claims such as Mr Mandal’s are done with a view to discredit and vilify organizations such as VHP and RSS that are doing a service in alerting the general Indian public of possible threats to India’s secular fabric.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Related Articles

Trending now

ABP journalist manhandles and slaps psephologist Pradeep Bhandari

Pradeep Bhandari was in Mumbai near the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) covering the bollywood drug abuse scandal.

Triple talaq to child marriage: All the crimes against ‘Bilkis’ that Indian liberals would have supported

‘Bilkis’ could be any face in the crowd. In India, ‘Bilkis’ could come in many forms. But Indian liberals love just one of them.

What they did on 5th August, was the last nail on the ‘coffin of India’: Farooq Abdullah says Kashmiris would prefer to be ruled...

Abdullah stated, "once the restrictions are lifted, lakhs of Kashmiris will hit the streets protesting against the Modi government".

Monsoon session of Lok Sabha concludes, becomes the most productive session in the history with productivity rate of 167%

September 20 was the most productive day of the current session 17th Lok Sabha with 234 per cent of productivity.

Rana Ayyub lies again, this time while writing an ode to the old lady protestor at Shaheen Bagh for Time’s 100 most influential people...

Rana has written that Shaheen Bagh protestor 'Bilkis' was sitting to protest against the CAA that could "block Muslims from citizenship".

Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, three others summoned by NCB in Bollywood drug probe

Deepika’s name had emerged in the drug abuse probe earlier this week after her WhatsApp conversations went viral.

Recently Popular

KWAN representative told me that I need to attend Karan Johar Parties to make a comeback to movies: Suchitra Krishnamoorthi

One of the main things is that you need to be seen at Karan Johar's parties, KWAN representative had told Suchitra Krishnamoorthi

‘Are your breasts real? Can I touch?’ Actress Sherlyn Chopra accuses KWAN talent agency co-founder of sexual misconduct

Bollywood actress Sherlyn Chopra on Tuesday took to Twitter to call out sexual misconduct of KWAN talent agency co-founder Anirban Blah.

Nikhil Dwivedi, filmmaker and director of talent agency owned by Salman Khan, claims latter did not buy stakes in KWAN. Read details

Uniworld Big Talent (UBT) owned by Salman Khan, holds major stakes in Big Bang Media Venture, the holding company which owns KWAN.

Casting director of Rhea Chakraborty’s debut film ‘Jalebi’ among 10 Bollywood personalities to have died in the past few months. Read the details here

A post containing the list of recent deaths of Bollywood celebs and the alleged reasons behind their deaths is being widely shared.

Goa Police arrests actress Poonam Pandey’s husband Sam Ahmed Bombay for assaulting and molesting her

Born and brought up in United Arab Emirates, Sam is an ad-filmmaker and a producer. He had done projects with celebrities like Akshay Kumar, Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone amongst others.

Complaint filed against William Dalrymple for flouting visa norms, trying to interfere in India’s internal affairs

Supreme Court advocate and author Monika Arora has stated that William Dalrymple has violated visa norms by trying to interfere in India's democratic process and trample on her freedom of expression.

ABP journalist manhandles and slaps psephologist Pradeep Bhandari

Pradeep Bhandari was in Mumbai near the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) covering the bollywood drug abuse scandal.

Akshardham Temple attack: 18 years ago, on this day, two terrorists laid siege on our faith

On September 24, 2002, the Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar, Gujarat was attacked by LeT terrorists.

Triple talaq to child marriage: All the crimes against ‘Bilkis’ that Indian liberals would have supported

‘Bilkis’ could be any face in the crowd. In India, ‘Bilkis’ could come in many forms. But Indian liberals love just one of them.

What they did on 5th August, was the last nail on the ‘coffin of India’: Farooq Abdullah says Kashmiris would prefer to be ruled...

Abdullah stated, "once the restrictions are lifted, lakhs of Kashmiris will hit the streets protesting against the Modi government".

Monsoon session of Lok Sabha concludes, becomes the most productive session in the history with productivity rate of 167%

September 20 was the most productive day of the current session 17th Lok Sabha with 234 per cent of productivity.

Former Amnesty India head Aakar Patel arrested for tweets on PM Narendra Modi, BJP-RSS and Ghanchi caste; released on bail

Aakar Patel was arrested by Surat Police on a complaint filed by BJP MLA from Surat West constituency Purnesh Modi

Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi succumbs to Coronavirus

Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi passed away at the AIIMS in New Delhi, he had tested positive for Coronavirys on 11 Septemter

Properties made available for sale or rent only to Muslims appear on several real estate portals

Even in a cosmopolitan city such as Mumbai, bigoted homeowners actively discriminate between tenants.

KWAN representative told me that I need to attend Karan Johar Parties to make a comeback to movies: Suchitra Krishnamoorthi

One of the main things is that you need to be seen at Karan Johar's parties, KWAN representative had told Suchitra Krishnamoorthi

CBI carries out multiple raids along India-Bangladesh border; BSF officer and 3 others booked in illegal cattle trade case

A BSF officer along with 3 others booked by the CBI in connection with the illegal cattle trade along India-Bangladesh border

Connect with us

244,181FansLike
454,842FollowersFollow
16,700SubscribersSubscribe