WHAT IS HINDUTVA?
Some Answers: Indolink || Ashis Nandy || BJP || FOIL || HVK || Vinay Lal
à “Making America Hindu” – see Ghadar essay by Ra Ravishankar and Shefali Chandra.
à see the Arun Shourie series in Indian Express: demographic anxiety about Muslims in Indian border regions around Bangladesh. [compare US right-wing anxiety over Mexicans on the border, and in Mexafornia!]
à Six missionaries injured in mob attack. The Hindu, India - Sep 25, 2004
à RSS men held for attacking missionaries. Times of India, India - Sep 27, 2004
à Deccan Herald - September 28, 2004 | Editorial
Seven Christian missionaries were attacked allegedly by RSS workers at a Scheduled Caste colony on Saturday in Kerala, for providing material assistance to a Dalit family. This certainly indicates a growing trend of religious intolerance in the country and in the state. The missionaries were targeted allegedly for their attempt to proselytise Hindus. Hindu fundamentalist groups have been active in the state for a long time and there have been many cases of violence and breach of peace in the recent past. The acts of violence only discredit the state of Kerala which enjoys the highest literacy rate in the country. The concept of conversion through coercion has a fundamental flaw, especially in a democracy, since citizens are endowed with their own free will and have to decide about their choice of religion. Moreover, unlike in a totalitarian system, they have a right to freedom of expression to highlight coercion, if any.
Orissa, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh have also witnessed religious violence in recent times. For instance, there was the killing of an of an Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons in Orissa five years ago. An American missionary, Bishop Joseph W Cooper, who belongs to an evangelist denomination, was attacked in January 2003 in Kerala for similar reasons and was asked to leave the country. The victims of religious violence in Kerala include a Kenyan national who, like Cooper, entered the country on a tourist visa. Some arrests have been made in connection with the attack on the missionaries last week and there is need for investigation to unravel the full conspiracy. It is for the state government to ensure that there is complete religious freedom in the state and all those responsible for the attack are brought to book. The free exchange of spiritual messages should transcend national boundaries and people should have the unfettered right to pursue the religion of their choice. India is traditionally known for its tolerance and hospitality for every major religious stream running through the country from Judaism to Christianity and Islam to Zoroastrianism. There is need to be vigilant against attempts to vitiate this great tradition.