The man in saffron turban holds the village boys in rapturous attention. He has been telling them how Christians have undermined the Indian culture. Christians are forcing the converts to eat beef and drink cow blood mixed in wine. “I have seen it with my own eyes” he assures them. He continues to incite them, “How dare these Christians desecrate our holy cow, the symbol of Sanathana Dharma?” The boys by this time have been sufficiently angered. They are now ready to beat Christians and demolish churches.
This is not an isolated scene in Chungru village in Jharkhand. The saffron propagandists of lie operate all over India. Their only commission is to spread lies about the Christians and incite ordinary people to array against Christians. These are the frontline soldiers of the Saffron Brigade – a conglomerate of Rashtriya Swaymsevak Sangh (RSS), the oldest of the Hindu resurgent groups, Bajrang Dal (the monkey brigade), and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).These organizations successfully collect millions of dollars from the non-resident Indians living in the West for terrorist activities against Christians in India. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the political face of the Hindu fanatical groups, now rules India.
At present the Indian politics is built around two icons – Ram temple at Ayodhya and the holy cow. Along with these an active policy of stopping all religious conversions defines the Hindu attitude. As the parliamentary election is just around the corner the Hindutva forces are trying hard to find an issue to win the election. Learning a lesson from the recent victory in Gujarat election they have taken an aggressive pro-Hindu stance. Nothing will help them to win the election like the building of Ram Temple in Ayodhya. The efforts of the Kanchi Sankaracharya to bring an ‘amicable’ settlement to the Temple issue only revealed the ugly face of the Hindutva demon and its Nazi policies.
The cow is another icon the Hindutva forces are banking upon for whipping up a pro-Hindu sentiment in the country. Cow slaughter is banned in most parts of India. The country which sanctified cow is yet again unable to rise above politics over an animal whose physical condition in most parts of India is truly pathetic. Our prime ministers and chief ministers perform special cow worship ‘Gau Poojas’ prior to any important occasion. A cow-centric website describes the cow as follows,
Oh unslaughterable cow!
Salutation to your beauty appearance.
The chanting of Vedic Scriptures, the cow, fire and, the mediating agency of the priestly caste of Brahmins constitute the four crucial corners of Hindu holy spectrum. Traditionally, the one who performed the Yagna (worship) had to purify himself by drinking the Panchagavya, a mixture of five cow products - curd, milk, ghee and cow urine and dung.
Recently five Dalits were killed for skinning a dead cow. The Dalits were killed for their temerity of touching the holy cow. This revealed to the whole world the Hindu respect for human life. Five Dalits can be killed for upholding the honor of a dead cow. This is the attitude of the Hindus today. That is why a rumor that Christians drink cow’s blood in their Holy Communion can build a lot of anger against the Christians. Moreover, beef eating has always been associated with the low castes and out-castes. By claiming that Christians force their converts to eat beef the Hindutva forces are telling the nation that conversion can only make a person into a Dalit (out-castes). This brings us into the next important agenda of the Saffron brigade – anti-conversion laws.
In India, conversion is never a religious issue but a political and economic one. Since conversion directly benefits the Dalits, the Hindu high castes are totally against religious conversion. The Dalits are still considered slaves, and the Hindu society strives to keep them that way. That is why Christianity and conversion are taboo. It is a well known fact that the main enemies of the Hindutva forces are the Dalits and the other most backward classes. Giving them education and the possibility of social mobility will deprive the high castes of their cheap, and often free, labor. Anti-conversion laws are not against the Christians but against the Dalits. The Indian church largely fails to understand this dynamics and fight against the anti-conversion laws as if the church’s freedom is clipped. In fact what the ruling elite is trying to do is to clip the wings of the Dalits. The church has to take anti-conversion law as a human rights violation.
With the revived cults such as the Hare Rama Hare Krishna Movement, Matha Amrithanand Mayi, Ananda Marg and Shiv Sena getting much money from the US and other Western countries they continue to propagate fanaticism with money and political strength. In the midst of such powerful enemies Indian mission organizations struggle to proclaim the Kingdom of God. Jesus was right when he said I am sending you lambs into a pack of wolves. Our missionaries experience it everyday. Many evangelists working among the poorest of the poor are beaten and persecuted. Only the churches’ prayer can give them courage. The ‘war’ on the church’s hand is a spiritual war. Total dependence on the guidance of the Holy Spirit is the only way to win the war.