Readers React


About Right to Choose or Right to Convert by Krishan Tyagi

Hello Tyagiji,

I read your piece with interest. I am of course, aware of the issues you raise...these and others such as Church's support of NGOs activities (which runs into millions of dollars) has been well chronicled in the Indian press. Equally well documented is the carnage we know as "Gujarat Riots" and "Mumbai blasts" and the most recent terrorist attack. All three are expressions of politics being played by various sections of the society -- in the name of religion...what peturbs me is that division in the Indian society is being sought to be viewed through the narrow religious prism. Facts on the ground, as I found out on my visit to Kandhamal (Orissa) roughly a month back, point towards a rather sad truth: the wars are about disenfrenchisement of people and economic opression. Not about religion. The standoff between Hindus and Christians in Orissa is about NEGATION of basic priveledges guaranteed under the Indian Constitution and a recently passed Forest and Rehabilitation Act 2007.

The Hindus in this case are tribal populace that is being supported by Bajrang Dal and VHP which has taught tribals that killing of cows is bad and that true religion is their version of Hinduism and the target are the Dalit Pana community, the earstwhile opressors of the tribals and outsiders who have been converted to Christianity. In short, 58 Christians would not have been brutally hacked to death and 150 Churches and homes would not have burned to ashes anbd 20,000 people would not be homeless if the tribal populce and the dalit community had access to just governance. The government in power in Orissa is the Biju Janata Dal (with the outside support of BJP). This government wants the people to fight because it eyes the rich mineral resources that the Khandamal's Eastern Ghats hide. The BJP wants to increase its political base in the state (which traditionally was mostly tribal and hence far removed from mainland fact, casteism was unknown in Orissa in the 1940s) by convincing the tribal communities to embrace Hindusim (and in the process disown their beliefs, rituals, language, songs etc) and rewrite history. The fourth player (3rd being Christian clergy in particular the First Adventists) in this murky game of dispossession are the Maoists, who incidentally owned up to brutally murdering the VHP activist in Kandhamal, Swami Saraswati which in turn led to mass scale attacks, murders and rape. And so it goes on and on...

From: Charu Soni <email addr>

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