A Letter to the "Religious Trouble-Mongers"


To the Bajrang Dal and other Hindu right-wings:

  • Yes, I agree forceful conversion is a crime. But, killing poor innocents in Kandhamal just because of their religion is a bigger crime - an unpardonable one at that.
  • Have you seen the photographs splashed across the newspapers - those of an injured nun with blood on her face - after the attacks on Churches in Mangalore? Is that your idea of delivering justice?

I hate to deliver my verdict thus, but if you continue with your brutal agenda of religious discrimination (and this includes Godhra, Babri Masjid and other incidents), it is in the interest of the country that Bajrang Dal be banned.

To the Christian institutions ..

... those accused of forceful conversions:

  • If forceful conversion is indeed what you are indulging in, remember that it is your religion which gets defamed by your act. The innocent nuns and Church-goers are the ones who face the brunt of resentment.
  • More importantly, it is against the law and against your own religion (I am no expert on Christianity, but I am dead sure that no religion preaches forcing people to follow their faith). After all the word "preach" implies that no force is involved.
  • Taking advantage of the people's situation (for example their poverty) and converting them .. well - I am unable to decide whether this is acceptable - for I feel both sides of the debate are equally strong.

... those which closed down for a day in protest against Kandhamal the attacks:

  • Your colleges have students from all religions. How come you did not protest against the bombs going off all over the country? Or against Godhra?
  • By only protesting against Kandhamal, you have made yourself as guilty of disturbing the religious harmony of the country as the perpetrators of the crimes themselves (not to mention that your act reeks of hypocrisy).
  • Christianity (just like any other religion) places as much importance on humanity as on religion. Keep that (and the fact that you have students and staff from all religions) in mind before going communal next time around.


I have nothing to say to the Islamic extremists, particularly Indian Mujahiddeen. After all, what could I possibly say, except re-iterate the opinions put forth by hundreds of moderate Muslims time and again: that terrorism is as un-Islamic as it could possibly get ?? I know LOTS of Muslims personally, many of them very religious. NEVER have I come across any of them harboring any form of ill-feelings towards people of any other religion. They all believe as much in live-and-let-live as any of us.


To all of us everyday Indians - let us all join hands to defeat the nefarious intentions of the various extreme right-wing organizations - which exist in the names of all religions. Let us all resolve to do everything we can to see to it that religious harmony is maintained - and to prove that it is possible (and pretty easy) to follow our respective faiths, at the same time uphold the Constitution.

JAI BHARATH.

Would the Gods Brand Me an Atheist If ....


.... instead of burning my money on firecrackers during Diwali (probably inflicting burn wounds on someone in the process), I were to donate the same money and time to cure a poor child of the burns she has suffered?

.... instead of splurging on Ganesha idols (which will end up at the
bottom of a pond anyway) and feeding him umpteen varieties of eatables , I were to feed a hungry child with the same money?

.... instead of literally wasting money and resources during every festival (and we have no dearth of festivals - do we?), I were to do something constructive which has timely relevance (for example, do something for the Bihar flood victims right now)?

Festivals are meant to be kind of family reunions - which is all the more relevant in today's scheme of things - where families are scattered everywhere. Festivals are meant to be occasions for middle class people to indulge in a little materialism - like purchase new clothes for children, gift yourselves a TV/fridge/vehicle.

Alas! The original meaning and intention have dissolved totally. Festivals are now a question of who splurges more. I want my Ganapati idol to be bigger and more lavishly decorated than my neighbours'. I want to show off to the whole village that I burst the maximum firecrackers during Diwali. It is a competition.

I have decided that I am going to celebrate festivals in their original spirit. I wonder whether the Gods would brand me an atheist and punish or curse me for doing so ..... !!!!


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