The brutal murder of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati (1927–2008) was blamed for sparking of a wave of killings where rampaging Hindus massacred innocent Christians in India’s eastern state of Orissa. At least that was the view from reading the western media outlets which rely heavily on extremist and hardcore fundamentalist Christian outfits for their information. Most notable on this was Christian Solidarity Worldwide or CSW, a London based outfit which claims it stands for religious freedom and yet openly flouts its connections with the All India Christian Council or AICC.
Now the AICC is brazen in its support for ‘secularism’ in India which would give non-Hindu groups special rights, much as the white minority of South Africa lorded it over the indigenous darker-skinned masses under apartheid. The AICC and CSW axis works hard to exploit poverty and caste discrimination to encourage anti-Hindu bigotry wherever people are desperate or naïve enough to take them at face value.
They are of course far from alone. Gary Lane, reporter for CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) even asked if there were double-standards when it came to Christians, arguing that India openly favours the Hindu majority. Now this from a man working for a powerful media outlet run by televangelist Pat Robertson, son of a senator so uncompromising on racial segregation that he refused to meet President Lyndon Johnson for passing civil rights laws that gave African-Americans equal rights. Robertson beams his vile anti-Hindu filth into India and yet demands that Hinduism should be banned from America. This includes even the practice of yoga.
So we need to understand the context of the violence which rocked Orissa back in 2008. Until his death the Swami worked hard for the social uplift of the tribal population known as Vanavasis. This included defending their ancient culture against aggressive Christian missionary onslaughts, cultural genocide which is well-funded by people in western countries who have yet to ditch their colonialist mentality which smacks of ‘The White Man’s Burden’ of Rudyard Kipling who urged the decent white Christians to help convert the dark heathen who was pathetic combination of both child and monkey. As famed Scottish missionary David Livingstone said as he trekked across Africa in the nineteenth century: “We come from a superior race”. Incidentally after all that effort, Livingstone only made one convert. It is that frustration which drives Christian missionary efforts to such desperate measures in India. Before his death was vilified by the extreme right-wing Christian missionary lobbyists both inside and outside India, as being a Hindu fascist. Why?
Simply because he dared to oppose intolerant missionary efforts through the time-honoured Vedic tradition of reasoned dialogue, a cultural facet which has been the major factor in India not just being a haven over the centuries for religious minorities who have always faced persecution elsewhere, but perhaps also the major element in India being the exception in having a functioning democratic system since its birth as a modern nation.
That includes a free press and freedom of conscience which CSW, AICC and CBN use in order to subvert those very elements of freedom that the Christian minority enjoys in order to bolster the forces that would lead India down the Long March into the totalitarian night. Those words are not a coincidence. Lakshmananda’s assassination was blamed on Maoist terrorists, the ones so beloved of ‘secularist’ writers such as Arunadhati Roy who turn them into romantic warriors for freedom, just as eighteenth-century highwaymen in Britain such as Dick Turpin have been embellished with a heroic image. Yet just as the likes of Turpin were basically at the level of common street thieves, the Maoists are driven by an unending bloodlust in order to create a state where even the wrong thoughts can result in a gruesome end. Such was the fate of Lakshmananda. So why would hardcore right-wing Christian extremists support this terrorism of the Left?
Aside from the common monotheistic mindset, the Swami had accused the Congress MP and the chief of the missionary organisation, World Vision, Mr Radhakant Nayak for the attack on him. He also alleged that there is a nexus between Maoist terrorist and missionaries. The swami also said that World Vision spent money in India for proselytisation, including during the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Before his death, Swami Lakshmananda had been attacked a total of eight times, something which was in fact corroborated in January 2008 by a fact finding commission, chaired by Additional Advocate General of Rajasthan, G.S.Gill.
Yet it gets more sticky when one realises the nefarious ideological basis to all this. Christian fundamentalist outfits support the Maoists as they see them as forming a common axis against Hindus. The Swami’s mistake was that he openly spoke about this dirty secret. Yet it is openly known and acknowledged. In fact only in 2007 at a meeting hosted by anti-Hindu organisation Castewatch in Coventry, England, Moses Parmar of AICC said that Dalit organisations must form a common front with Christian and communist groups in order to counter “Hindu supremacy” in the UK. I use the word ‘axis’ not for vilification but because it is the most accurate. CSW and other such groups object to the word Vanavasi, as it means ‘forest dweller’. They prefer ‘Adivasi’ which basically means indigenous.
This may sound like splitting hairs but it is far more sinister than that. For their vilification of Hindu religious figures such as the late Swami as being ‘fascist’, the extreme right-wing Christian organisations are nauseatingly obsessed here with being the ideological stormtroopers of Adolph Hitler. Their employment of the term ‘Adivasi’ is a result of their adherence to colonialist racist ideas of an Aryan race that once invaded and ruled India. It was this dangerous and unhistorical notion which led directly to the Holocaust. It was similarly used by Christian missionaries in Africa to claim that the Dark Continent had previously been civilised by white ‘Hamitic’ people. The results echo to this day, most chillingly in the Rwanda genocide of 1994 where Tutsis were said to have been descendants of ‘Hamite’ invaders who had dispossessed the indigenous black, African and ‘Bantu’ Hutus. So much for the Christian message of equality, brotherhood and colour-blindness.
If this was just an isolated incident one could pass it off as a regrettable yet minor dent in the shibboleth of a tolerant and democratic India. But it is actually more common than we realise.
Swami Shanti Kali Maharaj or Santi Tripura was a well-known Hindu saint working among the tribals in Tripura, north-east India. His ashram was located near the Khumlwng area. On Aug 27, 2000, Shanti Kali was presiding at his ashram with a gathering of local devotees. At night, Christian militants belonging to the separatist organization, NLFT (National Liberation Front of Tripura), broke into the ashram and murdered the priest for refusing to convert to Christianity along with his followers. In the same month, another Hindu leader of the Jamatya community, Jaulushmoni Jamatya, was also murdered.
The NLTF were not satisfied. Hinduism had to be expunged from their land of Christ. On Dec 4, 2000, nearly three months after his death, an ashram set up by Shanti Kali at Chachu Bazar near the Sidhai police station was raided by Christian militants belonging to the NLFT. In the months following his death, eleven of the priest’s ashrams, schools, and orphanages around the state were closed down by the Christian terrorist outfit. The mission has been engaged in providing education to poor children, health services to the poor, and running primary schools and orphanages. Yet its social work was of no consequence. It was Hindu and that was that mattered to disciples of the intolerant sky-god of Tripura’s Bible Belt terrorists. Hence Hindus, including the ‘tribals’, face not just a cultural genocide, but a very real physical one.
Anyone familiar with the history of Christianity should not be surprised by all this. In the west Christianity is on the decline. This is especially the case of established churches which have been rocked by scandals of rape, child abuse, and financial misdemeanours. Secularism is the mainstream in much of Europe and Canada, enforced with special rigour in France.
The USA is the exception but when one looks at how millions of destitute hard-working American families rely on churches for free medical care and food parcels just to keep sway from death by starvation and disease, then on can understand why the churches can muster such power in that most powerful country.
The world’s main superpower has long lacked a social welfare safety net. Hence only the supreme being can help if you are poor because in this country, shot through with the Puritan self-righteousness of the Pilgrim Fathers and the social pre-determinism of Calvinism which hates lower-caste ‘born losers’, all nicely varnished with the virtuous selfishness of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, nobody can ‘spare a dime or dollar’ for you should you have the misfortune to encounter the American Nightmare. Yet from here millions of believers in their fervour donate millions to convert those destined for hellfire.
India concerns them especially. This is because Hindus are the last remaining large body of what the Christian world has historically termed pagans, the unbelieving infidels who have the effrontery to bow down before graven images. In Europe the indigenous pagan cultures were destroyed by the advancing soldiers of Christ. Charlemagne forced the peoples he conquered to accept Christ or face death. For this the Pope crowned him Holy Roman Emperor. The Teutonic Knights forcibly converted the Slavs and Baltic peoples, and later inspired the Nazi push for lebensraum in the east. The Crusades were marked by the wholesale massacre of Jews, always the demonic entity in the eyes of those who served Christ. Only in India did Jews flourish free from persecution, as a direct result of the ancient Hindu tradition of tolerance and acceptance.
It is that essential foundation which Christian right-wing extremists are intent on destroying as they re-enact the holy wars of Charlemagne, the eastward push of the Teutonic Knights, and the pogroms begun by the Crusades in their efforts to wipe out Hindus culturally and if necessary physically, as in Orissa and Tripura, to stat just the two most stark examples. Indigenous cultures have long felt the crush of the Christian totalitarian jackboot. In the Americas whole civilisations such as the Aztecs, Maya and Inca were destroyed by the zealous followers of Christ.
In the process immense scientific and other knowledge, the posterity of all humanity, was lost forever. Cathedrals and churches were raised over Native American monuments. Some like the Quakers in Pennsylvania were more sly in their approach, preaching brotherhood and peace. Yet the natives were again cheated of their land. Across Canada and Australia, native peoples were uprooted and cut off from their ancient past to become mere sexual playthings at the hands of the church. Alcoholism , substance abuse, higher rates of suicide and destitution were the logical result in scandals which are only just beginning to unfold as a secularising western world belatedly looks deeper into what atrocities this once mighty intolerant faith forced onto its unwilling victims.
Yet even as it declines it sets India even more firmly in its sights. Churches lie empty except for an ageing band of lonely people with nowhere else to go. Others become office space, apartments, or other places of worship such as mosques. Revenue and influence is declining. So how to make up the shortfall? Answer, the poorer areas of the world where a weaker and often vampire state, itself the direct heir of exploitative methods and a kleptocracy which grew up under colonialism and its missionary organs, means that NGOs are often all that the masses have to rely on. Hence Christian extremists with their Aryan race theories have an easy defenceless target. With the Christian legacy still effectively shaping an otherwise secular west, it is easy to revamp the child-monkey chimera so beloved of Rudyard Kipling and David Livingstone as they urged Christian soldiers to go onward and educate the heathen.
In India, as Swami Lakshmanananda and Swami Shanti Kali Maharaj, this ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ is no mere metaphor, or innocent hymn sung by generations English public-school educated pupils as maids cycle in the morning mist and gentlemen play cricket on the village green. It is quite literally in their face as the trigger happy Christian with the AK47 in Tripura is only too happy to demonstrate. In India’s north-east the indigenous Hindus have been ethnically cleansed by Christian terrorists such as the NTLF, all well funded by western donors in the name of humanitarianism and spreading the gospel of Christ. In the latter they are at least being consistent with how Christianity has historically and unashamedly uprooted, destroyed and annihilated indigenous pagan cultures from around the world so that they can only be admired in museums and in tacky entertainment for affluent western tourists. That is why Hindus are on their hitlist and they are so desperate to mould India in the same violent manner that the Teutonic Knights destroyed indigenous European culture in places such as Lithuania.
More on the Murder of Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati