Christianity, Hindutva, Conversion Understanding the Challenge
By Dominic Emmanuel SVD
ST PAULS, 58/23rd Road, TPS III, Bandra West, Mumbai 400050, India. ISBN 978-81-947495-8-5 – Pp 384 – Rs330
Lies, deceit and subterfuge! That is the grim reality of the state of present day India in relation to its minorities, most specifically, Christians. Christianity has existed in India for over two millennia; yet, its adherents have been reeling under savage attacks from right-wing majority fundamentalists under the banner of what has been widely touted as Hindutva – an ideology under which only those of the majority community are seen as patriotic; those of other communities, especially Christians, being considered de facto enemies of the very country many of them have sacrificed their lives for.
Through this book, Fr Dominic Emmanuel SVD, seized of the challenge of the times, makes a concrete effort at lifting the veil of suspicion covering the minds of a majority of those who have failed to understand the Christian religion correctly. It offers apt substantiation of the Christian contribution to the development of the country and its ethos, apart from initiating, promoting and fostering interreligious dialogue for the purpose of consolidating peaceful co-existence in the country and the world. It also touches upon the raison d’être of certain Christian religious festivals and practices, with a view to enabling the reader to discern the totally baseless claims in which Hindutva forces have rooted their avowed goal of reinventing India as a Hindu Rashtra, Constitutional niceties be damned!
It is more than obvious that the anti-conversion bogey of the self-styled protectors of Hinduism literally thrives on lies and deceit, unduly crying hoarse over mass conversions that never happen, what with the Church being duly wary when accepting individuals into the fold through ‘Baptism’. Published in a question-and-answer format, Christianity, Hindutva, Conversion is based on queries raised and doubts posed by common people and well-informed journalists alike. It makes no bones of the fact that the conversion allegation fabricated by so-called ‘nationalists’ is as totally unfounded as it is false. The book questions the logic behind such a state of affairs vis-à-vis the Constitutional right of every citizen to practise, preach and propagate one’s own religious ideology sans hindrance and coercion. In doing so, its contents help in no mean measure to remove the clouds of suspicion from the unsuspecting minds of all and sundry. This it does by offering on the one hand the demographic data of Christians (2.3% of the total population) and on the other, revealing the relevant doctrinal and scriptural basis for their work among the poor and the marginalised.
Indeed, it is in keeping with the urgency of the moment that Christianity, Hindutva, Conversion clarifies issues in the national interest – its contents both embracing and exposing the truth, and nothing but the whole truth. Of course, though generally applicable to Christians in general, the book demonstrates substantial Catholic leanings, considering that the author is a committed Catholic priest with staunch allegiance to the Pope and the teachings of the Magisterium.
Ladislaus Louis D’Souza