Forums Chat Annouce Calender Remote

Arun Shourie's Column, Part 2/2

....continued from the last post....

   Now, as the millennium shall come only when, but immediately when all accept
the Revelation, it is the duty of the agency - of the Church, of the Islamic
rulers and maulvis, of the Party - to see that everyone sees the Light. If
even after The Light has been shown to a person, he refuses to subscribe to it,
he must be put out of harm's way.

   For, in that circumstance, the man is not merely harming himself, he is
coming in the way of the mandate of God, of Allah's Will, or as in Marxism a

   The presumption Gandhiji was nailing in that representative conversation
follow necessarily from these premises: there is no salvation outside the
Church or the Faith or Party - the poor Buddha, with all his compassion, just
cannot be a St. Francis.

   What must be done also follows inevitably from those premises: the Church
must convert, Lenin and Mao must export the revolution, Khomeni must export
the revelation. These are inescapable responsibilities.


   Conversions have, therefore, been going on for 2000 years. They have been
proclaimed to be an essential of Christianity, a duty of every Christian. They
have become one of the principal preoccupations - in some cases, as with the
evangelists, the principal business of the Church.

   An incredibly vast organisation has been built up, and incredibly huge
resources are expended to save souls.

   It costs "145 billion dollars to operate global Christianity," records a
book on evangelisation. The Church commands four million full-time Christian
workers, it runs 13,000 major libraries, it publishes 22,000 periodicals, it
publishes four billion tracts a year, it operates 1,800 Christian radio and
TV stations. It runs 1,500 universities, and 930 research centers. It has a
quarter of a million foreign missionaries; and over 400 institutions to train
them. And those are figures from a book published in 1989 - since then these
has been the surge in Eastern Europe and Russia.

   And the numbers are indeed impressive. Europe and North America are almost
wholly Christian. 97% of the population of Latin America, 92% of Phillipines,
36% of Africa, 32% of South Korea is Christian.

   Are they - either the continents or the converts - closer to the spiritual?
Is their conduct better?

   Such were the questions that Gandhiji asked the missionaries about the ones
they had converted in India. The questions are as telling in regard to converts
the world over....

   Also, the sudden jumps in the number of adherents during famines and other
privations testify to the use to which such times were put.

   Swami Vivekananda admonished the missionaries in the harshest language for
the means they adopted, for the use to which they put the people's despair:
his Collected Works are full of his extreme fury on these counts...

   A polish student brought a photograph to Gandhiji and asked him to autograph
it. There is a school run by Catholic fathers, the student explained, "I shall
help the school from the proceeds of the sale of this photographs."

   Returning the photograph, Mahadev Desai records in his Diary, Gandhiji said,
"Ah, that is a different story. You do not expect me to support the fathers in
their mission of conversion? You know what they do?" "And with this he told
him..," records Mahadev Desai, "the stroy of the so-called conversions in the
vicinity of Tiruchengodu, the desecration and demolition of the Hindu temple,
how he (Gandhiji) had been requested by the International Fellowship of Faiths
to forbear writing anything about the episode as they were trying to intervene,
how ultimately even the intervention of that body, composed mainly of Christia-
ns, had failed, and how he was permitted to write about it in Harijan."

  "He, however, had deliberately refrained from writing, in order not to
exacebrate feeling on the matter." If the Harijans had awakened to matters
of the spirit and had acquired the ability to assess these things, he told
the student, "I would bless them for voluntarily embracing Christianity."

    But that is not what is happening. He went on to recall how the weakness
of his own son had been used by persons to convert him to Islam. "The young
man could see the deep pain with which Gandhiji was speaking," Mahadev Desai
records. "He did not press him to give the autograph and took his leave."
    (Collected Works, Vol 63, pp 47-8)

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