Just to quote a great African leader: - “When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the Land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught us how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible.”
I have heard that till the middle of the eighteenth century India had about 25% share of the world’s GDP which is now hardly about 3%. I am, at times, surprised to see the downfall in the economy. There are many reasons attributed to this down fall which include India missing on the Industrial revolution growth which is a major factor to have strengthened the western economies. Prior to the Industrial revolution, the world was majorly agrarian and production was by human hands or hand driven equipment. The industrial revolution changed everything. I do not know if the western economies became rich or India became poorer or the western economies made Indians to believe that they are poor and used India for raw materials as well as end product markets or both. One fact remains that they could source raw material at abysmally low rates and could sell the finished goods at a premium. This ofcourse is business and business in legal in this world. Such businesses are still legally running around the world!
Now, let’s forget all the reasons because the final truth as of date is that India is a poor third world country and the west is a prosperous territory. Having said that, we will have to agree that westerners are concerned about the poor third world countries and send across help. My only concern is that mostly the help is in the form of Missionaries and not in the form of technology and money which is required more by the third world nations. But, ofcourse, we all should understand that gifting technology and money is against the fundamentals of economics. So, we are expected to develop technology and create wealth on our own. We need to forget that raw material used for the development of the west was from the third world, labor used for development was from the third world and a large segment of market for the goods was also the third world. We are supposed to forget everything so let’s actually forget everything and come to the point.
It was around 2002-2003 when I was in Bhopal and was attending a session of a senior RSS functionary. He also mentioned Mother Teresa in his discourse, according to him, Missionaries of Charity had around 500 centres across the world whereas Vidya Bharti had around 24000 schools all across India. His gave this comparison just to prove that there were many Sangh affiliates and other organizations which were doing far more and better work for the upliftment of the people and that the name and fame of Mother Teresa is just the way Missionaries function in order to advertise their work whereas most of the Indian organizations believe in “Prassidhi Paronmukhata” which means being “averse to fame”. My reason to mention this was that this is not the first time that a RSS top functionary has said such words about Mother Teresa, this is RSS’s stand on the work done by missionaries. It is only the media which has timed it well in order to get better viewership and have better debate on the matter.
I personally have very high regard for Mother Teresa because I feel that service to mankind irrespective of the motive should be respected. We should also remember that most of our great warriors and freedom fighters fought against the invaders because they thought it was their “Dharma” to fight for their motherland and protect it from the invaders (Although Dharma is not synonymous to Religion). So, I personally feel that we should always respect such people who serve humanity. On the other hand, I also feel that we should also not shy away in being clear with the intent of such people. Mother Teresa believed in the concept of “Salvation only through Christianity” and I expect everyone to accept this aswell. How does the respect for Mother Teresa reduce if we accept that she did the service in the name of god and believed that spreading Christianity is actually service to god? I feel that we should be non-partisan enough to accept this truth. Also, we should not shy away from criticism of Mother Teresa. If Mahatma of this land can be criticized then, ofcourse, Mother Teresa can also be criticized.
It has been a historical fact that prime agenda of Christians and Muslims has been to propagate their faith all across the world. They have invaded nations ruled them and tried all tactics in order to promote and propagate their religion. Another fact that remains is that it is only the Indian sub-continent, China and a few other Asia Pacific nations that have been able to sustain their original faiths despite occupation by both Muslims and Christians. Limiting myself to Christian missionaries here, they feel that Salvation can only be achieved through Christianity and they do it for the human good. They also feel that it’s god’s work that they are doing and will be given a place in heaven after death. So where is the problem?
Ideally, the concepts of “I am good and you are bad” or “Only I am good” is the problem. These concepts come out while one professes his or her religion because when one professes his/her religion, one compares it with other (read “my”) religions and in this process of comparison proves that his/her religion is better than other religions. This creates conflict of ideas which finally leads to mistrust and violence. Ideally, the belief of missionaries which is “salvation only through Christianity” creates the conflict because it sends all the non-Christians, including me, directly to hell. This is in conflict with my faith and continuous rhetoric of the same will lead to conflict for sure. Another cause of conflict is use of fraud to convince that Christianity is better than Hinduism. There have been many cases where people have been given medicines in the guise of holy water in order to prove that holy water cures diseases and such is the power of Jesus. Many missionaries give priority admission to Christians’ in the educational institutions that they run. This creates difference and conflict.
But, one thing that is peculiar here is that all these fraudulent practices and the truth about the intent of missionaries is not discussed by the Media. Whereas, a single conversion case, popularly known as “Ghar wapasi”, from other religions to Hinduism is depicted by media as atrocity on minorities on the country. I am personally against any kind of faith propagation because I do not see any constructive use of change of faith and there is a lot of comparison involved in propagating a faith. So, I am in favor of a law which is against religious conversions. I also understand that it is very difficult to make such a law because it is very difficult to monitor such things, but, I feel that there are many learned people in the world who can suggest many ways to resolve the issues here.
I hope the God blesses all of us and gives us good sense. Jai Shree Ram!!