Addressing a public meeting in Delhi, Shiv Seva Chief Balasaheb Deoras declared that Pope Paul II’s forthcoming visit to India “is a threat to Hinduism.” Mr. Deorasisa great advocate of Hindu supremacy in India and has often argued, rather naively, that “since democracy is a rule of the majority, Hindus have a democratic right, being the dominant community, to enjoy absolute power.”

He also said, “Unless the Hindus remain a strong majority, the country will disintegrate.” Whatever be the merit of the argument, Mr. Deoras is certainly no hypocrite like the ruling congress party that professes and swears by secularism but practices the ugliest form of ‘apartheid’. How far Indian Government identifies Hindustan (India) with Hindus is evident from the way oppressed minorities are branded separatists and antinational even when they demand nothing beyond what the constitution ‘solely’ promises them.

Neither Mr. Deoras nor the Indian rulers are willing to offer an honorable choice for the minorities. Minorities must either submit to Hindu domination or embrace Hinduism. The situation is no different from what obtained during the reign of Aurangzeb.

The concept of social and religious equality is foreign to Hinduism. Its superstructure rests on a rigid caste system and it will collapse like a house of cards if this system were to be abolished. In Gujarat state government had to withdraw the concessions offered to the “untouchables” in the face of bloody riots by the ‘High Caste’ majority. The Gujarat trend is fast gathering momentum and High Caste Hindus are pressing for the withdrawal of all concessions to these unfortunate classes so as to perpetuate their exploitative hold on them.

Yet the fear of their conversion to Christianity or to Islam haunts the High Caste bloodsuckers. Their own fear and guilt make them oppose Pope’s visit. Why else should they organize protests and demonstrations against the visit when each individual in a secular setup is supposed to have religious freedom. Why should anybody feel agitated if someone wants to embrace a different religion out of free will?

Pope’s visit seems to have sent shivers down the spine of those who believe in Hindu Chauvinism. Expressing his apprehensions Mr. Morarji Desai, former Indian Prime Minister, warned that the visit could lead to large scale conversion of the “poor Hindus” to Catholicism. ‘Poor Hindus’ is euphemism for the downtrodden ‘untouchables’ who in official parlance are described as “Scheduled Castes’. Their lot in India has for centuries been a sordid tale of misery and exploitation. They are still being treated as the scum of the earth and live a life far worse than that of the accused slaves of the Roman Empire.

Nobody in the western free world gives a damn what Hindu Swamis or Shankaracharyas do during their visits here. No eyebrows are raised when they convert Christians to escapist cults like Hare RamaHare Krishma or even the socially outrages Rajneeshism. But Hinduism feels threatened at the visit of the Pope. Deoras and Desai should not forget that two percent of Indian populations are Christians who look upon Pope as their spiritual leader. May be they have yet to learn to recognize that people other than Hindu Chauvinists realize this better it would be for the integration of India. The threat to India’s integrity does not lie in a religious dignitary’s visit but in the ‘big brother’ attitude of the majority community.


Article extracted from this publication >>  November 15, 1985