Shri Ashok Chowgule Ji,
In future you may bring some more important points, which are being suppressed times and again.
First issue is blasphemy.
Qaba is booty. Muslim Imaams have no shame for abusing non-Muslims' deities and faiths. More shocking is that non-Muslims do not apprehend the act as blasphemy. As such who is the culprit? Mind it! One who bears attrocities is more criminal than one who commits atrocities.
Have we ever called for jihad against ardent Muslims? Have we said anywhere that Muslims should recant their faith, pay jizyah (protection money), or they should be killed? Where is the imposition Muslims are talking about? Muslims fail to see that Muhammad imposed his diabolic faith on others thorugh his numerous ghazwas (raids), that Muslims ancestors and mine were massacred, raped and forced into conversion, but Muslims see opposition against Azaan and mosque as an imposition? If a Muslim does not want our idols, why should we allow our Qaba remain with them? Can a Muslim who does not want to remain a Muslim relinquish his faith? What will happen to him if he does? (Koran 4:89) and (Koran 5;101 & 102). Where is the touted freedom of faith guaranteed in the Indian and American Constitution as well as 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights'? Can non-Muslims living in Islamic countries practice their faith freely? Have Muslims read about the recent violence against the Copts in Egypt? Have Muslims heard of innocent Muslims in Pakistan accused of blasphemy are lynched by Muslim goons as well as awarded death sentence for blasphemy by courts?
Muslims want Kashmir. They got Pakistan. Should we not ask for our Qaba situated in Saudi Arabia? Should we not ask for share of land for those Muslims, who stayed back in India from Pakistan? If not why? Jews are already demanding their properties from Germany.
Muslims want back and were given as well land in Ayodhya to build Babri mosque. Should we not ask our temples illegally occupied by Muslims through out India? Delhi is capital of India. First, I demand demolition of Quwwatu'l Islam Maszid of Mehrauli and construction of those 27 temples from the debries of which the Quwwatu'l Islam Maszid was constructed.
If those worshipping other gods save Allah be killed, why those worshipping Allah alone be not killed? If those not accepting Jesus their king be killed, why those accepting Jesus their king be not killed? Muslims and Christians are at loggerhead. If raping women of alien faith is free from blame (Koran 23:6) for Muslims, then how can Muslims refute Christians who have been commanded to ravish the women of non-Christians before the eyes of the men of the victim women (Bible, Isaiah 13:16)? If those worshipping other Gods save Allah be killed is justified, (Koran 2:191) How can Muslims refute Christians, who have been commanded by Jesus to slay those, who do not accept Jesus their king? (Bible, Luke 19:27) If snatching the belongings of other person is offence, why the democrats, who snatched citizens' right to property are not dacoits? Where is the moral in that society that is owner of the belongings of the haves?
I have to say several more; but this time the above is enough.
Ayodhya Prasad Tripathi, (Press Secretary)
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Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2010 17:17:55 +0000
To: Benjamin P N
Subject: Fw: HOW CERTAIN SHOULD WE BE, THE PROBLEM OF RELIGIOUS PLURALISM
From: Benjamin P NOn Sun, 14 Nov 2010 15:18:35 +0530 "Ashok Chowgule" wroteDear Sir Mark,
Benjaminji has forwarded the transcript of your lecture in Begaluru, I would like to offer my comments on the same.
I am going to make some points here not with an intention of nit-picking but to take the discussion forward.Before I do so, I would like state that I believe that there is no real difference between what Sir Mark has said, and what we in the Sangh Parivar believe. Hence I would like to respectfully disagree when he says: ".my understanding of Hinduism is very different to the dogmatic RSS school of Hinduism." I will leave this point here, since it needs a different discussion. To a certain extent, I think if my other points are viewed in the perspective that I hold, the discussion on the RSS school of Hinduism can be better understood.Another general point that needs to be highlighted that much of what Sir Mark calls IINDIAN traditions is actually HINDU traditions. We should not be afraid of saying this, because the term Indian includes traditions other than Hindu, but all the attributes of the Indian traditions that he has mentioned are found only in Hinduism. Like trying to position Yoga outside of the Hindu tradition, discussion of religious tolerance without reference to Hinduism is to ensure that the origin is not given its due credit.A third general point relates to what he has said towards the end of his lecture, where he makes a plea that he should not be misunderstood that he wants to convert the non-Hindus to Hinduism or that he is some sort of defender of the RSS. Some eight years ago, he said in an interview as follows: "I don't want it to sound as if my attacking secularists implies that I am supporting the RSS."The need to defend oneself in such a manner is a reflection on the way discussions happen (not just in India, but in other parts of the world) when it comes to Hinduism and its philosophy. There is a form of intellectual terrorism (a term I use deliberately) that makes people hesitate to say good things about Hinduism. Sir Mark is not the only one to have been so attacked. But it is to his credit that he has stood up to the attacks, unlike many others who have succumbed to the peer pressure.Coming to some specific points in the lecture. I have always believed that in any religious dialogue, there is a need to understand that the differences between the basic philosophies have to be laid on the table. Because it is these differences that create tensions, which the dialogue is supposed to try and reduce to a manageable level, if not eliminate.We need to understand what is the essential difference between monotheism and polytheism. Monotheism says that there is a single way to salvation while polytheism says that there are multiple ways. The effect of the monotheism on an individual can be quite profound. If his friend is not of the same belief of salvation as he is, then he is bound to come to the conclusion that his friend will go to that place where one is eternally barbecued. So, he has a duty of friendship to try and wean his friend from the path the friend has chosen, to prevent him from suffering in the after-life. Thus, the act of conversion is no longer a religious duty but a human duty.A polytheist has no such problem, because eventually he knows that they will reach the same ultimate goal, even though he believes that his friend will take a circuitous route, and may have a longer period of search.In this case, it is really an issue of black-and-white. The use of the term pluralism, etc., is really a side show, since one cannot really be a monotheist as well as pluralist, while one can be polytheist and pluralist at the same time. Thus, pluralism is really the equivalent of polytheism. At the same time, it should be understood that the problem of black-and-white does not exist when one discusses the issues in the polytheist context. However, in this note I will use the word pluralism, even where it is not interchangeable with polytheism, to make the wording less cumbersome.Sir Mark would like to contend that one can find elements of pluralism within the new thinking in Christianity. Here too I would like to respectfully disagree with him. One has to just read what the clerics are saying to understand that the elements of pluralism hardly exists in their thinking. While we can well admire people like Jacques Dupius, it would be improper not to recognize that he has had problem with his own church (namely the one based in Vatican) for the views that he has expressed, and was suspended from his teaching post the Gregorian University in Rome, around the turn of the century. So, we see what has happened after the supposed winds of change brought about by the Second Vatican Council of the early 1960s.Nearer to India, there is the experience of Fr Tissa Balasuriya of Sri Lanka, with respect to his book on Mary. In his case, he was excommunicated, which was lifted only when Fr Tissa admitted to his deviations from the officially recognized church teachings.I do not think that the exclusivist thinking is restricted only to the Vatican, but is part of all the important churches in the world. For example, when Prince Charles wanted to change the oath of monarchy of the UK to indicate that he was the defender of all the faiths, and not just the Anglican variety, the hierarchy of the Church of England went ballistic, and gave all sorts of warnings to the prince. One of them said that if Prince Charles is saying that all religions are equal, then he would like to 'profoundly disagree' with the prince.There are some churches that do incorporate elements of pluralism in their teachings. But then, while teaching the Bible, how does one deal with so many verses that teach monotheism? If they say that these verses have to be purged from the Bible, then the very authenticity of the book comes in doubt. Sir Mark seems to be well aware of the problems when he says: "Now for Christianity, there are of course, difficulties in pluralism." He has pointed out that, in a pluralistic context, there are difficulties of holding on to certain verses as divinely revealed.The move towards pluralism, and hence polytheism, has been noted by various surveys that have been taken in the countries which are, at least nominally, Christian. Significant number of people at large are of the belief that there are multiple ways to salvation, and this number is increasing. Also, more and more people are accepting reincarnation as valid. This is despite the fact that in teaching Hinduism, the aspect of multiple paths is touched upon only cursorily, while there is much emphasis on aspects like caste.Sir Mark is correct that a religious philosophy is impacted (I would like to add the word seriously here) by the culture in which it evolves. By the same token, a religion that has evolved in a particular culture cannot be easily transposed into another. I would like to contend that this is true only in case of a monotheist religion. A polytheist religion can easily adapt to the new culture and the member of the new home will feel quite comfortable with a member of the original home. Thus, a person who accepts Hinduism as his faith, but was brought up in eating a non-vegetarian diet, can well continue with his previous food habits. A vegetarian Hindu may frown on his practice, but will not say that he is not a true Hindu, since the same vegetarian frowns on a non-vegetarian born in generations of a Hindu family.Sir Mark says: "The other thing about religion I feel is important in the context of pluralism is that it's always personal." This is something that the Hindu sages and philosophers have been saying all the time. Each person has to create his or her own personal experience to move towards the path of salvation. While one may say that the path of the other is not valid for oneself, one accepts that the path is valid for the other. This is the true spirit of tolerance.I would like to offer an expansion on his statement where he says: "It's a historic fact that India has provided a home down the centuries for almost every religion in the world." India has provided home to those who came here due to religious persecution in their own homelands. While the Jews and Parsis are the better known examples, because of their unique experience of living with honour amongst the Hindus, there is also the case of the Syrian Christians who fled their homeland due to persecution by Christians belonging to another Christian sect.At the same time, when Islam and Christianity came with the power of the sword, the Hindus resisted as ferociously as they could. They lost some, but held on to a large portion of the territory and the people, to make Hinduism the oldest surviving civilization. Due to this resistance, the power of the sword was not as successful as in other cases. Yet, the attempt to destroy Hinduism continues - in supposedly more subtle manner.I would like to say that my remarks are not made with an intention of dissuading the reader from seriously studying what Sir Mark has said. I would, however, like to suggest to Sir Mark that there is a need to take the issues to a logical conclusion. I have tried to suggest some direction, but I will not say that it is the only direction. Sir Mark has made a beginning.
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