DANGERS OF CHRISTIAN-HINDU INTER-FAITH DIALOGUE
'Opening the Door to Inculturation'
Dr. Vijaya Rajiva01 25 2012
A recent article by Dr. Gautam Sen in the Organiser draws attention to the fact that while Christian nations are busy making war on various parts of the world, in India they have found a convenient device to keep the Hindus occupied and distracted and this is the device of the "Hindu Christian Dialogue." The present writer believes that whatever words one may use : 'dialogue' 'debate' 'discussion' etc. they all smell alike in the present context of engagement with the Church. The beautiful rose smells as sweet by any other name ! Here, the stink of Hindu Christian dialogue smells the same, by whatever name you call it !
Whether intended as such or not, author Rajiv Malhotra's new career in Hindu Christian Dialogue opens the door to Inculturation since he began with the discussion/dialogue with Francis Xavier Clooney of Harvard at the University of Massachusetts (Dartmouth). Ostensibly the event was about Shri Malhotra's new book "Being Different." Its content and tone are quite different from his earlier book "Breaking India (2011)" along with co-author Aravindan Neelakandan. That book details the dangers that India faces : terrorism, maoism, Inculturation from the Church. Many readers of that book were alerted to these dangers. Other writers such as Radha Rajan and her colleagues, had already written about these dangers, and done yeoman service to the Hindu cause. Breaking India followed in that series of writings. The present writer was impressed by its professionalism and dedication to the Hindu cause and wrote one of the first favourable reviews of the book in Haindava Keralam which has a wide readership in South India, especially Kerala. The response to this review and other subsequent events focussed on Breaking India was a welcome one since the mainstream media had ignored the book. The present writer wrote to such people as Rajdeep Sardesai of CNN and received polite responses but they did not take up either my review or a comparable one from some other source.
However, the beginnings of a new career in Hindu Christian Dialogue, already presaged in the methodology of the new book Being Different (the incomplete and truncated "Purva Paksha") is fraught with the very danger that Breaking India warned readers about, namely Inculturation. This is the process by which the Catholic Church, since the time of Robert de Nobili in the 17th century, tried to insinuate and infiltrate itself into the local culture by adopting its manners and lifestyle (names, and methods as well of rituals of worship in the 20th Century) while all the time preaching the Christian gospel . Some of this worked but most of it did not, and this was owing to the valiant alertness of the aam admi Hindu, the traditional acharyas and pundits and gurus, and by the 19th century the militant writings of Dayanda Sarasvati and Swami Vivekananda and some less well known writers. This has been well documented and written about by Ram Swarup and Sita Ram Goyal, the latter in his book "History of Hindu Christian Encounters (1996)." Also the historian R.C.Majumdar's historical works attest to this. Contrary to popular beliefs amongst Hindus themselves, these fighters, namely the aam admi Hindu and the traditional acharyas, DID NOT ROLL OVER AND PLAY DEAD. And the leaders such as Vivekananda gave voice to these heroic people. Thanks to all of them Hindu India continues to remain Hindu.
Today, one sees a repeat of the same situation where the Catholic Church is targeting the aam admi Hindu and the traditional acharyas, gurus and maths, with new weapons, this time the fateful inter-religious dialogue, especially Hindu-Christian Dialogue, by co-opting Hindu authors and writers. But there are few leaders left to express this danger now and to fight against it. Those that do so are ignored by the liberal media and demonised by some Hindus themselves. Many Hindus take refuge in esoteric discussions about whether the words 'dialogue','debate' and 'discussion' can be interchanged. Rajiv Malhotra himself has recently made some fine distinctions between different types of dialogue and so on. The grim fact remains that he is in 'dialogue' with a contemporaty representative of the school of Inculuration, namely Francis Xavier Clooney, Jesuit priest and scholar and professor of Divinity at Harvard University(USA).
By whatever name one calls it, it is a malodorous thing !
The present writer has written about the reasons why Shri Malhotra cannot function as a modern day Vivekananda and why Fr. Clooney has craftily conferred that mantle on him, for his own nefarious purposes(See 'How not to engage in Hindu Christian Dialogue' in Bharata Bharati, Jan.18,2012 and in kalyan97blogspot). Malhotra can at best speak about his own book to audiences both Hindu or otherwise, but cannot generalize his faulty interpretation of the ancient Hindu science of Purva Paksha as the way to go for contemporary Hindus . Nor should he distract Hindus by engaging in what has turned out to be a meaningless exercise with Clooney. Instead, he is well advised to return and read Swami Vivekananda's writings on the encounter with the West.
Vivekanda's writings should be the template for any encounter with the West. It is a trenchant critique of the West, especially Christianity. It is not an accomodation of the same, no matter how much Shri Malhotra believes he is being canny and savvy in his dealings with Clooney. Nothing has really changed. The historical situation of the past is being replicated at present.
Fortunately for Hindu India, the aam admi and the traditional acharyas, gurus and maths continue as they always have done since time immemorial. These must be protected, rather than attacked, by one more weapon that the Church has devised, the Hindu Christian Dialogue.
There are basically only two paths that the contemporary Hindu can follow in this situation :
1. Reject outright the fraudulent Dialogue.
2. Expose and defeat those who engage in it.
(Dr. Vijaya Rajiva is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university. Her academic training is in Philosophy, Political Science, Political Economy and History).