Dear brother from minority community

I am pained beyond belief to have seen a three minute video of two religious heads of a religious denomination spewing venom on Prime Minister Modi and BJP leader Amit Shah.

One has the right to his own opinion. But as a religious leader, one has the responsibility not to fall prey to crowd induced euphoria and (mis)direct followers in a particular direction.
In this case, the two were asking the followers to chant a certain name for the downfall of PM Modi. All this, in a meeting called to ask for a secular item – water.

One preacher even went to the extent of asking how could Kanyakumari have an enemy of the majority community in the constituency, as its MP? He further said that had the community chosen an MP from its own religious denomination, the Inaiyam port would not have happened.

I know that leaders of minority communities (mis)direct gullible followers to vote in a particular pattern. But until now these have happened inside places of worship and congregation. But a preacher spreading such a message in an open forum is an ominous sign.

My appeal to brothers & sisters in the minority community:

Go ahead and don’t vote for Prime Minister Modi, vote for Rahul Gandhi or even Karunanidhi. But, do so on your own volition. Don’t let devious preachers herd you as cattle, for they are acting to fulfil their master’s wishes – this time it is money, foreign governments and mercenaries.

My dear brothers and sisters in the minority community: We have been brothers and sisters until now. Preachers come and preachers go, but we are brothers for ever. Don’t let the chord of trust break.

When your preacher calls your elected representative an enemy of your community, they are not only insulting the member of parliament, but are also deriding the collective wisdom of the people who have voted the person and made him their representative.

Time to get out of the preacher’s spells and think for yourselves. Your preacher has no business directing your secular thought. In fact, it is your right not to be directed, in a particular way, to exercise your constitutionally given right.

Never were P.C.Alexander, K.M.Cherian, Abdul Kalam, George Fernandes, Varghese Kurien et al seen in their religious shades. They were seen as exemplary citizens and role models for every one to emulate. Let us build more of this lot and less of the preacher (c)lot, for the latter are parasites that feast on communal divisions and societal disruptions.

Breaking trust is easy. Tearing down communities is easier. Rebuilding is difficult. Don’t let our pluralistic society become a polarised one. #VandeMaataram.

Tamil Nadu to Taliban Nadu

The state of Tamil Nadu entered the hospital in December 2015. Then it graduated to an ICU in September 2016 and finally reached the mortuary in December 2016. From then on, it continues to be in the same state – lying in state.

Dec 15 floods not only devastated Chennai but also wrote the preamble to the destruction of the state’s economics. When floods ravaged the state, overseas companies that had their offshore operations in Chennai took a serious hit. The offshore sites were not reachable for 4 days and that had a devastating effect on the bottom lines of many IT enabled companies.

I took it as a cue and moved a critical function to another state in India. Many had done that too, later I learnt.

Then came September 2016, when the then Chief Minister of the state Ms.Jayalalithaa was taken ill. She was in hospital until December 2016 when she passed away. The business scenario took a serious downward spiral as the state didn’t have a head of state for many months.

Later during January 2017, assorted groups took advantage of the situation and held the state to ransom by holding an indefinite strike and protest on the shores of the Bay of Bengal in Chennai. What appeared to be a ‘student’s protest’ to voice opposition to the banning of a popular traditional animal sport soon metamorphosed into an ugly monster that espoused sedition and linguistic chauvinism.

From then on, periodic protests in the name of safeguarding agriculture, protecting tamil pride, opposing the ‘exploitative’ attitude of industries et al have begun to surface with no warning. Meanwhile the state government has gone into a paralytic mode with no visible activity happening in the name of governance.

This sudden vacuum in the power structure has provided the necessary impetus to the anti-social elements to wreak havoc on the state and upset the carefully built image of the state as a safe one for investment.

The LTTE money that is still available in a few hands, the religious conversion inspired and church backed activists who have seen their folk dwindling, the out of business politicians who were kept at bay by the two state political parties, the parties affected by the recent demonetization by the Narendra Modi government – mostly the hawala operators, movie producers et al – these are the forces that are behind the incremental descent into chaos.

Yet another force that is not spoken about at all by the mainstream media is the rapid wahabi inspired elements that are seeking to consolidate and bring about greater instability in the state. The late Jayalalithaa too pandered to this sect when she allowed the ‘Anti-Superstition Conference’ of the wahabi inspired elements. The elements openly asked for the desecration of the sufi shrines in Tamil Nadu, as the latter were not as per the teachings of the wahabi sect of Islam. For 100s of years, hindus and christians have visited these sufi shrines as a show of inter-religious harmony in the country. Disturbing this amity is a recipe for disaster.

Some of the leading movie stars like Kamal Hasan have found it fit to come out in the open and voice concern on the state of affairs – an attempt to enter the political scene now that the all powerful leader – Jayalalithaa- is gone. It was Kamal Hasan who had to face the music of wahabi elements when he sought to release a movie of his – Viswaroopam – that talked about terrorist elements and the US war on terror. That Jayalalithaa used Kamal Hasan to consolidate the wahabi elements to support her was an open secret that none wanted to acknowledge.

Tamil Nadu is seen to oppose any progressive central government scheme much to the detriment of its own people. Overseas investors are in two minds whether to invest in the state or not, now that there is no political leadership with clarity of thought and action.

The recent ‘protest’ in the village of Neduvasal in the name of opposing hydro carbon extraction is worth our attention. This was conducted by, again, the assorted groups of anti-India and anti-Progressive forces. No sooner were the protests announced than the communist parties sidelined with them. The recent converts into communism – the JNU radicals and his ilk – came all the way to Tamil Nadu, to Neduvasal, and ‘voiced’ their support to the cause. This, even after assurances from geologists from the Periyar University in Salem that the hydro carbon extraction in Neduvasal had nothing to do with the water levels going down in the state.

The not-so-recent Kudankulam protests have to be looked into through the same lenses. The local church organisations had gathered together, pooled their resources, and financed the fast-unto-death programme of the local residents. The fasts continued for so long that even Arvind Kejriwal, the born-again-anti-national, came all the way to Kudankulam to voice his support. It is a different matter that Kejriwal had promised free electric power to Delhi ( where he was Chief Minister) and it didn’t matter to him that the free power that he was proposing was drawn from the Atomic rectors of Rajasthan.

The Neutrino project in the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu has been shelved after considerable money has already been spent. Reason – environmentalists of this anti-national conglomerate opposed it.

Tamil Nadu is seen as the only state that opposes the national eligibility tests for medical seats. Recently the state also abolished the state level qualifying tests for its engineering colleges.

The number of Tamil Nadu students qualifying in central government conducted All India Exams has come down, thanks to successive years of decay in the educational arena. The normally multi-lingual Tamil student is seen to struggle even in Tamil, leave alone English and Hindi. The student knows the next movie that is set for release than what goes into a mobile phone that makes it work.

For the average student, a movie star’s personal attributes are interesting than the issues in South China sea. One should not be surprised if a student, when asked ‘Who is the president of Tibet’, could blurt out, ‘Dalai Lama’. Such is the situation on the ground. The educational statistics of the state’s students, especially in Math and Science, paint a grim picture. While the state should pride itself in providing quality and free educations, it has stooped to the level of distributing liquor through state agencies.

The state had the gory spectacle of the top bureaucrat being raided, in office, by central tax investigators.

However hard I try, as an Indian Tamil, I cannot restrain from thinking that Tamil Nadu is marching progressively towards being rechristened Taliban Nadu.  And feel sad at it.

I plan to write more on these contemporary issues at different times. I shall write them as an Indian first and a Tamil next.

Tell me your views and share the article as appropriate.

Christianity and Caste – book review

Brahmin Christians should adhere to the following :

  1. Should not eat out of the hands of Velala and Nadar christians
  2. Should not eat beef, fish and eggs in public
  3. Should sport a sacred thread
  4. Should Apply sandal paste on their forehead
  5. Should employ only upper caste Christians as their servants
  6. Should not eat or drink in public view.
  7. Should not be seen consuming alcohol.
  8. While on travel should eat and drink from behind a screen.
christianity and casteism
christianity and casteism

The above are the injunctions prescribed to Hindu Brahmin converts  who have become christian priests. And who prescribed these ?  Rev. Roberto de Nobili an Italian missionary in AD 1609. Don’t be surprised at the term ‘brahmin-christian’. These improbable classes did exist during the origins of Christianity in India and continue till date.

These and many more of such shocking truths are made evident by Prof. Sivasubramanian, the Marxist scholar and researcher in his Tamil book ‘கிறித்தவமும் சாதியும் ‘ ( ‘Christianity and Caste’)

You might think that the very purpose of getting converted to Christianity has been defeated if one still is a brahmin even after becoming a christian. That is precisely the case. Caste system has reigned supreme in Christianity in India, as it had been reigning supreme in Hinduism then and now. Caste has been a major classification even in Christianity. While seemingly opposing the caste system in Hinduism, christian missionaries have covertly and overtly converted hindus en-masse on caste grounds.

Prof. Sivasubramanian has done pioneering work in this regard. He exposes the depths of caste classification in Christianity and provides clinching evidence that spans 500 years of documentation. He is un-biased and objective and never deviates from the main point – Casteism and Christianity.

He compares the caste system in Hinduism and Christianity and concludes that caste behaves in the same manner, irrespective of the religion it is associated with.

He takes the case of a village called ‘Vadakkankulam’ in South Tamil Nadu, India and traces the history of the village church and the changes that happen to the church as time advances. We are treated to many pages of amazing evidence of the different caste based discrimination that was prevalent in the parish, how each community fought with the other on caste basis irrespective of the fact that Christianity was not supposed to have helped the cause of caste system, how different communities filed cases against one another and the case details and in the end, the stupidity of all that.

Vellala Christians file a case against Nadar Christians asking  Nadars not be seated in a particular place inside the church. Sakkiliar Christians appeal to the Fench / British authorities alleging discrimination by the Parish priest. Pillaimar Christians file a case against Nadar Christians asking them not to use their street. Prof. Sivam quotes as evidence many such cases and also provides detailed judgments to substantiate the prevalence of caste system in Christianity in India.

The learned prof also provides some interesting details on the methods used by the missionaries for conversion of caste hindus like the brahmins. He particularly quotes De Nobili, the Italian missionary who wore a sacred thread like the hindu brahmins. While hindu brahmins wore three threads across their body, De Nobili wore five – three to signify the father, son and the holy ghost and two more to signify Jesus’s body and soul. He ate out of the hands of upper caste converts, was vegetarian and sported a sandal paste on his forehead like caste hindus. Additionally he wore ochre robes and had a stick with a flag ( the stick is called ‘dhandam’ in Hindu ascetic order ). In every way, he wanted to resemble a brahminical sanyasi ( holy man) and thereby attract hindu brahmins into his fold.

De Nobili went further ahead and created a fifth Veda in addition to the four Hindu sacred texts. He called that ‘Yeasu Sura Vedam’. He wrote in Sanskrit so that Hindu Brahmins would get converted based on that feature as well.

Prof. Sivam’s book is a worthy read for anyone interested in the early origins of Christianity in South Tamil Nadu, India.

If you are encountered with a story that Christianity didn’t practice caste system and un-touchability, offer this book as answer.

The English translation of this book is available as ‘The crusade against caste domination in the holy family church at Vadakkankulam’ by Dr.Balasubramanian.

Soul not for sale

Let me say in second person singular. Writing in Third person in passive voice is not effective.

Dear Converter,

I confess. I have not read ‘The Book’ in full. Don’t intend to read as well. But that does not mean I am game and ripe for harvest, does it ?

How do you think I am ‘available’ ? Or do I appear ‘available’ ?

Let me come to the point. How do you think you are in a position to offer me ‘solution’ or ’emancipation’? Why do you think I need emancipation ?

What is ’emancipation’ by the way ? Is that wine tasting ? If I am a tee-totatler them am I in need of ;emancipation ? Is that how you define ?

Or has emancipation got to do with the way one worships ? If you fall flat before the altar you are in need of emancipation and if you kneel down you don’t need. Is that how you define emancipation ?

Let us come to solutions.

When you think you can offer me a ‘solution’ do you think you are at a higher level than me so that you can ‘uplift’ me ? What makes you think you are placed in an elevated pedestal ?

Are you a vendor of solutions ? To offer me solution, I need to be in a problem. I am not in any problem. Why do you assume that I am in a problem ?

How do you know my problem even before you know me and my way of life. Why hasten to a solution even before you know me ?

Have I ever come to you pleading my position and praying for emancipation ?

Is it that your ‘solutions’ are canonized in a single book and available for consumption and that mine are not in just one book and are scattered all over ?

Is it because I have many God forms ? Is it because myself and my folk speak different languages, eat different foods and live different lives yet consider ourselves of one culture ?

Let me as you something. In my culture, there is no one way to salvation. I choose a way while my brother chooses another. But we believe that all paths lead to salvation.

Are you sensible when you think myself and my brother should tread the same path ? Am I not different from my brother in terms of tastes and interests ? I like a dark colored God while my brother a fair skinned one. Sister doesn’t need one. Aren’t we family then?

Why do you say ‘My way or No way?’. Let me translate that for you. Why do you say ‘Only My God and no other God?’. Why can’t you see divinity in a cow or a goat ?

Let me ask you a question ? Why should my God be human at all ? Why can’t that be , say, a Tree or a Mountain ? Don’t you see God in these ?

Why can’t you see divinity in an inanimate thing as well ? Is your vision so skewed and narrowed ?

For me, that which cannot be controlled by me, that which is beyond my creativity, that which awes me is divine. So, a Tree and a Mountain are divine. Any problems ?

Understand this. In my house, the sin is not on the lamb. And therefore I don’t slaughter the lamb to rid my sin. The poor animal is a part of me, my overall existence. What is here is what is there. Get it ?

If you don’t get this, you think you could provide me ‘salvation’ ?

So why try harvest my soul ?

My soul not for sale. Period.

Change your religion, why papa ? – Part 2

‘Sir, Are you happy in your current life?’

You are into your deepest slumber on Sunday, the only day you get to rest. You hear a knock on your door. You ignore that and try to get into your sleep. The knock persists. You try to wish away the knock that it was only a dream. A couple of minutes later when you are re-entering your sleep, you hear the knock again. You get real and pounce towards the door, adjusting your night dress, and suddenly feeling that it has dawned already.

Upon opening the door, you hear the first sentence and see an elderly man and a twenty-ish fashionable lady.

‘Sir, Are you happy in your current life?’ You hear that again.

You are really confused as to what the world has come to. You don’t want to get angry seeing the elderly person. At the same time you don’t want to look like a fool seeing the twenty-ish thing.

‘When I am not allowed to sleep on a Sunday morning how could I be happy Sir?’, you say.

The above incident happened not one but twice when I worked in Mumbai, India in the mid-nineties.

Soon after, you are confronted with philosophical questions like ‘Why is man un-happy?’, ‘What makes the after life?’, ‘How does one not enter the fire in Hell?’, ‘How to get prepared for the ‘Day of Judgement ‘?’. and the like.

I looked at the elderly person. He should have been about 60 years old. He spoke English with a slight Marathi accent. But the girl was an Anglo-Indian whose English did not contain any trace of any oriental language. Her diction was perfect. For a south indian, I was able to align with her language than the elderly gentleman’s as I was still not comfortable with Marathi then.

‘How come many who have been pious and good-mannered suffer while those who are ill-mannered live a life of joy?’, she asked.

Having had a grounding in the Vedanta philosophy, I had been accustomed to this. But said,’Yes, I have this question lingering in my mind Miss. Could you possibly explain?’

‘Does your religion not answer this question, Sir?’, she inquired.

‘Well, I don’t know. Hence could you please explain?’, I said.

‘Excellent. That is because they are not in Jesus yet. If they would have been in Jesus, they wouldn’t have had to undergo this ignominy of having to suffer while there is perfectly nothing wrong with them’, she said and elaborated further,’ that is precisely why we are here today, to invite you to be part of Jesus and experience happiness in this life’.

My Vendatic background awakened. I knew what they were for. I invited them inside and offered them tea, much to the consternation of my friends whose sleeps were also getting disturbed. By virtue of we being bachelors(then), we shared an apartment in Mumbai.

They obviously did not like my Tea. That showed. However the discussion continued.

‘Madam, let me ask you something. Let me ask you some questions’, I proceeded.

The duo seemed prepared.

‘Why do you think I am not happy?’, I said.

‘Because nobody is happy in this world. Everybody is pained at something or the other’, he said.

‘No, my question is Why do you think that I am not happy in this life?’

‘That is the general rule. Nobody is happy unless he is in Jesus’, he said.

‘Sir, I am a product of my mind. Even in difficult situations, one can be happy if one wished. It is just a matter of the mind’, I reasoned.

‘But why is there suffering in this world?’, she asked.

‘Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. This suffering of a person is a result of some past deed’, I said.

‘Why do some perfectly reasonable and well-intentioned people who have done all good deeds in their lives suffer?’, he asked.

‘That is because of past actions. By past I mean the past lives. That is explained as ‘Karma’ in the Indian thought’, I reasoned.

‘No, that is not acceptable. Indian thought is pagan thought. And that is not the path of God. So that cannot be true’, she said and added ‘so you believe in superstitions such as previous lives?’, she inquired.

‘Madam, what is superstition becomes a fact. But what is a fact is still considered a superstition like the earth being the center of the universe’, I said knowing that I was touching a raw nerve here and continued thus :

‘Your assumption that I am not happy is fundamentally wrong.I am happy within the limited means that I have.  And I believe that what I possess is what I have been destined to possess and there comes my sense of equilibrium. My perceived sufferings are the result of actions that took place in my previous birth and therefore I am not going to blame anybody for that. That is how the sense of equanimity is brought in into the Indian life. But that does not mean one should not strive to be better. One should keep working on doing one’s duties without hindrance to others and that will ensure that the society is at peace. ‘Do your duty and I shall provide the results’ – That is the essence of the Vedantic school of thought’.

Continuing further, I had touched upon the Israel Palestinian conflict, the Irish Republican Army’s then efforts to destroy the UK despite following the same religion, the Catholic Protestant diatribes and the like and tried to show that not everything was rosy on the other side as well.

Looking back now , those might not sound scholarly or erudite anymore. But I evolved from then on and started paying attention to what the Indian Schools of Thought provided, what the great seers had said, how the missionaries had evolved in India, how the Indian society was exploited by them. how the then East India Company’s colonization of India and later the British empire’s rule followed by left-leaning socialist leaders’s regimes squandered and continue to squander the nation of its intellectual and spiritual farsightedness.

And that is the essence of this series.

Let me know your thoughts. Your words mean much in this effort.


My earlier posts on this when I was ‘visited’ in Singapore are below :

When they ‘harvested’ me, almost

Waiting for the pastor

Change your religion, why papa ?

Of late I have been introduced to a huge list of documents and books on how Christianity propagates itself. I have been subjected to a whole lot of visits by people from the different dominions and pantheons of the religion. These people always come in pairs. They choose a Sunday when that is the only day you get to rest.

Every time a new pair turns up or meets me at train stations or mall entrances, they always thrust a few books and odd colored propaganda material. The only difference would be the organization that would be sponsoring the material. I have often wondered as to why such propaganda needs to happen ? If a religion is so sublime and pristine, would people not flock to that path en masse ? Why should religion be sold like a diaper – buy one get one free sort of.

And most importantly why are respectable people, who have a day job, doing this ‘canvassing’, if I may say so, for a religion that traces its origin to the very beginning of earth ? I have several well meaning friends who profess the christian faith but never one has asked me to ‘follow the path of their God’. So, why should complete strangers do this to complete strangers ?

Neither Buddhism nor Sikhism nor Jainism does this road-side selling. During my time in Tokyo for  two years, never once has a Buddhist or a  Taoist practitioner approached me for getting converted. Walk into rural Tamil Nadu in India and you will get at least one invitation to ‘immerse in the gospel’ staring at you from every pillar. Stand below the poster for a minute to enjoy a minute of shade, you will soon be in the company of at least two persons virtually dragging you to verbally into a ‘communion’ promising to liberate you from all sins of the earthly world.

I have been confronted by such people in Texas and in Singapore.

Just look around a parchy Tamil Nadu village. Out of the plethora of mud houses with thatched sheds would rise a two-storied building proclaiming the ‘Genesis’ and inviting you into the ‘Realm of God’. Needless to say, the building would have a luxury car parked in front of it.

Many years ago, I used to commute from a sub-urban Chennai location called Selaiyur to Central Chennai. The path used to meander through a location called Camp-Road junction. The slum dwelling adjoining Camp Road Junction had a small church spire. On a week-end, there was a congregation that had all the slum dwellers gathered in front of the church spire. There was a tele-film on Jesus that was being screened. And in a corner people queued up to receive divine blessings. The ‘prasad’ or holy food consisted of bread and a sweetened water. And the water contained some mild traces of paracetamol. The ‘devotees’ whoever had mild fever were cured in a matter of 30 minutes. And they believed that their fever went away just because of their attendance in the sermon. This would ensure their continued attendance the subsequent week as well. I suspect the local pharmacist would have been the happiest person in the locality as all his beyond expiry dated paracetamol stock would have fetched him huge gains.

Why does Christianity alone do this ? Is this ordained in the book ? What makes this ‘propagation’ a necessity ? Is it common across the different pantheons of Christianity ?

These questions have been piquing me for a long time. Therefore I decided to research upon some of the methods used in this mass canvas activity particularly  targeted at the Indian subcontinent. And how is it that they have been hugely successful ? Is this not religious marketing ? Are there parallels between this evangelization and the modern marketing methods ?

The result has been mind blowing. And therefore the levels to which this ‘evangelization’ drive goes cannot be fathomed.

Let us look at some aspects of this going forward.

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