An Open Letter to Bishop Mar Joseph Powathil

via Advocate CK Saji Narayanan RSS state executive member and former National president BMS published on April 3, 2015

Respected Bishop Mar Joseph Powathil,
The statement of comparison made by you, equating RSS with an international terror group named ISIS has grievously wounded the sentiments of scores of Swayamsevaks, supporters and nationalists. The issue is being dragged to unethical and unwanted levels, as can be discerned by responses seen in social media platforms like Facebook. This cannot be seen as an issue where the speaker has been ignorant about ISIS or RSS or does not have the wisdom to differentiate between the two organizations.
The fact that RSS has been spearheading various organizations and have odffered unblemished services
It must be remembered that the reins of the country’s administration, which includes the country’s Prime Minister and most ministers of the union cabinet are unblemished RSS workers- this, along with the heads of as many as 44 distinct organizations associated with the RSS that are spread all over the nation. Therefore the statement made thus by you has made an unkind cut of unhealing depths in our hearts. And the only way to heal it would be to retrace those very words.
The RSS and allied organizations have, for quite a protracted period of time, been maintaining cordial relations with Christian community and have been moving forward on the most amicable terms- Christian brothers have, with great zeal and ardour, been shouldering responsibilities at various levels, in organizations like BJP, BMS and ABVP. Brothers of various religious groups have, in the main national stream, been working together in perfect harmony in organizations like Sarvapanth Samaadar Manch, Nyuuna Paksh Morcha etc, thereby upholding Bharat’s age old grand tradition of communal harmony.
Sometime back, the Christian Dialogue held in Kerala, initiated by former Sarsanghchalak of Rashtreeya Swayamsevak Sangh Sudarshanji witnessed the participation of various congregation heads of Christianity. Scores of people, overlooking differences of religion and caste have pledged service to RSS and other allied organizations and work most fruitfully and productively. They have accepted the ‘cultural nationalism’, which is steeped in aspects like culture, nationalism etc. Also it is not time yet to cast into oblivion, the steps taken by the nascent government, after coming into power to fortify bonds with the Christian community- especially the initiatives by our Prime Minister, who was an RSS Pracharak himself. In fact, the Prime Minister attended in person, a programme conducted by the Christian community, after the incidents in Delhi.
The area where differences of opinion are bound to crop up between Hindu and Christian organizations is with regard to ‘religious conversions’. In fact, from the incidents of church attack that took place in Mangalore and Panvel, it can be well gauged that a careful, conscious and well planned anonymous conspiracy is being hatched to create a rift between Hindus and Christians in BJP ruled states in India. And even in such circumstances, we expected a person of your stature to take an upper hand in settling this issue amicably, through dialogues. Still, any differences are to be resolved through amicable, responsible and peaceful means only. It is in such circumstances that an immature and inflammatory statement was issued by you, serving to hurt many. It is difficult to club a statement made by a person like you, holding a respectful position, together with other irresponsible utterances made against RSS, motivated politically and otherwise.
The ‘Hindu Rashtra’ envisaged by RSS has its roots in the splendid cultural lineage of Bharat. From times of yore, the world knew as Hindu culture, qualities of coexistence, respecting other believes, religious freedom, unity in diversity, quest for eternal truth, sceintific orientation, Ahimsa, kindness towards animals, equality, democracy etc. It should also be remembered that many Christian and Muslim leaders have acknowledged the same cultural uniqueness and have proclaimed with heartfelt pride that they are also Hindus. There is also no need for any religious group in Bharat to discern themselves as being disconnected from this cultural entity.
Gauging at the western Semtic culture, you find a wide a wide gulf of historic difference with the grand Hindu culture. It is the culture of intolerance and bigotry taught by Semitic culture and history that has given boost and inspiration to the Islamic terror group ISIS that inspires them to resort to slit the throats of enemies and burn them at stakes. It is the same fanatic intolerant culture that made the Christian congregation burn Joan of Arc and Bruno at the stakes. But when you look, it has been the Hindus who have welcomed with open arms and given refuge to the Jews and Parsis, who have borne the brunt of Semitic persecution.
Needless to say, the Semtic culture crucified even Jesus Christ, for indulging in a diverse stream of thought. But look at the Hindus- they have venerated as seers on an equal footing, both Buddha and Charvaka who denounced religion and God.
The Rashtreeya Swayamsevaks have always prided in this glorious culture and history of Bharat. All those born here have always taken pride in the land’s culture. In fact, the leadership had directed Swayamsevaks to ‘forget and forgive’ all who had tormented them in 1948 and 1975. During the period of Emergency imposed, it was the Swayamsevaks who had endured torture and torment of highest degrees, during the saga of upholding the rights of democracy. And hope you are aware of the historic moment in 1963, when Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru invited the Swayamsevaks to take part in the Republic Day parade of 1963, owing to their sheer discipline and love for the nation.
It is easy to create strife. To resolve it requires a large heart. It should also be borne in mind that those sitting at the helm of religious affairs tend to lead astray their flock, with their frivolous and immature behavior. We should all strive to move ahead together, united with this beautiful concept of a nation, overlooking trivial aspects like religio-caste differences, ensuring peace and brotherhood.
Also calling upon the divine entity to bestow you with all inspiration, to withdraw the statement the grievously wounding statement made by you,
Your brother,
CK Saji Narayanan

(Translated from Janmabhumi daily)

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