An article titled “Why Swami Paripoornananda’s allegations need a response”, was seen on mattersindia.com, written by Fr. Anthoniraj Thumma. The author claims that Swami Paripoornananda Saraswati levelled some allegations and derogatory remarks against Christians, particularly against Saint Teresa of Calcutta.
The article says that the said allegations were made during a televised debate conducted by a Telugu TV channel based in Hyderabad, and exhorts ‘all right thinking persons’ to condemn it. It goes on to say that since Swamiji’s disrespectful comments had hurt and disturbed many people from all religions, a need has arisen to clear the misgivings and apprehensions. However, it added that the article was not to hurt or attack anyone, but to stall attempts made to create a rift among religions through hate-campaigns, but aimed to promote peace and communal harmony among them.
Promotion of peace and communal harmony is the duty of every citizen in this country and elsewhere. Since the author claims that the Swamiji’s comments were disrespectful and hurtful, it is important to give a response to such partial treatment of the subject by him in his response.
Fr. Anthoniraj Thumma, a Catholic priest and the author of several books like Dalit liberation theology, without explicitly saying so attempts to defend Prof. Kancha Ilaiah who is known for his contempt for Hinduism. The major national newspapers had reported how he mocked the Prime Minister of India’s office and the sentiments of the crores of Hindus by saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should make sadhus and priests clean up the streets as part of the Swachh Bharat campaign. It is not just ironic that an article that insinuates ‘all right thinking persons’ to condemn the Swamiji’s words has conveniently forgotten to check the credentials of Prof. Kancha Iliah.
The author laments at the reference to the Catholic Pope and St. Teresa of Calcutta. He argues that Swami Paripoornananda Saraswati, by talking about the Christian conspiracy for destroying Hinduism and converting the whole of India to Christianity, diverted the caste controversy into religious problem. What Fr. Anthoniraj Thumma did not tell his readers was that how he saw in the Swamiji a heretic who is a possible destroyer of ecclesiastical authority, to borrow from the words of Pope Paul the third as he instituted the Congregatio Romanae et Universalis Inquisitionis, which oversaw the now infamous inquisition. What the unsuspecting people do not know is that rechristened as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the very body that oversaw the brutal inquisition, operates freely all over the world including India, as part of the administrative institutions of the Vatican.
Not many people today may be aware of the cruelty inflicted upon the Indians under the Portugese, authorised by the Vatican to destroy Hindu temples along with the seizure of their properties and its transfer to the Catholic missionaries, at the recommendation of Saint Francis Xavier. Under the inquisitors any open practice of the Hindu faith was forbidden on pain of death. Not only the Hindus, the Muslims as well as the Jews were persecuted by the inquisitors under the Supreme inquisitor, the Pope himself. The surviving records of the Portugese rule bear testimony to executions, effigy burnings of those who died in jail before their sentencing, starvation to death, racial discrimination, confiscation of properties, suppression of indigenous cultures as well as languages and many more barabaric acts under the inquisition proceedings. Ironically Prof. Kancha Ilaiah who refers to himself as Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd never talks about the violence and brutality suffered by the Shephardic Jews,who took refuge in India from the Spanish inquisitors, in the hands of the Goan inquisitors.
Saint Francis Xavier like Saint Teresa of Calcutta did all what he did in the name of Christ, as the latter herself described the acts of her Missionaries of Charity. Like her, he too had left his homeland for good to evangelize India. Fr. Anthoniraj Thumma is quick to reprimand the Swami ji for going against the noble tradition of hospitality and Indian culture. Is pointing out what necessarily not meeting the ordinary eyes against hospitality? The author is right in saying St. Teresa of Calcutta is much loved by entire India. Not just her, the people of India does not hold anything against the very man who pleaded with the King of Portugal to appoint the inquisitors to India. Both their mortal remains rest in peace in India where they thought were of service.
The article talks about the nuns from traditional Catholic families. Will Fr. Anthoniraj Thumma elaborate on how many years these traditional Catholic families date back to, and how to differentiate them from those who were coerced to Catholicism under the threat of Xenddi tax? Is the Systematic Theologian not aware of the systematic destruction of the Assyrian Marthoma Christians, the only ones in India who can lay any claim to traditional Christianity, under the deviant designs of Archbishop Aleixo de Menezes?Are the illegal detention and subsequent demise of Patriarch Mar Ahatallah in the hands of the inquisitors and the Coonan Cross oath forgotten so quickly? Will the truth ever be told or will it lie buried under the Arabian sea along with Mar Ahatallah? The author admonished Swami Paripoornananda Saraswati to check the facts and figures, but seems to have forgotten to do so himself; or is it selective forgetfulness?
The selective forgetfulness is evident as the article subtely takes a political turn under the guise of tolerance.Otherwise his words can be construed as diverting a television debate to instigate the ulterior motives of foreign agents. At the close of the great jubilee of the year 2000, wasn’t it Pope John Paul the second who wrote to his brother bishops, to priests and deacons, men and women religious and all the lay faithful, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19). The missionary mandate accompanies us into the Third Millennium and urges us to share the enthusiasm of the very first Christians: we can count on the power of the same Spirit who was poured out at Pentecost and who impels us still today to start out anew, sustained by the hope “which does not disappoint” (Rom 5:5).”? As a Christian addressed in this letter, can you absolve yourself of casting your nets in ways that reach to the very ends of the earth? Isn’t Evangelization 2033 another project to deprive the entire humanity the richness of various cultures, languages, arts and subject it to the mercy of modern day equivalents of Archbishop Menezes? Isn’t it time the Christians in India introspect and see whether they are unwittingly being coconspirators in this foreign plot to destroy the secular fabric of the diverse cultures that exists in India.
The author stated in his blog that spreading hate-campaign and violence and sowing of discord among religious groups and caste communities are a great concern. But in the same article he states that Prof. Kancha Ilaiah repeatedly questioned Swami Paripoornananda Saraswati on his roots and parentage. Who is trying to rake up the caste identity of a Swamiji who is revered by crores of Hindus, even when the man himself is trying to stay clear of any caste identities? To rub salt to the wound, Fr. Anthoniraj backs Prof. Kancha Ilaiah’s persistent irreverence by questioning Swamiji’s religious credentials as a monk because he was seen visiting his parents.This is nothing short of insulting the religious sentiments of the Hindu faithful, as a sannyasi is beyond any parentage. Will it be wrong to say Fr. Anthoniraj Thumma is denigrating the beliefs and practices of other faiths, borrowing his own words from the article?
Prof. Kancha Ilaiah speaks of Buddha challenge to Brahminism, but speaks nothing of “the monkey’s tooth”,how the Christian missionaries refered to the sacred relic of the Buddha before publicly destroying the tooth as a means to humiliate and declare superiority. Those who accuse the Hindus of being agents of discrimination do not want us to know how clever they are at hiding their tracks of wiping out pluralistic existence guaranteed by the principles enshrined in the Dharma as well as in the constitution of India.
We all want peace and harmony, and we all need to move forward healing the wounds of the past however painful those wounds may be. This is possible only through dialogue and not through veiled insults or casting nets cloaked in gospel of love. The Indians never failed to appreciate true acts of love, and will continue to recognise genuine love and genuine charity. Our idols may look dark, but in those very idols rest the true essence of India which continues to teach us “AUM Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah”. Let us all continue to enjoy the true harmony enshrined in “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” handed down to us by the Vedic sages. Let us all hold hands and take our Motherland to her true glory and her rightful place befitting the time.