Fifteen years ago, if someone had predicted a national controversy about the phrase “Bharat Mata ki Jai” (Victory to Mother India), I would have shelved that idea with other revolutionary and fanciful notions like “Batman exists” or that “God does not exist”.
Who would have ever thought. In a controversy that had embroiled popular political figures like Mohan Bhagwat of the RSS, Asaduddin Owaisi of the AIMIM, Baba Ramdev of the Patanjali and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri. Devendra Fadnavis, our nation (or at least our nation’s blogosphere, Twittersphere and “newsphere”) was buzzing through with variants of the question –
Can any Indian citizen choose not to say “Bharat Mata ki Jai!” ?
If not, aren’t such people anti-national?
Should this debate concern Indian Christians?
I think it should concern anyone who is part of a religious minority in our country.
Barely a few weeks ago, Muslim youth from a Delhi Madrassa were beaten up by some men allegedly because they refused to say this potent phrase. The cops have claimed that there are conflicting versions about what the victims of the attack were asked to say – “ Victory to Mother India” or “Victory to the Mother”, which is Jai Mata Di, a worship chant for Vaishno Devi, a Hindu goddess popular in North India.
At a sadbhavana sammelan (compassion rally) in Haryana, Baba Ramdev said that but for the law, he would have chopped heads of those who refuse to say “Bharat Mata ki Jai“.
He now has a police complaint registered against him for making a hate speech. It is yet to be seen what legal action would be taken against a prominent pro-Hindutva guru in these times. But my point is – if an Indian citizen who is a Christian refuses to say “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, it is quite possible that he or she shall face no small repercussion in India’s tangible summer of religious intolerance.
So, is it right for Christians to say this phrase?
Quick question – what hymns or songs did you sing this Easter morning?
Though it is the most momentous Sunday in Christianity and the most incredible event on planet earth, our fickle memories can even turn Easter into a distant memory. The tears about Jesus’ death – Good Friday – have long been wiped and so has been the Sunday sermon on Jesus’ resurrection. The final busy week of March is upon most of us, employee appraisals hang like Goliath’s sword above our heads and it’s India vs. West Indies at World Cup T 20 tonight. Thank you, but move on Easter!
As the intensity of that empty tomb in Israel dwindles down to “harmless” levels, here’s an encouragement for all Christians out there.
Easter is more than an annual festival. It’s a quiet revolution that should rightly turn your world upside down, one day at a time.
For starters, consider what Billy Graham once said –
“There is more evidence that Jesus rose from the dead than there is that Julius Caesar ever lived or that Alexander the Great died at the age of thirty-three.”
The undeniable reality of Jesus coming alive three days after dying a bloody, brutal death on the cross is so solid a supernatural event, that I still wonder how as a knowledgeable Hindu, I was not aware of this truth for twenty-one years.
Many friends of mine say that all gods are the same.
I think they don’t understand the utter failure Jesus’ life seems like when compared to the life-style and status of Hindu gods like Rama and Krishna. If gods & prophets had resumes, here is a brief comparison-
Raving religious resumes
Ram: Born to royal lineage, defeated Ravana the evil king in war and finally, peacefully leaves his mortal body.
Krishna: Born to royal lineage, killing his arch-enemy Kansa and enabled Pandavas to win the Mahabharata war, finally dies by an arrow wound to his toe and ascends in splendour with his body into his eternal abode.
Muhammad (the last prophet of Islam and not god): Born in the Banu Hashim tribal clan, preached Islam and lived a life of tribal conquest, finally died of an illness.
Jesus: Born to a carpenter under circumstances that made people mock his parentage, He did many miracles and proclaimed himself the Son of God. He was finally mocked at a false trial and then mockedby torture and was dished out a humiliating execution by his own people.
No God was mocked like this Pilate gave the crowd what it wanted, set Barabbas free and turned Jesus over for whipping and crucifixion. The soldiers took Jesus into the palace (called Praetorium) and called together the entire brigade. They dressed him up in purple and put a crown plaited from a thorn bush on his head. Then they began their mockery: “Bravo, King of the Jews!” They banged on his head with a club, spit on him, and knelt down in mock worship. Continue reading “The Double Scandal: Worshipping A Humiliated God”
Probably your aim is to conquer your graduation with good marks, and/or to work and become financially self-sustaining. While you have a gala of a time doing all that, you also know the next stage in life is probably the dreaded,
M-word : Marriage.
Knowing that God is the creator of marriage, you have had some hopes of finding that one person in life to get married to. Your desktop wallpaper has one of those dreamy “God has plans for you and blahaa blahaa” quotes with some young Western character staring deep into the sunrise in a green field.
(Married folks, try to remember how life was for you before you met your spouse).
But it has been years on end now, hope is like an aeroplane that makes a loud noise on the runway but somehow never takes off. Meanwhile at least one person you meet, in the week or the month, asks you that question –
“So, when are you getting married?”
You, then, experience the following range of emotions:
– The desire to throw your helmet at them.