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?
3 Ways Christians could respond to the “Bharat Mata ki Jai” demand Continue reading “Is it Right for Christians to Say “Bharat Mata ki Jai”?”
“Tis the season!”
scream Google and the malls in unison.
Christmas is around the corner. A lot of us are busy finishing year-end work projects, buying presents, bombarding colleagues with “Secret Santa” gifts, decorating and re-decorating Christmas trees, taking Christmas celebrations to old age homes and orphanages, watching blockbuster movies, attending midnight masses, or just taking to Facebook to say “Merry Christmas”.
Meanwhile, if you’ve been following the news, the world around us faces some level of Christmas-related drama. In Brunei, you could be punished for celebrating Christmas illegally. Is that just one Muslim ruler’s whim and fancy? Not really. Somalia has thought it best to ban public Christmas celebrations too. Countries like Tajikistan have happily banned Christmas trees, gift-giving and Father Frost (their Santa Claus – cool name huh!). This is sad, but I am mildly amused that these governments are expending energy and time banning paraphernalia.
If you’re thinking, “weird tyrants!”, try the US!
Certain states in the US will go miles to show you the inappropriateness of using the greeting “Merry Christmas”, which has been replaced with “Happy Holidays” in order to not offend people of other faiths. A sparkling example of “tolerance”, I must say!
In about 10 days from now, a lot of us Christmas revelers will be left with a sense of deflation and all too familiar feelings of –
But right now, a lot of us are trying to celebrate all that we can, hoping the fanfare, the carols, the colours and the sounds will bring us a joy that will last long enough. But no; not even Christmas celebrations can satisfy the human heart. Continue reading “Three Pitiful States to Be Post-Christmas”
This world is broken, yet wrong-doing and pain takes you by surprise and anguish.
Marriages wither and become impassable gulfs.
Party leaders and national figures suddenly pass away.
Music bands split and inspiring movie stars wind up in jail.
There are, of course, reasons why such things happen. Marriages die due to lack of adoration and hard work and often, little adulteries that compound into a deadly avalanche of separation and divorce. Bands split due to misunderstandings and pride.
Party leaders die because death is the final equalizer and movie stars become prisoners because the law is a close second in the art of equalising.
Sin is at the root of all things that can go wrong and will go wrong.
Church communities die too
I recently read an article at the Gospel Coalition titled “It Only Takes One Generation for a Church to Die”. Justin Taylor mentions Sean Lucas, who while researching Continue reading “Six Warning Signs of Death in Marg Churches”
Johnny Lever claims he had prayed to Jesus, for Hrithik Roshan and the famous Bollywood actor was healed of a cyst problem!
The late Dev Anand, Bollywood superstar of yesteryears, followed the controversial US-based televangelist, Pastor Benny Hinn, in his later years!
I had no idea about all of this until recently, when a dear uncle from our church family handed me an article on current Christianity, and that, in a mainstream Indian tabloid. Best gift in weeks- thank you!
Is it not so “cool” to see Christians influence celebrities? While Hollywood has had it’s Kirk Cameron-moments, it would be exciting to have Indian movie stars or politicians convinced of the Christian faith!
Or so it would seem to a lot of us, bechara Christians, what with the we-are-only-2%-of-our-country’s-population collective sigh, looking for some way, any way (apart from maybe speaking the truth about Jesus?) for a massive, nation-jolting affirmation of the Christian faith from someone “big” enough.
But our tiny sparks of hope will fizzle out if we don’t keep in mind two very important questions:
1. How is the Christian faith largely perceived by fellow citizens today?
2. Is the Christian good news that is prevalent among stars and celebrity-pastors in India, really the original Jesus-brand or some cheap (contaminated Maggi?) variety? Continue reading “Of Healings, Hrithik Roshan And Miracle-Marketing”