Story of a lost journalist

August 31, 2008

Orissa mishap. Completely incomprehensible priorities

Filed under: life,People — Cris @ 16:27
Tags: ,

I am not a religious person. So whatever I am about to say, is absolutely unbiased. I had a conversation with a friend some time back. He started talking about Orissa. Naturally, from his concerned tone, I was expecting him to talk about the mishaps and the killings there. But what seemed to have bothered him was the “unjust way they chose to convert people to Christianity”. Like I say I am not religious so I have nothing for or against that area. But I definitely was concerned about human lives. And so when human life was at stake, I cannot understand how anyone could be concerned about religious problems.

On one hand there was the problem of religion and on the other hand people were dying. But when I saw my friend was worried about religious conversions more than human loss, and that too the fact that he felt the latter justified because it was a result of the former, was something that really, really got me upset. Why! How can people be so blind? Why their priorities were sorted so, so unreasonably! Why do they forget they are human beings before anything else? That these people who converted or died or killed were all first humans before they were Christians or Hindus or Muslims!

My friend proceeded – “I don’t have a problem if they chose to convert people through just and sound means, like talking about it. But then offering a poor person bread in exchange of his religious conversion was something really wrong.”
I again had nothing for or against it. It was not my area of concern. However I did point out that to that poor person, bread was more important than religion. That religion was something people held in their minds, it didn’t matter how many conversions you went through if your mind was firmly rooted in one line of belief.

As long as we have young people worrying about a religion spreading or eradicating more than humans dying, I really, really do not have much hope for our country or our people. I cant help wishing there was a complete world rebirth and with it, only humans were born and prospered and nothing including religion, caste, creed, race, color or countries that separated one human from another came to being.

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51 Comments »

  1. s you said,to a poor man,it snot the name of God that matters,but gives it that matters..People who speak against it will do the same when they are in such a situation..

    Comment by Nimmy — September 1, 2008 @ 10:30 | Reply

  2. Why don’t they give food if they really want to help, unconditionaly. If u ask a hungry gal over there to do some thing wrong and u offer to give her money in return she might agree coz of her hunger and helplessness. Doest that mean it was right coz he helped her out of hunger? Is the motives right? Is the mode of spreading Christianity right?

    Let them convert, but it should be based on Bible. Teach people bible, Make them understand the meaning of it, the greatness of it, and if he accepts it, let him move on to be a Christian.

    But this is exploitation.

    And if they want to help,Help the poor unconditionaly.Please don’t try to buy religion .Plez don’t be so manipulative.

    @ Cris
    I really wish whole of the people where as broad minded as you. All people include all minorities and majority is the country.

    Please don’t misunderstand secularism as always pointing fingers at Hindus. This country is so great you have all rights to shout at any other religion so openly. But think if the situation was like in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. You would have been a dead hero by now. So please don’t exploit the freedom we all enjoy. Give space for all religions to grow. Dont try to eradicate Hindus by converting people with the help of money.Be fair.

    Comment by Gov — September 1, 2008 @ 12:19 | Reply

  3. @Gov,you seem to see only one side..I agree that exploitation is a fact..but is raping and burning nuns,the way to correct it?Do you think by buring alive or by gang rapiping people,the philosophy will die out?

    Instead,why not try to provide “roti,kapda,makaan” for thos epoor people instead of buring and raping people..I guess that will make more sense,and thereby,people compulsorily converted will come back to their original religion..afterall,we all are dumb enough to have claims on nationality ,caste and creed upon which we didn’t have any choice..We are so,bcoz our ancestors were so..Its as simple as that..

    It is very interesting to see that though religion was meant for an organied living,it is making life hell..”Islamic terrorism”,”Christianity compulsory conversion”,Hinduism terrorism in form of RSS and BJP…Indeed sad but true..You can’t twist words to suit our intentions..It is plain fact that some fanatics are disrupting peaceful life..

    But I am sad that Gov made a dangerous generalization..”..as always pointing fingers at Hindus”..This is what other extremists too do.They generalize and feel compassionate others tortures as theirs and ask people to react,there by buring the social fabric..We are going through a tough time and should take care in words and doings..

    Ever wondered what would have happened if the smae buring and raping of nuns were done my ‘muslims’..lol…Again a set of people being tortured ,allowing the chain to be continued for ever..

    We are trying to heal the wound by using handiplast.Instead,open the wound,take out the glass piece and apply anticeptic,so that the wound is healed for ever..

    Comment by Nimmy — September 1, 2008 @ 15:10 | Reply

  4. sorry for all spelling mistakes..Im little bust,just wanted to have my 2 cents.Good day to all.

    Comment by Nimmy — September 1, 2008 @ 15:11 | Reply

  5. @ Nimitha
    Nimitha I want you to answer one question. What is the root cause? Dont give me philosophical answers like man should unite or boundaries between countries should be merged or all people in the world to become broad minded so that they think above the concepts of different religions.

    Lets hit reality. Borders are there going to exist, Religions are there going to exist, may be for many more decades to come. In this realistic framework give me a solution.

    The root cause according to me is extreme importance given to religion and the extreme propaganda/evangelism to promote it. And Sadly I have to mention only 1 Religions do this at a very aggressive manner-Christians.

    I completely agree the way Hindus killed Christians is a shame. But always be clear of the root causes that let to the issue and prevent it. Other wise this gona repeat again and again and again.

    Comment by Gov — September 1, 2008 @ 15:36 | Reply

  6. lol..i wonder where is i inject philosophy..the same moment you praised Cris as being broad minded for her “..I cant help wishing there was a complete world rebirth and with it, only humans were born and prospered and nothing including religion, caste, creed, race, color or countries that separated one human from another came to being.”,the next moment you are accusing me for not being real by talking philosophical “…answers like man should unite or boundaries between countries should be merged or all people in the world to become broad minded so that they think above the concepts of different religions.”..Strange..

    Never mind,im used to it..

    The soultion is simple,all ‘enlightened’ people should stop being hypocritical and come down from a/c rooms to grounds of reality and start acting for their own people..May it be people of locality or people of community/religion..My dumb brain tells me that if all people have food to eat,clothes to wear ,shelter to stay and education to have a job for living,nobody will bother to mind others business and nobody can exploit them..

    Can i ask you,if those converts to christianity had all or atleast some of what i said above,will they have converted out of compulsion?NO NO and No..

    So,unless you and move move our body and mind from computer screen to hot sun and slums,people are still going to suffer and more people are going to exploit their helpenessness and we are also going to continue commenting..

    Comment by Nimmy — September 1, 2008 @ 16:08 | Reply

  7. @Nimmy, yes they will. And yes terrorism is happening in the name of religion everywhere, in all relgions too. Thats the sad reality. Like you say if everyone came out to help everyone else out, things would take a different turn. But we can only be hopeful there Nimmi, cause as practical as it is, everyone would shut the idea off like a joke and carry on with their busy lives and we who brought those ideas out are shunned off as day-dreaming idiots. What these people dont realize is, if everyone thought like that in all centuries we should still be having Sati and child-marriage. Its cause some people came out to solve it, despite the skepticism from the rest of the world that changing traditions were impossible, that these things had gone away. Or we should still be living in the middle of all those atrocities. Everyone including you and me, if took things up in our hand would make a world of difference. It doesnt matter if you are only a small number who believe there could be a change, it matters that you are there where you believe. And there is nothing philosophical about that…

    @Gov, from your comment I can see my whole blog post was wasted. As I say offering food or whatever to people to convert them was not something I am for or against, because I am not religious. But then these people were given the choice, it was upto them to choose, they were not threatened. I am not justifying this or standing against it. For me it doesnt make a difference what religion a human being belongs to, they are all still humans. You may of course have a different attitude and its entirely upto you to hold it right or wrong. But what makes all this sad is when these result in the death of human beings. And sadder, people like you are still more concerned about the “seemingly unjust exploitation” rather than humans dying for it. A nun burning in a distant orphanage may mean nothing to you but a lot for some other people. Whoever it is that dies, again regardless of what religion they are from, mean the whole world to some people, and when you kill more to answer that you are just destroying the world of others. When one of these people becomes someone you knew, someone who meant a whole lot to you, it is only then you understand the value of one human life and all those “values” you held so strongly for the sake of “religious exploitation” shatter in front of that life. It certainly did to a lot many people in our country. Please let us hope it does not happen anymore. And set our priorities right as far as human life is concerned.

    Comment by Cris — September 1, 2008 @ 16:28 | Reply

  8. @NImitha
    Thats a creative suggetion.But how pracical is it?How many will go out buy ‘Roti,Kapada’ from their salary for the slum boys ??

    Im not interested in a 10std inter-school debate competition style arguments,I am asking for practical solutions which can be implimented IN REAL,which can be implimented By Govenment of India.

    Comment by Gov — September 1, 2008 @ 16:35 | Reply

  9. @ Cris
    Hope you understnd what im saying.
    Im saying what has happned is extremely shamefull but why it happned need to be sorted out so that it wont happen again.Just being frusuated that some one is speaking it out wont solve the issue.

    Comment by Gov — September 1, 2008 @ 16:40 | Reply

  10. @Gov,unless individuals chnage,society won’t change..sitting in a/c rooms and expectin GOI to sort the mess out is escapism,nothing more nothig less..

    And yeah,im also not interested in 10 or even 12th grade debate/argument..My time is precious during RAmadan,to be wasted over such arguments,only bcoz the other side stereotypes my opinions as philosophical and unreal..Sorry,not my cup ot tea..

    Sad to see that educated people like you act the same as as Cris pointed out in the post,worried over explotation,than worrying over gang rape and buring alive..Sorry for myself that im not able to do anything about it..

    Gov,you are just doing a cyclic argument..Though i hate to bring religion when talking about humanity,I am compelled to quote the islamic solution of Zakat for your worry over “How many will go out buy ‘Roti,Kapada’ from their salary for the slum boys ?”..

    Problem is not with religions,but with its followers..may it be Islam,Hinduism or christianity..Good day.I need to go..

    Comment by Nimmy — September 1, 2008 @ 16:54 | Reply

  11. Nimitha, Ur angry, but I have to state again Ur solution is impractical. It looks good in Books, looks good in between an argument, but no way realistic.

    Let me suggest you some thing. As in temples How about Government taking control over all of the Religious institutions. In Temples a government system is already in place actively and successful running namely ‘Devasom’.All money which comes from all Temples(includes Guruvayoor,Sabarimala to even the smallest temple) is used for temple activities and the remaining will go to State govenment.The chairman of each temple is appointed by Govenment assisted by the priests of temple.In that way there is a clear control over the activities of a temple.The excess money is never missuesed instead used by government for other social activities of Government.

    Why can’t we centralize the governing of Churches and Mosques too? Why there is no government body intervention in the fund flow and activities of Churches and Mosques?
    Let government control these instructions rather than being in the hands of a handful of priests. Let all Religious institutions and its activities be under direct control of Government like as it is with all temples currently

    Comment by Gov — September 1, 2008 @ 17:16 | Reply

  12. OMG!! This is A BIG DEBATE!! 😮

    Thanks for all the commentators & Cris. Got a lot of decisive info. Might be of help in my GD’s. 😀

    You rock, Ms Cris! 🙂

    Comment by Hari Shanker R — September 1, 2008 @ 17:36 | Reply

  13. There is a lot of engaging discussion going on here. Good, that people do think about the incongruous methods of settling religious scores.
    If you can consider my finer and subtler human aspects (like I am against man killing/raping/burning-alive man) as a given, please do read further.
    I have greatly benefited from Christian institutions – I did my schooling in a Jesuit school, had my time at the YMCA-UnivY and all. There is no way I can be anti-Christian.
    But conversion, forcible and through outrightly dirty third rate ploys is rampant and gnawing into the hindu demography albeit at an often imperceptibly gradual pace.
    On a very broad sense , countering it in an organized manner has no alternative.

    It should come with a re-emergence of Hinduism, a compelling revision of how its logic is brought about, and a conscious attempt at peacefully contesting its differences with the occidental religions. It should also come with competent administrative reforms that can bring Govt sponsored education and health-care to the masses. It should come with a concerted effort that (I believe can) proves that when we have our own shepard so relatable to our vibrant culture , we do not need one far removed from our stories and epics.

    Christ should fade into the background as a great man , whose teachings are appreciated but not adopted for want of the wholesomeness that we already have in our teachings – albeit covered (as of now) in the grime of dogma and the veil of skewed glasses.

    Comment by Vishnu Kuttan — September 1, 2008 @ 19:11 | Reply

  14. @Vishnu Kuttan, I respect your stand on this, as it is up to each individual to feel the way he does about religion or culture. As it is, this is something I cannot understand – the re-energence of Hinduism or Christ fading into the background or not needing one far removed from stories and epics. As far as religion goes, I have only one point to make which I already mentioned in the post – religion is not something which needs or could be forcefully brought about; its a deep rooted belief that grows in your mind. So no matter how many times I shout religion is not important, only humans are, it wont make any effect. Same way, a compelling revision of any religious logic is not the right way to deal with things, as far as I can see. Religion or no religion is what people choose for themselves, I can only hope there will be a completely unbiased way this can be done. Without force, without prejudice, and absolutely without concern what your neighbor wants to believe in.

    All said, this is not something I am deeply concerned about and I wouldnt have bothered to blog about it unless there was human life involved in the midst of all this. Believe what you want to believe in, carry on healthy debates if you like. But draw the lines there. When people are burned and killed, I couldnt be bothered to think about the logic or justice behind any kind of religious acts. It just doesnt seem important to me which religion was winning or which was losing, when humans were dying for no fault of theirs. Cause none of these can justify the killing of a human being. Simply none.

    Comment by Cris — September 1, 2008 @ 19:39 | Reply

  15. I agree with you Cris. The human cost here is more important than trying to fix blame on some group. Converting by dangling the carrot in front of starving people is mean and manipulative. However killing, looting and raping as a solution for this is more senseless than anything else.

    Comment by Philip — September 1, 2008 @ 21:50 | Reply

  16. Sad that many people have prejudiced thought over religious issues. Being an agnostic believer, I don’t care religions or types of gods. But converting people for food is like selling religion. Its not because of sympathy or love. Instead of buying from from shop giving money, they get it from converters by selling their religion. But the rapes and homicides in return is not justifiable. First step to be taken is to help the people left by stopping violence by any means. Then avoiding future incidents by strictly controlling forced conversion. It can be achieved by providing food/shelter/job to the poor.
    @Gov : “.. And if they want to help,Help the poor unconditionaly.Please don’t try to buy religion .Plez don’t be so manipulative..”
    I second that.. But Hindus are not perfect either. If the violators were true Hindus who follow the holy books of Hinduism , which always teaches to forgive , these mishaps wont occur! And generalizing an issue like this is extremely dangerous. Please avoid such comments in a public place.
    Peace!

    Comment by Srijith — September 1, 2008 @ 23:47 | Reply

  17. 1. The killing of VHP leader Swamy Laxmananada Saraswati and his four followers should be condemmed
    2.The killing of common people and nuns should also be condemned.
    3.Conversion by force, deceipt,temptation or any other unethical way should be condemned
    4.Closing of educational institution as a protest against killing of nuns should also be condemned.

    Comment by Arjun P — September 2, 2008 @ 11:42 | Reply

  18. The whole act of getting numbers for a particular religion through conversion is wrong.
    At the same time killing and driving out missionaries (that too women) is as wrong as the original mistake.
    One wrong act cannot be corrected by another wrong act.
    The issue is a multifaced one, and the solution i feel is all broad minded people who consider themselves human rather than a hindu or christian or muslim should change the attitude which we have.
    Whatever hallabulla we make, still many of us are hypocrates….. how many dare to question the things/dogmas that are followed as customs(non meaningful ones like marrying from same caste or religion etc etc) etc in our family for generations…. when the time to act comes, people shy away….

    The solution for this can happen only if people start to shed their inhibition and live a practical life inculcating all these discussed BIG “Ideals” into our own daily life.
    If 10 people start doing that (mind you it is greatly difficult), others will start taking notice…. other than that expecting society,GOI etc etc to make macroscopic changes and all never happens…
    All social changes that happened in this country had started in a small way and then it spred thru like mined people…
    Other than that asking the people who do forceful conversion to change, people who do injustice to lower caste people to change etc all are just as idealistic as having a Utopia in place

    Comment by Vineeth — September 2, 2008 @ 11:43 | Reply

  19. @Srijith
    By the way could u elabrote on what u mean by forgiveness.If u meant not to Kill or rape then i hold support for u.I agree its a wrong means of responding.
    But forgivess doesint mean silence.It need to be communicated that people are unhappy about Christan priest buying religion.

    May be you should suggest a better and realistic means of responding!?!

    Comment by Gov — September 2, 2008 @ 13:46 | Reply

  20. Wow Suku, have not been a regular here for quite sometime. I see that u have adopted newer areas!
    I have a little something to say.
    Most Indian households hire a maid, someone who cleans the house (usually with a broom and then with a wet cloth by hand!), someone who washes the dirty plates,
    someone who washes those dirty clothes, all in exchange for food and/or money.
    Strangely, Indian ‘society’ does not categorize this as ‘exploitation’ because most of the households cannot do without it.
    But if you think about it carefully, it actually is. They need the money, you have some chores that you would rather not do and there it is, a perfect fit!
    I read an article here in which an American entrepreneur says something like this “What we have in India are not programmers, they are merely coders”.
    Right there you see that the socially respected Indian engineer is a target of exploitation. The entrepreneur here, catches the big fish and feeds him the tail.
    The engineers know that what they make is 1/10th of what their employer is making through them. But how many will quit? How many will do their own household chores and just pay the maid anyway, so she can send her kids to school? Hardly any.

    The root cause is monetary divide. The haves WILL take advantage of the have nots, be it in business, domestic work or religion. A strong judiciary is what will keep them in check, but alas, India is far from it.

    Comment by Praveen — September 3, 2008 @ 03:17 | Reply

  21. @Gov : By forgiveness I meant avoiding violence of any level as a counter measure. We have a legal system.

    Comment by Srijith — September 3, 2008 @ 10:02 | Reply

  22. Oops! Guess I’m a lil late,huh? A lot has happened in only a few days. Anyway, Everything’s being commercialized nowadays, be it religion or truth. We all want a peaceful world where there is no caste, creed, religion,etc(trust me,I think the same thing) Simple fact, There is no such world! It will be like a Stepford kind of world. Too much of a good thing can be bad enough. That is not to say that I condone the horrible things done to humanity as a whole. All we can do is, try to attempt a change.But how many of you are actually willing to take the action??

    Comment by M.Rose — September 3, 2008 @ 21:08 | Reply

  23. @Hari Shankar, thanks

    @Philip, thanks. That was well-put.

    @Srijith, so am I and so cant at all make any sense of violence over religion.

    @Arjun, I will stand with you for 1 and 2. For 3 and 4, I dont have any say. Matter of perspective. Once 1 and 2 are settled, and there is an assurance there will be no more killings in the name of religion or religion conversions, I dont have any problem with any number of condemnation movements or peaceful questioning by followers. Just not my area of concern.

    @Vineeth, agree to many points. Yes people who hold high ideals about intercaste or interreligious relationships expose their hypocrisy at the hour of relating to self. And yes it would make a difference even if one person could stand up to the ideals, but its sadly going to be a veryyyyy veryyyy gradual process to take notice. I am estimating a completely fair and equal world of humans in a matter of centuries.

    @Praveen exploitation comes in all areas, agreed. But I am not sure I understand if what you mention have a connection here. Employement, however demeaning it may seem, has its dignity and though it may sound melodramatic to talk about the dignity of labour, I like to believe each job and its performers deserve certain amount of respect. In a way there is a relation, in the sense it is not always by desire many people choose to work as a housemaid. They need money for thier food, so they take that job and these poor people in Orissa need food so they take another religion. But then religion is not a task, its not a job, its a faith. And I believe there is absolutely no use in buying religion, when its obvious the buyers are not doing it for faith, but food. So they dont change their minds or faith, they just get the food and thats the end of the story as far as I can see.

    As for coders and programmers, well, I have no idea what to say about that!
    Upsetting though it all is, the problem that needs immediate settlement is human slaughter, and stopping it by all means.

    @M.Rose, glad to see more people with a similar viewpoint, to see an equal one-human world. I know there is not one in the very distant future shaping up, but I like to cling to that little hope which comes from centuries of growing up – I mean humans. We were not what we were 100 years back, we grew, so hopefully we will keep growing in the coming centuries. I just wish centuries were not so awfully long. Hmm.

    Comment by Cris — September 4, 2008 @ 03:40 | Reply

  24. @Cris:
    What difference does it make to the poor, if it is adopting a faith or taking up a job?
    For the poor, it is all about survival. People who went around converting them were exploiting their poverty for sure. But then, its worthwile to think about how society as a whole is exploting them anyway and the housemaid scenario was just an example to highlight this. Every job does not have its own respect in India, we all know that! Every form of employment is assigned a certain ‘dignity factor’.Calling it a ‘job’ does not make it any better because at the end of the day, its merely a task that we (and the society around us) think is too low or dirty for us. My point is that at the grass-root level, all of us are contributing to this exploitation.

    Comment by Praveen — September 4, 2008 @ 05:11 | Reply

  25. In a bout of religious chauvinism I had posted a comment which is incomprehensible just like the incomprehensible priorities being discussed here.
    I am a great admirer of and a party to the IndianScape, and as described in Dominique LaPierre’s City of joy (about the slums of Calcutta) the vitality and vibrancy of our land is brought about by the symbiotic co-existence of our people, despite religion. I had wanted Christ to fade into the background, his teachings just appreciated and not adopted. But then I do not deserve to say that because I do not know his teachings in full. But on a personal level I am on a quest to unravel the mysteries and messages of my faith and my land, and part of India’s mystery lies in the incorrigible tolerance to adopt and assimilate people of all faiths.
    So let people live and let not forcible conversions, murder, rape and plunder come in between men and their livelihoods.
    For people like me who want compelling revisions in the way the logic of their faith is brought about, let that happen without harm and misery befalling on other people.

    But referring back to my old post, yes I am still for competent administrative reforms, Govt sponsored education and health-care, peaceful investigation into the basic constructional differences between the oriental and occidental schools of religious thought and an organized reaction against manipulative demographic re-engineering.

    Comment by Vishnu Kuttan — September 4, 2008 @ 09:47 | Reply

  26. @Praveen, there must be some logic in what you say, I somehow fail to find that. Because we are in effect comparing religion with menial tasks. In one place food is offered in exchange for religion, in the other place food/money is offered in exchange of the “undignified tasks”. If you consider doing tasks an exploitation then every job except that of an actual entrepreneur’s in effect comes down to that. Not for argument sake, but I somehow feel there is a difference. There could be something dirty in every job, as seen by people. A journalist’s job of going to any sick place covering any sick news might be considered dirty by some people. Thats perspective, what job is dirty and what is not. But religion conversion is not a job or a task, thats my point. Dont take me wrong, I am against all kinds of exploitation, but I cant find a connection here between that and this.

    @Vishnu Kutta, I hate disagreeing with you, thats the hardest thing I had to do in this blog, disagreeing with dear ones. Anyway to put my point across, I cannot imagine enforcing compulsary education on sensitive subjects such as religion at school. I would say leave it to the student till he reaches an age where he could understand it and choose for himself if he wants to learn it or not. And if I may say, when you are in the quest to unravel the mysteries and messages of the past, it only matters it came from people, our ancestors, not what religion gave rise to it – cause you will agree religion came after people? Oh well, thats again another matter, and each may have his own view.

    Comment by Cris — September 4, 2008 @ 16:12 | Reply

  27. @Cris “Anyway to put my point across, I cannot imagine enforcing compulsary education on sensitive subjects such as religion at school.”
    When did i say this!

    “I would say leave it to the student till he reaches an age where he could understand it and choose for himself if he wants to learn it or not.”
    Oh yes, let such fora be accessible to anyone who walks in and only for those who walk in at their will and whim. But let there be such fora.
    “if I may say, when you are in the quest to unravel the mysteries and messages of the past, it only matters it came from people, our ancestors, not what religion gave rise to it.”
    A study of men is not complete without a study of their time, their place and their pursuits.

    Comment by Vishnu Kuttan — September 4, 2008 @ 16:26 | Reply

  28. @ Cris
    You being an atheist I genuinely think you are in a very wrong position to talk of religion and why people has gone fanatic. What u say about religion is very basic straightforward things that urn thinking capability takes you to. But the mind of people who has been brought up in a religious manner is what different than ur imagination.Their priority for his religion is way ahead than what is in ur mind intreprets. At times for the religious fanatics its even higher than a persons life. I fell the extremist version of religious bend of mind is purely dangerous.

    But the vast majority (99%) has his/her religious priority in a balanced state which feeds a fresh leaf of thougths and reasons to his ever curious/ Questioning mind.For many just goign to temple/church/Mosque and confessing his mind out is a relief.Don’t u think what kind of relielf is that??Ehhh, strange?!?!

    So What I am saying is you making very authentic statements about religion sound to me like a 5yr old gal talking about pregnancy. So I suggest you to get a feel of it before you get your arguments ablaze.

    PS:I could send across a Githa with transilation and meaning for you research. Maybe Nimtha could help u with bit of Arabic from Quran.Bible is the easiest, Priests will come to ur home and teach it if u want 😉

    Comment by Gov — September 4, 2008 @ 16:57 | Reply

  29. @ Cris
    You being an atheist I genuinely think you are in a very wrong position to talk of religion and why people has gone fanatic. What u say about religion is very basic straightforward things that urn thinking capability takes you to. But the mind of people who has been brought up in a religious manner is way different from ur imagination.Their priority for his religion is way ahead than what ur mind intreprets. At times for the religious fanatics its even higher than a person’s life. I fell the extremist version of religious bend of mind is purely dangerous.

    But the vast majority (99%) has his/her religious priority in a balanced state which feeds a fresh leaf of thougths and reasons to his ever curious/ Questioning mind.For many just goign to temple/church/Mosque and confessing his mind out is a relief.Don’t u think what kind of relielf is that??Ehhh, strange?!?!

    So What I am saying is you making very authentic statements about religion sound to me like a 5yr old gal talking about pregnancy. So I suggest you to get a feel of it before you get your arguments ablaze.

    PS:I could send across a Githa with transilation and meaning for you research. Maybe Nimtha could help u with bit of Arabic from Quran.Bible is the easiest, Priests will come to ur home and teach it if u want 😉

    Comment by Gov — September 4, 2008 @ 17:01 | Reply

  30. As an atheist, I can see why people of one religion get insecure when members of their cult are brain-washed into converting into some other religion. But that’s exactly how religion works – except for Hinduism (which did not have any competition and was based primarily on caste-based racism and exploitation during its origins), other religions like Christianity and Islam are based on conversion.

    Centuries ago, several Hindus were force-converted to Islam by the middle-eastern invaders. I doubt if such a practice exists today. But using non-violent means to brainwash folks – such as providing money and other incentives is a perfectly legal and democratic way to preach religion. I don’t see why people should resort to extreme violence in retaliation to that.

    Of course everyone has a price. As an atheist, if I was given a reasonable sum of money (upwards of 7 figures in Euros), I’d be quite happy to pretend to go to church every Sunday and talk about JC being in my heart and all that 🙂

    Comment by Nish — September 4, 2008 @ 18:37 | Reply

  31. @Vishnu Kutta, I misread, or misunderstood your lines. Well, not exactly my idea of education (me being a dreamer of a no-religions-only-humans world) but not a problem – each has his own wishes/dreams and as long as there is no violence involved, it is not a cause of worry, for me anyway.

    @Gov, I should prefer to call myself an agnostic but thats not an issue. I’d like to contradict your statement – being an atheist, is exactly what puts me in a power to talk about religion or to be specific, about the havoc I see it make. But that was not my intention, never was and never will be. Because I keep saying this, it is absolutely not my concern. I have absolutely no problem who or what people believe in. I respect them as human beings who are completely free to choose their path of faith, from atheism to extreme devotion. Why should I question that? My aim is not converting the world into a bunch of non-believers! And where on earth have I questioned the relief or lighter feelings in presence of a diety or a place of worship??? Stick to the point. For the thousandth time, I am never going question any of that. I have only brought this topic because I found it sick that people were more worried about religious conversions, than humans losing lives by and large. I hope it is clear to you now, I have been saying the same thing for a while I could hear myself repeat and I know thats utterly boring to the readers. My belief or lack of it is not the question here. But I can see that, being unconcerned about what others follow or not, is not everybody’s cup of tea.

    @Nish, hehe you are giving me ideas now!

    Comment by Cris — September 4, 2008 @ 19:45 | Reply

  32. @Cris, totally agree with you…wrong priorities all around.

    Comment by nithin — September 4, 2008 @ 20:55 | Reply

  33. @Nish – I wandered across this blog after quite a long time and I could not but help ROTFL reading your comment about your 7 figure price. Too busy to comment on the actual discussion topic though.

    Comment by Anoop John — September 4, 2008 @ 22:07 | Reply

  34. @Cris
    Sorry, maybe I was not very clear.
    “Because we are in effect comparing religion with menial tasks.” : Not really. We are comparing the “act” of conversion with the “act” of assigning menial tasks, not religion and menial tasks. Both have common grounds – money.
    “In one place food is offered in exchange for religion, in the other place food/money is offered in exchange of the “undignified tasks”. “: Food is being offered in exchange for the actual act of conversion, just like food and money are being offered for the act of doing what society thinks is sub-standard.
    “A journalist’s job of going to any sick place covering any sick news might be considered dirty by some people.”: Some people maybe. The tasks I am talking abt are ones categorized by society as a whole. Simple question- would you take a broom and clean the street you stay in? But you would probably go and cover ‘sick news’ right?
    (by you I dont mean you, i mean society).
    Since most dont want to do the former, they find someone who needs the money and make them do it. Thats the “act” of using money to get things done. The converters did the same. They used food and money to get their thing done. On one end it is making someone convert their religion (which society finds so alarming) and on the other, it is making someone do menial work (which Indian society finds to be perfectly ok). We send human beings down manholes to fix them. Is that any better than forceful conversion? I am just saying that both are equally wrong. But somehow, we only seem to magnify religious issues and not the social ones that are a part of our everyday life. Man is a social being. If society is perfect, harmony will follow.

    Comment by Praveen — September 4, 2008 @ 22:29 | Reply

  35. @Praveen, One simple question on the food-for-conversion debate, if somebody’s faith in a religion is so weak, that he can be lured away from it with money and food, then what is the significance of that faith anyway?
    And whether you like it or not, it is a simple case of someone who has made a personal choice – foolish or informed – but a personal choice nevertheless.
    If you truly believe in the greatness of your religion (whichever religion it may be), then such happenings shouldn’t bother you.

    Comment by nithin — September 4, 2008 @ 23:02 | Reply

  36. Woww!! This is still hot??
    I think its one of your hot topics in this blog!! 😀
    Stop writing comedy and start political/religious postings!!! 😛

    Comment by Srijith — September 5, 2008 @ 00:40 | Reply

  37. @nithin
    I dont quite understand your point, sorry.
    I am not against him making that choice so I think we are in agreement here.
    How strong can a starvng person’s faith in anything be for that matter?
    So I am not sure what you are trying to tell me.

    Comment by Praveen — September 5, 2008 @ 01:39 | Reply

  38. @nithin, thanks nithin

    @Anoop, you can always drop in later and not drop back

    @Praveen, each has his logic. If you wont consider me a persistent questioner, one or 2 things I want to say – you say demeaning tasks to the helpless/needy are offered cause people do not want to do it themselves, but the same does not apply to religion. The act of religious conversion is not offered cause the converting prompters do not like to be Christians themselves. My point is, that connection link you are trying to bring out, is still lost on me. In any case thats a different scenario, not that its a pleasant one. You will agree however demeaning the tasks are, they need to be done – I am not saying it should be thrown at poor people who cant afford to do anything else. But its just a different scenario. If for stopping such exploitations, we decide to stop cleaning houses and drilling walls, that wouldnt be a happenable solution – so all I could think of is wait for technology to find a good substitution in the form of machines. Dont we all have houses and places we need help at? So if the Government ordered one day, everyone should stop any kind of cleaning or cooking activities for other people, would it be the solution? I am sorry I have to keep prolonging this talk, but I simply cant make sense out of that. I am a little slow 🙂

    @Srijith, its very rare that I am aware of things happening around me, so am afraid I will have to give a pass on that!

    Comment by Cris — September 6, 2008 @ 00:57 | Reply

  39. @Cris
    hehehe.
    I shall go ahead and be a persistent answerer.
    “I want to say – you say demeaning tasks to the helpless/needy are offered cause people do not want to do it themselves, but the same does not apply to religion” : it applies to conversion, not religion itself.
    “The act of religious conversion is not offered cause the converting prompters do not like to be Christians themselves.”: huh? the thing is, they have the means, so they get their job done using the low class. Middle and high class society has the money, so it gets its dirty work done using the low class.Both amount to exploitation.
    “If for stopping such exploitations, we decide to stop cleaning houses and drilling walls”: !!!!! The way to stop it is to do it ourselves. We dont need technology and machines to clean our own streets! It only needs an open-minded manual effort.
    I shall be more specific. I am not sure if you employ a maid, but if you do, dont u think it wud be better for her if you let her go, and then YOU do the same work she was doing in YOUR house, but paid her the same amount anyway, so she could have a better everyday life? Thats a positive step. Simple as it may seem, it is a cause of alarm for most families.
    If each of us contribute to uplifting society, hopefully a day will come when there wont be anyone who can be preyed upon easily by the ‘converters’. 🙂

    Comment by Praveen — September 6, 2008 @ 02:08 | Reply

  40. @Praveen, ok I will stop asking the connection between this and that (I can see the prospect of the comment-sequence beating all Mallu-mega-serial episodes). But one thing about maids – I think they’d be the ones who’d be most struck and worried to death if there came a scenario of people doing their own tasks and stopping all house-maid business. Its their source of income, and in most cases the only source of income for the family. I am not justifying about my having a maid around, cause at my house everything a maid does is done by the family as well, though not always together (cause that would make the purpose of hiring void) – this is more like domestic help. But again, coming back to the point, I think more than the people who hire, it would probably be the menial task workers who’d suffer if what you suggested happened. And they are so poor they wont probably have means of education to qualify for the “higher jobs” you mention. What would they do? (Repeating: the point of my post is completely different! That doesnt seem to stop my long comments)

    Comment by Cris — September 6, 2008 @ 02:25 | Reply

  41. @Cris
    Yup its getting longer.
    “Its their source of income”: Pay them anyway was my point.
    “And they are so poor they wont probably have means of education to qualify for the “higher jobs” you mention. “: decent education is all that is needed. I am not saying it will be fixed over a generation. If the maid gets a decent education, she finds a job that will give a better education for her kids and it ripples on when finally, 2-3 generations later, her great grandchild might be able to cross the poverty line.

    Your post magnifies religious conversion and exploitation (which is good), but then as it’s author and commenters, are we doing anything to help eradicate abject poverty from society?
    Aren’t we using the poor for service as well? Arent we using them for jobs that can be done by any person (although converting them to Christianity seems to be so much worse than making them do dirty labor).
    Simple question: If each of us actually got down to cleaning and cooking and maintaining our homes and its immediate vicinity, set aside what we pay for the maids in some small society fund and pay their or their child’s tuition from that fund, that wud be a start. Like I said, after 2-3 generations, her great grandchildren will be able to help themselves and their society. At that point, no one can force them to convert.
    About 25% of our poulation is below the poverty line. Most of the people you mention in your post (the ones being converted and the ones being killed) are part of this group. Conversion and bloodshed is just part of the problem. The root cause is the fact that 25% of a population of over 1 billion can be influenced easily with. So then why not?
    This 25% is being ‘used’ by society as cheap labour. Therefore they are poor. Therefore they are uneducated. Therefore they were exploited by the conversion ring. Uplift them and give them reasonable immunity (if not absolute) so they can fend off exploitation. Because exploiting will stop if
    a) laws are strict (yeah right!)
    b) if there is no one who can be exploited.
    So maybe, aiming for (b) is what we should be doing.

    Comment by Praveen — September 6, 2008 @ 03:51 | Reply

  42. @Praveen, and we are back. You have a very complicated logic. Well understanding it took a little time, if I did understand it – let me see if I got this right. You want all housework and other “menial tasks” whichever comes under that by your definition (its entirely relative) to be done by households without any outside help and this extra money they save by not hiring to be used to pay for the education of the unhired (or their children) – so that those children will grow up and lift poverty and with it, whatsoever exploitations they face.

    For one, like I say your idea of despising domestic help may not be shared by many. For instance, any company or any employer for that matter in effect exploits his employees- cause he is making them do what he cant/wont do by himself. Thats in a vastly expanded sense of course. And you could reason it out – those are not by your standards menial and a company brings a bigger picture – it obviously cannot be single-manned. Housework on the other hand is not? I will admit a number of houses exploiting maids, but another number hires them for help. A smaller picture of the corporate world – what cannot be handled by self seeks help. And whatever equalistic world we are hoping to move to, its a fact we are a long way away from that – so domestic work is in a vast majority of houses handled by the lady of the house, employed or not. But thats a different topic, I meant she may feel it cannot be single-handled and need outside help to do these tasks, menial or not. And it neednt be cause its too menial for her.

    Coming back to point, how practical is that? How many people do you think would willingly keep aside any money they may save for the education of another? Ok so they got it saved by not hiring maids, do you think that would urge them to spend it for the maid’s kids? I dont think so. Exploitation or not, that money is given only cause they do that work. It is not charity, it is not for helping the poor. So if all people start doing work by self, its only the poor who would worry, unless we suddenly have an outflow of generous human beings springing up on earth.

    And for one last point, I dont consider religious conversion an exploitation, but thats a completely personal issue, I dont consider it a boon either. But a vast section of people losing jobs cause you argue those jobs are too demeaning, is not something I can agree to. Think outside the argument for yourself, what would happen if tomorrow something like that really happened? All these poor people employed at domestic households or other places would go on an indefinite strike or indefinite starvation.
    But to give some relief, many of the maids I have talked to have their kids sent to school and many of these kids take their studies seriously and end up in better jobs. So I can see a good future coming for them, but I dont know how long that would take to be universal.

    Comment by Cris — September 8, 2008 @ 01:29 | Reply

  43. @Cris
    yeow! I could have had my own blog on this issue by combining my comments 😉
    A couple of things.
    “so domestic work is in a vast majority of houses handled by the lady of the house, employed or not. But thats a different topic, I meant she may feel it cannot be single-handled and need outside help to do these tasks, menial or not” : I am of the opinion that if every member of the household contributes (father, mother, children who are old enough), then most families can manage their own housework. It’s not so in a company.
    Yes, hardly any will set aside money for paying their maid for free. But the ones that have adopted it are at the forefront today (free healthcare and free maid service provided by the government in France is an example. It does tax the haves for it, but that does not dent the standard of living anyway). So we do know that it is practical. It may not be practical in India, because like you said, we still feel that the “lady of the house” needs to handle things and it turns out that she needs one person to help her when actually she has 2-3 of her own family not helping out.
    I admit that I never used to help out when I was home in India. I really did not know how a healthy society worked. Now I do, and so I regret.
    Literacy is the key. Provide for it and someday your country will pay you back. Religious divides and massacres all have one cause, triggering the mind. If the mind knows how insignificant they are, the body will shut down from acting. Empowering the mind is what each one can contribute to. It may seem that I am digressing from the meat of this post, but I prefer to start from the bottom.

    Comment by Praveen — September 8, 2008 @ 04:53 | Reply

  44. @Praveen, yes you contribute more content than me now! About every member contributing, yes in agreement there (finally). Literacy, education all am in support of. Hope too I have, just not sure how long the world should wait to see that happening. And err you just started at the bottom? When are we reaching the top 😀

    Comment by Cris — September 9, 2008 @ 12:19 | Reply

  45. @Cris
    hehehe…..
    Here are some stats
    http://www.mercyhomes.org/hrml/mrcy_why_01.html
    Again, dont mean to digress frm the post, but these stats are the root cause of most if not all issues.
    Waiting time is unknown….what is known is that the ones that are not part of these numbers need to contribute financially……not one-time…..but every month/two months or however best possible.
    Another thing is the very definition of poverty line. The World Bank’s definition of the poverty line in India, is US$ 1.25/day/person which is about 1750 rupees a month. However, considering the current state of inflation and the rising cost of education, I would say that people that make anything less that 3000 rupees a month in India are actually below the poverty line. So the % of population below the poverty line as quoted by the Indian government is way less than actual.
    In China, the number of people in poverty fell to 207 million from 835 million in 1981.
    In India, the number of people below the poverty line increased to 455 million in 2005 from 420 million people in 1981. Thats like 15 Keralas living in abject poverty.
    So reaching the top is going to be a long trip.
    We should make sure that the top does not get out of reach forever.

    Comment by Praveen — September 10, 2008 @ 03:16 | Reply

  46. @Praveen, those were some important statistics. Thanks for sharing. But you also made me realize I am under PL. I dont make 3000 I dont even make 1750! Gloom! I need a job! Are any kind-hearted sympathetic recruiters reading my blog?

    Comment by Cris — September 10, 2008 @ 10:29 | Reply

  47. This post assumes more meaning as religious clashes find new sanctuaries in coastal Karnataka and in Vadodara.
    I myself , succumbed to a bout of religious chauvinism somewhere among these comments only to lament about it later.Period.
    Yesterday I had been to a bhajan, and I was on a spiritual high. I realize that when (if) I attack a Christian in his prayer hall, I am spoiling his opportunity to realize that elation I entitled myself to(yesterday). It is high time that the sub-continent embrace religious tolerance.
    We find ourselves placed in that land-mass most volatile to religious tension and by the same context we are facing the greatest challenge not to give way to it. If we as a people can rise above religious differences and win in this challenge it will be a great achievement to sport.
    Let us subscribe to religious harmony.

    Comment by Vishnu Kuttan — September 16, 2008 @ 11:18 | Reply

  48. @Vishnu Kuttan, amen to that! Religious harmony.

    Comment by Cris — September 17, 2008 @ 14:03 | Reply

  49. […] My Orissa post was one of the loudest entries I made in the blog. And Srijith had actually asked me to quit writing humor and switch to politcal issues. I dont have any plans for that. But news in dailies are not changing and every other day things are taking a worse turn. Steadfast towards the wrong direction. Today I read in KT’s blog her concern and then a friend gave the link to a well-worded article from huffingtonpost of Shashi Tharoor. I was quite happy to see someone like him take the initiative to talk about it cause it matters a lot when a person who knew about the world enough to get a lot of respect from among the masses, to whom people were willing to listen to, came out to the forefront and took things up in hands.

    Pingback by Cris’s World » Sad, part 2 of Orissa post — October 16, 2008 @ 03:54 | Reply

  50. Many Hindus have a mistaken notion that BJP,VHP etc are saviours of Hindu religion.All the saffron outfits use Hinduism and innocent Hindus as vehicles to reach the goal of getting political power. So they want to create a feeling of insecurity among Hindus. ‘Jihadi’ terrorists and ‘Evangelical conversionists’ help them. Same thing happen in reverse. Presence of violent saffron brigade make the job easy for recruiting new ‘jihadis’ for suicide attacks.Ganging up of upper class Hindus on the platform of saffron brigade make it easy for the evangelists to recruit Harijans to Christianity.

    Comment by Charakan — October 20, 2008 @ 01:46 | Reply

  51. […] part 2 of Orissa post Filed under: Political, life — admin @ 3:53 am Tags: life My Orissa post was one of the loudest entries I made in the blog. And Srijith had actually asked me to quit […]

    Pingback by Sad, part 2 of Orissa post « A journalist is lost — April 23, 2009 @ 04:04 | Reply


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