Enough is Enough

When is Humanity Going to Get That We’re All in This Together?

Sister Alphonsa sainted – first Indian saint

Posted by majutsu on March 4, 2008

Here’s a great article about the first Indian saint. She sounds like quite a woman. I also find the exasperation of the Hindi majority at Christianity’s appeal to the poor and oppressed in the country to be most amusing! She disfigured herself to avoid arranged marriage and dedicate her life to mysticism. Also, she was quite a symbol for supporting the poor and in need. The Kerala was founded by St. Thomas 2000 years ago, and she is not only the first Indian saint, but the first saint of the Kerala church. Mother Theresa has been beatified but not canonized yet.

Indian saint

UPDATE, 10/13/08: An article in the NY Times today reveals escalating violence against and forced conversions of Christians by Hindus. This is clearly contrary to the Hindu ideal of ahimsa, and India’s alleged secularism. Shame, shame.

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16 Responses to “Sister Alphonsa sainted – first Indian saint”

  1. honestpoet said

    What really amazes me is the violence of the Hindi community against the Christians. Ahimsa, or non-violence, is one of their basic tenets, so they’re revealing themselves to be Indian nationalists concerned with losing their Indian traditional culture rather than real Hindis. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

    How can they be surprised that folk from the lower castes, denied health-care and decent, humane treatment for uncounted generations, would want to embrace a faith based on egalitarianism and succor to those in need? Everyone knows I’m not much for religion in general, but even I have to admit that compared to the Indian Hindi caste system, Christianity is a clear improvement.

  2. zee said

    Sister Alphonsa will be the first ‘Christian’ saint from India. India is a land of thousands of saints including Buddha, Mahavira Jain (founder of Jainism) and Guru Nanak (founder of Sikhism). Hindus respect all god including Jesus. Unfortunately, Christian missionaries are getting money from abroad and they use the money to buy into their belief (which asks for denouncing all other gods). They literally give money to convert! That is a good incentive for poor people but is just plain wrong. This was the same tactic used on Africans. However, you can see that poverty has not ended in Africa or Latin America. Africa has rather gone to the path of war between the two religions keen on converting (Islam and Christianity). And do I have to point out how Latin America was converted ? Religion unfortunately doesn’t do much in terms of poverty alleviation and it is a big hoax that they are doing anything good for the Indian down trodden. Religion is just a method of extending influence of one community over another (in this case it is the west on east).

    There are in fact Christian websites listing the weakness of all communities of India and many parts of the world and how to take advantage of them. How would you feel if another religion did the same for you ? The local Hindu population has also been insulted by the regular Christian publication of material defaming hindu gods on regular basis and brainwashing with more money and material. However I condemn all sorts of violence on any community. BTW, this violence was started by Christians by killing of a hindu religious leader. Also, why does Vatican want to have a sister Alphonsa become a saint much before Mother Teresa who has been in the line so long ago ? All politics to spread more Christianity. Which is not a bad thing in itself but for the fact that it is a ‘exclusive’ religion saying that all other beliefs are wrong and make mockery of other easterns faiths; whereas hinduism/budshism is an ‘inclusive’ religion saying all beliefs are accepted and are just different ways to reach the same goal.

  3. honestpoet said

    Thanks for the correction, and the cogent post. I agree that the evangelistic invasion of India and other nations is abhorrent (and often is accompanied, moreover, by corporate slavery).

    If you look around the blog, you’ll see we don’t approve of any religion (or fascism, with which it so often goes hand in hand).

  4. Vijay said

    I find this of repeated ploy that Christians are converting poor Hindus by coercian,enticement and fraudulent means a weak argument.Money for the church, when funded abroad, is routed through the Home Ministry and properly accounted for.Most of it goes for building hospitals, schools, old age homes, and leprosy missions-all noble national causes.A substantial amount is collected and accounted meticuolosly from the Christian congregation for poor oriented schemes by the respective churches.
    On the other hand unaccountable gigantic amount of money comes to Hindu organisations from abroad and within the country-RSS/VHP/Bajrang Dal etc without any sort of routing through the Home Ministry.Unlike for Christan donations from abroad, the money that comes in into the Hindu organisations are neither regulated nor accounted for and very surreptiously collected for what is euphemestically called charity donations .
    Unlike Christian efforts targetted at the poor,the diseased and dis-advantaged, the donations into these Hindu organisations apparently do not go presumably to the needy.The money that comes into India for the Hindu organisations are many times much more than the money flowing into Christian coffers.Where does all this money go?
    If money and enticement are being blamed for conversions, why are the poor still coming to Christianity even though money on offer from Hindu organisations is much larger.Money collected in temples from the majority community is also probably as much as the annual budget of the Govt of India.Where is all this money going?Clearly lots money and fear of violence are used by Hindu fundamentalist organisations in trying to keep their flock under their religous control.Christians use compassion,self sacrifice, education,improving health conciousness to the people to attract people to Christ’s message i.e the meek and humble, the powerless, and the disadvanted are the children of God.The North East, Khandamal,Jharkhand,Bastar in MP, are classic examples of this.Secondly the lack of caste system is what attracts Hindus to other religions-Christianity, Islam, Buddhism etc
    Even high quality education often largely dispensed by Christian schools has not prevented the caste Hindu from being totally derisive of their own lower caste brethern.I have been to many an middle class or upper middle class Hindu home, where the Sahib and Memsahib would on a discussion on Dr Amedkar,Jagjivan Ram or Mayawati would derisively say they are “Chamars”, and not equipped to rule.In a discussion on Reservation, over fine imported single malt whisky, a top retired beauracrat once told me-why educate these people-the Dalits, the BC’s, the SC/ST-where will we get our servants from in future?He added, in any case they cannot be good engineers,doctors , lawyers or even clerks-they are Chamars you see!!All these people I mention above are normal decent educated people-not fundamentalists or caste driven people!!But centuries of conditioning has made them believe that only upper castes has the brains and capabilities, the rest in the Hindu fold are meant to be menials!!
    Hinduism is a magnificient ‘way of life’ in the philosophy and spirutuality of daily living!!Unfortunately it has remained mired in the social systems of 2000 plus years ago-archiac and irelevant to the 21st century.Clearly as Indians we cannot let the opportunity of modernising the existing social systems go by.We can use the power of a egilitarian society that Christianity or even most other religions propound to bring in the changes overdue as fast and soon as possible.
    If we can use the power of Christian tenents of compassion and service, focussing on the poor and meek, to serve and help to bring in faster education,health, housing, food etc in the rural and tribal areas, why not use the Christian Church?
    After all, lets us say in this process about 5% or 10% even 20% convert attracted by the finer Christian tenets of equality,pro-poor focus, and any other ‘enticements’, why bother? Are they not Indians still-and better Indians too?
    In any case 200 years of presence of Christian missionaries in India when practically everything under education, hospitals,old age homes, leprosy missions and tribal upliftment programmes etc were by the Christians, only 2.5% of the population have become Christians!!
    I think conversion is a bogey that is used by Hindutva groups merely because of fear of an egilitarian Indian Society that could result.How else will 10 % of the population in India rule over 90% Indians?
    Mein Kampf that discredited theory of Hitler, which is the sustaining philosophy of Hinduvta says equality is not possible, nor desirable!!I dont think Hinduism by tradition or by inclination believes in Mein Kampf!!
    Lets make a better India first!!

  5. honestpoet said

    Well said. (I would correct you, though, that Christianity in fact says that not only the poor and meek are the children of God, but all of humanity.)

    Again, though, I am not pro-Christian. I think all religion has been used to control people, and to extort them. I’m much more for something like Secular Humanism, which posits that what should be elevated is not some mythological figure, creator or savior, but that which is most noble in the human spirit (compassion, courage, endurance, discipline, intelligence, curiosity, etc.), as an ideal toward which we can all aspire, working together with the recognition that we are all brethren.

  6. SS said

    Christianity or not, Indian soul is liberated long ago

  7. honestpoet said

    I’d say there’s no such thing as “Indian soul”; liberation is definitely a case-by-case phenomenon.

  8. Kate said

    ooh now saint hood title is given like that,as some one getting any graduate degree lol what u expect from looser fake pope

  9. zee said

    Here is an Indian Christian’s well-written article about western-influenced proselytism in India, and what it is doing to Indian culture:
    http://c-alex-alexander.sulekha.com/blog/post/2003/05/proselytization-in-india-an-indian-christian-s-perspective.htm

    Indian Christianity is more ancient that even Europe or definitely US, because of Saint Thomas arrival to India. As a result it had a very assimilated culture, until the advent of westerners. Unfortunately, many Christians are not seeing the changes.

    The above article will have all responses to Vijay’s comment. Also, the money for evangelicals do not go through home ministry.Even if it does, it takes proportion of peanuts to bribe the oafs sitting in Delhi. The amount of ‘accounted’ money for evangelism is of the order of 1.5 million, and compared to that of RSS/VHP (of whom I am not a fan of either, mind you) is 1/1000th that amount. These groups also do an social work for Indian poor. Does that make them any better: No ! Even Gandhi said: “proselytizing under the cloak of humanitarian work is unhealthy, to say the least. It is most resented by people here”. So, I still stand by the comment that social work should not be done under the cloak of any religion: Hindu/Christian/Muslim. Unfortunately casteism continues even after conversion to Christianity. All Christians in India know that. So, stop kidding around.

    Also, Indian government does not control any of the religious institutions of Christians and Muslims. However it directly controls all Hindu temple boards, (and mismanages it). Hence you will see dilapidated hindu temples in Indian villages and shiny Indian Churches and mosques closeby.

  10. zee said

    BTW Vijay, I belong to low caste, and with help from people of all castes in India, I have managed to get a PhD in one of the best institutions in US. And seriously I couldn’t have made it this far without the help of so many people in India, who never bothered with my caste…and I did start from modest means. I am saying this only to show how biased you are. India has many many low caste elected leaders who are at the highest positions in India ( check in Bihar and UP). BTW, how many elected black leaders are their in US senate? None! ( check http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/01/why-are-there-no-black-senators.html). Also wrt religion, India’s Prime Minister is Sikh (another minority religion). Until recently, India’s President was Muslim (APJ Abdul Kalam). Honestly, India is the most diverse nation in the world that has been most tolerant. If you have no idea, go check India’s history books (including http://www.pbs.org/thestoryofindia/)

    Education and liberal mindset is the only way for people to go forward. Concentrating on religion (any of them as a matter fact) will take us backward. Religion is the thought process of our ancestors, we should have our own thinking. But I do not like obliteration of cultures and homogenization of the world by converting to just one religion. Even if we all become Christians, there will scisms (check how many sects are there in Christianity, and thier have been wars amongst them too). Let everyone leave in peace with their own culture. Just look forward while taking lessons from history.

  11. zee said

    And it is also claimed that this evangelism has been aided by Bush ( http://compreligion.sulekha.com/blog/post/2008/09/chritian-plan-to-convert-india-the-role-of-american.htm )

    If this is true, I hope our new president will an end to this. Seriously, sometimes we have so much expectation and hope from our new President Obama, I feel it is unfair to him.

    Honestpoet, sorry to have used your space, but I felt I should reply to a propaganda and agenda of the right that is not given the proper light.

    • honestpoet said

      No problem at all, Zee. I welcome rational, civil discussion. If I knew more about the situation there, I’d participate myself, but I’m afraid I don’t. I’m naturally distrustful of all organized religion, but especially one that perpetuates what surely looks like injustice (the caste system) to me. But I don’t trust Christianity or Islam one iota more.

  12. zee said

    Honespoet, I respect what you mean, and I am more spiritual in nature than belonging to any religion (i.e. I do not follow or visit any religious place usually). But many historical fact and knowledge about India are garbled either due genuine lack of knowledge or intentional propaganda to propagate other cultures. Two comments here.

    One: Hinduism is the most disorganized religion in the world. Just because it is followed by a lot of people doesn’t make it organized. There is no Sunday school or madrasas to train young minds. (Quoting from http://www.hindubooks.org/david_frawley/hinduism/eternal_view_of_hinduism/page9.htm 🙂 “Hinduism is not an organized religion such as we ordinarily consider one to be. There is no Hindu church, no Hindu Pope, no Hindu Rome, Jerusalem or Mecca that all Hindus should go to, no Hindu messiah or prophet all Hindus must revere, no one Hindu Bible all Hindus must read.

    We could say therefore that Hinduism is the greatest disorganized religion in the world. It has never organized itself along monolithic lines, with a set dogma and specific canon of beliefs. It has remained decentralized and localized, which is perhaps why of all the ancient imagistic and mystical religions, it alone has survived through the millennia.” Rest can be read from the link.

    Two: Also, the caste is a social evil of India (and not just of Hinduism). Even people converted to other religion unfortunately follows the caste system. In India, 90% of churches are controlled by higher caste Christians (read the matter under caste system under non-hindus in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_caste_system). Muslims also talk about who and who isn’t a descendant from Arabs and categorize each other and sometime clash with each other. Only education (and science) can change such perceptions. West has this obsession about Caste system in India, and I have been asked so many times by westerners what caste I am, because they were curious. And strangely never have been asked in India. This is because the caste system is getting fast eradicated with more economic development, and is most prevalent in the states which are economically backward. Also, Indian government practices affirmative action, and reserves more than 60% of the seats in all govt. institutions for ‘backward community’, including the elite IITs.

    • majutsu said

      great post zee. on the muslims, i can say first hand that arabs do not accept non-arab muslims truly. there are castes everywhere, like karl marx said.

  13. zee said

    Oops…that smiley was unintentional.

  14. zee said

    Another correction: affirmative action (called ‘reservation’ or ‘Quota’ in India) is capped at 50% for the backward castes for central institutions, but exceed 60% by institutions in some states.

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