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Tolerance Sorely NeededPublished in Deccan Herald - 30th September 1961

Misleading and ill informed statements have been made on the role of Swamijis. It is unfortunate that a learned publicist like Mr.P.Kodanda Rao should have drawn the Matadhipathis and Swamijis into public ridicule by suggesting that they leave their habitat and enter fields which are strictly not theirs. It is all admirable for the Bishop of Bloemfontein (South Africa) to urge the people to break the colour bar but what effect it will have on the Apartheid-conscious White Christian rulers of that country is left to the future historians to record. The social reformers in India are legion to operate with the active assistance of the Government armed with legislation. What chances have the Swamijis to stop or retard the progress of social reform in India even if they want to in the face of these career reformers? Going one better Mr.C.Srikantan though wholeheartedly endorsing Mr.Kodanda Rao's appeal to the Swamijis, contradicted himself by saying that "if the Swamijis come out of the orbit of matters spiritual, the country would soon be in their merciless and ruthless hands to be shaped in any manner and bring forth their dream empire. They would not stop at anything in the grand manner of Tshombes and Mobutus." Could there be a worse thought than this? Mr.Parthasarathy has confused the issue beyond recognition and most of his contentions are wrong. Swami Vivekananda did not go to America as a missionary backed with the might of the Hindu religion, not even as the accredited representative to the Parliament of Religions in September 1893. He went there in the most pitiable clothes and no financial help. All that he aimed was to present to the world the highest teachings of one of the oldest religions in the world.He did not preach religion nor did he convert anyone in the manner in which it is practiced by Christian missionaries today.We are proud of Swami Vivekananda not because he opened the minds of a few Americans to his way of thinking but because he opened the eyes of his own countrymen to the greatest in their own religion.

Missionary acticity has become big business today. Take a look at the vast empires of Christendom. There are umpteen organisations with power and money operating in every nook and corner of the country, with the sole purpose of spreading the Gospel who proclaimed that the salvation of the non-Christians, in their opinion, lies in accepting Christianity. They do not require swords to convert. They can do it in hundreds of different ways. We do not criticise the teachings of Christ, but only the activities of His followers in doggedly attempting to turn away the Hindus from their age old beliefs, customs and rituals, not because the Hindus do not believe in their own religion, but because they have to be 'uplifted' which the missionary feels can be achieved only by a change of their religion. What the missionaries did for the good of the people of India did not go unrewarded as a few thousands more were converted to their faith and therefore their magnanimity is not all that pure. For every Albert Scheweitzer, there are hundreds of others who only enjoy. India is not in such dire need of Christianity as a Verwoerd or a Salazar who are urgently in need of Christian teachings.

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