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Falling for Saffron Guarantees

P. A. Chacko P. A. Chacko
29 Apr 2024

Come election time, crawlers, beggars, well-wishers, guarantee salesmen, and such an assortment are at your doorstep. This is not surprising because we are accustomed to such jumla gymnastics from politicians and political aspirants.

But the disturbing news emerging from Kerala's political grapevine is that a 'Prince' of the Kerala Church chose not only to meet BJP leader K. Surendran on the latter's vote-begging spree but also laid out a red carpet for Modi's 'Election Guarantees'.

Surendran is the 11th Kerala State President of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was also announced as the BJP candidate from the Wayanad Constituency to counter Rahul Gandhi in the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections.
Given the heat and dust of the controversial Lok Sabha election, Surendran's visit was not just a courtesy call. But the way the prelate accorded a saffron welcome for Surendran and promoted Modi's 'Election Guarantees' sales is not just reprehensible but unworthy of a church dignitary. He not only obliged Surendran by standing for a photo op but bent over backwards by standing beside Surendran and his colleagues holding the BJP Election Manifesto containing 'Modi's Guarantees.'

Surendran knew well that he was a small fry before Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad. However, he was using all the tricks in the BJP kit to win Christian votes through the bishop's intercession. Read this along with the news that Delhi's Lieutenant General was also on a spree, visiting Kerala's church sanctuaries and meeting the dignitaries. Only nincompoops will think such visits were courtesy calls for a soft drink during the election heatwave.

Malayalees with a modicum of intelligence and memory would not have forgotten another bishop's elastic declaration that people, meaning Christians, would vote for the BJP given certain conditions. With that statement, he had courted controversy, unleashing a barrage of criticisms and angry pronouncements by well-meaning Christians.

It is unfortunate that, even as they are supposed to be intelligent gentlemen, they have displayed little historical sense and knowledge in understanding the Sangh Parivar and its agenda. Have they ever read the pronouncements of bigotry by the RSS towards Christians? M. S. Golwalkar, RSS's second leader and Sangh Parivar's venerated hero, utters the following in his book 'We, Our Nationhood Defined': "So far as the Christians are concerned, to a superficial observer they appear not only quite harmless but as the very embodiment of compassion and love for humanity. They run schools and colleges, hospitals and orphanages… What is the real and ulterior motive of Christians in pouring tens of millions of rupees in all these activities? Wherever they have gone, they have proved to be not 'blood-givers' but 'blood-suckers".

Then he goes on to chart out the way open to Christians and others in India if they have to survive: "There are only two courses open to the foreign elements (non-Hindus), either to merge themselves in the national race (Aryan Hindu race) and adopt its culture, or to live at its mercy so long as the national race may allow them to do so and to quit the country at the sweet will of the national race. That is the only sound view on the minorities problem. That is the only logical and correct solution."

Are our princely prelates and shepherds falling in line with Golwalkar's diktat and leaving the flock in the lurch? Have they not heard the cry of Manipur Christians who were lynched, kicked, quartered and killed in cold blood by the saffron goons? Do they believe their brother Archbishop of Imphal Dominic Lumon that, following the ethnic violence in Manipur, 249 churches were burnt within 36 hours of the violence? Have they ever heard of the RSS planting a Hindu idol within a church compound in Goa? Did they ever hear that the Jesuit social activist Fr. Stan Lourdusamy was killed in incarceration during Modi's dispensation by denying him even a straw for 180 days to sip water with his shivering hands? How is it that our bishops have not heard of the Christian persecutions in central and north India? In Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, Dalits and Christian tribals were beaten up, thrown out of their villages and denied even drinking water even as the state apparatus remained a silent, colluding spectator. Such news did not penetrate the palatial precincts of our prelate princes.

Raising the bogey of 'Love Jihad' and raising the mercury of the Christians in Kerala, the BJP wanted to act like the proverbial jackal sucking blood while the two 'battering rams' attacked each other. The saffron Parivar's thrust may get an extra boost with our prelates wanting to crawl for favours and guarantees. But it would be good for them to know that they will leave their followers in the lurch in such an attempt. Will Jesus the Nazarene approve of such a move?

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