The present writer has written about this topic in several articles and pointed out two things : Shri Malhotra is singularly ill equipped to deal with the Jesuit scholar as could be seen in his discussion/dialogue with Francis Clooney ( see my article ‘How Not to engage in Hindu Christian Dialogue, in Bharata Bharati & kalyanblogspot). Secondly, Shri Malhotra is an autodidact and as in such cases (though not in all) he believes that his recent book Being Different is a world shaking event. Dr. Clooney senses this weakness and has both exploited it and used it to delude Shri Malhotra into thinking that he is a latter day Vivekananda, only an improved and sophisticated one ! This is, ofcourse, preparatory to his co opting Shri Malhotra into the process of Inculturation whose latest avatar is Hindu Christian Dialogue. Shri Malhotra’s bland assertion that he is not interested in the ‘political’ angle of Hindu Christian Dialogue is just that ; he is reality in the thick of a political morass, whether he likes it or not.
It it hoped that Shri Malhotra will do a course change and abandon the slippery slope. It also hoped that his friends and well wishers will so advise him. Meanwhile, in the best traditions of such people as Ram Swarup and Sita Ram Goyal there are present day writers, journalists and scholars who are vigilant about the situation and will assuredly rebuff the menace to the Hindu Samaj.
Already, after the initial surprise of Shri Malhotra’s u turn there are voices now quietly registering protest. The average reader is also becoming aware of the malafide intentions of Hindu Christian Dialogue.
Perhaps the most comprehensive account of the interaction of Christianity in India is to be found in Sita Ram Goyal’s book History of Hindu Christian Encounters(1996). Its essential message concerning Christian missionary activity can be summed up in the author’s own words :
“The sole aim of this apparatus is to ruin Hindu society and culture, and take over the Hindu homeland. It goes on devising strategies for every situation, favourable and unfavourable. It trains and employs a large number of intellectual criminals to prostitute their talents in the service of their paymasters, and adept at dressing up dark designs in high sounding language.The fact that every design is advertised as a theology in the Indian context, and every criminal euphemised as an Indian theologian should not hoodwink Hindus about the real intentions.
Hindus are committing a great mistake in regarding the encounter between Hinduism and Christianity as a dialogue between two religions. Christianity has never been a religion; it has always been a predatory imperialism par excellence. The encounter, therefore, should be viewed as a battle between two totally opposed and mutually exclusive ways of thought and behaviour. In the language of the Gita (chapter 16), it is war between daivi (divine) and asuric (demonic) sampads (propensities). In the larger context of history, it can also be described as war between the Vedic and the Biblical traditions ” (Preface).
The author points out that the history of the encounter can be roughly divided into 5 phases where the missionary project uses a variety of methods:
1. The coming of the Portuguese and the brutality of conversion.
2. The British Conquest and the subsequent rise of the Arya Samaj and 19th century Hindu militants such as Swami Vivekananda
3. Advent of Gandhi. Christianity attempts to reformulate its strategies. The Tambaram Conference of 1938.
4. The fourth phase of Secularism :
” All sorts of ‘secularists’ came forward to join the chorus. New Theologies of Fulfillment, Indigenisation, Liberation, and Dialogue were evolved and put into action. The missionary apparatus multiplied fast and manifold. Christianity had never had it so good in the whole of its history in India. It now stood recognised as ‘an ancient religion ‘ (Preface).
5. The Rama Janma Bhoomi Movement.
The book also examines the phenomenon of Inculturation and Indigenisation started by Robert di Nobili in the 17th century and followed by many missionaries. This involved adopting Hindu lifestyles and methods of worship, a practice which continues to this day all over India, to fool the public. Authentic contemporary accounts of this process are cited in the book. It also provides an evocative picture of the average Hindu’s fight against the predatory forces and thus removes the myth that Hindus were passive players who rolled over and played dead.
Today, after the period covered by Sita Ram Goyal, the renewed attempt by the Vatican to fast forward the process of Inculturation can be seen in the life and work of Francis Xavier Clooney, professor of Divinity at Harvard University. Any ‘ dialogue’ with him is a political event, and those Hindus who do not recognise this, are wittingly or unwittingly playing into a deep game.
(Dr. Vijaya Rajiva is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university. Her academic training is in Philosophy, Political Science, Political Economy and History).