Recent acts of violence are shameful

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 February, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 February, 1999, 12:00am

I refer to the letter by Nirmal Laungani headlined, 'Violence a reaction to conversion tactics' (South China Morning Post, January 28).

India suffers from a national malaise which tends to read religious issues into almost every act or event.

I am from Northeastern India and there is no religious motive for the tribal conflicts that take place there frequently. These tribal conflicts took place long before either Hinduism or Christianity cast their influences among the mostly animistic tribes of the diverse region. This region is treated by New Delhi in the same way as Xingiang or Tibet is treated by Beijing, as it is culturally and ethnically different from the rest of India.

Of course, India itself is made up of a vast number of ethnic communities and tribes and the Hinduism practised by different peoples are as varied and diverse. Christian missionaries have made immense contributions to the Indian people and it is wrong to say that conversions are the aim of these missionaries.

They have mostly genuine altruistic motives and it should be clear to even the basic intellect that it does take massive determination and faith to work with the sick and destitute as did people like Mother Teresa. The recent acts of violence are shameful and the burning alive of children or any human being is inhuman to say the least.

There is no foreign conspiracy to change Indian culture nor is there any exploitation of Indians by external forces. It is Indians who exploit Indians and there are no Hindu organisations which work with the destitute and sick who are abundant and neglected all over India. It is foreign money and UN agencies which contribute more than any of the Indian rich who live abroad, or local millionaires.

To conclude, there is a sickness in India that must be cured for peace to prevail and prosperity for the masses seems a far-fetched fantasy.



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