View from the Beach

            

In response to Aversion to Christian Conversion by Sandeep Heble

 

Growing up and Tolerance in a civilized society

Samir Kelekar


Sandeep Heble's justification of Dara Singh's actions when he is hurt or his religion is denigrated cannot be tolerated in a civilized society. It just means that Sandeeps and the Dara Singhs need to grow up.

Growing up, if Sandeep doesn't know it, is not easy.

It is about confounding and facing one's hurts, and coming up with civilized ways of tackling them. If I take up a gun when I get hurt --- it could be because someone called me a sinner or any other reason --- then by the same logic another guy can take up a gun on me when he/she gets hurt by my actions.

If one believes in true democracy and free speech, there will be times when one gets painfully hurt. Of course, one can react like American President Bush bombing each and every one who appears to hurt him, or one can try and figure out the reason for the hurt, and try to fix it.

India has a big tradition of free speech, and atheists criticizing the Gods of Hinduism have been there since ancient times. Missionaries calling the Hindus sinners are just another addition.

If Hinduism has stuff in it, it should be able to counter, not by killing people like Staines but by counter arguing. I suppose counter-arguing is not out of the domain of Hinduism!!!

What Sandy is in fact advocating in the name of tolerance (he obviously does not have tolerance to criticism which he calls denigration and he is justifying violence in response to it) is going back to something like what is happening in fundamentalist Islamic countries, where Dara Singhs will take care of unwanted criticism.

Btw, he does not answer the question as to what is genuine criticism and what is not.

Tomorrow I can get hurt if a Christian missionary just stares me in my face!!! One needs to realize here that hurt is subjective.

It is time BJP, RSS and others realize that the sensible way to counter criticism is by arguing and not by violence. Killing a few missionaries is not going to solve the problem. If people are converting because of fundamental reasons, they will still convert. If people are being converted forcefully, then evidence of it has to be shown and legal action taken for that.

I don't know what he means by the right to convert. I believe it is a question of responsibility and the responsibility on the conversion has to be on the party which converts unless it is a forced one

Samir Kelekar
July 10, 2002

 

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