Monday, October 20, 2008

Class Warfare and Proselytism - An Explosive Mix

(Taking a jab at what is already known to many.. just for the sake of penning my thoughts. Not naming any religion directly.. so hope no one has a hurt ego, 'coz my points are general in nature.)

So, let us get to the definition of class warfare as per the great learning site:

Class warfare:
"...Class conflict, also class war or class warfare, is both the friction that accompanies social relationships between members or groups of different social classes and the underlying tensions or antagonisms which exist in society due to conflicting interests that arise from different social positions. Class conflict is thought to play a pivotal role in history of class societies (such as capitalism and feudalism) by Marxists who refer to its overt manifestations as class war, a struggle that is viewed by them as a product of capitalism..."

and proselytism:

Proselytism is the practice of attempting to convert people to another opinion and, particularly, another religion. The word proselytism is derived ultimately from the Greek language prefix 'πρός' (towards) and the verb 'έρχομαι' (I come). Incidentally, proselytism is prohibited in Greece, according to the constitution of Greece. Historically in the New Testament, the word proselyte denoted a person who had converted to Judaism. Though the word proselytism was originally tied to Christianity, it is also used to refer to other religions' attempts to convert people to their beliefs or even any attempt to convert people to another point of view, religious or not. Today, the connotations of the word proselytism are often negative but this article will use the word neutrally to refer to any attempts to convert a person or people to another faith...."

Well, in simple class warfare within a people of the same religious domain, conflict resolution may be easy. That is assuming that both the 'proletariat' and the 'bourgeoisie' have the same cultural underpinnings.

But when another religion starts chipping into the 'proletariat', wanting them to denounce their former religion with false propaganda and try to ally them with the culture of the new religion, especially when the religion is an alien one, things get murkier. For now, the cultural common ground using which a conflict maybe resolved, is lost. The proselytes, aided by the foreign power grow more aggressive in their demands because they do not identify the 'bourgeoisie' as their own. And again, they have found a new entity batting for their interests. Any punishment of even rogue elements among the rebellious proletariat becomes 'persecution of the religion', the proselytes look to the homeland of the new religion for support, and seeing a chance at expanding its power, the foreign country seeks to establish a stronghold in this new land. What was a simple conflict now becomes a clash between two countries.

For those who think that missionaries are right in converting groups of underprivileged people, or even right in converting anybody at all, I have this from the Bhagwada Gita:

Always remember that key emphasis in the Bhagwada Gita is on "Moksha" from the cycles of life and death. Shree Krishna divides Nature into three parts, the good, the passionate and the ignorant. The good get liberated from the cycle of life and death, the passionate return to earth and the ignorant get a lower birth.

Classifying properties attributable to the good.
Ch. 16
श्री-भगवान उवाचा
अभयम सत्त्व-सम्सुद्धिर
दानं दमास का यज्नस च
स्वध्ययास तप आर्जवं।

अहिंसा सत्यम अक्रोद्हस
त्यागः शंतिर अपैसुनाम
दया भुतेस्व अलोलुप्त्वं
मार्दवं हरीर अचापलं।

तेजः कसम ध्र्तिः शौचं
अद्रोहो नाती-मनीता
भवन्ति संपदं दैविम
अभिजातस्य भरता

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Fearlessness; purification of one’s existence; cultivation of spiritual knowledge; charity; self-control; performance of sacrifice; study of the Vedas; austerity; simplicity; nonviolence; truthfulness; freedom from anger; renunciation; tranquillity; aversion to faultfinding; compassion for all living entities; freedom from covetousness; gentleness; modesty; steady determination; vigor; forgiveness; fortitude; cleanliness; and freedom from envy and from the passion for honor—these transcendental qualities, O son of Bharata, belong to godly men endowed with divine nature."

Thus, if this is good, then my question to people is - what is the need of proselytism? Can't people just tend to be good and spiritual rather than invoking a new God at every available opportunity? We have already divided the landmass of the world into various countries, countries into states, states into districts, districts into talukas (From the Indian PoV - perhaps translatable into counties?) and so on. We have divided water bodies, resources, even air (In times of war, we do talk of this country's airspace and that country's airspace.) We have divided people, into classes, and now, even God among different religions. Such is the arrogance of the human race.

And for the demoniac:

दम्भो दर्पो ’भिमानस च
क्रोधः परुस्यम एव च
अज्नानाम काभिजतस्य
पर्थ संपदं असुरिम

"Pride, arrogance, conceit, anger, harshness and ignorance—these qualities belong to those of demoniac nature, O son of Pritha."

These are the attributes we see in the religion of the proselytizers.. "you believe in false Gods, you worship idols, you worship animals,.. forget that and look at our God".

As far as proselytism is carried out by force, it is certain that that will be opposed by a country's people. What may pull wool over their eyes is when people start converting by allurement.

So, as far as charities given by the foreign missionaries practicing proselytism is concerned:

Ch. 17


दताव्यम इति यद् दानं
दीयते ’नुपकरिने
देस काले च पत्र च
ताड़ दानं सात्त्विकं स्म्र्तम।

"Charity given out of duty, without expectation of return, at the proper time and place, and to a worthy person is considered to be in the mode of goodness."


यात तू प्रत्युपकारार्थं
फलं उद्दिस्य व पुनः
दीयते च परिक्लिस्तम
ताड़ दानं राजसं स्म्र्तम।

"But charity performed with the expectation of some return, or with a desire for fruitive results, or in a grudging mood, is said to be charity in the mode of passion."


अदेसा-काले यद् दानं
अपत्रेभ्यास च दीयते
असत-कृतं अवज्नतम
तट तामसं उदाह्र्तम।

"And charity performed at an impure place, at an improper time, to unworthy persons, or without proper attention and respect is said to be in the mode of ignorance."

With this, I leave it upto you to decide what should be our attitude towards proselytism. As far as my opinion is concerned, people should be generally suspicious when some stranger to a country does charity, and preach some alien religion that doesn't arise from the soil of the land, just as we would be suspicious of strangers in general and not get too close to them just because they are showing us some moolah and promise small time benefits.

Take a stand. Protect your land from poachers. It is indeed true that God protects those who protect themselves. But in times like these, it is us too who have to protect God (deities.. to be specific). For without our worship, they will fade into the oblivion. Besides.. I also see it fit to oppose proselytism for the reason mentioned at the start.. that other countries can't get a say in another's sovereignty.


Tanmay said...

great blog..really inspiring..

Crazy guy said...

Nice post. Keep blogging!!!!!

Deepz said...

kewl posts..i believe that you are very much absorbed in Gita..any how..keep blogging ..

Gandaragolaka said...

So whats the underlying problem?
Where does this proselytisation ultimately lead us to?
Why should we be wary of it?
Is there any loss to the country, or to the humanity or the world as a whole because of proselytism?

You have not dwelt on these questions. Please consider them as well.

Gandaragolaka said...

Also, let me take you further--
Communism is not just mixing with proselytism now, it is much more nefarious--- its actually another avatar of that original Proselytising religion from which all others have sprung.

Why? Because they have all the characteristics of it-- the way its adherents feel they are always correct, the way they brutally supress other views, the way they destroy natural resources, the way they denigrate and spread disinformation about other religions.

Unpretentious Diva said...

Take a stand. Protect your land from poachers.

Yea I am sure Raj Thackrey read or listened your suvichar hence he is trying* to protect his land (?) Maharstra from poachers (uttar Bhartiya?)

Who gave the sense of foriegners and natives?
We did, we made boundaries and nations, its our indoctrinated fault.

Just like proselytization, Indoctrination is irrational and avoidable. And patriotism (extreme) or Jehad, or native/foriegner issue is nothing but Indoctrination.

A person suffering from diabetes or cancer won't flinch in taking Foriegn medicines and medical help, every year thousands of Indians goes to Britain to get cheap and better medical treatment they go to get better education, and those who beats them out and insults them are surely wrong and irrational, but I think according to you they are saving their land.

What a knee-jerk explanation.
Anyways have a read about the reality of Indoctrination and how it should be removed by logic and reasoning properly.

Objectivistic Victory of british Doctors of Indian origin

Gandaragolaka said...

statement-1:Take a stand. Protect your land from poachers.
Statement-2:Yea I am sure Raj Thackrey read or listened your suvichar hence he is trying* to protect his land (?) Maharstra from poachers (uttar Bhartiya?)

Now, to infer an implication between statement-1 and statement-2 would take nothing less than a "leap of faith (literally)!.

But still, to give credit to you diva, I think your comment is quite relevant, but I think you posted it (hopefully accidentally) on the wrong blog.

Varun said...

Linking current situations to the Gita,always.
Nicely constructed

One point I will make,and I am a devout follower of my religion,hence I make this point.Make what you will of it.

As much as I know that dangling carrots of a better life for religious conversion is 'immoral', a person who succumbs to this needs to be looked at.Would a religion be strong if it's followers are so weak,they happily desert their faith for material gains?
On the other (more materialistic view)hand,what makes the people so desperate that they will convert to another religion?

Faith,for me,is binary.You either have it,or you don't.And what you see in these people,is the ones oscillating from 0 to 1,if you get me

Varun said...

Reforms for these people is paramount.How can you blame messengers of another religion trying to convert people if these people link their current plight to their religion? I think ideally such followers are worthless to a faith (as per my last comment) however if some good can be brought out of it,so be it.

I have always admired teh work of christian missionaries,and I also have mild interest in faiths other than mine,so I must say that the actions of some people shouldn't cause such widespread hate-crimes.