Isaiah 10: 17

Prof. IllaiahShould we neglect what Prophet Isaiah said about the protection of the fatherless, since he belongs to Israel, and only follow Manu who asked us to shave and starve a woman if she is alive after her husband’s death since he belongs to India? Is that what nationalism means?Writes Kancha Ilaiah author, social activist and head, political science department, Osmania University.

Encourage the oppressed

Defend the cause of the fatherless

Plead the case of the widow

Isaiah 10: 17

One does not have to be a Christian to appreciate these lines. They were said by a prophet who lived almost 200 years before Buddha.

If the protagonists of Hindutva — leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Sangh Parivar — had imbibed similar moral principles, they would not have attacked orphans and widows in Orissa.

Some weeks ago, VHP leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati and four others were shot dead by Maoists of that area. The Maoists also claimed responsibility for the murder.

It is a known fact that Maoists kill those whom they consider their class enemies. Both Maoists and the Sangh Parivar believe in armed attacks. But instead of retaliating against Maoists, the VHP, Bajrang Dal and RSS forces targeted Christians and attacked orphanages, schools, hospitals and churches in Kandhamal.These forces have political backing of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which ruled the nation for six years and is still in power in many states, including Orissa as a coalition partner.

The Sangh Parivar claims that it works for the protection of Hindu dharma. The VHP says it is trying to spread Hinduism across the world. But if they kill orphans, burn schools, hospitals and places of worship, does it not make them as bad as terrorists?

If Islamic terrorists plant bombs in public places and kill innocent people, and Hindu terrorists target orphans, their schools and hospitals, then which one of the two is the worst form of terrorism?People of all religions have been victims of the bombs planted by Islamic terrorists in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Delhi. Muslims themselves have fallen prey to these bombs. These bombs are planted as acts of revenge against some wrong that took place against Muslims at some place. This is horrendous and everyone condemns attacks by Islamic terrorists.

But so far, no BJP leader aiming to rule India has condemned the targeting and killing of Christian orphans. This terrorist act is defended as revenge against Christians. There is something pathological in the targeting of orphans.

Are the Sangh Parivar forces opposed to Christianity as a religion or are they opposed to orphans getting fed and educated, and widows getting treated as human beings?BJP leader L.K. Advani’s silence on this killing of children and burning of their schools and orphanages is particularly disturbing since he is aiming to become the Prime Minister of this country.

Do we see humanism in him just because he is shouting against Islamic terrorism from the rooftop? Does he remain a nationalist when he has no word to condemn the brutal murder of orphans and burning of their dwelling places?

Should we neglect what Prophet Isaiah said about the protection of the fatherless, since he belongs to Israel, and only follow Manu who asked us to shave and starve a woman if she is alive after her husband’s death since he belongs to India? Is that what nationalism means?

We should seriously think whether those people involved in the killing of orphans should be granted the right to rule India, whichever caste, creed or religion they might belong to. They shamed us in Gujarat and now they are doing it again in Orissa.Orissa has a significant tribal and Dalit population. If one travels through Orissa’s villages one can see lack of modernisation and absence of social transformation. Untouchability, is its primitive form, is rampant.

The fact that the administration of Jagannath temple in Puri does not allow non-Hindus into the temple premises is an indication of rigid nature of Hindu culture there. The movement of tribals and Dalits turning to Christianity should be seen in this background.

The VHP and other Sangh Parivar organisations have not made any effort to reform Hindu society and abolish caste inequalities so that casteless egalitarian Hinduism could emerge. Instead of doing that, they are targeting the tribals and Dalits who have embraced Christianity. Yet they say that they represent the Indian nation.

And tragically, Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who studied in the West, has done nothing to change this culture. Very sad indeed.

SAN took this article from


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One Response

  1. beautiful thoughts!!

    centuries gone by still we Indians are struggling with caste and class.. let’s take a moment to think about it and wish we could see caste free India soon in 21 century!!

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