An open letter to John Dayal – Francois Gautier

Cross on Bible
It is time Christianity in India becomes a little more humble and quieter. Nobody is contesting their faith. … You are practising a Christianity that is obsolete, aggressive and maybe even dangerous – Francois Gautier

John Dayal

Dear John Dayal,

A few years back, you wrote a letter to Mohammad Hamid Ansari, then Chairman, National Commission for Minorities, where you complained of harassment of nuns and Christian workers at bus stops and rail stations in Tirupati government-owned areas and objecting to a request to have the Constitutionality of the Seven Tirumala Hills being made out of bounds to Christians.

Do you really think that for instance the Government of France would allow Hindu proselytisers in Lourdes, one of the most sacred places for Christians? Never. The French Government even has a branch of the Home Ministry looking into what they call ‘sects’. Amrita Anandamayi of Kerala is on that list. Although she has not committed any crimes except embracing people and although her followers are doing remarkable social work, as good as any Christian organisation in India, she is being harassed in France, the accounts of her group are being scrutinised, she faces difficulties in buying land and she has to keep a low profile.

Tirupati is one of the most sacred places for Hindus. Why should nuns and missionaries go there to convert innocent Hindus? It’s an affront to the majority community of this country who have always respected the Christian faith. Remember that the first Christian community of the world is the Syrian Christian in Kerala? *

Sonia GandhiDo Christians in India realise how much freedom they have here? Any preacher from abroad can come to India, rent huge grounds, organise prayer meetings, advertise in the national press, get media coverage…. Just try to do this in Saudi Arabia, or even China and see what will happen to your preachers!

Then you go on complaining of a “sustained hate campaign by the religious fanatics” of the so-called Sangh Parivar in Andhra Pradesh. But you must be knowing that thanks to Chief Minister Rajshekhar Reddy, who died in a helicopter accident, nearly 20% of Andhra Pradesh has converted to Christianity. His son Jagan Reddy is very much a Christian too—he has even erected a cross over his massive new house in Hyderabad. Yet his name sounds Hindu. Do Christians in high places need Hindu names to fool the gullible masses of Hindus?

Come on, Mr John Dayal, you are the one who is waging a systematic campaign of hate against Hindus. As a born Christian, I can see how Christianity is evolving slowly in the West, where it is becoming more and more accepted in the masses that there are other religions, such as Buddhism or Hinduism which have their own values. Yet in India, Christianity is becoming more and more rigid, more and more of a proselytising spirit, like it was fifty years ago in the West. Christians in India represent only 2.5% [maybe 5% today – Ed] of the population, yet they make so much noise, they occupy so much space in education, health care, journalism [and  Francois Gautierpolitics] that you would think that they constitute the majority of this country.

Again recently, you have targeted Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, respected not only by millions of Hindus, but also by many Christians in western countries and even by Muslims (he was received warmly last month in Pakistan). By doing this, you are showing that you are practising a Christianity that is obsolete, aggressive and maybe even dangerous.

It is time Christianity in India becomes a little more humble and quieter. Nobody is contesting your faith, but please leave alone ancient places of worship like Tirupathi and great sages such as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. And remember: Sonia Gandhi may not be here forever …

Yours,

Francois Gautier

Editor’s Note

* India’s political leaders are fond of telling their constituents and the nation that Christianity arrived in India before it arrived in Europe. This historical conceit is simply not true. In Acts 19:21 Apostle Paul records his travels through India map with crossEphesus and Greece—Achaia and Macedonia—en route to Jerusalem, then on to Rome. In Romans 15:24 & 15:28 he says that he plans to visit Spain. These journeys took place in the 40s CE—some historians say he was writing after 44 CE. So even if it was true that Apostle Thomas landed in Kerala in 52 CE—the spurious date is of 19th century origin—Christianity would still have arrived in Europe a decade earlier than in India – IS