India: Hindu Nationalist Confidence Grows

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Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 486 | Wed 09 Jul 2008

In February 1998 India's Hindu nationalist Barantya Janata Party
(BJP) rose to power on a platform of hard-line Hindu nationalism.
The BJP's election slogan was 'One People, One Nation, One Culture'
(i.e. Hindu culture). Systematic, violent persecution of Christians
escalated nationwide under BJP rule. Anti-conversion laws were
enacted; 're-conversion' ceremonies (to Hinduism) were promoted;
Indian history was 'saffronised' (rewritten); and in 2002, up to
2000 Muslims were massacred in Gujarat in a BJP-incited pogrom.

The BJP governed also through India's economic boom years, so when
they lost power in the April-May 2004 elections, it was a huge
shock to the world's political analysts who had not counted on the
disaffection of the impoverished, persecuted, left-behind masses.
There was a lot of prayer through the election period in which
voting was conducted in four stages. With the BJP leading after the
second stage, requests for urgent prayer rang out. By the time the
voting was over, the BJP had lost power. Christians praised God for
what they saw as a divine mercy in answer to the prayers of many.

A year of squabbling, blame shifting and policy revision followed
in the BJP. Then the 'sangh parivar' -- the umbrella body dedicated
to the advancement of Hindutva (Hindu supremacy) -- emerged,
committed to restoring the BJP to power. By the beginning of 2006
the BJP was back, both with a vengeance and a strategy. For decades
Hindu nationalists have been working at converting India's animist
tribal masses to Hinduism. They tell tribal Indians that their
ancestors were actually Hindus and that their animist religion is
in fact a corrupted form of Hinduism. The sangh parivar adopted
this strategy and added a motivating element: fear! They tell the
tribals that India's security and sovereignty are under threat from
foreign forces and that Christian missionaries are agents of the
CIA working to divide India with communal strife ahead of invasion
and occupation. They say the only way to save India is for the
tribals to join the Hindu 'mainstream', vote BJP and join a Hindu
militia. The religious conversion of the tribals -- who
traditionally vote for the Congress Party -- is far less important
to the Hindu nationalists than their political conversion.

In this way Hindu nationalism has been revived amongst the masses
and persecution of Christians has escalated all across the nation.
The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of PM
Dr Manmohan Singh has so far failed to address either the issue of
intolerant Hindutva or its immediate consequence: violent religious
persecution. This is extremely short-sighted because the long term
consequence of this failure could well be the BJP's return to power
in the next elections due May 2009. The BJP is currently demanding
a confidence vote in the parliament because the ruling UPA may have
lost its majority when leftists withdrew from the UPA over the
government's nuclear deal with the US. The UPA losing that vote
would pave the way for an early election. After defeating Congress
in the Kanartaka state polls in May, the BJP is confident they and
Hindutva have returned.


* PM Manmohan Singh and the United Progressive Alliance government:
that God will give them great wisdom and strength to effectively
counter the rise of intolerant Hindutva.

* the Holy Spirit of God to pierce the consciences of Indians and
heighten their discernment so they will reject violence,
intolerance and lies.

* God to protect his people, comfort the persecuted, empower
witness and sanctify the Indian Church which is both very
ancient (in India for 2000 years) and yet very young.




When the Hindu nationalist BJP ruled India from February 1998 to
May 2004, persecution of Christians was systematic and severe.
Whilst the BJP was humiliated by their 2004 election loss, they
eventually emerged in 2006 with a vengeance and a strategy to
regain power. Their focus is to convert India's animist tribal
masses to Hinduism and so convert them politically to vote BJP. To
motivate the tribals to convert, the Hindu nationalists tell them
that India's security is under threat from foreign forces and that
Christians are agents of the CIA out to subvert and divide India.
India's only hope (so they say) is to have the tribals join the
Hindu 'mainstream' and fight. Hindu nationalists have been
advancing this strategy unchallenged for over two years now.
Persecution has escalated and the BJP's confidence is growing.
Please pray for India.


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Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.