What will save Hinduism: Violence or Repentance
WHAT WILL SAVE HINDUISM:
VIOLENCE OR REPENTANCE?
The BJP member of Parliament, Dr. Udit Raj, is right, Hinduism is in danger. Not because of conversions, but because of “its protectors.”
Hinduism’s protectors had good reasons to hate Rampal Kori. In 2002 there was not a single follower of Christ in 35 Kms radius of Mauganj in Dist. Rewa (MP). During the last 14 years, while the BJP has been ruling MP (armed with anti-conversion law), Rampal has inspired hundreds of families to love Jesus. He has established eight churches and organized a Fasting and Prayer network consisting of 42 groups, each with 6-10 members. That’s why Bajrang Dal set out to imprison or kill him.
Rampal Kori is from Village Beohara, PO Umari, Tehsil Raipur Karchuliyan, District Rewa, MP. He comes from the untouchable caste of weavers. While he was a government servant in the Tribal Welfare Department, he also taught High School Students from tribal background. Like many of his friends, he was addicted to Ganja (marijuana). In year 2000, some of his students began talking to him about Jesus, their Saviour.
Vijay Kumar Maurya, an evangelist with GEMS, met Rampal providentially and taught him the Gospel. in 2002, Rampal experienced God directly. He was in a room alone. Sick of his addiction to marijuana, he knelt down and asked Jesus, “If you really are alive, and if you are a Saviour, then deliver me from my addiction.” Immediately, he heard an audible voice, “Don’t fear, I am with you.”
Rampal looked around to see who was talking. No one was around. So, he repeated his prayer. The Voice repeated the words. He got up and opened the door to see if someone was outside the room. But no one was there.
Rampal closed his door and prayed the third time. In response, the voice said, “Do not look here and there. I am your God.” Rampal responded, “God if you are with me, I give my life to you today.” Peaceful, Rampal went off to sleep.
Next morning, Rampal went for his ganja “chilam” as usual. But the sight of marijuana repulsed him. He felt like nauseating. Bewildered he asked, “What’s happening to me?” The Voice responded, “Now your life is mine.”
He began reading the Bible earnestly and praying. Two months later he devoted his life to tell about the Saviour to other sinners. Vijay Maurya connected Rampal with one Mr. Jha in Varanasi. Once Mr. Jha was convinced about the genuineness of Rampal’s devotion to Christ, he started supporting Rampal with Rs.2,500 per month.
Back in 2002, Rampal had two daughters, Khushbu (5), Mahima (3), and a son Ashish (6 months). His family was living with his parents and three brothers. His parents and brothers were unhappy that he was following Christ. But they couldn’t understand why he, the only employed person in the household, would quit his job to become a preacher. Since they did not approve of his walk with God, he decided to move his nuclear family out of his Joint Family. His father retorted,”if you go your own way then we will consider you dead.”
Rampal’s nuclear family boarded a bus to go to Mauganj. His son was fine before the bus started. Soon he began vomiting coagulated blood. The parents were shocked. Rampal wondered if he was making a mistake. Should he return home? Then he found himself praying, ‘Lord, if I go back to my father’s house, what exactly will I tell him? And what if I reach Mauganj with a dead son: what will I witness to my audience?” The son stopped vomiting.
In 2005, Rampal was sitting under a neem tree with a group of 30 new believers, when the protectors of Hinduism came to him. Two of his 30 friends had been completely insane. Rampal commanded the demons in the name of Jesus to come out of them. Both were delivered of insanity. Others in the group had also found healing and deliverance as a result of Rampal’s prayers. The Hindutva leader, one Mr. Kamlesh Verma, drew out a pistol and held it at Rampal’s chest. He ordered Rampal to leave Mauganj in 24 hours or he will be killed. Rampal said, “Please give me a written order and I will leave.”
Kamlesh Verma asked, “How can I issue a written order?” Rampal replied, “Then what authority do you have to order me to leave my own district? I have committed my life to obey God. Not a leaf shakes without God’s will. If it is God’s will for me to be killed by you, then I would gladly accept God’s will.”
In 2006, Rampal established a second congregation of over 30 believers in village Dadar Paschimi in Hanmana Tehsil. This is about 10 Kms from his home in Mauganj. This congregation met for worship on Mondays. One Monday, as Rampal was cycling back after worship, three members of Bajrang Dal stopped him. Without saying a word they started hitting him with rods. His head began to bleed. Rampal tied it with a cloth and cycled 10 kms back to Mauganj Police station. The police took the First Information Report (FIR), but did nothing. Next day Rampal went to the Superintendent of the Police. The SP, serving under the BJP Government, took no action.
By 2008, with nothing but a bicycle, Rampal had established five congregations. Then two things happened: an Indian Christian, serving as an Engineer in Australia, gave Rampal a motorcycle; at the same time, his friend in Varanasi decided to stop supporting Rampal for his own reasons.
By 2016, equipped with a motorcycle, Rampal had established eight congregations in a radius of 35 Kms - in Chakrabhati (Ward #7), Mauganj, Dadar Paschimi, Sukulgawan (Tehsil Mauganj), Mudariya (Teh. Mauganj), Panigawan (Teh Mauganj), Dhigwar (Teh. Mauganj), Chill (Teh Naigarhi), Itawra (Tehsil Naigarhi.) All the believers have come from “lower castes” — SC (Scheduled Caste), ST (Scheduled Tribes), and OBC (Other Backward Castes). Hindus from upper castes have also found healing, but they have not yet found the courage to worship their healer along with the lower caste believers. Having been a government servant, Rampal took the precautions of writing formal letters to District Authorities on 24 July 2015 and 07August 2015 informing them of the religious work that he was doing. He gave details of where he was conducting worship services, on which day, and at what time. Could it be that some Hindutva related political leaders or bureaucrats used that information to send some protectors of Hinduism to get him imprisoned or killed?
In addition to the eight churches, Rampal had also organized 42 teams of 6-10 believers each in a Fasting-and-Prayer Network. Each group fasts and prays for 3 days at a time. Then the other group takes over the relay. The relay began on June 1. They pray that sinners may find deliverance from sin; sick may be healed; individuals and families may be delivered from their demons.
From July 19-21 the team at Gadra (Mauganj) was fasting and praying. Rampal and his friend Nandlal joined the group on the 21st. Nandlal’ came along because one of his relatives in Gadra had died. Their plan was to join the prayer at night and attend the cremation in the morning.
At 8.30 pm, three members of the Bajrang Dal gate-crashed into the prayer meeting. Their leader introduced himself as Arvind Tiwari, the District Head of the Bajrang Dal. They started beating up Rampal and dragged him out. Suddenly, about 20 others appeared out of nowhere. Together they dragged Rampal for about 1 Kms. There in the middle of the road they beat him more. Then they put him first on a motor cycle and then in a car and drove him 3 Kms to a lonely spot near a canal. Half-an-hour later they dragged Nandlal also to the same spot. They kept beating the two, forcing them to record a confession that the two had come to Gadra to convert Hindus. Rampal and Nandlal insisted that they had come for prayers, not to convert.
The Hindutva brigade then pulled out broken idols and half-burnt books they called “Ramayan” and “Gita.” These were put on Rampal and Nandlal’s person, clothes and motorcycle and they were photographs. Then the protectors of Hinduism tied the two of them together and took turns in kicking and beating them until 2 am. They kept warning each other to make sure that the beating does not result in bleeding or fracture. Rampal’s eardrum was punctured.
While this was going on, the Prayer Group called Rampal’s family. Soon the lower caste followers of Jesus were calling the Police. Rampal’s wife, children, and 10-15 believers went to the Police Station at Mauganj to report the matter. The officer in-charge called the Police Station at Shahpur to look into the matter. Consequently, at 2 am, the Inspector of Shahpur Police station reached the spot with a few policemen. The mob threatened to beat-up the tiny police force. Therefore, the inspector withdrew from the scene and called senior officers. An hour later, the Superintendent of Police (SP) arrived with Additional SP, other officers and a larger force.
Most of the mob ran away, but Arvind Tiwari stayed with 5-6 people. The SP demanded that Rampal and Nandlal be handed over to him. Tiwari replied that he could not do so because he had caught them red-handed, breaking idols, burning Hindu Scriptures, and converting Hindus. He insisted that he will keep the “culprits” and bring them to the police in the morning. After half-an-hour of negotiations, the SP succeeded in untying Rampal and Nandlal and taking them to Mauganj Police station at 4 am.
Rampal’s family and fifteen or so believers, mostly women, were waiting at the police station the whole night. Other believers started arriving in the morning. Before too long, 500 or so friends of Rampal had gathered in front of the police station. They demanded that the police register a case against the criminals and release Rampal and Nandlal. The police registered the FIR, including a case of atrocity by upper castes upon two lower castes. The police recorded the testimony of witnesses: the prime eyewitness being, Vidhyawati, the hostess of the prayer-meeting. Yet, the police did not release the two. Their pretext was that they were safer in the police station than in their own home.
At 4.30 pm the police took Rampal and Nandlal to a court to “register a formal case against their persecutors.” Instead, the police presented a case against the two for converting Hindus, disturbing peace by breaking idols and burning Hindu Scriptures. The judge locked up the two in jail for five days, from July 22-27. Rampal’s wife bailed them out with help from other believers on bonds of Rs.25,000 each.
Once the bail was granted, a number of believers went to jail in two cars and several motorcycles to receive Rampal. Rampal says that a group of Bajrang Dal activists also went to jail. Their plan, he thinks, was to force Rampal to withdraw his case against them. Because Rampal’s supporters outnumbered the criminals, they decided to follow Rampal’s procession in their car.
The believers’ cars were loaded with men. They wanted Rampal to sit in the car and not drive his motorbike, which a neighbour had brought. Rampal’s wife felt squished between the men in the car, so she decided to get out quietly and ride on Rampal’s motorbike being driven by their Hindu neighbour.
About ten Kms from the jail, at about 8.30 pm, allegedly (according to a local newspaper) a car came from behind and hit the motorbike hard. The bike swerved and hit a cow. The driver fell on his head and died. Rampal’s wife hit the road hard and became unconscious with multiple fractures. The car sped away. Soon the They stopped to help the victims and, to their horror, discovered that it was Rampal’s own wife who was lying unconscious.
They called the Emergency number and took his wife and the driver to the Government hospital. Rampal has no proof, but he suspects that the Bajrang Dal activists may have hit his motorcycle, in an effort to kill him. They may have assumed that he was driving his wife.
Rampal sobbed as he narrated the details to me. He does not have the money to treat his wife and fight the court case against him. How on earth will he support his friends’ widow and orphans?
The protectors of Hinduism are asking the widow to extract money from Rampal by filing a case against him — that he got her husband murdered in an effort to murder his own wife! They are offering to provide the witnesses to buttress that allegation.
SO, IS HINDUISM IN DANGER?
Hinduism has never been stronger than it is today — politically, economically, and philosophically. (I have explained this point in my YouTube lecture on Hinduism in Wisdom From India series.) Ironically, Hinduism’s strength makes it democratically vulnerable. The lower castes fear that Hinduism’s revival will undo the little progress they had begun to make under western educated leaders such as Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. These leaders had embraced the Bible’s teaching that all men are created equal. This teaching about human equality is fundamentally antithetical to the Hindu social order and its idea of Brahmin supremacy.
Why are simple people such as Rampal succeeding in BJP ruled Madhya Pradesh?
The immediate reason is obvious: Rampal is not a religious priest, performing rituals and preaching pious mumbo-jumbo. He is in an actual relationship with risen and living Lord Jesus Christ. He prays to Jesus and the sick get healed. He commands the demons in the name of Jesus Christ and they leave their victims. That is why fasting and prayer is so important to him. His power comes from the reality of the presence of God's spirit in him - a presence that God desires for all of us. God wants to live in us.
Nevertheless, there are also underlying sociological and philosophical reasons that are making the "lower" castes qui Hinduism. As Prof. Kancha Ilaiah ‘Shepherd’ has argued in his well-known book, “Why I am not a Hindu”, castes such as the Koris were never Hindus. Hinduism was a minority religion in India until the first Census in 1871. The Census authorities knew who was a Muslim, a Christian, a Sikh, or a Jain. But they did not know what to call those castes that did not worship Hindu gods, did not read Hindu scriptures, did not go into Hindu temples, and were not served by Brahmins. These castes had their own deities and rituals. They had no scriptures of their own, though some of them had had wonderful teachers and poets, such as Raidas and Kabir Das. These castes did not have an organized religion, scriptures, or priestly class. They did not have one label, because they worshipped millions of little god's and goddesses. Instead of inventing a new name for these diverse castes, the Census authorities decided to be lazy and call them ‘Hindus.’ In reality they were Hinduism's victims.
‘Upper Caste’ Hindus never accepted these lower castes into their fold. Mahatma Gandhi tried to change that because he had a moral problem. He began his agitation against western racism because a white man threw him out of a train. How could he accept the fact that every single day Hindus were throwing out millions of lower castes from all sorts of public spaces, including from temples. There was also a political issue: In pre-Partition India, Muslim were 25 percent of the population. Gandhiji understood that if Independent India reverted to feudalism, Brahmins and Baniyas will not have political power. If it became a democracy then a political alliance of Muslims and the "lower" castes will beat the upper caste in every election. Therefore, he urged Hindus to embrace the lower castes who had been labeled “Hindus” by intellectually lazy Census authorities.
While some sensible Hindus heeded Mahatma Gandhi’s call, the protectors of Hinduism assassinated him. Now, the Hindutva ideology that killed Mahatma Gandhi is using violence to “protect” Hinduism (as well as the cow). Dr. Udit Raj is right in sensing that Hinduism’s biggest need is to protect itself from the violent protectors of cows and Hinduism. For Truth is on Rampal’s side. BJP’s political power cannot enable the darkness of falsehood to prevail against the light of truth . . . that is a philosophical issue that I have to leave for another post.
Violence cannot save moral darkness. Rampal was saved because he confessed his sin and trusted the Saviour. Repentance is the prerequisite of finding forgiveness and salvation.