Views & Reviews
The Role of RSS in Religious Conversion in Arunachal
This is in response to the article by Mr. Nitin Sethi published in Eastern Mirror dated 30th April 2014 (also in Business Standard) under the headline, ‘RSS turns Arunachal tribals towards Hinduism’. It is unfortunate and unbecoming on the part of such an experienced and highly intellectual people like Mr. Sethi, a Senior Assistant Editor of India’s most reputed national newspaper, ‘THE HINDU’, to hold RSS for converting the tribal people of Arunachal into Hinduism without proper understanding of what the term ‘Conversion’ actually means. Hence his article is completely biased and misleading. The terms like ‘Conversion’ or ‘Proselytization’ etc. are alien to the RSS or the Hindus as a whole except Mr. Nitin Sethi. Of course, if he belongs to other faith, the matter is different. There is no equivalent term for religious conversion in Hindi because such practices never existed in Hinduism. The term ‘dharmantaran’ is a recently coined word, necessitated by the conversion of the Indians by the Christian missionaries that came with the British rulers in India. We the Hindus and the indigenous people do not believe in religious conversion. We hold that all religions are the gifts of the same God hence all religions are equally true and good. What we need is only good or Godly person. To which religion he belongs to does not matter at all for us. Converting others is not only to disgrace others’ religion but also to find fault on the part of God. Everyone should note here that the fault is not in the religion but in us human.
God is basically formless for which we call Rangfraa and the Hindus call it Ishwar. When we conceive Rangfraa in human form, we call it Fraa and the Hindus call it Bhagawan. Number is always associated with those things which have names and forms but not with the formless things. God is also formless hence cannot be counted. Therefore, we have to treat God as one and infinite. The entire humanity worships this one God in different names and forms. Therefore, fighting in the name of God is a sheer foolishness. We further hold that religions are various methods or systems of imparting spiritual training so as to bring about inner transformation in an individual. Therefore, fighting in the name of religion is to fight over the system or method, which is again another foolishness. We believe that all religions are equally capable of leading any sincere seeker of truth to salvation.
The Hindus have always been helping us to protect, promote and preserve our indigenous Faiths and Cultures rather than destroying it. We know, our identity lies in our culture and our culture in our Faith. Losing one’s Faith means losing one’s culture and losing one’s culture means losing one’s identity. We the Rangfraites and the Donyipoloists are, no doubt, in reformed cult or religion, yet we practice our indigenous faiths and cultures in its pure form as our ancestors did. Only the difference is that we had done away with the social evil practices in the reformed cults. Therefore, our identity is intact, which is the only legacy we have to pass on to our next generation.
So far the image of Rangfraa, more precisely Fraa, is concerned; it is as per the depiction given in the mythology of the Rangfraites and not a clone of Shiva as understood by Mr. Sethi. We do not have any idea about Shiva. We simply think of Shiva as Rangfraa or Ishwar in another form. By Fraa, we also mean the liberated soul i.e. the one who has attained spiritual perfection who, in fact, is no longer a mere human being but God in human form. Therefore, according to us, Ram, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavira, Christ and Muhammad Prophet are all Fraa or Bhagawan and they are all our teachers so no one has any right to claim exclusive possessions over any of them as such.
Our relation with the RSS is just like the one we have with any other organizations (including Christian organizations). The RSS do Shakas every morning which I have not yet attended even once till now. We have our own system of worship and prayers with distinct religious philosophy, drawn from the mythology of the Rangfraites with independent organizational set up. The RSS or its affiliates never interfere in our work. Since our organization is a new one, we do have some problems as to its management. In such situation, I take idea not only from the RSS workers but also from my Christian friends and they used to guide me generously.
It is not understood from where Mr. Sethi has collected the information that the RSS affiliates had paid part of the cost of the idol and its transportation. Our movement started in the last part of 1995 but I was neither in the Executive nor in the Advisory Council till 1998. I took the charge of the Secretary General only in the year 1998 i.e. after three years of its inception so I do not have any idea of the payment.
Not less than two lakhs Rangfraites are there in Tirap, Changlang, Longding and Lohit districts of Arunachal Pradesh. 1000 members as stated by Mr. Sethi are only the initiated and not the total devotees.
We are not anti-Christians as understood by Mr. Sethi. We are anti only to those who are ungrateful, anti-national, anti-social and anti-human because we preach sense of moral obligation i.e. sense of gratefulness. According to us, ungrateful people are the most adharmik people on the earth. We are eternally indebt to our society or fellow beings. The converts are very much a part and parcel of our society. They are not from Israel, England or America. They are our own blood. How can we be anti to them? If we say something; we say only for their wrongdoings and not just because they are Christians. The Rangfraites are only after what is right, true and good. If anybody says something; we the Rangfraites listen attentively. If what one says is right, true and good, we ready accept it no matter to which religion he may belong to.
So far politics is concerned; I do not agree with the views shared in between Mr. Kampa Taism and Mr. Sethi regarding political gain to BJP from Rangfraa movement. Had our Movement been politically i.e. BJP motivated movement, no Congress leader would have been elected especially from Changlang North and South Assembly Constituency which are the strongholds of the Rangfraites. Politics is unpredictable and variable. It can change within a night. To predict on such things is foolishness.
What we have learnt so far about the definition of the term ‘Hindu’ from the Hindus is that any Indian who is willing to live and die for the sake of our country is a Hindu. If it’s so, I would not mind calling all the Rangfraites as Hindus. Rangfraites cannot be anti-national, anti-social and anti-human because one of the doctrines of Rangfraism says; ‘one must have a sense of moral obligation or sense of gratefulness towards those whom one owes. Wilful defiance to this principle is a sin.’ We are eternally indebt to our nation. Therefore, disloyalty is a sin for us. We are loyal to our country not because RSS or anybody has taught us to be loyal but it is in our doctrines, inherent in our blood and soul that have come down to us from our ancestors through ages. We are simple and straightforward people. Even if RSS infuses a sense of patriotism in our people; what’s wrong there? They are rather doing the holiest job which every Indian ought to do.
Er. L. Khimun
Secy. General RFPS