Led by Lotha Hoho, the Churches in Nagaland refused to allow Nagaland BJP to perform Hindu rituals in memory of the former PM of India lt. AB Vajpayi at its desired location. Had Nagaland BJP organized a grand condolence meeting the moment the respectable leader passed away, who could say what? Or else, had Nagaland BJP organized a memorial service in honor of the departed leader without the urn containing the ash of the deceased, that furore would not necessarily have been there. Nagaland BJP tried to educate the Naga Christians that the late PM deserved the recognition of Nagas for his contribution to Nagaland during his leadership as per its statement appeared in local papers dated 31.8.2018. I do not have doubt the respect Nagas had for the departed leader. Unlike many other communities in India, Nagas, by tradition, by culture and by nature, are not that thankless to anyone who has shown compassion to us. Secondly, Nagaland BJP tried to teach us as to how we have to respect the spirit of secularism by giving due acceptance of the religion of Hinduism as much as we expect others to respect Christianity. Well, as much the Christians uphold the principle of secularism that much we have the constitutional rights to defend our religion from aggression. Such resistance against the imposition of alien faith and culture on the Nagas of Nagaland is guaranteed and religion is specifically mentioned in the special article in the Constitution of India. The objection of Lotha Hoho to proposed immersion of the ash of late Vajpayi in the Doyang river was therefore constitutional and not otherwise.
The crust of the incompatibility between the Christian faith and the Hindu faith is equality vrs inequality, classless vrs stratification and love vrs hatred. The Caste System in Hinduism is the epitome of inequality, suppression and subjugation. The superiority and inferiority by birth is sacrosanct in Hinduism. No matter how potential a person may be when one hails from lower caste, the Dalit class, one is prohibited to rise to the level of others from higher caste in social status. The perfect instance was the case of Dr. Ambedkar who drafted the Constitution of India. Despite of his indispensability during the formative years of Indian nationhood and for the immense contribution he gave to India, because of being a Dalit by birth, his social and religious status remained static. Those of his colleagues who were no match to him in terms of leadership and versatility, undermined him just because of his low caste. At the fake end of his life, he left Hinduism and died as a Buddhist. The other instance is in January 2015, Eastern Mirror published about several human dead bodies strewn along a tributary of Ganges river in Unnao Dirtrict in UP. When Sri. Ashutosh Pandey, IGP of Kanpur investigated the matter, those dead bodies were found to belong to poor Dalit community who failed to cremate their dead and therefore thrown them into the stream. What a contrast to Christian faith! I have more such proofs of the incompatibility between Christianity and Hinduism and yet citing only these two instances for the sake of space.
In view of such dissimilarities, Nagaland Christians particularly who reacted to Nagaland BJP’s intention cannot be blamed for their sensitivity. I appreciate them for their timely reaction to such religious aggression. What can happen to our future if Christianity which is a love-filled faith is substituted or decimated by another faith of idol worship which is bereft of love. Those who realized how much would be the effect of the impact of such Hindu ritual (if performed in our land at will) on the mind of specially young Christians cannot be brushed aside as though they made ‘mountain out of a molehill’ as claimed by Nagaland BJP President. ‘Atalji’s issue is not a religious issue but a national issue’ said President, Nagaland BJP. If so, anything that is national should suit the spirit of diversity. Any action that disregards the existence of natural multi-religious and multi-lingual realities will tantamount to destroying the principle of ‘Unity in Diversity’. Therefore, such statement as ‘making a mountain out of a molehill without knowing the reality’ from an elected leader and a party head is derogatory, immature and out of arrogance as though Christians in Nagaland can be bullied.
Finally, Nagaland BJP tried to pacify the people of Nagaland with clarifications including expression of regret. Nagaland BJP clarified that ‘no ritual of a different religion was performed by the State BJP President’ as we all read about it in local papers dated 31.8.18. To me, its all the same. Whoever had brought the urn to Nagaland containing the ash of lt. Vajpayi partly performed the process of Hindu ritual on cremation. Had the urn not been brought, the performance of the requisite rituals would not have arisen. Therefore, such clarification is neither a requirement nor can it be a sanctification for all those who took part in complimentary performances.
* Disclaimer. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and participants on this page do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Nagaland Page.