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Today’s question: Tejasvi Surya says, ‘Abrahamisation of Hindu festivals is happening in our time. Is this right?’
Good question. First, who is this Tejasvi Surya? He belongs to Bharatiya Janata Party, the ruling political party of India. He is a member of the Indian parliament from Bengaluru in South India. In one of his recent tweets, Tejasvi lashed out at Fabindia, an Indian clothing brand, for using a Urdu term for Diwali. They released a clothing collection called ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz’. Tejasvi says, ‘Deepavali is not Jash-e-Riwaaz’.
‘Don’t use Urdu words for Hindu festivals. This is nothing but Abrahamisation of Hindu festivals’.
I find this hypocritical. In secular terms, Abraham is the father of three monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Tejasvi has been turning Abraham and Abrahamisation into bad words. If you look in the Bible, you will see Abraham brought blessings upon our world.
In Genesis chapter 12, when God calls Abraham for the first time, God says to Abraham, ‘I will bless you and I will bless all the peoples on the earth through you’.
Not only will I bless you, I will bless all people on this planet through you. If you look into human history, those words came true.
First, let us take Judaism and its followers, the Jewish people. The Jews are the first children of Abraham. They love India. They happily send so much Israeli technology to India. There are also political reasons. In a recent meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett looked at Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, and said, ‘Mr.Modi, you are so popular in Israel. You must join in our party’. Modi is so popular in Israel for controlling the Muslims in the Indian subcontinent. Likewise, Israel is famous among Right leaning Hindus because it is controlling the Arabs and other Muslims in the Middle East. The Indian military relies heavily on intelligence and weapons imported from Israel, United States, and France. Followers of Abrahamic faiths have been helping India to put up a fight against Pakistan and China.
How to bring peace between the Jews and Arabs? Under Abraham Accords, Israel is signing for peaceful relationships with some Arab nations who are willing to normalize their relationship with the Jewish nation. The idea here is, Jews and Arabs, being children of Abraham, should live in peace like brothers and sisters. So, the sentiment of Abraham is a force for good between Jews and Arabs.
Then Christians believe Jesus is the greatest son of Abraham. We believe that Jesus is the greatest blessing that came out of Abraham. Jesus came to this world to save us from our sins, paid for our sins on the cross and rose again on the third day from the grave to give us hope for the future. In the near future, He will come again and establish his kingdom on the earth. Under King Jesus, there will be peace in this world that the world has never seen before.
As children of Jesus, Christians are also called the children of Abraham. And Christians have been a blessing to India for the last two thousand years. You can see that vividly in the life of Tejasvi, who is insulting Abraham.
Tejasvi Surya studied at St.Paul’s School in Bangalore, run by Christians, followers of a Abrahamic faith. He became a lawyer after studying for a Bachelor of Laws, a degree in English common law, developed by people of Abrahamic faiths. He is using a smartphone, invented by IBM, a company founded by followers of Abrahamic faiths. He is using twitter, founded by Jack Dorsey, a Catholic child of Abraham. He wrote this tweet in English, a Abrahamic language. He loves and plays cricket, a sport developed by the children of Abraham. He wears trousers and shirts, a Abrahamic dress. He flies in the airplane, invented by the followers of Abrahamic faith. He types on a computer, invented by an Englismman Charles Babbage, a follower of an Abrahamic faith. He goes around in a car, invented by the followers of Abrahamic faith. The petrol in his car is supplied by Saudi Arabia or Iraq or Qatar, the followers of Islam, which he considers another Abrahamic faith. He sings Sare Jahan se Acha, the most loved patriotic song of India, written by a Muslim. He loves India’s nuclear weapons, developed by Abdul Kalam, a Muslim scientist. He loves Bollywood movies by Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, followers of Abrahamic faiths. His life comes to a screeching halt if he withdraws from the followers of Abrahamic faiths.
Hinduism is known for tolerance, harmony, diversity and peaceful coexistence. Thanks to people like Tejasvi Surya, nowadays people around the world perceive Hinduism as a religion of intolerance, disharmony and bigotry. With people like Tejasvi as its brand ambassadors, Hinduism will only get a bad reputation around the world.
For Christmas, I invite my Hindu friends to my home. Together, we enjoy nice food and discuss the message of Christmas. For Deepavali or Diwali, I wish them happiness and success in life. Diwali is a festival of lights. I tell them, ‘Diwali is a festival of lights. You are searching for light. Do you know Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world’? We engage in such a peaceful interfaith dialogue.
Tejasvi should follow my example. Rather than insulting our beloved Abraham, he should respect him. Rather than driving people away, bring them together and engage them in a peaceful dialogue. Encourage them to live in peace and harmony. He has boycotted Fabindia. He demanded that people should not buy their products. That is unconstitutional and illegal. Every Indian has a right to sell his or her products. Every Indian has a right to advertise their products in whatever way he or she chooses. They don’t have to respect the petty sentiments of narrow minded individuals like Tejasvi. Freedom of speech applies to individuals and also to businesses. Tejasvi feels like only he has the freedom of speech to berate others. He should give the same constitutional rights to other Indians.