Delhi Archbishop Anil Couto’s call to Christians to pray for a “new government” in 2019 may bear a language that barely camouflages his politics, but it fails to conceal the persecution complex the community suffers from. It is but difficult to tell whether they are propagandists or buyers of their own propaganda. Since the change of government in 2014, innumerable incidents of crime that the media attributed to Hindu outfits — with desperate attempts to establish their RSS links — have turned out to be hoaxes. At the same time, NCRB data, well-researched articles, series of tweets, etc have exposed the fact that the reported atrocities against no community were fewer in number under the INC-led UPA regime. Unfortunately, while several Indian journalists have lost credibility in the process, foreign media houses and news agencies like the BBC, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Reuters, Associated Press, etc couldn’t care less — and that creates a terrible impression about the country in the comity of nations. Do the Christians of the country, no less Indian than Hindus, not realise the damage they cause to the nation by lamenting a scenario that is a figment of their imagination? If they don’t, it is ironical that they stand with the radicals of another community who have a mission to subdue or annihilate them in all countries where a seventh-century code is the law. Outside the Christian world — and Christian-turned-secular states — India and Israel happen to be islands where few care about the religious identity of a citizen except in extreme situations like a communal riot. But even riots have hardly witnessed Christians pitted against Hindus in this country.

Is India intolerant because not only many Hindus celebrate Christmas as if it were their festival but even an institution like the Ramakrishna Mission eulogises Jesus Christ? Is India bigoted because Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis turns his observation of 25 December virtually into an official duty? Is the Union government Hindu fundamentalist because Prime Minister Narendra Modi, not known to suffer the tomfoolery of skull caps and iftar parties, never forgets to greet Christians on their auspicious occasions? Clerics of the ilk of the Delhi archbishop must be working on a premeditated agenda that refuses to accommodate either the nation’s societal harmony or the state’s multiculturalism. Presuming these ‘holy’ men are not intellectually challenged, the only plausible explanation for their opacity could be their failure to meet the target of ‘harvesting souls’ under this government, which used to go on unhindered and with impunity under the benign gaze of Sonia Gandhi, the de facto head of the ancien regime.

The Goebbelsian cliché of ‘intolerance’ is also rich, coming as it does from the fellow religionists of Francis Xavier, Ignatius of Loyola, Diego Laínez, Nicolás Bobadilla, Alfonso Salmeron, Peter Faber and Simão Rodrigues who had vowed to convert people who, their faith had indoctrinated them into believing, were infidels. A mention of the Goa Inquisition wouldn’t be out of place either. If one argued that version of Christianity was almost six centuries behind the present — and the Crusades against Muslims are even further behind in history, more than a millennium old — the argument would fall flat on its face, given the boastful claims of scores of websites operated by evangelists in India. If a large or influential part of the West genuinely turned atheist following the devastation they witnessed in the two World Wars, they must stop dancing to the tunes of the lot that revels in the ‘absurd’ pursuit of converting people from one religion to another. As for India’s domestic sociology, Hindus must mull over the marginalisation of certain sections, which provides the breeding ground for conversions, and address the issue in earnest.