I was quite surprised last week when I learned that Mein Kampf is a best seller in India – the world’s largest democracy. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have been too surprised.
In the last three years, India has leaped in ranking from the 28th worst to the 15th worst country for severe Christian persecution, according to the World Watch List. It’s not a coincidence that Prime Minister Modi was also elected three years ago.
Modi’s and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are avowed adherents to Hindutva. Hindutva is a radical, highly politicized form of Hinduism that seeks to create a pure Hindu race, nation and culture.
Hindutva leaders are known for holding Hitler in high esteem. For the Hindutva founding fathers, Mein Kampf was a source of inspiration for the formation of an exclusive Hindu race in India. The Hindutva patriarch, Golwalkar, referred to the Nazi genocide against the Jews as “a good lesson for us to learn and profit by”.
During his time as Chief Minister of Gujarat from 2001-2014, Modi’s government high school textbooks lauded Hitler’s “charismatic personality” and the “achievements of Nazism”. Then, the Times of India conducted a survey and reported that 17% of students in elite Indian colleges “favored Adolf Hitler as the kind of leader India ought to have”.
In 2005, U.S. Congressmen John Conyers and Joe Pitts called on the State Department to condemn Chief Minister Modi for repeated attacks against religious minorities in Gujarat. “Mr. Modi has not been shy about proudly professing his anti-Christian, anti-Muslim, and anti-tribal stances”, said Congressman Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.
Congressman Pitts, a member of the India Caucus and the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, also voice his concerns, “The evidence is clear. Mr. Modi persecutes religious minorities in Gujarat. Our government should speak with one voice in condemning these policies and the actions of the Modi administration that has led to the death, torture, and imprisonment of thousands in Gujarat”.
Modi’s true color was also clearly seen in 2015, when high-ranking BJP leaders, including the party’s president Amit Shah, called for the enactment of a nationwide anti-conversion law. Although the national law hasn’t passed yet, 7 of India’s 29 states, encompassing 300 million people already have similar laws in place.
These laws are used to harass and intimidate Hindus who want to change their faith. They also include fines and imprisonment for anyone who “induces” a person to convert from Hinduism. These laws are similar to blasphemy laws in that they are vaguely worded and are frequently used to legally justify hostility and false imprisonment of Christians.
Please pray for Prime Minister Modi and the governing Indian authorities, that God’s people would be able to lead quiet lives in all godliness and dignity.
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
(1 Timothy 2:1-4)
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grace and peace,