September 08, 2023


At Peace With Himself: Dr. John Dayal

Hosted by

Pieter Friedrich
At Peace With Himself: Dr. John Dayal
Dialoguing on South Asia (DOSA)
At Peace With Himself: Dr. John Dayal

Sep 08 2023 | 01:36:27


Show Notes

With Dr. John Dayal, born 1948, who studied to become a physicist before becoming a senior journalist turned fulltime human rights advocate. Discussing his career as a journalist, including working as a foreign and war correspondent in war-torn Sri Lanka, Lebanon, and reunifying Germany, his coverage of India's 1970s "Emergency," the rise of the Hindu nationalist movement in the 1990s, his foray into activism in the 2000s as he visited pogrom-touched Gujarat, Odisha, and Manipur, and much more.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Dialoguing on South Asia. We explore the lives of its people hear their stories and the histories of the land discover its beauty and encounter its conflicts, complexities and harmonies in a search for liberty, peace and prosperity. Interacting with leaders, activists, academics and common folk from the South Asian sphere about their work and their passions, their dreams and their life journeys their immigrant experiences, advocacy efforts, religion, politics and so much more. With this, your host, journalist and author Peter Friedrich. Hand in hand, we meet and stand with South Asia. This is Dosa, the show. And we're here today with Mr. John Dayal. Dialoguing on dosa once more. And Mr. Dayal, I'm glad to see you again. Thank you so much for joining. It's been a while since you and I have had a chance to sit down and discuss issues. How are you this evening? [00:01:05] Speaker B: Fine. We are actually in a state of lockdown because Mr. Modi, our Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi is hosting the summit of the G 20 and he is celebrating it almost as if he's been crowned that it is his what is it called in England? [00:01:30] Speaker A: He's being coronated once again. I heard that that was a perspective that was offered actually just a few months back when this new Indian parliament was inaugurated. [00:01:40] Speaker B: All the kings and presidents of the world will come and pay him obisam basin. [00:01:48] Speaker A: Somaj kissing his feet yes offering him. [00:01:54] Speaker B: Gifts, object planes and other things to torment his people with. [00:02:01] Speaker A: Well, state of lockdown. [00:02:03] Speaker B: He's taking it very seriously, I think. Several billion rupees have been spent decorating the city and before that, the last month and a half, two months he is at many summits on various issues in various towns and cities and each one of them has been decked up. People have crossed the globe and gone away. However, when we have tried to hold Earth Summits on issues that concern the people on hunger and poverty and targeted violence and hate campaigns and minimum wages and unemployment and all sorts of things that beset us the health of children, for instance, education we have had our summits broken up by the police. In three of them I was a participant we 20, The People's 20 and Minorities 20 which was supposed to be this morning and it was canceled under police orders. We 20 was at the CPM building. It's a very safe place, a public place. All sorts of people come there. [00:03:21] Speaker A: This is in Delhi. [00:03:24] Speaker B: The police broke it up on the second day. Then we went virtual and passed the resolutions that we needed to. The other meeting called the People's 20 had been in planning for three months and it was at the Constitution Club. A member of Parliament had signed us in. We had paid for the hall. On the second day we were told that you cannot pass a declaration or resolution that it is government's orders and we were broken up at lunch. So again, we went virtual and passed the declaration and the two declarations of the same declaration, which is, we are telling Mr. Biden and everybody else, mr. Putin and Mr. Chi and whoever comes to India, that whatever they do, whatever plans they have for the world, they must put people first. They must put her welfare first, her health first, her environment first, her food, her jobs, her housing, her education, our human rights and her freedom of faith first, before they plan any other large things running into trillions of dollars and involving I don't know what. [00:04:48] Speaker A: Well, that's quite a strong message to be coming from people in India, from Indian citizens, as this G 20 summit is about to occur. All of these renowned international leaders, they have these plans for investment, for trade deals, and yet the Indians there in India, where these leaders are coming to be received, are saying, well, what we want you to do is we want you to put the people of India first. Now, John, as you say, not only. [00:05:20] Speaker B: People from India, people from Nepal and from the rest of the subcontinent, the continent and the world, there is unemployment globally. [00:05:34] Speaker A: So, as you're talking with me, John, coming from Delhi in, as you described, a state of lockdown, I suppose that there may not be a better time within that context for us to dig into, as you're at your home, some issues of your own background. So I know that you're a lifelong journalist, you're an activist, you've been a lay leader in all different kinds of Indian Christian organizations. The all india christian council. The united christian forum for human rights. You've also been now for over 20 years, a full time human rights advocate. But before all of that, if I'm not mistaken about your background, you actually dabbled in physics in university. So can you tell us a little bit about yourself? You are originally from South India, but you've spent most of your life in northern India. [00:06:31] Speaker B: Yeah, but before that before that, lest I forget, and we wander into other territory, I meant lockdown, and I meant it literally. We're confined to our houses. All of New Delhi is out of bounds for us. The police have stopped all roads other than for the heads of state and government. [00:06:51] Speaker A: So you can't leave your house. [00:06:54] Speaker B: I practically can't, because the roads are blocked. The bridges across the river are blocked. Where will we go? We can't drive anywhere. So we have got a food and a fruit and a milk for three days and are sitting tight till the last president has left us and then we can enjoy the city once again. Everything is sealed. It was not so even at the height of the coronavirus or in any other calamity anywhere. We are used to calamities. We are used to Mrs. Gandhi suspending the constitution and declaring a state of emergency. And I am one of the documenters. The first book on it was written maybe way back in 19 76, 77 long before many people alive today were born. So we know what emergencies are, what dictates are. But this exceeds any known experience of any living Indian. And the people older than me would have lived through colonial British rule. I have lived through Indira Gandhi and that's what I mean. And we survived all that. Well, I came to the city in 1963. My father was in one of those government services where you get to move around dragging your family wherever you go. We are from the deep south. [00:08:26] Speaker A: Various strands mixed together because are you from Tamil Nadu? [00:08:31] Speaker B: Originally, no. But in my ancestry there would be some double blood. There'll be a lot of Telugu blood. There'll be some Malayali bread blood. And since I married a Malayali, my children are Malayalis and denominationally. They're seasoned Christians. Seasoned Catholics. Well, I studied physics at a premier institute since Jefferson's College and the Department of Physics and Astrophysics of the University of Delhi. But I don't think I had brains enough to be a scientist. So I chose out did some further training and courses in journalism. And 69 I became a journalist at the bottomest rank. Over the next 35 years I climbed to be an editor in chief in between a foreign correspondent in Europe covered wars in Sri Lanka and the Middle East, saw my own country. I can say I've been to every district, seen every 10 miles of India's very long borders and very long coastlines. I know this country, therefore I know its people and I love them. And therefore when I see any of them children as we are talking about or people whose human rights are crushed labor, agriculture, workers, industry, labor it angers me. And when I see people being persecuted for the faith whether they're Sikhs or they're Muslims or they're Christians it makes me angry because I understand that in a country where one particular group is persecuted the second persecuted group just has to wait its turn. For surely its turn will come as it did in Hitler's time for the Jew and the Gentile and the labor and the Communists. And here the Sikhs have been persecuted. The Muslims have been targeted for a very long time and the Christians targeted for 20 years. In fact because I was in human rights and trying to understand what was happening to the Muslims I could say I was the first man to discern the persecution of Christians because the data, the ethnography of the data changed, the names changed. It was no longer Muhammad. It was George and Joseph and Mary and John. And these names should not have been there because Muslims were being persecuted. So one knew that persecution had shifted to Christians and then one sought to investigate why. I think it was in 1997 I published the first document on violence against Christians. I called it an unofficial white paper on violence against Christians. A white paper is a government document which gives you details of what is happening. It could be a white paper on the economy. It could be a white paper on Indo Pakistan relations or Indo US relations. It could be a white paper on Indochina. In fact there was once or the troubles in the Punjab with the Sikhs during Mrs. Gandhi's time for which she paid with her life. So since the government was not publishing data on violence against Christians I thought I should do it. And we could show not only where the violence fall we could take a map of the violence and a map of India and superimpose it and discern the pattern. And the pattern has not changed. We could also discern violence against personnel, pastors and nuns and worshippers violence against institutions which will be educational institutions hospitals, church buildings and then violence against the aspect of freedom in which religion can prosper. Freedom of expression, freedom of gathering, freedom of worship in a place freedom to talk to somebody else, to convey to him the message of Christ for a Christian or the message of Krishna for a Hindu or whatever. But to be able to communicate what you feel about your religion to somebody else is the asset. It's not proselytizing, it is not convicting. But it is sharing the good news as Christians call it sharing with other people what you think you know, what makes you happy. [00:13:33] Speaker A: That's just freedom of thought, freedom of speech. [00:13:37] Speaker B: And these were being constricted, these were being eroded. These were being compressed. Various pressures from the crowds from the mobs to the police to the government politically to the laws. Things were changing. It was creeping and it was tectonic. Simultaneously. Some of the larger legislative measures were creeping in. The measures were slow but the instant measures of mob violence, of police coming with the mob were on instant and those we could document and although we could not predict it but we were in a way ready when mass violence took place in Carnawal, in URISA. [00:14:23] Speaker A: So I want to get to some of that, John but prefacing that and laying a little bit of groundwork especially from your own life experience. You grew up with parents or Syrian Catholics. You grew up primarily in the north I believe where there's a much smaller population. But Indian Christians today at least represent their very small religious minority of two to 3% although that's anywhere from 30 to 45 million people in the country. And when you were raised as a Christian in India at that time in the 60s, in the 70s what was your experience like growing up as a Christian? [00:15:06] Speaker B: During that era I was a baby and a schoolchild in Kashmir and Shimla which are adjoining Pakistan and China. In a way, however, sometimes we were the only Christians or so very few and so very few Christians of my complexion, of my skin color. So you could say we were exotic, we were unique, we were not persecuted. But I suppose the faith wasn't allowed to prosper because Kashmir was Islamic dominated and very few there were churches in Srinagar, but very few Christians, very few native Christians. Most of the Christians were like my family, coming in with armored forces, coming in with the engineers, coming with the scientists and the teachers. So we were migrants, transitory migrants, not even permanent migrants. And later also we discovered that there was persecution of Christians in Kashmir by the Muslims and in the hill states of what is now Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand on the China border by the so there was Latin persecution. Which explains why, even today, in absolute terms, by census records, Christians are far and few much less than the national average and certainly much less than the concentrations we have in Kerala and Bombay and Mizoram and Megalay and things of that sort. So the density was even more sparse then and despite a lot of work by evangelical groups, continues to be sparse. [00:17:06] Speaker A: Now. As you said, you made this switch from pursuing physics in university to decided that journalism was a better fit. And at some point I do want to ask you about the emergency, but you also said that you ended up serving as foreign correspondent. Even I've heard it said a war correspondent in Europe, in Sri Lanka, you mentioned, I've heard also possibly in the Middle East. Can you tell me a little bit about that, where exactly you went and what you covered? [00:17:38] Speaker B: I was posted in London to cover London and Geneva for the observer of Business and Politics. It was a paper that had been launched by the Ambani group of Industries and I was the first foreign correspondent. And it was a unique opportunity to be able to cover, for instance, the Paraguay round of trade negotiations, what are now called Trips. And trips the trade related intellectual property rights which allow people to patent and allow rich nations to have medicines priced so high that life saving drugs are out of reach for the poor nations. It was also an opportunity to cover the reunification of Germany and to find out how difficult it is to integrate, but how good it is to be able to integrate. It was also an opportunity to see Europe, which had been torn by war at about the time that I was being born, reunited when I was a young man and a correspondent as a whole, as a political role, as an economic whole. These are things that are unheard of, undreamt of in parts of Asia which also has been torn apart by many wars, some very recent and some a result of colonial conspiracies, if I may call it that, or colonial compulsions, which they would like to call it. So that gives us, in a way, hope that hate is not permanent and it may or may not transcend generations. The hate, for instance, between India and Pakistan born because the two countries were born as a result of a religious partition and lots of bloodshed. Maybe 5 million Muslims were butchered in India and 5 million Hindus and Sikhs were butchered in Pakistan. And tens of millions of people migrated from one country to another. It was possibly the largest exchange of populations ever witnessed. The massacre of the Jews, Peitler was the largest number of people killed. But this was apart from the people killed, it was a huge number of population exchange, not total, because there's still a few Hindus in Pakistan and a very large number of Muslims in India. So that way partition failed to separate the people, but it created hate. All the refugees from Pakistan who came over to India remember their mothers being raped, remember their grandmothers being killed, remember their uncles being butchered. Some had amputated hands. They remember the horrors. In fact, in Delhi, Mr. Modi has caused to be built a museum of partition to keep on refreshing memory for his own political use. But sometimes it is good to also remember there are museums in Auschwitz and in Tel Aviv. So museums also serve a purpose. But museums in India or anywhere should not serve to perpetuate hate, but to show us the horrors of hate. If you show the horrors of hate, it's okay. But in Pakistan also, these histories that are historical baggage to the two people create a state of calamity and hate. And Christianity then is collateral damage. A Hindu who from childhood has been taught to hate a Muslim will so easily switch targets and start hating a Christian when his masters tell him to. And the dog whistle says, we will pause on the Muslims and will begin on the Christians. [00:22:07] Speaker A: Now, just to add context for the sake of our listeners, the partition of the Indian subcontinent occurred in 19 47 48 when the subcontinent got its independence from the British colonizers. And what happened was that it was split. Pakistan was created, the Republic of India was created. And as that occurred, Pakistan was set aside as intended to be an area primarily for Muslims and India was viewed as primarily an area for Hindus and others. And there was a mass migration two way with many Muslims from now India going to now Pakistan and many Hindus and Christians and Sikhs from now Pakistan going to now India. And with this mass two way migration of peoples, there was, as Mr. Daiyal, you just mentioned, there was mass violence killing on both sides that occurred at that time and the wounds still fester. But as you said, hate is not permanent. Hate does not remain forever. So you were posted in London. You spent some time, like you said, covering issues like the reunification of Germany, which must have been quite the economic. [00:23:37] Speaker B: Capital of Europe in a way of money and earlier, when the Middle East was in turmoil, I covered parts of it. I was not posted there for long periods, but I was in Belus at a very critical time, when Arafat was being evacuated from there, and Israeli bombing and skirmishes, the Golden Heights and all those things are not a very pleasant thing in world history. But for a journalist to be able to see it, understand it, report it was a godsend not given to many journalists to do that. I suppose it's exciting also can't have bullets whizzing over you and not be scared, not feel a little relieved when you discover you're still alive, which is what happened to us also in Sri Lanka. I covered that civil war in patches. I was the same. [00:24:50] Speaker A: In which time period in Sri Lanka? [00:24:54] Speaker B: Sri Lanka, when the civil war had. [00:24:57] Speaker A: Begun, which was which year? [00:25:00] Speaker B: Sri Lanka is the south of India. [00:25:02] Speaker A: Yes, sir. Which year was that? Approximately? [00:25:08] Speaker B: Sri Lanka is an island country at the southern tip of India in the Indian Ocean. Parts of it, the northern part are Tamils, like Indian Tamils, and the southern part are Buddhist Sinha, a different race, a different religion. And the two people could not see eye to eye. The Tamils felt that they were being subjugated, they were being exploited, they were not getting their just desserts or their part of the development of the country is rich resources. Even the allocation of rights was not equal. The language was not getting the respect it should. They were not getting representation in parliament to the extent they should. They were not getting jobs, which is always a big issue with youth. So there was violence between them lasted. [00:26:07] Speaker A: And that broke out in 1983, if I'm not mistaken. [00:26:11] Speaker B: Yeah, to a very long time till after the people who had fueled it, Prabhakaran, was killed. And then he was now really into the parlor speaking after peace was restored. I've been there a few times. There's a very deep wound. It will take some more time to heal. And Sri Lanka itself has, because of the drain on its energies in the civil war, has had an economic crisis. The fact that one family captured the government and ruled over it in a very, very self centered manner, very corrupt manner, meant it's economically broke. And recently we have seen what has happened. And the result of that also in a way, was the bombing of a church and the killing of a large number of I didn't I was not there when the church was bombed, but when people were killed, when Colombo was being attacked and when Jaffna was being bombed. It was my what should I say? Allah was there. I can't say it was my good luck, because it was bad luck for so many people who lost their lives, suffered. But for the reporter, it's a job you're moved, but you also have to. [00:27:37] Speaker A: Come out alive and report well for a journalist. For a reporter, certainly one witnesses so much human tragedy occurring but at the same time the job is to be there and to bear witness to it and also to cover issues of major historical significance. One issue that I know you were in India to cover, for instance that was of great significance historically to the then rather new Republic of India and still influences the country today was the emergency declared in 75 to 77 and what was the emergency, John? Can you describe that a little bit what it was, why it happened and what your role was in covering it? [00:28:31] Speaker B: Mrs. Indira Gandhi was a very nice democratic person. She believed in and fought elections in her own election from Uttar Pradesh. She by a bad luck or she overlooked the fact that one of our election agents was a government servant. He was an employee of the government and the Indian laws are very sharp and very clear. You cannot take government assistance in your own election. Government runs the elections. So our opponent challenged our election and he won. And the judge said you are won by deceitful means, by corrupt practices and you cannot enjoy the fruits of a corruption and I'm putting aside your election. Mrs. Gandhi should possibly have taken it and resigned for the election and she would have won. But her advisors of the time said you won fair and square. You cannot concede or accede to or obey such a bad command. You suspend the constitution. One of our legal advisors who was a big person in a party and a big political leader, later chief minister of the state of Bengal was a chief legal advisor and his advice was to suspend the construction and see how she continues her governance. She suspended the constitution, postponed all elections, arrested all that she thought were against the rule, which included people in the Congress Party, what were called Young Turks. [00:30:43] Speaker A: Which was her party in the Congress. [00:30:46] Speaker B: Party in the Indian National Congress, of which Mrs. Gandhi was the leader as Prime Minister and which her ancestors had worked for during the freedom struggle. Mahatma Gandhi was a member of that party. Jawara Nehru was the first prime minister from that party. So anybody she thought was against her she put in jail including some of her own friends who she thought were advising her wrongly or wanted her to resign and contest again. She arrested a lot of communists and a lot of right wing. She arrested many former princelings. We had a lot of kingdoms before independence and she arrested a lot of activists, political young activists, students from JNU, from Delhi University all over the country. [00:31:48] Speaker A: Journalists too as well. [00:31:49] Speaker B: Right? [00:31:50] Speaker A: She arrested also journalists. [00:31:53] Speaker B: They arrested some journalists, yes, particularly those journalists either totally arraigned against her or were also while being journalists they were also politically active like Mr. Kuldeep Nair was one but most of the other journalists remained in office. But she imposed censorship and a very harsh one. You have to take permission before publishing anything. So every day the newspaper assistant editor had to take all the news to the censor and he would say, you can use this, throw this, cut this, use this. But journalists win. Journalists, you also learned how to disobey. So any news item or editorial that the censor said you cannot use, you did not use it in obedience, but you did not fill up that gap. You left the gap as a gap. So the reader would get a newspaper and when he was looking for some news, there'd be a long white strip or a broad white strip, as the case may be. And she knew that something was being posted here, but Mrs. Gandhi had it removed. So in a way. [00:33:26] Speaker A: That tactic, if I may, that reminds me a lot of what we've heard seen today in Putin's Russia where protesters are arrested for holding signs or were when they were protesting the war in Ukraine last year. And then what they started doing in response was they began holding up just blank signs and they still got arrested in Russia. But their response was just to hold up a sign, a white sign, blank sign with no text on it. [00:33:54] Speaker B: What else can man do? We invent ways to torment the dictator who's trying to torment us. I think it's only fair. And may the best man win. The best man usually wins. Mrs. Gandhi eventually had to withdraw the emergency. But before she could withdraw it, many ugly laws were passed. Many ugly things were done. In order to contain the population, particularly the population of Muslims, the government ordered large scale sterilization vasectomies for men to victimize for women. And when you set government officers to do such things and you give them targets, the officers also go berserk. So you could find 70 year old men being sterilized and 16 year old boys being sterilized. And all sorts of sadism took place. The people really were close to exploding. Mrs. Gandhi also thought that before an explosion she should refract. She called for elections pedro the Emergency and lost. Resoundingly North India. Her party got two seats. She herself lost. That was a shock. But the people of India had other shock. The party which won the group which won the election could not govern. They were very bad at governing the people the emergency had put into jail, as I told you earlier, communists and the far right. And they came together to rule. And such a combination cannot rule. The far right also consisted of the RSS, this militant Hindu organization which is patterned on the SS, which is patterned on the first form of militia that Hitler and Masoni could conjure, which wants India to be a Hindu country, which wants Muslims and Christians to be disenfranchised, to live as second class citizens. They were in government and they perverted the system. They planted officers of their thinking into the police force. They planted their acolytes, their workers in journalism. And in due course the people that they're planted became editors. And a large factor in disembarkling journalism over the years has been the infiltration of the media by the RSS and its increase. And today if we call it the gothi media, if you find them singing praises of Mr. Modi and all his incident policies, his hate campaigns, we call it the Godi media, the Modi media, they're the same people. [00:37:54] Speaker A: So the godi media and for our listeners, as I understand that basically translates to like lap dog media. Basically meaning media that are servants of the authorities or of the regime. Which is certainly what, from my perspective, my understanding of journalism the exact opposite of what journalism is supposed to be. Now John, with this emergency strikes me that there's a couple of lessons that one could take away from it. One is in the case of it being imposed by Mrs. Gandhi that as you said, ultimately she pushed and she pushed and she pushed so far. You can only push the people so far before they respond and you begin to lose your grip on power. Finally, just before that happened, she was compelled, pressured to actually retract the emergency and hold elections. And then when she did do so she lost those elections catastrophically. Now, another thing that strikes me also about this is, as you've mentioned, there's this aspect where a lot of the people that were being persecuted or oppressed by the state during those couple years of emergency included members of the far right of the Hindu nationalist entities like the RSS. You just mentioned this paramilitary organization which has taken inspiration from the original fascists in Europe and as a result of them being oppressed during emergency once the emergency was lifted, they came together with this communist coalition which is the exact opposite spectrum and formed this untenable alliance to create a government. But the RSS and their related groups along the way around about that would have been late 70s, early 90s, began to get the chance as a result of coming out of the emergency to start planting their people within these bureaucratic systems, within the police, within journalism. One can imagine probably at low levels to the point that you said as later today they've become become the editors related to all of that. And as we move forward to the present day, I want to ask you a little bit about your entry into the world of activism because I understand that around about 2000 I don't know if it's appropriate to say hung up your hat as a journalist because there's so many ways in which journalism and activism are interrelated. But you moved from being a full time journalist to being a full time activist. When did you really begin that shift over towards activism? Begin dipping your. Toes into that arena. And what prompted you to foray into that arena? [00:40:54] Speaker B: I still write, and if somebody would take me, I can write a report or a tutorial. I do have columns in some magazines. I write regularly every day. So in a way, I've not ceased being a journalist. I've stopped working as a journalist for pay. I do journalism when I want to do it. I write when I want to write. I write on subjects that I want to write. I am not commanded by my editor to write on politics one day and potatoes the other day. So to that extent I'm an independent journalist now. But as it says in the Bible, you can't serve two masters. And when you are a journalist, when you are critiquing the government, when you are defending the poor, you could do that by writing auction. But sometimes, just sometimes, you have to stand with them. You have to understand and accept your own reality as a middle class man, as a working person, as a religious minority, as a Christian. And you feel a sense of duty towards people. Let me say, I've never met a journalist who is without bias. When you see violence, when you see wars, even the Vietnam War eventually was a result of the reporting of the American press, the Napalm and all of that. The Photographers and the Pentagon Papers. And the Pentagon Papers. You feel committed to expose all that is inhuman, all that is false, all that seeks to make slaves out of people. Some manage to do that, some don't. For some the necessity of earning a livelihood to bring up a family is high. I also have that compulsion. How my father left me nothing, but I will not starve. And therefore I thought I could afford do human rights full time. Not just any human rights, but freedom of faith, reporting on, fighting, for campaigning for convassing for the persecuted church, which is now my vocation, my life. I was the first Indian into it. I was the first Indian to depose before the United States international richest freedom conference. Department of State, the United Nations, Geneva, for which I was pilloried and indicted in India. But I've covered wars. That was okay. [00:44:45] Speaker A: Now, as I understand one of the initial things you mentioned at the outset of our conversation, one of the initial things you worked on was around 97 98 and a team of other people initiated this white paper, this kind of comprehensive report on persecution of Indian Christians. And one thing that I've heard you say in the past was that you've described it as how the violence against Christians in India between 1947 and 1997, a period of 50 years, was as much as the violence in one year between 97 and 98. Now, that's a pretty huge leap in the escalation of persecution of Indian Christians. Same in one year as happened over a previous 50 year period. What changed around 97 98. [00:45:43] Speaker B: What happened was that the BJP, which is the ruling party now, which is the political wing of RSS, was striving hard to come to power. The death of RA and the end of the Congress rule five years later had led to a situation where there was no major political leader, there was no major political party which could technically hold sway and win election. And the BJP was slowly emerging as a major party. And Mr. Atalbari Bhatt. Pai, who was the leader and the builder of modern BJP, and his colleague Mr. Lal Krishna, they had been trying from the mid 90s, early ninety s I would say, to see how they could reach power. And they would change positions alternately. Sometimes Mr. Bajpai would be president of the party, sometimes Mr. Advani would be the president. And they were trying to see how to get people to vote for them. And if you remember 1990 Mr. Lal Krishna Advani started her chariot journey through India preaching the Hindu Rajtra, telling people that the time had come to throw away all remnants of colonialism. All remnants of the congress. All remnants? Of secularism, all traces of Islamic rule and the hated Christians to liberate Lord Rama from the Muslims who had captured him in a mosque in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. And this march to Ayodhya, wherever the chariot went in its wake, it left thousands of violent incidents, hundreds of Muslims killed. And that act, that one journey from south to north, cleaved India into it polarized India, it created the Hindu vote bank. Mr. Modi talks of the Muslim World Bank. But actually all political activity in the last 30 years has been to build a Hindu bank, to consolidate a Hindu ward bank and to weaponize a Hindu ward bank. Mr Utalbari Bajpai. And Mr Advani succeeded in that. The bloodshed in the wake of Ayodhya gave them the first Philip. So they had this core strength around which Mr. Bajpai built a government in 1998. So towards the building of the violence, the collateral damage the Christians also had become. Because once you have weaponized the Hindu vote bank, they will kill Muslims, they will kill Christians, they'll kill anybody that you want. And that is where there was a sudden leap in the persecution of Christians. And the Hindus loved it. The terror group of the Sung loved it. To break a church, to beat up a nun, or to rape, to beat up a Catholic priest in a cassette, they derived a certain amount of pleasure in it. And that's what I also want to dwell at somewhere. The violence inflicted, whether on Muslims or Christians, has a certain vicarious edge. It is not just a neat bullet through the back of the head. It is not execution that way. It is an act of terror to terrorize the people, to shame them, to make them beg for mercy. But I don't think India's religious minorities would want to beg for mercy, but it is not a pleasant thing to see a burnt church or a Bible burnt or a cross broken in my house. I have a small museum in one of my book racks where I've kept these burnt Bibles, these chalices crosses, rosaries which I picked up from across the country when I go to visit an act of violence. Until recently, before COVID caught with us, I used to go to every place where there was an act of violence. [00:50:56] Speaker A: I want to ask you about that. I want to ask you about that, John, as you've just mentioned, just laid out for us around about the early ninety s, nineteen ninety. L. K. Advani, who later became in 1998 the deputy prime minister of the BJP led government, national government. When they first came to power, l. K. Advani led this rathyatra, this chariot journey across India to stir up sentiments in support of a Hindu Rashtra or a Hindu nation. As I understand it. I've seen pictures modi himself, who's now the prime minister of India, he was one of the organizers for that 1990 rathyatra. In the wake of that chariot journey led by Advani, as you mentioned, everywhere that he went crisscrossing India, there was violence, there were fatalities, there were attacks on Muslims. And that had a lot to do with, as you said, stirring up I mean, that was primarily targeted at Muslims at the time, but stirring up sentiments leading to collateral targeting also over the ensuing years of Indian Christians all the way to that period in 97 98 when there was such a massive escalation right as the BJP first came to power. Now the BJP was in power from 98 to 2004 if I recall correctly. But in that time period in 2002 there was this violence in Gujarat when Modi, who had helped organize that rath Yatra all the way back in 1990 when Modi had just recently become the chief minister of the state of Gujarat, there was this three day period of violence, perhaps up to around 2000. Muslims, men, women and children were brutally killed. RSS and BJP et cetera were all implicated in that violence. And we can talk about the specific details of that another time. But my understanding is, am I correct John, that you actually went to Gujarat after the fact to see what had happened? [00:53:06] Speaker B: I went to Gujarat because I was not stationed there. So I was not an eyewitness to the actual violence. But I went there and the smoke was still rising. We went to the villages which had been totally cleansed of all Muslims. We saw the wells which had been at one time filled with the bodies of Muslims. We met the survivors, almost every one of them, including the lady who was gang raped, whose child was killed. [00:53:40] Speaker A: Family was this Bilkus Bono, I believe her name is. [00:53:44] Speaker B: We met them in the refugee camps and my group we were actually chased out of there by Professor Shamsha Islam, his wife, two Muslims, our Catholic father. We had to run for our lives from there because a week or two weeks after the violence, there are still people. We went to a village, one of us was Swami Agrivesh. We had a superintendent of police with us. We went to a village where every Hindu had killed every Muslim neighbor. We went in like fools or like reporters or just wanted to know how can a neighbor kill a neighbor? We asked that question. How could you? It was the wrong question to ask. We were surrounded and the police had to escort us out of that village. Eventually we left Gujarat and drove to Delhi, picking up a car from the bishop's house and drove to Delhi. The others stayed back for a while, but eventually they also had to do because good luck. Today, 20 years later, still very polarized, muslims cannot get a house on rent. Whether you are a professor, scientist, you have to go to the Muslim quarter to find a small room. You can buy a house elsewhere in Ahmedabad, but nobody is willing to sell you one. You can carry money, buy the sack full and you will not get a house. That is happening in Delhi today, by the way. Muslims, professors, scientists, journalists are not getting houses on rent. Others are not getting houses which they want to buy. People are becoming so polarized and Mr. Modi has gone out of the way and his people who has protected to polarize the Hindus and the Muslims and the consequences? We're already paying for that, but it could explode any day now. [00:56:28] Speaker A: After Gujarat, that was one of the most egregious and large scale incidents of anti minority violence, certainly, at least in terms of the numbers of dead that were left in the wake that had been seen in the Republic of India since its founding, since its origins. But I know it's not the only place you've visited. And again, you and I, we've discussed in the past the details of these incidents. But one thing I don't think I've touched on in our conversations before is how you personally have actually visited many of these locations. Now prefacing this leading up to this one, and I think you know what I'm referring to, but prefacing this I have hear from you. You've said that over the years, and I guess this is over the past several decades, you've said there has always been a base level of about 200 cases of antichristian violence across the country every year, ranging from gang rape and murder to demolition of churches, beating up of pastors and clergy, preventing nuns from their work, and so on and so forth. However, we saw in 2008 in the state of Odisha in eastern India, we saw that incident, that base level, escalate spike massively. We saw 100 plus Christians killed hundreds of churches burned, tens of thousands of people displaced again the violence blamed on the RSS, the BJP and affiliated organizations. But once again, you and a team of other activists from multi faith backgrounds, if I'm not mistaken, after the fact, after the smoke had begun to maybe clear a little bit, you went there to Odisha to visit, to witness document. When did you go? Who did you speak with and what did you see there? [00:58:34] Speaker B: First of all, cardamom violence. We could have had 70,000 people killed. They were not killed for a very simple reason. It's a very dense forest and all these Christians live at the edge of the forest. So when the attacks took place, they just went deep into the forest. These are forests where tigers roam and elephants rule. So these are really, really dense forests in the middle of the heart of India, in a way and a plateau a kilometer high. That is what saved them. The first violence took place on Christmas Eve of 2007 and it was and on 27th, 26th, I was in Bob nature and that night we drove to ANDAMAL I, two priests and a lawyer, four of us in a jeep. The police stopped us on one road, but we had a local person with us, one of the priests. So we retraced our steps to Karnataka Road, this is, by the way, an eight hour trip, retraced our way and entered Karnamal through another road. We saw the violence in a way, we arrived and when I say the RSS was behind it, it was the statement of the chief minister in the Legislative Assembly of Orissa, who said it was the Sangh Pariva. So our worst fears were confirmed. But we also discovered that at that time the BJP was ruling the state in a joint government with Mr. Biju Patnai's party was the chief minister, the home minister and many powerful ministers were BJP. The police people had been appointed by the BJP, they were loyal to the BJP. The collector, the district magistrate stopped our relief. We had to go to the Supreme Court to say that relief should go. The second burst of violence began on 23rd 24th August, the next year, when. [01:01:22] Speaker A: This man that's actually 15 years ago. [01:01:24] Speaker B: This last month yes, we just observed the 15th anniversary of Karnamal. We have to observe it virtually, but in Karnamal, every year, 5000 to 15,000 people gather to observe and to mourn their dead, to observe and to celebrate their faith. So it happens elsewhere. We meet when we can pray. This year it was virtual, last year also it was virtual, but perhaps we could say next year in Kandama. So that is something to aim at. But when you talk to the victims and later the last five years I have visited almost every Muslim family whose son or father brother has been lynched by the same song defending the cow who has lynched the Muslim on charges of eating beef or carrying beef or killing a cow. We have visited those families only to find that the police is complicit, the state is complicit, the politician is complicit. And this complicity is what I trace to Karnamal and to Gujarat. And this is what is now the norm. That complicity has been normalized under Mr. Narendra modi's rule. Ten years of his rule has totally inured the police, the Magistracy, the bureaucracy, they think their rule will never end. But there's another thing coming now, speaking. [01:03:28] Speaker A: Of this issue of complicity. I mean, we've seen this in the documentation in 2002 and 2008 and then routinely, as you've just mentioned, in many of these other incidents of you could call it, if you would, more sporadic violence around the country against not just Christians, but especially against Muslims in these lynching incidents. When it comes to complicity, most recently this year, one of the things that we've seen, perhaps most shockingly egregiously, is up in the northeast, in the state of Monipur, where violence broke out on May 3 of 2023, and there have been a lot of reports coming out. I've spoken with members of the targeted tribal Kukizomi community there who have given me accounts of incidents where police have been complicit in attacking. There was this viral video that emerged of these two Kukizomi women who were being paraded by a mob of attackers, naked on camera, being sexually molested on camera, later gang raped off camera. And in that case, one of the women has, or both of them if I'm not mistaken. They've testified that they actually ended up in the hands of the mob because they were first picked up by police and then handed by police over to the mob. Now, this violence is still ongoing for May, June, July, August, September, just over four months. [01:05:07] Speaker B: Over four months. I went to Gujarat, I went to. [01:05:10] Speaker A: Manipur also, and that's what I wanted to come to. You've been here on the ground in so many of these places, odisha, Kandamal, Odisha, Gujarat, et cetera. You've visited these families of these Muslims who've been lynched. I know you've gone to Monapur as well. Can you tell us about what you did in Manipur, what you saw there? And also the violence is still ongoing for four months. [01:05:38] Speaker B: Violence is ongoing. Even yesterday, the women of the pushed back, or tried to push back the Indian army which was separating them from the homeland of the. [01:05:54] Speaker A: And just to preface the Metes, they are the majority Hindu, majority population community which is attacking. [01:06:06] Speaker B: Yes, the mighties live in the valley, 80% of them are Hindus, 10% of them are Muslims, 10% of them are Christians. The Hindu mightis have their eye on the rest of the state. The chief minister is one of them. The state police is almost entirely derived from the valley. So when this current passions were raised with The, Maite is demanding that they be allowed to enter where the cookies live, to buy that land, to set up factories or whatever plantations. And a judge said why not? When the flare up took place, the police, instead of controlling them, opened up its armories. Where arms are kept, the ammunition is kept and just gave it away to this young men and who now have not muskets, not pistols, they're pen guns, they're machine guns, they have submachine guns, they have murders, they have become instantly an army. And they have been vicious. They have been vicious. The cookies. All Cookie villages which were in the prince were wiped out. All the cookies had to run to the hills in retaliation. Whatever mightys they were in the hills were pushed back also. But for every one mighty killed, maybe three Cookies were killed. The Cookies have not been accused of rape. The mighties have been accused of rape of Cookie women. And that's where it ends. The political solution is not inside. The chief minister is not acting. The minister of Home of India is not acting. The prime Minister has not been to the state. He's gallivanted all over the world. He has not been to Manipur. He has a monologue on TV every day. He has not spoken a word on Manipur. He did not address parliament on Manipur. He has not given an indication what is in his mind. How does he want to enter solution? He has not given us a roadmap of a political solution. When the prime minister is silent, the lower minions will do what they will. And maybe that is the road plan to allow one side to totally subjugate the other side and then the deed is done and you can't undo it. Maybe that is the plan. But these are very expensive plans. Expensive in human blood, in human misery and a national loss. Soldiers are employed there. We can't take medicines to the monkeys. When I and my colleague, Mr. Harsh Mandar, our former bureaucrat, when we went there and there were three young doctors with us, we saw that in two and a half months, or nearly three months, the children were of the verge of malnutrition for want of vitamins. They were just being given rice, white rice. The Kohi refugees are living in church compounds, not in government compounds. No government comes there, no government rationalists come there. They are living on the charity of the church community. 90 or 100 such churches are hosting from 20 to 500 people. The mighties are living in government refugee camp. That is the difference even for the injured. As for the dead, their bodies are rotting in hospital mortuaries, in Impala, the capital of Manipur. The Matthews, will not allow cookie bodies to be buried in their area and they won't allow them to be taken out and buried elsewhere. They will not any place in the valley. They don't want a pookie body to be buried. That is where I said hate has been so weaponized as to turn an entire community into such tyrants. No human being is born a tyrant. You're taught to become one and they have been taught to become one. [01:11:15] Speaker A: Well, as you said, even the prime minister hasn't visited yet. You yourself have gone there. The violence is still ongoing. I know that there's a complicated situation. There's a lot in it which is sparked off by this ethnic conflict. But it's being driven by a majority Hindu community who's got the backing of the BJP government at the state level and silent sanction of the BJP at the national level. So from my perspective here on the other side of the world there does seem to be a large extent to which this has a lot of religious motivation, a lot of targeting of religious minorities wrapped up into the conflict. Now as we begin to move to a close John and wrap up and come to a few of your final thoughts, I have a few kind of opinions I want to ask you to share but with what's happening there in India I think the last time you and I spoke was January of January 2022. And in that month you described to me that the year 2021 had been a year of fear for Indian Christians. In that context, looking back at what happened two years previously, now two years in the future, what, if anything, has improved? Has the situation remained stagnant? Is it the same or worse? I want to tag on to that too. In the past you've also described compared the situation for Indian Christians to the situation for Chinese Christians suggesting from my interpretation that just like China has its underground church that that may be a term that could be applied to the situation of the church in India. What do you think of that? [01:13:27] Speaker B: The underground church is a very large church in India. It consists of people who believe in Christ but they cannot be seen in a church. They cannot afford to wear a cross on their neck or a cross on their house. They will lose their job, they will lose their scholarship. Because the Indian laws are such that if you come from one of the depressed classes, the former untouchables, the only way you can survive, the only way you can get or be given the affirmative action relief constitutionally ordained that you can get from the government is if on paper you remain a Hindu. So it's in fact, you can look at it two ways. It is a law that prevents an Indian Christian from confessing that he's an Indian Christian. It also prevents an Hindu Indian from changing his religion, from exercising his freedom of faith. He's stuck in the faith. I can't confess to the faith I have joined and he can't join the faith that he wants to join. You understand the dilemma. This is some people look at it as a law prohibiting Christians from confessing to the faith. I also look at it as a law preventing a vast majority of Hindus from even dreaming of accepting Christ as their savior. They'll be punished ruthlessly. [01:15:23] Speaker A: When you criminalize freedom of religion, it cuts both ways. [01:15:26] Speaker B: Yeah. As I said, their weapon is the law. So what can you do? You believe in Christ and you remain underground. [01:15:37] Speaker A: In terms of that aspect of you describing 2021 as a quote unquote year of fear for Indian Christians. How do you feel about the situation today compared to then? [01:15:48] Speaker B: Today the situation is much worse. But it's good in a way. It's good in a way that Mr. Modi's term, his second term expires next May. He has to have election anywhere from December this year to April next year. The people are sick and tired of him. Unless something happens to the voting machines, unless he comes up with some trump card, he's going to lose. He's going to lose miserably. The opposition to him politically is building up. The anger against him publicly is building up. The economy is in tatters. Prices are high. Petroleum prices in India are very high. Taxation is very high. Billionaire pays the same GST as I do on a tube of toothpaste. For me, buying a toothpaste is a luxury for Mr ambali, the number two richest man in India and the fifth richest in the world. He can buy a toothpaste every minisecond. He can buy a jet every hour. These are funny ways in which monopoly capital four or five friends, mostly two, mr Adani and Mr Amani have benefited the rest of us Indians, if not on the verge of starvation, are on the verge. Certainly have been totally fed up with the regime. [01:17:33] Speaker A: Well, bringing this as we wrap up round know, I'm of course here in the US, been living in the US my whole life and recently Modi, the PM of India, got the red carpet. [01:17:53] Speaker B: I must interrupt you to congratulate you on the wonderful work you are doing in America and also through you to congratulate the Hindus for Human rights and people of that group who are really giving a great fight to the friends of Mr. Modi in America who are giving a good fight to those who are entrenched in caste politics, who employ only people of their own caste the upper castes. I congratulate you and I congratulate all these groups. You give us such strength from such a distance. [01:18:35] Speaker A: Thank you John. And especially I would amplify that congratulations to Hindus for human rights because I know I've seen personally born witness to how difficult it can be to be a Hindu in this struggle raising the voice for human dignity, for human freedoms, for civil liberties and against this Hindu nationalist movement. And Hindus for Human Rights in particular have been subject to wave of really vicious attacks. And I hats off to them for their courage, their principle as they continue to stand strong and they were there. They were some of the major players there in Washington DC. In June when Modi got the red carpet rolled out for him by the US. Government. And this happened under the Biden administration, which is democratic. But this has not been a partisan treatment of Modi over the years. Just when we had the Trump administration republican modi got generally the same reception, the same embrace by Trump as he's now getting by Biden. Although progressively it does seem to be a closer embrace of Modi. So as an Indian, John, how does that make you feel when you see my government behaving that way towards Modi in context of who Modi is and the kind of ideology that he represents and is know? [01:20:12] Speaker B: My answer is the same which I gave to the United States commission on International Religious Freedom back in 2001 or something. It remains the same. I will, as an Indian never ask for sanctions against India. I do not want whatever things getting stopped. I would not like visas to be stopped. I would not like jobs and education and food and whatever else, medicines to be stopped. But I do want anybody who sells arms to India, who sells, who does big business with India, including President Biden. Name and shape. Tell Mr. Modi he cannot abuse his people as he's doing and still have respect of the leaders of the world. He is bringing shame to India and any head of state for protocol reasons, for your own politics, you're dealing with the country of India. But to the man, whenever you have an opportunity, tell him he is doing wrong and history will never forgive him. [01:21:39] Speaker A: Name and shame. I like that. And speaking as an I've one of the issues that I've been passionate about in terms of U. S. Politics for decades now is opposition to US. Waged foreign wars. And within that context, connected so much to that is the sanctions that the US. Imposes on countries around the world which typically do nothing but actually harm the common person. They don't actually impact the regime so much. I've spoken with some people who support this idea of BDS type of approach, a boycott, divest and sanction type of approach towards India and in response to what's happening there with human rights under the Modi administration, modi regime. But that I've long opposed. I think that that's absolutely the wrong tactic. Instead, name and shame. Name and shame. And I certainly attempt to do that with whatever voice I have. But that needs to be done increasingly from places of power, of political power, from the US. Congress, from the presidency. [01:22:54] Speaker B: I love the way you chase these Indian Americans who want political positions there. I like the way you chase them and you ask them and even you ask white American politicians if they are taking funds from sources who have blood on their hands. I just love it. I think that needs. To be pursued in a big weaker question. [01:23:21] Speaker A: Question everything and everyone, especially anybody that has any kind of parent association with this movement, with the Hindu nationalist movement and its supporters here in the US. And almost last question, John, I wanted to ask I saw an article you wrote in the wake of the visit by Modi to DC in June. And in it you talked, and I'm going to quote you you talked about how his visit had evoked limited protests in Washington DC by Hindus for Human Rights, the Indian American Muslim Council, the Federation of Indian Christian Organizations of North America. These protests were overwhelmed by crowds of Modi supporters who chanted before the accompanying Indian media modius India and I want to say first, I absolutely agree with that. They were tragically limited protests. And I speak. I've protested Modi in California in 2015, in Houston, Texas, in 2019. And I was there protesting him at these protests in Washington DC. Unfortunately, from my perspective, they were some of the most anemic protests against Modi that I've ever seen. I don't know why. And I wondered if you had insight into that. Are people just here just tired of protesting? [01:24:38] Speaker B: I have deep insights. I have deep insights and not all of them are present. I know who are the people supporting Mr. Modi. I know what is their game. But it is when I find the Indian Muslim and the Indian Christian first generation people who went there to scout for a living, they didn't go there as nuclear scientists. Most of the Christians went there as husbands of nurses who were keeping jobs, as technicians. Some went as doctors, but most of them were lower middle class. Middle class and rebelling protest is not part of their education. They were happy just being survivors. And here we are asking them to cry for us, to fight for us. Many of them left before violence started in India, so they've not felt it. Many of them come from Kerala where violence has not taken place. And that means the people there, unless they're emotionally, by training, by education, by conscience moved, they will not come in large numbers. People have to forsake. They have to give up two days work. It's a small donation. For me to give up a job was at that time small. Now it is big. I'm 75 years old now and I need money and whatever is there, I hope it lasts as long as I live. But the point is, unless you are willing to make sacrifice, please don't pretend that you're fighting for us. Then just say that I'm praying, but say that openly. It gives me great courage. If I had a million Indians and there would be a million Christians there, if one Sunday all of them prayed, that would be world news. A million Indian Christians prayed in the churches in the United States of America for the plight of the brothers and sisters in India. So pray. It's not going to cost you anything. You're not going to go to jail, you're not going to lose money, but do it in synchronization, do it as a gesture. Don't do it silently. Just put a plaque on your wall. I love India. I love Indian Christians. Stop killing them. Put it on a 10,000 walls, do nothing. You don't even have to go out, you're losing no wages. Just put up a plug, change your whatever it is called, the background of your mugshot on TV. On WhatsApp? Do something so that people know in India that there are people in America who love them. It is good to know that this person with a German name and a white skin loves us. But to see people of my own skin and my own accent show that they care enough for me to sacrifice a little would help. [01:27:58] Speaker A: Well, especially for Indian Christians. I think that's an important perspective and understanding is that so many of them come over, they've gone through this difficult immigrant journey and now the expectation is especially in context of all of these other factors where they might have come from Kerala where there's no persecution or they might have come after the persecution in India started. They haven't personally experienced it, and now the ask is for them to hit the streets and come activists. But if that's a big sacrifice, especially for somebody who's an immigrant and who has no experience with something like that, at least you can pray. Now, I know outside of the Indian American community, within the broader American church, I'm an Anglican, and within the Anglican Church, we have a written liturgy that guides, as it does in the Roman Catholic Church, that guides the service. There's a section that's known as Prayers of the People in which has a specific prayer for the persecuted church. I know that I recently moved, but the church that I dipped my toes into, the Anglican faith and was there for years, my priest there, he has incorporated into that section, we pray for the persecuted church and especially for the church in India. However, unfortunately, my church is one of the very few that I know which is praying for India and especially for persecuted Christians in India. And one of the reasons that they're doing so is because they're aware of the persecution against Christians in India. Most of the churches I've tried reaching out to churches here in America, I've tried talking with Protestants, Catholics, et cetera, priests, pastors, and even Mormons and other groups, and there's been very little awareness. And when the awareness is planted, very little eagerness to take action. What do you think we can do to get them involved, John, if anything. [01:30:12] Speaker B: How does one prick a brother's conscience? I think we are also amiss. We have these sporadic activities. I think we must have a bigger office. We must strengthen your office. We must strengthen the corner office, but we must have a research and communication office in Washington, DC. And if possible, people in every state capital who keep on churning information, documents, emails, paper to every legislator, to every pastor and see what we can do. I wish I were young enough. I would have volunteered, but if there's somebody, I would be so happy to pray for him and to support him from India to the extent I can. [01:31:05] Speaker A: Well, you've done so much in your life, John, and now, as you continue to do, which you can, and you're still doing so much, I believe you would probably agree with this. It's necessary for newer generations to begin picking up and carrying on the torch. And in that context, there's always a glimmer of hope. What is your hope for the future as far as whether it's India and end to the human rights violations there, reestablishment of religious freedom, of freedom of expression and this sort of thing. And last question is, in context of all of that, what do you hope your own legacy will be? [01:31:53] Speaker B: Here lies John, at peace with himself. I have more hopes in the non Christian world, in India for raising an entire generation of activists who are there because their conscience has said so. Some of them have left great jobs, some not so great jobs. They are living hand to mouth, but they're active. They are arrested, they go to jail. They're active. The Christian church has a few I can count them on the fingers of two hands, but most of them are self centered. Many of them are just waiting for a chance to migrate. Many of them are praying warriors, but not willing to hit the street, I think. Unless we have boots on the ground, unless we have activists who go and document. Unless we have activists who write, unless we have activists who proceed to the court and are willing to give evidence and unless we have people who can collect money from their own people. Because now we can't even get money from outside who can raise resources. I think we are in for a pretty hot spot. But I am happy that there are people I can count on, maybe one in each state, maybe two, but the others are in for glory or in for being present at a presidential dinner, whatever, but would not be there on the road, would not be there where Mr. Modi can see them and order their arrest. [01:33:49] Speaker A: Well, especially in context of anybody in this arena who is working on these issues, who's a Christian, whether they're Indian or outside of India. Certainly from my perspective, as you talked about, what an incredible thing it would be if there was a focused million people, churches all around the world, churches all around America, praying all the same time. If they're doing that, though, don't do it silently. Let people know that you're doing it. Because my experience in the past has been feedback from Indian Christians is that when they know that there's somebody speaking up for them especially with them being in such a hotspot, tough situation in India oftentimes being unable to raise their voices, let alone worship freely it's such an encouragement for them to continue going strong. When they see that that prayer is occurring for them, when they see that there's other people outside who are pleading their cause. However, you mentioned these prayer warriors, and this is to any listeners that might be, as I said, of Christian faith from any background, is that I recall that faith without works is dead, that, yes, we pray, but our prayer must drive us into some kind of an action. And so whether that's taking the message further to the streets or to the government or to other churches or to other neighbors and so on and so forth well, John, I want to thank you so much for your insights for your opinions, for offering to discuss this fascinating life story that you've had starting out studying physics as a university student and then witnessing these momentous events all throughout the decades. The latter half of the 20th century, now a quarter of the way into the 21st. And any final thoughts? [01:35:55] Speaker B: It's good to be alive. I wish those who died in targeted violence for life too. [01:36:07] Speaker A: Amen to that, and we will leave it at that. Thank you, John. Stay well. Thank you for tuning in. If you liked what you heard, please remember to subscribe and follow for more to come as we look forward to dialoguing once again on Dosa.

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