Tam-Brahm Jesus? RSS distances itself from Babarao Savarkar; Christian community and social media reacts
From outrage to indignation to requests to ignore it, reactions ran the gamut following mid-day's report on a book claiming that Jesus Christ was a Tamil Brahmin
This newspaper's front page report yesterday about the Marathi translation of Christ Parichay, a 1946 book by Ganesh Damodar (Babarao) Savarkar that will be released on February 26, has ruffled the feathers of the community.
Christians say, the 'Jesus is a Hindu' controversy cannot shake their faith in Christ. PIC/ SAYED SAMEER ABEDI
Swatantryaveer Savarkar Rashtriya Smarak (Savarkar National Memorial), a trust that preserves and propagates Savarkar brother's literature and ideology is releasing the book which claims Jesus was a Tamil Vishwakarma Brahmin by birth and that Christianity is just a sect of Hinduism.
Reacting to these claims, Fr Nigel Barrett, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Bombay said, "There is an attempt to re-write history and draw us into controversy. Christianity is well grounded and based on the person of Jesus who without a doubt is a real person in history. The RSS is welcome to claim what they will, it doesn't affect us. Our faith in Jesus is based on a personal encounter with Christ."
Clyde Crasto from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) blamed the political climate too saying, "The claims do not make sense, The current political scenario is allowing such false ideas to spread. Clearly, this is politically driven and a fabricated story."
The book says Christ travelled to India where he learnt yoga. It adds that Jesus Christ's real name was Keshao Krishna and that Christianity was a Hindu cult and doctrine introduced by Christ, not a separate religion.
Dr Abraham Mathai, President of the Indian Christian Voice and former Vice Chairman of the Minorities Commission said, "The book is a sign of high ignorance of the author. Jesus Christ was born 2000 years ago in Bethlehem and died at Calvary. Yes, Christianity came first to India rather than the West, when St Thomas, one of Jesus's apostles came here to preach. The basis of this book is completely false."
Young Christians too, hit out at claims. IT professional, Kevin Noronha from Borivali said, "The book has no basis. The Christian community is strong in faith. Things like these cannot shake our belief, it only makes it stronger."
Cheryl Baretto, Andheri (E) resident said, "Why would Jesus preach Christianity if he was born Hindu? He never mentioned any Hindu god nor did he teach any Hindu idea. He was a Jew who worshipped in a synagogue. Savarkar's claim is more fiction that fact."
The tenor across the community was that no such claims can shake their faith in what they have always believed. Anita Quadros, a logistics professional said, "If Savarkar had read the Holy Bible, he would have not written all this. St Thomas preached Christianity and not Hinduism. Our faith will stand firm in the face of this nonsense."
Sandhurst Road resident, Michelle D'souza, said, "This book is all rubbish. It is a made up story. Years ago, when the book was written, this conspiracy theory was not accepted now so many years later, it seems funny rather than true."
"This is a group of rogues who can go to any extent to show that their religion is the only religion in the world. It is sad to see the book getting so much publicity for its blatant lie. In Israel, they are still investigating how Jesus disappeared from the tomb, I think we now need to inform them that Jesus is in Kashmir as per Savarkar's claim in his book," said Samir Netto, a Worli resident.
Dolphy D'souza, former president of the Bombay Catholic Sabha said, "The book is a figment of the fertile imagination of the author. The RSS should be disappointed that their sinister plan has not succeeded. They are looking to divert the public's mind from the inability to govern well."
Joseph Dias, General Secretary of the Catholic-Christian Secular Forum (CCSF) said, "There is no truth, or evidence in what Christ Parichay propagates. The saffron brigade have not only claimed Jesus but also Jews and Arabs as Hindus." Dias added that it does not deserve a response "We would have protested and filed an FIR, but this book does not deserve that. The changed political scenario is leading to the saffronisation of all spheres which is sad to see," he ended.
RSS distances itself from Savarkar
The RSS on Tuesday tried to distance itself from Ganesh Savarkar. Pramod Bapat, Prachar Pramukh, Konkan Region, said, "We wish to clarify that Ganesh Damodar Savarkar wasn’t founder of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. There was only one RSS founder, Dr Hegdewar. Savarkar was in no way associated with RSS."
However, several accounts on the RSS, including one by BJP MP MJ Akbar, have chronicled Savarkar’s ties with the organisation. Akbar’s India: A Siege Within says this about the RSS’s origin: "...five friends who started the RSS were Dr BS Moonje, Dr LV Paranjpe, Dr Tholkar, Babarao Savarkar and Dr Hedgewar himself."
Another book by Ritu Kohli explains Savarkar’s influence on MS Golwalkar. Political Ideas of MS Golwalkar: Hindutva, Nationalism, Secularism says: "In 1938, Golwalkar prepared the first systematic statement to the RSS ideology, "We, and our Nationhood, Defined" a text which he later revealed was an abridgement of an essay on nationalism by Babarao Savarkar."
@MrSamratX: Look I don’t know if Jesus Christ was a Tamil Hindu, but there’s no doubt that Shakespeare was Sheikh SP Iyer, Tamil Muslim. In Gulf
@ShirishKunder: Jesus Christ was a Tamil Hindu?! Now Christians will ask for OBC status.
@hankypanty: Jesus Christ was a Tamil Hindu. If anyone but, the RSS had said this - they’d be arrested for blasphemy, sedition, polygamy, jaywalking.
@Newspaperwalli: RSS founder’s book says Jesus was a Tamil Hindu. Now I’m guessing conversion to Christianity is no longer a problem
@rahulroushan: If Jesus was a Tamil Hindu Brahmin, why was he not a B Tech?
@aruna_menon: Jesus Christ was a Tamil Hindu, it’s time to repaint the ‘Last Supper’ with Dosa, Vada & Filter Coffee..
@vandana_s: This is GOLD: Jesus was looking to go to Salem, instead he went to Jerusalem