Bhagwat, NaMo contact the Christian Indian diaspora in a damage control exercise

Something big is afoot.

The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) supremo Mohan Bhagwat has reportedly hand-picked Mr. Shekhar Tiwari, said to be a close friend of Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, and a United State based businessman with clout on Capitol Hill, governors’ mansions of several states and corporate giants, to do some damage control in Washington DC after recent statements on the persecution of Christians and other minorities.   

Some days ago, several important members of the US congress had written a joint letter to Mr. Modi expressing their deep concern at the growing intolerance in India and assaults on freedom of expression and faith.  The renowned Lantos Commission, named after a former Congressman, also issued a statement. (Hyperlink:

Mr. Tiwari, has been in the US for more than forty years, and has also been politically active during the prime ministership of Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee. He claims to have played a role in mobilizing the Indian Diaspora that helped elect Mr. Bobby Jindal and Ms. Nikky Hailey to political office.

He has, according to information, been appointed some sort of an unofficial ambassador at large to directly contact important Christian leaders and ethnic groups in various states where they are concentrated, especially in the Eastern coast areas of New York and Washington, and in states such as Texas and Illinois, particularly in the city if Chicago in the name of the Sangh and the Prime Minister. Several critical articles and editorials in prestigious foreign publications could not have helped either.

Mr. Modi’s government had hoped that its image with the United States would have improved with the close contacts he had made with President Barak Obama and the openings made for closer economic and military cooperation. However, the rash of targetted violence against Christians, which has not only continued but aggravated since the advent of the NDA II government headed by Modi, coming as it did together with violence against Muslims and the assault on freedom of expression, has severely impacted the image Modi regime had sought to be built up in the road shows during his American visits. President Obama referred to India in his Prayer Breakfast speech. hyperlink:

Mr. Tiwari has apparently begun his work in right earnest and has already contacted major Christian group leaders, as also office bearers of various associations.  The Christian diaspora in the US, said to be more than a million strong, is divided not only on Catholic-Protestant lines, but also on ethnic identities with the Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and the Telugu [Telengana-Andhra] people active in their own associations. Even the Gujarat Christians have a vibrant association concentrated in the New York region.

There are strong indications that Mr. Tiwari will use his clout in the US to also reach out to the leadership of the Church groups within India, several of whom have friends both in the diaspora and in the US protestant churches. It may be recalled that during the period of Mr. Vajpayee’s government, the RSS had used several US based Christians to persuade the Indian church leadership to agree to a dialogue following the 1998 anti-Christian violence in the country.

Mr. Tiwari’s appointment, not yet formally announced by the RSS, also implies that the Sangh leadership has been frustrated by the failure of its pointsman for religious minorities, Indresh Kumar, to effectively connect with the Christian groups in the country. Indaresh Kumar was behind the several Christmas-time meetings organized last year (2015) to lure Catholic Bishops and protestant leaders. After one such meeting in New Delhi, the Sangh said it was setting up an Isai manch with Indresh as the mentor, or margdarshak. The Bishops denied they had agreed to such a manch, and said they had attended just a Christmas get-together.

Many sections of the community, angry at the unabated persecution of pastors and institutions ins several states, in particular Chhattisgarh and neighboring areas, rebelled at the thought of the Isai Manch. Meetings and consultations were organised where the Sangh’s concept of a manch was summarily rejected. This has frustrated the Sangh leadership which claims success for a similar platform it has set up to get some sections of Muslim ulema and youth on its side.

That is not to say that individual Church leaders, including politicians, businessmen and bishops, have not been in touch with the RSS at various levels. Many bishops and heads of institutions have also been in close touch with the government and with Mr. Modi, sometimes through bureaucrats, politicians and even ministers such as the convent educated Mrs. Smriti Zubin Irani who heads the human resources ministry, and finance minister, Mr. Arun Jaitley.
1.   Dialogue with the deaf?
2.   No dialogue between sheep and wolves
3.   More homilies, this time for the Christians, Mr Rajnath Singh?
4.   Are Indian Christians safe under NDA II Rule?



Related Articles