Thursday, March 1, 2012
US Church baptizes Gandhi by proxy
A US church had posthumously baptized Mahatma Gandhi by proxy on March 27 1996, the affirmation of which by a researcher drew a sharp reaction from his grandson and others.
Arun Gandhi, a grandson of Gandhi who lives in New York, told 'The Huffington Post 'that he was 'surprised' to hear about the posthumous baptism. 'It bothers me in the sense that people are doing something when a person is dead and gone and there is nobody to answer for that person. That’s not the right thing to do, 'he was quoted as saying. Arun, an activist who teaches nonviolence, also noted that his grandfather was against proselytizing of any kind, whether it involved Hindus or others.
'He thought people must decide for themselves which religion they want to follow and they should follow that religion. Its not up to others to force them.
He was respectful of all the religions.
Gandhi was baptized by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints, headquartered in Salt Lake City in Utah on March 27, 1996; the confirmation of which was completed on November 17, 2007 at Sao Paulo Brazil Temple, according to researcher Helen Radkey.
Gandhi was baptized by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints, which is more popularly known as Mormon Church, one of the fastest growing churches in the US. Mitt Romney, the leading Republican Presidential hopeful; Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; and John Huntsman, former US ambassador to China, are among the few top Mormons.
Radkey, who has now been excommunicated by the Mormons, made the revelation in e- mail to Nevada- based Hindu activist, Rajan Zed. In the email, Radkey said she had viewed the record on baptism of Gandhi but it had since disappeared and was no longer available in the database of the church.
Incidentally, Hindus do not mark death as the end of existence but rather believe in a cycle of birth and death. To perform proxy baptism to a Hindu is 'deeply offensive 'because of the belief in rebirth, said Suhag Shukla, cofounder of the Hindu American Foundation and now its managing director and legal counsel.
'In Hinduism, each of us is innately divine, which is diametrically opposed to this concept that we are innately sinful and need to accept Jesus as our savior in order to cleanse our soul,’ she said in an interview.
'Hindus do not believe there is only one way to salvation.'
By : Sudhir Neerattupuram