Dear Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai,

You had once been a member of a secular party but seem to have converted to Hindutva, abandoning the anti-Brahminical Lingaayath faith founded by the great Basavanna in whose followers’ family you were born. Your father having been a staunch secularist, a celebrated Supreme Court judgement of 1994 upholding secularism, SR Bommai vs Union, standing in his name.[1]

Sir, could you kindly backdate the operation of the anti-conversion measure you are now needlessly planning to legislate, to at least the Eighth Century CE? (Oops, CE = Common Era, but also meaning Christian Era. Which calendar do you use, Sir, if you don’t mind my asking?)

The 8th century was when Shankaraachaarya mounted his assault against the then prevailing Buddhism in vast parts of this subcontinent. Raamaanujaachaarya (11th-12th century) and Madhvaachaarya (13th-14th century) followed suit.

Both Christianity and Islam arrived on our shores with traders within a short while after their respective births. Thus many Christian and Islamic communities especially in southern and western India are perhaps older than many communities of converts to Hinduism. Will you backdate the operation of the law to two millennia ago?

Sir, my ancestors were most likely converts from Jainism or Buddhism which once prevailed in large parts of southern India: witness the large numbers of archaeological sites of those faiths extant all over the land. 

Kindly arrange for DNA testing etc so that those like me could do ‘ghar waapsi’ (a term in Hindi, a North Indian imposed language, meaning, loosely, ‘home return’) should it turn out that our lot had been Hindu-jihaad’d.

Although I’d be loath to break the news to my mother, 92, who every morning and evening almost all her life has been chanting in praise of one of the above-mentioned, Raamaanuja, as had my father been until his demise earlier this year.

Yours Sincerely

N. Jayaram



About walkerjay

The author, N. Jayaram, a journalist now based in Bangalore after more than 23 years in East Asia (mainly Hong Kong and Beijing) and 11 years in New Delhi, was with the Press Trust of India news agency for 15 years and Agence France-Presse for 11 years and is currently engaged in editing and translating for NGOs and academic institutions.
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  1. My belated condolences on your father’s demise

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