Monday, March 05, 2012

Mormons baptize Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Indian Nation was forcibly “enrolled” in the Mormon faith by a U.S. church, in what is called a “proxy baptism”. 

The news which was reported by Times of India, an English language daily, is provoking strong reactions and discontent in India. 

On 27 March 1996, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with headquarters in Salt Lake City (Utah) allegedly baptised the “Great Soul”. 

The rite is supposed to have been celebrated on 17 November 2007, in the São Paulo Brazil Temple. Times of India wrote that it was researcher Helen Radkey who made the above claims, in an e-mail addressed to Rajan Zed, a Hindu activist in Nevada.

Radkey, who lives in Salt Lake City and was “excommunicated” by the Mormons, claims she saw the documents registering the rite, last 16 February. 

But records of the registration allegedly disappeared from the database of the Mormon Church after this date. 

The Mormons are expanding rapidly in the United States and the community includes illustrious members like Mitt Romney, the Republican leader and Presidential candidate and John Kerry, the President of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Arun Gandhi, Mahatma’s grandson who lives in the state of New York expressed his surprise to Huffington Post, adding that his grandfather had been against all kinds of proselytism because each individual “should be able to freely choose their own religion.” 

“It is not right - he said – that such acts be carried out after a person has died, been buried and can no longer speak. It really bothers me…”

From Washington, Suhag Shukla of the Hindu America Foundation, commented that “The proxy baptism of Mahatma Gandhi is deeply offensive, not only to Gandhi's legacy as a devout Hindu, but to Hindus world over.” 
Hindu activists in the United States wrote to the president of the Mormons, Thomas Monson on 24 February, but received no answer: "Monson should apologise for this. He also needs to explain how this happened."