Saturday, October 4, 2008

#196, Columbian Fair Organisers were not fair to Vivekananda

Here is a link
Click to see

This link contains the "World's Columbian Exposition of 1893" , 'Fair Book', Chapter 26. The World Parliament of Religions, Chicago, 1893, in which Vivekananda participated, was a part of the Exposition. This Chapter 26 narrates the Proceedings.

It mentions the names of speakers who have addressed the Parliament. Quote:

"... Then came a long array of bishops and archbishops, of priests and princes, of men and women of every race and color, such as Addison might have dreamed of in his vision of Mirza. After prayer and hymn, President Bonney briefly outlined the programme, and was followed by Doctor Barrows with an address of welcome. Then spoke Archbishop Feehan, Cardinal Gibbons, Augusta Chapin, Harlow N. Higinbotham, Alexander McKenzie, Archbishop Dionysios Latas, head of the Greek church, P. C. Mozoomdar on behalf of the Brahminists, and Pung Kuang Yu for the followers of Confucius. ..."

This paragraph and the subsequent paragraphs does not mention the name of Vivekananda. Is this deliberate?

Yes, deliberate. See the following paragraph from the same page:

"... A Hindoo monk complained of the patronizing fashion in which he and his fellow orientals had been treated by some of the speakers. "We have been told to accept Christianity," he said, "because Christian nations are prosperous. We look at England, the richest Christian nation of the world. Why is she rich and prosperous? Because she has her foot upon the neck of 250,000,000 Asiatics. We read history and we see everywhere that Christianity has conquered prosperity by cutting the throats of its followers. At such a price the Hindoo will have none of it. ..."

It is very clear that Swami Vivekananda expressed his resentment against the Christian efforts to thrust Christianity. He is also very against the exploitative. We should appreciate the indomitable courage of Swamiji to call a spade - a spade.

The page also admits the presence of Hindoo monks by derogatively calling their dress gaudy :

"... It was an impressive spectacle that marked the opening of the parliaments in Columbus hall, on the 11th of September, and never before perhaps was seen at one time and place such diversity of feature and costume. Men from almost every state and European nation were here; here were Hindoos in their gaudy robes; Japanese in their picturesque garb, and Chinamen in mandarins’ attire. ..."

The remark of the organisers is uncalled for.

One American Newspaper (The Dubuque, Iowa) called these remarks cantankerous. Quote:

Swami Vivekananda, the Hindoo monk, was not so fortunate. He was out of humor, or soon became so, apparently. He wore an orange robe and a pale yellow turban and dashed at once into a savage attack on Christian nations in these words: "We who have come from the east have sat here day after day and have been told in a patronizing way that we ought to accept Christianity because Christian nations are the most prosperous. We look about us and we see England the most prosperous Christian nation in the world, with her foot on the neck of 250,000,000 Asiatics. We look back into history and see that the prosperity of Christian Europe began with Spain. Spain's prosperity began with the invasion of Mexico. Christianity wins its prosperity by cutting the throats of its fellow men. At such a price the Hindoo will not have prosperity."

Click to see

If we view facts as 'facts', these remarks cannot be called cantankerous. Was it not true that England sat on the neck of 250,000,000 Asiatics?

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