Washington: Mahatma Gandhi has been baptised
in proxy by a US church, drawing sharp reaction from his
grandson and others.
Gandhi was baptised by the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints (LDS), 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.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) 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 an e-mail to Nevada-based Hindu
activist, Rajan Zed.
In the email, Radkey, who is from Salt Lake City, said
she viewed the record on baptism of Gandhi on February 16 but
it had since disappeared and was no longer available in the
database of the church.
It was unusual for a record to vanish, said Radkey, who
of late has been in news because of bringing out in the public
similar unknown facts and secrets of the Mormon Church.
"I have not come across other Indian leaders baptised by
Mormons. My copies of the Gandhi record are dated February 16,
2012. The record disappeared shortly after that date. I assume
Mormons did not want others to know about Gandhi`s baptism,"
Arun Gandhi, a grandson of Gandhi who lives in Up State
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, who teaches non-violence in the US, noted that his
grandfather was against proselytising 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. It`s not up to others to force them. He was
respectful of all the religions," he said.
"This is deeply offensive," said Suhag Shukla of the
Washington-based Hindu America Foundation (HAF), adding that
Gandhi was against proselytising.
"The proxy baptism of Mahatma Gandhi is deeply offensive,
not only to Gandhi`s legacy as a devout Hindu, but to Hindus
world over," Shukla said.
Zed said, following the revelation, he wrote to LDS
President Thomas S Monson on February 24, but has not received
any answer yet. "Monson should apologise for this. He also
needs to explain how this happened."