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Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
When we commence the quest of the greatest Indian after Gandhi, the name that immediately strikes is Jawaharlal Nehru who converted India, a British colony for two centuries into the greatest democracy the world has ever known. But on second thought one wonders what did the British hand over to us. While parting they left to us an India one third of which (even after its Partition) comprised of a few hundred kingdoms which in bits and pieces were scattered over its entire its land mass, under rule of hereditary monarchs who claimed that with the lapse of British paramountcy over them, their relationship with the new Indian State was subject to mutually agreed terms . Every 50 or 100 miles, one would stumble across another political island with a hereditary monarch ruling over it, whose allegiance to India was conditional. About a third of India’s Parliament consisted of members not elected by its people but nominated by these monarchs to whom they owed allegiance. The writ of Delhi was not running thro’ the length and breadth of what we call India today ; the flag of new India was not allowed to be hoisted over a small kingdom, only 100 miles south west of Delhi, where I resided then..
Vallabhbhai Patel single handedly took up the challenge that faced the India that came into existence on 15th August 1947. He acted with statesmanship, vision and determination and quietly cleared out the numerous labyrinths. He demolished within a few months without shedding a drop of blood (except in Hyderabad due to perverted thinking of its ruler) the monarchies which pervaded the land since the dawn of its history and handed over to Nehru a single integrated unified India on which to build a democratic edifice ; and thus he enabled Nehru to become the builder of a modern democratic India.
Whom to call the greater Indian , the one who created a single integrated India on which a democratic edifice could be built or the one who subsequently built that edifice ? On that would depend the answer to the question as to which of these two great Indians was greater inter se
I like this but I have one question. Why Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri is missing in this list. No one can deny his contribution to our country. He showed accountability which is missing in our leaders today. He was person with great values in public life and highly regardable.
my choice of the gretest indian is Dr.B.r. Ambedker because hi is the father of the indian constitution and he was the main indian democretic structer in india
My comment is the first sentence of 20/D-190.
My suggestion kamaraj should be in the list of greatest indian after gandhi.
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