The definition of nonviolence

St. Albert, Alberta

Regarding Dipak Basu’s June 7 letter: Basu conveniently omits to tell us of the backlash against Christianity in Edo Period Japan, in which “nonviolence as the supreme principle” manifested itself in the form of crucifying Japanese Christians, a process in which the Buddhist temples were wholly complicit.

Then a couple of centuries later, just as the European imperialists used Christianity to justify their crimes, the Japanese militarists used Shinto (a religion with a Hinduism connection that some Hindus are proud to point out) and Buddhism to justify their invasion of Korea and China, and the atrocities they committed there. This also seems like a strange definition of “nonviolence.”

It is also of note that on the same day Basu’s letter ran, there was a story about a lower-caste Dalit in India being beaten to death for drinking communal water during a heat wave.

If Basu were scrupulously accurate about the influence of religion in India, he would have to admit that regular murders of Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities by Hindus are commonplace, along with the murder of homosexuals and the honor killings of women who break the social code.

One reason so many Hindus objected to the award-winning movie “Slumdog Millionaire” is that it depicted India accurately, rather than as a land of gurus, meditation and lotus petals.

All religion is used to justify oppression, and no religion, culture or society is innocent. All over the world, victims of oppression are fighting for the right to enforce their own version of that oppression. Just take a look at Palestine, Sri Lanka and the Balkans.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

paul savage