Washington, Feb. 28 (PTI): A researcher has claimed that a US church belonging to the Mormon sect has baptised Mahatma Gandhi in proxy, drawing sharp reactions from a grandson of the Mahatma and Hindu activists.
Helen Radkey said Gandhi was baptised by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), popularly known as the Mormon Church and headquartered in Utah’s Salt Lake City, on March 27, 1996. She said the baptism was confirmed on November 17, 2007, at the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple, a Mormon shrine.
LDS members have posthumously baptised many non-Christians in the past, claims Radkey, who has been excommunicated by the Mormons. She says an LDS member baptised Anne Frank, the Jewish teen whose diary and death in a Nazi concentration camp made her a symbol of the Holocaust, last Saturday.
Radkey said she had seen the record on Gandhi’s baptism on February 16 this year but it had since disappeared from the church’s database. “I assume (the) Mormons did not want others to know about Gandhi’s baptism.”
Arun Gandhi, a grandson of the Mahatma who lives in upstate New York, told The Huffington Post: “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.”
He 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.
Suhag Shukla of the Washington-based Hindu America Foundation said the proxy baptism of the Mahatma was “deeply offensive, not only to Gandhi’s legacy as a devout Hindu, but to Hindus the world over”.
US-based Hindu activist Rajan Zed said he had written to LDS president Thomas S. Monson but received no reply.
Is it justified to baptize anyone posthumously without their consent (I mean if the person left it in their will then it seems alright to me.)?