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.
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," she said.
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 nonviolence in the US, noted that his grandfather was against proselytizing 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."
Suhag Shukla of Washington-based Hindu America Foundation said, "The proxy baptism of Gandhi is deeply offensive, not only to Gandhi's legacy as a devout Hindu, but to Hindus world over.