It’s not just Muslims who are under threat in today’s India, which elected a BJP Prime Minister in the shape of someone who committed genocide in the name of Hinduism, but Christians as well. After earlier converting Muslims to Hinduism, now Hindu supremacists went on to convert Christians, and that too on Christmas Day. The freedom of action given to these supremacists contrasts with the Congress, which propounded a kind of secularism which at least did not encourage conversions. In fact, at the state level, there were laws forbidding conversion, and the conversion of an entire village in Tamil Nadu in 2002 to Islam showed one reason, and one problem that will be faced by the new converts. Dalits had converted, because of how they were treated by higher-caste Hindus. And this was the South, where Vedic, caste-ist, Hinduism is not as strong as in the Cow Belt, the true stronghold of the BJP. It must never be forgotten that Indian chauvinism is not just an aggressive patriotism, but Hindu supremacist , which means that it is aggressively caste-ist.

I wonder why Atal Behari Vajpayee has been awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civil award. It might be personally satisfying to him, but it should be a reminder that his was the first BJP government, and paved the way for today’s conversions. Is the award for the conversions?

While the Modi government encourages re-conversion, it has not made clear what caste are the Christians (and earlier Muslims) to join. In fact, Hinduism does not provide for conversion. For Muslims and Christians, followers of religions which spread by people converting, this is unthinkable, not unless they were born in the Subcontinent. And it is in the Subcontinent, in Pakistan to be exact, that the two religions come together, as Christmas coincides with Quaid-e-Azam Day.

True, it was a sombre celebration this year, as the nation had not yet recovered from the shock of the Peshawar massacre. It did seem a little belittling of Jesus to have the celebration of his birthday, the biggest day of the Christian year, overshadowed by this killing. Or was not the Son of God bigger than people? Or were Christian leaders glad to have some of the crasser commercial aspects of Christmas controlled?

The Peshawar massacres seem to be having a wider effect. There has been no link, but the stabbing of a policeman in France, by a man who fled (but was still captured) in his native Burundi may have owed something to this. Two New York cops were also shot dead by a black man, and though the cops were not white (one being of Chinese origin, the other Hispanic), it seemed a revenge killing for the spate of blacks offed by white cops. As if in response, there was another killing of a black man by a white cop not just anywhere in the Deep South, but in Ferguson, Missouri, where the first outpouring of anger had taken place, after a white cop was absolved by a grand jury of any charges after he had shot a young black man dead. Presumably, the positive to be taken out of the New York cop killing is that no whites were killed.

Neither shooting was blamed on the militants, and none of their groups claimed responsibility, which would seem a grave dereliction of duty on the part of the militants, as well as the Western law enforcing agencies. I don’t know why the law enforcing agencies were quiet, though I can think of the reason. They were probably too busy making sure that the audiences of The Interview were not subjected to a 9/11-style event, as threatened by North Korea, whose threat had initially caused the movie’s distributor, Sony Movies, to cancel the launch. True, the movie showed how an interview was used to assassinate the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un, but anyone who could appear in public with a haircut like his, surely has a sense of humour. It seems he doesn’t, and may confirm the belief that his haircut isn’t bad because he likes it like that, but because, as a devoted son, he goes to the same barber as his late father, Kim Jong-Il, who was the son of the founder of North Korea, Kim Il-Sung, who was immaculately coiffed. The present Kim (and his father) looks like someone who has fallen asleep in an overgrown lawn, and been run over by a lawn mower.

Kim Jong-Un, hairstyle notwithstanding, is heir to a regime that has been opposed to the USA since 1949, when the Korean War started. It’s older than the Cuban regime, which moved laterally, from founder Fidel Castro to brother Raul, and which was founded in 1958. The USA announced it will re-open diplomatic relations. Just like that? There’s a Hollywood connection again, for the collapse of the Batista regime is the backdrop for The Godfather II, the only sequel to win a Best Picture Oscar like the original. It’s interesting that the actor who does the title role, Al Pacino, also played Scarface, in the remake, in which the gangster was portrayed as a Cuban boat person. Showing the fluidity of actors, Pacino’s nephew in Godfather III, was not the Italian-American he played, but a Cuban-American, Andy Garcia.

I think that lesson needs be kept in mind when considering the APC on the Peshawar massacre which approved military courts. If a Cuban can play an Italian, and vice-versa, are the military courts aimed at militants? That bears careful watching. And someone should see if that ends violence against children. The Afghan Army chief as agreed with our COAS on cooperation against the Taliban. That might be bad news for Maulvi Fazlullah, but is it good news for our children? Our children are busy celebrating the extra week of holidays. We parents are not joining in, because we’re still not sure that if we send our kids to school, whenever they open, that they’ll return.