The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Sunday, September 02, 2001

Crypto-Christianity at Work!

Author: Rajendra Chadha
Publication: Organiser
Date: September 2, 2001

The Census Commission of India is yet to publish the details pertaining to the latest census of 2001. One does not know if the Indian Christian leadership were able to scoop out some inside information from the office of the Census Commission. They have already started asserting that there will be marginal decline in Christian growth rate on this time as compared to the previous census this is aimed at rebutting the “nationwide propaganda” said to be made by some people that large scale conversion of people, in particular the poor tribal and dalit Hindus, into Christianity is taking place and to assert that such propaganda is totally false and misleading.'

Dr Jose Nedumpara, in his report on Religious Composition of India, which has been recently published in the “Indian Christian Directory for the New Millennium (Published by Rashtra Deepika, Kottayam) says: “Had the Christian missionaries resorted to large scale conversion techniques as alleged, the Christian population would have registered a growth rate much above the national average growth rate. Since the Christian community has registered a decadal growth rate (1991-81) of 16.9 per cent much below the national average growth rate of 23.79 per cent, it is assured that the numerical share of the Christian population in India is actually decreasing.”

According to Dr Nedumpara, the downward shift in the growth rate may be due to two reasons. Firstly due to the adoption of family planning techniques by Christian families and secondly due to the conversion of Dalit Christians, in particular the tribals and Harijans, into Hinduism. This is the reason why that the Christian population of 2.43 per cent in 1981 dropped to 2.34 in 1991. The previous census data also shows that among the major religions of India, Christianity has the lowest growth rate.

Again quoting the projected population figures of the Union Home Ministry. Dr Nedumpara argues that die population of the Christians in India would come down to a mere 2.18 per cent, a sharp decline from the 2.34 in 1991. Whereas in 1991, there were 1,96,40,284 Christians in India in 2001 there will be 2,20,98,000, he says. Between 1981-1991 Christian population growth rate was recorded at 16.89 per cent as against the national average 23.79 per cent. However, the same directory of about 1,500 pages puts the population figures of the Christians in India to 2,57,6M84 as on April 2000. This means that between the nine year period on 19912000 there was a substantial increase of 61,27,981 Christians in the country. Even If we consider that there was no further growth till the last Census was completed in March this year, then also the Christian population during this decade registered a growth of 31 per cent between 1991-2001, which is much above the national average once again. It is to be noted here that as per the 1991 census the decadal growth rate between 1981-1991 was recorded at 16.89 per cent as against the national average of 23.79 per cent. This means that the decadal growth rate between 1991-2001 has been nearly double as that of 1981-1991.

Given the fact that the directory has given the population figures of almost every minor sect of the Christian community in India and that too has been given areas, zone and dioceses wise, there does not seem to be any reason to doubt the authenticity of the population mentioned in the directory.

According to the Directory, the Catholics in the Country has a population of 1,55,49,218, thus constituting the majority of the Christian population in India. While the Methodist have a population of 6,56,499; Syrian Orthodox (Jacobite) Church 12,85,000; Mar Thoma Church has about nine lakhs population; Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church has 25,11,833; the Church of North India Dioceses has 9,94,400; the church of South India has 31,18,574; and the Salvation Army has a population of 2,92,315. Among the other churches the Christian population has been estimated to be 4,60,426. Curiously enough, these figures do not include, the Crypto-Christian population, which are strategically hidden by the Christian leadership during every census operation. Certainly there figures must he at least a' few lakhs if not more.

All these figures are contrary to the view and argument put forth by the prominent Christian leaders of the country and certainly put a question mark on their claim that there has been no large-scale conversion of the non-Christians during the decade. Once the final details of the latest Census are brought out, certainly more revealing facts would come out. One wonders how they will defend the massive and several times increase in the population in some of the States, particularly in the Northeast and tribal areas of the Country. Take for instance the massive growth in the Christian population in Arunachal Pradesh between 1971 and 1991, which increased from 0.85 per cent to 10.29 per cent. The phenomenal growth rate of the Christians in the country is further authenticated by the Christian literatures and internal missionary documents, which reveal that them are hundreds of Christian organizations engaged in the conversion of large number of people into Christianity. While some of them proudly proclaim that they succeed in converting at least a few thousand Hindu populations per year, many say that they have been converting villages after villages. While their main area of concentration so far has been in the northeast and the tribal areas, the Christian missionaries are now shifting their concentration to the other areas like Punjab and other northern States, where, their literature claims is the “fertile ground for conversion”. All these figures, facts and statements quoted from the Christian literature reveal that their leaders are themselves engaged in a false propaganda at the national and international level with regard to their actual population Figures and the conversion. Whereas they have been engaged in massive conversion, well documented in their internal documents, they publicly proclaim otherwise, trying to shift the entire blame on others. Can now one believe on the argument of Prof Nedumpara; “Hardly have the much debated missionary activities done anything to skyrocket the Christian population. There is not a grain of truth in the arguments that Christian missionaries resort to massive conversion of Hindus to Christianity”.

In the light of the arguments put forth by the Christian leaders, contradicting their own statements pertaining to the game of figures, one is only compelled to conclude that there is a desperate attempt on the part of the Christian missionaries to employ one more ruse to mislead the gullible Hindu and catch him unawares. It is high-time for the Christian sect to realise that they are an integral part of the society in Hindustan and treat the non-Christians as their brethren without resorting to hypocratic crypto-techniques, aimed at destroying the heritage and culture of the land of their ancestors.

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