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.

Friday, October 29, 2004

RSS chief targets Christian missionaries

Author: Indo-Asian News Service
Date: October 29, 2004

The chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the country's most influential Hindu group, has criticised Christian missionaries for allegedly trying to convert tribals.

Addressing a conclave of tribal students in this Jharkhand capital, K.S. Sudarshan Thursday attacked the missionaries for apparently claiming that they were the only ones working among the poverty-stricken tribal communities.

In the rest of his speech, however, Sudarshan chose to concentrate on the need to strengthen the educational system in tribal areas.

The RSS chief spoke after inaugurating a programme at the Birsa Munda stadium. Chief Ministers Arjun Munda of Jharkhand, Babulal Gaur of Madhya Pradesh and Raman Singh of Chhattigarh also addressed the students.

The four-day function has been organised by Vidya Bharati, an RSS-affiliated organisation, and around 17,000 tribal students from all over India are taking part in it. It ends Saturday.

The students presented folk dances, played tribal instruments, wore tribal dresses, and made handicrafts from bamboo and clay. Many were heard reciting the Hanuman Chalisa, a Hindu prayer song.

Sudarshan also appealed to Maoist guerrillas to shun violence. He praised Vidya Bharati for doing a "commendable job" of spreading education among "the deprived class".


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