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, January 02, 2005

Church conspiracy in the guise of Service

By Dr. Ravindra Agrawal

`Stop conversion' is not just the slogan of the hour but it was also uttered 83 years ago by the Father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi while addressing a gathering of Christian Missionaries, on 14th February, 1916. In a conference held in Madras, Gandhi, describing Hinduism and evaluating the works of Christian Missionaries in India, urged the missionaries to stop proselytizing in India. He had also declared that "in most cases religious conversions have little to do with religion; most of them are concerns of hunger instead of the heart and every conversion usually leaves behind bitterness". Dada Dharmadhikari had raised his voice against religious conversion in the Constituent Assembly. He demanded a ban on all types of religious conversions, which was not accepted.

The M.B. Niyogi Committee, which was formed during the Prime Ministership of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, had, after a detailed study of the activities of Christian Missionaries and their foreign links, recommended an official ban on religious conversions. The committee had also suggested that their dependence on foreign assistance be ended and Indian churches be instituted.

Had we cared for the words of Mahatma Gandhi right down to the recommendations of the Niyogi Committee, we would neither have witnessed the sad state of affairs in Gujarat nor would the sarvodayi and Gandhian thinkers still have to demand the ban on religious conversions.

What the veteran sarvodayi and Gandhian thinkers like Ghelu Bhai Nayak and Chunni Bhai Vaidh observed after the incident on 25th December, 1998 is not only an eye-opener but also thought-provoking. Both had been actively involved in social service among the tribals of Dangs district in Gujarat for the last 51 years. They said that whereas the population of Christians in Dangs was not more than 500 in the 60s, it had now been multiplied to a figure between 35-40 thousand, which roughly constitutes 30% of the total population in Dangs. The obvious question that arises is how the population of Christians has increased so much. The obvious answer is - through religious conversion.

Falsehoods for the Sake of Religious Conversion

What kinds of falsehoods and fraud do the Christian Missionaries resort to for the sake of religious conversion? In the words of Ghelu Bhai Nayak, "The missionaries infiltrated Gandhi's ashram at Sabarmati. They distributed booklets based on the chosen bhajans of the Mahatma. The front page bore the legend of Gandhi but the contents of the booklet were basically christian teachings".

In the I.P. Mission Girl's High School at Rajkot, young students from the standard Ist to VIIth were given a copy of the New Testament Bible. All students were forcibly asked to sign on the last page of the book which made a declaration to the effect that "I confess I am a sinner ........... So I accept Jesus as my personal Saviour". When the guardians objected to this practice, the School Principal issued a written apology that "such episodes will not be repeated in the future".

Jhabua and the Falsehood of the Christian Missionaries:

Another falsehood of the Christian Missionaries was caught in Jhabua. Rumours were circulated that the molestation of Christian minors in Jhabua was the handiwork of the R.S.S. the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal cadres. This smear - campaign was brought about by so-called secular minded intellectuals, Christian missionaries, and also certain christian countries. But later investigations revealed that the perpetrators of the molestations included Christians and these criminals had the support of a Congress leader.

This happened in Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh. The revelation of this truth sealed the lips of the so-called secular intellectuals, Christian missionaries and Christian countries. Nobody demanded of the Congress President Sonia Gandhi that the state in which the Christian nuns were heinously raped should remove its Chief Minister. During the tenure of Laloo Prasad as the Chief Minister of Bihar, a padre was paraded naked on 2nd September, 1997, but the Congress-supported Chief Minister was allowed to continue with his post. There are not just one or two incidents as have been outlined above but scores of such incidents show the falsehood of the Christian Missionaries.

After all, why do these missionaries take recourse to falsehood for religious conversion? They say that they are only involved in humanitarian concerns but selfless service does not require religious conversion. But, of course, proselytizing has been going on under the guise of service.

Keeping in mind the nature of prevalent conversions, the Niyogi Committee had recommended that the service conditions of doctors and nurses should include the clause that would prevent them from converting patients during their medical tenure.

The committee had also recommended that no child should be imparted religious instructions in this manner without the consent of their guardians. Clauses should be laid down in this regard.

It is unfortunate that the recommendations of the Niyogi Committee have not been implemented to this day, and it is the result of this non-implementation that the christian population in Dangs district has increased from 500 to 40 thousand.

The Conspiracy to Make the Christian Populous in Arunchal

It is not Dangs alone but all tribal areas and the bordering north-eastern states are subjects to the conspiracy of the missionaries. The result of this conspiracy is that today we have a populous christian community in Nagaland and Mizoram. The christian community here has an 80% presence. Arunchal is their latest target.

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