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, February 06, 2005

Hand behind dangerous deeds

By Shyam Khosla

Although Gladys, Staines is understandably overwhelmed over the Padam Shri conferred on her this Republic Day, we, the Indian nationalists, are bewildered and ashamed that the widow of a foreign missionary who indulged in fraudulent conversions has been given this rare honour denied to countless worthy men and women. I beg to be excused for being blunt, but I can’t resist the temptation to assert with all the vehemence at my command that neither she nor her husband did anything to deserve a national honour. They brought no glory to this land by hoodwinking poor and hapless Vanvasis to give up their traditional faith and Dharma in exchange for a few pills and ‘selfless service’. On the contrary, Graham Staines so enraged the local people by his fraudulent deeds that a mob attacked his camp and put to fire his vehicle presumably without the knowledge that he and his sons were sleeping in it. No one supports killing, that too a brutal one. However, it is a matter of some satisfaction that our judicial system, with all its infirmities, did bring the culprits to book and punished them.

The government had kicked out of the country many a foreign missionary found indulging in religious conversions by fraud or allurements when Pandit Nehru, the greatest proponent of ‘secularism’, was in the saddle. With an anti-Hindu government in saddle at the Centre, no one expected her and others of her ilk to be asked to leave or stop fraudulent conversions. She left for her homeland—Australia—on her own even while declaring that her heart was in Orissa. There is no merit in honouring a foreign missionary simply because her husband was killed by a mob. Who recommended her for the Padam Shri remains a mystery. Was it the ‘hand’ behind the throne?

There are disturbing media reports that a large number of Christian missionaries have descended in tsunami-hit areas and are shamefully indulging in trading charity for conversion among the survivors. An example of how committed Hindus among the survivors resist attempts by Christian missionaries to shamelessly trade charity for conversion is narrated by an eyewitness on the net. The writer witnessed a minor scuffle between a priest and two nuns and inmates of a temporary shelter in Pattancherry village of Tamil Nadu. The inmates resisted attempts by the missionaries to convert them in exchange for charity and eventually forced them to leave the place. This is not a stray incident. Elsewhere, the writer says, the locals complained to the police that a group of missionaries took away the entire relief material they had stored in a temple when they refused to be converted to Christianity. Why is the Union Government a meek spectator to this malicious design to alter India’s religious and cultural identity? Is someone who was born a Catholic Christian behind the ‘hidden’ agenda to weaken Indian identity?

It is no secret that the Telengana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and the Congress swept the Andhra Assembly and Lok Sabha polls with the unstinted support of the Naxalites. Immediately after assuming office, the state government, presumably under pressure from TRS, announced a ‘cease-fire’ and invited Naxalites for talks without asking them to surrender arms. The PWG was under tremendous pressure during the previous regime because of TDP government’s campaign against the ultras. PWG suffered huge loss of cadres and replenishments were few, if any. With the change of guard and lifting of the ban on the organisation, the PWG held massive rallies even while collecting ransom under the garb of ‘revolutionary taxes’ and its cadres carrying arms moved in rural and urban areas. They also targeted policemen to spread terror. The talks collapsed after the Andhra police carried out raids against the ultras. The state government seemed to be taking a tough line when suddenly it took a U-turn and the Chief Minister invited the Naxalites to resume talks. Media reports say the Congress high command directed the state to revive talks with the Naxalites. The Congress High Command comprises of how many persons? Its motives are suspect.

An equally disturbing question is who prompted or encouraged the Karnataka Chief Minister to allow the scandalous missionary Benny Hinns to hold a three-day conversion mela in Bangalore. The Hindu society was so upset with this unholy man’s ‘miracle crusade’ that senior Acharyas of eight prominent Mutts participated in a demonstration demanding a ban on this fraud. The pamphlets and other literature distributed during the run up to the magician’s visit were highly critical of idol worship and other Hindu practices that offended people to no end. Questions have also been raised about the state government going out of its way to facilitate this ‘miracle cure session’. No one knows how much the government spent directly or indirectly to ensure that this conversion crusade was not stopped.

Why did not the government prevent this fraud to enter India to hoodwink people by his magical feats? Whose hidden ‘hand’ prompted the Congress Chief Minister to ignore public outcry against the crime against God and religion? These are issues that need to be debated. Efforts to sidetrack the issue need to be forcefully resisted. Let the masses know the real face of the ‘real’ power in this country and the threat her hidden agenda pose to the nation’s security and Hindu identity.


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