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.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Church of Scientology books set to flood India

Sharat Pradhan (Indo-Asian News Service)
Lucknow, July 27, 2005

Books on scientology - a faith that has a famous follower in Tom Cruise and even claims links with the Vedas - are ready to hit India, not only in English but in Hindi too.

Aiming to help people build self-confidence and explore their inner self, they dwell on wide-ranging subjects, from marriage, children and communication to study techniques.

Thomas Goldenitz, a Danish publisher, has come forward with the Hindi versions of scientology founder L Ron Hubbard's works.

"We are releasing these books in 13 major cities of India," Goldenitz told IANS. Lucknow is the second city after Kolkata where the books were released last week.

Founder Hubbard used to claim that the faith shared similarities with Hinduism.

"Each of the books deals with different aspects of life. The books are aimed at assisting people to explore their inner self and building confidence," claims Goldenitz.

"Scientology has highly practical, simple and effective solutions for many problems of everyday life," he said. "But these books are not just for reading - they are meant for doing, they require the reader's active participation."

"There is this book on the technology of study which offers remedies for lapses in concentration and understanding to students, while a book on communication prescribes drills on improving self-confidence and skills," he said.

There is a book on children aimed at helping parents assist their offspring in developing their potential, and there is yet another one offering advice on marriage. The list is long.

The books seem to have impressed Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Lucknow director Devi Singh.

"I have read some of these books on scientology and am convinced they could go a long way in serving as short and practical guides to management students to achieve their targets," Singh told IANS after formally releasing a set of books here.

Claims Goldenitz, "We even have stars like Tom Cruise who have turned into ardent followers of Hubbard's prescriptions; and that has inspired several other Hollywood celebrities to take to scientology."

Goldenitz proposes to shortly have a network of scientology volunteers throughout the country. "That will make it easier for people in India to understand and practice scientology," he added.

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