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.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

With 70% of Tribals converted to Christianity, Hindu Festivities Dwindle in Gajapati


Makara Sankranti used to be celebrated with much pomp and grandeur amongst the tribals in the district but over the years, the celebrations have actually become a low key affair.

The adivasis who constitute a major population in Gajapati have been for many years celebrating this function rigorously. Pongal was also celebrated along with the Makara Sankranti in south Orissa. But in the last few years, while the Telugu population continue to celebrate Pongal with equal enthusiasm, all the important celebrations in the tribal population seems to be missing.

During the Makara Sankranti festival it was a common sight to see groups of tribals dressed in their traditional costumes, coming to the town with their drums and pipes dancing and merrymaking. This traditional sight has become a rarity and this year there were no tribal groups who came to the town to showcase their tradition and culture. “There could be several reasons for this and one of them could be the conversion process which has affected more than 70 per cent of the tribals. Now there are more celebrations during Christmas and Good Friday and New Years and Hindu celebrations are restricted to a few blocks like Rayagada or R-Udayagiri,” said the Rayagada block chairman.

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