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, May 27, 2006

Y.S. Reddy should stop his zealous evangelists—K.S. Sudarshan

(Following is the full text of the statement issued by Sarsanghachalak Shri K.S. Sudarshan from Bhagyanagar on May 13, 2006)

“In the course of my visits to the Sangh Shiksha Vargas, the summer training camps of the RSS in different provinces of the country, I reached Hyderabad yesterday morning. After interacting with our workers here I was shocked and pained to hear about the brazenness with which the foreign funded Christian missionaries are carrying on their activities in their eagerness to reap a rich ‘harvest’ of converts to their religion. These activities are not only repugnant to all norms of a civilised society but are also against the tenets of much touted ‘secularism’ by vote-hungry politicians, as well as a large section of the media.

“Encroachment on temple lands in various parts of the State, misusing the temple funds for non-religious purposes without the consent of the devotees, declaring only two of the seven sacred mountains as belonging to the famous Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam Trust, appointing a Christian Vice-Chancellor and Christian teachers in the Padmavati University for Women, replacing the pictures of Lord Balaji and Goddess Padmavati with those of Jesus Christ, distributing Bible to all the students of Government schools and colleges, as also, brazenly preaching Christianity in the buses of pilgrims going to worship Lord Venkateshwara, are some of the nefarious activities being carried on by the missionaries with the tacit support of the Congress Government in Andhra Pradesh.

“Christian officers in the State and districts administration have been deliberately appointed by the government who turn a blind eye whenever complaints are made by the citizens about these outrageous activities of Christian missionaries. The Hindu Society is a peace-loving society, which by its very upbringing believes that this whole universe is but a manifestation of all-pervading Brahman, the Almighty, which not only inheres each and every existence in the world, whether animate or inanimate, but also encompasses them within his fold. As such Hindutva allows its adherents to call Him by any name and worship Him in any form or in any manner they like.

“This attitude makes the Hindus respect every form of worship, but at the same time, he abhors the attitude, which takes it to be a licence to convert others, because conversion itself means attributing inferiority to other religions. Hence, the aggressive activities of the Christian missionaries is resented by the Hindus, so much so that even Mahatma Gandhi had strongly opposed this whole conversion business. The Hindu society naturally expects from the government to disallow such activities, and also stop all foreign money coming into this country in the name of helping the NGOs, many of which are a mere façade to convert people to Christianity. We request the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh to put a stop to these nefarious activities and see that patience of the Hindus is not taxed to its limits. Otherwise, the Hindus will have no other option but to take the recourse to agitation by all lawful and peaceful means to defend the interests of their society.”

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