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.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Fraudulent conversion fraught with fanfare

V SUNDARAM

Oh! What a tangled web we weave, when first, we practice to deceive!
-- Sir Walter Scott
Hindu religion, Hindu society, Hindu culture and civilisation and in short SANATANA DHARMA are under the organised and violent siege of the global forces of terrorist Islam and evangelical (emasculating !!) Christianity in India. When Pope John Paul II visited India a few years back, he exhorted his followers that Asia, particularly Bharat was ripe for harvesting souls for Christianity. Following his visit, the forces of insidious and evangelical Christianity have stepped up their subterranean efforts to convert the poor and gullible Hindus in different parts of India using different ploys like money, material inducements like houses together with household objects and other consumer goods. This dangerous trend has assumed alarming proportions, especially in Tamilnadu.

The organised method of evangelical cheating in Tamil Nadu follows a pattern. First poor Hindus are drawn into the trap by the promise of building free houses if only they convert to Christianity. Once they fall into the trap, then the promised benefits are treated as lapsed and are never made available to them. As the great English poet Crabbe wrote: 'Deceivers are the most dangerous members of society. They trifle with the best affections of our nature, and violate the most sacred obligations'. All deception in the course of every Evangelical activity in indeed nothing else but a lie reduced to practice, and falsehood passing from words to things. Carlyle wrote: 'Never deceive by citing the cause of a good purpose; by knavery you add malice to falsehood. To speak or act a lie is alike contemptible in the sight of GOD and MAN'.

Very recently the criminal activities carried on safely under the umbrella of Evangelism by one Bishop called Anandaraj in Tamil Nadu have been uncovered by the vigilant Tamilnadu police. This Bishop has converted a large number of poor and gullible people in the State by promising them free houses, each worth Rs three lakh, on condition that they embrace Christianity. Even after their fraudulently induced conversion, no house was made available to any one of them. This will be viewed not as an act of criminal cheating but as a gesture of Christian compassion and Christian nobility by our dastardly pseudo-secular Islam-embracing, Christianity-coveting and Hindu-hating political leaders in all parts of India!

The world-famous heritage site of Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram near Chennai, famous throughout the world for it's marvellous Pallava temples and sculptures is now very much in the news because of the criminal activities of Bishop Anandaraj. He has cheated scores of people of crores of rupees by promising them building contracts, free houses etc. The Bishop is now in police custody .The police are taking vigorous action to arrest the relatives of the Bishop and to freeze his assets. The accused Bishop Anandaraj is the 'Bishop of Molin Mission Charitable Trust' at Perur near Mahabalipuram and founder of 'Rural Resource Development Centre'. He had advertised in the newspapers that he proposed to construct houses for the poor with the funds received from abroad and hence he needed contractors for this building programme. Trusting him wholly, many contractors approached him. They were promised contracts worth Rupees six crores. Bishop Anandaraj extracted huge commissions from them on the promise of awarding them the contracts. His victims are from a huge geographical area comprising all the four southern states. Some of them have built houses spending crores of rupees for which Bishop Anandaraj had issued cheques. But the cheques bounced unpaid. In Kancheepuram District alone he has cheated more than 40 contractors. All of them had lodged complaints with the Superintendent of police. On a single day more than 35 persons had walked into the police station to file their complaints.

I find from website reports that Bishop Anandaraj enacted a solemn Christian drama in old Sukkampatti hamlet of Melur in Madurai district. 210 Harijans in that hamlet were allotted free house sites by the Government. M Karunanidhi, the then Chief Minister had distributed the pattas to the beneficiaries at a function on 17.8.98. An area of 5.48 acres was earmarked for the scheme. It was divided into plots of 1.5 cents each. Subsequently some persons approached the would-be beneficiaries and told them that there was a proposal to construct free houses for them. Amounts ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 2000 were collected from them. The foundation stone-laying ceremony was done in the presence of the Municipal chairman Thanga Jayabalan. Bishop Anandaraj conducted the solemn benediction ceremony! The invitation for the function contained the names of many Congress leaders. But now all of them and the poor harijans are shell-shocked to know that they have been taken for a ride in a grand manner by Bishop Anandaraj who is in police custody, facing a criminal trial on multiple charges. The simple fact of the matter is that there are greater criminals than Bishop Anandaraj in all the districts of Tamilnadu doing their evangelical work with great criminal dedication. I appeal to the Director General of Police in Tamilnadu to take immediate action against them all.

I had said at the beginning that Hinduism in India today is facing the combined onslaught of the forces of global terrorist Islam and global evangelical Christianity. Recently I was reading an essay on a website (author not known to me) titled 'GOD WARS: THE TRIUMPH OF THE JELOUS GODS'. Here are the clinching and telling words from this article / book - The trend of the global religious competition for market share and influence is clearly towards the dominance of the two - Jealous-God religions: Christianity and Islam. Both have replaced many traditional belief systems and continue to use any means necessary to suppress the animist religions of Africa, much of Asia and the Pacific Islands, and the surviving remnants of native beliefs in the New World and Australia. It is obvious that the dominant religious belief for the century to come will be quasi-monotheistic (if you ignore the angels and devils and the Christian Trinity and the Catholic emphasis on Mary) and based on the ideas that God is a creature that thinks and designs and plans (in other words, these religions idolize human traits just as much as any pagan Greek). Even those religions that have not yet been crushed (Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism) are being forced to adapt to the dominant ideology. Polytheism, Pantheism, and other worldviews are no longer politically correct due to the constant propaganda of Christians and Muslims.

'If there is any threat of a 'one world religion' it comes from Christianity, which shows little sign of slowing its assault on 'false religions' using bribes, social pressure, political control of governments, local and national persecution, and a propaganda campaign that is second to none. Although Christianity has had little success against Islam except by direct conquest, how long can its supremacy in fundraising and firepower be held at bay by any other faith?

Though Christianity has always had a poor opinion of Islam right from its inception, yet it regards it a partner up to a point. Christianity welcomes Islam's role as a cleanser of the world from the gross pollution of idolatry ? the name by which the two religions remember all other religions, past or present. This sympathy arises from the fact that the two religions in spite of a long history of conflicts, share a common perspective and common ideological premises. In their career, the two monotheistic ideologies of Christianity and Islam have been active and systematic persecutors of pagan nations, cultures and religions but the histories of the pagan victims have been written from the victors' viewpoint, and generally their viewpoint has prevailed in judging the victims.

Reminding us of the dark days of colonial barbarism, we have men like Dr Chrles Stanley from US, a belligerent Baptist Bishop who believes in the philosophy of 'Onward Christian soldiers' and who is fully supported by President Bush. In one of his recent militant sermons declared in a manner like Hitler in Nazi Germany he has declared: The government is ordained by God with the right to promote good and restrain evil. This includes wickedness that exists within the nation, as well as any wicked persons or countries that threaten foreign nations ... Therefore, a government has biblical grounds to go to war in the nation's defense or to liberate others in the world who are enslaved.? This is Christian humanity and compassion with unrestrained animal passion!!

There is a new awakening in many parts of the world under the domination of the monotheistic and prophetic religion of Christianity and Islam. Many thinking people in these parts are beginning to realise that their present religions are impositions on them, that they once belonged to a different religious traditions. Many of them are trying to recover their roots and old Gods: they are also seeking a spirituality that satisfies. In this context, I agree with Ram Swarup who is an unmatched scholar in the field of comparative religion, when he says: Probably Hinduism can help them for it has survived many physical and ideological onslaughts and it still retains spiritual traditions, knowledge and intuition which they have lost. Hinduism represents not only man's continuity with his past but also the innermost seeking of his son; therefore, it can satisfy his seeking for his roots as well as his hunger for a deeper religion.

(The writer is a retired IAS officer)

e-mail the writer at vsundaram@newstodaynet.com

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1 Comments:

At 8/12/2006 06:42:00 AM, Blogger Vinayak said...

One man's belief is another man's black magic !!

I generally refrain from writing on religion. One, there is generally NO end to religious debate. Two, on an impersonal medium like the net, religious discussion, raises all sorts of passions and leads to fights and is counter productive. Last but not the least, I believe that men, especially Indian men have to concentrate on lot of other issues and so religious debate has no place here. At least here.

However I am concerned at the insensitive legislative process in India.

So as an exception, I am bringing up one discussion on insensitive legislation - which is bound to affect upon MOST RELIGIONS in India today. It affects the Babas as much as it affects the kisthis and it affects Buddhists as much as it affect Jains.

Looks like our law makers are trying to legislate every piece and parcel of our daily lives.
- Marriage which was a smaskra, a sacred religious duty has been legislated. The moment you marry, you fall within the ambit of the Hindu Marriage Act or the Sharia or the Parsi Marriage act .... one of the many marriage laws in this secular land !
- Vidhya - education, was (a) legislated and now (b) commercialised as well...
- The Hindu Religious and endowment Act has helped Govt. nationalise a lot of temples !!
- The Christians had to fight for making divorce simpler ...
The list of legislations that affect or personal freedom goes on and on ...

Also, law makers in India seem to be borrowing more and more from the west, where religion and state have an un canny agreement. In the west there is a state religion and most things within the religion are defined. It started from the times of Henry the VIII.

India has had a long and chequered history of religious plurality. Three of four major religions were born here. There is NO state religion, and even with the majority Hindu religion, NOT much is uniform, for practices vary state to state.

Look at Hindu's core practices and you will see all sorts of variations.

- Brahmins traditionally do NOT eat fish .. well.. eh... unless you are a Bengali Brahmin, and then Fish is auspicious.

- Sapthapathi is an essential part of Hindu marriage ..eh... EXCEPT in Tamil Nadu and Kerala ?

- Women are allowed inside temples ?? really ... NO, NOT IN sabarimala !!

and so on ....

Now, the Maharashtra govt. is trying to pass a Maharashtra Eradication of Black Magic & Evil & Aghori Practices Act (Anti-Superstition Act)!! and is planning to give GREAT powers to OFFICERS who have a great discretion and decide what is Black Magic !!!

To begin with, the language of this ACT is said to be vague & imprecise. What is suppersition ? What is BLACKmagic and what is logic ? Could black magic and superstition include all that is NOT scientifically proven ? What about the karam kAnda of the Vedas ?, what about Chandamama and the children stories ? and what about Muhharram ? .... other religious practices ?

Worse, the bill also empowers the vigilance officer to enter & search any premise, where, he thinks, black magic has occurred.

This is where I see further in sensitivity.

This is just like the ANTI DOWRY legislation (sec 498A of IPC) empowering the police to arrest without trial, empowering arrest of HUSBANDS and their RELATIVES, including AGED PARENTS !!

So, is this bill a terrible mistake that needs to be stopped before it is enacted ??


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