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.

Monday, October 23, 2006

A Christian flavour to Vijayadashmi

October 2 2006
New Indian Express
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T’PURAM: As Hindus celebrate Vijayadashmi; the last day of Navratri celebrations, there will be a Christian flavour in Kerala.

Vijayadashmi is when many families initiate their children into the world of learning.

In recent times, as Hindus mark Vidyarambham (commencement of learning), some Christians too have joined, in their own way.

On Monday, maximum crowds are expected in temples and at literary institutions, where eminent litterateurs and teachers would hold the hands of children and help them write Malayalam alphabets on a plate of rice.

The St George Orthodox Church here, which first held this programme three years ago, drew flak from a section of the laity for holding the ceremony in its premises.

The event therefore is likely to be held at a daycare centre run by the church.

Media organisations, especially newspaper offices, have been holding such functions.

At the Malayalam Manorama’s head office here, noted film personalities like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Sreekumaran Thampi, National Award winner Murali, eminent poet and writer O N V Kurup and Kerala University Vice-Chancellor M K Ramachandran Nair are to initiate children into writing their first alphabets.

A leading personality who will be missed this year is veteran poet Ayappa Panicker, who helped six orphans write their first alphabets in 2005.

Panicker passed away in August.

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