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.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The pastor reveals the truth

Reconversion to Hinduism
By Ajai Srivastava from Shimla

Nobody could imagine that he was the pastor who himself converted dozens of poor and hapless men, women and children in to Christianity in the calm and picturesque hills of Himachal Pradesh. Quite young and dynamic, wearing yellow Ramnami muffler around his neck, the tilak on his forehead and singing spiritual songs with a large number of people in the Sanatan Dharam Mandir at Shimla, Tulku Ram had a entirely new look. He was one of the hundred and fifty persons, who after experiencing the reality of the faith of Jesus Christ for several years, had got opportunity to come back to the faith of their forefathers. Braving heavy snowfall at that time all around, people gathered there for the cause. They had nothing but to tell the story of deception with him or her by those who once became their savior in white cloak.

Talking to Organiser, Tulku Ram became very emotional. He said, “I was literally cheated. In 1997 when I was doing graduation, they (missionaries) contacted me and assured for a good job provided I get converted. But after conversion, they sent me to Agape Bible College, Ludhiana for one year training and then to G.F.A. College, Kumbnad (Kerala) for further one year training. I had little options with me at that time due to my fragile economic condition. Having appointed as pastor, I started converting poor people, mostly ailing by giving them assurance that they will be cured by bringing faith in Jesus and prayers.” He also raveled that his outfit ‘Masihi Sangati’ belonging to the protestants had converted more than one thousand persons in Himachal Pradesh.

Tulku Ram said, “I spent nearly ten years in Christianity and eight years as pastor, but my conscious never allowed me for that fake healing, although I converted around fifty people. I very well knew that nobody could be cured by that way and the Pope John Paul, who was suffering from Parkinson, was a great example before me. Now I was fed up with all these frauds and was ready to return in the fold of the faith to which my forefathers belong when Mr. Tarsem Bharti, President of All India Scheduled caste and Scheduled Tribes Mahasangh, H.P. contacted me.”

Replying a pointed question, he said, “This was no religion but business. They used hapless people like me as tool to collect gathering and would take snaps of them. By sending those photographs to their mentors abroad, they would fetch a lot of money to spend for the welfare of neo-converts. But fact is that they never spend that money for that purpose.”

The tale of two brothers, Kishor (46) and Ashok (49) and two young sisters Sanam and Safar Samta are not much different from the story of former pastor. They were allured to convert by fake healers. In 1988 Kishore and Ashok got converted along with all members of the family by one Sister Sony who assured them that their younger sister Indu, who was suffering from an ulcer in her stomach, will be cured by prayers. Now nineteen long years have passed, the patient is still suffering. The very same thing occurred with the family of Sanam and Safar. Their grandmother was seriously ill and the fake healers in white cloak taking advantage of that got the whole family converted. The condition of that old lady did not improve by prayers in the Church. One Deepak was lured for free education to her daughter and one Chandan Pal was assured for a job. But the promised were not kept. Now they all, after coming to their original home, are feeling good.

The programme, first of its kind in the history of this hilly state, was organised under the aegis of All India SC and ST Mahasangh, H.P. and its president Shri Tarsem Bharti played a key role in bringing them all to their original home. It was a very touching moment when Mahant Surya Nathji and Swami Lalji Maharaja along with Sri Niwas Murti, the Prant Pracharak of RSS and others washed the feet of all one hundred fifty persons with their hands. After havan and shuddhi, all were presented with pictures of Gods and Goddesses apart from religious books and Ganga Jal. Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Sanatan Dharam Sabha, Sri Guru Singh Sabha and other nationalist organisations supported the cause.

(The correspondent can be contacted at ajaisri02@yahoo.co.in)

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