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.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Tamil Nadu dalit Christians to return to Hindu fold

source: Mynews.in
February 29, 2008

Alleging discrimination in churches, about 185 Dalit Christian families in Tirunelveli district have decided to reconvert to Hinduism on the occasion of mahasivarathiri, on March 6 at Sri Nellaiappar Temple.

Organised by the Hindu Makkal Katchi (HMK), the reconversion ceremony will be held in the presence of about 25 pontiffs from both saivite and vaishnavite mutts.

Says HMK state president Arjun Sampath, “This is the first time such a reconversion ceremony is taking place on a mass scale in Tamil Nadu. We want to make it clear to the converted Dalits that it is possible to reconvert to Hinduism. This ceremony will serve as a springboard for many discriminated dalits of other faiths, whose forefathers were Hindus, to embrace their original faith again.”

According to Naresh Ambedkar, a Dalit Christian and a member of the reconversion ceremony committee, though 185 Dalit Christian families have openly expressed their willingness to reconvert, another 100 or more families, had also volunteered, but did not want their names to be disclosed.

All of them were from Palayamkottai, Radhapuram, Sankarankoil and Thaalaiyoothu in Tirunelveli district and Sathankulam in Thoothukudi district.

.Ambedkar says, “Of the 300 families, 250 are Roman Catholics coming under the Catholic Diocese of Palayamkottai and the rest belong to CSI and Pentecostal churches.” These Dalit Christians claim that several forms of discrimination in their dioceses had forced them to opt for Hinduism.

Ambedkar alleges, “Although the missionaries obtain huge funds from abroad saying they would help our community, the funds really do not help in improving our status.” He wants the diocese to come out with a white paper on the utilisation of funds.

Alden, another Dalit Christian of Thaalaiyoothu, said, “Two generations ago, our ancestors converted from Hinduism to Christianity to get rid of the crude practice of untouchability. But the very purpose has been defeated.

We are still discriminated against on the basis of our caste. The practice of burying the dead in separate cemeteries is a classic example of caste bias. So our family of seven, including four women, has decided to return to our parent religion.”

Aware of similar caste discrimination in Hinduism, he says, “There is not going to be much of a difference. Still, we prefer to reconvert as we see Hinduism as a way of life. At least, we will be able to enjoy the benefits of reservation if we reconvert to Hinduism.”

There are four priests among those who are getting reconverted, claims Mr.Sampath. Meanwhile, the HMK has made preparations for the reconversion ceremony, which it prefers to call “Return-to-parent- religion festival.”

Sampath says, “Pontiffs will perform rituals for those returning to their original faith at the Nellaiappar temple. They will sprinkle the holy water from the river Ganges on them to endorse their entry into the Hindu fold.”

However, the organisers are now awaiting permission from the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment to conduct the ceremony at the temple. “If the government does not allow us to perform the ritual, we will accomplish it on Dr.Ambedkar’s birth anniversary on April 14 at a mandapam,” they said.


1,000 Dalit Christians to reconvert to Hinduism in TN
13 Apr 2008, 0215 hrs IST,T S SREENIVASA RAGHAVAN,TNN

CHENNAI: Thousand members who belong to Dalit Christian community will officially get reconverted into Hinduism on Monday in Tirunelveli town in a colourful function being organized by Hindu Monks Tamil Nadu Council.

This event gains significance in the backdrop March 9 police shootout in which two people were killed when clashes broke out between the members of upper caste Catholics and Dalit Catholics.

Speaking to TOI, Hindu Makkal Katchi (HMK) president Arjun Sampath said: "185 families of Dalit Christians will formally return to Hinduism. All of them hail from the interior villages of Tirunelveli district. This event is being organized on the occasion of Ambedkar’s birthday."

HMK had earlier tried to hold the event at Nellayappar temple in Tirunelveli. However, the HR&CE department which governs the temple refused permission saying that the temple premises could not be used for such purposes.

"So, we’re now holding the function at Nellai Sangeetha Sabha - which is a private hall", Arjun said. It’s learnt the function will start with a ganapathi homam and would be followed by prayaschitha yagam (atonement ritual) and sudhi chadangu (purification rite)

"We’ll purify all those who return to Hinduism by sprinkling ‘ganga theertha’ and ‘sethu theertha.’ We’ve specially brought waters from Rameshwaram sea and the Ganges for this purpose", Arjun said and added all of them would also be bestowed with holy Hindu names.

Further, those who want to follow Saiva cult would be given bhasmam (sacred ash) and a string of rudraksha while the vaishnavite converts would be given namam (tilak) and a string of tulsi. The Dalit Christians who return to Hindu fold would also be given a mantra deeksha (formal initiation) both in Sanskrit and Tamil.

HMK has also engaged the services of several notaries who would be present during the re-conversion function. "The members who return to Hindu fold will take an oath before them and sign affidavits. Later, we’ll get the conversion certificates from Arya Samaj to get their names changed in the gazette", Arjun said.

Depending on the success of this re-conversion, HMK also plans to re-convert 20,000 Christians in Villupuram district. "We’ll take it up in August", Arjun said.

India has a total 24 million Christian population. Of this Dalit Christians constitute 15 million while tribal Christians account for 3 million.

In Tamil Nadu, Dalit Christians complain of discrimination at the hands of upper caste Christians. They have separate burial grounds and seating arrangements.

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2 Comments:

At 4/16/2008 03:50:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NOT SURPRISED ON DALITS WHOSE PARENTAL FOREFATHERS WERE ONLY HINDUS RETURN TO THEIR PARENTS FAITH BECOUSE CHRISTIANITY IS IMPORTED FROM DESERT AREA IN MIDDLE EAST BY COLONIAL BRITISH TO CONTROL INDIANS UNDER THEIR KINGDOM
FOR WHICH THEY SEEDED CASTESIM AND
ANTI BRAHMINISM,THEORY OF ARYAN INVASION ECT IN THE MINDS OF DALIT
BROTHERS BY SUPPRESING INDIAN HISTORY AND HINDU DHARMA TEACHINGS TO THEM.NOW EVERYTHING IS OPEN BOOK
HINDUS NOW ONLY LEARN ABOUT THEIR RELIGION,ITS ROOTS IN BHARATH AND
ITS CULTURE TRADITIONS ECT DUE TO
EASY COMMUNICATIONS,INTERNET.MEDIA
IN INDIA IS STILL WITH MISSIONARIES
HAND MOSTELY.OUR DALIT BOTHERS MUST REALISE THAT VALMIKI WHO WROTE RAMAYANA IS FISHERMAN COMMUNITY,VIYASAR WHO WROTE MAHABHARATHA IS ALSO FROM LOWER SECTION OF SOCIETY.LORD RAM CONSIDERED BOATMAN GUHAN AS HIS BROTHER AND TOOK FRUITS FROM OLDLADY SABHARI,WHO WAS LIVING IN FOREST.HINDU DHARMA SAYS ALL ATHMAS
(SOULS ) ARE SAME AND ONE BUT DIFFERS ONLY IN ITS FORM OF HUMAN
BIRTH WHICH IS DUE TO KARMA IN PREVIOUS BIRTHS.WE CAN EXPLAIN INEQUALITY,INEQUITY,SOCIAL DISPARITIES,ANAMOLIES IN SOCIAL ORDER ONLY WITH THE HELP OF HINDUISM I E KARMA,PREVIOUS BIRTHS.

CHRISTIANITY HAS NO ANSWER TO THIS
AS THEY DO NOT BELIEVE IN IMMORTAL
SOUL BUT SOUL ATTACHED IN EACH HUMAN BODY.SO THEY BURY DEADS TO BE
SENT TO HELL OR HEAVEN DEPENDING UPON HIS PROXY TO JESUS AT HIS MERCY.IF NOT BAPITISED NOR PRAYING
TO THE LORD,THEY WILL BE SENT TO
HELL.IF BAPITISED BUT NOT PRAYING TO JESUS,THEY WILL BE SENT TO A PLACE CALLED ''PURAGATORY''BEFORE
HIS FINAL CONSIDERATION TO BE SENT
EITHER TO HELL OR HEAVEN.
SO A DALIT CAN BE A DAILT IN HELL OR IN HEAVEN AS NO RE-BIRTH IN BETTER FORM LIKE IN HINDUISM.
HINDUISM SAYS POOR DEPENDING UPON HIS GOOD KARMA CAN BE A PRINCE OR RICH MAN,CAN BE BORN IN HIGHER CASTE OR HIGHER FORM OR A GREAT LEADER DEPENDING UPON KARMA.
BUT FOR A CHRISTIAN,HE WILL REMAIN
AS IT IS IN SAME HUMAN FORM IN SAME
CONDITION OF TAG ATTACHED TO HIM
EVEN IN HEAVEN.SO A DALIT COULD BE A DALIT IN CHRISTIANITY ALWAYS EITHER IN HEAVEN OR IN HELL EVEN IF HE PRAYS TO JESUS.
IN HINDUISM,DALIT COULD BE BRAHMIN
EVEN IN THIS BIRTH BY VIRTUE OF HIS GHANA,SELF REALISATION,PROXY TO
OUR SUPREME GOD OR EVEN IN HIS NEXT BIRTH DEPENDING UPON KARMA,
HE WOULD BE BORN AS A PRINCE OR IN ROYAN FAMILY.SO HINDUISM IS BETTER FOR THEM AND BY RE-CONVERTING TO THEIR PARENTAL RELIGION,DALIT BROTHERS HAVE GOT THE BLESSINGS AND LOVE FROM THEIR ANCCESSTORS AND
FOREFATHERS WHO FOLLOWED OUR VALUED SANATANA DHARMA FOR GENERATIONS IN BHARATH BHUMI.SOME
OF ALWARS,NAYANMARS,SAINTS,YOGIS ARE FROM DALIT COMMUNITY AND BAGWAT
RAMANUJAR NAMED THEM AS''THIRUKULATHAR ''BEFORE 1000 YEARS AGO AND APPOINTED THEM TO DO
IMPORTANT TEMPLE RELATED JOBS WHICH ARE STILL FOLLOWED IN VISHNU
TEMPLES.GANDHIJI CALLED THEM AS
''HARIJANS ''SONS OF SRI VISHNU,
WHAT A GREAT NAME FOR THEM GLORIFIED AFTER SRI VISHNU.LET NEW
RE-CONVERTS STUDY WELL ABOUT HINDU DHARMA AND REALISE THAT THEY ARE PROUD HINDUS GOT OUT FROM THE CLUTCHES OF CHRISITANITY WHICH IS A COMMERCIAL RELIGION WITH NO SPIRITUALITY.

 
At 6/01/2008 07:51:00 PM, Anonymous Emma said...

If there are Christians who are saying Dalit Christians are lower, then they are not obeying the teachings of Jesus or the rest of the Bible. The practice of having separate churches for Dalits indicates these "Christians" have not been born again or have not been transformed by Jesus renewing their minds.

Also there is no "purgatory" mentioned in the Bible. And there will be no caste system in heaven either. Every tear will be wiped away. Those who trust in Jesus will be welcomed into eternal life, not because of righteous things they have done, but because of God's mercy.

 

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