Saturday, November 1, 2008


(English translation of the article written by Kannada writer S. L. Byrappa on religious conversions. The article is translated by Shri. Manoj Deshpande. published in Vijaykarnataka, Kannada daily on 16th October 2008.)
For the last four decades, Christian missionaries in India have been indulging in religious conversions and this trend has become fairly aggressive and far more pronounced with Sonia Gandhi’s coronation. However, the mass media have chosen to ignore reporting this. States like Orissa and Karnataka have reacted sharply to the scale of operations of Christian missionaries. This has been dutifully reported by all newspapers and TV channels across India. Self-proclaimed ‘Secularists’ and Left parties have taken this opportunity to announce that India has met its doom in this backlash and have thereby supported the missionaries! It is certainly a pity that they do not care to recognise that the common man on the street clearly understands what the truth is. Sonia Gandhi’s sycophants, self-proclaimed intellectuals and secularists have gone to the extent of blaming pro-Hindu organisations, Seers and BJP governments for the situation and are helping Christian organisations bent on getting India censured at the international level by United Nations and other such organisations. The Congress Government at the centre controlled by Sonia Gandhi has initiated steps to dismiss the state governments in Orissa and Karnataka. The only thing hat has stopped them is perhaps the realisation that these governments may be reinstated by popular vote which will not serve their purpose. In order to be seen as taking action the Government at the Centre and Left parties, aided by the English media, are blaming Bajrang Dal for the riots. However, no one has bothered to investigate if Bajrang Dal is really involved in these riots and whether how many of these riots are being instigated in the name of Bajrang Dal. Have they concerned themselves with finding out if these riots could have been caused by the neighbours or communities of those who have converted due to the temptations and misinformation campaign induced by the missionaries?

Francois Gautier, a French Journalist residing in India has expressed concern over he conversions that are taking place in India with the tacit support of Sonia Gandhi. He says: “I am a Christian by birth and a Westerner by origin. I have studied mostly in Catholic schools. My Uncle Hugh Gautier, who was one of the noblest men I knew, was a priest in a beautiful church in Paris. My father, who was a famous artist in France, lived his entire life as a devout Catholic. They were regular visitors to the Church. Having come from this background, I get disturbed when I notice the extent to which Christianity is spreading across India under Sonia Gandhi’s rule. According to Census 2001, there are 23.4 Lac Christians in India, which amounts to about 2.5%, and that is fairly negligible. However, India today has Christian Chief Ministers in five states: Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Most politicians in Sonia Gandhi’s inner circle are either Christians or Muslims. It seems like she doe not trust Hindus. Ambika Soni, a Christian, is Congress’ General Secretary and a powerful member of Sonia’s coterie. Oscar Fernandes is a minister who implements Centre’s policies. Margaret Alva is entrusted with motivating Maharashtra Congress with fear. Congress in Karnataka is virtually A K Antony’s domain and Sonia’s secretaries belong to various Christian organisations in India. Walson Thampu, a known anti-Hindu, is the head of NCERT’s (National Council for Educational Research and Training) Educational Committee. Sonia Gandhi nominated a known Hindu-baiter, John Dayal, to her National Integration Committee. Another anti-Hindu, Kancha Elliah, has implicit approval of the Government to plead to UN & US Congress to look into matters related to caste discrimination in India. I have nothing personal against Sonia Gandhi. However, it is disconcerting to note that the number of conversions have increased exponentially since she has assumed the top-post in India. Approximately four thousand foreign Christian missionaries are actively converting people to Christianity in various states in India today. At the time of independence there were no Christians in Tripura; today, their numbers stand at 1.2 Lacs. Their numbers have risen by 90% since 1991. This is more pronounced in Arunachal Pradesh: it had 1770 Christians in 1921 as opposed to 12 Lacs today. Moreover, there are 780 churches there. A church is built almost every day in the remotest parts of Andhra Pradesh, apart from the plan to build a church at Tirupati. Mizo, Bodo and other such rebellions in the North-eastern states are actively fuelled by Christian missionaries. More than twenty thousand people have lost their lives in the last two decades due to these movements in Assam and Manipur. State-owned Indian Airlines deplaned Swami Avimuktananda for carrying a stick – a symbol of his renunciation. It was just a harmless piece of bamboo. This could only happen in a weak state like India where a foreigner like Sonia Gandhi has been allowed to rule.” (Francois Gautier: 09343538419/09442123255)

The Indian media, especially English TV channels and newspapers celebrated The Pope’s visit to India. The Indian Government accorded hospitality reserved for heads of states to The Pope, who is the religious head of Roman Catholics. The President, The Prime Minister and the cabinet queued up to pay obeisance to him. A few pro-Hindu organisations argued that he is a religious head and his sole mission to India was to encourage conversions and therefore he should neither be allowed to enter India nor be accorded official welcome. These opinions were dismissed as Hindu-fundamentalist diatribes by the self-proclaimed modernists and the English media. And what did the Pope do? He proclaimed with exaltation: “Just as we planted the cross in Europe in the first millennium and in the Americas and Africa in the second millennium, we shall harvest the crop of our faith in this powerful continent (Asia) in the third millennium”. He did not bother to hide his true intentions. However, the media and the self-proclaimed Secularists who branded Hindu groups as fundamentalists chose to maintain clever silence over this proclamation.

The following list details the present population (percentage) of Christians (in countries that had previously been untouched by Christianity) due to the wide-spread activity of Christian missionaries: Angola (90%), Burundi (78%), Cameroon (35%), Central African Republic (82%), Chad (33%), Congo (62%), East Timor (98%), Ethiopia (52%), Equatorial Guinea (94%), Gabon (79%), Kenya (25%), Liberia (68%), Mozambique (31%), Nigeria (52%), Papua New Guinea (97%), Philippines (84%), Rwanda (69%), South Africa (78%), South Korea (49%), Sudan (30%), Tanzania (20%), Togo (23%), Uganda (70%) and Zaire (90%).

The USA contributes USD 145 Billion every year to fund Christian Missionaries across the world. Churches across the world spend USD 1.1 Billion towards research aimed at achieving religious conversions. This is for propaganda material in 300 languages about 180 topics. Books and articles are printed in 500 languages. They total 175000. Every conversion costs USD 3300. It does not mean that this amount reaches the Convert. It is the expense incurred in activities related to administration, planning and implementation of the conversion programme. In 1500 A.D, there were 30 Lac active Christian Missionaries. Their number stands at 64.8 Crore today. 54% of these people are non-Whites. The strategy is to train non-Whites, provide them with funds and involve them in religious conversions. This is similar to the time when the British employed Indians as Soldiers to rule India!

What brand of spiritual enlightenment is this? This is an issue that Indians do not understand. That is perhaps because Indians relate spiritual enlightenment to things like living in a hermitage in a forest or in caves in mountains or perhaps in the freezing heights of Snowy Himalayas where people manage to look inward. One cannot preach others until one is enlightened. And what would one preach about? To look inward! To understand oneself! Religion is a form of this enlightenment. Preaching it is called jigyasa. However, this isn’t the essence or method of Christianity.

To understand Christianity, we need to learn the features of Semitic religions. They are also called Prophetic religions. It means that these religions were established by a prophet each. The roots lie in the Jewish religion established by Prophet Abraham. Christianity, established by Jesus Christ, is a modified form of Judaism. Later, Prophet Mohammed established Islam borrowing various tenets of Abraham’s Judaism. The message common to these religions is that ‘God is not directly accessible to Man. You are, fundamentally, Sinners. God is exceptionally terrible and cruel and punishes without qualms. You will have to believe me, your Messiah, and follow my preaching to obtain an opportunity to avoid burning in hell. If you do not pay heed, you are sure to end up in hell. You will have to place faith in this religion. You will have to convert others to this faith. You will have to spread this message and convert people wherever you go, even if it necessitates the use of force. That is Religion; that is the code.’ Prophet Mohammed taught methods of torturing, killing and enslaving those who did not believe in Islam. These teachings are an integral part of Quran and have been highlighted in several places in the text. Prophets are intolerant towards Gods of other religions. I have described this is my novel AvaraNa.

Jesus Christ was one such Prophet. However, it is believed that he taught love and tolerance of a different variety as compared to the one preached by Prophet Abraham. Some Researchers wonder if Christ ever existed; and if he did exist, was he the kind of person depicted in the New Testament of the Bible? This view has found support after the discovery of Dead Sea Scrolls. Saint Paul, the founder of the Christian Church was the one who gave Christianity its present form. In one aspect, the Bible does not differ from the Quran: both propagate the view that if you do not abide by the Holy Scripture, you are destined to be consigned to the flames of hell. Christians (erroneously) believed that Jews had crucified Jesus and subsequently went on to torture and convert them, and those who refused to convert were tortured to the extreme. That is perhaps why Jews have refrained from converting others. Further, Jews have always been victims of torture and still do endure harassment in several parts of the world. Pope Pius XII knew that Hitler was executing Jews in Gas chambers. Hitler executed 60 Lac Jews in all. Pope Pius XII was notoriously known as Hitler’s Pope since he maintained studied silence over Hitler’s activities. He could have advised Hitler and perhaps reduced the number of people murdered during Hitler’s rule. It is widely believed that the Pope saw this as a sort of vengeance towards the people who crucified Jesus Christ. Christians have not been able to provide a suitable explanation to Pope’s behaviour during Holocaust.

The notorious Goa Inquisition (257 years between 1560 and 1817; 230 pages) conducted by the Portuguese Clergymen documents the persecution of those who refused to convert. The inquisitions presided by Joseph Stalin were modelled on Christ’s Inquisition. The Goa Inquisition was conducted behind closed doors in a big house in Goa. The priests subjected such men, women and children to torture with the belief that those who do not believe in Jesus must be under the influence of the Devil and therefore must be brought to faith by punishment. The screams of the victims used to echo in the vicinity deep into the night when they were whipped, their limbs ripped, and their eyelids were torn and their bodies were violated in the presence of members of their family.

Diego de Bordeaux, a priest and Miguel Vaz, the ruler of the territory had drafted a 41 point plan to torture Hindus into conversion. Under this plan, the then Viceroy of Goa, Antonio de Noronha released a directive to the province of Goa in 1566 that ordered: “ I hereby order that under the rule of my Monarch, no new Hindu temple shall be allowed to be constructed or repaired, in this province. Permission has to be sought to repair existing temples and the violation of this order will result in the destruction of the temple in case and the material inside such temples shall be confiscated”.

Other examples of his ordinances: Hindus shall not play musical instruments in their wedding ceremonies. Relatives shall not be invited for engagement. People shall not receive auspicious returns in weddings. There was a blanket ban on following rituals related to weddings, funerals, wearing traditional attire, growing revered herbs like Tulsi and following rituals related to penance and fasting. On September 22, 1570, an ordinance was issued that gave Hindus who converted to Christianity relief from paying taxes for a period of 15 years. They were required to stop using their Hindu names and family names. The Goa Inquisition would fill up several pages. Readers may refer to A K Priolkar’s THE GOA INQUISITION (Voice of India. New Delhi). Pages 79-84 of his book provide a full account of the Hindu temples destroyed by Missionaries with details of the places these temples belonged to. The book also contains a reference section with accounts by Portuguese authors of those times who have recorded these details. There is no difference between the Christian Missionaries and Muslim Kings who tortured Hindus and destroyed Hindu temples in response to those who refused to convert. Millions of Hindus in Goa fled to neighbouring states like Karnataka, Maharashtra and Kerala due to the lack of religious freedom. They call themselves Konkani Hindus. Chief among them were the GSBs (Gaud Saraswat Brahmins) and Saraswats.

Renowned Historian K M Panicker states thus in the twelfth chapter (PORTUGUESE RELIGIOUS POLICY IN MALABAR) of his book MALABAR AND THE PORTUGUESE (Voice of India, New Delhi, 1997- Reprint): The Rulers of Malabar never interfered in the ways of life of the Syrian Christians. This has been recorded by the Portuguese themselves. However, at the first available opportunity the Indian Syrian Christians proclaimed their loyalty to the King of Portugal. They submitted their ancient manuscripts and religious artefacts to Vasco de Gama. They also committed themselves to his mission of annexing Indian states. They invited him to build a fortress in Granganoor to accomplish his mission. The Hindu Kings of Kerala ended up paying heavily for the patronage they afforded to Syrian Christians. The Portuguese Viceroy was eventually ordered to convert the Prince of Cochin.

Renaissance was a period in Europe that opened the minds of the elite to the existence of other faiths across the world. The advancement in art, science and technology brought in a modern outlook in people in various nations of Europe and they began to question the methods and practices adopted by the Roman Catholic Church. This awareness resulted in gradual decline in the approach the Roman Catholic Church took in the matter of religious conversions. This also reduced Church sponsored torture for conversion across the world. The Protestants questioned the dominance of the Roman Catholic Church. The awareness created by modern Physics, Biology and Sociology resulted in an eventual rejection of the rule of Roman Catholic Church. The Church turned the tables on them by portraying that these new ideas had foundations in the theories originally propounded by the Church. It began referring to them as ‘Christian Science’. It then propounded a theory that Science and Faith are separate and faith cannot and should not be measured by the yardstick of Science.

The British who ruled India established their own Church of England. They did not want to destabilise their rule by directly confronting the faiths followed by people in India. They, therefore, began dissociating with the Missionaries outwardly. However, the British Government and the missionaries shared the same goal at one level: to destroy the sense of nationalism in Indians and thereby kill the spirit of resistance against the British rule. Systematically, through Macaulay’s education policy and dogmas such as Aryan Invasion, biased interpretation of Indian history, misinterpretation of caste system, commentary on Indian socio-political structures, census policy, the segregation of Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists from Hindu mainstream, supporting Muslim separatist movements etc., they injected their own divisive thought systems into University education to evolve a new breed of Indian citizens modelled on the British thought. The Missionaries deployed all these along with a sustained smear campaign on Hindu deities to ease the process of conversions. The Government allowed the missionaries a free growth path by granting their requests to open schools, colleges and hospitals across India and also allowed the allopathic system of medicine to gain wide acceptability. People who converted to Christianity received special favours and gained reservations in jobs and promotions. Converted Christians were indoctrinated into the ways of life of the British to ensure their continued loyalty to the Church and the British rule. The Indians were amazed at the kind of Institutions the British developed and I have seen this in Indians I know (however, we are now building much bigger institutions) However, we must not forget that they used the colleges to provide medical skills to Christians and to ensure their progress. Let us look at the support the British Government extended to Christians in building such institutions: A young man I know was praising the British for their enterprising nature that led to the conversion of forests to coffee plantations. A retired Revenue Official explained to me: A recommendation used to go out to the King’s Government from the resident British Official at Bangalore that some specified people had to be granted land for coffee estates. The recommendation was nothing but an Order. This order would then be passed down to a Taluk Amaldar through the District Administrator. The Amaldar would then appoint a revenue inspector to accompany a horse-ridden White King (all Whites were referred to as ‘King’ then) who would then go to a mountain top and point out an area of land with the tip of his index finger and demand that that land was needed. The revenue inspector would then obediently measure the land and report to higher officials. Within a week, the British Citizen would get thousands of acres of forests. The man would then employ locals to cut trees which he would sell to raise money for his coffee plantation. The Imperial Bank would lend money to such people (interest free) until the coffee trees bore fruit and once the crop yielded the interest rate would be one percent. Wasn’t it then brave of British citizens to build hill-top bungalows overlooking their vast coffee plantations? Well, how could Indians summon such courage? It is said that the Planters Association at Sakaleshpur bore a sign that read: “Locals and Dogs not allowed”.

These three Prophetic Religions born out of the desert and the religions born in India have one fundamental difference. All these Prophets claimed that their word was the ultimate truth and that God’s word has been sent through them. They demanded absolute submission and the alternative they offered was hell. They also propounded that God’s word, as pronounced by them, ought to be spread across the world as a message using violence if needed. Prophetic religions are basically blind-faiths. Indian faiths that derive their roots from the Vedas state: ekam sat viprAh bahudha vadanti (There is only one truth- the learned men explain it in different ways). This free thought has found echo in several Indian religious channels. In Jain philosophy syadvAda (syat = possibility; existence) holds prime position. It delineates that there is nothing that can claim to be absolute truth – including what I say. There is every possibility that the exact opposite may be true or both could coexist. Jains identify the possibility of existence of up to seven truths at one time. This is an expression of the previously stated Vedic philosophy of One Truth. All Indian religious testaments agree on this basic philosophy. They encourage debate. This is perhaps what differentiates Indian religions that encourage exploration of truth from Prophetic Religions that command unflinching obedience to the Gospel. The Sages (Rishis) behind Vedas (texts outlining the basic tenets of what evolved to become the Hindu way of life) and Upanishads (texts containing the essence of Vedas) were not Prophets. Koenraad Elst, a Belgian Scholar on Religious Evaluation, states in his book Psychology of Prophetism: “Prophets talk a great deal about themselves. They ascribe special powers to themselves and state that they have a special connection with the Creator of the World. Sages, on the other hand, talk about Universal Truths and that these truths can be divined in a state of awareness which can be achieved through practice”. Koenraad Elst’s book is a must read for anyone who has a serious interest in the study of religions. The Buddha was not a Prophet but a Sage who indulged in the study of treatise belonging to the age of Upanishads. His insights are not contrary to the ones presented in the Upanishads. One might want to consult R D Ranade’s A Constructive Survey of the Upanishadic Philosophy (see the second section of the fourth volume. This has been translated to Kannada by R R Divakar, D R Bendre, and S B Joshi within two years of the printing of the original. I have a 2004 edition of the Kannada version printed by Gurudev Ranade Samadhi Trust, Nimbal, Bijapur). Vedic Religions, Jainism and Buddhism use the term Dharma (Way of Life) and not the term Religion, employed by Prophetic Religions.

The Vedic philosophy made our spiritual leaders silent bystanders when the prophetic religions annexed India. When the invading Rulers forced millions of men, women and children into submission, torture and conversion, our spiritual leaders saw it as an aberration in their behaviour and not as a flaw with the religion that advised conversion by force. There is a story concerning the then Seer of Shringeri Mutt Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati which is seen to depict the broad-mindedness of Hindus. When a European approached him and requested to be converted to a Hindu, the Swamiji is said to have replied, “You become a good Christian. You will then be seen as a Hindu, as well”. Did the Swamiji know that a ‘good’ Christian is expected to convert as many people as possible to Christianity? Or was he ensnared by the magnanimity of the Vedic Philosophy of One Truth? Or was he not able to tide over the mental block of accepting a person of another religion into the Hindu fold? These questions remain unanswered. When Muslims were forcing Hindus to convert, or when the Portuguese were conducting their inquisition in Goa and Malabar, or even when Christian priests were going around converting people in the guise of social service Hindu Leaders remained complacent instead of proactively analysing the underlying philosophy of these predatory religions. Sri Vidyaranya who was the source of inspiration and Guiding force behind the establishment of the Vijayanagara Empire was well-aware of the cultural and political milieu of his times. However, I have not come across any work of his that analyses the issues of his period. To my knowledge, Swami Dayananda Saraswati and Swami Vivekananda were the only Spiritual Leaders who directly approached the task of analysis of predatory religions from the perspective of philosophical and spiritual assessment. The lack of awareness of predatory religions among the Hindu spiritual Leaders of the past and present times is prevalent among most educated Hindus. This predatory philosophy is the driving force behind suicidal Jehadis and missionaries who travel far and wide into the Indian hinterland to convert people.

It is natural to evaluate the utility of religion in rendering service to the community in context of economic progress of the state. In the west the concept of Welfare State brought in a social security net that included education, healthcare services, employment guarantee, unemployment support, care for the elderly etc. This brought in the awareness that the Government can protect the interests of citizens and religion, therefore, is not necessary to ensure service. A few decades ago, Indians used to look at the Christian Church and admire the services it extended to the community. Today, many Hindu Institutions have started serving people in the same manner. However, at the philosophical level, is community service the primary duty of religious institutions? It is gratifying to see Hindu Institutions doing community service in the context of failure of corrupt Governments and Politicians to do so. However, to what extent are these religious institutions fountains of spiritual knowledge? Are our religious institutions today equipped to meet the spiritual needs of people, beyond Social needs such as food, clothing, shelter, education and healthcare? If we are to believe that spirituality is the source of our moral enlightenment, then spirituality must not be measured on the scale of community service.

In 1975, I had represented India in a one-month conference on Moral Education organised by UNESCO in Tokyo. We visited a few schools in Japan to understand how Moral Education is imparted. One of them was a Christian Missionary School. After a discussion, I asked the Principal, “How is your School different compared to other schools in this country?”
“A very good question,” he said, “about thirty of our students have converted to Christianity after coming of age”.

To him, morals meant conversion to Christianity. A non-Christian, therefore, is immoral. A Muslim Leader has said this about Mahatma Gandhi: “He may be a Mahatma, but he is worse than a sinful Muslim because he is not a Muslim”. Such bigots are not sensitive to the fact that morals are not affiliated to religion and that religious conversions must not take place through violence, coercion, torture, temptation or misinformation.

I have a question about Mother Teresa, who has great standing in international media and is today on the verge of Sainthood: Did she allow desolate Children who were sheltered by Missionaries of Charity to follow their religions? I had been to her institutions after her death. All children there have been converted to Christianity. Is this not a ploy for religious conversion? The Vatican Church funded such institutions and ensured that their work was glorified in Western media which was promptly echoed by Indian media without question. It is a pre-requisite for a person to have performed miracles during her/his lifetime to be considered for Sainthood. Nuns at Missionaries of Charity at Calcutta gave statements that they have witnessed Mother Teresa performing miracles. Intellectuals in India observed studied silence to such pronouncements when in the past they had vociferously questioned Sai Baba’s claims of miracles.

Now, I wish to narrate what I have witnessed in a few small villages about six decades ago. Village folk used to come out to see Siddaganga Swamiji (who used to go out in a bullock cart for alms) when they heard drums being beaten. Shivakumar Swamiji who is a centenarian now was about forty years old then. Village folk used to collect grains and vegetables from all houses and send them to Siddaganga which was about forty miles away, in their own bullock cart. Swamiji never used to ask for rations. He used to tell people: “Please send poor children from your villages to our institutions. We will provide for them and educate them. Education is very important”. The number of children then was limited. Over a period of time, it has grown to about eight thousand. Swamiji followed the path of renunciation and through the process of seeking alms, increased the number of people benefitting from Dasoha by visiting three to four villages every day. He offered shelter to children of all faiths. I have seen even Muslim children there who were not wearing lingas (a sign of conversion to Lingayat caste of Hinduism). Their belief is that religion is a matter of personal preference; our job is to provide them value-based education. He got his dues only recently by the Kannada media when he turned a centenarian. He never got the publicity that Mother Teresa got. It is certainly not a matter of dissonance too that he did not get wide-spread press. It is one of the five principles of renunciation to offer the credit of all good deeds to God. Stating that one has achieved something fuels egotism. Such people cannot reach higher levels of Yogic attainment. Malladihalli Raghavendra Swamiji, Baba Amte, Dr. Sudarshan of BiligiriRanga Hills and several others have dedicated their lives to selfless service. However, none of them have received the press received by Mother Teresa despite rendering greater service since they were not serving Jesus!

A lot of people live by the philosophy that they will be true Christians only when they convert at least a few people to their faith. This motivates thousands of people to spend their time in converting people to Christianity in remote corners of India. They receive training, support, funds, guidance and of course political backup (in case of adversity) from foreign missionaries. Hindus know only losing people to conversion and not gaining people. The Judiciary has interpreted a law related to religious conversion. However, who will implement it? When Hindus hand over people attempting to convert others to Police Custody, they are branded as fundamentalists by the media. Police does not take action. People who violate the law do not get punished. People who attempt to stem conversions are targeted by Christian institutions, political parties, self-proclaimed intellectuals and sundry entities of all hues. The Government arrests them on the pretext that they were spreading communal disharmony. Congress is used to sacrificing the interests of Hindus and defending such acts from the time of Nehru. Mahatma Gandhi had lost control over Congress before independence. Nehru’s viewpoints were always contrary to the Mahatma’s. Today, Congress is being controlled by a lady from the country that hosts Vatican City. It is essential for money-minded Congressmen to toe her line if they wish to stay in Congress. They then do not summon courage to criticise her policy of sponsoring conversions. Non-Congress Politicians like Devegowda, Mulayam Singh, Lalu Prasad Yadav and others have an eye on the lower-caste vote bank and choose to dissociate themselves from the BJP which has been branded as a pro-Hindu party. Communists swear by anti-Hindu principle. Today’s intellectuals are products of Macaulay’s education system. Most of our politicians are hypocrites who spend their mornings performing rituals in Hindu temples and publicly proclaim that they visit Masjids to pray to be born as a Muslim in their next life! Such politicians sit before statues of Gandhi fasting till noon to oppose people who resist conversions. Dalit Intellectuals oppose the suggestion to ban conversions. They fear that they will lose the trump card of threatening to convert to Christianity or Islam. The Church is attempting to provide reservations to Dalits who convert to Christianity thus eradicating the barrier for Dalits to convert; this is again opposed by Dalit intellectuals. They do not want to share the Dalit quota with Dalits who convert to Christianity. Y Samuel Rajashekhara Reddy, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, is implementing a strategic plan to first provide reservations to Muslims and then extending it to Dalit-Christians. Dalit intellectuals who encourage the Dalit community to convert to Buddhism choose to place themselves under the Dalit category in official records. They also advise Hindu spiritual leaders who oppose conversion to mind their own business. Are Hindu spiritual Leaders meant only to bless self-serving politicians who fall at their feet in full public view during elections?

In such circumstances, when a few people oppose mass conversions, the pro-conversion lobby makes a big issue of it. Christian institutions appeal to Christian-dominated international media to stop the ‘doomsday’ in India! France has prohibited children from wearing religious symbols- especially Muslim and Sikh headgear- to bring in a sense of French nationalism. The Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh had planned to submit an appeal on behalf of the Sikh Community (to allow Sikh boys to wear religious headgear) to French President Sarkozy. However, he ended up assuring them that he will take immediate action on the riots in Karnataka and Orissa on his return without bothering to explain the situation. He is now attempting to place these state governments under President’s (read Congress’) rule on the pretext of the anti-conversion riots in these states.

Some people may go underground to protect themselves from the backlash they experience when they try to oppose conversion which should actually be stopped by a democratically elected government. Who will be responsible for their acts if they choose underhanded means to oppose conversion in future? Do we not have people who feel that they should react to the situation since the Government and political parties have shown lack of will and capacity in countering Islamic Terrorism? The US has not faced another act of terrorism since September 2001. People die every single day in some part of our country due to acts of terrorism. It is foolish to expect power-hungry politicians will stop this. Terrorists plan to usurp power by continuously committing acts of terror all over the country. Lenin, Mao Tse Tung, Prachanda, Naxals have all employed this technique. Wouldn’t Hindu people be tempted to tread this path? Would we be able to stop them through public criticism of such acts when this happens?

Politicians, Media and self-proclaimed intellectuals who base their power-play on religion will have to reflect on this question today with sincerity and responsibility.

Francois Gautier ends his article with these words: “Are we moving towards a Christian India under the stewardship of Sonia Gandhi? If yes, then it is a great loss not just for India but for the whole world because spirituality in its truest form is alive only in India today”.

Suggested Reading:
6. Dr. NAVARATNA S RAJARAM: Christ matada ugama mattu sadyah stHiti (hosa sHOdhagaLu) JAGARANA PRAKASHANA, BENGALOORU

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

ಅರ್ಚಬಿಶೋಪ್ ಮತ್ತು ಮತಾಂತರ

"ಎರಡು ಸಾವಿರದ ವರ್ಷದ ಹಿಂದೆ ಏಸುವು ಜೆರುಸಲೆಮಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಚರ್ಚ್ ಅನ್ನು ಜೂಜುಕೋರರಿನ್ದ ಮುಕ್ತಗೊಳಿಸಿದರೆಈಗ ಪೊಲೀಸರು ಕ್ರೈಸ್ತರನ್ನು ಚರ್ಚ್ ನಿಂದ ಹೊರಗೆ ಕಳಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ " ಎಂದು ಆರ್ಕ್ ಬಿಶೋಪ್ ವಿಷಾದಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಆದರೆ, ಭಾನುವಾರದಂದು ಕ್ರೈಸ್ತರು ಪ್ರತಿಭಟನೆ ಹೆಸರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಚರ್ಚ್ ಕಟ್ಟಡದ ಆಶ್ರಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಪುಂಡಾಟಿಕೆ ನಡೆಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು. ಅ ಕಾರಣಕ್ಕಾಗಿಯೇ ಪೊಲೀಸರು ಕ್ರಮ ಕೈಗೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕಾಯಿತು. "ನನ್ನ ಮನೆ ಪ್ರಾಥನೆಗಷ್ಟೇ ಇದೆ - ಪುಂಡಾಟಿಕೆಗಲ್ಲ" ಎ೦ಬ ಏಸುವಿನ ಹೇಳಿಕೆಗೆ ಅನುಗುಣವಾಗಿಯೇ ಪೊಲೀಸರು ಕ್ರಮ ಕೈಗೊಂಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಶ್ರೀ. ಬಿಶಪ್ಪರು ಅದಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಪೊಲೀಸರಿಗೆ ಮತ್ತು ಸರ್ಕಾರಕ್ಕೆ ಕೃತಜ್ಞರಾಗಿರಬೇಕು. ಮತ್ತು ತಮ್ಮ ಅನುಯಾಯಿಗಳು ಏಕೆ ತಪ್ಪು ದಾರಿ ಹಿಡಿದಿದ್ದಾರೆ ಎ೦ದು ವಿಮರ್ಶಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕು.

ಮತಾಂತರ ಬಲಾತ್ಕಾರದಿಂದ ಅಥವಾ ಆಮಿಷದಿಂದ ಮಾಡಬಾರದು ಎ೦ದು ಹೇಳುತ್ತಲೇ, ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಮಟ್ಟಿನ ಜೀವನ ಶೈಲಿಯ ಬದಲಾವಣೆಗೆ ಅವಕಾಶವಿದೆ ಎಂಬ ಅರ್ಥದ ಮಾತುಗಳನ್ನು ಅಡಿರುವುದು ವಿಷಾದನಿಯ. ರಾಜಕೀಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಮಿಶಗಳಿಲ್ಲವೇ ಎ೦ದು ಕೇಳಿರುವುದಂತೂ ಹಾಸ್ಯಾಸ್ಪದ. ಒರಿಸ್ಸಾ ರಾಜ್ಯ ದಲ್ಲಿ ಮರು ಮತಾಂತರ ಬಲಾತ್ಕಾರದ್ದು ಎಂದು ಹೇಳಿರುವುದು ಬಿಶೋಪ್ ಅವರ ಇಬ್ಬಂದಿತಾಣಕ್ಕೆ ಸಾಕ್ಷಿ.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Media bias and religious violence

In the last one month, several incidents of attack on Ganesha immersion procession are reported from different parts of India. Normally, these incidents are reported as a petty quarrel between two miscreant groups. They are considered as local isolated incidents and given less prominence in the media coverage. Attacks on minority communities, even smaller ones, during the same period have received prominent coverage in the public space.

Ganesha immersion procession was attacked in Gangondahalli Main Road in Chandra Layout, Bangalore on 21st Sept by some Muslim worshippers. They threw stones and pieces of meat into the procession. Around 5.30 p.m. the procession, which was taking five Ganesha idols to be immersed in a nearby tank, met with resistance. When the procession crossed a place of worship, those praying inside took objection to the disturbance caused by the procession. Three persons were injured. Members of the procession demanded immediate action from the police. [Ref]

In Vadodara, on 16th September, a Ganesha idol immersion procession was attacked. At least one person was killed and 20 others were injured in police firing and stone throwing. Trouble started late Sunday night after attack on the idol immersion procession at Fatehpura, people from both communities gathered in the area and threw stones, injuring about 15 people, including four policemen. Warring groups continued to throw stones at each other in the Fatehpura locality. An indefinite curfew was clamped in the areas under the Fatehpura police station.[Ref]

On 11th Sept, in Tiruvarur, 16th annual Vinayaka Chathurthi procession was attacked. When the procession passed through Kalladikollai, Jambhavanodai Dargah and Azadnagar and reached the New Pallivasal near Old Bus Stand, a voice uttered the words “Rioters are coming. Gather to prevent them,” through the loud-speaker. Then some people hrew stones and chappals at the police and on the processionists. To bring the situation under control, police resorted to a mild lathicharge, leading to injuries to three persons. The people inside the Pallivasal dispersed. When the procession resumed and approached Kuttiyar Pallivasal, a group of about 20 armed persons came on the scene. However, the police dispersed them. [Ref]

On Sept 8th, people from Muslim community resorted to stone pelting during the Ganesh visarjan (immersion) procession in Bharuch. The incident occurred when a procession from Ghikhudia area in Bharuch was obstructed by minority community near a religious place in Bahar ni Undai area, who complained about loud music being played by the procession. The situation turned ugly when some police officials were attacked and the mob started pelting stones. Apart from lobbing two teargas shells, the police also fired a round in the air to disperse the irate mob. A police motorcycle was also damaged and the mob also tried to snatch away a rifle from a policeman. At least six persons were injured in the clash. The police lobbed tear gas shells to disperse the mob. [Ref]

On September 5, in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu, five hundred members of various Muslim organisations were detained on Friday when they attempted to block a procession of immersion of Lord Vinayaka idols. The trouble broke out when members of the organisations, including Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam, attempted to stop the procession near a mosque and miscreants pelted stones. Police made a lathicharge and took the protesters into custody. A police constable was injured in stone-pelting. Tension prevailed in the area where 1,500 policemen had been deployed in view of its sensitive nature.[Ref]

Monday, September 8, 2008

Media Watch: How letters are published in The Hindu?

It is true that The Hindu always gives preference to those letters that supports it's view-point. In this case also it published more letters condemning the Hindu organizations than those which criticized the Christian activities. Once I had asked the Hindu to state how many letters were received `for' and how many `against' Sonia Gandhi becoming Prime Minister? Because, there were more number of letters published `for' than `against'. The Hindu was for obviously reasons had published more letters which were `for'. I had written that a newspaper should not brainwash it's readers.

Out of 3 letters submitted only one was published as a truncated and altered version. I am reproducing below these letters.
Submitted The Hindu 3 Aug 2008 (Not published)
Many letters that appeared in the Hindu have repeated the Government version that the assassination of the Swami and others was committed by the Maoists and the Christians have been wrongly targeted. But the Maoists have put up posters in the area disclaiming their involvement. There is long standing feud between Hindus and the Christians on the issue of conversion and therefore insolvent of communal Christian extremists in the killing of the Swamiji is suspected. This is not to justify the attack on Christians and their properties which is reprehensible. Instead of indulging in blame game the affected communities should put their heads together to get at the root of the problem and find solution to bring long standing peace in the area.
A.Gajanana, Bangalore
Submitted on 30th Aug 2008 (Not published)
Some 45000 Catholic educational institutions throughout India were closed on Friday to protest against attacks on Christians in the Orissa violence. People would have appreciated a catholic protest against all killings including those of the Swamiji and 4 others. The Catholic institutions have a reputation in the education field. But they should not be misused for furthering religious interests in the country.

What triggered the violence was the reaction of the local population to the killing of the VHP leader. Alleged attempts to change the tribal culture through religious conversions are another reason for the resentment of locals to Christian missionaries. Therefore, the mere condemnation of the VHP, without going into the reasons for the violence, will not help to restore normality in the State.
A. Gajanana,

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Orissa Missionary Activities

Missionary activity details - as told by Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati, who was recently killed in Orissa by miscreants backed by alleged Christian Missionary[Ref].

In Orissa, with Christian numbers increasing, they forcefully took away Hindu girls and forced the neo-converts to eat beef. They set several temples on fire. Birupakhya Mahadev´s temple or temple at Malarimaha or Ashram at Rupagoan, the Christians conspired to set them on fire. They threw mortal remains of cows on mandirs. Kondh tribal´s Goddess Dharani Mata´s places of worship in several villages were dishonoured. The sacred sword at a temple at Bramhanigaon was forcibly taken away by the converts who melted the sword in public and prepared their weapons with that looted material.

In fact one entire village was converted to Christianity. They serve medicines claiming it to be the prasad of Jesus. After gaining confidence of the converts on a large scale, they cheat the people. Church is rearing many boys and girls in their orphanages. In the last so many decades the children who have grown up in such orphanages. There is an allegation that they are sold at a price to foreign nationals.

The Kandh tribal community treats trees as their God. They do not cut forests out of fear viewings it as Adharma. But Christian Padres on their own cut one tree after the other saying that worshippers of Jesus can cut trees and no harm comes to them.

Congress Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha, Radhakanta Nayak is being projected as the leader of the Christians in the locality; what is being consciously hidden from public gaze is that this Christian also heads World Vision in India. World Vision is notorious for pumping money into India for religious conversion and their shenanigans in the conversion industry in the aftermath of the tsunami is well-known but equally well hidden from public discourse. In a known incidence, a lady who was Annalakshmi before tsunami was converted and named as Anna Marie after tsunami. World Vision is one of the top donors to NGOs in India and World Vision India one of the top ten recipients of funds for Christian missionary activity.

In Chennai an insolent ugly church is fast coming up right opposite the revered Pamban Swamy temple in Besant Nagar, Chennai. This church was until not long ago only a small thatched roof prayer house which came up overnight in a predominantly Hindu locality. This is the modus operandi of Churches and Christians of all denominations — put up a small prayer house in the middle of a Hindu locality, close to a temple and after a few years of missionary activity, transform the prayer house into a big church. Foreign money is being pumped into churches in India to erect insolent symbols of the church in a systematic way.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Orissa Violence – bare facts

Laxmanananda Saraswati, 85-year-old VHP leader who had been working among tribals against religious conversion, was gunned down at an ashram for girls at Jalespeta in Tumudibandh block. A small thatched structure used as a prayer house was set afire by unidentified persons late last night at Tentulijhari in Sundergarh district. Four of his associates were also killed along with him. The swami was a member of the central advisory committee of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).

Activists of VHP and other saffron outfits staged demonstrations, blocked roads and stopped trains at several places. Prohibitory orders were clamped in communally-sensitive Kandhmal district and security tightened across Orissa. Police deployed more than 3,000 personnel in the streets and shoot-on-sight orders have been issued in Kandhamal district in Orissa state. Maoist guerrillas and/or Christian missionaries are allegedly behind the killings. Maoists reportedly claimed responsibility for the killings. [Ref]. Christian organizations are suspected as they target Swami Saraswati for anti Christian violence in the past. The outbreak of violence, it said, follows widespread attacks on Christian targets beginning in December 2007. Swami Saraswati, it said, was "widely implicated" in the incitement of those attacks and in "stirring anti-Christian hatred in Orissa state, but he was never prosecuted by the State authorities. [Ref]

Hindu mobs ransacked churches and clashed with Christian villagers yesterday in violence that has left at least 11 people dead. . Mobs have destroyed more than a dozen churches and attacked Christians this week after the murder of a Hindu leader in Kandhamal. Television pictures showed mobs armed with rods putting up road blocks and attacking churches. Other mobs armed with bows and arrows and axes attacked Christian homes, dragging out women and children. Hundreds have fled to forests and nearby hills [Ref]. [Pic]

Hundreds of Christians were fleeing their homes in India’s eastern Orissa state after Hindu mobs defied curfew, blocked roads and attacked churches, homes and orphanages following the killing of a Hindu leader. At least 11 people, mostly Christians, have been killed so far in clashes between Hindus and Christians as violence spiralled for a fifth successive day in Kandhamal district, 180km south-west of the state capital, Bhubaneshwar. Officials said at least one church was burnt yesterday, while television pictures showed mobs armed with rods putting up road blocks. Local television channels and newspapers, however, put the death toll at between 17 and 20. In the underdeveloped regions of Orissa, though, the security situation was deteriorating, with hundreds of residents fleeing their homes for the safety of nearby hills and jungles. [Ref]

An eight-member delegation of representatives of various religious organizations, led by noted filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, met Maharashtra Governor S.C. Jamir here Thursday to condemn the attacks on Christians in Orissa and requested him to convey their sentiments to the centre. The delegation included AICC general secretary Abraham Mathai, Father Anthony Charanghat on behalf of the Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Raza Academy general secretary M. Saeed Noori and Sikh Association office-bearer Sardar Rajinder Singh. [Ref]

Meanwhile, Italy's Foreign Ministry said it will summon India's ambassador to demand "incisive action" to prevent further attacks against Christians. Italy will also ask France, the current EU president, to take up the issue at a foreign ministers' meeting.[Ref] [Pic]

Expressing anguish over the continued violence against Christians in Orissa, a Muslim organisation demanded a ban on the Hindu outfit Bajrang Dal for allegedly attacking minority communities. The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, an umbrella body of Indian Muslim organizations, said the Bajrang Dal was also involved in the gruesome killing of Australian Graham Staines and his children in 1999. Demanding deployment of army to control the situation, the Muslim body said the state government should be removed as they had failed to protect the Christian community from attacks by people connected to the Bajrang Dal.

The Sacred Heart Cathedral here held an inter-religious prayer service Thursday in memory of those who died in Orissa. On Friday, the Christian community in Delhi will hold a demonstration in front of the Orissa Bhavan. The All India Confederation of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Organizations, the national body of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe government employees, demanded immediate action to check the violence. "Home Minister Shivraj Patil must act now to stop the VHP sponsored violence over Dalit and tribal Christians before the situation goes out of control," said Udit Raj, the chairman of the Confederation and also of the Indian Justice Party. Christian schools and other educational institutions across India were to stay closed today to protest against the violence. [Ref]

Human Rights Watch, Christian Solidarity Network, Dalit Freedom Network and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty have appealed to foreign ministers in the EU and the US to immediately call for an end to the sectarian violence in India's Orissa. "Mobs have been attacking minority Christians in retaliation for the killing of local religious leader Swami Lakhmananda Saraswati," says the letter, adding as of August 27, at least nine people have been killed, a nun gang-raped, and churches and houses have been destroyed in at least 12 districts. Condemning the murder of Swami, allegedly by Naxalite (Maoist) insurgents, the letter said: "the fact that Christians have been made the scapegoats and victims of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad backlash is deplorable and calls for urgent intervention." [Ref]

Pope Benedict XVI has appealed to India's religious and civil authorities "to work together" to restore "peaceful coexistence and harmony" in the wake of anti-Christian violence in Orissa state. The pope strongly condemned the violence and expressed his personal solidarity with the suffering Christians. He termed the murder of the Hindu leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati as deplorable but expressed spiritual closeness and solidarity to the brothers and sisters in the faith so sorely tried. [Ref] [Pic]

Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, had called on the international community to pressure the Indian government to ensure that the provisions in the Indian Constitution on religious freedom are fully respected. Apostolic Nuncio to India Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, in comments to Vatican Radio, said Hindu fundamentalists are trying to impose a Hindu state on the entire population. Archbishop Lopez Quintana told Vatican Radio: "Behind this violence (against Christians) there are fundamentalist groups linked to ideologies of a Nazi matrix. Their scope is to impose a fundamentalist state, and in certain states they have found a favorable situation, and it is from there that the violence spreads." Still, Archbishop Lopez Quintana does not see any change in their activities in the future; he is confident this crisis too will be overcome.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The summary of "Why Muslims are hated by so many? Yahoo answers"

Muslims insist that Islam is the only true religion. They advocate annihilation of those who refuse to embrace Islam.

Many agree that there are only few Muslims who are violent - but because they are visible, people generalize it to the entire Muslim community and attribute violence to Islam. Many people hate Muslims as the rest of the Muslims are silent about the minority. When handful of Muslims resort to a terrorist attack, many other Muslims dance in the streets. EVERY FRIDAY in Iran, just after prayer the masses on the streets chanting "Death to Israel!! Death to America!!" Even if 10% of the Muslims are violent, it comes to 150million people and it is sufficient to create permanent unrest in this world.

Muslims are hated because they hate other groups within them. The prophet of Muslims was a warlord, some think that he raped woman and murdered people. Quran contains so many objectional, hate generating material. Muslims adhere to it. Muslims are offended easily and they exhibit their anger towards unconcerned people.

Muslims hate so many others, also they speak in 'weasel tongue' they say peace be upon you when they mean I want to kill you. Muslims suffer more from mistrust than from being hated. Because they are dangerous, intolerant and primitive. The muslims have been ruthless all along the history and there were times when they have destroyed countries and even states. that's why they are being hated.

Some dont hate peaceful muslims. Some dont hate Muslims. They hate the terrorists and the ones who hate others. Some people also say that Muslims are hated because of ignorance. (see Yahoo answers)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Jaipur blasts probe: Medical student detained

Rajasthan police has made a breakthrough in Jaipur serial blast case when they arrested Abrar Ali, a medical student of SMS medical college. Abrar i s alleged to have supplied ammonium nitrate for the bombs used in the blasts.