I regularly recieve “The Volunteer” magazine published by Maranatha Volunteers International (http://www.maranatha.org/)- a US based Christian missionary organization. My physician friend -George Matthews from Chicago- originally from Kerala- brought my attention to this organization saying that it is a financially sound organization with quite a vigor (His prayers go to Lord Jesus,but understands the contours of this conversion business well). It is very clear that Maranatha works tirelessly to build more and more churches across the world ( ‘1000 churches in 1000 days’ is its one of very appealing project), and India is its special destination. Why not, we have billions of people living in India and still 85 % people are Hindus: so there is immense scope and potential to proselytize! And then there are underlying factors which can make their task easy: abject poverty (have you ever seen a rich Gupta or Gaikwad or Aiyngaar or Arora sahib embracing Christianity!!), rampant illiteracy, ignorance and notwithstanding the “TLC (Tender Love and Care) policy of christian missionaries. I must applaud the organized, meticulous and long-term approach of Christain evangelists: they have done wonders in converting many parts of the globe where ever they went: Africa to Latin America.
So what Indian counterparts – Hindu organizations- are doing in this regard? I donot subscribe to the theory of countering them by violence (this does not pay dividens in long-term). And then my Hindu brothers will say: “Oh, we donot believe in conversions!” Well said and point taken! But letus focus on these things:
1] Create an awareness that the ultimate design of the Christian nuns and workers is to ‘snatch away’ your faith: Lord Jesus will repalce your Ram
2] Help our tribals and poor people come out of shackles of poverty and illiteracy: with human participation and of course money. We donot necessarily have to go to these areas but we can be a part of many organizations who are working in these directions. If there is one Maranatha (Mara-natha), we need to build one ‘Rama-natha ‘ to counter them in a peaceful manner: if memebers of maranatha organization can go from, say ,USA to India to serve in poor areas , why not Indians living in USA do the same!
3] Hindu saints should venture upon the mission of “Shudhi” (purification) whereby efforts should be made to re-convert these Christians to Hindus (Ghar Vaapsi = Home coming).
4] Last but not the least, we must publicly denounce the evil practices of Hinduism, like catse-based division and consciously make efforts to eliminate that. Because our dalit brothers are their prime target!
Maranatha is just an example (or even a tip of iceberg?), we must fully understand the long-term designs of these organizations and must secure our house also. Let them do what they get pleasure in doing (though they may be termed nefarious activities by many!),but keep your house intact and they will tire out! I am sure the broad-based tenets of Hinduism are strong enough to withstand these ‘winds’ but we need to be conscious of this. It is deplorable that these evangelist-zealots are actually maligning their own religion by these acts. I wish they could understand the real meaning of such a beautiful religion whom we know as Christianity.