Conversions in India: what is the future?
A story about the conversion issue has appeared on www.Tehelka.com. As we remember, this paper is run by Tarun Tejpal and the group has successfully exposed many a politicians in the past for accepting bribes [by sting operations and many have raised the ethics of sting operations! As if the thieves and thugs (read politicians here) have a morality and we need to reciprocate them!!] . This has often led politicians fretting and fuming and many a heads have rolled over after the exposure of these scandals (notably, Bangaru Laxman of BJP, Jaya Jaitely of Samta Party).
When this story appeared on Tehelka, Iwas more than impressed. Today the ‘progressive’ journalism in India has somhow become synonymous with not talking about Hinduism or the perils of conversions mainly by Christian organizations. If you talk about such issues, you are automatically branded as agents of either RSS or BJP! This is the general perception and which of course is not true.
The title of this news-story on conversions (click here for the link) on Tehelka is: “Preparing for the harvest …”. In this disturbing expose’ the author VK ShashiKumar has shown how evangeslist organizations -aided and fully supported by Bush Administration- have targeted Indian with full fervor and zeal!
Whereas the findings may be nothing new in the sense that Christian missioanaries have been targeting India for a long time with a ‘mission’ to proselytize India, the article is very timely.
I had in one of my previous write-ups on this site had written about the Maranatha organization (www.maranatha.org) and its concerted efforts about the proselytization in many countries with a special emphasis on India. Their appeal for building 1000 Churches in 1000 days is very appealing and is a big fund raiser. This is the link to my write-up.
Another recent news is about the spiritual Guru, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ( link ) who has called upon the nation to bring unity among dalits and upper-catse Hindus. He wants them to come closer and reconcile. This is indeed the need of the hour!
What exactly do we need to do? These are the measures to be taken:
1. Hindus must not feel insecure that their religion is being targetted by Christian missionaries. Donot antagonize them by force or violence. Listen to them, but understand their design too. In the grab of doing good work -particularly in the field of health and education- they tend to convert people. Grasp this fact. Try to understand them and donot get converted in the process! Firmly resist conversions! This is the very first simple step.
2. Hindu organization must go the interiors of India, particulraly tribal area and do the work what the missionaries are doing: in the field of education and health.
3. We must narrow the divide between so called upper caste Hindus and lower caste Hindus. We often say that christian missionaries are embracing dalits, but are we ready to embrace our brethern?
I recently had an opportunity to study again Gandhiji’s “My Experiments with Truth”. Attempts were made to lure him into Christianity while he was in South Africa. Upteen times the missionary friends tried to persuade him to embrace Jesus! This actually resulted counter-productive. His resolve to study Hinduism intensified and made him a more devout Hindu. He studied and discussed Bible and other religious scriptures, but Geeta was the fountain of wisdom for him. Gandhiji was a shrewed man. In the process of studying other religions, he never got ‘carried away’. He wanted to find reasons, if any, why he should leave Hinduism and he found none! Similarly he tried to find reasons- if any- as to why he should embrace any other religion: and he found none! And of cousrse, Gandhiji’s clarion call of embracing Dalits is still very much relevant and holds promise to the befitting reply to the conversion business.