An investigation by Opinion Express Team
Hinduism and India have been under attack for thousands of years. First it was Islam, then came Christianity, that have created havoc to the fabric of Hindu society. Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi both opposed it. Swami Vivekananda has given the most heart-rending accounts of the calumnies that Christian missionaries spread about Hinduism and about India. Most common Evangelistic words are “Hindus need to be saved from spiritual darkness,” church plantings, rich harvest of converts, idol worshippers and unreached people.” They speak openly of “spiritual conflict.” Their text often have words like “God’s armour,” “battle,” “weapons,” etc. Sir John Woodroffe had predicted in his book, Is India Civilized that ” In every way, the coming assault on Hindu civilization will be the greatest which it has ever had to endure in the whole course of its long history.”
The missionary zeal has been to convert Hindus by giving the most lurid accounts in the West to raise money for financing their activities. It costs $145 billion dollars a year to operate global Christianity, records a book on evangelization – Arun Shourie Missionaries in India. According to Professor Gauri Vishwanathan in her book Outside the Fold “religious conversion is probably one of the most unsettling political events in the life of any society.”
Mahatma Gandhi called Christian missionaries, “Vendors of Goods”. He said ” In Hindu households, the advent of a missionary has meant the disruption of the family coming in the wake of change of dress, manners, language, food and drink”. “If I had power and could legislate, I should certainly stop all proselytizing”. “I resent the overtures made to Harijans.” “Stop all conversion, it is the deadliest poison that ever sapped the fountain of truth.” Poverty doesn’t justify conversion. He also considered missionaries as “a clear libel on Indian humanity.”
Among the major religions, Christianity and Islam actively seek converts. The missionaries believe that only people who accept Jesus as Savior will be saved and go to heaven. The doctrine of racial superiority that the Europeans used to justify their colonial rule is gone, but the attitude of Christian religious superiority continues. Such religious exclusivism is backward and prejudicial, just like racism.
Most people targeted for conversion are poor, illiterate and uneducated Hindus and Tribals. Christian missionaries dare not try to convert the poor and destitute Muslims for the fear of violent confrontation. The Christian missionaries have effectively used the 3Ms – Media, Money and Manipulation. The doctrine of racial superiority that the Europeans used to justify their colonial rule is gone, but the attitude of Christian religious superiority continues. Such religious exclusivism is backward and prejudicial, just like racism.
Swami Vivekeanada speaking about what damage Christian missionaries have done to India, he says in a lecture reported in the Detroit Free Press said, “They come to my country and abuse my forefathers, my religion, and everything; they walk near a temple and say ‘you idolators, you will go to hell’, but they dare not do this to the Mohammedans of India, for the sword will be out but the Hindu is too mild.”
“Evangelization in India appears to be apart Of uniform world policy to revive Christendom for re-establishing western supremacy and is not prompted by spiritual motives. The objective is apparently to create Christian majority pockets with a view to disrupt the solidarity of the non-Christian societies, and the mass conversion of a considerable section of Adivasis with this ulterior motive is fraught with danger to the security of the State.”
Indologist Koenraad Elst (1959 -) Dutch historian, born in Leuven, Belgium,has pointed out that “Hindu Society has been suffering a sustained attack from Islam since the 7th century, from Christianity since the 15th century, and this century also from Marxism. The avowed objective of each of these three world-conquering movements, with their massive resources, is the replacement of Hinduism by their own ideology, or in effect: the destruction of Hinduism.
Why this war on Hinduism?
These two (Christianity and Islam) hos- tile ideologies, flawed because they are not based on human experience but on spurious and fantastic literature, are based on a priori illusion that human beings are genetically flawed and can be redeemed only by symbolic conversion and the acceptance of their bookish deity. For instance, if the Christian and Islamic clergy do not propagate and force their sterile ideologies down the throats of unsuspecting or helpless people through dubious means, or do not force them to stay on with censure and punishment, their religions would be wiped out in decades. Europe is a primary example.
While passing through the anit conversion bill in Rajasthan Assembly, BJP leader Vasundhara Raje said to be a secular country (India), though it is not clear how it is. In the name of secularism, thousands and lakhs of Hindu brethren and children are converted to Christianity by hook or crook. This has been going on especially at a greater tempo after India attaining Independence , and in the name of Secularism while if one humbly calls himself, when asked, as just a Hindu, he is dubbed communal and anti- secular, and even obscurantist. As if this is not enough in our secular country if I call myself a Hindu in my own house the aggressive Christians have the audacity to call me a Satan’s slave in my own house. Today the situation is such that we cannot discuss our Santan Dharma in our house. The churches habitually em- ploy fraudulent means in their behavior in India and elsewhere in the whole of Purvanchal organizing protest day against ‘The freedom of Religion Bill.’ The whole political adventurism had the leading politico-religious elements among the ruling circle (who are well known for their anti Indian stance and were earlier underground fighting with the army for many years).
View of a Christian missionary Vishal Mangalwadi on India’s quest for freedom
Many starry-eyed Indians, who are ignorant of Indian history, think that India was free before the British colonized it. The fact is that Hindu India, never, I re-peat never, knew what freedom was, until the Evangelical movement began to set us free…India’s freedom is a fruit of the Christian Gospel, not a result of Mahatma Gandhi’s work.”
There is no doubt that, in the fight to deliver Christianity to the heathen, both Protestants and Catholics sent their best brains to India , rather than Africa or China . This implied a recognition of the inherent spirituality of Hinduism, which demanded more than average sophistry and persuasion to win converts. There was a belief that India had a high degree of ancient civilization which by the late eighteenth century, as the Moghul Empire was fading, had allowed decadence to seep in, offering Christianity the chance to fill the gap. Annie Besant, proponent of the philosophy of Theosophy, gave many a lecture in which she aired her views that India was a victim of the mischief wrought by Christian missionaries.
Take, for instance, the forced conversions in the north-east. Christian missionaries, with active monetary and political support from the West, have been converting poor and innocent tribals in the north-east of India without any hindrance for the past 300 years. As a result, Nagaland is today 90 per cent Christian, Mizoram 86 per cent and Meghalaya 64.6 per cent.
This process is going on full speed at this very moment: There are now 1,20,000 Christians in Tripura, a 90 per cent increase since 1991. The figures are even more striking in Arunachal Pradesh, where there were only 1,710 Christians in 1961, but 1,15,000 today, as well as 700 churches. All this is often done by means of ‘economic conversions’. “Miracle boxes” are put in local churches: The gullible villager writes out a request – a loan, a pucca house, fees for the son’s schooling. A few weeks later, the miracle happens. And the whole family converts, making others in the village follow suit.
Is this ethical? No country in the world would allow this. France, for instance, has a minister in charge of keeping a tab on “sects”. And sects means anything which does not belong to the great Christian family. Recently, two French schoolteachers were imprisoned by the police for a few days because they were Brahmakumaris and had used some Brahmakumari precepts in their teaching.
What conversions do to the psyche of India is catastrophic. They threaten a whole way of life, erasing centuries of tradition, customs, wisdom, teaching people to despise their own religion and look westwards to a culture which is alien to them. Look how the biggest drug problems in India are found in the north-east, or how Third World countries, which have been totally Christianised, are drifting away without nationalism and self-pride. “I was told after conversion that I should not wear a bindi on my forehead, as it is a heathen custom”, says Shanta (not her real name) of Agartala, whose family converted recently to Christianity. Her friend Sushma, who has come back to her original religion, says that one of the Indian missionaries from Kerala told her “that I would go to hell if I ever entered a temple again. But I don’t understand, she continues, when I was a Hindu, I found nothing wrong in going to a church, or to a mosque for that matter”.
Hindusim is weak to sustain the onslaught
The PRESENT Caste system is a dark blot on Hinduism. It goes against the principles and lofty philosophy of Hinduism which considers each soul as potentially divine and eternal. Hindu philosophy insists on attitude of tolerance. Universal brotherhood is the chief message of Hindu religious tradition. The goal is to manifest this divinity within. Caste system is inhuman in its CURRENT form and its exploitative aspects must be abolished. Current caste system is something which no Hindu should be proud of. The sooner we get rid of it the better. The fault lies with the negligence of Hindus worldwide. We have failed to eradicate the caste system which has been wrongfully used against Hinduism by missionaries.
For decades Christian missionaries have used malicious propaganda against the caste system in India and abroad. They claim that the oppressive caste system is keeping Hindus in spiritual darkness and mired in poverty. Missionaries and Western media have used caste to undermine and demonize Hinduism, its culture and its institutions to its advantage. The main objective is to harvest as many converts as they can. The idea is to paint Christianity as the ideal Egalitarian and compassionate religion, in order to lure Tribals, Dalits and other oppressed Hindus in India. The Roman Catholic Church was aware that caste system and Hinduism were so bound together that even when a Hindu ceased to be a Hindu he mentioned his caste. So the Church proceeded with the conversion retaining the caste system, as a market concession! In the Catholic Church today the name ‘Dalit Christians’ is used to denote Christians of scheduled caste origin. The problem of the Dalit Christians has come to focus today. The Dalit Christians are in fact discriminated against by the government and the churches.
Churches in India and world-wide claim that they do not discriminate on caste lines and they criticize Hindu society for caste discrimination day in and day out. But the fact remains that churches practice discrimination based on caste. According to a reports 70 per cent of the Tamil Catholics are Dalits. It is reported that out of 14 Bishops in Tamil Nadu only one is a Dalit. The percentage of Tamil priests is only four per cent. In addition, the existence of separate churches for Dalits in Kerala makes a mockery of these claims. Apart from cutting off converted people from their roots and heritage, (like the Blacks in the U.S. who worship in separate churches) the Church has achieved little.
Alienation of Indian Christians and Pride in Education
Christianity has often alienated Indian Christians from the mainstream in India. They are afraid for instance to participate in anything that has a Hindu connotation, or they are made to change their names. And since they get alienated, a certain fear psychosis sets in. And it is true that Christianity also introduced the feeling of guiltiness, of being a sinner, which is absent from Hinduism. “I would even say,” adds Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, “that it sometimes gave Christians an unfortunate sense of superiority over Hindus.”
Christians are also proud that they brought education to India, “but,” counters Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, “it is not true: there were for instance 125,000 medical institutions in Madras before the British came. Indians never lacked education, the Christians only brought British education to India, which in fact caused more damage to India by westernizing many of us.”
— Diwakar Shetty firstname.lastname@example.org
This chapter is in no way anti-Christian but rather anti-conversion. It provides information about the insidious campaign that is taking place to reduce and wipeout Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and other Vedic traditions that are followed by large sections of humanity in India and around the world.