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Christian Subversion And Missionary Activities - 5
October 01, 2006

<b>Anglican priest defends himself on conversion to Hinduism</b>

T`PURAM: Anglican priest David A Hart, whose open espousal of Hinduism has sparked a debate in British religious circles, says he will continue his exploration of the “oneness” of religions and remained unfazed by the consequences it could have on his priesthood.

“Some people say my licence as a priest is under review. I am not doing anything wrong here. I am a convert to the Hinduism here because that is the local religion. And practising Hinduism is in no way incompatible with my faith in Christ,” Hart, now staying at Karumam near here, told PTI.

After coming to know about his “conversion”, ‘Church Times’ of the Church of England (C of E) has launched a debate and online poll on the feasibility of allowing hart to officiate as a priest.

Attached to the diocese of ELY in England, 52-year-old hart had taught theology at the university of derby for several years. Though he had visited India several times since 1987, he came here for an extended stay last year teaching English and theology in a local seminary.

Dressed in a saffron ‘dhoti’ and pristine white shirt, hart the other day enthusiastically mingled with local crowd in celebrating Shri Krishna Jayanthi and, a few days back, was seen worshiping lord Ganesh.

Hart said he had not received any official communication from the bishop of ELY about his priesthood being reconsidered.

Hart’s ‘pooja room’ at his house here has pictures of Christ and Krishna, virgin Mary and Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of art and learning.

There is even a plastic ‘nagar,’ the serpent revered and worshipped by the Hindus. Also, on the wall of the drawing room was displayed a poster depicting the holy places of Islam.

Author of several books on religion with the latest being ‘trading faith’, hart said celebrating god in non-human forms need not be considered as ‘un-Christian’ as Jesus was represented as a lamb in the Book of Revelation in the Bible.

“After all, god is not a human being. God is the god of creation. What is important is that we have to have a symbol. Worshipping god in the form of human being had come to be practised by religions in a later period in history.”

Hart, also secretary of World Congress of Faiths, said his understanding of the Hinduism had helped him learn Christianity better. He noted that there was much similarity between Christ and Krishna.

“You saw in my ‘pooja’ room, pictures of Krishna with his mother and also infant Jesus on the lap of the mother. <b>How could then we say that Hindu beliefs are incompatible with those of the Christians</b>,” he asked.
(Courtesy: New Indian Express)


David Hart should ask himself the question: Why am I trying to fit Hindu Dharma into Christianity's framework? If he is serious about Hindu Dharma, he should ask his Church why it has sanctioned and blessed the wiping out of Hindus. If he does not get satisfactory answers from the Church, he should denounce his old faith and become 100% Hindu without any pretense of being a "christian". And then he should do what he can to expose his old faith. That is what a Dharmic would do.

If he is not serious, and just wants to continue his pretense of being Hindu, he should do some mental exercises aimed at stopping the process of thinking, since he will need to put a good old stop on all rational thinking going on in his brain to continue his lifestyle of hunting with the hounds and running with the hare.

I Too Am Hurt Dear Father
Vivek Bharat

“While the Bajrang Dal and its associates cannot be in any way excused for the present violence if proven guilty, there is something that must be highlighted in its favor. In 2006 when Satya Darshini was first released, the Bajrang Dal had registered a formal protest with the police. No action was taken.”
The burden of proof
Oct 9, 2008
The real and rabid acts of religious conversion indeed lie at the very root of this cycle of violence</b>
From: Ram Kumar
09 September 2008

Let me start off my expressing profound sadness for all victims (of all faiths) in recent violence in Orissa , India and all other places around the world. This is a straight-from-the-heart rendering of pain and hope in connection with the recent tragedies in Orissa , India . I hope this letter reaches our fellow Christian, Hindu and Moslem brothers and sisters in India and elsewhere. Social change needs to start with conversation and this is a humble attempt to bridge divides.

In the latest incidents in Orissa, it is apparent that some possibly fringe members of the minority faith were complicity involved in the cold-blooded murder of a Hindu teacher and leader. The acknowledgement of this fundamental root-cause by most media outlets and indeed even the State seem to be more a mute after thought, confirming my belief that all they seem to care is about "a single faith" and not human life per se. Such a narrow lens on humanity is indeed the root cause of all evil and pain in today's world. Let me explain…

The New Indian Elephant:

We ought not to ignore the elephant in the room. It is pertinent to point out that the root cause of this cycle of violence lies in actions committed with complicit or implicit actions of people in forcefully disrupting, disregarding and disputing the local culture and heritage of India . The real and rabid acts of religious conversion indeed lie at the very root of this cycle of violence. This is a clear violation of the fundamental right of a person to practice his own faith - without needless needling or malicious interference by other faiths and practices. While I respect your right to practice your religion I think some of you are grossly exceeding limits when you indulge in the kinds of illicit activities that attack the home-faith of a nation and its people. Let us examine how we can collectively stop this cycle through leadership and not mere statements of protest or regret.

Human rights are fundamentally built on the foundations of truth and honesty, devoid of hate and deception. There is enough documented evidence that many members of the Christian faith, belonging to diverse denominations of your own faith, in the name of your faith, are propagating "cultural genocide" by attacking, insulting, deriding and ridiculing the faith of a billion people. It is indeed shallow if in order to market and sell one’s wares, one has to put down another man's faith. I clearly understand your metrics for success around "harvests" et al but fail to see how such a call to conversion can be human, humane and holy. I really do not understand.

When I read a statement on The Vatican's site that says "just as during the first Christian millennium the Cross was planted in Europe and during the second in the American continent and in Africa, so during the third millennium a great harvest of faith will be reaped in the vast and vibrant Asian continent" - this very statement sows the seeds for conflict. It does not take much to realize how narrow and partisan such a call is, and how the very strategy of your organization creates conflicts. It does not take a student of theology to decipher this. Let me ask you a few honest questions – please reflect on these with a straight mind, honest heart and a non-partisan lens:

At what cost do you want to "harvest souls"?
What purpose do you accomplish by engaging on cultural genocide?
What outcomes do you expect to sustain by driving diversity to possible extinction?
Is this human rights or just the pursuit of narrow partisan goals?
Finally, would you tolerate it if members of another faith declared their goals as "conversion" of members of your faith? Just like you have a so-called logic and rationale for conversion, its easy to imagine another man could say the same with authority? Your logic fails this simple test.
Our Country, Our Heritage:

Today India and many other nations are facing a scourge from the radicalization of missionary activities. Has what started perhaps in some quarters as a genuine 'human interest' endeavor evolved into a Frankenstein that is fed, funded and fueled by alien interests?

When all is said and done, what remains of a people and its identity is their culture. Their heritage. And their proud stories of ancient warriors, ways of life and brave ancestors. The thread of continuity woven through generations of experience makes one strong, proud and humble at the same time - grounded in confidence and free in ambition. Religious conversion attacks at the very roots of such a society.

Whether it is the Masai people of Masailand (today split between Kenya and Tanzania ) or the Dharmic people in India , the message of "peace" from alien cultures and vested interests is sowing a seed of division and hatred that no one should allow. Let alone, the so-called "messengers of peace". Whether you agree or not, whether you believe in it or not, the fact remains that we Indians (yes WE) have a common heritage that predates many countries and continents. When vested interests drive a wedge of partisan politics and narrow self-interest the result is what we see today.

I have numerous personal anecdotes even in my family of how Christian missionaries openly insult, riddicule and belittle Hindu traditions - and they start by "culturally attacking" innocent children who can easily be influenced. My own cousins have come home crying that "someone said bad things about our Gods" and gave them a "book" to read "if they did not want to go to hell". No prizes for guessing what the “secret book” was. Come on, can any decent person do this to a 7 or 8 year old girl? Imagine if this nonsense happening many times over, at many places, and what you get is the unfortunate backlash. Would you agree if others did this to innocent girls in your faith or any faith for that matter? This kind of nonsense continues even to this day. And yes, you know it too.

Here are some questions to consider –

What gives someone the right to come to a land and preach a message that makes the "natives" less proud of their own heritage?
What gives someone the right to question the history of continuity and culture that they themselves take pride in for their "home" cultures?
What gives someone the right to deny the future generations the diversity of cultures and ethnic identities?
What gives someone the right to come with vested and narrowly defined interests like conversion to a single faith?
Please know that I reject and denounce terror in all forms, but that includes terror on culture. Let each one of us within our own hearts find the peace to say - enough, this nonsense needs to stop. Will you be an ally of peace?

Call to Action:

It takes moral courage to stand up and take responsibility for deeds of your faith and community. It takes leadership to call on members of your faith to love and live in peaceful coexistence with members of other faiths. It takes self-confidence in one's own beliefs to ask your members to stop intentionally insulting, ridiculing and twisting the messages of another man's faith. Real religious leaders need to step above partisan interests and define a new vision for humanity. Such a new vision needs to extend above one's own ‘metrics of success’ or selfish goals. Hailing from a faith that teaches me to pray for "everyone's good" (Lokasamastha Sukhino Bhavanthu) I am compelled to question why other faiths seem to take a narrow view of "good" and virtues. As a follower of Sanatana Dharma I understand that we are all one, we are all from the same source and we all merge into a single Universal force.

I recognize that many if not most practitioners of the Christian faith are peace loving people who believe in religious and ethnic co-existence. There are however a few but powerful radical forces who are not, and this message is for them. If you are a follower of any of the many diverse paths of the Christian faith in India ask yourself these questions - and please engage with your ministers, pastors and senior leaders on these questions:

Do you want (y)our Indian children and their children to forever forget the ethnic roots that you and your ancestors have in our Bharat?
Do you want our future generations to live and die as foreigners in (y)our own lands?
Do you want your faith and it's practitioners to be defined and remembered for the horrors of ethnic and cultural cleansing perpetrated in the name of religion?
Do you really believe that you are doing your Lord a favor by sowing the seeds of hatred in our country?
In closing, let us all ask ourselves the following questions - What right does someone have to take advantage of the poor and needy, and take advantage of societal imbalances to sow seeds for new and deeper rifts?

This is a genuine appeal to brothers and sisters of the Christian faith – please step up and become voices of reason in your community. Conversion at its very basic roots denies you and the youth of today and tomorrow pride and identity in (y)our own country and culture. In decrying one's ancient heritage and culture you deny your own right to identity and culture.

While you should continue to practice your chosen faith with pride and passion, please do not deny a similar right to your brothers and sisters of the Dharmic, Islamic or other faiths.
While you spread the message of peace of tolerance, remember to respect and recognize the messages of love and belonging from other faiths.
While you feed the poor and cloth the needy, do not make it a cheap stunt to simply harvest more souls - there can indeed be no endeavor more vile and vested than pursuing vested objectives.
The “foreign” reactions:

Now, addressing the apparent reaction from the Italian government – I express deep regret at the statements made regarding the violence in India and the government's subsequent 'summons' to the Indian ambassador. Let us recognize that interference by a foreign religious organization or governments in the internal affairs of an independent nation state goes against the accepted principle of national independence and mutual non-interference. Now, where the statements made expressed regret for loss of human life, I accept it. However, there too I find many weaknesses in the statements and I am compelled to point it out. The statements till date seem to express deeper condolences for "brothers and sisters of the faith", an obvious reference that the loss of human life that followed the Christian faith is in some way more serious than the loss of "other" life - read Hindus who were killed. And this is where I see a fundamental weakness and lack of maturity in the response to the issue. Such responses only drive further wedges and sharpen blades on all sides. But let us rise beyond that.

We are Indians first, and then Hindus, Moslems, Sikhs or Christians. We are a nation with a recorded heritage that pre-dates many countries and continents. We have the right to be proud, respectful and reflective of (y)our common heritage and let no one deny us that fundamental right.

In conclusion, I ask you, (y)our government and religious leaders to step up and -

1. Respect - all faiths, even those different from yours

2. Recognize - that all faiths have a purpose and place on this God given Earth

3. Realize - that actions of cultural genocide will only perpetuate a cycle of harm and hatred - one that is definitely against the teachings of all faiths, including yours

Are you going to take the leadership or let another generation of "your brothers and sisters" indulge in cultural genocide in places like India , Africa , South America et al. This is time for a new vision, a new leadership, a new message for humanity.

1- Are you up for it?

2- Are you ready for new leadership that is the order of the day?

3- Will you and more importantly can you be a voice of sanity and respect, and not a mere partisan player in a game of religious rigidity?

In peace and sincere attempt to build bridges between our peoples and faiths I hope you will find a moment to respond.

A sincere Indian

Christian Conversions and Attack on Hindu Swami in Orissa

V Sundaram, IAS, Retd.

It is now a known global fact that the mainline English media (both print and electronic) in India are committed every day only to the cause of the reporting of manufactured pseudo events or suitably "tailored’ so called real events. All the time the language of the manufactured story is so designed as to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give as appearance of solidity to pure wind.

In this disgusting situation, we can no longer believe in Abraham Lincoln’s famous maxim: “You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you cannot fool all of the people all the time”. This was the foundation belief of American Democracy.

Such foundation beliefs have been shattered in India in the years after our independence by the coloured, prejudiced, partisan and totally biased and one-sided reporting of all important and sensitive public events by the mainline English media. Lincoln’s appealing slogan rests on two elementary assumptions.

Hindu leader Swami Laxmananand Saraswati lying in hospital in Cuttack after being attacked by Christian marauders at Brahmanaigaon in Kandhamal District on 24 December, 2007. This has been concealed by English media.

First, that there is a clear and visible distinction between sham and reality, between the lies a demagogue would have us believe and the truths which are there all the time.

Second, that the people tend to prefer reality to sham, that if offered a choice between a simple truth and a contrived image, they will prefer the truth. The perverted anti-people working of mass media in India today has made these two assumptions totally irrelevant and even invalid.

All the English Newspapers, without any exception, have reported that VHP, Bajrang Dal and other Hindu outfits are destroying Churches in Orissa and attacking and killing the Christians. They would have us believe that we are back to the Age of the Crusades from 1000 AD to 1500 AD when the Christian Emperors marched to the middle-east to drive out the Muslim Conquerors who had occupied their sacred spots and shrines.

The most important cardinal truth that is being deliberately and mischievously suppressed by the media is the fact that the whole trouble started after the Fanatic Christians attacked SWAMY LAKSHMANANDA SARASWATHI in Christian dominated Brahmanaigaon in Kandhamal District in Orissa on Monday, the 24 December 2007.

On 25 December, 2007 (Tuesday), Hindu Organizations called for Orissa Bandh to protest against the unprovoked attack on Swamy Lakshmananda Saraswathi. Swamy Lakshmananda Saraswathi commented with anguish: “The Christian Padres have wounded Hindu sentiments”. This fact of an assault on Hindu feelings, sentiments, emotions and susceptibilities is of no concern to our mainline English Newspapers and TV Channels.

A grand old-man of more than 80 years Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati has been leading the Anti-Conversion Movement in the undivided Phulbani District of Orissa for several decades. He has served the local tribal people, especially Kandhs, in this District with selfless devotion and public spirit which has won for him the lasting trust and affection of the local people. Saffron-clad Swamiji, with his Ashram at Chakapad, has spread his wings through Seva and Sanskar among the tribal people in the region.

This fact is being suppressed by the anti-national and anti-Hindu and anti-civilization in English media with Islamic tenacity and Christian compassion!

Another local factor that has been hidden from public view relates to continued hostility at Riakia in Kandhamal District over a Church illegally acquiring Government land. With local traders opposing it tooth and nail, there have been attacks and counter-attacks between both the sides. The local Church, using its local Congress and Communist influence, has been concealing its diabolical effort to grab the Government land for its conversion activities.

At the same time through its media influence, it added a conspiracy angle to the attack of the Catholic Church at Raikia by making baseless allegation against Swamy Lakshmananda Saraswati has been the leading figure behind the recent spurt of violence in the area.

As was expected, the Congress Party and the Communist Parties have been demanding the arrest of Swamy Lakshmananda Saraswati. When a political delegation composed of the Secular Brigade of known anti-Hindu political parties – the Congress and the Communists—visited Raikia, the Orissa Gana Parishad President, Bijoy Mohapatra, strongly disagreed from his Congress and communist colleagues over their demand for the Swamiji´s arrest.

Sanjay Kumar Jena, a Correspondent of ORGANISER interviewed Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati to get his perspective on the issue. Here is the transcript of this interview which is revealing:

Organiser Correspondent: You are accused of being a conspirator in the attack on Catholic Church at Raikia?

Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati: I was at Jalaspatta when news of the attack on the Church reached me. I am in no way connected with the incident. But I can well understand the wounded psyche of Hindus against the Church. That might have made the people to attack the Church.

As far as their personal attack on me is concerned, let all the Padres, Popkaks and Palaks of Christianity come together and I will singularly argue with them. Let them come with their allegations on what damage I have done to their places of worship and what they have done to places of our faith. Let there be open debates so that the people can know the truth.
Organiser Correspondent: Hindus are wounded for what?

Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati:<b> There was no problem when Christians were not here in Paikia. With their numbers increasing, they forcefully took away Hindu girls and forced the neo-converts to eat beef. They set several temples on fire. Be it Birupakhya Mahadev´s temple or temple at Malarimaha or my 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. What was the need to do so?</b>

Organiser Correspondent: But they are claiming service activities for the tribals?

Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati: Their only motivation is to convert the innocent tribal people through fraudulent means. 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. Let me ask the Church why in their orphanages they are rearing so many boys and girls?

In the last so many decades the children who have grown up in such orphanages, where have they gone? Have they been sent to foreign countries or sold at a price? Let them explain this. 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. The result has been that the forest cover is depleting day in and day out.

The real and dastardly truth about Orissa has been brought out eloquently by Radha Rajan. Let us hear her words of primordial fire and not secular fireworks: “This by-now habitual twisted coverage of events in Orissa by the print and electronic media calls for some Hindu plain-speaking. One name keeps cropping up repeatedly - that of Congress Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha, Radhakanta Nayak. He 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. I have personally known a lady who was Annalakshmi before tsunami and 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. I am therefore not at all surprised that the Hindus of Orissa are now beginning to summon the will to react against the willful offer of insult to Hindu sensibilities”.

“One only has to look at Chennai to understand what is happening in Orissa. 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”.

“This is what foreign money being pumped into churches in India is doing to society — erect insolent symbols of the church which offends the eye, the heart and the mind of Hindus — towering Jesus Christ statues obstructing the skyline, towering steeples with a cross atop, which is visible form a long distance, new and big churches close to old and popular temples, Christians of all denominations are using foreign money to increasingly put up their religious symbols in what can only be termed offensive and even obscene acts”.

“Christians in India must understand and understand fast that they cannot be protected by the US state department writing its annual vituperative anti-Hindu reports on religious freedom and human rights. Christians can be protected only by the good will of the majority Hindus in whose midst they have to live.

It is time for the country and Hindu organizations in particular to consider that religious freedom enshrined in the constitution has to be matched by a constitutional provision that unequivocally bans religious conversion of Hindus to Abrahamic faiths. Christians have to earn the good will of the Hindus instead of demanding special protection and special rights”.

Despite the machinations of malevolently "anti-Hindu’ mainline English media (both print and electronic) to black out all factual information from public view about Christian violence against Hindus in Orissa, I have gathered absolutely reliable and credible information from ground level first-hand sources to the effect that Swamy Lakshmananda Saraswati, VHP leader in Orissa, was attacked by Christians, fully backed by the global financial resources (apart from the political support of the UPA government in New Delhi) of Congress Rajya Sabha Member and World Vision chief Radha Kant Nayak on the eve of Christmas on 24 December in Kandhamal district.
Therefore, Hindu Jagaran Samukhya (HJS), a frontal organisation of the RSS, has blamed Congress Rajya Sabha member and World Vision chief Radhakanta Nayak for the violence and demanded immediate action against Nayak for being the chief conspirator in the pre-planned murderous attack of the Christians on Swamy Lakshmananda Saraswati.

HJS has also demanded that the State government impose a ban on Radhakanta Nayak’s NGO, working whole time for religious conversion, apart from initiating legal action against him as per law. Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati, the innocent victim of Christian attack, has also accused the Congress MP Radhakanta Nayak of unprovoked violence in the area and attack on him.

He told reporters that "a group of villagers launched an attack on me at the instruction of Nayak. The attack was intended to kill me and thus eliminate me from the scene so that under the leadership of Nayak, the local Christians could carry on their "anti-national and anti-social work’ of illegal conversion without any hindrance in the area. This is the seventh time they have tried to murder me and I have survived because of divine grace.’

Though the Christian goondas did not succeed in their criminal mission, yet they succeeded in causing grievous injuries to the driver and personal security guard of Lakshmananda whose car was badly damaged.

Lakshmananda has been leading the anti-conversion movement in the area. It is not therefore, surprising that a few Christian thugs, who could not tolerate the "Home Coming’ ceremonies organised by the Swamiji, have ruthlessly attacked his convoy, which is uncalled for and unwarranted.

This arrogant action has naturally provoked the majority community in Orissa, which has reacted in the only way the minority understands.

Neither the Congress and other secular parties nor the mainline English media (print and electronic) want to understand the simple fact that our Constitution sanctions "freedom’ only for practising and propagating and certainly not for converting. This fact has been asserted by the Supreme Court of India as well, way back in 1977 itself.

Right from Vivekananda and Aurobindo to Gandhiji and Ambedkar (excepting Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi!) all our national leaders have condemned religious conversions unequivocally and it is the bounden duty of the minorities to respect and adhere not only to their views but also to the letter and spirit of the Constitution. They cannot take advantage of the "tolerance’ shown by the majority community.
The Niyogi Commission which was constituted by the MP government in the mid-50s had also confirmed the dubious methods adopted by the churches and missionaries for the harvesting of souls and it had recommended for a "ban’ on conversions.

The then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who always considered himself to be an English man, was guilty of political cowardice when he used the transitory might of his office to completely suppress the Niyogi Commission report. As a known "Hindu-baiter’ with dubiously double standards, he saw to it that the Niyogi Commission report was treated as contraband opium, without it being tabled in Parliament, in the grandeloquent name of secularism.
This planned "anti-Hindu’ action was obviously aimed at the Christian minority votebank.

But, despite Nehru’s opposition, the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh went on to enact the Anti-Conversion Law! The Christian community leaders must respect the Constitution and the law of the land and should not indulge in anti-national and anti-social conversion activities just because they get an unrestricted flow of unlimited money from abroad and unconditional political support from Congress and other secular parties.
With the advent of the UPA government in 2004, in the last three years, evangelisation has been on the increase throughout the country to an alarming extent and the need of the hour is a stringent "Anti-conversion law.’

The main spirit behind this process of subversive evangelisation has been the Congress party deriving its Christian inspiration from its leader whose contempt and hatred for the Hindus of India has become common knowledge not only in Uttaranjal, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh but throughout the rest of India.

The Supreme Court in a landmark verdict in 1977, (Stanislaus V State of Madhya Pradesh, AIR 1977 SC 908) declared for all time that the fundamental right under Article 25 of Indian Constitution (the freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion) is not an absolute right, unlike some other fundamental rights like protection of life and liberty (Article 21) and right against exploitation (Article 23).

The Supreme Court decided that Article 25 is subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of Part III of the Constitution.

The court also made it clear that the act of "practice’ is concerned primarily with religious worship, ritual and observations. Propagation means the right to communicate beliefs to another person or to expound the tenets of one’s religion, but does not include the right to forcible conversion.

It also said that "propagation’ of one’s religion cannot impinge on the "freedom of conscience’ of other citizens. As a matter of fact, the State of Madhya Pradesh has been having an anti-conversion law in its statute books for the last 40 years and its constitutional validity was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1977 itself.
Despite this, President Pratiba Patil in her capacity as Rajasthan Governor returned the Rajasthan Anti-Conversion Bill which was not only illegal but anti-Constitutional. For this planned "anti-Hindu’ stand, she is being greatly applauded by the "Secular Brigade.’

In spite of this unambiguous legal position relating to illegal conversion made into law by the Supreme Court of India, many commentators, both Indian and foreign, have made erroneous and misleading observations on the constitutional right of freedom of religion and the power of the State to prohibit conversion.

Several elements in the foreign media have been particularly shrill so have been certain elements in the Indian media. They derive their strength, sustenance, stimulation and strength from the open political support of the Congress party and its secular allies in the UPA (Utterly Partisan Autocratic) government. All this points to the fact that there is an imperative public need to initiate a national debate on illegal Christian conversion and the overall socio-political aspects of this explosive subject.

In a local daily, all the known ground level facts relating to the Christian violence against Hinduism in general and the Hindus in particular in Orissa were cleverly, if not mischievously, brushed under the carpet by publishing an editorial under the headline "Protect Minorities’.

A known crusader for legitimate Hindu rights B R Haran has rightly written to the newspaper: In your editorial "Protect Minorities’ you have attempted to connect the Orissa violence with the BJP’s victory in Gujarat, thereby establishing your "secular’ credentials! You have also written as though the Christians of Kandhamal district are noble and good Samaritans from the religion of love and the Hindus of Kandhamal are fundamentalists and hooligans. You have also waxed eloquent on "Constitution’ and "secularism.’ In the process, you have not only not told the truth to your readers but also given a false and biased picture about the goings on in Orissa.

All great historians like Edward Gibbon and Arnold Toynbee and statesmen like Thomas Jefferson have rightly concluded that the Christian church has left a legacy, a world view, that permeates every aspect of western society, both secular and religious.

It is legacy that fosters sexism, racism, intolerance of cultural differences and the destruction of the natural environment. According to them, the church, throughout much of its history, has demonstrated a calculated disregard for human freedom, dignity and self- determination. It has attempted to control, contain and confine spirituality, the relationship between an individual and god.

As a result, Christianity has helped to create a society in which people are alienated not only from each other but also from the divine.

<span style='color:red'>Thou shall not convert </span>

T R Jawahar | Sat, 04 Oct, 2008 , 02:19 PM

A Christian once approached the Kanchi Paramacharya and expressed his wish to embrace Hinduism. The acharya advised him to stay put in his present path; in the revered seer’s world view, one does not have to switch faiths to attain God and can very well achieve the objective through one’s own religion. That in a nutshell is what Hindus call secularism and tolerance. Sadly, they have no reciprocal S & T coming their way. Forget a pastor, even the Pope would find it difficult to pass up such an opportunity to add a soul to his kitty. For that is their worldview, ordained by the Book and its authors.

Clearly, the twain shall never meet. It naturally follows that those faiths that aspire to survive, with their religious places and practices intact, will necessarily have to evolve ways to protect themselves from such predators and their natural instincts. The historic track record, however is that, barring Hinduism and Buddhism, scores of faiths and civilisations have been runover by Christianity and Islam, with nary a trace today. Of course, methods vary from visibly violent jihad to virulent but invisible evangelism, but the motives and mindset shine forth like neon signs. To miss it is to have the intellect of a sheep, and incidentally that’s what the ‘targets’ are referred to as.

But to the basic question: How do Hindus who want to remain Hindus respond? Some tips are on offer from various vested interests. Needless to add, the captains of the conversion brigade would want no response but simple surrender. Secular politicians, for instance, would prefer Hindus to have more doses of the tranquiliser called tolerance and remain sedated so that they, the politicos, that is, can build up their minority vote bank, the only bank that never fails. For much of the media and intellectual elite, primed by McCaulay, even the slightest resistance to conversions is a betrayal of their liberal character even if their conscience, if only rarely, tells them otherwise; they feign sleep without sedation. And for most of the educated middle-class of Bharat conversions do rile and revolt; but coy inhibitions rule and in any case, who has the time and mind to speak up or act? Let down by the State and ostracised by society, it is the poor Hindus who are most vulnerable; while many gullible ones do ‘cross’ over, the multitudes, though mute, have remained immune to missionary mischiefs and stuck to their traditional gods. And of course, the other extreme response is what we are witnessing now in Orissa and elsewhere; the Bajrang Dal brand that none can subscribe to. Apart from the incongruity of their acts with the law of the land, burning down churches is a futile exercise. They simply can’t keep pace with the planting that’s going on and also the media multiplier effect would make even one ravaged prayer hall seem like hundred, in Basha style.

Convert me if you can, challenged Gandhi. Swami Vivekananda’s well thought out and well articulated arguments against conversions will sadly be deemed communal rantings in today’s milieu, but their relevance is most striking. To get more contemporary, Swami Daya-nanda Saraswati treats conversions as the worst form of violence; In his view, you cannot convert someone without belittling his faith and that cuts at his core being. He also dubs conversions as a human rights violation as it interferes with an individual’s right to ‘continue’ practising his own, natural religion. But let’s not invoke such profound beings to fell a petty albeit potent mentality. There are enough arguments within the realms of elementary common sense to effectively counter, both intellectually and at ground zero, the scourge of conversions.

The biggest cover for conversions is the Right to Religious Freedom enunciated in the Constitution. But by elementary English grammar, the right is for ‘me’, in first person singluar; now how can an evangelist exercise my right? But their flippant claim is that right to convert ‘others’ is Constitutional. The misinterpretation and misuse of the Constitution is not just on that count. The Constitution categorically says that the right to religious freedom is subject to ‘morality and public order’. The assumed right to convert all and sundry would fall flat on these counts too. Conversion disturbs all the ‘order’ that a peaceful land and a peace loving person would value: the social order, the demographic order, the political order, the family order and of course, law and order! An individual too goes completely out of order, with his self, with his near and dear, his ancestry and his own lifestyle, all in turmoil. One cannot find a more disruptive phenomenon of life and community, nay, the country itself, than conversion.

We move on to morality, the bedrock of the Bible. Now is it moral to employ questionable means like lures and inducements to bring in the crowd? Again, the preachers claim Christianity to be true religion and the only path to salvation. Can’t a such ‘truth’ to stand alone without the aid of merchants of faith scouring and scavenging the earth for vulnerable folks in distress? Does it have to be purveyed in the market as a sin-cleaning soap to be dumped on unsuspecting soul-sellers? Hinduism too preaches but the idea is not to get converts. Again, conversion by a process of evaluation, which is perfectly fine, is very rare. The evangelists smartly claim that most conversions are voluntary. But mass conversions do happen. Now how is it that a few hundred people have a conscience upheaval at an appointed time? It is also no coincidence that only the poor, the sick and those in the lower rungs of society are ripe targets for conversion. Obviously the inducements and indoctrinations are camouflaged well to skip the law’s eye but obvious enough to catch the potential convert’s! The reality is that evangelism is big business today. There’s nothing even remotely secular or spiritual about it. But to cut a long story short, conversions can be deemed unconstitutional! And even if granted, the right to preach and poach cannot be superior to the target’s right to protect and preserve his beliefs.

Then there is this bogey of minority rights. Does it not offend common sense to say that the minority has the right to become the majority, which in effect is what the vociferous and articulate Christian clergy is claiming through the right to convert’? Again, how can they claim to be minorities when the entire might of global Christianity, its organised international institutions, endless funds and now the European Union itself is sponsoring them? Also, the converts in India have Hindu ancestry and are very much sons of the soil. Granting that one can change one’s faith, can one also convert from being a majority to a minority suddenly? Again, attacks on any place of worship have to be dealt with under law; the crime does not get any worse just because the target is a minority place of worship. But such perversions of minority rights are rampant.

Guess what’s the Pope’s biggest bother today? Christians converting to Islam in Europe! To hear some eternal pearls of wisdom on the ills of conversion one can just tune in to him. The hypocrisy would be apparent. For while the resourceful reverends would happily harvest neighbours’ fields, it’s taboo for others to graze on their own pastures. I rest my case. Amen!

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(Courtesy: Talk Media)



<span style='color:red'>Spare the ‘sinners’! </span>

T R Jawahar | Sat, 11 Oct, 2008 , 03:22 PM

As a columnist I have a marked distaste for back to back sequels. But with bouquets and brickbats flying thick and fast over last week’s article on religious conversions, the Pandora’s box will perforce have to remain open this week too.

I am grateful for the bouquets but the brickbats will naturally merit most attention.The reactions on that count vary from the extremely violent to soft censure to righteous indignation.For some I dont have answers and rue my limitations. Yet, that does not in anyway dilute the basic assertions: Conversions are a mass endeavour, all denominations indulge in them with varying degrees of success, the convertors derive divine sanction on the basis of a superior god and a super salvation, huge funds that can pale MNCs are at their disposal and the methods are by no means fair and by all means foul. And the unkindest cut comes when the predators in search of prey preach from the pulpit, delivering secular sermons to the truly tolerant. For, if the ‘targets’ were communal they would have given the boot to the evangelists who claim an exclusive franchise to faith and God, long before the Bajrang Dals were even born. If saying this is to fuel ‘communal fires’, well, the original sin of starting it all, at least, does not lie with me. Now over to the devil’s advocate.

Many have blamed the overzealous evangelists. But I sincerely believe there is scriptural sanction to convert too. In any case, that’s how the high priests down the ages have interpreted the word ‘propoagate’. The insistence on religious freedom in non-Christian lands is only a ruse to usher in the ‘true faith’. And this not just a Protestant ploy as some others have suggested. The urge to convert transcends denominations. Many would not know Robert Di Nobili. He was a medieval Roman Catholic who set shop in Madurai. Having failed to make even a dent in that seat of Hindu religiosity he hit upon an ingenious, albeit evil, project. He sported a sacred thread with a cross dangling from it, raised a tuft (kudumi) and announced himself as a Roman Brahmin. He even forged a document to ‘prove’ that he was a descendant of Brahma and claimed that the Bible was the fifth Veda! The imposter soon flourished and was said to have converted over a lakh. And the Pope of his time blessed him, notwithstanding the liberties with morality of means!

The spirit of Nobili is still alive and kicking. Four hundred years hence, in 1969 the Catholic Bishops conference of India sent a proposal to the Vatican seeking to include Hindu religious practices for worship by the newly enrolled faithful. The Vatican not only put the seal of approval but even issued detailed guidelines. Some samples: genuflection may be replaced by the profound bow with the anjali hasta, folding of hands ...footwear may be removed also ... kissing of objects may be replaced by touching with one’s fingers or palm of one’s hands and bringing the hands to one’s eyes or forehead ...angavastra could replace the traditional vestments of the Roman rite...the corporal can be replaced by a tray or Thamboola thattu...oil lamps can replace candles ...single aarti, washing of hands can be used to welcome... All these pass under lofty labels like Inculturation or Indigenisation for what is essentially impersonation. That Christianity would become more heathen than even the heathen seems to be of no concern. But if the idea is to project that faith as totally Indian with its own hoary Indian history and Indian flavour, then why claim minority status?

There is also this familiar argument that it is the rigid and oppressive caste system that feeds the evangelists and fetches them the converts. Well, the other side is not greener either. Sample this letter to the editor written by a Dalit woman and published in a super secular newspaper over a decade back: ‘Anyone who is aware of the rural social scenario will agree with me that Dalit Christians get the same treatment as Hindu Dalits. Adding salt to injury, they are also looked down upon in their own religion ... Is it proper that few upper caste communities corner all the benefits under the pretext of minority rights and corner power? Is it proper to seek funds from abroad under the guise of evangelism and social uplift by selling Dalits’ shame and helplessness in the West? Is it proper to attach caste surnames to their Christian names and identify more with caste than Christ? Is it proper to allot separate places in the Churches...’ The litany of woes is long!

The cold fact is converts to Christianity continue to be ‘caste’ in the same mould. However, I won’t say Christianity has failed them. But, nevertheless, it is a fact that the original promises were downright fraudulent. Really, there is a crying need for reform in every religious society, nay the whole of humanity, which wallows in discriminations of all kinds. But conversions are not the solution, for it could only be a jump from the frying pan to the fire. Also, I would not want someone, whose own house is in disorder, to try and set my house in order. Particularly when his motive is to benefit from my disarray, like that proverbial monkey and two cats. Indeed, with four fingers pointing inwards, it is better if every religion addresses its ills.

My own instinctive revulsion to conversion, be it individual or mass and be it owing to conviction, for convenience or for cash, stands undiminished. I have my grouses with my god, but I find no reason to shift loyalties, certainly not for better material prospects. My understanding of religion precludes that. Religion is premised on the existence of a higher power and guides one in realising and understanding it. It is an intensely personal affair and there could be as many paths as there are humans. Therefore, despite my own theological convictions, I have no problems when a neighbour worships a different god. Nor is my God worried either. He is not jealous but self-confident enough to say that ‘in whatever form you worship me, I will be there’. If still one loses faith in that higher power, one can become an atheist at best, the only conversion that looks logical. Also religion being a personal pursuit of truth it cannot be held accountable for the State’s failures on the social and economic front, as well as one’s own follies. Again, for one to lose faith and reject, he should have studied his religion first. And for him to embrace another, he should have studied that too. How many have that mental faculty? Is one lifetime enough to fathom the Vedas and the Bible? Indeed, most, if not all conversions are knee-jerk!

Let me assure critics, I am not alone in this, er., communal outlook. Conversion is resented by most, though they may not say so out of courtesy. But that courtesy should not be mistaken for consent.The provocations are dire, the hurt is deep and the repurcussions could be damning. Hindus have been slapped on both cheeks and have no more cheek to spare. In fact, it is time conversion too is added to the list of sins that the Vatican releases from time to time. For, instead of loving, it hurts ‘thy neighbour’ who loves his own God! And no more sequels ...for now!

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(Courtesy: Talk Media)



<b>Don't convert!</b>

A rejoinder (11 Oct. 2008) by Dr. Mrs. Hilda Raja to the article "Don't target converts" by Michael Pinto in the 'Times of India' dated 8 October 2008.

'Don't target Converts 'by Michael Pinto (TOI 8th OCT) poses many questions than it answers. No amount of provocation can justify violence is easily said but humanly not easy to follow. All are not Gandhians or Jesus to show the left cheek when slapped on the right. Some countries follow a justice system which is based on 'eye for an eye'. Aggressive policy of conversion followed by some fundamentalist churches and fundamental Christians cannot justify taking law into one's hand and no amount of provocation can justify violence is correct theoretically and logically.

But if such logic rules the hearts and minds of men/women why is there so much of violence in the world? Why do countries violate the rights of other countries? Why do law makers turn into law breakers? Why do those in the Khaki who have to operate the law on the streets become violators of human rights? In the midst of such oppression, exploitation can we expect the people to meekly be submissive and subservient? Or is the author's theory held good only in the provocation rising in the business of conversion?

When Indira Gandhi was assassinated why thousands of Sikhs were butchered in the capital? Was it not justified by the Congress party? When the Brahmin pundits were killed and chased away from their homes in the Valley and forced to become refugees in their own country under ethnic cleansing no voices were raised against such an abuse and violation? When a holy man held in great reverence was brutally murdered with his three disciples in his own ashram will the author's theory be strong enough to hold back the emotional, social, and religious upheaval of the hurt psyche?

Every action has a reaction. When a nun is raped then all hell breaks loose-Daily children are sexually violated and raped and murdered, no protest voice is heard -no church rallies are held, no Archbishop/bishop rebukes Chief Ministers and express pain and anguish. And no EU raises the issue with the PM in a foreign land.

So Christians have global brokers and Christian lives become sacred and the PM is accountable to foreign powers for their safety.-the lives of others can be snuffed out without even a whimper. What is the root cause of this warped perception but religion? This is not to down play the rape of the nun but to point out that it is a harsh world we are living in and to high light the discrimination in our perception. Does a crime become more heinous because the victim belongs to a particular religion?

'Terrorists do not belong to any one community knows no religion', pontificates our political leaders. Is this again reserved only when it comes to the terrorists of the Minority community? It must be said that violence is nurtured within religious ghettos, madrassas, and only religions/beliefs are strong enough to provoke and sanctify spilling of the blood of the innocents. It is in the name of religion that the world had witnessed violence, genocide, torture and oppression and a Talibanism justifying the imposition of religious domination and curtailment of the rights of humans.

It is a utopia that Michael Pinto is envisaging when he states that no amount of provocation can justify violence. This is armchair wistful thinking. When the Christians were oppressors this theory vanished. The tables are turned and when there is an assertion of the Hindus to retain their culture, their religion and their heritage then the drum beating of the Constitutional guarantees is heard. It is the right of the Hindus to protect the Hindu ethos of this country which they feel is threatened. Was Art 30 not enacted to ensure the Right of the Minorities to establish manage and administer institutions to safeguard their ethos?

It is shocking that politicians are equating the Bajrang Dal and the VHP with the SIMI. The latter is a terror outfit with its branches now functioning in new names.

The suspects belonging to these outfits are involved in serial blasts all over the country, they are trained in Pakistan and in POK .These are anti national outfits.

What is the purpose/aim of these serial blasts-killing of innocent people who are about their daily business? The aim is to destabilize the country, create panic and insecurity and unrest within the country. Why was Parliament targeted? And who were behind it? But the same cannot be said of Bajrang Dal and the VHP. They are nationalists-they may be attacking a particular community for reasons of their own- the root cause being forced conversion and a reaction to the denigration of the Hindu gods and goddesses. Those involved in such violence and criminal activities must be apprehended and brought to justice. But where is the justification to demand a ban on such outfits? This is indulging in vote bank politics. Till date not a single terrorist has been brought to justice. The reality of wars, underworld dons killing, custodial deaths, political bosses unleashing terror against their opponents are all part of the harsh reality of today's world.

Conversion from time immemorial has a concomitant-violence. Indian history is replete with it. The oppression, force, torture, massacre of the Indians to convert them to Islam, and Christianity is not a fable. The Inquisition and all that it wrought is world record. Again it is in the name of religion. What you sow you reap.

Violence begets violence-this is nature's order. In 'don't target converts' the author finds it strange that converts are targeted in a country which constitutionally upholds the right to preach and propagate one's religion. But then to preach and propagate one's religion does not mean to force and use fraudulent means to pressurize people to change from one religion to another. I am shocked that in this context the author compares inducements like 'buy one and get one free' in the market of commodities, to faith changing. If the market goods can be sold with inducements why not it be extended to faith and belief changing is the author's argument. Can faith and belief be brought to the market level of sales of commodities? By this analogy the author accepts that there is inducement. Money is flowing from foreign based churches and the gods of these churches need recruits-the greater the strength the greater the power of these gods and hence the brokers of these gods are all out targeting the poor. The inducement-a plate of rice, a loaf of bread to the hunger, shelter for the homeless, and also the promise of the green pastures in the next world-The strategy has first an entry point-first denigrate, abuse, degrade and demolished their gods and icons. Second instill in these victims the doubt that their gods are false and then promise to lead them to the true god. A vulnerable victim, with a vacuum inner self is then ready for the initiation into a "New Life"/to be "Born Again". The false propaganda is vicious because of its attack on another religion. This kind of provocation is not easy to overlook because human nature is to refute and repel this atrocious slander/blasphemy.

What will the author say if one prints pamphlets that the mother of Jesus was a prostitute and Jesus' birth was not a virgin birth? That after her marriage Joseph found her pregnant and toyed with the idea of putting her away. Only the intervention of an angel restrained him from taking such a drastic action. This is what the bible narrates. Will the Catholic Church and other fund churches sit back and humbly submit to such provocation? When posters depicting Jayalalitha as a Virgin Mary appeared in Chennai there were massive rallies and protests. But if Madhuri Dixit is depicted as Durga and the goddess is painted nude it comes under the freedom of expression of a painter. Only difference is that the same painter will not dare to let his artistic acumen and constitutional right to freedom of expression to depict Allah even in the best form. This is how we perceive the operation of guarantees/Rights enshrined in our Constitution

If opting for a "New Life"/ "Born Again", demands discarding of one's culture, social practices, adapting a western life style and adapting western forms of worship then the convert becomes an alien to the Indian/Hindu 'ethos', and is sucked into a process of alienation. This has other ramifications. Why did East Timor break away from Indonesia when its Christian population swelled to 27percent just in a matter of ten years? Similarly in our own context the partition of India was based on the theory that two religions-Islam and Hinduism cannot co-exist as a nation-that was the contention of then Muslims leaders. World history and Indian history is replete with the experience that 'peace cannot co-exist with conversion. The reason being conversion has an inbuilt violence: physical, psychological, social and cultural. It may even abet one to be anti-national.

At times church laws and rules are in variance with national rules and laws. The Christians and the Muslims have their own Personal laws. Whom will the Christians take orders from-their respective church leaders or the government of India when it comes to a national decision? When loyalties of a person are divided and clash then the likelihood of becoming a victim to schizophrenia. A leader from Kashmir proclaimed on the floor of the Parliament that he is a Muslim and an Indian. No Muslim/Christian will state, 'I am first an Indian and then a Muslim/Christian'. One can change one's religion but not one's nationality into which one is born. Politicians too have abetted this by not addressing citizens but focusing on communal/caste/religious divide.

Another aspect to be noted in the business of conversion is that conversions are made even in proxy. A few years ago in Trichy district of Tamilnadu a whole list of names were produced in paper and the bishop of that evangelical church baptized them in absentia! Would this qualify as conversion? I belong to the Catholic Church and my understanding of conversion is that it is a process-a life long search for truth. Conversion is a private affair and not a street tamasha-neither is it an activity intended to swell numbers. It is not that conversion is from one religion to another the Fundamentalist churches poach on the grounds of other Christian sects. So the Jesus of one church is different from the Jesus of another. This creates also distrust and disharmony among the Christian community. Freedom is always accompanied by restrictions. Freedom is restricted when it encroaches the freedom of others and of a whole society. Rights are not hierarchically.

When conversions are a threat to peace then it needs to be banned. Like the curfew order-the ban to strike etc. The million dollar question is why conversion? Is it a prerequisite for development work? Why are the foreign agencies funding conversion activities? It is strange that the fundamental Christians and the churches to which they belong do not turn their attention and energy in this salvation ensuring business to the Muslims. Development and upliftment of the poor is the camouflage of evangelization all the more why the need for the churches to work with the Muslims. Because according to Sachar report the Muslims are the lowest in India-both economically and educationally. Is it not strange that not a single Muslim has been converted? According to Michael Pinto the Christian population has fallen from 2.6 percent in 1971 to 2.3 percent in 2001.This does not mean that lakhs are not converted by the hundreds of fundamental churches that have mushroomed in the country. Today we are one billion so what does the 2.3 indicate in absolute numbers? When one reviews numbers a few other indicators must also be listed-Christians follow Family planning, the celibacy of nuns and priests, and the fact that most of the converts for the sake of reservation and other benefits retain the religion and the caste in which they were born on records.

Conversion has been commercialized by the Fundamentalistic churches. The number of converts is co-related to the quantum of funds that flow in. This must not be overlooked. Why not ban foreign funds and watch how evangelization evaporates? All laws have their accompanying lacunae/loopholes and difficulties in implementation, do we on such grounds fight shy of enacting laws? Conversions must be banned to ensure peace and harmony. Let us give peace a chance-for peace and conversion cannot co-exist.

Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,
(Former member of the National Advisory committee of the CBCI)

<b>Murder of Mahatma by the Church</b>

By Ashok Sahu, IPS (Retd.),

Former Addl. Director General of Police

On the 23rd August, while doing pooja on Janmasthami, the most sacred day for Hindus, militant Christians entered into the Ashram premises at about 8.00 p.m. and pumped bullets from an AK-47 assault rifle on the frail body of an 84 years old Swamijee (Vedanta Keshari Swami Laxanananda Saraswati) at Jalespata Vanabashi Kanyashram in Kondhmal District of Orissa. After killing him brutally the Christian assailants have cut various parts of Swamijee's body by chisel and axe, it appears. Along with him others who tried to rescue Swamijee got killed are Sadhwi Bhakti Mata who was in over all charge of the Kalyan Ashram, Kishore Baba, Amritanand Baba and a visitor guardian of an inmate of the school. The dead body of Matajee was also defiled by cut injuries which was most brutish and nasty.

Swamijee had received a threatening letter which he could read only the previous evening on his return from routine tour for religious preaching. He had sought security from the local police against imminent danger to his life by a written prayer to the authorities including the District Magistrate on 23rd August. The media had broadcast on apprehensions to his life during morning news bulletins on the very fateful 23rd August.

Hardly one month back, at Tumudibandh, two kilometers from his Jalespata Ashram, there was armed attack by a group of Christians when he was protesting against Cow-slaughter in the area. In the violence one of his disciples Madhu Baba had sustained fatal cut injuries. Following the incident the State Government had deployed one platoon of armed CRPF personnel to guard his Ashram round the clock. Swamijee, in addition to these arrangements, had an armed security person to protect him during his tours who was mysteriously absent at the time of attack.

It may be mentioned that the personal security man Bhubaneswar Jani who was replaced by an emaciated, cowardice constable by the local S.P. only five days prior to the attack, was serving Swamijee for more than 10 months most sincerely jeopadising his own life. During armed attack by militant Christians on the 24th December 2007 at Daringbadi for which he was hospitalized along with Swamijee with fatal injuries. In that connection, though the Police has registered a case vide 83/07 u/s 147/148/353/323/324/307/426/149 IPC the culprits are still at large with impunity. Prior to this there were nine more attacks on Swamijee's life and consistently the assailants were all recently converted Christians in the area. It is evident that the Catholic Church and the Baptist Church by conversion was gradually criminalizing the local youth. Few of them were also encouraged to join the Maoist group of terrorists which was proved by the way Bamunigaon Police Station was attacked and the subsequent raids in non-descript Sikarama village during December violence there, that led to recovery of more than 20 guns in a single tiny village.

What is surprising is that similar raids were not conducted in other villages where there is pillage of fire-arms. More suspicious is the withdrawal of the CRPF from the Ashram and replacing the PSO to the Swamijee only five days prior to the murderous attack on 23rd August. Danger to the life of Swamijee was mounting every day since the abortive attempt on his life in last December.According to reliable sources, there was a secret meeting on 9th August 2008 in the Community Centre at Raikia attended by activists representing Church based NGOs like the World Vision, Jana Kalyan Samiti, NISWAS, ASHA, Sahara, Palli Shree, Jana Vikash etc. who regularly receive huge funds from abroad. It was also attended by Nakul Nayak, former M.P. from the ruling BJD, Krushna Para Seth the former Block Chairman from Tumdibandh, Alfansoe Baliyar Singh a notorious militant Christian from Raikia, advocate Manas Singh who was to bring activists from Bamunigaon and Daringbadi in a vehicle specifically provided by Archbishop C.Raphel. It was resolved in the meeting to eliminate Swamijee who was 'an insurmountable obstacle against conversion and cow-slaughter in the area'.Simultaneously, they felt that by philanthropic activities among the Kondh tribes in the District he was dissuading the vulnerable poor and illiterate tribe and Panas in the area from falling prey to the allurements and fraud by the Church authorities.

Sources reveal that on the 13th August a letter purportedly written by 'Pahadia' group of people was circulated addressed to the Swamijee that his life would not be spared, that too, within a week. Copies were supposed to be sent to the State Chief Minister, DGP, District Magistrate, District S.P. etc. besides the Swamijee and some other targets. A similar closed door meeting was reportedly held on 20th August in the Jana Kalyan Samiti at Jatani (Khurda) attended among others by Father Bijoy Nayak from Baliguda Church and Ajay Singh of Khurda, where it was decided to eliminate Swamijee, come what may. On the 23rd August night they succeeded in killing him as per their planned conspiracy.

The government had clear knowledge and the authorities had detailed information, but instead of reinforcing the security arrangements, it appears that they colluded with the killers. What has failed to convince is the glaring gap in alacrity with which the Orissa Police had rounded up 63 suspects in Graham Staines murder case within 24 hours of the alleged murder and their utter failure to arrest even a single culprit even after four days of the murder of Swamijee.People of Orissa expressed their ire against the government during the dawn to dusk bundh in the most unprecedented manner for the government attributed this murder to the Naxal Maoists within minutes of the incidents. They were reminded of the callousness of the Chief MinisterNaveen Patnaik who had made a similar statement accusing the Maoists when DIG Jasvir Singh was killed but later it was revealed by subsequent investigation that the DIG was killed by his own PSO from Orissa Police.

When there was prior information on danger to life of Swamijee, so much so that, the local TV channels trumpeted the whole day urging the government to save the Swamijee from imminent attack, the government apparently colluded with the killers and in order to prove his self-claimed 'secular credentials' the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is over active to safeguard the Christian minorities from the onslaught by the enraged Hindus whole over the State. Now the question is, why should the government first create a situation by a series of 'omissions and commissions' later in order to prove his 'secular credentials' try to protect the endangered minorities. There can not be a greater embarrassment for the ruling alliance BJP who can not escape the moral responsibility of being a party to these omissions and commissions on the part of the coalition government.

It is a ghastly incident and a challenge to the advocates of pseudo-secularism that the majorities are discriminated against, to keep the minorities appeased. The pseudo secularists have proved more Christian than Pope in upholding Christianity in India. The unprecedented response to the bundh called by Hindu organizations in Orissa indicated the shape of things to come. No government how powerful it may be can function with out the co-operation from the people. Peoples elected representatives in Orissa have legislated for the first time in independent India, the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act, 1967 to prevent conversion by fraud, allurements, cheating, bribery and misrepresentation. It was challenged by all the Churches in the country in the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Bench of the apex court upheld its validity and said that right to propagate does not include right to convert.

Swamijee was only insisting that the Act should be strictly followed in the State. He came to Kondhmal District because there was utter poverty and illiteracy in the district with more than 70% of its population as tribals who are below the poverty line. He came there in 1967 and continued till his murder by Christians on 24th in August 2008.

Similarly, Orissa was the first to enact against cow-slaughter in 1964 as per Directive Principles in the Part-IV of the Constitution. Swamijee had made the motto of his life mission to make Orissa free of conversion as well as cow-slaughter. These two Acts legislated by Orissa Assembly reflect the sentiments of Orissa people for implementation by subsequent governments.

So long as these Acts are in the statute book, it is the constitutional responsibility of the government of the day to execute strictly. But the government has miserably failed. The government did not co-operate, rather criminally neglected in saving the life one man who preferred to lay down his life for the common cause.

The Church is supposed to preach The Gospels, ironically criminalizes the youth and with foreign funding indulges in conversion by-passing the law. Hindus in Orissa are not against any particular community or religion. They do not want any other religion to disturb their faith and social harmony by taking advantage of poverty and illiteracy in their society. Irate Hindus when, as a last resort react, at times, with violence; the advocates of 'secularism' cry for protection. Is it not time enough to stop conversion and cow-slaughter as a respect for the majority living in the country as a lasting measure to ensure peace and harmony in the society?

As this brutal murder is directly linked with the series of incidents right from December 2007, until and unless the State Police detects the right culprits and bring them to book with out further loss of time, peoples already shaken trust on the government can not be restored and peace in the civil society can not come back.

Should the government at the centre and the state want a permanent solution to these types of communal repercussions in future, they must concentrate in stopping illegal conversion, put a check on the church based NGOs, stop cow-slaughter strictly in Orissa and manage the forest land and tribal land problems with tribal welfare as the sole yardstick.This would also serve as a fitting tribute to the departed soul of Swamijee who has immortalized himself by laying down his life on the altar of the motherland.

Ashok Sahu, IPS (Retd.)
Former Addl. Director General of Police.
E-mail: ashok.sahu53@gmail.com .
<b> India gets its first woman saint</b>

<img src='http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45101000/jpg/_45101273_popeap216.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->A Catholic nun, Sister Alphonsa, has been made India's first female saint, at an event presided over by Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican.

The canonisation was greeted with delight by Christians in the southern Indian state of Kerala, where Sister Alphonsa lived until her death in 1946.

As the Pope declared Sister Alphonsa to be a saint, church bells rang out and firecrackers were set off in celebration in her normally sleepy home town.

Thousands of worshippers had crowded around the small church there to watch the ceremony, which was broadcast live from Rome.

They heard the Pope say that his prayers were with India's tiny Christian minority at the moment.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Hinduism vs. Christianity in India</b>
Maino is issuing a coin with sister mango on it
You got any links Shambhu,


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Papal disinformation</b>
The Pioneer Edit Desk
<b>Benedict XVI has insulted every Indian</b>
In using the solemn and sacred occasion on Sunday, October 12, of the canonisation of Sister Alphonsa, the first Indian-born Catholic saint, to make gratuitous and exaggerated remarks about the condition of Christians in India, Pope Benedict XVI has done himself and his high office a huge disservice. Most of all he has hurt the sentiments of millions of Indian Christians who live here as equal citizens with full constitutional guarantees and don’t need a foreign religious leader, especially one who doubles as a temporal head of state, to seek guarantees on their behalf. Making sweeping generalisations, refusing to understand the context and nuances of the situation in Karnataka and Orissa, the Pope has presented a one-sided picture of a ‘hapless’ minority being persecuted by a ‘dominant’ Hindu majority. From the Inquisition to the hounding of Galileo — a scientist whose incarceration and humiliation, solely because he said the Earth moved around the Sun and not the other way round, Benedict XVI has justified even recently — the Catholic Church’s hierarchy understands the establishment-dissent equation only in black and white terms. As such, the Pope has taken his pre-conceived notions and decided to impose them upon India. There is no question that some Hindu activists have gone over the top, are guilty of terrible violence, and need to be punished. Yet, is the issue of induced and fraudulent conversions — of Christian pastors buying up market share — not one that exercises the Vatican? Does the Pope justify and support hate-filled evangelist literature that denigrates Hindu gods and goddesses and abuses nativist spiritual traditions? This remains the crux of the crisis in Karnataka. The Pope and his close followers, remember, criticised the Da Vinci Code and wanted it banned for hurting Christian sentiments. <b>Are Hindu sentiments, on the other hand, fair game? </b>

Not every conflict in the world is impelled by just religious difference. That simplistic and highly flawed correlation is only made by such minds as Osama bin Laden. The Pope, surely, must see things with greater intellectual sophistication. In Orissa, the ethnic conflict between an aboriginal tribal group and a ‘lower caste’ group pre-existed their formal categorisation as Hindu and Christian. In Assam, to cite an instance the Pope may never have heard of, the battle between Bodos and Bangladeshi settlers is at one level a clash between a locally-rooted community and recent immigrants; at another level, it is a tussle between Christians (the religion of the organised Bodo leadership) and Muslims. Does the Pope now expect the King of Saudi Arabia, as Protector of the Holy Mosque, to write to him, as head of the Vatican, to get Bodo Christians to stop fighting with Assamese residents of Bangladeshi origin?

The most disappointing has been the response of the Indian Catholic clergy, which has completely let down the laity. It is content saying one thing to political parties in private, another to the media in public, and is glad to live off the borrowed publicity —- or notoriety — of Benedict XVI’s unfortunate remarks. As for the Pope himself, he began his reign speaking of Christian values being fundamental to European civilisation and identity. Yet, it is increasingly apparent he is not willing to use those parameters to define other civilisations, certainly not to appreciate the centrality of Hinduism to the Indic civilisation. India cannot help feeling let down.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
HAF's letter to NY Times
<b>Christians, SC/STs uphold conversion as constitutional right</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->"Taking away the right to convert will have grave consequences," said noted Christian leader John Dayal, who is a member of the National Integration Council.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Conversations with foreign-funded charity</b>
<b>Sudheendra Kulkarni </b>
Posted online: Oct 12, 2008

Has the time come for the Government to set up a National Commission to investigate religious conversions in India? Certainly. Let the Nation know how many conversions have taken place from—and into—Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism and other faiths since 1947. Let the commission throw light on the districts where, and how, significant changes in religious demography have taken place, and whether conversions have created resentment and social disharmony in their wake.

An unbiased commission would reveal three irrefutable facts: (1) Christianity accounts for the largest number of converts; (2) Christian organisations conduct service activities—schools, hospitals, poverty-alleviation programmes, relief during calamities, etc.—with exemplary dedication and professionalism. However, some of them, though not all, make the conversion agenda a part of their seva agenda; (3) Foreign funds supporting these charitable activities have greatly aided conversions.

Take, for example, the following information, pertaining to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), available on the website of the Union Home Ministry. During 2005-06, Rs 7,877 crore was received by way of foreign donations to various NGOs, up from Rs 5,105 crore in 2003-04. Tamil Nadu (Rs 1,610 crore) and Andhra Pradesh (Rs 1,011 crore) were among the highest recipients. The highest foreign donors were Gospel Fellowship Trust USA (Rs 229 crore), Gospel for Asia (Rs 137 crore), Foundation Vincent E Ferrer, Spain (Rs 104.23 crores) and Christian Aid, UK (Rs 80.16 crores). The largest recipients were World Vision (Rs 256 crore), Caritas India (Rs 193 crore), Rural Development Trust Andhra Pradesh (Rs 127 crore), Churches Auxiliary for Social Action (Rs. 95.88 crores) and Gospel For Asia (Rs. 58.29 crore). The funds received by some of these organisations have trebled or quadrupled in just three years since the formation of the UPA Government.

If the official Christian population in India is barely 3 per cent, why do Christian NGOs receive the largest share of foreign funds? From Christian organisations that are known to support evangelism in many Asian countries?

In my travels in Karnataka, my home state, I have seen significant conversions to Christianity having taken place in recent years wherever World Vision and other foreign-funded NGOs started their charitable activities. Kannada newspapers in the past few weeks have carried graphic accounts of how proselytisation is packaged with charity, especially targeting vulnerable sections of society. There is resentment in Assam against World Vision's flood-relief operations in Majuli, a large island in the Brahmaputra and a sacred seat of the Vaishnava monastery of Sankara Deva, the great reformist saint.

Tripura is one of the Indian states where, as the CPI(M) Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has himself acknowledged, the foreign-funded Baptist church supports subversive activities, including the conversion of tribals. The church-backed separatist outfit, National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), gunned down 16 Hindus at a marketplace in West Tripura district on January 13, 2002, on the eve of Makar Sankranti, an incident that went largely uncommented by the national media.

The Internet has many reports about Buddhist resentment against World Vision and other evangelical bodies operating in Mongolia, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar and even Tibet, "using unethical methods, under the guise of being charitable organisations, to buy converts in Asia". The Australian, a leading newspaper of Australia, reported on December 24, 2005: "Tensions between Muslims and Western aid workers have begun to erupt in Aceh as the tsunami-devastated Indonesian province (where 170,000 people died) slowly recovers. Islamic activists have claimed that aid workers are secretly attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity, pointing particularly to World Vision, the International Catholic Mission and Church World Service."

Lt Col A.S. Amarasekera, a Sri Lankan Buddhist activist, has expressed the following fear: "While everyone is focusing their minds on the LTTE problem, we Sinhalese Buddhists are pitted against another force as dangerous: the dangers that the Sinhalese Buddhist way of life will have to face due to conversions in the near future. What happened in South Korea, where the 80 per cent Buddhist population was reduced to 18 per cent in five decades, will be repeated here¿ It (is) proved beyond reasonable doubt that World Vision, an American-funded Christian evangelical organisation, was surreptitiously trying to convert Sinhalese Buddhists into Christianity."

The recent attacks on churches in Orissa and elsewhere have been justifiably condemned by all patriotic individuals. However, as I stated in my column last week, a distinction must be made between a violent campaign against our Christian brethren and a non-violent, democratic campaign against organised conversions using foreign funds. I happened to participate in a remarkable inter-religion conference on conversions organised by the Vatican in collaboration with the World Council of Churches, Geneva, a Protestant body, in Lariano (Italy) in May 2006. Let me mention here some of the recommendations in a report unanimously adopted by the conference.

• "While everyone has a right to invite others to an understanding of their faith, it should not be exercised by violating other's rights and religious sensibilities. At the same time, all should heal themselves from the obsession of converting others."

• "Freedom of religion enjoins upon all of us the equally non-negotiable responsibility to respect faiths other than our own, and never to denigrate, vilify or misrepresent them for the purpose of affirming superiority of our faith."

• "Errors have been perpetrated and injustice committed by the adherents of every faith. Therefore, it is incumbent on every community to conduct honest self-critical examination of its historical conduct as well as its doctrinal/theological precepts. Such self-criticism and repentance should lead to necessary reforms inter alia on the issue of conversion."

• "A particular reform that we would commend to practitioners and establishments of all faiths is to ensure that conversion by 'unethical' means are discouraged and rejected by one and all. There should be transparency in the practice of inviting others to one's faith."

• "While deeply appreciating humanitarian work by faith communities, we feel that it should be conducted without any ulterior motives. In the area of humanitarian service in times of need, what we can do together, we should not do separately."

• "No faith organisation should take advantage of vulnerable sections of society, such as children and the disabled."

• "We see the need for and usefulness of a continuing exercise to collectively evolve a 'code of conduct' on conversion, which all faiths should follow."

Why shouldn't there be a sustained and sincere all-religion debate in India on an anti-conversion law in the spirit of the above recommendations?

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Religious peace threatened in South Korea

Note the similarities to India, the way they divide society and destroy indigenous culture.
<b>Christians, SC/STs uphold conversion as constitutional right</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->"Taking away the right to convert will have grave consequences," said noted Christian leader John Dayal, who is a member of the National Integration Council.

Yeah, grave consequences for you and your kind, "John": no more $$$ from Papa..

<b>Ford Foundation looks for new generation of social justice leaders</b>
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Express News Service Posted: Oct 17, 2008 at 0052 hrs IST
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Related Stories: Gujarat school students to master the mathematics of 64 squaresSoaring textbook prices push students to leave school‘Radio communication should be made optional at schools’CBI probe sought into Continuing Education ProgrammeSVIT students celebrate Vision 2008
Ahmedabad, October 16 : The Ford Foundation International Fellowships Programme (IFP) on Thursday invited applications for its 2009 programme.

The programme seeks to build a new generation of social justice leaders in India and abroad by offering opportunities for quality higher education. The deadline for submitting applications is November 15, 2008.

Forty candidates will be selected following an intensive search and selection process for a Master’s degree at a university abroad or in India. The applicant must be an Indian or a permanent resident of India, living in Gujarat, Bihar, Chhatisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh or Uttarakhand.

The applicant must also be a graduate with at least three years’ work experience relevant to his field of study. The eligible fields of study include social science, arts and humanities. Graduates belonging to Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe Other Backward Classes, religious minorities as well as women and the physically challenged, are encouraged to apply.

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“The programme is specially designed to support candidates from groups that have historically lacked access to higher education,” said Vivek Mansukhani, Director, Ford Foundation International Fellowships. “There is an increasing need for sound education for committed people who would normally not have access to quality and focused education. IFP is making a long-term investment to fill this gap,” he said.

The programme became active in India seven years ago, and will last only till 2010. Till now, 240 students have received the fellowship in India, while 160 completed their fellowship. About 75 per cent of the 160 alumni are back in India to serve the country.

The programme started in Gujarat three years ago. Till now, 15 candidates have been selected from the state and 10 have completed their fellowship. “We want to create opportunities for real social and economic change through a network of grassroots workers,” said Mansukhan.

Arjun Rathva, an IFP alumnus from Gujarat said: “The course helped me understand education from the perspective of development. It will be very useful in my work as a resident director at the Adivasi Academy in Tejgadh, Vadodara, and as a teacher at the SMCR Arts College, Pavitjetpur, Gujarat University.”

Through the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Programme, Rathva completed his Master’s of Arts in Development and Education Studies from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom.

The application forms are available at www.ifpsa.org.

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