How and why have we allowed this Game Of Religious Conversions to continue unabated ?
Mizoram, Nagaland and Meghalaya are now considered as Christian states.It is not just because their Christian population is more than 90 percent ,but also that the Church plays a crucial role in their socio-political landscape .Right from the question of Prohibition in Mizoram and Nagaland ,to raising voice in favour of beef consumption, to tactical voting against the BJP in many places, the Church is the paramount power in these North-eastern states.We have seen how leaders of Mizo National Front,Congress and Zoram People’s Movement flock to seek Church’s blessings before the elections .One might argue that these are small states but they represent actual real estate which is now under the control of the church that harbours crusaders’ mindset.
This attitude took an American missionary to the Andaman Islands in his misguided zeal to proselytise tribals. The zealot was hacked by the isolationists Sentinelese as a measure of protest .This incidents betray the still-existing enthusiasm of proseytisers ,and brings to mind the propaganda films of West, like The Mission (1986) and Silence (2016). Christianity is not yet done with its expansionist agenda.Therein lies the threat to India . Western politicians pay lip service to liberty and equality but in the name of globalisation unleash scheming men in whites to unleash their real dirty work .
In Manipur,the Hindu population has fallen from 61 pc in 1961 to 41 pc in 2011,while the Christian population has risen from 19 to 41 pc.In Arunachal Pradesh,Christians formed not more than 1 pc of total population in 1971,but now they are 31 pc .These are border areas.Wonder how could such momentous demographic changes be taking place ? Something is not quite right. What is the design behind this demographic shift ?
Christians make up about 19 pc of Kerala’s population ,as well as 6 pc of Tamil Nadu.This numerical strength has given political heft to the local Churches so that they now demand full prohibition in these states .The governments in these two states implemented partial liquor bans which have hurt not just local tourism,but also led to closure of bars,hotels and distilleries resulting in loss of business leading to large scale unemployment. On the one hand ,the Church petitions for closure of distilleries,and on the other they seek expansion of their captive wineries. Why do churches seek prohibition anyway ? Perhaps to wean the poor and downtrodden from one kind of addiction ,so that they might be persuaded to seek solace in the other (religion) ?
Another significant aspect of the demographic problem is that the official Christian population is grossly under-reported in states like Tamil Nadu,Andhra Pradesh esp.Coastal Andhra,Punjab and Maharashtra.While census figures peg them between 1.5-2 pc (except in Tamil Nadu),their actual numbers hover between 6-10 pc in most of these states.
This gives rise to an obvious question as to why would Christian population be under-reported in non-NE states, but not so in the NE ? This is because STs do not miss out on reservation benefits even if they get converted ,but SCs do. Most of the converts to Christianity in Andhra,Punjab and Maharashtra are Dalits .Since they don’t want to miss out on quota benefits ,they choose not to declare their true religious denomination during the census.Non-disclosure also helps to keep a lid over the conversion activities ,otherwise there might be resistance against unchecked conversions.
The case of Andhra is particularly alarming.Since the time YSR ascended to power in 2004,he gave active support to proselytization activities in the coastal belt.The governments in the South India maintain strict control over Hindu Temple Boards,and go to the extent of auctioning their lands and even livestock to finance the construction of churches at state cost and even to promote religious activities of other faiths .
Goaded by his son-in-law Brother Anil,YSR took an active interest in conversion activities. BY a 2006 Govt Order ,1.5 lakh Rs were to given as aid for construction of new churches,and Rs.80000 for repair of old ones.There are 150000 churches in Andhra presently ,as against 190000 temples. It is common knowledge that the actual Christian population in coastal Andhra is in excess of 20 pc,but of course this figure doesn’t get reflected in the official records(as discussed).
There are around 5 pc Christians in Jharkhand. An investigation is being carried out against 88 NGOs who are said to have received Rs 265 crores of foreign aid .These NGOs are guilty of FCRA violations ,and fund conversion activities.A nation wide crackdown has taken place since 2014 and around 10000 plus NGOs activities have been placed under scanner.There is a lot of liberal-leftist outrage against these crackdowns.
IT is not that only India is under this kind of silent invasion by the proselytising missionaries. China and Myanmar face similar threats. But then these countries do not face pulls and pressures of democracy,and their political systems can’t be sabotaged by dictats from the Vatican.
Myanmar’s Christian population has grown from 4.8 pc in 1984 to 6.2 pc in 2014.These are the official census figures,while unofficially it is claimed that about 8-10 pc Myanmarese now adhere to Christianity .An alarmed government passed a regulation which states that anyone wishing to convert must not just intimate,but also wait for government approval before acting on that wish .
China’s data is even more shocking. In 2010 it was estimated that there were about 50-60 million Christians in China,but now it seems that this number has shot up to 100 million or more.This is like some kind of an epidemic. Considering that even the Chinese Communist Party has only 90 million official members,this is a nightmarish figure for the authorities.
Which is why we have seen recent crackdowns on celebration of Christmas in atleast four cities in 2018,and emphasis on promotion of Chinese tradition and festivals .China has also come down heavily on underground,unregistered churches which are being demolished .The new Religious Regulations lay emphasis on registration of Churches,place restrictions on religious teachings and even advocate online monitoring of discussions and preachings.There are even reports of large scale distribution of Xi’s pictures to the Christian population by the party officials ,who insist that Jesus posters be replaced by Xi’s if poverty is to be alleviated .One can fight proselytising religions only by such non-compromising stance.For a country held hostage by numbers , like India is ,this is already a lost battle.
Given this onslaught ,what should India be doing to put an end to this dirty business of conversions ?
1.Strict ANTI-CONVERSION LAWS should be framed- Why should India be opening its doors for the foreign missionaries who come here and convert unsuspecting Indians to their denominations. Is this not a tacit acceptance of our inferiority complex ?
Nine Indian states have passed nearly identical laws regulating religious conversion and requiring notification, or sometimes permission, of the local government before an individual can change his or her religion
After Jharkhand’s new legislation, such laws are in effect in six states (Jharkhand,MP, Himachal ,Chhatisgarh, Odisha,Gujarat) — of the other three states which passed so-called “anti-conversion” laws, one repealed it (Tamil Nadu), one adopted it but has not framed rules for enforcement (Arunachal Pradesh), and one adopted it but the governor never signed it (Rajasthan).
Jayalalitha repealed it in Tamil Nadu in 2005 under pressure from local Christian and Muslim leaders. Rajasthan’s case is most strange as the bill was passed in 2008,but didn’t receive Governor’s assent.Inexplicably, its fate has been in limbo since then.
There is a need to gradually tighten screws in the remaining states as well,since after a point it becomes impossible to enact legislations as demographic logic takes over.It is impossible to now talk about such laws,for instance, in Tamil Nadu, Andhra and Kerala .
2.Misuse of tourist visas by missionaries should be checked and those coming to India must be asked to adhere to Missionary Visas .Care must be taken that they strictly follow the requirements listed therein.
3.If a mere change of name,or alteration in spelling requires attestation ,Informed Consent must be sought by the SDM before anyone can get converted.This would check the use of divine displeasure ,force,fraud or allurement as factors behind conversion.
4.As the Centre has done,strict monitoring of fundings as per FCRA norms must be resorted to by states as well.
5.Freeing Hindu religious and educational institutions from the Government control and according them rights akin to minority institutions is the need of the hour.
6.Anyone who gets converted should be denied the benefits of reservation,since Abhramaic religions do not have caste divisions and there has been no historical denial of opportunities.
We must act now ,even though it is already quite late. Religious conversions must summarily be banned in India .Our traditional religions are ways of life,unlike the proselytising Abhramaic religions who insist on ‘my way or the highway’. The only approach against this kind of zero-sum-game mentality can be of relentless vigil,inexorable defence and internal reforms. Religious conversion is anyway not a fundamental right in India, and neither it should be .We must not compromise with our identity and existence ,just to bolster our pretencious claims of liberalism and tolerance. There is not a single reason why Conversion activities should not be banned in India with immediate effect.
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