Hindu Vivek Kendra
Annexure B

Paranoia of Proselytisation
by Fr. Augustine Kurrapilly
The Examiner, Date: July 8, 1995

A religion which has been in this land for two thousand years and has contributed enormously to its intellectual, emotional, cultural and religious growth has a mere 2.5 percentage of the population. But it is accused of proselytisation.

The paranoia that Christianity is out to convert the nation is in itself an indication of either the collective emotional instability of a large segment of our nation or the symptom 'of a malady. It is high time the Christians who teach the children of this nation, start teaching the nation itself the truth of this malady. The Christian religion which is engaged in health work through its innumerable hospitals, dispensaries, health centers and rural health projects in this country must try and heal this paranoia.

Coupled with the same paranoia is the denial of rights of dalit Christians. The very fact of being a Christian is used to deny him/her the constitutional rights granted to other dalits. Repeated pleas to the Prime Minister and the Government have fallen on deaf ears.

Though Christianity was brought to this country as early as the first century by a disciple of Christ, it has never been accepted as part of the culture. Though many other religions originated centuries after Christianity's arrival in India are accepted, Christians are treated as foreigners. They are unjustly associated with the colonial powers that had ruled this country for two centuries. The fact is that most of Indian's Christian population has its origin from Dravidian and Adivasi stocks, who are the real sons of the soil of the Indian subcontinent, Paranoia of Proselytisation while the Brahminical and Vedic people had crossed into the North of India via the Kyber Pass - from outside.

Obviously Christian missionaries like Sr. Rani Maria are not converting the villagers to Christianity. Any data will tell you that. However the available data will tell you that she had been working to uplift the poor, to bring about awareness in their minds, to help free them from the money lenders. This has been the so called 'missionary', activity of Christianity. This is evidently harmful to the rich and the powerful who exploit the poor. Without the poor there will not exist a rich class, so the maintenance of the poor as poor is a vital necessity for the rich.

Something that disturbs the mind of every Christian in this country and which should disturb every right minded citizen is the murderous attitude that is creeping into the very fabric of India. By killing and assaulting the weakest of the weak like a nun, a woman, a maid servant, India is exhibiting its moral cowardice. On what ground can any one defend our dear nation if it is accused of human rights violation?

It is one thing that there are sporadic human rights violations in different parts of the country, it is another thing that the nation has lost all its sensitivity and shows scant respect to its most committed and patriotic citizens. If the "endless anger" and continuing suspicion and hatred for fellow beings are not replaced soon with love, the venom of revenge alone will survive and India will grow into a criminal society in the eyes of the world community. The larger section of Hindu society will inherit the bad reputation earned by an errant section of fundamentalists.

This country has been rotting with corruption. Added to it is the rampant terrorism. All available evidence, including acts of frequent terrorism unleashed on the minorities, makes one suspect that it has the tacit support of the government machinery. As a missionary church entrusted with the gospel message of love and compassion, Christianity has to exercise its prophetic role today and tell the nation that it is heading for peril and that its inability to protect the weak can never be deemed as its strength.

There are over 14,000 priests and 65,000 nuns belonging to the Catholic Church in India. No religion can claim to have such dedicated and patriotic team of workers engaged in the uplift of the poor, in restoring health to the sick and in developing society. Most of these personnel are in the teaching profession. A majority are running schools where the powerful and the rich would like to send their children for education. It is strange that hardly any of the children are converted to Christianity all these years although they spend a decade or more of their formative and impressionable years with the nuns and priests.

The single most significant evidence is that a large number of Christian missionaries are engaged in health services. They are a minority not more than 2.5 per cent of the nearly 950 million of our population and control a sizeable number of the beds in hospitals. Yet their hospitals are not used for conversion. Of course myths have a way of establishing themselves as truths. All these facts tell a different story from the hysteria over conversion.

It is also noted that as long as the Church teaches the rich to retain their social status and help their siblings to climb the social ladder still higher, the Christian missionaries are tolerated. But when the poor get the same benefit from the Christians the rich will not tolerate it.

Christians will continue to be meek and mild as their Lord and Master Jesus was, and will live as lambs as he wanted his followers to be. Christ's religion however, is a religion of hope and trust, and Christianity will always trust its fellow country men and will hope for the best, all the while praying even for their killers.

Fr. Augustine Kurrapilly (Guest Editorial)

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