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VHP scouts for preachers

VHP scouts for preachers

Author: Ramesh Babu
Publication: The Hindustan Times
Date: May 10, 2002

Wanted Hindu evangelists. Age, sex, caste no bar. Last date for applications: May 15. The VHP is recruiting in Kerala. Low profile reports have appeared in the inside pages of the state's newspapers, quoting Parishad press releases that announce vacancies for dharma pracharaks (preachers).

Resolute Hindus, ready to die for their religion, have been asked to apply in a prescribed format to the VHP's Kochi office. Their job: to beat back the onslaught of Christian missionaries.

Kerala, the VHP believes, is the fountainhead of Christian proselytism in the country.

"There are around 29,000 Christian missionaries in Kerala, while Hindu sadhus and sants add up to only around 400," VHP organising secretary Kummanam Rajasekharan said. "There is a cultural and spiritual vacuum we want to fill."

The VHP plans to begin by recruiting 100 pracharaks, each of whom would be sponsored. After being trained for a month in the epics, Vedas and Upanishads, the missionaries will fan out to the state's remote corners.

Christians are apprehensive. "Pure religious teachings are always good but if fundamentalist elements do it, it will be dangerous," said Cyril Marbaselios, archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram.

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