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Himachal dalits rebuke fake healers

Himachal dalits rebuke fake healers

Author: Ajay Srivastava
Publication: Organiser
Date: March 4, 2007
URL: http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=173&page=5

Introduction: The tale of conversion by allure

It is tale of crafty deception. A hapless Dalit widow was lured by those who are seen as living symbol of mercy and faith in the society. Her cries have exposed the demon beneath the white cloak. She not only lost her beloved grandson, who was a serious patient of brain tumor and the lone bread winner for the family of fifteen, but also stripped of her faith in the hope that one day he will come back from jaws of death by prayers as she was allured . Her entire family was converted in to Christianity. The loss and agony were compounded in fact that the poor widow had to pay Rs. 7,000 for the 'magnificent' grave of her grandson for the peace of his soul, which never took shape. She was left alone in tears.

With these painful experiences, Lajja Devi (62) of Kasumpti area of Shimla town has now determined to say adieu to that faith of mercy along with her family. That is not the only Dalit Christian family in the state but many more are coming forward in the same manner. Their pains and tales are more or less same. It is a turning point for the entire community in the hills of Himachal Pradesh. Interestingly, one major organisation of Dalits in the state-'All India SC and ST Mahasangh, H.P.'-has taken the stride to bring them all again in the main stream of the society in the vibrant leadership of its president Mr. Tarsem Bharti. Now when the Freedom of Religion Act has been given Governor's assent, it has become a tough pasture for the men in white cloak who always look for the weak and hapless.

The tale of widow Lajja Devi's wretched fate started in early 2003 when her grandson Rakesh (28) was detected a tumor in his brain. She told this correspondent that the family was in very pitiable condition as he was the only bread winner for fifteen persons. They even did not have enough money for his treatment. In the meanwhile, some Christian missionaries contacted Lajja Devi and made allurement that Rakesh would be alright very soon by prayers provided they all accept the refuge of Lord Jesus. The family fell in the trap.

According to her "They took away the idols from my home, threw them in a nalla (drain) and said that these gods and goddess are of no use and only living god is Jesus who would save you. Not only this, they threw away my Ganga Jal in the toilet."

Soon after their conversion into Christianity, Rakesh died. The pastor took Rs.2,000/- from Lajja Devi to arrange box for his burial and Rs.5000/- for making a 'magnificent' grave so that the departed soul could rest in peace. Now she says, "I was cheated by them. Even no pucca grave has taken shape although more than three and half years have passed." Mr. Tarsem Bharti comments, "The wounds inflicted on her psyche by these treacherous acts of men in white cloaks can never be healed."

This is not the only story of converting poor Dalits by crafty designs. One Tupku Ram, a poor graduate of a remote area is another example of conversion by allurements. Eight years ago when he was an unemployed, he became a Christian to arrange for two end meals. Later he was made a pastor. But being an insider, he studied the ill-designs of the missionaries and is now ready to come back to his original faith by realising his folly. Talking to Organiser Mr. Tarsem Bharti said, "One Shammi David, whose late father Shakur Masih worked a lot for conversion in Shimla town four decades ago, is also coming back to his home (Hinduism). One Amit's family after experiencing Christianity for fifty years is now fed up with them. They have also expressed their desire to return to their forefathers' faith."

Although Pastor D.Rosers of Evangelical Church of India, Shimla, maintained that nobody has been converted by allurements. He said "Sometime the people have very high hopes from us. When their material demands are not met, they start giving bad name to the Faith."

On the other hand, All India SC and ST Mahasangh, Himachal Pradesh has specific plans for them who feel that they have been cheated by the missionaries. Mr. Tarsem Bharti raveled, "We shall insure that anybody who wants to come back to his original faith is not deprived of opportunity to do so. It is ones fundamental right. Keeping this in mind, a 'Pratham Swadharam Vapasi Samroh' is being organized in Shimla very soon. On that occasion Lajja Devi and many others would have a chance to return to their home. And this will be the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Himachal Pradesh."

(The writer can be contacted at ajaisri02@yahoo.co.in)

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