Nice article about the shadow of the Christian cross over India. Hindus are in the same situation now as the Red Indians were when the crusaders had just about discovered the Americas.
For us Hindus, it is now a matter of life and death as the same demonic force that exitnguished the civilisation of the Red Indians, genocided the Australian aborginies and enslaved the African blacks has now landed on our shores. Hindus better be careful about the White Man and his vengeful, fire-breathing god. Keep these people at an arm’s length from our borders. They have nothing good to offer us, only death and destruction.
By Anuja Prashar
In August 2006, I presented a report to Hindu & Christian national organisations of the UK, mapping out transnational activities of UK & USA based Christian Evangelists in India. This report brought together irrefutable evidence of the manner in which the USA based Joshua Project 2000 and Beyond, co-ordinates global Christian missionary activity, which has been designed specifically for targeting 600,000 villages of rural India.
In the conclusion of my 2006 report, I suggest that the pace and manner of 21st Century “Church Planting” activity in India – to re-label through conversion, hundreds of thousands of India’s most economically vulnerable populations – would eventually lead to greater social stratification and the spread of social unrest. Unfortunately, we are now beginning to see this social unrest turn into large scale violence.
The Joshua project 2000 and Beyond, is the USA head quarters for a transnational network of evangelical organisations, across all Christian denominations, that features “Church Planting” and organised “mass conversions” along caste lines for “unreached people” in India.
This 21st Century missionary activity is not only unique because of the unprecedented unification of Christian denominations under a single banner, but because of the focused caste based conversion methods that evangelical missionaries practise as “crusades” into villages of India.
The 2006 report also indicates that these transnational evangelical networked missionary operations, have the support of and funding from, key influential political institutions, politicians and church groups of the West.
The report names UK based World Vision, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, CARE International, Christian Aid and it’s subsidiary, Dalit Solidarity Network, along with German based Konrad Adenauer Foundation and US based World Evangelical Alliance as some of the largest organisations that support this activity.
In mid-2005, sixteen British members of parliament petitioned the Indian government, on behalf of these evangelical organisations, and supported this form of activity, by suggesting that India was contravening International laws of Religious Freedom, because Indian laws restrict religious conversions.
The scale of financial funds flowing into India for Christian organisations from UK, USA & Germany total into millions of dollars per year, with a significantly marked increasing pattern since 2001.
World Vision is the largest recipient of International funds in India today. According to their website “Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, World Vision serves alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people.
World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Financial support is received from; the UK Government, the European Union, charitable trusts, corporate supporters and also more than 100,000 individuals, who sponsor children in poor communities overseas.”
The recent violence between Hindus and Christians in Orissa was triggered when 84-year old Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati in Kandhamal, Orissa, who was murdered in an armed ambush of his Ashram, on the evening of August 23 2008.
Swami Laxmanananda devoted his whole life to the welfare of the most downtrodden tribal communities. Swami Laxmananand had received several death threats from Christian sources during the previous few years – these have been documented. He had also been assaulted and nearly killed last December in a similar attack, when he had to undergo prolonged intensive care in hospital.
Ravik Bhattacharya of the Indian Express reports that on 23rd August 2008, at around 7.00PM, a group of masked people entered the Kanya Ashrama (Girls Residential School) at Jalespata in Kandhamal. They began indiscriminate shooting using sophisticated weapons, killing Swamiji and his four disciples – Sanyasini Mataji Bhaktimoyee, Prabhati Ganta, Puranjan Ganthi, Ambruta nanda baba, and Kishore baba.
The following excerpt gives us the historical background for demographic and social changes that have occurred in Orissa. These changes may be a possible clue for the motivation to murder and the reasons for the continued violence that has erupted across Orissa, after Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati’s death:
Kandhamal is part of the erstwhile undivided district of Phulbani; it was carved into a separate district on 1 April 1994. It derives its name from the Kandh (Kondha) tribes who dominate the area, comprising approximately 51.96% of the 6.5 lakh population of the district. Kandhs are Hindus and enjoy Scheduled Tribe status.
The other community with a significant local presence is the Panas, a Scheduled Caste, who constitute about 16.89% of the district population. The Panas are overwhelmingly Christian and are educationally, economically and politically more advanced. They were the prime targets of the pioneering Christian missionaries who settled in Katingia village of Daringibadi block of Kandhamal in 1883.
The Kandh tribe led by Chakara Bisoi, Dohara Bisoi, Dina Kondh and Lochana Kondh valiantly fought the British in 1857, and it was only in 1884 that the British finally managed to subdue this region with the help of converted Panas from present-day Ganjam and Nayagarh districts bordering Kandhamal.
There is a long-standing dispute between converted Panas and Hindu Kandh tribals. Under the law, Panas cannot own forestland, as they are not Scheduled Tribes. Several converted Panas have illegally grabbed forestland. Kandhs who have been rendered landless are forced to work as farm labourers on lands illegally occupied by Panas. Seething discontent over this state of affairs first manifested in the 1994 Kandh-Pana clashes that left 50 persons dead.
Despite a High Court order to evict encroached land, Christians continue to illegally occupy the land. Being Scheduled Castes, Panas are legally not allowed reservation benefits after conversion. The delimitation of constituencies has resulted in the reservation of the lone Lok Sabha and all Vidhan Sabha Assembly segments for Scheduled Tribes.
The posts of President of the Zilla Parishad, Block Chairmen and majority of elected Zilla Parishad members and posts in Panchayati Raj institutions have also been reserved for Scheduled Tribes. The flip side of this is a loss of political and social relevance for the Christian Panas and the Church. Hence the sense of urgency in the demand for Scheduled Tribe status for Christian Panas.
The Christian lobby won a major victory in 2002 when a Presidential order included Kuis in the list of STs. The Phulbani Kui Jana Kalyan Sangh promptly filed a writ petition in the High Court claiming that in Kandhamal district, Kuis were wrongly listed as a Scheduled Caste instead of Scheduled Tribe in land revenue records and consequently deprived of Constitutional concessions granted to STs.
The State Government submitted that as the Record of Rights of the Panas did not mention them as a Scheduled Tribe, their demand could not be met. The Orissa Government has consistently maintained that “this demand is not based on historical and anthropological facts.” Swami Laxmanananda was a symbol of Kandh hopes and aspirations. The missionaries knew that the resurgent Kandh Hindus could force them to close shop.
SOURCE :Dr. Godbole, Pune, India – http://www.vijayvaani.com/article_30au2.htm
A detailed reading of the Niyogi Commission Report 1956 and Wadhwa Commission Report 1999, investigating the issues of Religious conversion, suggests that religious conversion in India is the root cause of conflict between Hindus and Christians.
Today, the Joshua Project 2000 and Beyond, with it’s networks of church groups and political supporters, have simply accelerated the pace of growth and impact of the root cause of unrest. The missionary conversion methods, which reinforce caste differences in rural populations, is resulting in even greater stratification of Indian society by providing an additional aggressive factor of proselytising practises.
Where in the past Hindus accept varied forms of religious practise, Christian doctrine emphasises an exclusive superiority. There is mounting evidence of caste based differences and increasing conflict within the Indian church groups themselves too.
Despite the teleology of religious conversion and the adoption of Indian anti-conversion laws in 13 states, the recent violence suggests that more needs to be done to stem the growing unrest and social stratification caused by evangelical activity.
Unlike other transnational business operations, the global Christian evangelical missionary networked structure is not regulated or monitored by any single International or National law and no single entity may be held accountable for it’s co-ordinated activities. Resources that may be used for economic development and empowerment of the most needy, are being used for large scale conversions that are becoming socially divisive.
2001 Census data shows that Orissa has 62 Scheduled tribes in a population of 1.5 million people – the largest tribe called Kandhas remains largekly Hindu. Where as the Panas tribe have almost all converted to Christianity. Data shows that between 1961 and 2001, the population of Hindus rose by 1.5 fold, from 3,04,459 to 5,27,757, while that of the Christians went up 6 fold, from 19,128 to 1,17,950. Since 2001, there has been a further large-scale increase in this population. On BBC Radio 4 on Sep 7, 2008 it was reported that in Kandhamal the Christian population has increased from 6% to 27% in recent years.
In accordance with the recommendations of the Niyogi Commission (1956), Orissa Government undertook legislation to control these activities through the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act of 1967 & Orissa Freedom of Religion Rules of 1989.
These Acts stipulate that each intended act of conversion should be notified to the local District Magistrate 15 days in advance. The person converting should declare before a Magistrate 1st Class, that he intends to convert his religion of his own free will. However, the state records reveal that between 1991 and 2008 only two Hindus have converted to Christianity. Clearly, the large scale conversions that have occurred recently within the Panas tribe are not being reported or registered.
According to journalist Suarva Basu, following Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati’s murder, the Orissa police have arrested Pradesh Kumar Das, an employee of the World Vision from Khadagpur, while trying to escape from the district at Buguda.
In another police drive to find the Swami’s killers, two other persons Vikram Digal and William Digal, have also been arrested from the house of Lal Digal, a local Christian, from Nuasahi at Gunjibadi, Nuagaan. They have admitted to having joined a group of 28 other assailants. I have been unable to get any further information on these particular developments.
In Tripura, at the end of 1999, Shri Shantikali Maharaj was killed by a missionary extremist group. Shantikali Maharaj also opposed religious conversion work being carried out by encouraging the poor Hindus to remain within their own religious family. Maharaj was also asked to leave his ashram with death threats, but he opposed the threat and was killed in an armed ambush within the Ashram. However, Hindus in Tripura did not retaliate with violence at that time.
The scale of conversions taking place in India today, through the operations and activities of a globally co-ordinated network of Christian Church groups, supported and funded by external political and religious institutions can have enormous social consequences for India in the future.
The fact that Indian’s can become motivated to kill each other, based upon caste differences that have been perpetuated and reinforced by aggressive Christian doctrine, is deeply disturbing. Should the trends of zealous mass evangelical conversions go on unabated and unregulated, the scale and level of social unrest that could occur in rural India, in the near future, is unthinkable.