Santoshi, Rajyalaxmi, Seethamma, Mangaiah, Buddaiah?these are the common names of adivasis (tribals) of North Andhra Agency area. At present you can'tlisten these names at all. Most of them change their names to Sunto, Sobita, Deena, Yakub and Joseph. In previous days Jannodu says about festivals, Majjodu says about the muhurtam and Deesarodu gives treatment to ill people. But at present they got new names. Pastor came in place of Jannodu, vice-pastor in place of Majjodu and doctor in place of Deesarodu.
If you think these changes occur due to the development of tribals then you are wrong. This is a pucca planning of Christian missionaries. A pastor belonging to Orissa state planned all these?by luring the Girijans and converting them into Christians. Missionaries are destroying the Girijan culture. They are getting funds from foreign countries. In the name of modern treatment they are exploiting Girijans. In the name of Christ service they are looting Girijans. In previous days tribal were depended on religion heads for every issue but today they look for pastors to solve their problems. By embracing Christianity Girijans are not getting any benefits but conflicts are increasing between them. Group politics entered among Girijans.
Evangelism is going on high scale in tribal areas of Seethampeta, Maliaputti, Patapatnam mandals of Srikakulam district. The
evangelists of Serango, Parlakamidi border villages of
Orissa are the key persons in these conversions. One family is responsible for all these activities in these three mandals.
Christian missionaries drafted a perfect strategy to spread Christianity in tribal areas. In the beginning they select important persons in the villages and give them a motorcycle. These persons are responsible for three to four villages and they organise religious programme. Meanwhile, some more persons are identified to help them and these persons are given bicycles and a salary of Rs 700 to Rs 1000 per month. Even though the Christian activities and conversions have been going on since 1994, but recently these activities have increased rapidly. The missionaries make friendship with the village sarpanchs and get their help in spreading Christianity. In Gajapati district of the Orissa state is the center of evangelism. In the name of tourists persons coming from Nepal, African countries, Germany, England and Sweden to propagate Christianity. They tell the people Christian stories in tribal language ?savara?. The missionaries first study stories and other literature of tribals then they understand the stories using English language. Most of the evangelists are from Baptist group and they approach the tribes with ?Savara? language. Hence missionaries easily attract the tribals. They conduct the meetings in Christian culture and construction of churches are going on. They studied the festivals of tribals and their food habits. When Girijans celebrate their festivals Christian missionaries conduct prayer meetings. They succeeded in including puri and chapatis in tribal menu.
In the name of service to Christ, missionaries exploit Girijans. Pastors collect 1/10th of the agriculture production from Girijans. Others collect donations in the name of Christ and they also are receive donations from foreign countries for their evangelism. In the villages Kotturu, Gummada, Veeraghattam, Battili, G.L. Puram, Hiramandalam and Patapatnam, in the name of hospitals, medical business is going on. They started missionary schools for Girijans.
Unrest in villages
Due to Christian conversions in tribal villages, clashes started between the groups of the villages. Among Girijans two tribes are there?one is Savara tribe and the other is Jatapu tribe. Most of the conversions are taking place in Savara tribes but Jatapu tribe is not converting. In village politics they are divided vertically. In the sarpanch elections converted Christians play a key role. In Haddubanga and other areas they became a vote bank for political parties. Due to conversions Akkannaguda of Sitampet mandal, Kummariguda, Nallaraiguda of Bhamini mandal, Irupadiguda of Kothur mandal and some other villages are facing conflicts between them.
In the tribal areas of Sitampeta, Maliaputti and Patapatnam, Savaras have been converted into Christianity in large number. In that area, every prayer meeting is attended by nearly 5,000 people from a minimum of 250 villages. Srikakulam and Vijayanagaram Agency area has nearly two lakh Savara tribes. As per statistics nearly one lakh Savaras have been converted into Christianity. In the Agency area conversions occurred 100 per cent in 60 villages, 75 per cent in 30 villages, 50 per cent in 20 villages and 25 per cent in 10 villages.