Why is it that our newspaper editors don'twant to ferret out the truth about any event of importance in the country? And why is it that even our television channels back out when some embarrassing facts are involved? Take the issue of evangelising tribals and the money spent by the church in its single-minded pursuit of converting the poor and the money spent by the church in its single-minded pursuit of converting the poor and the ignorant. We hear of a nun being raped, a church being burnt, Christian homes being demolished but there is not a word about what Christian missionaries are doing to divide people.
As early as October 17, 1999, Organiser published an article based on the annual Home Ministry Report Receipt of Foreign contribution by Voluntary Association which gave information on which foreign organisations were funding missionary activities and to what extent, giving facts and figures which are mid-boggling.
The Home Ministry provides all the information in this particular field and there is no secrecy involved. Why do our leading national papers fight shy of checking up on easily available information? Is it ignorance, fear of being dubbed communalist or just indifference? It took a private citizen, Shreerang Godbole to dig out the information and put it on the website http://www. vijayavaani.com The money that foreign missionary organisations are pouring into different states in India run into hundreds of crores of rupees. How is that much money spent? Why is it that no inquiry is made into this?
The Organiser report noted that some 12,198 associations in India received donations to the tune of a massive Rs 2,864.51 crore in 1997-98, an overwhelming number of them being Christian. The Delhi-based Indian Evangelical Team reportedly converts 2,000 people every year. In Tamil Nadu, the Friends Missionary Prayer Band is quoted as claiming to convert 3,400 people annually. The trouble seems to be that our reporters and editors do not want to put in hard work. Sensationalism sells.
In the process of sensationalising news, truth is made the victim. But new journals are coming up that are fearless. One of them is Aseema (Journal for National Resurgence) published form Mangalore, the latest issue of which is fully devoted to facts and fiction concerning Hindus and Christians. It makes a strong argument for banning not the Bajrang Dal but conversions. Another journal is Eternal India which calls itself a New Perspective Monthly, the first issue (October 2008) is just out and makes for fabulous reading. One has to be grateful to the India First Foundation for daring to bring out such a highly intellectual journal the like of which we have not seen for decades. The first issue carries articles by Brahma Chellani (The Future of India-China Relations), Kireet Joshi (towards Civilisational Harmony), Ajit Doval (Need for Discovering New Paradigms to Fight Terrorism) and some other which are intellectually stimulating. Such journals get little publicity.
Similar?but on a different level?is Opportunities Today edited by Subhash Motwani which deals with Education and Careers, Business Management etc. and which should be particularly attractive to the young. The trouble with this as with similar other magazines is that they are not aggressively marketed. Apart form The Economic and Political Weekly, which has it exclusive readership largely consisting of academicians and scholars, there is hardly any other journal that meets the requirements of the average middle-class reader who is tired of politics and wants something light but informative to read. There is nothing to beat EPW either in India or in many countries abroad. Its standards are very high, the quality of its researched articles superb but it is not meant for the entire family.
Perhaps we need a variation of the long-dead The Illustrated Weekly of India but without sex, scandals and vulgarity. One of the causes for worry about our national dailies is the reluctance to publish news that may be unacceptable to secularists. No single newspaper would like to be clubbed as advocating ?Hindutva?? whatever that means. It is more comfortable for editors to be known as champions of the minorities, no matter if the latter are creating needles trouble. One has to run with the hounds. It is fashionable to be secular?again, whatever that means. The Hindu (October 6) carried an interesting report. Apparently a new organisation or society has been formed in Bangalore called Citizens for Harmony comprising among others a retired Judge, R Ramakrishna. Another member is a Catholic, Harry D?Souza. At a meeting of the society on October 5, Shri D?Souza is reported to have demanded that the government bring in a law which would deal strictly with anyone who ?lure? people to change their religion. He is quoted as saying that there should be a law wherein such people should get at least ten years in jail.
Shri D?Souza wanted to know how come only dalits are targeted for conversion. Such questions are seldom asked by our newspapers. Most of them seem to be scared to think along non-conventional lines, lest they are dubbed communalists or anti-minorities. Thus it is easy to condemn Justice Nanavati who has given a clean chit to Narendra Modi. Justice GT Nanavati had presided over other Commissions and is a highly respected judge. But giving a clean chit to Narendra Modi is just not done.