Hindu outfits and the Saurashtra community in Madurai held widespread protests opposing the release of the Bible in the Saurashtra language.
The Saurashtra community has been in Madurai for centuries and is in every field, including trade and others. They speak their mother tongue indoors and use Tamil in their daily life. They are also in Kumbakonam and other places and live in groups. They are pious Hindus and worship Shiva, Murugan and Lord Venkateswara, Krishna.
The evangelical groups have been trying their best to convert them but achieved little success. Now they have come out with a Translation of the Bible in the Saurashtraian language to woo the community. Coimbatore based Indian Bible Translators’ have brought out this book.
On hearing the news, community associations and Hindu organisations have held widespread agitations in Madurai opposing the move.
On 1st May, Madurai CSI Bishop M Joseph solemnised the new bible at a function at East Gate Church. Hindu Makkal Katchi threatened to distribute Bhagavad Gita at the church as a counter-protest. TN Maha Saurashtra Sabha general secretary Suresh said they are not against any individual practising the religion of their choice. He said that there were 25 lakh Saurashtrains in Tamil Nadu, out of which 3.5 lakhs are in Madurai. “A full-fledged bible in our language sounds alarming to our community,” he said.
According to sources, there are 500 families of Saurashtrians in the Protestant Church or Church of South India (CSI) denomination. Even exclusive churches function for them. There had been instances of forced conversions in the guise of calling them for a feast with biryani, cash, etc.
The Stalin government, which is backing all their activities, did not mince a word about it. But it took action against a Dean for allowing students to take Charak Shapath.