Mischief mongering for monotheist fanatics with the ‘my way or the highway’ motto comes naturally. For luring Hindus to the Christian fold, a multi-pronged approach has always been employed – one way is to infest places of Hindu worship and pilgrimage either by encroachment or by sending a slew of evangelists to perturb the pilgrims en route the expedition; another is to establish a church right next to Hindu sacred places; if nothing else works, make scurrilous attacks about Church-perceived injustice to this or that denomination of Hindus! In all these instances, it has always been a devout Hindu at the receiving end.
NGOs has been partnering with Sion Church, Norway, to proselytise Hindus in hundreds and thousands with lurid descriptions of how Hindus are made to hate, leer and turn against their own Sanatana Dharma
Making incursions in existing power structures, be it political or otherwise, mostly in Hindu-vulnerable states (where Hindus are being targeted systematically under implicit State policy or through civil society embargos on Hindu lifestyle) to pave the way for its demographical, economic, and general dominance has been cake walking to The Church in its vocabulary.
This multi-faceted aggression on Hindu holy places takes myriad forms, to name a few nuggets:
(The not-so-popular cases are discussed here)
The case of disparaging Goddess Kali by Jatiyo Kristo Prochar Samity in Bengali Hindu worship context
Jatiyo Kristo Prochar Samity (JKPS) is one such Indian NGO having an FCRA Registration, funded generously by the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE); the USA had one Smita Singh as the Director of its Justice Initiatives who sermons in foreign countries shaming Goddess Kali. A literal transcript of her Hindu religious beliefs’ denigrating conversation under the title ‘TRAUMA, SEX TRAFFICKING, AND GOSPEL MINISTRY IN INDIA WITH SMITA SINGH’ is given here:
“Interviewer to Smita Singh: … They (Hindus) don’t have a concept of an image of God, they (Hindus) don’t have an idea of an Adam and Eve, right? Which you know is at the root of many of these problems you are ministering to. Are their things, in the culture or specifically in the prevailing Hindu worldview, feeding some of these things? You mentioned that in Kolkata, they worshipped the God of Destruction or the Goddess of Destruction. Is it Shiva?
Smita Singh responds to Kali.
Interviewer (Alex Kocman, Director of Advancement for Globalization for ABWE): Kali, I am sorry. So, they worship Kali alright in Kolkata, Kali, right? That makes sense. But, you know, even there, I think you look in Scripture and see that idolatry is always connected, somewhere to prostitution. Prostitution always connects back, you know, there is a worship problem that is probably in all these things. So, how do you see that playing up in the Indian context?
Smita Singh responds: In India, even with the religion, if you look at it, their Gods and Goddesses have multiple partners and multiple concubines. So, even as part of their faith, they have learnt that it is okay to have multiple relationships, and when we come into the issue of prostitution, men’s image because they don’t know, you know, how God has made them or how they are supposed to be…”
It is noted that JKPS runs five Shelter Homes (Umeed, Umang, Udaan, Premanand Boys’ Home, Upasana) in West Bengal through JKPS’ sister concern Mahima Homes for illegal religious conversions of purportedly rescued minors from prostitution from Sonagachi red light area. The narrative set is – “Since Hindu Gods have multiple consorts, Hindus visit prostitutes!”
The case of Campus Crusade for Christ, USA’s vilification of Sabarimala
In not so many words, a foreign evangelist Chris Lawrence visiting Sabarimala through Campus Crusade for Christ, USA (which funds FCRA Registered Indian NGOs like Adorers Congregation), belittles the Hindu holy tradition of Sabarimala pilgrimage, averring mainly that a trek to Sabarimala as a dreary pilgrimage, narrating purported apparent experience in the mid-1990s of a 15-year-old boy named Aji Kumar who undertook this journey to fulfil the vows his Hindu parents had made to their God and laments that pilgrim fights each other to get to the shrine which results in a stampede of worshipers killing many and states Aji prayed to Ayyappa, “If you are truly God, then why didn’t you give me strength? as Hindu idol worship gave no peace to him, it was only when a Christian explained to Aji how he could know Jesus personally, how Christ came to set people free that he found ‘inner peace’!
Further, Chris lucidly points out that Aji belonged to a political group that persecuted Christians (BJP/RSS?), interrupting church services and other Christian meetings. In one such sabotage operation, Jesus spoke to Aji through the programme convener, after which he received Christ, and began Bible studies, which resulted in him and his family abandoning their idols and receiving Jesus. “Today, Aji works as a missionary in India”, Chris gushes animatedly.
The case of infiltration by the Temple of Christ Fellowship with the intent to proselytise the Hindu community in Kurukshetra
Temple of Christ Fellowship working in and around Kurukshetra, while having an FCRA Registration, has well-oiled proselytisation machinery entrenched in and around Kurukshetra since 2010 and has been found to boast in its Annual Report dating back to 2010 itself – about planting churches in slum areas, reaching out to about fifty thousand students, saving at least three thousand Hindus through illegal religious conversions that year by setting them free from Hindu spirits and demons & admits to proselytising more than 13,000 Hindus by making them receive Jesus through its partners in 8 other states in India, particularly in Rohtak, Himachal and Punjab & conveys an alarming message that ‘The Church’ expects these illegal religious conversions to happen in millions to people in Kurukshetra and Haryana through this Ministry.
Each year this NGO has been partnering with Sion Church, Norway, to proselytise Hindus in hundreds and thousands with lurid descriptions of how Hindus are made to hate, leer and turn against their own Sanatana Dharma.
In all three cases, Hindu deities never even qualify to have a capital letter G or L placed in words God or Lord while addressing them; it is only Jesus who is eligible to have a capital lettered G or L (in God/Lord) terminology usage, such is the subtle, but clever linguistic manipulation to attack the psyche of the reader used by The Church!
All three instances demonstrate the same devious narrative of denigrating Hindu Gods deployed to lay blame for any social evil on the Hindu threshold! A spark is ignited when Church, through its missionaries, makes inroads into Hindu Holy Places; next, purging Hindus of their religious identity happens with gusto (with advertising like quick fixes to all mundane problems that a human faces); then the Church moves in encroaching upon nearby lands (installing Crosses, small shrines to lay claim to such lands illegally occupied, strong-arming local administration to keep mum about this whole affair); on cue, The Church induces these illegally converted Hindus to turn against their erstwhile religion, by staging campaigns, drives against any activity which would benefit the Hindu religion in general, development activities taken by Governments in particular (mainly to posit Church as the only champion of Human Rights & sole procurer of Development, if any, the converted Hindus are to hope for). The Church lives and operates by ‘whose land, his religion’ rallying cry; hence the manifestation of denigration of Hindu pilgrimages is seen habitually acted out!
(The writer is a senior legal analyst & researcher at ICRR)