Monday, April 4, 2011

Missionary Conversion: Coercion and Fraud

India was a peaceful country, wealthy, prosperous and generally happy, even if it had a number of kingdoms. Some were small and some were big, but the feeling of Indianness ran through the country’s people whose heart beat as one. I remember one debate in Parliament where Sushma Swaraj talked of Bharatiyatha or Indianness. She said that Bharatiyatha is what made the parents of Somnath Chatterjee call their son Somnath, even when they were separated from the town of Somnath by a few thousand miles.

Since time immemorial, India has had a variety of religious thought forms and has accepted that while there are different ways of worship all paths lead to the Divine or Paramatman. This was the guiding principle. Since there was no religion in India in the currently accepted form, there were no threats from iconoclastic thoughts as all thoughts became a means to an end. This explains why the people of Kerala accepted Christianity when it is said to have come to their shores in the first century CE, or how Mohammedan traders who came to Kerala were called Mapillai (son in law), precursor to the term Moplah, by being offered the hand of Kerala women in marriage. Kerala was a state where religious clashes came very late in the day, because there was an absence of evangelism in the religions that existed there. I recall that the Syrian Christians did not indulge in proselytisation as, my friends inform me, the churches were exclusive and outsiders were not permitted to pray there!

The phenomenon of forced conversions started when the Muslim invaders arrived in India in the 8th Century CE. This started with Muhammad Bin Qassim who conquered Sindh. Since then several Islamic conquerors including Moguls came to India and converted people to their religion by the sword. Further, it is axiomatic that millions who would not converted were killed. This was followed by the Christian evangelists who came to India from Europe and later from the USA.

The community to which my family and I belong is called Mandyam Iyengars and we are Srivaishnavas or worshippers of Vishnu. In 1790 Tipu Sultan killed 700 or so Mandyam Iyengars belonging to the Bharadwaja Gotra on Deepavali day, Naraka Chaturdashi. Even now, our family, belonging to Bharadwaja Gotra, does not celebrate Deepavali on Naraka Chaturdashi, in homage to the people who lost their lives on that day. If one sees the history of Jews they mourn the dead over centuries. We have not forgotten how Tipu and his cruel soldiers slaughtered our people. My mother tells me of how, her grandmother told her, women used to hide from the Muslim soldiers who would pick up any unmarried girl. They would stay away from married women or girls. Hence the institution of child marriages started. The North Indian custom of having marriages in the night started as a result of such abduction and slayings.

What makes religions resort to deception or the sword to pick up followers? The most obvious one seems to be extreme insecurity. Here is my take. If you know that your path is the right path, why would you want to make people come to your fold by resorting to deception or forcing them by the sword? Could it be because you are unsure that the path you are following is right or are you sub consciously aware that it is wrong?

Have you ever seen any Hindu trying to convert another Hindu to his way of worship? Such a thing never occurs to him or her because it is accepted that both people are right and that the path a person takes is a function of his or her Karma and choice. We do not try to mess with the Prarabdha Karma of any person, the Karma that results in birth in a particular community or family, his or her upbringing etc. This is the reason why our Bharata has seen acceptance of a kind unparalleled in the entire Universe.

However, there is a threat to this kind of existence and it is a multi pronged attack that has been coming in the form of: -

  • Missionary Evangelism
  • Islamic conversions
  • Media support to all forces that are anti Hindu in the guise of secularism
  • Misplaced secularism by the Government that tries to subsume Hindu culture and tradition, the tapestry that runs through the cultural fabric of this country
  • Left Libtards who go Mao Mao and are viscerally Anti-Hindu at the slightest provocation

There is a set of excellent articles written by Varsha Bhosle, a writer who used to write for Rediff and stopped after apparent disagreements with the Editor. Please see this. In fact I suggest you read the entire series of articles by her on the Balkanisation of India. Varsha can be extremely sarcastic and truthful, even if she writes against Hindu indifference in the face of huge threats to Hinduism’s existence. One of the saddest events is the fact that she stopped writing.

We have to understand the nature of the beasts that surround us. Some are tigers, some are wolves and some are foxes. Islamic conversions are more in the past. Some undercurrents exist but these are however, not the subject of this post.

We have to see the vast research that has gone into the Joshua Project to understand how meticulously we are being targeted for conversion. There is a mapping by country, community, ethnic group and so on. The reason is to spread the gospel. What gives these assholes the right to dictate what religion we should follow is a relevant question.

As Vivekananda once mentioned, these are kindergartens of religions, where mythology, philosophy and ceremonies are interwoven to make an indistinguishable whole. In Vedanta or Hindu thought form, there are some distinctions from other religions. These are

  • Mythology, Philosophy and Ceremonies are kept distinct from each other
  • There is no single author, nor is there any place where it says that this is it and there is no other knowledge beyond this one
  • As a corollary to the second point above, there is always scope to improve upon knowledge, accept new thoughts and to respect other thoughts
  • Since there are distinct branches with Puranas, Ithihasa and Darshana, there is a way of assimilation as per the preference of the spiritual seeker
  • You can progress from Puranas and Ithihasa and as people evolve they can learn more esoteric philosophical concepts

Basically therefore, Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma is a dynamic evolving and evolutionary faith and way of life with enshrined concepts of Dharma and Karma. Good and Bad are never absolute but matters which result in reactions that may not always be pleasant! Hence a person is always left with the choice of doing good or bad and paying for it in the form of karmic reactions. As a friend of mine, Satyajit Kanjilal, put it, “Karma is always corrective, not punitive!”

This indicates a highly evolved concept of ‘Religion’ and something that is capable of absorbing any other faith. However, this is not always a battle to be fought in the minds of people. We face people who want to see growth in the numbers of their kind through inorganic growth. Look at it this way, any company grows through two routes, one by increasing production and sales and investment in its own facilities, the second by acquiring other companies. Christianity is faced with declining numbers of followers or adherents to the Religion in the first world and therefore needs to go out and create growth in the third world.

This census has already indicated a growth of 20% in the population over a period of 10 years since the last one. Only by seeing the breakup of the numbers religion wise can we ascertain what has been the impact of conversions on the Hindu population of our country.

This post is all about the first beast. That beast is the wolf in sheep’s clothing. The Missionary Beast! However there is one way of beating them as Swamy Dayananda Saraswathi says. Ask them three questions: -

Where is God?

Answer: God is in Heaven

Who made Heaven?

Answer: God made Heaven!

Who made God?

Answer: Huh?

A religion that is made up of Puranas only is unable to provide answers for a sincere advanced seeker of spirituality. Hence the term Kindergarten Religion is not misplaced.

Jesus, if he existed, was a shepherd preaching to shepherds. Hence his entire message was conveyed in as simple and comprehensible form as needed for his target audience. There is no larger picture as the gospel has been taken by Christians as... well gospel! This is the basic fallacy of a religion that relies on one son of god or prophet or any other single source and believes that whatever was said by him is wisdom. As a corollary, whatever anyone says that contradicts what he said is heresy or blasphemy.

On a lighter vein, Mao is supposed to have said “When you break wind and move your bowels, your stomach will feel lighter.” This I am informed was in the Red Book that was very popular with JNU types when I was in college! Trite but Red gospel!

Without digressing however, let us say you have a computer with a robust operating system, a comprehensive Office suite and all manners of applications that allow you to watch movies, see documents in related formats, read spreadsheets, surf the web etc. On the other hand if you are given a computer that has only an operating system and extremely rudimentary applications that allows you to do none of the above. What would be your choice? If you answered the first one, it is because you are aware of what you want and make an informed choice.

Let us now skew things in favour of the second less equipped computer. What if someone offered you Biryani for two weeks provided you used Comp 2 and never go back to comp 1? The reason you would choose Comp 2 in such a case would be because

  • You are starving and do not know how to get the next meal
  • You are inordinately fond of Biryani and do not mind using a lousy computer, even if it means that you are hamstrung for life (assuming that you are honest and keep your word)
  • Your needs do not, at the present, go beyond the operating system and the few applications that are in place. So Biryani is a bonus!
  • You know that there is no reason for you to keep your promise beyond a certain period of time, and in any case you are sure you will be able to afford biryani in the near or distant future, at which point of time you will switch to the better computer

Whatever the reason, the seller is unlikely to tell you that you are being fed a bunch of tripe because he is intent only on the sale.

What makes things worse is that the seller of computer 1 thinks that there is no need for him to attract anyone to his computer and that he will equip only those already with him.

Any religion that relies on fraud and coercion to acquire and keep followers is unlikely to survive for long. Right now desert faiths, except Judaism, rely on falsehood and coercion to keep followers in their fold. However, declining numbers are a threat to the existence of Christianity. Enough has been written about Islam and it is not the subject of this post. For some reason, the evangelists think that they need to keep their numbers up and do it by any means. It is a kind of corporate culture that measures performance in terms of wins and losses, profit and loss.

Okay, Hindus do not give a rat’s arse on whether they are functioning as a profitable undertaking or are loss making. Losses mean that their numbers decline by migration to other faiths. Even this may not mean anything if there was no attempt to change the culture of the people migrating to other faiths. Herein lies the rub. A movement of a person from the Hindu faith to a desert faith involves a change in the culture. Let me give one instance. My maid servant in the house we used to inhabit some seven years back is a Christian and used to wear a big bindi on her forehead. It appears her parson told her that for the month of Lent she should not wear the bindi. Initially the lady followed her parson but she was not comfortable and resumed wearing the bindi. In some churches the parson tells people that wearing the bindi is a heathen custom and the Devil enters through the bindi! I have travelled to Bangladesh where I have seen Muslim ladies wear a big bindi on their foreheads. But these ladies belong to the upper class. These ladies are able to do so because they belong to a certain social strata that have lesser number of religious taboos.

What conversion does is to impose a kind of cultural embargo on the people converting to desert faiths. This can in time create a class conflict (JNU guys, we can use the term too). This is where the dangers are. Once a person converts and he or she is steeped in the lore of the new faith over a period of time, a new underclass is created which goes to war with the native faith. The new converts are encouraged to get more people into the fold. Incentivisation can be through monetary or social inducements. Social inducements can be giving importance to the one who brings more converts into the social fold or making a special mention in the Sunday service or other ways. Or maybe through more Biryani with the new converts!

We can see ways and means of cultural imperialism being enacted in a number of ways. A friend of mine who has lived in Bastar for a number of years tells me that the conversion to Christist faiths has increased and more people have names such as David, John, Joe, etc. We are well aware of what is happening in Bastar for it to be just exploitation of tribals that has resulted in war against the state. One more aspect is the kind of support that the media extends to people like Binayak Sen and others of his kind. I for one believe that the vast majority of the mainstream journos is sold out to enemies of this country. Paranoid? Maybe, but the evidence does not seem to prove me wrong.

We are now seeing a war drama being enacted across a large swathe of the nation where we have Christian missionaries assisted by a group of well funded ‘Leftists’ who are clearly out to create a market for them. How else does one explain the merciless killing of Swami Laxmanand Saraswati, whose only crime was in preventing conversions in Odisha? The missionaries have ensured conversion of a majority of people in the North East to Christianity.

As seen above one of the methods employed to create a market is coercion and violence on those who expose such fraud. The other methods are almost textbook in nature. The working is very smooth and involves playing on weaknesses or during stressful times. Say someone in the family is ill. The missionary or his agents are there and profess great sympathy. Next they help out in small ways and once the family member gets well they subtly ask that the family head or anyone else ‘visit’ the church one Sunday. Next we have the Biryani banquet followed by doses of Jesus and his ‘miracles’. As soon as the time is ripe, social pressure is built up for conversion of the whole family to Christianity. After sometime, as Queen says “Another One bites the dust!”

The Missionaries, and this includes their agents too, are able to do what they do because we, the Hindus, have shown ourselves very weak in defending ourselves against a method that is based on identifying weak points and relentlessly attacking these fault lines. We do not have a political leadership that will make things difficult for such attacks to be mounted. Either there is a refusal to recognise that we are under attack or there is a feeling of helplessness or worse there is acquiescence. One does not even consider the Congress as an ally against the Missionary gambit as they are part of the problem. However, the BJP has been a disappointment and they have also shown no desire to create a big noise and bring about some social awareness.

What we can do is to do our best to keep educating the Hindus belonging to economically weaker sections about the greatness of their faith and how it has kept this great country together. We should also carefully weed out any attempts at creeping evangelisation. Let me end this with a small incident that happened in a bank that I worked in. This brought me face to face with the kind of forces employed by the missionary crowd. We had three brothers belonging to a Christian family and a church that believes in shouting the name of Jesus aloud through song and music. These brothers managed to convert quite a few people in the branch belonging to the messenger cadre. Even here I saw that one of the messengers did not convert and the rest were told to change their names to a Christian name. One of their prize converts was an officer who became a Christian and got a better job in a software company, something which was attributed to Jesus! When this guy had to get married however, he was back to the Hindu fold to the intense relief of his Brahmin parents.

During the end of the year, around the 20th of December, one of the staff members told me that there was this practice of illuminating the branch during Christmas and New Year. I smelt a rat and asked why this was not requested during Deepavali, which, in any case, is the festival of lights, and why no one asked me to do it during that time. I bluntly declined saying hell with your tradition! End of story. By the next year I had left the bank and to me it did not matter whether the branch was illuminated or otherwise.

Jomo Kenyata said “When the missionaries came to Kenya, they had the Bible and we had the land. They asked us to close our eyes. Now they had the land and we had the bible!”

I would welcome a discussion on the post and ideas on what we can do to prevent Hindus from going to other faiths. I would also like to end with a small caveat. My experience of almost six decades in this world tells me that there is no point in ‘hating’ people just because they belong to a certain faith. We need to ensure that there is a consensus for ensuring that people are not coerced or defrauded into converting from native faiths.


  1. Good Post. We need to teach our people what is in Bible and Quran etc..Not to hate but to know so that we can defend ourselves

  2. i seriously feel we need another bhakti movement in our country... good post!

  3. A very good post. However, before we tell our people not to convert, we have to abolish cast system which is ruining our unity as well as giving vested interests to exploitation.