Rising conversion in Tamil Nadu
Recently, DMK leader A Raja’s remarks on caste at a meeting in Chennai sparked a controversy, yet again. It is worthwhile mentioning here that DMK is the ruling party in Tamil Nadu now. Mr Raja, Nilgiris MP and DMK’s deputy general secretary, said Shudras were insulted in Manusmrithi and denied equality, education, employment and entry into temples. While addressing a meeting of Dravidar Kazhagam, he said: “You are a Shudra till you remain a Hindu. You are the son of a prostitute till you remain as Shudra. You are a Panchaman (Dalit) till you remain a Hindu. You are an untouchable till you remain a Hindu.”. In a video that went viral in social media he was heard saying, “How many of you wish to stay as children of prostitutes? How many of you wish to remain untouchables? Only if we are vocal about these questions, it will become elemental in breaking Sanatana (dharma).”
This is not the first instance, where DMK government and its legislators have spewed venom against the Sanatan Dharma. The state of Tamil Nadu has been in complete grasp of Christian Missionaries and this is visible in actions of the government of DMK and its lea ders. There has been an increase in conversion cases in Tamil Nadu since the DMK took office, and the Stalin administration was frequently charged with being remotely manipulated by the Christian conversion mafia. Stalin reportedly declared, “The government in Tamil Nadu was founded by you,” at the opening of the Church of South India’s 75th anniversary in October 2021, while seated next to Dr. N. Ezhilan, who is frequently accused of demonising Hindu gods and goddesses in front of young children. Even in the state Assembly, DMK MLAs openly mock Hinduism and its symbols, despite the fact that the majority of the state’s electorate is still Hindu.
The conversion by Christian missionaries is not a new phenomenon and particularly in South India, it has been going for ages. In a video that has gone viral on social media, a pastor is shown admonishing those who have converted to Christianity but aren’t yet publicly identifying as Christians to come out from under their covers and do so. The pastor from Tamil Nadu reveals in the video that while official statistics indicate that Christians make up 3.5% of the population, they actually make up 35% of the population. In order to demonstrate their enormous demographic might to the nation and authorities, he also advised all such crypto Christians to renounce all of their quota advantages accorded to Hindu Dalits and tribals.
The conversion debate in India is not new and even the European Nehru had to face the debate. Everyone in India knows about Nehru-Rajendra Prasad public spat on Somnath temple issue but what is less well known is that shortly afterward, India’s first President and Prime Minister had yet another open discussion over foreign missionaries and Christian churches’ evangelistic efforts. Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, the Home Ministry, and a number of Congress chief ministers engaged in this discussion in Delhi. This controversy, which followed the uproar over Rajendra Prasad’s choice to attend the idol-installation ceremony at Gujarat’s newly constructed Somnath Temple, reflected yet another instance of the conflicts over religion, freedom of speech and the state’s role that drove the ruling Congress during the first decade of Independence.
On April 15, 1953, Home Minister K.N. Katju told Parliament that while Indians were free to spread their religion, the new government “did not want persons from outside, which is missionaries, to come and do that.” This statement served as the catalyst for the debate. In a firm statement, Katju said, “If they come here to do evangelistic work, the sooner they quit it, the better.”
Tamil Nadu was at forefront of the conversions at that time too and can be evidenced by a report on the “anti-Indian” activities of two Italian missionaries in Fort Cochin was forwarded to the Home Ministry by the Madras state administration, which is led by former Indian governor general C. Rajagopalachari. Tamil Nadu in recent times has seen systematic demolition of small temples in the state by a Christian government in the name of encroachment drives. So, one ponders, why Tamil Nadu’s temples are are at risk of attack, because the presence of a temple has historically been a significant barrier to conversions. Even a modest temple can serve as a gathering place for spiritual gatherings, and it is there that believers create strong relationships that endure life’s challenges. But things don’t stop there. Presently, they are deceiving poor Hindus with churches that resemble temples. Even revered ancient Tamil texts have undergone church translations. The state’s ancient customs, like Jallikattu, which unite people, are the target of the elimination. They will eventually replace all Hindu holidays with Christian ones, just as they did in all of the Americas and Africa.
It’s time to stand up to these conversions and systematic attack on Hindu beliefs and faith in Tamil Nadu and save the glorious past of the Southern India.