Thursday, May 26th, 2022 14:05:10

Tamilnadu: now Christ-nadu?

By Nilabh Krishna
Updated: February 14, 2022 6:54 am

The case of suicide of 17-year-old student Lavanya in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu is now making news for all the good reasons. This incident happened on January 19, 2022. The girl’s family has alleged that she was harassed and beaten up by the hostel warden as she refused to convert to the Christian religion. The victim had consumed poison on January 9, 2022 itself. She died after 10 days of treatment. A video of the girl is also becoming increasingly viral on social media, in which she is speaking on how she was tortured for not converting.

Talking to the media, the girl’s parents said that on Monday 10th January, they got a call at 9:45 am. They were asked if Lavanya was their daughter, upon assent, they were told that she was not in good health and was vomiting. The father was asked to come and take her home. Till then the father was not even told that his daughter had consumed poison. For the next two days, he kept roaming in the hospitals with Lavanya. Lavanya’s family members said, ‘My daughter was forced to commit suicide after being harassed and harassed for converting to Christianity. It was only from the hospital reports it was confirmed that my daughter had consumed poison. I was told that make your daughter like us, then she will rise, reach a high position and will get respect in society. Those people were my neighbours and now pressure was being put on me too. Threats were made that if someone told anything in this regard, they would spread rumours about my daughter’s character.”

As per an OpIndia report, “Lavanya has been living at the St. Michael’s Girls Hostel near her school for the past five years, and the govt-aided Christian missionary school had been pressuring her to convert to Christianity. However, Lavanya was adamant about not leaving her religion and refused to get converted. Angered by Lavanya’s resistance, the school administration cancelled her leave application for Pongal Celebrations. Lavanya who was supposed to visit home during her holidays was forced to do chores like cleaning toilets of the school, cooking and washing dishes. It is reported that dejected Lavanya consumed pesticides used in the school garden to end her life.”

The Indian Constitution, created under the leadership of Babasaheb Ambedkar, says – “”all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health” (Article 25). Further, Article 26 says that all denominations can manage their own affairs in matters of religion.

Lavanya’s Christian school tried to snatch away this constitutional guarantee. Her video statement clearly states that she was being harassed for conversion by a male warden. Still, it is shocking to see the deafening silence of the state government and other political parties on this sensitive issue that has taken away the life of a Tamil annai’s daughter. The role of a section of the prejudiced media that brazenly asked rude and offending questions to Lavanya’s mother adds another façade of shame to the entire episode.

The cases of deaths over targetted conversions of Hindus are rampant while the mainstream media refuses to cover them. A similar incident happened in Tripura in 2019 when a 15-year-old student succumbed after being brutally tortured by a hostel warden for opposing forceful conversion to Christianity. Also,  in Tamil Nadu, an activist was brutally killed after he attempted to stop the forceful conversion of Hindus by Muslim outfits.

Anyone who has met with evangelicals knows they are quite eager to spread their faith – that is just what they do. But in certain states in India, their eagerness crosses a line. Perhaps more than a line. It is not surprising that evangelical organisations have grown to wield enormous political clout over the years in Tamil Nadu.

In an episode of Swarajya Standard Chith Bhavananda, the famous educationist seer of Tamil Nadu, had recorded an interesting confession once by a Madurai Bishop: it said that the Dravidian movement was a time bomb set by the church to destroy Hinduism. Though dramatic, this sentiment has played out a number of times in Tamil Nadu. The church has engaged in creating and propagating a false history that combines Dravidian racism with evangelical Christianity. And believe us, there are quite a few around today who deal in exactly this kind of business-which is, unfortunately, a threat to ordinary Tamil life and society.

Tamil Nadu despite its facade of progressive state, is still very backwards when it comes to caste based atrocities and discrimination. Christians in TN strongly believe that they are actually getting saved from hell fire by converting to Christianity. So they try to spread the “truth”  ( that’s the word they use) or “word of god” Spreading the gospel is taken very seriously. The new converts who just got saved will be very eager to talk about this and convert more people. So they target Dalits and everyone alike. The malpractices adopted by Christian missionaries worldwide are not an untold story anymore. Right from the celebrated ‘Mother’ Teresa, who converted the poor and hungry people of communism-stricken Bengal to Christianity before handing them a painkiller, to the modern-day pastors spread across the southern states, Punjab, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, the tactics of “spreading the gospel” are turning shameful by the hour.

In 2020, a video had surfaced exposing a pastor in Tamil Nadu, Mohan Lazarus, who can be been giving out sales (conversion) targets to his followers just like any ponzi scheme operator would. In the viral video, what the pastor preaches in Tamil, can be roughly translated to, “We have got news that there are 38000 sabhas (churches) of the Pentecostal church in Tamil Nadu. A total of 6,00,0000 followers of this great faith. If each of them bring in one atma (person) to the faith in the coming year, we will be 1 crores and twenty lakhs. Then if the process repeats, in five years, the whole of Tamizh Nadu will be Pentecostal. Every person in this audience and the Sabha should take up this in a charged manner.”

From the statement of Pastor Lazarus in the video, it becomes pretty obvious that these people have an entire road map of converting the whole of Tamil Nadu into a ‘Christian state’ and are just waiting to walk that map.  With every follower given a target of bringing in fresh followers of Christianity, these pastors are aping the growth model of multi-level-marketing corporates like Amway or Avon. It is clear that for them religion is like a product to sell. Given that most Hindus are open-minded in nature and are not religious fanatics, they become an easier target for this machinery that employs monetary gains, education/medical benefits and quack healing as pegs to convert Hindus into Christianity.

Not encouraged by the love of Jesus, such pastors are motivated by the money they make from the NGOs funded mainly by the Christian organisations from abroad to expand the cult hood. They are just as threatening to the demography of our country as the radical Islamists who dream of a Ghazwa-e-Hind.

Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have become the haven of Hindu-hating pastors. Back in July 2019, Bishp Ezra from Tamil Nadu, who is known for his controversial remarks about the Hindu faith, had invoked his followers to ‘punch Hindus in the face till the Hindu concedes that there is no religion as Hinduism’. In December 2019, another Pastor Praveen was booked for abusing Hindu Gods and boasting about kicking murtis of Hindu gods and the joy he felt in doing such heinous acts.

India has been a centre of Dharma, that showed the basic human values to the entire universe. This is the country which believes in Inclusivism and not in exclusivism. Our Upanishads have said Professed Vashidhaiv Kutumbkam and welcomed noble thoughts  from all directions. Swami Vivekananda, who narrated the story of Jesus Christ in a very emotional manner and introduced celebration of Christmas in all Ramakrishna Maths world over, had decried the proselytising Christians in these words- ‘you are not Christians. Go back to Christ.’ He had strongly opposed the idea of conversion in these words: “And then every man going out of the Hindu pale is not only a man less, but an enemy more.”

Mahatma Gandhi was fiercely against the Christian conversions of the Hindus. He challenged the Christian proselytisers asking if the god is prejudiced against the non-Christians? He said that religion is not a garment that can be changed. When Indira Nehru got married to Feroze Gandhi, Gandhiji remarked, “I have been, and I am still as strong an opponent of either party changing the religion for the sake of marriage, religion is not a garment to be cast off at will” (As quoted by Tarun Vijay, former MP, Rajya Sabha in Firstpost.

Hindus don’t have any hate for any religion, they are not made that way. But when preachers of any religion, be it Christianity or Islam, turn their religion into a cult and instead of meditating on their Prophets or Messengers direct all their energies toward eradicating the religion and culture of different lands through power, deceit, and violence, it becomes incumbent upon the inhabitants of the land under attack to put their foot down and throw these missionaries and evangelists out of their land.

This demands immediate attention of the government at the center. Our country needs a nationwide anti-conversion law to counter and thwart such evil designs. Much like the CAA, the Anti-Conversion Act needs to be passed through both the houses and signed off by the President. The channels through which monetary transactions flow for this evil purpose of demographic change through conversion should be identified and severed for good.

 

By Nilabh Krishna

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