Category Archives: Christianity

What made Hindus angry in Karnataka ? Francois Gautier

Francois Gautier

06 Oct 2008 02:12:00 AM IST
Source: Express buzz

I WAS born in a Catholic family. My uncle was a priest, a wonderful man of warmth and compassion and I spent most my early years in Catholic boarding schools. When I was young I wanted to become a missionary and to ‘convert’ pagans in Asia. What I was taught by priests was that Hindus worship false gods and they needed to be brought back to the True Word by Jesus Christ.

Then of course, I came to India and discovered that actually Hindus, far from being the heathens, as had been portrayed in Europe, not only believed God’s diversity, the wonderful concept of avatar, but had given refuge to all persecuted minorities of the world, whether the Syrian Christians, the Parsis, the Jews (India is the only country in the world where Jews were not persecuted), the Armenians, or today the Tibetans.

I am also aghast at the one-sided coverage by the Indian media of the Christian- Hindu problem: blasts after blasts have killed hundreds of innocent Hindus in Varanasi, Delhi, Mumbai train blasts, Jaipur, etc. Yet, neither Manmohan Singh nor Sonia Gandhi have pronounced once the word ‘Islamic terrorism.’ But when furious Hindus, tired of being made fun of, of witnessing their brothers and sisters converted by financials traps, of seeing a 84-year-old swami and his Mataji brutally murdered, of reading blasphemy about their Gods, vent their anger against churches, many of them makeshifts, the Indian government goes after the soft target which the Hindus are. The same thing applies to the United States: they never warned Muslim organisations in India about the killing of Hindus, but when dollars are used to buy new converts and it angers the majority community of India,Washington has the arrogance to issue a warning, and Manmohan Singh does not have the pride to tell the US to mind its own business.

Neither the Indian press nor the western correspondents bothered to write about what made Hindus angry in Karnataka: Newlife, one important westernfunded missionary centre (, began making conversions in and around Mangalore by accosting poor people in market areas, or in bus stands, befriending them and then taking them to churches to introduce them to the father.

Upon introduction they were paid Rs 2,500 per person and then taken to the Velankanni shrine, in Tamil Nadu, where they would get another Rs. 3,000.

When they finally converted to Christianity by changing the name, they got an incentive of Rs 10,000 onwards.

Newlife would then give them instructions to abandon wearing tilak on forehead, not to visit and offer prayers at the Hindu temples, replacing the photos and idols of Hindu gods and goddesses with a Cross, etc.

But what really angered local Hindus was when Newlife went one step further and published a book in Kannada — Satya Darshini — which was widely distributed by its missionaries. Here below is the translation of some of the most abusive passages: “Urvashi — the daughter of Lord Vishnu — is a prostitute.

Vashistha is the son of this prostitute.

He in turn married his own Mother. Such a degraded person is the Guru of the Hindu God Rama. (page 48).

When Krishna himself is wallowing in darkness of hell, how can he enlighten others? Since Krishna himself is a shady character, there is a need for us to liberate his misled followers (page 50). It was Brahma himself who kidnapped Sita.

“Since Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva were themselves victims of lust, it is a sin to consider them as Gods. (page 39).

When the Trinity of Hinduism (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) are consumed by lust and anger, how can they liberate others? The projection of them as Gods is nothing but a joke. (page 39). God, please liberate the sinful people of India who are worshipping False Gods. (Page 39).” When blasphemy and much worse is brought against the most sacred Hindu Gods, Hindus are supposed to take it meekly as sheep and let themselves be converted to a foreign religion! There are more than 4,000 foreign Christian missionaries involved in conversion activities across different states.

In Tripura, there were no Christians at the time of independence. There are 1,20,000 today, a 90 per cent increase since 1991. The figures are even more striking in Arunachal Pradesh, where there were only 1,710 Christians in 1961, but 1.2 million today, as well as 780 churches! In Andhra Pradesh, churches are coming up every day in far-flung villages and there was even an attempt to set up one near Tirupati.

Christians throughout the ages have strived on the concept of persecution and as a brought up Catholic, I remember feeling bad about all those martyred saints of Christianity. Christians in India like to say that they are only two per cent and can do no harm. But it is a sham: in the Tamil Nadu coastal belt from Chennai to Kanyakumari, there must be now 10 per cent Christians posttsunami and the same may be true in other parts of south India.

My heart goes out to Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa who took a courageous stand against unethical Christian conversions, but is now under pressure from the Centre.

The BJP, having learnt from bitter experience that the Congress has no qualm in invoking President’s rule under fallacious pretexts in states which are ruled by non-Congress governments is in a quandary: it must show some action against militant Hindu groups while remaining true to itself.

This is why Yeddyurappa took some action against Hindu groups while saying that his government will not tolerate forcible conversions and will take stringent action against missionaries involved in conversions.

And ultimately, the blame must fall on Hindus: they are 800 million in India, the overwhelming majority; they have the brains, they have the money and they have the power. But either their intellectual and political class sides with the minorities, out of fear, inferiority complex imbedded by the British or just sheer crass political opportunism, or the bigger mass is indifferent inert, selfish, un-civic conscious. Every Hindu is the inheritor of the only surviving spiritual knowledge which at the moment is under a concerted attack by Christian missionaries, Americanisation, Marxism and Islamic fundamentalism.



The consequences of Sonia Gandhi becoming the “Eminence Grise”, as the French say, of India, that is the one who controls everything from behind the scenes, are not only visible for all those who care to look, but also occult, subtle, invisible, yet having far reaching and maybe irreversible consequences. Occultism, in the ancient sense, was the manipulation of forces which cannot be seen, but which constantly clash in the world. In fact one could say that politics is the art of controlling these forces, overtly and covertly. At the top, great leaders create their own occultism: their very presence generates certain atmospheres which make or unmake revolutions.

At the outset, one should first say that the world is not Black & White, Good and Evil, Superman versus the bad guys, as the Americans would like us to believe. Hindu groups need not demonize Sonia. She probably was a good wife to Rajiv, a good daughter in law to Indira – and by all accounts, she is a good mother to her children, judging by the way they dote on her. One also hears first-hand reports about her concern for smaller people, her dignity in the suffering that befell her when her husband was blown to pieces, and her courtesy with visitors.

This said, what is happening in India at the moment, makes me profoundly uneasy. I am a Westerner and a born Christian. Yet I find it absurd that in a country of one billion people, one of the most ancient civilizations of this world, Indians cannot find an Indian to govern themselves. There are many good and talented people within the Congress and one wonders what is this unconscious, occult urge, which makes them look-up to someone, who however good-willing, is alien – if not hostile – to their own culture.

Let’s first look at the visible, overt consequences of Sonia Gandhi’s supreme leadership. There is of course the Iraqi oil-for-food scam. I know Anil Maitrani well: he is a somehow likeable, highly ambitious man, who got caught in his own web of intrigues. Yet, it is an open secret that the go ahead for the Iraqi trip of Natwar Singh, his son and his acolyte came directly from Sonia through her trusted aides. There is also a strong speculation that Sonia Gandhi controls today so much money through the various Gandhi trusts, on top of slush funds nobody knows about, that there lies her ultimate power. And what about Kashmir? Experts says that Islamic militants do not need anymore to risk crossing from Pakistan over dangerous mountain ranges and being shot at by Indian soldiers, they only have to board the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus, or cross the LOC under false identities and papers with the connivance of the Pakistani Rangers ! Mr Musharraf has dazzled the West, who laid everywhere a red carpet for him. Is the man who conceived Kargil sincere ? Pervez is a clever magician: nobody in India has found anything to say that he is actually holding talks with the Hurryat leaders, who want Kashmir to separate from India – and most likely go to Pakistan ! There is in India an obsession and a fear of Pakistan, a small country who has lost the four wars it initiated with India.

Let’s come to the covert, occult signs. I am a little uneasy when I see how much Christianity is taking over India under the reign of Sonia Gandhi : according to a 2001 census, there are about 2.34 million Christians in India ; not even 2,5% of the nation, a negligible amount. Yet there are today five Christian chief ministers in Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. One should add that the majority of politicians in Sonia Gandhi’s closed circle are either Christians or Muslims. She seems to have no confidence in Hindus. Ambika Soni, a Christian, is General Secretary of the Congress and a very powerful person, with close access to Sonia Gandhi. Oscar Fernandes is Union Programme Implementation Minister. Margaret Alwa is the eminence grise of Maharasthra. Karnataka is virtually controlled by AK Anthony, whose secretaries are all from the Southern Christian association. Valson Thampu, a Hindu hater, is Chairman NCERT curriculum Review Committee, John Dayal, another known Hindu baiter, has been named by Sonia Gandhi in the National Integration Council ; and Kancha Ilaya, who hates Hindus, is being allowed by the Indian Government to lobby with the UN and US Congress so that caste discrimination in India is taken-up by these bodies.

I share with Sonia a love for India, like her I have lived in this country for over 30 years and like her I have married an Indian. But nevertheless, since she is at the top, Christian conversions in India seem to have gone in overdrive. More than 4,000 foreign Christian missionaries are involved in conversion activities across different states. In Tripura, there were no Christians at independence, there are 120.000 today, a 90% increase since 1991. The figures are even more striking in Arunachal Pradesh, where there were only 1710 Christians in 1961, but 1,2 million today, as well as 780 churches! In Andhra Pradesh, churches are coming-up every day in far flung villages and there was even an attempt to set-up one near Tirupati. Many of the North-East separatist movements, such as the Mizo or the Bodos, are not only Christian dominated, but also sometimes function with the covert backing of the missionaries. In Kerala, particularly in the poor coastal districts, you find “miracle boxes” put in local churches: the gullible villager writes out a paper mentioning his wish: a fishing boat, a loan for a pukka house, fees for the son’s schooling… And lo, a few weeks later, the miracle happens ! And of course the whole family converts, making others in the village follow suit. During the Tsunami, entire dalit villages in Tamil Nadu were converted to Christianity with the lure of money

Then there is this rapid Westernization of India. There are good things in the West: its material consciousness, care for Nature, logical Mind, but it is nevertheless in crisis, its Church is in disarray, three marriages out of five end in divorce and even some children need to go to psychiatrists before they start shooting other children. Yet, if you have a look at most of the mainstream English-speaking Indian magazines and newspapers today, you will notice that all their cover stories deal with western concepts, that they are looking at India from a Western point of view, such as talking about ‘New Age’ spirituality, as if spirituality is new to India, that there is never any reference to India’s great past, or to India’s philosophy, or medicine (which is by the way becoming fashionable in the West). Notice also that when the Pope of Hinduism, the Shankaracharya of Kanchi, is arrested – and it could not have been done without Sonia’s knowledge – the entire Indian intelligentsia claps, though he still has not be proved guilty more than one year later. And that when a new Pope is elected in Rome, we gets in India hours of live coverage and countless cover stories.

Islamization, Westernization, Christianization, anti-Hinduism and Marxisation are the five forces which Sonia has marshaled to subdue India. The occult effect of it is that nobody realizes that in a country of 850 million Hindus, you have now a Sikh Prime Minister – when Sikhs constitute only 2% of the country’s population; a Muslim President – when Muslims are only 10% in India; a communist leader of Parliament – when communism is moribund the world over; and a Western and Christian supreme leader, when Westerners constitute only 0,0001% of India and Christians 3%. Where are the poor Hindus ?

What will happen if India becomes enough westernized at the social level, Christianized and Islamized at the religious level and taken over by the Marxists at the intellectual level ? Not only will India lose its unique soul and just become another western clone in the developing world, but the earth will lose something very precious: an ancient knowledge, a irreplaceable way of being, which makes even the most ordinary farmer or coolie carry something unique in his or her genes: a tolerance, an acceptance that God can take many forms, an innate philosophical mind, an understanding that there is something beyond us, beyond death. Even Indian Christians are different from any Christians in the world, Indian Muslims different from any Muslims in the world. They would also lose.

Maybe it is thus necessary for Indians to see for themselves the harmful effects of Sonia’s queenship : the oil for food scam, the mistrust of Hindus, the bomb blasts, the deteriorating situation in Kashmir, the proliferation of madrasas, the frenzied globalization, the Christian conversion drive… Then only will they realize that is important to have an Indian at the top, someone who is in touch with India’s ideals and spirituality and not someone who is sold the West and these alien western concepts which are Marxism and Christianity.

Francois Gautier

*The author is the correspondent in South Asia for Marianne, one of France’s leading political magazines, as well as the editor of ‘La Revue de l’Inde’ in Paris.

The Importance of being J M Lyngdoh

The Importance of being J M Lyngdoh

February 02, 2004

I am a Westerner and born a Christian. I should be happy that someone like Chief Election Commissioner James Lyngdoh, a Christian, attracts so much attention from the Western press and gets so many accolades from foreign governments. When he recently won the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize, he did his country proud. After all, had he not defied government pressure for an early election in riot-torn Gujarat and overseen fair polls in Kashmir? When again, he is trying all he can, before he retires in early February, to delay the advancement of elections by the BJP, he may be performing his duties as best as he conceives it.

Yet, it makes me slightly uneasy. Why? Two reasons. First he constantly belittles his country, nay, he vomits India. When Mr Lyngodh appears on the BBC to say that not a single Indian politician is uncorrupt, not only does he say an untruth, but he does a lot of harm to India’s image abroad, and reinforces colonial prejudices and biases against a wonderful tolerant country and a talented people.

It is true there is a lot of corruption here and that politicians are sometimes dishonest. But if you take this present government, for instance, whatever its faults, you find a lot of its members do not take a single paisa for themselves, be it Vajpayee, Advani, Joshi or Fernandes (please go to his house in Krishna Menon Marg and see for yourself his lifestyle). It is very wrong to propagate the notion that Indians by nature are more corrupt than say Westerners, because it is absolutely false.

It is the system that breeds corruption here, the Nehruvian system to be precise, which may have stemmed from good intentions, but which in the end produced statism, bureaucracy and corruption. This system was meant for the poor, but now you need one crore rupees to be elected an MP, whereas officially, you are only allowed Rs 2 lakhs. And where will the politician, however good, willing and sincere s/he is, find one crore rupees, except in the pockets of industrialists who will later demand favors? The system has to be reformed. The people are basically as good and prone to honesty or dishonesty as other people in the world, whatever the color of their skin and religious beliefs.

Secondly, I know the likes of James Lyngdoh appeal, unconsciously, of course, to a certain Western sentiment of superiority and reinforce Westerners in their belief of the superiority of Christian monotheism versus Hindu polytheism. Christians still believe that Christ is the only true son of God and that all other beliefs — particularly those of the Hindus, who adore a multitude of ‘heathen’ Gods, are false. This is why Christian missionaries are even now at it in India, converting thousands of innocent tribals and Harijans, with the millions of dollars that gullible Westerners donate, so as to ‘alleviate poverty in the Third World.’

This unconscious sentiment of superiority of Christian culture over Indian culture also explains why the West likes to decorate Indians, who however brilliant and intrinsically good they are, propagate this image of a poor, corrupt, immature India, whether it is Amartya Sen, Mother Teresa, Arundhati Roy, or James Lyngdoh, three of them being Christians and the third one a Marxist who has adopted the Western way of thinking and life. Basically, they all have the same message: ‘Oh, look at this poor, corrupt, pagan India, who is not capable of looking after herself and is too immature to have nuclear weapons.’ This is why Western correspondents give so much coverage to Mr Lyngdoh and so little to more humble Indians who go quietly about their work, without trying to hog publicity for themselves.

But ultimately, Indians are to blame themselves. The Indian intelligentsia, particularly, which is very brilliant, but also highly Westernized, because the best education in India is Christian and imprints itself in many subtle and not so subtle ways on its students. If Indian newspapers and television channels would — while not being blind to India’s faults — be a little more positive and a little less cynical and negative about their country, people like Mr Lyngdoh or Mrs Roy would find it very difficult to function.

Indeed, if Indian journalists, instead of propping up Mr Lyngdoh as a paradigm of virtue, would instead point out that it is wrong and unforgivable to use his high office for propagating his biased views, things would start improving quickly in this great, generous and diverse country that is India.

Francois Gautier

Harvest of faith?

Harvest of faith?

Author: Francois Gautier
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: October 16, 2002

This column is specially addressed to my Christian brothers and sisters of India. At a time when again a Western missionary ministering in India (Father Marian Zelazek who works among leprosy patients in Orissa) has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and when Mother Teresa’s beatification – and later the canonisation – is being speeded-up by the Vatican, it is time to look into the real motives of Christian missionaries working in India.

We all know that Mother Teresa incarnated in the 20th century true Christian charity, helping “the poorest of the poor”, and that she lived a life of nun, with rectitude and service, as Jesus Christ would have liked her to. It also should be said that Mother Teresa did the work that wealthy Hindus and Hindu organisations should have done. After all, there is no denying that it takes a Westerner to pick up the dying in the streets of Calcutta and raise abandoned orphans, a thankless task if there is one. Hindus, even though their religion has taught them compassion for 4,000 years, have become very callous towards their less fortunate brethren and there are not enough Hindu organisations, apart from the Art of Living, the Vivekananda and Ramakrishna missions, or the RSS, doing charitable work as the Christians do. This is despite the fact that there is growing awareness amongst Hindu organisations that it is time to get their act together, that they ought to be doing more for the dispossessed and the poor of the land than they have so far.

Unfortunately – and in spite of herself maybe – Mother Teresa carried a very negative image of India: That of poverty beyond humanity, of a society which abandons its children, of dying without dignity. Alright, it is accepted there is some truth in it. But then it may be asked again: Did Mother Teresa ever attempt to counterbalance this negative image of India, of which she was the vector, with a more positive one? After all, she had lived here for so long that she knew the country as well as any Indian, having even adopted Indian nationality. Surely she could have defended her own country? She could, for example, have spoken about India’s infinite spirituality, her exquisite culture, the gentleness of its people, the brilliance of its children…

Regrettably, Mother Teresa said nothing of the sort. Does this mean that she stood for the most orthodox Christian conservatism? Was it, as some of her detractors said, that her ultimate goal was to convert India to Christianity, the only true religion in her eyes? I cannot believe it, although it is true that she never once said a good word about Hinduism, which after all is the religion of 700 millions people of the country she said she loved, and has been their religion for 5,000 years – long before Christianity appeared. Did Mother Teresa consider, as all good Christians do – particularly the conservatives ones – that Hinduism is a pagan religion which adores a multitude of heathen gods and should be eliminated?

The hardline Hindus argue that there has been no change in Christian or Protestant designs on India since they arrived with the Portuguese and the British, and that Mother Teresa was much more clever than Lord Hastings: She knew that on the eve of the 21st century, it would have looked very bad if she had openly stated her true opinions about Hinduism; so she kept quiet. It seems a bit farfetched but, ultimately, is not her charitable work – whatever its dedication – an indirect method to convert people? For without any doubt, most of the people she saved from the streets did ultimately become Christians. And if you ask those “elite” Indians who knew her well, such as photographer Raghu Rai, a great admirer of her, she always said: “It is now time for you to embrace the true religion.” (Raghu Rai politely declined.)

India today is an emerging super power and Indian Christians, while worshipping the memory of Mother Teresa, should try – by talking around themselves, writing articles and books – to propagate a more positive image of their country. Why does India’s intelligentsia, most of whom are born Hindus, also defend her? These are intelligent, educated people; they must surely have some inkling of Mother Teresa’s negative impact? Does Vir Sanghvi or for that matter Naveen Chawla, Mother Teresa’s ever admiring biographer, understand what she really stood for? That she may have been someone basically hostile to their culture, their religion, their way of life?

Also, do they know that Hindu society has always been the target of Christians since their coming here? Do they understand that they and a thousand of their peers, who belong to the intellectual elite of India and keep praising Mother Teresa (or Father Zelazek), are doing harm to their country and opening it to its enemies? The Christian influence is very strong in India today: It shapes the minds of its young people in a subtle way through its schools, which many of the children of the affluent attend. It moulds the thinking of the tribes it has converted, particularly in the North-East where the missionaries have always covertly encouraged separatism (see the remarkable book Indigenous Indians by the Dutch Scholar, Koenrad Elst).

It is also sad to see the majority of Hindus are unaware of the very negative image of their country and religion which Mother Teresa’s name is carrying. It is even more unfortunate to see that Hindus vote for her as the most popular Indian (as reported by a weekly magazine that recently conducted an opinion poll). Was Mother Teresa really Indian? Did she really love India as an Indian? While we must respect her memory, it is necessary that Mother Teresa’s sainthood or Father Zelatek’s potential Nobel prize be seen in their proper perspective by both Hindus and Indian Christians: By making her a saint, or giving Father Zelatek a Nobel, the Vatican and the West are still perpetuating a kind of condescending, neo-colonial attitude: “We, the Westerners, bring to you, the heathens, the civilisation and the true God.”

Ultimately, when she becomes a saint, Mother Teresa’s spirit will continue to haunt India because she will be worshiped by millions of Westerners for the very negative qualities and aspects that India is trying to emerge out of: Poverty, human despair and lack of self respect.

Unethical craft of conversion

Posted May 1, 2006
Author: Francois Gautier
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 26, 2002

I was born and brought-up a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ is an Avatar of Love, and that now more than ever, specially after the 11th September terrorist attacks on America, we need his message of compassion, charity and kindness for one another.

Many Christians have taught the world that the first precept of Christ is to look after the deprived and the needy: Missionaries, such as Father Ceyrac, a French Jesuit who has lived for more than 60 years in Chennai, have understood this principle, tending to the poorest sections of this society, while respecting their culture (Father Ceyrac, who speaks fluently Tamil and Sanskrit, often quotes from the Upanishads).

Unfortunately, there has crept in the purity of the early Christianity an exclusiveness, a feeling of sole proprietary right over God. This exclusiveness, this feeling amongst Christians, that “we are the only true religion, and all other gods are false gods”, has had the most catastrophic and bloody consequences: Millions have been killed in the name of Christ, entire civilisations, such as the Atzecs and Incas, have been wiped-out, “to bring them the word of Jesus”. Even Christians have savagely murdered each other, whether in France or England. One would have hoped that this intolerance, this fanatical and militant drive to convert, forcibly or otherwise, pagans to the “True” God, had ceased in this new millennium of “enlightenment”. Unfortunately, it is not so. For nearly three centuries, India has been the target of a massive conversion drive. It is even more so today, as Christianity is dwindling in the West: There are less and less people going to churches and very few youth willing to become priests and nuns, without speaking of the paedophilia scandals racking the American Church. The Vatican is thus looking for new converts in the Third World, particularly in India, where people have such an innate aspiration to spirituality. Indeed, the Pope has earmarked this new millennium as “The Evangelisation of Asia”. And it is in the North-East that this evangelisation is meeting with the most success.

But conversions in India of low caste Hindus and tribals by Christian missionaries are sometimes nothing short of fraudulent and shameful. American, Australian, or Norwegian missionaries are investing huge amounts of money in India, which come from donation drives in their countries, where gullible Christians think their dollars or Euros are going towards uplifting “poor and uneducated Indians”. It is common in Kerala, for instance, particularly in the poor coastal districts, to have “miracle boxes” put in local churches. The innocent villager writes out a paper mentioning his wish: A fishing boat, a loan for a house, fee for child’s schooling… And lo, a few weeks later, the miracle happens! And, of course, the whole family converts, making others in the village follow suit! Missionaries also make extensive use of “miracle” prayer meeting trick, where a glib preacher persuades naive tribals that a miracle is happening in their midst, while encouraging them to convert.

One such fake “miracle” prayer meeting, called the “Gangtok Prayer Festival 2002”, is being organised in Gangtok (at Guards Ground), from April 26 to 28. It will be conducted by Dr Paul Dinakaran (he runs Jesus Calls from Chennai), who is famous for leading these “miracle” meetings all over India. Who is behind the drive? There are three US-based Christian fundamentalist organisations. The first is Bible for the world; second, Common Global Ministries Board; and third, United Church Board for World Ministries. These foreign missionaries could be quietly pulling the strings from behind the scenes. Where does the money for organising these costly meetings come from? Only the Government of India can answer these questions. Sikkim is a sensitive border area, which is claimed by China. Does, for instance, the reader know that China encourages foreign missionaries to convert Tibetans in Tibet and that the Dalai-lama is very concerned about this fact? Although it is learnt from reliable sources that Governor Kedarnath Sahani of Sikkim, as well as Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, are very concerned, the State Government seems unable to do much, as many of its Christian ministers are involved in this meeting. Conversions have been taking place in Sikkim since long. Earlier, the North District of Sikkim was targeted in places like Janghu where the Lepcha community lives. But it is happening now in all the districts of Sikkim (West-Sombaria/ Soreng, South- Namchi, East-Gangtok).

It is especially the tribals and Hindus living below the poverty line who are being targeted. It’s not just that conversion is an unethical custom; it also threatens a whole way of life, erasing centuries of tradition, customs, wisdom. It teaches people to despise their own religion and look westwards to a culture which is alien to them, with disastrous results. Look how the biggest drug problems in India are found in the North- East, or how Third World countries, which have been totally Christianised, have lost all their moorings and bearing, and are drifting away without nationalism and self-pride. It is time that Indians awoke to the threat of Christian conversions here.

The argument that Christians are only 3 per cent in India, and therefore cannot be a threat, is totally fallacious: The influence that Christians exercise in this country through their schools, hospitals and the enormous amount of money being poured in by Western countries for the purpose of converting Hindus, is totally disproportionate to their numbers.

Western missionaries (and their governments) would like us to believe that democracy includes the freedom to convert by any means. But France, for example, a traditionally Christian country, has a Minister who is in charge of hunting down “sects”. And by sects, what is meant is any group that does not fall within the recognised family of Christianity, specially anything that is a Hindu flavour: There is not a single Hindu temple in France and all recent applications for the construction of one have been rejected.

It is sad that Indians, once converted, especially the priests and nuns, tend to turn against their own country and help in the conversion drive. There are very few “White” missionaries left in India and most of the conversions are done by Indian priests. Last year, during the Bishops’ conference in Bangalore, it was restated by priests from all over India that conversion is the first priority of the Church. But are the priests and bishops aware that they would never find in any Western country the same freedom to convert, that they take for granted in India?

Do they know that in China they would be expelled, if not put behind bars? Do they realise that they have been honoured guests in this country for nearly 2,000 years (the first Christian community in the world is that of Syrian Christians, who have prospered in peace in India since 1st century AD) and that they are betraying those who gave them peace and freedom?

The message of Christ is one of Love, of respecting other’s cultures and creed – not of utilising devious and unethical means for converting people. It is false to say that Jesus is the only “true” God. The Divine has manifested Himself throughout the ages under different names and identities, whether it is Christ, Buddha, Krishna or Mohammed. Let this be the motto of the 21st century. Only then will true spirituality emerge, beyond all religions and intolerances.