Category Archives: missionaries

Not India’s first woman saint

Francois Gautier, Pioneer

Indian media went into a tizzy while covering the canonisation of Sister Alphonsa, an obscure nun, to prove its secular credentials! Indian journalists forget that this country has had other women saints too.

As a Frenchman, I was coached right from childhood that logic, what we in France call cartesianism, is the greatest gift given to man and that one should use one’s reason to tread in life. Thus, I taught to my students in a Bangalore school of journalism, the SSCMS, that the first tool of a good reporter is to go by his or her own judgement on the ground, with the help of one’s first-hand experience — and not go by second hand information: What your parents thought, what you have read in the newspapers, what your caste, religion, culture pushes you into…

Yet in India, logic does not seem to apply to most of the media, especially when it is anything related to Hindus and Hinduism. One cannot, for instance, equate Muslim terrorists who blow up innocent civilians in market places all over India to angry ordinary Hindus who attack churches without killing anybody. We know that most of these communal incidents often involve persons of the same caste — Dalits and tribals — some of them converted to Christianity and some not.

However reprehensible was the destruction of the Babri Masjid, no Muslim was killed in the process. Compare that with the ‘vengeance’ bombings of 1993 in Mumbai, which killed hundreds of innocent people, mostly Hindus. Yet Indian and Western journalists keep equating the two, or even showing the Babri Masjid destruction as the most horrible act of the two.

How can you compare the Sangh Parivar with the Indian Mujahideen, a deadly terrorist organisation? How can you label Mr Narendra Modi a mass killer when actually it was ordinary middle class, or even Dalit Hindus, who went out into the streets in fury when 56 innocent people, many of them women and children, were burnt in a train?

How can you lobby for the lifting of the ban on SIMI, an organisation which is suspected of having planted bombs in many Indian cities, killing hundreds of innocent people, while advocating a ban on the Bajrang Dal, which attacked some churches after an 84-year-old swami and his followers were brutally murdered?

There is no logic in journalism in this country when it applies itself to minorities. Christians are supposedly only two per cent of the population in India, but look how last Sunday many major television channels showed live the canonisation ceremony of Sister Alphonsa, an obscure nun from Kerala and see how Union Minister Oscar Fernandes led an entire Indian delegation to the Vatican along with the Indian Ambassador. It would be impossible in England, for instance, which may have a two per cent Hindu minority, to have live coverage of a major Hindu ceremony, like the anointment of a new Shankaracharya. What were the 24×7 news channels, which seem to have deliberately chosen to highlight this non-event, trying to prove? That they are secular? Is this secularism?

The headline of the story “India gets its first woman saint”, run by many newspapers, both Indian and Western, is very misleading.

For India has never been short of saints.

The woman sage from over 3,000 years ago, Maithreyi, Andal, the Tamil saint from early in the first Millennium CE and Akkamahadevi, the 15th century saint from modern-day Karnataka, are but a few examples of women saints in India.

What many publications failed to mention in the story is that this is the first woman Christian saint — not the first Indian woman saint.

This statement is ok, when it comes, for instance, from the BBC, which always looks at India through the Christian prism (BBC ran a few months back an untrue and slanderous documentary on Auroville), but when it comes to the Indian media, it only shows the grave lack of grounding in Indian culture and history of most Indian journalists.

As a result, they suffer from an inferiority complex.

This inferiority complex, as expressed by television’s live coverage of the canonisation of Sister Alphonsa, is a legacy of the British, who strove to show themselves as superior and Indian culture as inferior (and inheritor of the ‘White Aryans’, a totally false theory).

Is it not time to institute schools of journalism, both private and public, where not only logic will be taught, but where students shall be made aware of Indian history and of the greatness of Indian culture, so that when they go out to report, they will use their own judgement and become Indian journalists, with a little bit of feeling, pride and love for their own country?

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 ( http://www.newlifevoice.org), 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.

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.

Will Hinduism survive the present Christian offensive ?

Will Hinduism survive the present Christian offensive ?

<!– Views : 709
–> November 24, 2007

By Francis Gautier

Mumbai (Maharashtra): When Prime Minister Vajpayee was in the US in September, the National Association of Asian Christians in the US (whom nobody had heard about before), paid $ 50,000 to the New York Times to publish ‘an Open Letter to the Hon’ble Atal Bihari Vajpayee, prime minister of India.’

While ‘warmly welcoming the PM,’ the NAAIC expressed deep concern about the ‘persecution’ of Christians in India by ‘extremist’ (meaning Hindu) groups, mentioning as examples ‘the priest, missionaries and church workers who have been murdered,’ the nuns ‘raped,’ and the potential enacting of conversion laws, which would make ‘genuine’ conversions illegal. The letter concluded by saying ‘that Christians in India today live in fear.’

The whole affair was an embarrassment (as it was intended to be) to Mr. Vajpayee and the Indian delegation, which had come to prod American businessmen to invest in India, a peaceful, pro-Western and democratic country.

I am born a Christian and I have had a strong Catholic education. I do believe that Christ was an incarnation of Pure Love and that His Presence still radiates in the world. I also believe there are human beings who sincerely try to incarnate the ideals of Jesus and that you can find today in India a few missionaries (such as Father Ceyrac, a French Jesuit, who works mostly with lepers in Tamilnadu), who are incarnations of that Love, tending tirelessly to people, without trying to convert them.

But I have also lived for more than 30 years in India, I am married to an Indian, I have traveled the length and breath of this country and I have evolved a love and an understanding of India, which few other foreign correspondents have, because they are never posted long enough to start getting a real feeling of this vast and often baffling country (nobody can claim to fully understand India). And this is what I have to say about the ‘persecution’ of Christians in India.

Firstly, it is necessary to bring about a little bit of a historical flashback, which very few foreign correspondents (and unfortunately also Indian journalists) care to do, which would make for a more balanced view of the problem.

If ever there was persecution, it was of the Hindus at the hands of Christians, who were actually welcomed in this country, as they have been welcomed in no other place on this planet. Indeed, the first Christian community of the world, that of the Syrian Christians, was established in Kerala in the first century; they were able to live in peace and practice their religion freely, even imbibing some of the local Hindu customs, until the Jesuits came in the 16th century and told them it was ‘heathen’ to have anything to do with the Hindus, thereby breaking the Syrian Church in two.
When Vasco de Gama landed in Kerala in 1498, he was generously received by the Zamorin, the Hindu king of Calicut, who granted him the right to establish warehouses for commerce. But once again, Hindu tolerance was exploited and the Portuguese wanted more and more. In 1510, Alfonso de Albuquerque seized Goa, where he started a reign of terror, burning ‘heretics,’ crucifying Brahmins, using false theories to forcibly convert the lower castes, razing temples to build churches upon them and encouraging his soldiers to take Indian mistresses.

Indeed, the Portuguese perpetrated here some of the worst atrocities ever committed in Asia by Christianity upon another religion. Ultimately, the Portuguese had to be kicked out of India, when all other colonisers had already left.

British missionaries in India were always supporters of colonialism; they encouraged it and their whole structure was based on ‘the good Western civilized world being brought to the Pagans.’ Because, in the words of Claudius Buchanan, a chaplain attached to the East India Company, ‘Neither truth, nor honesty, honour, gratitude, nor charity, is to be found in the breast of a Hindoo!’ What a comment about a nation that gave the world the Vedas at a time when Europeans were still grappling in their caves!

And it is in this way that the British allowed entire chunks of territories in the East, where lived tribals, whose poverty and simplicity, made them easy prey to be converted to Christianity. By doing so, the Christian missionaries cut a people from their roots and tradition, made them look westwards towards a culture and a way of life which was not theirs.

And the result is there today for everyone to see: it is in these eastern states, some of which are 90 per cent Christian, that one finds the biggest drug problems (and crime) in India. It should also be said that many of the eastern separatist movements have been covertly encouraged by Christian missionaries on the ground that ‘tribals were there before the “Aryan Hindus” invaded India and imposed hinduism upon on them.’

The trouble is that the latest archaeological and linguistic discoveries point out to the fact that there NEVER was an Aryan invasion of India — it just was an invention of the British and the missionaries to serve their purpose.

Secondly, Christianity has always striven on the myth of persecution, which in turn bred “martyrs” and saints, indispensable to the propagation of Christianity. But it is little known, for instance, that the first “saints” of Christianity, “martyred” in Rome, a highly refined civilisation, which had evolved a remarkable system of gods and goddesses, some of whom were derived from Hindu mythology via the Greeks, were actually killed (a normal practice in those days), while bullying peaceful Romans to embrace the “true” religion, in the same way that later Christian missionaries will browbeat “heathen” Hindus, adoring many gods, into believing that Jesus was the only “true” god.

Now to come to the recent cases of persecution of Christians in India at the hands of Hindu groups. I have personally investigated quite a few, amongst them the rape of the four nuns in Jhabua, MP, nearly two years ago. This rape is still quoted as an example of the ‘atrocities’ committed by Hindus on Christians.

Yet, when I interviewed the four innocent nuns, they themselves admitted, along with George Anatil, the bishop of Indore, that it had nothing to do with religion: it was the doing of a gang of Bhil tribals, known to perpetrate this kind of hateful acts on their own women. Today, the Indian press, the Christian hierarchy and the politicians, continue to include the Jhabua rape in the list of atrocities against the Christians.

Or take the burning of churches in Andhra Pradesh a few months ago, which was supposed to have been committed by the “fanatic” RSS. It was proved later that it was actually the handiwork of Indian Muslims, at the behest of the ISI to foment hatred between Christians and Hindus. Yet the Indian press which went berserk at the time of the burnings, mostly kept quiet when the true nature of the perpetrators was revealed.

Finally, even if Dara Singh does belong to the Bajrang Dal, it is doubtful if the hundred other accused do. What is more probable, is that like in many other ‘backward’ places, it is a case of converted tribals versus non-converted tribals, of pent-up jealousies, of old village feuds and land disputes. It is also an outcome of what — it should be said — are the aggressive methods of the Pentecost and Seventh Adventists missionaries, known for their muscular ways of conversion.

Thirdly, conversions in India by Christian missionaries of low caste Hindus and tribals are sometimes nothing short of fraudulent and shameful. American missionaries are investing huge amounts of money in India, which come from donation drives in the United States where gullible Americans think the dollars they are giving go 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 gullible villager writes out a paper mentioning his wish: a fishing boat, a loan for a pucca 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.

American missionaries (and their government) 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, it is meant anything that does not fall within the recognised family of Christianity — even the Church of Scientology, favoured by some Hollywood stars such as Tom Cruise or John Travolta, is ruthlessly hounded. And look at what the Americans did to the Osho movement in Arizona, or how innocent children and women were burnt down by the FBI (with the assistance of the US army) at Waco, Texas, because they belonged to a dangerous sect…

Did you know that Christianity is dying in the West? Not only is church attendance falling dramatically because spirituality has deserted it, but less and less youth find the vocation to become priests or nuns. And as a result, say in the rural parts of France, you will find only one priest for six or seven villages, whereas till the late seventies, the smallest hamlet had its own parish priest.

And where is Christianity finding new priests today? In the Third World, of course! And India, because of the innate impulsion of its people towards god, is a very fertile recruiting ground for the Church, particularly in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Hence the huge attention that India is getting from the United States, Australia, or England and the massive conversion drive going on today.

It is sad that Indians, once converted, specially 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 today by Indian priests.

Last month, during the bishops’s conference in Bangalore, it was restated by bishops and priests from all over India that conversion is the FIRST priority of the Church here. 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 into jail? Do they realise that they have been honoured guests in this country for nearly two thousand years and that they are betraying those that gave them peace and freedom?

Hinduism, the religion of tolerance, the coming spirituality of this new millennium, has survived the unspeakable barbarism of wave after wave of Muslim invasions, the insidious onslaught of Western colonialism which has killed the spirit of so may Third World countries and the soul-stifling assault of Nehruvianism. But will it survive the present Christian offensive?

Many Hindu religious leaders feel Christianity is a real threat today, as in numerous ways it is similar to Hinduism, from which Christ borrowed so many concepts (see Sri Siri Ravi Shankar’s book: hinduism and Christianity).

It is thus necessary that Indians themselves become more aware of the danger their culture and unique civilisation is facing at the hands of missionaries sponsored by foreign money. It is also necessary that they stop listening to the Marxist-influenced English newspapers’s defence of the right of Christian missionaries to convert innocent Hindus.

Conversion belongs to the times of colonialism. We have entered in the era of Unity, of coming together, of tolerance and accepting each other as we are — not of converting in the name of one elusive “true” god.

Source: www.geocities.com

THE "PERSECUTION" OF CHRISTIANS IN INDIA

Source: http://www.francoisgautier.com

When Prime Minister Vajpayee was in the US in September, the National Association of Asian Christians in the US (whom nobody had heard about before), paid 50.000 $ to the New York Times to publish “an Open Letter to the Hon’ Atal Behari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India”. While “warmly welcoming the PM”, the NAAIC expressed deep concern about the “persecution” of Christians in India by “extremist” (meaning Hindu) groups, mentioning as examples “the priest, missionaries and church workers who have been murdered”, the nuns “raped”, and the potential enacting of conversion laws, which would “make “genuine” conversions illegal. The letter concluded by saying “that Christians in India today live in fear”. The whole affair was an embarrassment (as it was intended to be) to Mr Vajpayee and the accompanying Indian delegation, which had come to prod American businessmen to invest in India, a peaceful, pro-Western and democratic country.

I am born a Christian and I have had a strong Catholic education. I do believe that Christ was an incarnation of Pure Love and that His Presence still radiates in the world. I also believe that there are human beings who sincerely try to incarnate the ideals of Jesus and that you can find today in India a few missionaries (such as Father Ceyrac, a French Jesuit, who works mostly with lepers in Tamil Nadu), who are incarnations of that Love, tending tirelessly to people, without trying to convert them. But I have also lived for more than 30 years in India, I am married to an Indian, I have traveled the length and breath of this country and I have evolved a love and an understanding of India, which few other foreign correspondents have, because they are never posted long enough to start getting a real feeling of this vast and often baffling country (nobody can claim to fully understand India). And this is what I have to say about the “persecution” of Christians in India.

Firstly, it is necessary to bring about a little bit of a historical flashback, which very few foreign correspondents (and unfortunately also Indian journalists) care to do, which would make for a more balanced view of the problem…

…If ever there was persecution, it was of the Hindus at the hands of Christians, who were actually welcomed in this country, as they have been welcomed in no other place in this Planet. Indeed, the first Christian community of the world, that of the Syrian Christians, was established in Kerala in the first century; they were able to live in peace and practice their religion freely, even imbibing some of the local Hindu customs, until the Jesuits came in the 16th century and told them it was “heathen” to have anything to do with the Hindus, thereby breaking the Syrian Church in two.

When, Vasco de Gama, landed in Kerala in 1498, he was generously received by Zamorin, the Hindu king of Calicut, who granted him the right to establish warehouses for commerce. But once again, Hindu tolerance was exploited and the Portuguese wanted more and more: in 1510, Alfonso de Albuquerque seized Goa, where he started a reign of terror, burning “heretics”, crucifying Brahmins, using false theories to forcibly convert the lower castes, razing temples to build churches upon them and encouraging his soldiers to take Indian mistresses. Indeed, the Portuguese perpetrated here some of the worst atrocities ever committed in Asia by Christianity upon another religion. Ultimately, the Portuguese had to be kicked out of India, when all other colonisers had already left.

British missionaries in India were always supporters of colonialism; they encouraged it and their whole structure was based on “the good Western civilised world being brought to the Pagans”. Because, in the words of Claudius Buccchanan, a chaplain attached to the East India Company, “neither truth, nor honesty, honour, gratitude, nor charity, is to be found in the breast of a Hindoo”! What a comment about a nation that gave the world the Vedas, at a time when Europeans were still grappling in their caves! And it is in this way that the British allowed entire chunks of territories in the East, where lived tribals, whose poverty and simplicity, made them easy preys to be converted to Christianity. By doing so, the Christian missionaries cut a people from their roots and tradition, made them look westwards towards a culture and a way of life which was not theirs. And the result is there today for everyone to see: it is in these eastern States, some of which are 90% Christians, that one finds the biggest drug problems (and crime) in India. It should also be said that many of the eastern separatist movements have been covertly encouraged by Christian missionaries on the ground that “tribals were there before the ‘Aryan Hindus’ invaded India and imposed Hinduism upon on them”. The trouble is that the latest archeological and linguistic discoveries point out to the fact that there NEVER was an Aryan invasion of India – it just was an invention of the British and the missionaries to serve their purpose…

Secondly, Christianity has always striven on the myth of persecution, which in turn bred “martyrs” and saints, indispensable to the propagation of Christianity. But it is little known, for instance, that the first “saints” of Christianity, “martyred” in Rome, a highly refined civilization, which had evolved a remarkable system of Gods and Goddesses, some of whom were derived from Hindu mythology via the Greeks, were actually killed (a normal practice in those days), while bullying peaceful Romans to embrace the “true” religion, in the same way that later Christian missionaries will browbeat “heathen” Hindus, adoring many Gods, into believing that Jesus was the only “true” God.

Now to come to the recent cases of persecution of Christians in India at the hands of Hindu groups, I have personally investigated quite a few, amongst them the rape of the four nuns in Jhabua (MP), nearly two years ago. This rape is still quoted as an example of the “atrocities” committed by Hindus on Christians. Yet, when I interviewed the four innocent nuns, they themselves admitted, along with George Anatil, Bishop of Indore, that it had nothing to do with religion: it was the doing of a gang of Bhil tribals, known to perpetrate this kind of hateful acts on their own women. Today, the Indian Press, the Christian hierarchy and the politicians, continue to include the Jhabua rape in the list of the atrocities against the Christians. Or take the burning of churches in Andhra Pradesh a few months ago, which was supposed to have been committed by the “fanatic” RSS. It was proved later that it was actually the handiwork of Indian Muslims, at the behest of the ISI to foment hatred between Christians and Hindus. Yet the Indian Press which went beserk at the time of the burnings, mostly kept quiet when the true nature of the perpetrators was revealed. Finally, even if Dara Singh does belong to the Bajrang Dal, it is doubtful if the 100 others accused do. What is more probable, is that like in many other “backward” places, it is a case of converted tribals versus non-converted tribals, of pent-up jealousies, of old village feuds and land disputes. It is also an outcome of what – it should be said – are the aggressive methods of the Pentecost and seventh Adventists missionaries, known for their muscular ways of converting.

Now to come to the recent cases of persecution of Christians in India at the hands of Hindu groups, I have personally investigated quite a few, amongst them the rape of the four nuns in Jhabua (MP), nearly two years ago. This rape is still quoted as an example of the “atrocities” committed by Hindus on Christians. Yet, when I interviewed the four innocent nuns, they themselves admitted, along with George Anatil, Bishop of Indore, that it had nothing to do with religion: it was the doing of a gang of Bhil tribals, known to perpetrate this kind of hateful acts on their own women. Today, the Indian Press, the Christian hierarchy and the politicians, continue to include the Jhabua rape in the list of the atrocities against the Christians. Or take the burning of churches in Andhra Pradesh a few months ago, which was supposed to have been committed by the “fanatic” RSS. It was proved later that it was actually the handiwork of Indian Muslims, at the behest of the ISI to foment hatred between Christians and Hindus. Yet the Indian Press which went beserk at the time of the burnings, mostly kept quiet when the true nature of the perpetrators was revealed. Finally, even if Dara Singh does belong to the Bajrang Dal, it is doubtful if the 100 others accused do. What is more probable, is that like in many other “backward” places, it is a case of converted tribals versus non-converted tribals, of pent-up jealousies, of old village feuds and land disputes. It is also an outcome of what – it should be said – are the aggressive methods of the Pentecost and seventh Adventists missionaries, known for their muscular ways of converting.

Thirdly, conversions in India by Christian missionaries of low caste Hindus and tribals are sometimes nothing short of fraudulent and shameful. American missionnaries are investing huge amounts of money in India, which come from donation drives in the United States where gullible Americans think the dollars they are giving goe towards uplifting “poor and unducated Indians”. It is common in Kerala, for instance, particularly in the poor coastal districts, to have “miracle boxes” put in local churches: the gullible villager writes out a paper mentionning his wish: a fising 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…

American missionnaries (and their Government) would like us to believe that democacry 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, it is meant anything that does not fall within the recognised family of Christianity – even the Church of Scientology, favored by some Hollywood stars such as Tom Cruise or John Travolta, is ruthlessly hounded. And look at what the Americans did to the Osho movement in Arizona, or how innocent children and women were burnt down by the FBI (with the assistance of the US army) in Waco Texas, because they belonged to a dangerous sect…

Did you know that the Christianity is dying in the West ? Not only church attendance is falling dramatically because spirituality has deserted it, but less and less youth find the vocation to become priests or nuns. And as a result, say in the rural parts of France, you will find only one priest for six or seven villages, whereas till the late seventies the smallest hamlet had its own parish priest. And where is Christianity finding new priests today ? In the Third World, of course ! And India, because of the innate impulsion of its people towards God, is a very fertile recruiting ground for the Chrurch, particularly in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Hence the huge attention that India is getting from the United States, Australia, or England and the massive conversion drive going on today.

It is sad that Indians, once converted, specially the priests and nuns, tend to turn against their own country and help in the conversion drive. There are very few “White” missionnaries left in India and most of the conversions are done today by Indian priests. Last month, during the Bishop’s conference in Bangalore, it was restated by bishops and priests from all over India, that conversion is the FIRST priority of the Church here. 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 into jail ? Do they realize that they have been honored guests in this country for nearly two thousand years and that they are betraying those that gave them peace and freedom ?

Hinduism, the religion of tolerance, the coming spirituality of this new millenium, has survived the unspeakable barbarism of wave after wave of Muslim invasions, the insidious onslaught of Western colonialism which has killed the spirit of so may Third World countries and the soul-stifling assault of Nehruvianism. But will it survive the present Christian offensive ? Many Hindu religious leaders feel that Christianity is a real threat today, as in numerous ways it is similar to Hinduism, from which Christ borrowed so many concepts (see Sri Siri Ravi Shankar’s book: ” Hinduism and Christianity”).. It is thus necessary that Indian themselves become more aware of the danger their culture and unique civilisation is facing at the hands of missionnaries sponsored by foreign money. It is also necessary that they stop listening to the Marxist- influenced English newspapers’ defense of the right of Christian missionaries to convert innocent Hindus. Conversion belongs to the times of colonialism. We have entered in the era of Unity, of coming together, of tolerance and accepting each other as we are – not of converting in the name of one elusive “true” God. When Christianity will accept the right of other people to follow their own beliefs and creeds, the only will Jesus Christ’s Spirit truly radiate in the world.

FRANCOIS GAUTIER