Christianity as a religion has been changing its pattern, color, shape & structure through the centuries. After the Protestant Reformation it has started splitting into splinter-groups as well. Non-Conformism & heretical trends were brutally suppressed in the past & violently persecuted in the Middle Ages, but all that has now become a history with the advent of Liberation Theology. Christianity has now emerged purely as a Political Religion.
Liberation Theology is now the post war model of the Christian Religion. The Christian missions claim that it has now become their duty to liberate the oppressed and the suppressed all over the world .This movement works through the WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES ( W.C.C) the INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIANS COUNCILS, THE MISSIONARY SOCIETIES etc. These so call Christian organisations work under the direction and control of the governments of the Super Powers.
Christianity in more recent times in the eastern countries has been a powerful political irritant and a disruptive force. This is a fact of history. This need not come as a surprise for the simple reason that Christianity right from its early days started functioning as a political religion. Christians often make out a case that in the first century A.D. itself thousands of Christians swarmed out of the Catacombs of Rome and gave a kick and push, and the Great Roman Empire fell. This is a legend and a fairy tale, no such thing happened. Around the year 120 A.D Trajan, one of the Roman Governors in the Middle East, has faced a strange disciplinary problem. A strange community who called themselves ‘questions’ refused to give the customary respect to the statues of Caesar. They were conscientious objectors. Trajan was amused and intrigued as to who these people were and why they objected to Caesar worship. It is about the end of the 3rd century A.D. or in the beginning of the 4 century A.D. that their presence is recognized. In the 4th century A.D. under Emperor Constantine, they got their recognition and their the system of Church and state relationship, first took SHAPE.
During the centuries following, the Church-State relationship played an important part in the fortunes of the Empire of Byzantium. The Church-State relationship further got strengthened under Charlemagne. Even after the countries of Europe continued to wage wars against each other, all under the instigation of the Popes, who claimed both Temporal power and Spiritual power, until the rise of Protestant Reformation. Europe is then convulsed for another one century with hostilities known as the Wars of Religion. It is during the last century, that a concentrated effort is made to neutralize the power of the Church and its influence on the Government of the country. Mazzini Cavour and Garibaldi in Italy, brought about a marked Change. The Lateran Treaty under Mussolini took away from the Pope the Papal States and the Vatican became a tiny little state of not much importance.
The French Revolution and the upsurge of Rationalism in Britain completes the Picture. The Russian Revolution goes still further. The Greek Orthodox Church was Banished. At the end of First World War, Medieval Europe was feudal and so was the Church and as a rule they worked hand in gloves and shared power.
Christianity is said to have come to India in the 1st Century A.D. through the apostle St. Thomas (Doubting Thomas). This is a pure myth. The Acts of the Apostles written by St. Luke dated 90 A.D. or still later. It clearly states that after the martyrdom of St. Stephen, the disciples were scattered (Acts Ch 8 V.1.) and they sought asylum in Samaria, Damascus, Antioch but the Apostles didn’t leave Jerusalem. This is more authentic than a vague reference in an Apocryphal Gospel. Further Scholars have view that the country referred to as the one visited by St. Thomas is Ethiopia not India. Apocryphal Gospel itself contradict with words like Gondophores, Eastern Caspian extending to the Oxus valley. A strange undertaking at a Strange Age.
Christianity proper came to India with the Nestorians also known as the Syrian Christians of the Malabar about the end of 4th Century. They came from the Region of Antioch and Damascus .They were Persecuted in their own country and they sought asylum in Kerala. They were well received and looked. They don’t have Proselytising zeal.
The first adverse effect of Christianity on Hindu Society can be said in the year 1498 with the advent of the Portuguese under Vasco da Gama. The Portuguese combined trade with Proselytism and Colonial Expansion.The ships of Vasco-da-Gama carried Cannons on the Deck while the Holy Cross of Jesus was painted on its Sails. His seaman were mostly Pirates while out on a sea, but they took holy orders in the Church when they come on shore for long periods. Force was freely used for Conversion. Systematic Propagation of Christianity in the east began in 16th Century. Vasco Da Gama initial efforts to gain converts were not Successful.In 1541 St. Francis was send by king of Portugal.He was in India for 4 years During his period , He is said to have converted at least 50 thousand fishermen along the coast.It happened this way ,The fishermen living on the southwest and southeastern coastal regions were being constantly Harassed by Pirates. One Christian Fisherman living at that time In Goa persecuted the fishermen of the Kerala coast to apply to the Portuguese Viceroy at Goa for help.The Portuguese were themselves pirates and were only too willing to do away with their rivals on the Indian sea coast,So the Viceroy agreed subject to condition that the whole community becomes Christian and becomes subjects of the king of Portugal.As an initial move the members of the delegation were baptised. A fleet was sent and the pirates roaming around south west coast were dispersed as also on the Coromandel coast. A few weeks later the rest of the lot of fishermen were also baptised. St.Francis Xavier about his time-wrote to the king of Portugal that the only hope for mass conversion in the west coast Lay in the use of temporal power of the state.The king responded by issuing orders that in Goa and other Portuguese settlements all hindus idols shall be sough and destroyed all such as shall dare to make an idol or shall shelter or hide a Brahmin( Page 54 History of Missions, Richter).
He also ordered special Privileges should be given to Christians, so that it acts as an incentive for conversion.This work was Followed by Robert de Nobili. An Italian Jesuit who established himself at Madurai.He felt that mass conversion of illiterates from lowest rung of social ladder through force, fraud and temptation will be ultimately disastrous to the Christian religion. He felt that unless the higher caste like the Brahmins are converted, Christianity could not drive roots into the country. The depressed class converts will ultimately revert back, when conditions change. So Robert de Nobili struck upon a new line of his own. He invested himself with a sacred thread, grew his hair in a knot and claimed that he was a Brahmin come from Rome. He learnt Tamil, Telugu and Sanskrit, look up a Brahmin style of Living . He wrote a Christian Sandyavandanam, Yeshurveda,said it was the fifth ved,which Aryans lost long .His Fraud was finally exposed by the Protestant missionaries in 1840,the two groups being proverbially hostile.
The Protestant Missions came in the beginning of the 18th century.Right from the beginning,the Educational Institutions of the Missions identified themselves with the political interests of the Government.Even as early as two years after the Indian Mutiny,Lord Palmerston, The Prime Minister of England announced that it was in the interest of Britain to Provide the diffusion of Christianity throughout the length and Breadth of India. The Secretary of State Lord Halifax appended another statement to it :Every additional Christian is an additional bond of Union with this country and an additional source of Strength to the Empire.North East part of India is Perfect Example of such Statement,Brits administration worked with Agenda and changed the Demography of Native land to Christianity
Our tradition has been one of Tolerance in matters religious. Our people took a very long time to realise its importance and danger. In 1942, the All India Christian Association assured unconditional full cooperation to the founder of Pakistan. The leaders of the Church in the Punjab strongly endorsed the Pakistan concept and advised their brethren to move to Pakistan when it would come into existence. The evolution of the Pakistan concept saw an intellectual like Joshua Fazluddin write in the daily Inqilab that the region of Pakistan, with its connection to Central Asia and its own distinctive history, was a separate country from the rest of India. Fazluddin considered himself in harmony with Chaudhry Rehmat Ali (who devised the name Pakistan) regarding the separation of this territory from India “as it was in accordance with the Voice of God”.The Christian community, as an expression of admiration of Mr. Jinnah and support for the Pakistan cause, arranged a number of receptions in his honour,In Return Mr. Jinnah said, “We will never forget your favour as you have cooperated with us.”
Dewan S.P. Singha and his historic role, following Mountbatten’s June 3 Plan, when the Partition of India was announced, Dewan Singha and the Christian community in Punjab expressed their opposition to the Partition of Punjab and demanded that the whole of Punjab be included in Pakistan. Joshua Fazluddin, in a news statement, warned the Congress that the division of the province would result in a human disaster.
A meeting of the Punjab Legislative Assembly was held on the 23rd of June, 1947, to consider whether the Province, still undivided at the time, should be part of Pakistan or of India. The three Christian members of the Assembly had met the night before at Singha’s Davis Road home and had decided to vote for the inclusion of the whole of Punjab in Pakistan. On the morning of the meeting, Master Tara Singh, leader of the militant Sikh Akali Dal Party, stood on the broad flight of steps in front of the Assembly with a bared kirpan, threatening to use it on any member who would vote in favour of union with Pakistan. Coming up the steps, Dewan Bahadur Singha confronted the armed Sikh leader, announcing that he indeed intended to vote for Pakistan, and challenged him to do his worst. A scuffle broke out, but violence was prevented by other members.
The vote itself was 88 for remaining with India and 91 for joining Pakistan. The three votes (actually four) which created the majority were the three votes of Christian members Dewan Bahadur Singha, Mr. Cecil Gibbon and Mr Fazal Elahi, plus Singha’s additional vote as Assembly Speaker.
And thus it was decided that Punjab would be part of Pakistan.
In 1954 the Madhya Pradesh Government took a lead in dealing with the Problem.The Circumstances that led to the appointment of the The Christian Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee.Committee named as The Niyogi Committee, (will write separate article on this later)First ever Committee in Independent India to deal with Conversion
The Christian Missions ,During the thirty years of the struggle for freedom ie, from the end of World War 1 to End of world war 2 succeeded in keeping the Indian Christian community alienated from mainstream of the Indian National upsurge and Renaissance.There were no doubt a few notable exceptions ,but can be counted on our fingertips.To the Indian Christians Jesus was the White Man’s God marching with a sword in a one hand and a Union Jack in the other
The Tolerance,Gesture of Goodwill has unfortunately been misunderstood by the Christian Missions.They were emboldened to continue in their old ways of aggressive Proselytism & Denationalising activities.Opposition to Conversion was mounting up all over the country from the Hindus. The secessionist policies in Jharkand and the tribal areas in the Northeast rang a warning Bell
Right from the very Beginning the aim and Object of the Missionary Organisation,Protestant or Catholic was to Disrupt Hindu Society encourage separatist tendencies and in due course organise a revolet or rebellion and wreak whatever destruction possible that’s BREAKING INDIA through Demography Chances
(Will soon write How Princely states Got into trap of Missionaries/Brtis policy in Tribal states especially Raigarh,Surguja,Bastar,Ranchi & Chota Nagpur Belt)
-By Manu Jain