The Back Ground:
For nearly two thousand years the Abrahamic faiths have been seeking to extend the hegemony – odd as it may sound, of their respective philosophies – by proselytizing people for love or for money and quite often by the sword. They have been vying for space in Europe and West Asia, which was the cause for intense strife known in the past as crusades. Their onslaughts in Africa and the rest of the world have often resulted in bloody demographic decimation and genocide of the infidel.
The persecution of Jews in various countries of Europe including in non-religious communist nations ironically by those who profess to be followers of the prince of peace has been well documented. The creation of Israel as a culmination of their persecution by one of the crusading faiths has only extrapolated into the twentieth century the strife between them; the other bitterly complaining it as a sleight-of-the-hand awarding of land belonging it.
Their campaigning for hegemony in South Asia has been equally bloody. Hitler’s genocide of six million Jews in six years (1939-45) appears minuscule compared to the genocide of five hundred million Hindus by Islamic invaders in five centuries between the tenth and the fourteenth.
The approach of Christians in India has been much more subtle although proselytizing campaigns with the Bible in one hand and the sword in the other have not been unknown. The campaigns of Francis Xavier (Sainted later) in Goa and Robert Clive in the rest of India may be cited as examples of this approach.
Health, education and exploitation of the weaknesses of the Hindu faith such as the caste system are subtle vehicles that the clever Christian proselytizers have employed to achieve their objectives. The naïve under-privileged or the tribal populations in the far reaches of India have never been told that there are as many distinctions, denominations and hierarchical rungs and under-privileged in the Christian West, only they had a different nomenclature.
The two principal objectives of corporate management are growth and profits. The organizational structure of the Church is used as a typical management case study, the other universal application being the armed forces. Therefore it follows, according to the management gurus, the harvesting of souls is run like a business with the twin objectives of growth and profits, each feeding the other. The dwindling numbers of Church-goers in the West following secularization* of societies is naturally a cause for concern of the top management. The remedial strategy adopted by the top management ironically is akin to Hitler’s Lebensraum concept but by more subtle means.
* The word has an altogether different connotation in contemporary India which simply means adopting an anti-Hindu intellectual stance!
Christians in India can be described as of two types. Genetic and born again.
The genetic Christians of India are genetic since 2 or 3 generations. Those Christians were classy people. They were highly educated, very polished people, holding high positions. They were respected as principled people, firm and committed Christians. They were brave & served in the army and stood for principles and morals. They opened and administered hospitals, welfare institutions, colleges, and played an important contributory role in the development and progress of India.They did not interfere with other faiths and led peaceful & distinguished lives.
The second category started gaining number sometime after the visit of Pope John Paul II to India. He was being honoured as a state guest, when he expressed rather impolitely that India needs to be converted to Christianity. Many felt it was quite un-polite on his part and since then, there is lot of displeasure floating around in India. No Christian leader has made any effort to make up for that statement.A steady number of missionaries have made India their destination.
This resulted in the second category of Christians called as “born again Christians”, which is accounting for the rise in number of the Christian population in India. We shall examine over a series of articles the growth, the strategy adopted by missionaries and its impact on a peaceful society. We shall also examine how life has impacted their new born status, the potential dangers, real and perceived to the social fabric. We shall see the impact on the lifestyles of people involved in this and the extent to which it has percolated to the born agains.We shall see how this is influencing the image of India on the world scene.
The first step was missionary leaders from the west started arriving to important churches in India. They were well received, were taken around the country in conducted tours. They were surprised as the low numbers of Indo-Christians and at the passive approach of Indo-Christians towards propagating the faith.
They evolved a multi pronged strategy and the first step-in that elaborate process was to “awaken” the “sleeping”Indo- Christians.