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Post Info TOPIC: Justice Niyogi Commission Report On Christian Conversion Factories Vol-1; Part-2


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Justice Niyogi Commission Report On Christian Conversion Factories Vol-1; Part-2
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PART II

CHAPTER I. - MISSIONS IN MADHYA PRADESH AND INDIA

 

Missionary organisations are so wide-spread in this country that they seem to constitute �a State within the State�.  The Roman Catholic Church is a highly centralised organisation, Spread over all the world with power concentrated in the Pope, who, in the words of Pope Leo XIII (in the encyclical letter, dated June 20, 1894) �holds upon this earth the place of God Almighty�.  Hence he is crowned with a Triple Crown as King of Heaven and of the Earth and of the Lower Regions.

 

2. As regards the Protestants, they were divided into various national churches which sent out Missionaries as limbs of �National Imperialisms� (World Politics in Modern Civilization by Barnes. page 273).  They are numerous and on the whole the number of denominations is not decreasing but increasing (page 21, Elements of Ecumenism).  Hence in their case, centralisation was necessary to fight on two fronts, viz., religious nationalism of the country which they assail and Communism which they want to defend themselves against.  With all this effort on centralisation, the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church of the Byzantine tradition and the oriental National Churches described as the Monophysites, the Unitarian Churches of England and America have refused to enter the fellowship of World Council of Churches with its headquarters at Geneva and on the other hand it has to meet .violent and growing opposition from the International Council of Christian Churches and another fundamentalist group, viz., the World Evangelical Fellowship (pages 18 to 20, The Elements of Ecumenism).

 

3. The Evangelical arm of the World Council of Churches is the International Missionary Council.  The National Christian Council of India, which was formerly known as the National Missionary Council, came to be organised in 1914 as the result of the First World Missionary Conference held in Edinburgh in 1910 and is affiliated to the International Missionary Council which has its offices in London and New York.  It is a constituent member of the International Missionary Council.  It is established on the acceptance of the principle that the Church is central in the Christian enterprise, that the local congregation is basic to its life and witness and that evangelism is its primary task.  Among its various functions are � 

 

(1) to consult the International Missionary Council regarding such matters as call for consideration or action.

 

(2) to communicate and co-operate with the National Christian Councils of other countries which are members of the International Missionary Council and with other similar bodies in matters affecting the Christian enterprise as a whole.

 

4. In India there are Regional Christian Councils in 14 places, viz., Andhra, Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Bombay, Hyderabad, Karnatak, Keral, Tamil-Nad, Mid-India, North-West India, Santhal, United Provinces and Utkal.

 

5. The foreign personnel in India now numbers 4,877, an excess of 500 on the returns for 1951.  The increased personnel has occurred in the smaller Missions, most of which do not yet have any organised churches associated with them. (Compiler�s Introduction, Christian Hand-Book, of India 1954-SS).

 

6. In Madhya Pradesh, there are Indian personnel 251 and foreign 402 (page 210 ibid).

 

7. The institutions which are conducted by the Protestant Missions can be divided under five heads as follows:-

(i) Economic, 
(ii) Educational, 
(iii) Evangelistic, 
(iv) Medical, 
(v) Philanthropic and General.

Under (i) Economic, fall the following.-

(a) agricultural settlements, 
(b) co-operative societies, 
(c) printing presses, 
(d) literature distributing centres, 
(e) miscellaneous industries.

Under (ii) Educational-

(a) colleges, 
(b) high schools, 
(c) middle schools, 
(d) teachers� training institutions, 
(e) industrial schools, 
(f) schools for Missionaries� children.

Under (iii) Evangelistic-

(a) theological colleges and seminaries, 
(b) pastoral and evangelistic workers training institutions, 
(c) Bible correspondence course, 
(d) Christian Ashrams.

Under (iv) Medical-

(a) hospitals, 
(b) dispensaries, 
(c) leprosy institutions, 
(d) tuberculosis sanatorium; and

Under (v) Philanthropic and General-

(a) homes for the blind and deaf, etc. 
(b) homes for women, 
(c) homes for converts, 
(d) orphanages, 
(e) social and welfare organisations, 
(h) Missionary homes of rest, 
(g) Christian retreat and study centres.

A statement giving particulars about Protestant Christian Missions operating in Madhya Pradesh and the institutions conducted by the several Missions is to be found in Appendix 3. 
 

CHAPTER II. � HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN MISSIONS, WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO OLD MADHYA PRADESH AND THE MERGED STATES

 

The present aims and objects of Missionary activity in some parts of Madhya Pradesh can best be understood against the background of history.  The advent of Christianity in India is shrouded in myth and tradition.  Tradition assigns the origin of the most ancient Christian community in India, called the Syrian Christians to the preaching of St. Thomas, the Apostle.

 

2. The spread of the Christianity in India may be considered under four definite periods, viz.

(1) The Syrian Period. 
(2) The Roman Catholic Period under Portuguese domination. 
(3) The Protestant Period under British domination. 
(4) The Modern Period.

The Syrian Period

 

3. Long, before Christ there had been commerce between Europe and India not only by caravans. which took the land route through Persia, but also by ships down the Red Sea or the Persian Gulf.  In fact, the foreign trade of India is as old as her history.  Relics found in Sumeria and Egypt point to a traffic between these countries and India as far back as 3000 B.C. Commerce between India and Babylon by the Persian Gulf flourished from 700 to 480 B. C. Rome in her halcyon days depended upon India for spices and perfumes as well as silks, brocades, muslins and cloth of gold.  The Parthian wars were fought by Rome largely to keep open the trade route to India.  Even in later times Europe looked upon the Hindus as experts in every line of manufacture, woodwork, ivory-work, metal-work, bleaching, dying, tanning, soap-making, glass blowing, gun powder, fire works, cement, etc. (Page 479, Story of Civilization by Durant).

 

4. St. Thomas Christians (or followers of the Church of the East) in small numbers began to visit Malbar frequently for trade purposes, and some of them settled there.  During the Decian and Diocletian persecutions many Christians living in the Eastern Province of the Roman Empire fled to Persia and joined the Church in that Country.  Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople (A.D. 428-431) who denied the hypostatic union and maintained the existence of the two distinct natures in Christ, was condemned and deposed for �heresy� at the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. His followers, the Nestorians, were persecuted with such vigour that they were forced to leave the Empire and by the time of Justinian (A.D. 527) it was difficult to find a church within the whole Roman Empire hat shared the views of Nestorians.  The exiled, Nestorians joined the Church in Persia.

 

5. Between the Fifth and the Ninth centuries Nestorian expansion was phenomenal.  The Nestorian traders brought to Malabar several colonies of Christians from Persian lands during this period.  These colonists had their own priests and deacons and a bishop from Persia.  As the years rolled on these early colonies adapted themselves to the ways of the Hindus and learnt to maintain their racial purity.  Even to this day the Syrian Christians claim that their community has remained unadulterated by proselytism.

Advent of European Christianity

 

6. The first Latin Christian Missionary who is known to have visited India was John de Monte Corvino, afterwards Archbishop of Cambale in Cathay.  Sent out by Pope Nicholas IV as a Missionary to China, he on his way to China halted in India about the year 1291.  He remained in the country for thirteen months, and baptised in different places about one hundred people.  The next Latin Missionary of whom we find mention is a French Dominican Friar named Jordanus.  About the year 1323 or earlier with other Friars, both Dominican and Franciscan, he found his way to the Bombay coast where it is said his companions were put to death by Muslims.  This was the period when Christianity was unable to stand against the overwhelming forces of Islam.

 

7. By the close of the Thirteenth century these European, Missionaries were able to create a chain of Christian colonies on the Western coast of India, between Thana (Bombay) and Quilon (Travancore).  Stimulated by the fear of Muslims, particularly Mongols, Rome, got reconciled to many things which it did not like, and a Christian unity was established.  In the early years of the Fourteenth century a complete Persian hierarchy was created with a Metropolitan whose scat was at a town south of the Caspian sea and whose jurisdiction extended over Persia, India, Ethiopia and Central Asia.

The Roman Catholic period under the Portuguese Dominion

 

8. The Missionary work of Western Christendom began with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1498.  This should be considered the beginning of the aggressive Missionary Era of the Catholic Church in India.  In 1498 Vasco da Gama anchored off Calicut, but on that occasion he had no, intercourse with Christians.  When he visited India a second time in 1502, he was surprised to find a Christian community on the western coast of India.  These Christians welcomed him and applied to him for assistance against their Muslim neighbours.  Large numbers of monks were sent to India with the Portuguese fleets, and Goa soon became the centre of a vigorous missionary enterprise.  By now the Portuguese strategy of establishing the Protectorate of the King of Portugal over the Christians of the Malabar coast had become successful. 
  

9. Although in the sphere of trade and commerce the Portuguese on the West coast made very substantial progress, no great success was at first achieved in their missionary endeavours.  The King of Portugal, dissatisfied with the small progress made, applied to Ignatius Loyola to send the entire Jesuit Order to India.  The motto of Portuguese adventure in India was �the service of God and our own advantage�, and King Manuel was determined to use all available resources to achieve this object.  Loyola could not grant the request; but in 1541 Francis Xavier, the greatest of all Jesuits, was sent to the East, and the day of his arrival may well be called the birthday of Roman Catholic Missions in India.  He only spent about four and a half years in the country, but in that brief space of time he is said to have baptised about 60,000 people, nearly all from the fisherman castes, living on the South-West and South-East coasts of India.  They poured en masse into the Church.

 

10. This mass movement work of the Jesuits was in fact an appeal to material interests.  The Fishermen of the South-East coast were constantly raided by pirates.  One of their fellow countrymen, living in Goa who had become Christian, persuaded them to apply for help to the Portuguese Viceroy.  So a deputation was sent to Goa, and the Viceroy agreed to deliver them from their enemies on condition that the whole caste became Christian and subjects of the King of Portugal.  The bargain wag ratified by the baptism of all the delegates then and there.  A fleet was sent, the pirates were dispersed, and the whole caste was baptised in a few weeks.

 

11. The impatient Xavier, still dissatisfied with the result of his labour wrote to the King of Portugal that the only hope of increasing the number of Christians was by the use of the secular power of the State.  As a result of this note, the King issued orders that in Goa and other Portuguese settlements, �all idols shall be sought out and destroyed, and severe penalties shall be laid upon 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 that special privileges should be granted to Christians in order that the natives may be inclined to submit themselves to the yoke of Christianity. (P. 54-ibid).

 

12. In 1514 Pope Leo X granted to the Kings of Portugal the right of patronage over Churches and of nomination to all the Benefices which they would establish.  In 1534 all trading stations from Bombay to Nagapatnam where the Portuguese flag was floating, soon became Catholic centres with resident Chaplains.  Along the coast Franciscans had baptised some 20,000 Paravas (Fishermen) even before Xavier landed in India.  Goa, the capital of Portuguese India, was made an Episcopal See.  Now successive waves of invasions of India by Catholic Missionaries from the West were started; besides the Jesuits in (1542) the Dominicans (in 1548), the Augustinians (in 1572) also arrived in India with the active support of the Portuguese Kings.  By the middle of 1577 a Christian centre was formed in Bengal by bands of Portuguese adventurers and an Augustinian Father and their slaves.  Thus the Portuguese continued their work of �winning Indians for Christ their Lord� with the mighty sword in one hand and the crucifix in the other.

Catholic expansion

 

13. In 1872 the Augustinians distributed their missionaries in Basein, Bengal and other parts.  The Jesuits had been making determined efforts to reform the Syrian Church in accordance with Roman ideas and to bring it into subjection to the Pope.  In 1594 a Jesuit Mission started from Goa to the court of Akbar the Mughal and they got his permission to establish Christian centres in Agra, Delhi and Lahore. The Catholic writers say that in 1600, after a century of Mission work the Church had gathered about 2,70,000 converts in India.

 

14. A new departure was made at the beginning of the seventeenth century by another great Jesuit Missionary.  He was an Italian of noble birth, of great intellectual ability and devotion.  He came to Madura, capital of a Hindu Kingdom, outside the jurisdiction of the Portuguese Viceroy.  His name was Robert De Nobili.  He saw that the policy of Xavier and other Catholic Fathers who were making mass conversions of lower castes by using the secular power of the State was disastrous.  He clearly saw that unless the Higher classes were won for Christ the Church was not going to drive her roots into the soil of India.  So he at once threw over the policy of Xavier and struck out a line of his own.

 

15. Nobili appeared in Madura clad in the saffron robes of a Sadhu with sandal paste on his forehead and the sacred thread on his body from which hung a cross and took his abode in the Brahmin quarters.  He thus attracted a large number of people.  He gave out that he was a Brahmin from Rome.  He showed documentary evidence to prove that he belonged to a clan of the parent stock that had migrated from ancient Aryavart and assured the members of the high castes that by becoming a Christian one did not renounce one�s caste, nobility or usage. (Pages 65-70 Christians and Christianity in India and Pakistan).  He learnt Tamil, Telugu and Sanskrit, and took up the Brahman style of living.  He wrote in Sanskrit a Christian Sandhyavandanam for Brahmin converts.  He declared that he was bringing a message which had been taught in India by Indian ascetics of yore and that he was only restoring to Hindus one of their lost sacred books, namely the 5th Veda, called Yeshurveda.  It passed for a genuine work until the Protestant Missionaries exposed the fraud about the year 1840. (History of Missions, Richter, Page 57).  In five years, from 1607 to 1611, he baptised 87 Brahmins.  These conversions, then so marvellous, drew upon De Nobili the eyes of friend and foe alike.  A big controversy raged among the Roman Catholic missionaries the world over for a considerable length of time.  Much of the opposition could be explained by wounded pride on the Portuguese side.  In 1623 Pope Gregory XV gave a bull in favour of De Nobili, declaring thus: We allow the present and future converts to wear the (Brahmin) thread and the tuft of hair as distinctive marks of race, social rank and office, to use sandal wood as ornament and to take ablutions as a matter of hygiene.  This Brahman Sanyasi of the �Roman Gotra�, Father De Nobili, worked for 40 years and died at the ripe age of 89 in 1656.  It is said that he had converted about a lakh of persons but they all melted away after his death.

By 1700 India had 6,00,000 of Catholics.

 

16. The Catholic expansion continued.  The French Jesuits, who had their headquarters in Pondicherry from 1700, passed it on to the Paris Foreign Mission Society in 1776.  At Calcutta a Catholic chapel was erected in 1700.  The Italian Capuchins penetrated into Tibet in 1713.  Thus, a network of Roman Catholic Missions was spread all over India, from Tibet to Cape Comorin and from Punjab to Assam.  Within two hundred years after the Portuguese landed in India, it is claimed the Catholic Church had 9,58,000 adherents in India (Catholic Directory, 1950).

The Protestant period

 

17. The Missionary work of the Protestant Church began in India in 1706.  Soon after the Dutch, the Danes entered India and established a number of factories on the eastern and western coasts of India.  In 1706, German Lutherans, sent by King Frederick IV of Denmark, reached Tranquebar as Missionaries to the Danish Possession in India.  Their work at first was mainly confined to the Danish and English settlements.  Later they did a lot of preaching, teaching and Bible translation.  Ziegenbalg, Grundler, Schwartaz and others under the patronage of the King of Denmark were the pioneers of the Protestant Mission in India.  The Danish Missionary Society in association with German Missions opened the era of Protestant Missionary enterprise in India.  The Bible was translated into Tamil by them.  They laid the foundations of the Church in the districts of Tinnevelly, Trichinopoly, Tanjore and Madras.

 



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Anglican Missions

 

18. The Danes had scarcely commenced assuming political power when they were superseded by the British.  The first English Mission established in India was that of the Baptists in Bengal.  By the Charter of 1690 the East India Company was charged to see �All chaplains in the East India Service shall learn the language of the country in order that they may be better able to instruct the Gentoos, heathen servants and slaves of the Company and of its agents into Protestant religion� (page 102, Richter: history of Missions in India).  The S. P. C. K. appointed the Rev. Clarke Keirnander�s mission in Calcutta in 1789, but he left that position in 1791 and became a chaplain in the East India Company�s service. William Carey landed in Calcutta in November 1793, and established his headquarters at the Danish settlement at Serampore, a few miles north of Calcutta.  In 1801, Lord Wellesley made him Master and Professor of Bengali, Marathi and Sanskrit, at the newly established college in Calcutta for training candidates for Government services.  Thus, Carey�s activities were extended to Calcutta.  The Serampore trio, viz., Carey, Marshman and Ward were carrying on a vigorous crusade, pouring coarse and scurrilous invectives against both Hinduism and Islam.  When a Mission tract in w Hazrat Mohammed was called an imposter had been brought to his notice, Lord Minto wrote to the Chairman of the East India Company in 1807 to say how the publications of the Serampore Press had the effect not to convert but to alienate the adherents of Hinduism and Islam.  He said �pray read especially the miserable stuff addressed to the Hindus in which�� without proof or argument of any kind pages are filled with hell fire denounced against the whole race of men, etc��.� (Parekh Christian Proselytism in India, page 126).

 

19. The Church of England prevailed upon the East India Company to appoint chaplains, and ardent evangelistic like Henry Martyn were brought to India.  The S. P. C. K. made financial grants to the German Missionaries in South India.  In 1813, there was held in the Parliament the famous debate on the subject of sending out Missionaries to India.  Mr. Charles Marsh, a retired Barrister from Madras, opposed the measure in a vehement speech which ended with the preroration: �What will have been gained to ourselves by giving them Calvinism and fermented liquors; and whether predestination and gin would be a compensation to the natives of India for the changes which will overwhelm their habits, morals and religion� (page 36, Volume II, Life and Times of Carey, Marshman, Ward by J. C. Marshman, 1859).  In 1814, the C. M. S. sent two clergymen to South India, and in 1816 two others to Bengal as regular Missionaries.  In 1820 the Bishop�s College in Calcutta was established �for instructing native and other Christian youth in the doctrine of the Church�. - With the arrival of Alexander Duff, the Scottish Missionary, 1830, a fresh epoch began in the history of the Protestant Missions.

 

20. Duff was confronted with the same position in Bengal that faced De Nobili at Madura two centuries earlier.  The situation which the Missionaries had to face in the middle of the last century is well described by Captain Cunningham in the History of the Sikhs (1849) in these words: �They cannot promise aught which their hearers were not sure of before��the Pandit and the Mullah can each oppose dialectics to dialectics, morality to morality, and revelation to revelation.  Our zealous preachers may create sects among themselves, they may persevere in their laudable resolution of bringing up the orphans of heathen parents��but it seems hopeless that they should ever Christianise the Indian and Mahomedan worlds� (pages 19-20).  The Indian Christians drawn nearly entirely from the lower castes were looked down upon and despised.  It seemed impossible that they could be the evangelists of India.  Dr. Duff, therefore, conceived the plan of converting the Brahmans by means of English education saturated with Christian teaching and with the help of the English providing them with Government jobs.  Dr. Duff�s example was followed by other Missionaries, and high schools and colleges were founded during the next fifty years in all parts of India with lavish aid from Government.  The Government despatch of 1854 provided that the education imparted in the Government institutions should be exclusively secular.  Canon Mozley, discussing the prospects of Christianity in the fifties of the last century, warmly supported the neutral attitude of the Government and argued that their �so-called Godless education left the Indian mind purged desiring to be filled.  Several witnesses before the Parliamentary Committee of 1853 affirmed that Government schools were doing pioneer work for Christianity� (Mayhew: Christianity and Government of India : page 177).  The underlying policy of the Educational Despatch was apparently that the Missionary institutions should impart the knowledge of Christian religion directly while the Government institutions were to do the same indirectly.  With this object the Mission institutions came to receive grants as much as five times of all private institutions put together and they got control of almost all the secondary schools (ibid page 170).  In the shaping of Government policy on education, there was a tendency to identify the interest of Government and Christian Mission�� the Missions definitely included the education of all kinds and grades among their instruments for the evangelisation of India (ibid page 160).

 

21. With the increase of political power of the British in India, the Protestant Missionaries with the active support of the British Residents in the Native States established churches and Mission centres all over India.  When the Indian War of Independence (called the Mutiny) broke out there were about 90 Missionary societies at work in India, in addition to the Missions of the Church of Rome, and their workers ordained and unordained, numbered over 2,600.

 

22. Two years after the Mutiny, Lord Palmerstone, Prime Minister, could say in public : �It is not only our duty but in our own interest to promote the diffusion of Christianity as far as possible throughout the length and breadth of India� (page 194: ibid).  The Secretary of State Lord Halifax appended the statement to it : viz., �Every additional Christian is an additional bond of union with this country arid an additional source of strength to the Empire� (page 194: ibid; and page 29: Missionary Principles and Practice by Speers).  In 1876, there was a chorus of official praise when Lord Reay (Bombay) introducing to the Prince of Wales a Deputation of Indian Christians said, referring to the Missionaries, �They were doing for India more than all those civilians, soldiers, judges and governors whom Your Highness has met�.  Sir Charles Eliot (Bengal) described their work as �an unrecognised and unofficial branch of the great movement that alone justifies British rule in India�.  Sir Macworth Young (Punjab) described them as �the most potent force in India� (page 194: Christianity and Government of India by Mayhew).  During the first half of the nineteenth century there were a few converts from distinguished and talented families in India.  But in the latter half or that century there arose powerful movements of Arya Samaj, Brahma Samaj and Theosophy.  Great spiritual personalities like Dayanand, Ramkrishna and Vivekanana, Madam Blavatsky, Col. Olcott appeared on the scene.  This religious upheaval made all the attempts of the Missionaries among the intelligent classes wholly abortive.  In the eyes of the missionaries, Madam Blavatsky was an �arant cheat�; Col. Olcott �a credulous man�; Dr. Beasant �a famous defender of materialism�� who could not be named in the same breath with honest students such as MaxMuller and Deusson who after profound research have arrived at a favourable judgment upon Hinduism� ; �Vivekanand was known for many years to be under the influence of the most adventurous Sanyasi� ; Ramkrishna Paramhansa whom Maxmuller raised to unmerited repute by the publication of his biography�.  Swami (Vivekananda) frequented American hotels, ate food prepared by white man, a shoodra appearing as the apostle of Hinduism (Richter : pages 382, 384, 385 and 387).

 

23. The growth of the Protestant Church during the period of British Raj in India was due mainly to the great patronage and support the Church was getting from the Government of India.  Instances of Land grants and financial aid to build Churches, missionary centres, hospitals, educational institutions etc., are numerous.  All Cathedrals entrusted to the Bishoprics under the Ecclesiastical establishments were built from State funds.  Not only in cities and towns and in military stations in British India, but in almost every Indian State we can find big Churches and Missionary buildings erected almost entirely with Government aid.  To protect the Christian converts and their inheritance in British India, Act XXI of 1850 was passed, as the then prevailing customary law stood as an impediment to conversion of Hindus to other religions.  All the concessions given to missions in about 350 major Anglican centres need not he mentioned in detail in our Report.

 

24. In the Residency area of every State there stand to this day huge churches and other mission buildings for the construction of which lands and nearly all funds were contributed by the Ruler or Chief of that State at the instance of the English Residents or Political Agents.  This kind of patronage from a non-Christian country for evangelism within its territory is unique in the history of nations.

 

25. The progress of Christianity up to the end of the first decade of this century was described by Sir Bamfylds Fuller (who like Sir Andrew Fraser had been a C. P. Officer before he went to Bengal as Governor) in these words: Christianity has been offered to classes that have remained outside the pale of Hinduism, hill tribes and the lower strata of the cooly population��� Among the higher and better educated classes evangelism has been less successful��� It is surprising that Christianity has not spread more rapidly.  For a century it has not only been preached in the streets but has been taught in numerous schools and colleges; it has behind it the presage of the ruling race; and yet probably there are less than 2½, million native Christians in India, if we deduct those who owe their conversion to Nestorian Missions or to the Portuguese (pages 210, 364 Empire of India, 1913).

 

26. The number of Missionary Societies considerably increased about the middle of last century and they used to hold conferences in various centres in India viz.  Calcutta in 1855, Benaras in 1857, Ootacamund in 1858, Lahore in 1862, Allahabad in 1872 and Bangalore in 1879.  During that period there was a tendency on the part of all the Missions to focus their activity particularly on the aborigines.  They achieved unexpectedly great success among the Kols as in 1851 the number was only 31 it rose in 1861 to 2,400, in 1871 to 20,727 and in 1881 to the large figure of 44,024.  In view of this success with the Kols the Missionaries pressed their work among other tribes as they realised that there was a movement on the part of the aborigines to raise themselves in the social level by adopting Hindu manners and customs, which would be taken advantage of to gather them into the Christian Church and thus �save them from the rapid onward march of Hinduism�. (Richter: History of Christian Mission pages 214-215).

 

27. For the purpose of understanding the vigorous and highly intensified Missionary activity concentrated in Surguja district after the merger of the States in 1947, it is necessary to cast a glance at the origin of Missionary enterprise at Ranchi, which can be gathered from the History of Chhota Nagpur.  As far back as 1845 the Deputy Commissioner Mr. Hanington invited four German Missionaries from Calcutta and their work began with some orphan children who had been handed over to them during famine.  The number of converts to Christianity began to swell and the Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Mission began to extend its activities around Ranchi.  The Gossner Mission operates in the territory formerly comprised in Jashpur, Surguja, Udaipur and Raigarh States. It has still its headquarters at Ranchi.  Later on in 1885 they were joined by the Roman Catholic Mission.

 

28. Before 1948 the diocese of Ranchi included the territory which consisted of eight feudatory states, seven in the diocese of Ranchi and one in the diocese of Nagpur.  Mission work was strictly forbidden in all those States.  In 1907 however a great movement of conversion took place in Jashpur State, but for nine years the Missionaries could not even erect a shed to live in.  By and by five Mission stations were erected.  Another movement of conversions took place in 1935 in Udaipur State.  Till 1941 no priest or catechist was allowed to enter she State.  From 1941 to 1949 the priest was allowed to go from outside the State to visit persons dangerously ill and four times a year to say mass.  But he was prohibited from staying more than 48 hours in the State.  With the integration and merger of the States in 1948 and the promulgation of the Constitution in 1950 full freedom was conceded to the Missionary activities.  The diocese of Raigarh and Ambikapur was erected on the 13th of December, 1951 by being cut off from the diocese now Arch-Diocese of Ranchi.  The diocese still forms part of the Ranchi Mission (1954 Catholic Directory page 264).

 

29. The work of these Missions was much facilitated by the economic and social problems which arose as a result of the permanent settlement made by Lord Cornwallis in 1793.  As stated b E. De Meulder S. J. the Christian Mission could provide the aborigines with schools, colleges, hostels, hospitals and co-operatives of various sorts, but they could not give them lands, �for these belonged to the foreign sponsored permanent settlement of Rajahs and Jamindars or to the �Laissez faire�, �liberal�, zamindari regime inaugurated by Lord Cornwallis whose fatal signature meant the death of the ancient village republics� (page 1 Tribal India Speaks by E. De Meulder S. J.). Up to that time the custom was to regard the aboriginal as owner of the land in the forest, which he reclaimed it and the Zamindars were only farmers of revenue.  The cultivators had to render certain feudal services in return for the lands which they held.

 

30. In fact most of the Zamindars and Rajahs were tax collectors, never owners of the land, in the previous regimes, but after the permanent Settlement they claimed ownership in about the same way that the ancestors of British Landlordism had done at the time of the Reformation in England. (Page 63 Tribal India Speaks).  The disputes between them and the Zamindars arose when the number of the aborigines embraced Christianity.  In introducing the Bhuinhari Bill in the Bengal Council on November 16, 1868 Mr. M. H. Dampier, I.C.S. quoted the following remarks of Col. Dalton:

��the Kols who embraced Christianity imbibed more independent notions, and in several instances successfully asserted their rights.  From this the belief unfortunately spread through the district that when the Kols go to the Court as Christians they are more uniformly successful than those who have not changed their religion.  It was stated in the report on the Census of India 1911 Volume V., page 220: �Another attraction is the hope of obtaining assistance from the missionaries in their difficulties and protection against the coercion of the landlords��� it must not be imagined that the Christian Missionaries held out such offers as inducement to the aboriginals to enroll themselves in the Christian ranks but the knowledge that the Missionaries do not regard their duties as confined to cure souls but also see to the welfare of their flock and the agrarian legislation which is the Magna Charta of the aboriginal was largely due to the influence of the Missionaries�. (Legend of the Kols by S. Haldar pages 8-9).

In the Settlement Report of 1901-10 Mr. John Reid remarked that the aboriginal converts were backed by the moral support and some times by the financial support of the European Missionaries (page 16 ibid).

 

31. As said by Lord Northbrook in his preface to Chhota Nagpur by Bradley Birt, the aboriginal tribes of India afforded a promising field for the Missions; and accordingly, the Belgian Jesuit Mission entered the field in 1885 and has since then been collecting a large following.  The Catholic Jesuit Missionaries also tried to exploit the agrarian grievances of the aboriginals and as is evident from the Commissioner�s report to Government in 1890 wherein he stated that Mr. Renny, the Deputy Commissioner of Ranchi �condemns the action of the Jesuit priests in very strong language, charging them with encouraging the discontent and laying at their doors the responsibility for disturbances which might have led to serious consequences� (page 18: Legend of the Kols).  It is well-known that in 1895 there was an uprising of aboriginals led by a German Mission convert by name Birsa who styled himself as the brother of Jesus, and it had to be suppressed with military aid.

 

32. There was a similar rebellion in 1910 in the Bastar State which was attributed to the activity of a Missionary by name Mr. Ward.  In the report, dated the 12th July 1910, the officer in charge of the expeditionary force in Bastar State stated that Mr. Ward was the most dangerous man in the State.  Mr. Ward was transferred to some place outside Bastar, but even from there be wrote secret letters to the Christians in Bastar instigating them to agitate for his retransfer to Bastar and in a search of the houses of certain Christians �treasonable and seditious correspondence was found�.  Mr. J. May, Diwan of the State, wrote to the Mission authorities at Raipur to say that on enquiry he was satisfied that he and the Christians were instrumental in causing great deal of disloyalty and discontent.  Mr. Ward subsequently was sent back to America.

 

33. In 1936-37, there was an unauthorised attempt made by the Jesuit Missionaries to enter into the Udaipur State for Missionary enterprise.  It was found on enquiry by the Agent to the Governor-General that they used their station at Tapkara outside Udaipur State which was a forbidden area for proselytising the subjects of Udaipur, by making loans to people to attract converts and opening Mission schools in Udaipur State without permission and the abstraction of 120 boys and girls from Udaipur for education in the Mission centre at Tapkara, and the Government of India warned the Jesuit Mission that any further development of Missionary enterprise in the Udaipur State should be avoided.  The Mission was also asked to maintain a register showing in the case of each new convert, his name, his father�s name and other particulars including any kind of material benefit given to the converts at the time of their conversion (Col. Meek�s Report).

 

34. In 1948, Rev. Lakra, the head of the Lutheran Mission at Ranchi, attended the Conference of the World Council of Churches held at Amsterdam.  Mr. Dulles from America was also present there.  As a result of the money received from the United Lutheran Church in America amounting to 8,000 dollars and Rs. 90,000 in 1953 there were conversions in the Surguja district on a mass scale (Gharbandhu, November 1952, page 13, and Gharbandhu, November 1953, pages 15 and 16).  The Mission also obtained from America Rs. 67,500 to make good the deficit in its expenditure (Gharbandhu, December 1953, pages 4 to 7).  It is clear that in the keen competition that arose between the various Missions it was found necessary to advance Rs. 30 to some of the converts as an inducement to change their religion. (Gharbandhu, December 1952, pages 2 to 5).  In 1954, the Lutheran National Missionary Society requested for a grant of a large amount for engaging the services of the Uraon personnel needed for mass conversion work and through the good offices of Dr. F. A. Schiotz, Chairman of the Luther an World Federation Commission of World Missions, and Dr. C. W. Oberdorfer, the Federation President of India, they secured a grant of 1,500 dollars on the basis of �Partnership in Obedience�. (The National Missionary Intelligencer, April 1954, page 5).  There was practically an invasion in the Surguja State of Missionary enterprise backed by substantial finance and personnel with the result that there were more than 5,000 conversions.

 

35. At this stage it may be necessary to see how the Missionaries penetrated into the Eastern States of Madhya Pradesh. In 1893, Sir Andrew Fraser who was then Commissioner of Chhattisgarh gave authority without reference to the local Government for acquisition of land for Mission purposes in the Bastar State when it was under the Government management.  The developments which occurred thereon have already been stated above.

 

36. In 1894 an application made by the Missionaries for the acquisitions of land in the Kawardha State was rejected by the Local Government on the principal that when a State is under the administration of the Government the alienation of land for Mission purposes should be refused in view of the fiduciary position of the Government.  Towards the beginning of the 10th century the German Lutheran Mission opened two stations in the Gangpur State without the permission of the Ruler and without reference to the Local Government.  Inspite of the Chief�s protest the political authority did not take any action and one of the Missionaries openly preached disobedience to the Chief�s orders in the matter of begar, although rendering of such services was due from the rent-free holders only.  The Missionaries generally made promises to the ryots that they would secure their freedom from various petty demands from the Darbar.  As this introduced the principle of insubordination one Missionary was removed from the State under the orders of the Commissioner of Chhota Nagpur who acted then as Political Officer.  Later a European Diwan found that the Christians were getting quite out of hand and he dealt firmly with the position.  He formed the opinion that the majority of the people who joined the Missions did so in the expectation of some material advantage and not for any spiritual benefit.

 

37. About the same time the Roman Catholic Mission also entered Jashpur.  How the rulers of the State were treated by the Government is clear from the letter dated 10th June 1923 from the Roman Catholic Arch Bishop of Calcutta to the Political Agent at Raipur, in which occurs the following sentence:-

�In Gangpur the Rajah-under pressure of the Government of Bengal, within whose Jurisdiction Gangpur then was -gave me a perpetual lease at the usual rent, of an extensive plot of Taur land at Kesaramal in 1907; and since then the Chief quite willingly this time has granted me leases of two more plots, one at Hamirpur and one at Gaibera.  In Jashpur so far we have had only verbal grants.�

The Arch Bishop desired the Political Agent to give him a set of perpetual leases but he was disappointed.  The circumstances in which the Rajah of Jashpur came to be deposed are highly significant, to show the influence which the Missionaries exercised on the Government of the day.  In 1906 the German Lutheran Mission applied for the issue of a license to permit entry of Indian preachers into this State.  The Rajah was reluctant to grant the permission for the entry of the preachers but was prevailed upon by the Political Agent, Mr. Laurie to withdraw his opposition.  Mr. Brett the new Political Agent found that about 30,000 people and 15,000 were claimed, respectively, by the Roman Catholics and the Lutheran Mission as enquirers and they were all of the Uraon tribe.  He reported to Government that the Chief had accepted the agreement mentioned above under pressure from the Political Agent, but the Central Provinces Government held that the Chief could not be given general permission to forbid all Missionaries and preachers from entering the State.  But at the same time it warned the Missionary Societies that they could not expect any support from Government against the Chief if their preachers encourage the subjects to resist his lawful demands.  But on account of continuous conflict between the Chief and the Missionaries the Political Agent, Mr. Blakesley made a thorough enquiry and submitted a full report to the Local Government in 1913.  He pointed out that the movement towards Christianity in the Jashpur State was in no sense a religious one, and that the Missionaries had acquired a considerable hold on the people by means of loans.  He also showed that under the guise of religious proselytism political propaganda had been spread throughout the State.  His recommendation was that the Chief should be permitted to exclude the Jesuit Missionaries and their catechists but the Government declined to accept his recommendations.  Mr. Blakesley�s statement as to the nature of the religious proselytism was later amply borne out by an admission made by the Arch Bishop of Calcutta to Mr. Napier, the Commissioner of Chhattisgarh in 1912.  The Arch Bishop said to Mr. Napier, that putting aside all cant he did not suppose that the majority of the aboriginal Christians in the State had much feeling either way in the matter of religion and that they embraced Christianity in the hope that material benefit would result to themselves.  The trouble arose in 1922 in Jashpur when a Society by name �the Unity Samaj� came to be formed by the Lutherans of Ranchi, and there was a report of a dangerous movement amongst Missions� preachers in the State.  The Roman Catholic Arch Bishop of Calcutta, wrote to the Political Agent sending an account by one of his priests that Lutheran preachers had been fomenting trouble that would lead to a rebellion which in fact did ensue and resulted in the deposition of the Rajah of Jashpur.

 

It was to avoid such trouble that the Conversion Act 1936 came to be enacted by the Raigarh Darbar.

 

38. Let us now turn to the steps taken by Government to afford protection to the aborigines.  The Government of India Act of 1870 conferred upon the Governor-General in Council the power to approve and sanction laws and regulations made by local Government for the administration of certain special areas to which previously the Secretary of State in Council had applied the Act.  In 1874 the Indian Legislature passed the scheduled Districts Act XIV of 1874 whereby the Local Government was empowered to declare in respect of the tracts specified in the Act what enactments were or were not in force therein.  It was in pursuance of this that the Central Provinces Government passed the Land Alienation Act in 1916.  The Government of India Act of 1919 under section 52-A (2) empowered the Governor-General in Council to declare the territories occupied by the aborigines to be a backward tract.  The Statutory Commission of 1928 grouped the backward tracts into two large categories one as wholly excluded areas and the other as partially excluded areas.  It was found that the aboriginal people such as the Gonds had taken part in political movements, viz., non-co-operation movement of 1920-21, the Nagpur Flag Satyagarh of 1923 and the Forest Satyagraha of 1930. (Page 49 the Aboriginal Problem in the Balaghat District).  In the annual report intended for submission to the British Parliament the aspect of forest Satyagraha, was particularly stressed to show that the violation of the Forest Laws enabled the agitators to achieve a substantial measure of success in fostering unrest among the tribes. (India in 1930-31 page 554).  When the proposals of the Statutory Commission came up before the Parliament Col. Wedgwood said that he had received �An infinity of letters from India�, urging that the tribes should be allowed to be looked after by the Indians but in his opinion the educated Indians wanted �to get them in as cheap labour�. Adverting to the African parallel he expressed his conviction that the best hope for backward tribes everywhere lay in the Christian Missionaries. (Ghurye-The Aborigines page 134).  It is well known that a list was finally prepared and embodied in the Government of India (excluded and partially excluded areas) Order 1936 in accordance with sections 91 and 92 of the Government of India Act of 1935.  The distinction between the two was that the Governor was required to exercise his functions in regard to the excluded areas in his own discretion and in regard to the partially excluded areas he was to seek the advice of the Ministers.

 

39. As a result of the Statutory exclusion of these tribes they had been treated as if they were the close preserve for Missionary enterprise.  Reviewing the problem as a whole the real inroad on tribal solidarity was made by the introduction of the British rule which destroyed the authority of the tribal elders, and their traditional panchayat systems.  Even Dr. Hutton who contributed Chapter XII to O�Malley�s Modern India and the West stated that the establishment of the British Rule in India, far from being of immediate benefit to the primitive tribes did most of them much more harm than good. (Page 173 Ghurye the Aborigines).  The Forest Conservancy Laws, the excise Policy and laws, tyranny of petty officers, forced labour and rapacious money-lender have all contributed to the disruption of the tribal solidarity, and that has given an opportunity for the enterprise of the Missionaries.

 

40. Dr. Elwin wrote in 1944 bringing into prominence the evil effects of excluding the tribal areas from the general administration of the country and pointing out that in practice all it appeared to have achieved had been to give encouragement to proselytising Missions for exploitation of these people so remote from the scrutiny of public opinion.  Speaking about the Mandla district he says:

�In Mandla the situation has grown serious for here the Fathers of the Apostolic prefecture Jabalpur are proselytising on an unprecedented scale and on the method that would have been considered disgraceful in the middle ages.�

Further he says:

 

�The Missionaries usurp many of the functions of Government officials, try to interfere in the work of the courts and business of the local officials and give the Gonds the impression that they are the real Sirkar and the Fathers finally have an extensive money-lending business and this is one of the most effective means of bringing aboriginals under their control and forcing them into the Church.�

41. Reviewing the whole question in the light of its history one is driven to the conclusion that they established a State within the State.

 



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Guru

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 JHARKHAND

 

42. The separatist tendency that has gripped the mind of the aboriginals under the influence of the Lutheran and Roman Catholic Missions is entirely due to the consistent policy pursued by the British Government and the Missionaries.  The final segregation of the aborigines in the Census of 1931 from the main body of the Hindus considered along with the recommendations of the Simon Commission which were incorporated in the Government of India Act, 1935, apparently set the stage for the demand of a separate State of Jharkhand on the lines of Pakistan. The stages by which it culminated in the demand for Jharkhand will be- clear from what follows.

 

43. In 1941, Shri M. D. Tigga wrote and published a book entitled Chhota Nagpur Ker Putri (the daughter of Chhota Nagpur). It was printed in the Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Press, Ranchi.  At page 19 of that book it is found:

""AmoXdmgr _ZH{$ amÁ`Z¡oVH$ Am¡a AmoW©H$ [VZH{$ X{IH{$ 1898 H{$ gmb _| EH$ g^m IS>m ^{bH$ CH$a ewê$ Zm_ N>m{Q>m ZmJ[wa o¼íMZ Agm{og`{eZ ah{. ]T>V{ ]T>V{ 1915 gmb _| D$ g^m Hw$N> _O]yV ^B© J{bI, Am¡a D$H$a Zm_ N>m{Q>m ZmJ[wa CÝZVr g_mO aIb J{bm. A§V_m A^r Am{h{ g^m 1938 gmb _| AmoXdmgr _hmg^m H{$ H{$am Zm_ g{ Mmby ah{.''
(English translation.)

�Looking to the political and economic backwardness of the Adivasis, a Sabha was formed in the year 1898.  Its original name was Chhota Nagpur Christian Association.  As it grew, it became somewhat strong in 1915 and its name became Chhota Nagpur Unnati Samaj.  The same Sabha since 1938 is called Adivasi Mahasabha.�

44. In the Survey and Settlement Report, Ranchi, 1927-35, there is a reference to political movement started by one Tana Bhagat and this Unnati Samaj about the year 1915.  The Tana Bhagat movement was in its origin purely religious and confined mainly to the Uraons aimed at substituting Hinduized religious doctrines for the old animistic beliefs of the people.  The Unnati Samaj was a movement organised by Lutheran Christians amongst the Mundas directed towards the moral and social improvement of people.  These two movements were originally separate and nonpolitical but about the year 1921-22 under the influence of the non-co-operation movement they merged into one and developed an attitude which was antagonistic to landlord and distrustful of Government.  As the movement gathered force, the Police in 1922 had to take strong action against Tana Bhagat when Tana Bhagat�s Panchayat attempted to fine a raiyat.  Thereafter there was the first session of the Adiwasi Sabha Conference on 22nd January 1939 at Ranchi, which was presided over by Shri Jaipalsingh, M. P. (page 33 Adiwasi Mahasabha Visheshank March 1935r).  In the presidential address he said as follows:-

�The Adiwasis are all now one in their struggle for freedom from the tyranny of mere numbers.  We offer a united front, an amazing fact in the annals of the aborigines. All the Missionary institutions working here are with us, another remarkable achievement.  Even the Bengalis are crying for separation, the Europeans and Anglo-Indians are openly showing us their sympathy.� (p. 34, ibid).

He proceeded further to say, �On no account must our educational facilities be reduced, but on the contrary the grants to the Missionary Societies should be augmented.  The Missionaries are devoting their lives to our uplift and education����� we must ask the Governor to utilize section 80 so that he may����� include in the schedule such additional amount, if any, not exceeding the amount of the rejected demand������ (p. 36, ibid).

 

The resolution which was adopted by the Conference was as follows: -

�It is essential that these aboriginal districts forming as they do compact area most intimately bound together as between themselves by racial, linguistic, cultural, historical and agrarian bonds should be constituted into a separate administrative unit, for the sake of furthering the racial, economic, educational, cultural and political interest of the backward people of this area (whose distinctive unity and whose right to separation from Bihar has in a way been admitted and recognised by the Simon Commission and the framers of the Government of India Act, 1935), by constituting these tracts into so-called excluded area and that His Excellency the Governor of Bihar, the Viceroy and Governor-General of India and the Rt. Hon. the Secretary of State for India be implored to convey to His Majesty�s Government (with recommendations) the earnest desire of the Adiwasi Sabha to constitute Chhota Nagpur and Santhal Parganas����� into a separate Governor�s romance at the earliest possible date and in a case before the federation of India is instituted.� (p. 42, ibid).

45. The Adiwasi Mahasabha was superseded by the Jharkhand Party as announced by Jaipalsingh at the annual session of the Sabha of 1950 at Jamshedpur with the membership being open to non-adiwasi as well. (Abua Jharkhand Jaipalsingh Visheshank, 16 January 1955, p. 15.)

 

46. There was a controversy in the newspapers between Shri Jaipalsingh and Professor Hayward his Secretary as regards the person who had received the amount of Rs. 50,000 from the Muslim League. (Jharkhand News, dated Ranchi, the 6th March 1949.)

 

47. This attempt of the Adiwasis initiated by the Christian section thereof is a feature which is common to the developments in Burma, Assam and Indo-China among the Karens, Nagas and Amboynes.  This is attributed to the spirit of religions nationalism awakened among the converted Christians as among the followers of other religions.  But the idea of change of religion as bringing about change of nationality appears to have originated in the Missionary circles, as one gathers from the following passage regarding the Karens of Burma:-

�Before the coming of the Missionaries the Karens were a subordinate Hill Tribe, animist by faith.  The Missionaries gave them education and through the translation of the Bible a written language.  This remarkable achievement, the giving of a nationality to a people, has resulted in one embarrassment.  Missionaries are held responsible for slowing up the Burmanization of the Karens����� Karens have to-day a strong national society which sent a delegation to London to plead for a Karen nation.�. (Page 138 Rethinking Missions, 1932.)

48. (Thus while the Census officer isolates certain sections of the people from the main bodies, the Missionaries by converting them give them a separate nationality so that they may demand a separate State for themselves.)

 

49. The attitude of the Catholics was professedly against the agitation for Jharkhand or any separatist movement.  Rameshwar Prasad Sharma (Jashpur 21) stated that they were secretly helping the movement.  His statement derives strong support from the issue of Nishkalank (the official organ of the Catholics) of October 1947.  On the front page of it, there is the picture of Madonna with the child and facing her is the map of Chhota-Nagpur.  At page 148, there is given the explanation of the picture in these words:- 

""am§Mr Y_©àm§V H$] N>m{Q>m ZmJ[wa H$s amZr, _mVm _ar`m H{$ hmW _| A[©U oH$`m Om`Jm? 
"h{ N>m{Q>m ZmJ[wa H$s amZr, 
V{ar àmW©Zm H{$ Ûmam V{a{ [wÌ, IrñV Z{ g_mam{h g{ h_ma{ X{e _| àd{e oH$`m h¡ Am¡a Cg{ oZdmg-ñWmZ ]Zm`m h¡.' 
"_hm [wZamJ_Z H$s H§w$dmar, 
Bgr KS>r, O] BVZ{ PyR>{ Z]r N>m{Q>m ZmJ[wa H$m{ ha b{Z{ H$s M{îQ>m H$a ah{ h¢, A[Z{ amÁ` _| g_mam{h g{ àd{e H$a Am¡a A[Z{ [mg Am¡a A[Z{ [wÌ H{$ [mg g§dgmam|, bwWaZm|, A§JobH$Zm| Am¡a g] Xygam| H$m{ ]wbm' ''
(English translation)

 

When will the Ranchi Holy Land be dedicated to the Mother Maria?

 

�Oh, the Queen of Chhota Nagpur, by your grace Christ-king entered this land with splendour and established his residence here.  Oh, thou Virgin of the Resurrection, at this moment, when false prophets are trying to appropriate Chhota Nagpur, enter thy kingdom with triumph and invite the Hindus (unconverted) Lutherans, Anglicans and others to be with you and your son.� 
 

CHAPTER III.-CHRISTIAN POST-WAR WORLD POLICY

 

The intensified activity of the Christian Missions in India is an integral part of the post-war Christian world policy and as such it must be viewed in the light of the world situation in order to grasp its full significance in India.

 

2. It is significant that the first and second world wars were mainly fought between Christian countries.  They were not wars amongst followers of different religions.  It was felt that the establishment and maintenance of peace was no more a political issue than a religious one.  During the first World War as a whole the Churches actively upheld the claims of their respective nations.  They were used as foci of propaganda for the aims and purposes of each nation.  Towards the end of the second World War it came to be thought that there was a direct threat to the survival of Christianity itself. (Social Problems, Appleton Century Co. New York, page 351).

 

3. As stated in the World Christian Hand Book 1952, pages 34 and 35, European civilization until recently was considered to be Christian but a great change came over European life and great apprehensions regarding the Christian substance of society were felt.  European churches were, therefore, concerned about the recovery of the Gospel, the renewal of Christian faith, the revival of the Church and the re-Evangelization and re-Christianisation of European life.  Many a European Churchman spoke of Europe as Mission field.  The common life of the average Englishman seemed to be little influenced by the Christian faith (P. 38.)

 

4. In 1941 during the World War II the �Commission of the Churches on International Friendship and Social Responsibility� was set up in Britain.  In 1942 the Commission issued a document on Christian Church and world order viewed from Christian point of view such as common moral purpose, international political framework, economic justice, disarmament and the rights of the minority and colonial people. Similarly in U. S. A. the Federal Council of Churches (which had been created in 1908) appointed in 1941, a special Commission on a just and Durable Peace under the chairmanship of Mr. John Foster Dulles.  In July 1943 that Commission convened a Round Table Conference which issued a Christian message on �World-Order� in which the political propositions previously formulated by the United States Commission as the 6 pillars of peace were unanimously welcomed and in the section addressed to the Church the Round Table stressed the opportunity for evangelism on a worldwide basis.

 

5. In the closing period of the war Church discussions of world order were increasingly directed to consideration of proposals for a new international organisation to meet the urgent needs of the post-war world.  The formulation of the Dumbarton Oak�s proposals in 1944 gave great impetus to such discussions.

 

6. The U. S. Commission on a just and Uurable Peace convened in Cleveland, Ohio, in January 1945 set up a National Study Conference which made nine recommendations for improvement of Dumbarton Oak�s proposals.  These recommendations received wide support among the American Churches and were given careful consideration in Government circles.  Similarly, British Council of Churches formulated in 1945 its recommendations for submission to the British Government.  These representations were among the creative influences brought to bear on the SanFrancisco Conference of the United Nations held in April--June, 1945.  The religious spokesman at the above conference has been credited with the decision to include within the Charter provision for a Commission on Human Rights.

 

7. At another meeting of the Commission on a Just and Durable Peace held in November 1945, it laid stress on the development of Christian unity amongst various Churches on a worldwide basis with a view to bring more effective influence to bear on international affairs.  The Commission announced:

�Now with war ended, world-wide organisation of the Christian Church can be developed so as to co-ordinate, as to substance and timing, the Christian effort (for world-order) in many lands��� The Christian forces of the world, though still a minority, must on that very account quickly become a well organised and militant minority.� (World Christian Hand-Book, 1952, p. 57.)

8. In August, 1946 an International Conference of Church leaders was convened by the Commission on a Just and Durable Peace at the instance of the Interim Committee of the International Missionary Council.  The Conference issued a draft charter for a Permanent joint agency of the International Missionary Council and World Council of Churches to be called �The Commission of the Churches on International Affairs.� The Director of that Commission.  Dr. O. Frederick Nolde, kept in close touch with the Commission on Human Rights (of the U. N. O.) and the outcome was the declaration on religious liberty adopted by the World Council of Churches and the International Missionary Council.

 

9. The first full meeting of the committee of I. M. C. was held at Whitby in 1947.  It set out its primary duty to be �the active encouragement of an expectant evangelism�, and dwelt in particular on the crucial necessity of full freedom of religion, which includes both liberty of worship and the right to educate and persuade.  It discussed two papers, viz., �Christian Witness in a Revolutionary World� and �Partners in Obedience� (P. 94, W.C.H.B. 1952).  In the following year the I. M. C. met again at Oegstgeest in Netherland.  It reported on the close Liaison maintained with the World Dominion Press and considered an important paper on the subject of �Communist policy and the Missionary Movement�.  It resolved to extend and continue the �Orphaned Mission Fund� for another five years. (In the decade 1939-1949 a total of 83,00,000 dollars had been contributed to the Lutheran World Federation.) It also decided to fix for the L M. C. fund (1951-2,00,000 dollar; 1952-1,55,000 dollars ; 1953-1,75,000 dollars.  The Missionary Society of Germany, Finland and others were the beneficiaries of this fund). (P. 95 ibid.)

 

10. Although Europe itself required �re-Evangelisation and re-Christianisation� because of the spread of the Gospel of Communism according to Marx, the W. C. C. and I. M. C. turned their attention to India and other colonial countries. They were encouraged by the promulgation of our Constitution which set up a secular State with liberty to propagate any religion in the country.  They noted that the Churches in India were growing steadily in number partly by natural increase, partly from evangelisation and that the mass or community movements to Christianity did not die out though slowed down, but that the spiritual life of the congregation was low and that the Indian Church lacked economic maturity.  Though India has the most highly organised National Christian Council it had to be largely paid for from abroad.  Even the institutional activities of Missions, viz., schools, colleges and hospitals were dependant upon foreign support.  Even the ordinary congregational life and pastoral duty still required some form of foreign aid. (P. 13.).

 

11. Now for all the ills of the world of today infested by the demon of Communism Christianity professes to offer the mantra of not �Christ the hope of the Church� but �Christ the hope of the world�, particularly the hope of Asia.  This is in line-with the thought of Sir Andrew Fraser, viz., in the elevating and civilizing power of Christianity the �hope of India� lies���� she ought to receive of our best (P. 275, Among Rajahs and Ryots, Revised Edition, 1912).  Accordingly evangelism in India came to be accelerated when the Constitutional provision of religions freedom opened the gates to the missionaries.  It was, therefore, decided to send evangelistic teams to such areas with all the resources for mass evangelism through the press, films, radio, etc., �to realise the Church as the instrument in God�s hand; to face the problem of Communism and Secularism ; to raise a prophetic voice against social, economic and racial in justice.� (P. 27., The Missionary Obligation of the Church Wilingen, 1952.)

 

12. The new evangelistic movement sprang up for the purpose of subjugating the new secular utopias, viz., Stalinism and Scientific Humanism and also to counter �the Utopian expectations of the non-Christian religions�. (Pp. 27-28, Elements of Ecumenism.)

 

13. It is interesting to notice that out of the four main sub-divisions of the Christians, viz., the Western Protestants or Occidental Churches, the Roman Catholic, the Eastern Orthodox of the Byzantine Tradition and the Oriental National Churches usually described as the Monophysites, only one takes an active and responsible part in the ecumenical work and that is the Western Protestant Churches and consequently only that section impresses its own outlook on all its activities (p. 38-39, Elements of Ecumenism). This section of the Churches is led by America.

 

14. The strength of the American personnel of the foreign Missions has increased by 500 since 1951.  The invasion of the Missionary teams was in the Surguja district which had been closed to the Missions before the integration in 1947 with Madhya Pradesh.  In August, 1948 its Assembly of the World Council of Churches met at Amsterdam at which Mr. John Foster Dulles read a paper on Christian responsibility in our divided world, Rev. J. Lakra of the Gossner Evangelical Mission of Ranchi also attended that meeting.  In the report of that meeting the decision was summed up in one sentence, viz., �God has given to His people in Jesus Christ a unity which is His creation and not our achievement.�

 

15. In 1949 the Eastern Asia Christian Conference came to be held under the joint auspices of the I. M. C. and the W. C. C. at Bangkok in 1949.  Its report on �The Church in Social and Political Life� declared �the Gospel proclaims that God�s sovereignty includes all realms of life.  Christ sitting at the right hand of God reigns, and the Church owes it to the world to remind it constantly that it lives under His Judgment and grace.  It is not the challenge of any ideology but the knowledge of the love of God in Christ for man, that is, the basis of the Church�s social and political concern. In East Asia, the majority of people, both in the rural and urban areas, live in conditions of abject poverty and under oppressive systems that cramp their personality; and it is the will of God that the Church should witness to His redeeming love through an active concern for human freedom and justice� (p. 114, The Christian Prospect in Eastern Asia, New York 1950-quoted at page 90 of Christianity and the Asian Revolution).  The social task of the Church was stated to be to claim the whole world for Him who is King and lord of all. (P. 90, ibid.)

 

16. In the report of the Ecumenical Study Conference for East Asia held under the auspices of the Study Department W. C. C. at Lucknow, India, in 1052, it was declared that Christians must be pre-pared to recognise that the changes in the structure of society can be effected mainly through political action and that, therefore, they must be prepared to accept the necessity of political action as a means of promoting social justice. (p. 31, Christ the Hope of Asia, Madras, 1953, quoted a; page 91, ibid.).

 

17. As the work of the United Nations was regarded as of major concern to the Church Commission on International Affairs (in view of the �fragile fabric of peace� being tinder the threat of being torn as under by the cold war produced by Soviet tension) the various Christian Churches of the world came to emphasise that the Church of Christ was �World-wide�, �subra-national� and �Supra-racial�, and that it involved a deeper understanding of the Missionary obligation of the Church, viz., evangelism and a closer link between the Mission of the Church at home and overseas (P. 28, World Christian Hand Book 1952).  Realising this call from God the Church membership in North America began to rise steadily and with the increased givings for Church support American Churches assumed the leadership in Overseas Missions.  As it was found that in the old Mission fields there were now Churches touched by the new nationalisms independent in temper and organisation and yet needing help from other Churches, it was emphasised that there should be a new understanding of the nature of the Church, its unity and call of God to special vocations and the need of particular Churches to be rooted in the soil and yet supra-national in their witness and obedience (P. 29, ibid). In the vigorous campaign of proselytization which began in India the evangelistic activity had to consider the prospects among the Hindu upper and middle classes and the lower classes including the forest tribes.  As regards the upper and middle classes it is admitted that Christianity has made no serious impact on Hindu learning or the upper aria middle classes.  But in view of the capacity of Hindu culture for absorbing other elements it is thought necessary to transmit the Christian faith at its points of need as early as possible �in view of the possibility of Communist infiltration from within and pressure from without�. (P. 14 ibid 1952.)

 

18. The activity accordingly turned to the underprivileged classes whose way to life abundant is blocked by poverty.  These people would be incapable of receiving the Christian message in their ignorance and degradation until they are freed from the bondage and degradation in which they are kept by their heathen overlords (P. 126, Missions in Rural India, Tambaram Report, p. 19, Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, p. 112).  The Evangelist, therefore, came forward with financial help for raising their standard of life and gathering them into the Church.

 

19. As regards non-Christian religions, viz.. Hinduism, Budhism and Confucianism, they are gaining new lease of life and are challenging Christianity by denying its uniqueness by putting forward the dogma that all religions lead to the same goal. (Pages 213 and 215, 135, 136, Christianity and Asian Revolution).

 

20. Accordingly, it is the duty of the Universal Church to execute the King�s Commission for exterminating these religions.  In the words of A. G. Hogg, the Christian Church without being false to its origin cannot help being aggressive.  It cannot be otherwise because �it is a people conscious of a transcendental Mission�� It is the little flock to which it is the heavenly Father�s royal pleasure to give that Kingdom�� it holds its King�s Commission to make disciples of all the matrons.� It is further claimed that evangelism that is the proclamation of good news with a view to conversion is not a peculiar activity of a new Christians but the whole world of the fact that God in Christ has entered history to save.  The missionary obligation of the Church is in short this �we must simply take Christ at His word.  He told us to go and preach and baptise.  Every disciple a Missionary and no way out.� (Christian Home No. 30, of 1954, page 9).

 

21. Alexander McLeish speaking at the Fellowship of Inter-national Missionary Society Conference held in June, 1948 said, �recently our Indian Christian leaders have seen the vision of evangelising India and have issued a call to evangelise systematically in the next 10 years the 600,000 villages of India. The material resources are, there, but better still the spiritual resources are more than adequate to the completion of the evangelistic task.  Thus, Whitby strikes the two notes needed as we face the Problem of India today, viz., the planned evangelism of India�s teeming villages and the fullest co-operation of Church and Mission which would be involved in the carrying of the task to a successful issue�.1 This is in accordance wish. what was recommended in the report of the Missions in rural India in 1930, p. 126 and the idea of the conquest of the world by Christianity. (P. 35 Rethinking Missions).  Pamphlets like �The World Conquest soon by God�s Kingdom� are issued by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, New York, U. S. A., and the Television Broadcasts in America call upon the American Democracy to send �Invasion Teams� of Missionaries into all the nations of the world and begin to turn the needy millions into the Kingdom of God-as the greatest Mission crusade in Church history.  It came to be emphasised that the Church of Christ was �World Wide�, �Supra-national� and �Supra-racial�.  It was essentially one.  This preaching had political implications of its own.  The Christians in a State owed double allegiance, on the one hand they owed their loyalty to Christ and on the other, to the State.  Ordinarily, there might be no clash, but in case there was a conflict of loyalties between Christ and State, the true Christian had necessarily to choose obedience to Christ.  Allegiance to the State is a political and a national duty.  Allegiance to the Church is a religious and spiritual duty.  The two have distinct fields no doubt.  And normally no conflict is to be observed between the two.  And if political divisions of the world were never to be influenced by religions there can never be any conflict between the two allegiance.  But that is a big if.  There are even in the present-day world many States based on religion.  And our own country has been split on the basis of religion.  Such being the case, conflict between loyalty to the State and loyalty to the Church cannot be ruled out.  In India, there is an intensive evangelistic drive through press, film, radio, in the rural areas.

 

22. This evangelistic activity is professedly directed against Communism.  The world powers are at present divided into two groups, the Anglo-American Block and the Soviet Block.  The former have the backing of the Christian Missionaries.  India is pursuing a policy of its own by non-alignment with any of the above two blocks.  Both the Communists and the Christian Missionaries have their eyes on India.  The very existence of non-Christian religions in India, Burma and Islamic countries is regarded as a challenge to the uniqueness of Christianity (P. 213, Christianity and Asian Revolution).

 

23. The idea as stated by Fraser in his book �Among Indian Rajahs and Ryots� is that to meet the intellectual awakening and the revival of national spirit India should receive Christianity as its only hope. 2Toynbee in his Reith lectures 1952 stated that the West had invaded the world, particularly Asia which adopted Technology and Nationalism but not Christianity, and he suggested that nationalism Would be dangerous unless it was balanced by Christianity. 3In the Missionary circles it was found that there was even among Indian Christians a strong tide of national feeling opposed to foreign domination which is explained as being only a part of the universal national feeling which has been so marked a feature of recent years. (Page 31, Spontaneous Expansion of the Church).

 

24. To overcome this tide of nationalism the conversion of the people to Christianity apparently offered itself as an effective instrument.  As stated by Count Keyserling, Christianity was originally a religion of the proletariat.  It was in opposition to the favoured classes from the beginning.  Wherever, it turns it carries the seeds of disruption. (P. 56, Travel Diary of Philosopher).  Hence the appeal by the Missionary bodies to the hungry and under-privileged areas of world (P. 126, Mission in Rural India; Tambaram Report, P. 19; Missionary Obligation of the Church, P. 35 and Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, P., 112).  That it is in this form that the masses are approached by the preachers is clear from the statement of Arch Bishop of Ambikapur, Rev. Nath of Khandwa and letter of Rev. Youngblutt.

 

25. As described by Toynbee in the Reith lectures 1952 a creed also is a tool though of a psychological nature.  In the conflict between Communism and Democracy combined with the Church, America is taking the lead as indicated by Wendell Wilkie in his �One World�.  In view of the radical shift since 1945 in the International balance of power which has affected every country in Asia, American Democracy (United States) finds itself devoid of any Asian territory.  She has partly compensated for this by establishing military bases on the Pacific fringe of Asia from Japan to the Phillipines and by forming military alliances with several countries. (P. 22, Christianity and Asian Revoluation).  In Asia the issues of nationalism and colonialism have become inextricably involved in conflict between the West and the Communist powers. (P. 23, ibid).  The drive for proselytization in India is an attempt to acquire an additional base which of course would be psychological. People converted to Christianity would he mostly from the outcastes or the aboriginals who can be primed with hatred against their countrymen, if for no other reason than the fact that the latter are �idolators� and that the former belong to the Kingdom of God.

 

26. In the Census Report of 1891, Volume XI, Part I, page 79, there is a reference to the opinion of Mr. Baines recorded in the Bombay Census Report of 1881 to the effect that the success of Christian Missions would he more marked among the lower classes than among the rest for two reasons; one, the greater receptivity of a member of the lower classes and, two, emotional appeals which neither his intelligence nor his education disposes him to enlarge.  As observed by Crozier, the fact is that the Christian Missionaries indoctrinate into the minds of the people they convert the idea that �the essence of religion lies in the attitude of the heart and emotions and that it is not a matter of intellectual belief at all but a matter of faith, a thing not to be argued about or proven but to be accepted in trust and lowly obedience.  Thus, religion brings about a change of heart or conversion� (page 227, Civilization and Progress) that places the converts entirely under the domination of the Missionaries and wipes out his individuality.  The failure of the Missionary appeal to the intelligentsia is entirely due to the absence of any intellectual and rational argument put forward in support of the dogma propounded by them as was observed as far back as 1807 by Lord Minto. (Vide Supra, p. 39.)

 

27. We can, thus, safely conclude that the aim of accelerating the process of proselytization is the following:-

(1) to resist the progress of national unity in the colonial countries after their independence.  That can be gathered, as pointed out in the New Statesman and Nation, dated November 26th, 1955, from the �rival� Russian policy of strengthening the nationalism of these countries.

 

(2) To emphasise the difference in the attitude towards the principle of coexistence between India and America.  India desires peaceful co-existence whereas the policy of the World Council of Churches as expressed in the report of its �Commission on Christian social action� is to regard co-existence as amounting to mere appeasement which it does not favour in view of the �divisions existing particularly between the totalitarian powers and �Free Nations� with diverse economic and political systems.  The World Council of Churches recommend that the correct policy should be that of �Peaceful competition� with a sincere commitment to growing co-operation�. (1955 Blue Book Annual Report of the Evangelical and Reformed Church, page 114).  Light is thrown on this idea of �Peaceful competition� in an article which describes the present contest as �competitive coexistence� (New York Times, November 1, 1954 quoted at p. 4, in Pamphlet �World Conquest Soon� by God�s kingdom). On the other hand Mr. Kaganovitch, made it clear in his speech on the anniversary of the Russian revolution that coexistence meant that the struggle between Communism and Democracy was to be waged by competition. (the New Statesman and Nation, November 26, 1955).

 

(3) To take advantage of the freedom accorded by the Constitution of India to the propagation of religion, and to create a Christian party in the Indian democracy on the lines of the Muslim League ultimately to make out a claim for a separate State, or at least to create �militant minority�

In short the situation seems to be that the Papacy representing the Catholic Church and the American Democracy are united in their frantic drive for gathering proselytes to Christianity to combat Communism: the former to extend its religions empire and the latter to obtain world leadership. 
 

Footnotes:

 

1Pamphlet.

2Page 275, 3rd Edition (1912).

3Pages 67, 68, 70 and 95.



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