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Post Info TOPIC: Niyogi Report Vol-1; Part-4 CONCLUSIONS (FINDINGS)


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Niyogi Report Vol-1; Part-4 CONCLUSIONS (FINDINGS)
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PART IV

CHAPTER I. - CONCLUSIONS (FINDINGS)

 

On consideration of the material before us we arrive at the following conclusions of fact:-

 

1. Since the Constitution of India came into force there has been an appreciable increase in the American personnel of the Missionary organisations operating in India. This increase is obviously due to the deliberate policy of the International Missionary Council to send evangelistic teams to areas of special opportunities opened to the Gospel by the Constitutional provision of religions freedom in some of the newly independent nations, equipped with new resources for mass evangelism through the press, film, radio and television. (Pages 27 and 31 of the Missionary Obligation of the Church, 1952).

 

2. Enormous sums of foreign money flow into the country for Missionary work, comprising educational, medical and evangelist activities. It was out of such funds received from abroad that in Surguja the Lutherans and other proselytizing agencies were able to secure nearly 4,000 converts.

 

3. Conversions are mostly brought about by undue influence, misrepresentation, etc., or in other words not by conviction but by various inducements offered for proselytization in various forms.  Educational facilities such as free gifts of books and education are offered to secure the conversion of minors in the primary and secondary schools under the control of the Missions.  Moneylending is one of the various forms adopted as a mild form of pressure to induce proselytization.  This is found very prominently in the case of Roman Catholic Missions operating in the hill tracts of Surguja, Raigarh, Mandla, etc. Cases where coercion was reported to have been used are generally of those converts who wish other members of the family to join their Christian parents or to secure girls in marriage.

 

4. Missions are in some places used to serve extra religious ends.  In spite of assurances given by foreign and national Missionaries to authorities, instances of indirect political activities were brought to the notice of the Committee.

 

5. As conversion muddles the converts sense of unity and solidarity with his society, there is a danger of his loyalty to his country and State being undermined.

 

6. A vile propaganda against the religion of the majority community is being systematically and deliberately carried on so as to create an apprehension of breach of public peace.

 

7. Evangelization in India appears to be a part of the uniform world policy to revive Christendom for re-establishing Western supremacy and is not prompted by spiritual motives.  The objective is apparently to create Christian minority pockets with a view to disrupt the solidarity of the non-Christian societies, and the mass conversions of a considerable section of Adivasis with this ulterior motive is fraught with danger to the security of the State.

 

8. Schools, hospitals and orphanages are used as a means to facilitate proselytization.

 

9. Tribals and Harijans are the special targets of aggressive evangelization for the reason that there is no adequate provision of hospitals, schools, orphanages and other social welfare services in the scheduled or specified areas.

 

10. The Government of Madhya Pradesh, have throughout followed a policy of absolute neutrality and non-interference in matters concerning religion and allegations of discrimination against Christians and harassment of them by Government officials have not been established.  Such allegations have been part of the old established policy of the Missions to overawe local authority and to carry on propaganda in foreign countries. 
 

CHAPTER II.- RECOMMENDATIONS, WITH REASONS

 

On the conclusions of facts reached by us we now proceed to deal with certain important considerations which arise out of them �on a review of the question from historical and other points of view�, as a prelude to the framing of our recommendations.

 

2. At the outset we wish to guard ourselves against being understood as making any reflections upon the character, conduct or ability of any individual.  Our adverse comments, wherever they occur, are to be understood as referring to the Mission as an institution, national or international.  It has been suggested that the Missionaries, who have nothing to hide or cover, would like to be told frankly if there is anything wrong about their activities that can be put right.  We, therefore, wish to be as frank as possible so that when both parties are reasonable, there should be no cause for misunderstanding, but on the contrary, the way could be cleared for proper understanding, mutual confidence and common action.

Tribute to the Missionaries

 

3. The contribution of Christian Missionaries to the shaping of Indian life in modern times has, indeed, been very impressive.  Apart from the controversy on the point of proselytization, they merit high appreciation as pioneers in the fields of education and medical relief.  The names of Rev. Hislop, Rev. Whitton, Rev. Robertson, Dr. Henderson, Dr. Martin, Rev. Dr. McFadyen and a host of others who served in our State as also in the country at large commanded great respect in their times. They establishes schools, colleges, hospitals, dispensaries, orphanages and institutions for the maimed and the handicapped.  They elevated the neglected classes to high social position; and made them worthy of filling responsible posts in public services, and in all cases made them conscious of their dignity as men and inspired them with self-respect. They stimulated many religious and social reforms in the Hindu Society, and made it self-conscious. They have helped in the elevation of the status of women by giving the lead in female education. The Community Centres and Industrial Schools opened by them are, like their other institutions, the best of their kind.  India will ever be grateful for the services rendered by them, no less than for the policy of religious neutrality generally pursued by the British Government, and for the eminent oriental scholars of Europe and America who brought to light the hidden treasures of the ancient Indian wisdom.

Avenue of approach to the problem

 

4. Now that India is independent, the question is as to the point of view from which the problem before us should be examined. We think that the spirit which animated the representatives of the various communities in India, including the Christians who participated in the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly affords us the best guide.  Laying aside all their differences based upon the dogmas of their respective religions, they approached the national problems from a purely, rational point of view, and arrived at the unanimous conclusion that the national State of India should be a secular and a welfare State.  The basis of the Constitution of India is, thus, Reason, not Faith; and it is from the point of view of Reason that we propose to approach the problem for a satisfactory solution.

What is a Secular State?

 

5. What is a Secular State? In negative terms, we may say that it is one that is not a Theocratic State, viz., a state in which the Government is believed to be under the immediate direction of God and in which religion and politics are inextricably interwoven.  In a Secular State, one may broadly say that there is no recognition of Dogma, everything that comes before the Government concerning the temporal interests of the citizens is open to full and free discussion.  It does not mean, as is generally supposed, that the State is against any or all religions, or that it overlooks moral values.  The Articles in the Constitution of India, which relate to a Secular State, are 25 to 29.  According to Article 25, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of Conscience, and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion, subject to public order, morality and health.  There can be a dispute only on the point of the interpretation of the expression �propagate any religion�.

 

Suffice it to say here that the State will not allow its citizens to do whatever they please in the name and under the guise of religion.  Article 25 itself specifies the limits within which religious freedom can be exercised.

Past history of persecution in the name of religion

 

6. The idea of a secular State emerged after centuries of experience in human history.  While our Constitution was founded on the liberal principles evolved in Europe, it was not blind to the red signal of the history of Christian countries in which indescribable acts of cruelty were perpetrated in the name of religion.  It has been recently calculated that the number of men who lost their lives in the Papal persecutions of heretics, the Inquisition, the Christian religious wars, etc., is much more than 10,000,000 (page 293, The Riddle of the Universe, Sixth Impression, 1950, Thinkers� Library).  They could be justified only in the words of Shelley: �the word of God has fenced about all crimes with Holiness The American Constitution, which was the first in modern times to create a secular State, had to take into account the previous blood-stained history of the Christian Church. Jefferson, who drafted the Declaration of Independence of the U.S.A., set his face firmly against persecution and compulsion in the sphere of religion. �Is uniformity attainable?�, he asked, �Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites.� (Page 19 The American Ideal by A. Bryant).  Jefferson was Vice-President once and President twice of the U.S.A. and declined that office the third time.  The principle which he followed in the matter of religion is the one which underlies the Constitution of India. �As to myself�, he said, �my religious reading has long been confined to the moral branch of religion which is the same in all religions; while in that branch which consists of dogmas all differ, all have a different set.  The former instructs us how to live well and worthily in society; the latter are made to interest our mind in the support of the teacher who inculcates them. Hence for one sermon on a moral subject, you hear ten on the dogmas of the sect.� (Pages 88, 89, Jefferson, Living Thoughts Library presented by John Dewey).

Secular State does not imply Abandonment of Religion

 

7. Thus, our Constitution has, in principle, followed the American model.  In America, although the national policy affecting religion involved a separation of State from Church, she did not cease to be Christian.  The American principle of religious liberty expressed very tersely is this: That the State should not forbid its citizens to do what their religion requires, not require them to do what their religion forbids. The principle assumes of course that what a citizen�s religion forbids or requires does not involve the violation of the fundamental human rights of those who hold different convictions from his own (Religious Liberty by M. Searle Bates, pages 90-91).  It is clear that neither Hindus nor Muslims nor Christians nor Parsis cease to be Hindus, Muslims, Christians or Parsis because the State is secular.  It only means that a secular State will not interfere with the articles of faith of any religion, is modes of worship and such other matters of a strictly spiritual nature unless the religious activities come in conflict with the fundamental rights of the citizen or the authority of the State founded on the Constitution.

Respect for Jesus in India

 

8. It may be mentioned that there was none among the non-Christians who appeared before us or sent written statements who showed any lack if reverence for Jesus.  A true copy of an article entitled �Christianity In India Under Fire� written by Donald F. Ebright, published in the Christian Century, Chicago, in its issue, dated 16th June, 1954, was produced before us.  While he tells of �a mounting antagonism to Christian Activity in India which cannot be discounted�, he emphasises the attitude of the Indian people towards Jesus in these words: �You are not in India long before you discover the great reverence for Jesus Christ�.

 

9. At this stage we come face to face with controversial problems. We are indebted to an esteemed Missionary gentleman of Berar for bringing to our notice the Report of the World Conference of missionaries held at Tambaram, Madras, in 1938, and to the representative of the Christian Council of India for favouring us with a copy of it.  We have carefully perused it and other relevant publications, and it is in the light of the thoughts and activities recorded in them that we approach the problem to find a solution.

The Church: Its Worldliness and Imperfections

 

10. As indicated above, India is in no way lacking in reverence for Jesus.  But this reverence for Jesus does not attract Indians to the Church for the reason that it appears to the Indian mind that the Church does not truly reflect the spirit of the teachings of Jesus.  This is admitted in the �Tambaram Report� itself, in these words:��� As a human attempt to realise God�s will it is incomplete and sinful; it shares in the limitations and imperfections of human nature; and because of its worldliness and divisions it is often a hindrance, sometimes even the greatest hindrance, to the coming of the Kingdom of God, i.e., the rule of God over all.  The worldliness of the Church and its failure to show Christian love as an actual fact, is its greatest weakness, and from it no Christian group is free ��� and we should doubt whether the churches as they are do truly express the mind of Christ� (pages 27 and 29). ���� �Often, especially in countries where there are �younger Churches� we hear Christianity and the Christian Church criticised as being importations from foreign lands or agents of Western Imperialism� (ibid., page 30).

 

11. This outright confession was presumably made in answer to what the Christian intellectuals in India said about the Church in a book entitled �Rethinking Christianity in India� at page 114, viz., �The Church is no longer what is called the Body of Christ; but it is the body of the national mind, i.e., of the politicians who guide national policies.� The same sentiment was expressed by Rev. R. D. Immanuel in 1950 in these words: �The Churches and Archbishops and Bishops have not been the custodians of the Lord�s Dharma; but camp followers of worldly statesmen�, (page 37, The Influence of Hinduism on Indian Christians, publisher by Leonard Theological College, Jabalpur, India).  Even the writer in Life (Volume XX No. 3, February 6, 1956, the International Edition of the Special Issue Christianity, page 60) could not help admitting: �There is not yet any clear evidence of Christian revival.� He significantly poses the question: �Is there some inadequacy in the message of the Churches?�

 

12. Gandhiji expressed himself strongly against making people members of the Church. �If Jesus came to earth again� he said, �he would disown many things that are being done in the name of Christianity.  It is not he who says Lord, Lord that is a Christian but he that doeth the will of the Lord.� (page 165, Christian Missions : Navajivan Press).  These words were spoken in 1935.

Missionary Movement of Mass Conversion, 1930-1940

 

13. The profound significance of Gandhiji�s statement will not be clear without the knowledge of the political situation as it developed in the decade 1930-1940 since the Morley-Minto Reforms of 1909 which followed the agitation over the partition of Bengal.  It was unfortunately discoloured by anarchical crimes.  Sir Andrew Fraser, the Lt. Governor of Bengal, wrote, in 1912 (3rd edition), a book entitled �Among Indian Rajahs and Ryots� in which he propounded the doctrine that the hope of India lay in the elevating and civilizing power of Christianity (p. 275), and that �She ought to receive of our best� (p. 276).  He said, �all parts of India, so far as education and association with the West have directly affected life, feel the unrest which comes from intellectual awakening and the revival of national spirit� (p. 278) and it seemed to him that �to give them civilization without Christianity is to withhold that to which our civilization owes all that is best in it and by which alone it can be kept pure and healthful� (p. 279)��� �to leave them without religion may make them a probable source of danger in the future history of the race� (page 279).  In 1920, Gandhiji began his non-violent movement, taking his stand on the Geeta and rallying round him the masses including the rural population.  The Report of the Royal Commission on Agriculture in India was published in 1928.  In that report there was a very significant statement, viz., �Throughout our investigation we have constantly been impressed with the thought that mere material improvement alone will not bring lasting benefit to the agricultural population� (page 58),

 

14. After Gandhiji launched his movement for Indian Independence the contest was given a religious turn by the Muslims with their demand for a separate independent State.  The Missionaries were straining their nerve to break up the solidarity of the Hindu society as will be shown in the sequel.

 

15. The Report of the Simon Commission was published in 1929.  It recommended the exclusion of the aboriginal areas from the purview of the newly constituted Government, apparently for the purpose of according to them special protection so as to facilitate their advance as quickly as possible to the level of the population as a whole.  The Missionaries came forward to take advantage of the provision with a scheme for proselytization of the rural and aboriginal people.  In response to the initiative of the Jerusalem Meeting of the International Missionary Council and the invitation of the National Christian Council of India, Dr. Kenyan, L. Butterfield (appointed by the International Missionary Council), visited rural India and focussed attention �on the vast area of human need and limitless spiritual possibilities�, in the words of Dr. J. R. Mott, who wrote the preface to his report called �The Christian Mission in Rural India (1930)�.  That report. referred to Gandhiji�s statement made at the outset of the campaign of civil disobedience, viz., �the future of India will be decided not in her cities but in her villages� (p. 42, Report), and also to the aforesaid observation of the Royal Agricultural Commission made at page 58 of its report. (Butterfield�s Report, page 146).  Dr. Butterfield called for cooperative and united work among the Missions and Mission institutions to make clear that there was a powerful Christian enterprise in India which was to win the sixty million outcastes and an equal number of unprivileged masses to a more abundant personal and social life.  He suggested that the problem of the Indian villages should be laid before the American public and their co-operation enlisted.  He pointed out the forces which had to be faced in these words: �the urge of the Christian enterprise to permeate and lead the ethical and spiritual advance in India will hire to meet in India, as elsewhere, the forces of secularism, of an exaggerated nationalism, perhaps of Communism, certainly of a material industrialism.� As an offset he recommended that Christianity must present in an aggressive and effective fashion first Jesus Himself ��� the type of Christian individual embodying in some measure at least the spirit of Jesus and a Christian social order. (Butterfield Report, pages 126-127).

 

16. The Round Table Conferences came to be held in 1930, 1931 and 1932.  In that hectic period of excitement, the Laymen�s Foreign Missions Enquiry Committee was appointed in America.  It consisted of 15 distinguished citizens of America, presided over by Dr. Hocking.  In their report was adumbrated the vision of a worldwide Church and world unity in civilization as Christianity was not Western but universally human (Rethinking Missions, page 8).  It propounded that the original objective of the Mission was the conquest of the world by Christianity.  It was a world benevolence conceived in terms of a world campaign�� the universal claim of one historical fact : the Work of Christ. (Page 35, ibid).  It declared that for Christianity God is not far off but in all actions, in ploughing, sowing, reaping, etc., (page 52), and that Christianity was prepared with a polytheistic faith to see God in varied aspects (page 53).  In tones 6f imperialism it proclaimed �Missions must go on because concrete obligations have been assumed by our institutions to the peoples of the East which could not fairly be abandoned� (p. 5, ibid).

 

17. That report was presumably intended to supply the spiritual background to the Missionary adventure to present in an aggressive and effective fashion first Christ himself, etc., as had been recommended by Dr. Butterfield in his report.

Mass Conversion

 

18. The natural result of this united vigorous activity was that many mass conversions were effected.  Dr. Pickett, obtaining 25,000 dollars from the Rockefeller Foundation and 10,000 dollars from Dr. Mott, carried out a survey and published his report entitled Christian Mass Movement in India, in 1933. (Gharbandhu 1931, July, page 104).  Dr. Mott wrote a foreword to it.  In a conversation with Gandhiji in which he described his work of mass conversion as a work on behalf of the oppressed, Gandhiji said, �I could understand the Muslim organisations doing this but the Christian Mission claims to be a purely spiritual effort.  It hurt me to find the Christian bodies vying with the Muslims and the Sikhs in trying to add to the number of their fold.  It seemed to be an ugly performance and a travesty of religion� (P. 420, Christian Proselytism in India by Parekh).  The World Missionary Conference held at Tambaram in 1938 expressed itself deeply moved by �the cry of the multitudes for deliverance� and proclaimed �the great need for a true and living faith� (page 16, Tambaram Report).  Missionary bodies, like the Church Missionary Society and the Salvation Army, rushed forward to save the souls of �the underprivileged millions�, apparently with a view to make out a case for separate treatment of the Christian community.  As money began to pour into the country Gandhiji exclaimed: �Mammon has been sent to serve India and God has remained behind� and Dr. Mott said �money is stored up personality� (page 245, Christian Missions, Navajivan Press).

 

19. It is remarkable that in the Census of 1941, heads were counted communitywise, not on the basis of religion.  Mr. Yeats, the Census Commissioner of India in his short note on Community (Census of India, Volume I, Chapter IV, page 29, Part I, Table) tried to explain the mystery.  On the calculations made by Shri S. N. Parashar (in his article Published in Mahratta, February 16, 1946), in the light of that note, the actual increase in the Christian community was found to be 34,74,128 approximately, in the decade 1931-1941. (PP. 448-450, Christian Proselytism in India, by M. C. Parekh.)

 

In Hyderabad the increase in the Christian population was 141.6 per cent in the decade 1921-31, and 45.6 per cent in the decade 1931-41. (P. 103 the Directory of Churches and Missions in India and Pakistan, 1951.)

 

20. Another noteworthy feature was that in Burma the Karens like the Muslims set up a demand for a separate State and pressed their claim before the Round Table Conference.  This move was evidently inspired by the Missionaries, judging from the remark found in the Rethinking Missions at page 138 as follows:

�The Missionaries gave them education and through the translation of the Bible a written language.  This remarkable achievement, the giving of a nationality to the people��� has resulted in one embarrassment.  The Missionaries are held responsible for breaking apart an important minority group. The Karens have today a strong national society which has sent a delegation to London to plead for a Karen nation.� (Italics ours.)

21. Judging from the nature of the part taken by the Missionaries in the decade 1930-40 we are inclined to think that their activities were directed to segregate Christian Indians and to encourage them to demand special treatment.  Their activities were thus clearly political.

 

22. One may think that this is but a history of a bygone age which has disappeared with the attainment of Independence by India in 1947.  To think so is to misunderstand the situation.

 

23. Towards the end of the World War II the ecumenical movement designed to unify the Christians of the world under the aegis of a Universal Church became very vigorous.  In 1945 the Commission on a just and Durable Peace stressed as one of the four points of peace requiring Christian action the development of Christian unity on a world-wide basis and affirmed that the Christian forces of the world must �become a well organised and militant minority� (page 57, World Christian Handbook, 1952).  When we asked for an explanation of the phrase �militant minority� the representative of the National Christian Council replied that it was an unfortunate phrase, but that it meant only �energetic efforts�, (Italics ours).

 

24. It will be clear from what follows that the movement which was started in 1930, if not before, is now found flourishing in greater vigour, backed by much increased resources in men and money.  It is a continuation of the same process on a wider scale.  In Christian Missions in Rural India it was proposed to convert 600,000 villages to overcome the forces of secularism, of exaggerated nationalism, Communism and material industrialism (page 127).  The ecumenical movement follows the same line. Rev. McLeish, a trustee of the World Dominion Press which maintains a close liaison with the International Missionary Council (page 94, World Christian Hand Book, 1952), proposed the conversion of 600,000 villages in the course of 10 years (page 7, address at the Conference of the Fellowship of the International Missionary Council, June 1-3, 1948), and the objective of the ecumenical movement is to combat, besides Communism, �the Utopian expectations of the non-Christian religions� (page 28, Elements of Ecumenism), and discountenance the rapid development of modem technology and industry in Asia. (Pages 93-94, Christianity and Asian Revolution.).

 

25. It may be recalled that Dr. Mott, who was in the vanguard of the Missionary activity in the decade 1930-40 and contributed 10,000 dollars to the survey of the mass movement (Gharbandhu, July, 1931, page 104), carried out by Dr. Pickett and wrote prefaces to the �Christian Mass Movement in India� and �the Christian Mission in Rural India� and also had discussions with Gandhiji on the subjects of mass movement and the use of money (which he contended was stored up personality), had then been regarded as a highly practical Missionary statesman (page 8, Elements of Ecumenism).  When the World Council of Churches became a thoroughly organised structure in 1948 at Amsterdam be became its Honorary President. It may be recalled that Mr. Dulles and Rev. Lakra were also present at the Amsterdam Conference.

 



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Attitude and Activities of the Ecumenical Movement

 

26. The attitude of the World Council of Churches was greatly influenced by the experience the Missionaries had m the struggle with the rising tide of Indian nationalism.  They found nationalism pervading, not only the Hindus as a community, but also the educated section of the Christian Indians.  The policy of the ecumenical movement in regard to both of them is made clear in the two paragraphs which follow:

�In spite of many efforts in many forms it cannot be pretended that Christianity has made any serious impact on Hindu learning or the Hindu upper and middle classes; its successes have been among the outcaste groups �� the capacity of Hindu culture for absorbing other elements appears once again in the recommendations on religious teachings of the Radhakrishnan University Commission.  The task of Christian Churches and Missions in Hindu India is�� to seek ways of communication with Hindu culture at its points of need. The time for this may be short in view of the possibility of Communist infiltration from within or pressure from without.� (italics ours).

 

�In the old Mission fields there are now Churches touched by new nationalisms, independent in temper and organisation and yet needing help from other Churches.  The act of giving and receiving, within the context of the Church and the Churches �� involves �� a new understanding of the nature of the Church �� the need of particular Churches to be rooted in the soil and yet supra-national in their witness and obedience� (page 14 and 29, World Christian Handbook,1952). (Italics ours.)

27. To come to grips with the adamant Hindu society, phrases such as �Hindu Nationalism�, �Utopian expectations of non-Christian religions� came to be coined. The Hindu belief that all religions truly practised lead to the divine is ridiculed as a dogma. (Page 136, Christianity and Asian Revolution).  Hinduism was quite free from the secular idea of nationalism until it had to face the aggressive attacks of the Christian religion which came armed. There were declarations as that of Archbishop of Canterbury that Christianity was an Imperial religion (page 234, Imperialism by Hobson).  To call the liberal attitude of the Hindu religion as a dogma is tantamount to intolerance of toleration itself.  The Hindu is denounced because like the Christians he does not believe that outside his own religion there is no salvation, but, as had been remarked by Rousseau, such a dogma is good only in a Theocratic Government (Chapter VIII, Social Contract).  The action he proposed was �whoever dares to say outside the Church there is no salvation ought to be driven from the State unless the State is the Church and the Prince, the Pontiff.  Such a dogma is good only in a Theocratic Government; in any other, it is fatal�.  Western Christianity unfortunately overlooks the fact that it seeks to foist upon the world the tribal God of Mount Sinai.  Hinduism, like other far-Eastern religions, is not a tribal nationalistic religion.  They are all international religions, except Shintoism for the reason that in none of them is the divine a God of the chosen people (page 402, The Meeting of East and West, Northrop).

 

28. Why should Christianity fight shy of the absorbing power of Hinduism? Christianity could hold its ground in India for centuries without any opposition.  It was only after Western Christianity came armed with the Portuguese that there sprang up resistance to it.  One fails to see why the introduction of St. John�s Gospel in University studies upsets the Universal Church. The Hindu has no objection to the Geeta or the Upanishads being read or studied by any one in the world.  Presumably the fear that may be haunting Western Christianity is that if St. John�s Gospel is studied in Indian Universities it will have to face the True Jesus that will be brought to light.

 

29. It is remarkable that the Missionary appeal is addressed to those who live �in conditions of abject. poverty and under oppressive system�, to exploit the economic distress to which the country was reduced as the result of colonialism.  Everett Cattell says: �Our point of contact, therefore, with any soul to whom we wish to give the Gospel, is first to find out what his particular sense of need may be and confront it with Christ.  It may not at first even be expressed in spiritual terms.  The late Paget Wilkes in his �Dynamic of Service� points out that in a very fruitful service in Japan he almost never saw anyone converted through a sense of sin.  That came later through gazing at the Saviour.  But most men come with a need, social, physical, economic, or the like and an awakened faith that Christ could meet that need.� (page 17, Ways of Evangelism).  The distress of the poor looms large in the evidence before us as well as in the reports of the Tambaram and Willingen Conferences.  This is a disruptive method followed by the Missionaries for the reason that Christianity was originally a religion of the proletariat and was in opposition to the favoured classes from the beginning and it, therefore, carries wherever it turns the seed of disruption (page 56, Travel Diary of a Philosopher by Count Keyserling). As a creed is a tool (in the words of Sir A Toynbee) it is used as a weapon to combat the creed of Communism as also to disrupt non-Christian societies.

 

30. Gandhiji resented this approach to these classes and asked the Missionary to influence the minds of the intelligentsia, but he was told that the uneducated and the unsophisticated classes were more responsive to religious appeal as they were in real need of it.  The real reason is to be found in the Census Report of 1881 (Bombay), where Mr. Baines stated as follows:-

�The greater receptivity of the member of the lower class is due to the emotional appeal which neither his intelligence nor his education disposes him to enlarge� (quoted at page 79, Census of India, 1891, Volume XI, Part I).

 

That places the converts entirely under the domination of the Missionary and wipes out his individuality altogether.

31. We have already described how money flowed into the Surguja district to effect mass conversions after it was opened to Missionary work, pursuant to the liberal provisions of the Constitution of India.  The mass conversions were made exactly in accordance with the instructions contained in the Missionary Obligation of the Church, 1952, published by the International Missionary Council.  At page 27 it says, �In wide regions of the world the major problem is hunger ��� in the present situation there are opportunities for the Church ��� Constitutional provisions of religious freedom within some of the newly independent nations ��� new resources for mass evangelism through the press, film, radio and television�.  There is evidence before us that the people are called by some kind of public advertisement, offering inducements of loans and they are regarded as enquirers when they appear in response to the call. What species of spiritual impulse prompted the crowds to embrace Christianity en masse can well be imagined from what follows:-

1st February 1952 � 10 families consisting of 69 members.  
3rd February 1952 � 28 families consisting of 144 members.  
5th February 1952 � 18 families consisting of 85 members.  
10th February 1952 � 16 families consisting of 65 members.

 

(Gharbandhu, May 1952, page 5.) This is but an illustrative case.

 

32. One wonders whether this is the way of diffusing spiritual illumination.

Ecumenical Attitude towards Christian India

 

33. As regards the Christian Indians, the question arose as to the meaning of �supra-national�, occurring in the passage cited above.  This word was explained to us as having a spiritual significance. Rev. Lakra, however, admitted that a Church, like the Church of England, could not be supra-national.

 

34. There was also some obscurity about the word �obedience�. Before us it was divergently interpreted as �obedience to God� or to �Christ� or to �Church�.  When funds were supplied to Rev. Lakra, the expression �partnership in obedience� was explained as implying obedience to Christ�s command to spread the Gospel (page 6, Gharbandhu, October 1951). The question, however, still remains, as to who would take proper action if the condition is broken. That necessarily assumes some authority to call the delinquent to account. The obedience would, therefore, be to that authority.

 

35. It appears clear that in view of the fact that �the Indian Church lacks economic maturity� and even �the most highly organised National Christian Council �� has to be largely paid from abroad� (page 13, World Christian Handbook, 1952), the control rests with the authority abroad.

Attempt to Alienate the Indian Christian Community from their Nation

 

36. There also arose the question as to the meaning of the phrase �rooted in the soil�.  This was interpreted by the International Missionary Conference, held at Willingen, in 1952, as meaning �related to the soil�.  The Church can only be �rooted in Christ� (page 9, The Missionary Obligation of the Church, 1952).  Upon this interpretation, it was emphasised that the task before the younger Churches was a formidable one, as they had to be �rooted in Christ�, first before they could be �related to the soil� (page 271, Christianity and Asian Revolution). As. one reads the Missionary literature one comes across phrases such as �colony of heaven�, �in the country but not of the country�, �historical community of the redeemed�. All these smack of extra-territoriality which figured so prominently in Chinese Treaties. It appears to us that the Missionary �strategy� (a word which recurs frequently) is to detach the Christian Indian from his nation.  It may well be a suspicion, but it is strengthened by certain views expressed by prominent persons. Dr. Pickett of North India speaking in the Assembly of the World Council of Churches in 1954, remarked that one of the reasons for the development of Church Unity was to obviate the danger of the growth of nationalism as the rational churches were apt to reflect the spirit of political nationalism (Page 544, National Christian Council Review, December 1954).

 

37. Rt. Rev. J. E. L. Newbigin, who is the Chairman of a group of thinkers within the World Council of Churches (page 26, Elements of Ecumenism), laid stress on the fact that Christians were the chosen race in these words : �We cannot understand the New Testament without the Old ��� the central theme of that book is God choosing (election) a people to be His Own People �� now (and this is the next great point) we, who read it today in the Church read it as members of that People.� (page 75, National Christian Council Review, February 1954).

 

38. In an article �Christian Awake�, it is propounded that �when there is a conflict of loyalty between Christ and country, the true Christian has necessarily to choose obedience to Christ�. (page 158, National Christian Council Review, April 1955).  We have before us a pamphlet entitled: �For Christ and Country�, issued in America.  We wonder whether the Americans would accept this interpretation of the duty of a Christian in America.

 

39. In India, there is the danger of such a conflict arising for the reason that in the report of the Commission on Christian Social Action, �competition� is preferred to �co-existence� (page 114, 1955 Blue Book Annual Reports of Officers and Boards of the Evangelical and Reformed Church).  Here there is room for disagreement.  Co-existence implies �live and let live�, as also �let us live together�, i.e., it may include co-operation, but it cannot include competition which means �either you live or I live�.  In co-operation, rewards are shared, in competition they are monopolised.

 

40. The information which has come before us regarding the Abundant Life Movement started with the aid of the funds received from America, presumably in terms of �the strategy of the Christian enterprise to win these great under-privileged masses to a more abundant personal and social life� (page 126, Christian Mission in Rural India) shows that it is confined to the converted Christians and intended to encounter Communism. The Jeevan Tara Movement in Damoh and the farm purchased by Dr. Clines in the Yeotmal district are also meant to benefit the Christian converts.  Nowhere did we find Christians taking part in the nation-building activities.  At page 158, National Christian Council Review, April 1955, even a Christian writer admits that Indian Christians, as a whole, have not identified themselves with nation-building activities.

Danger of Foreign Control during Crisis

 

41. The tendency to keep the Christians, separate from the mass of the people and under Missionary control engenders the suspicion that they might be used in critical times to promote foreign interests, as was attempted to be done by the Missionaries of Chhota Nagpur, by offer the offer of 10,000 armed Kols and by Dr. Mason in Burma, of a battalion of Karens, in the critical year of 1857 (page 206, History of Missions in India, by Richter). The recent hostile attitude of the Karens. Nagas and Ambonese points in the same direction (p. 215, Christianity and Asian Revolution). It is, therefore, necessary to have a strict watch on the activities of Missionaries in the hill tribes areas.

 

42. The idea underlying the Christian Mission in Rural India (Dr. Butterfield�s report) was to facilitate mass proselytization.  The work was conceived either to forestall the national effort to rehabilitate the villages or to show that without Christianising the villages the rehabilitation of the villages was not possible. But what do the Missions now think about the work of the Government? In the Blue Book Annual Report of the Evangelical and Reformed Church, for the year 1954, it is said, �India is changing so rapidly that even those who are closely connected with the country through our Missionary endeavours find it difficult to keep up with every phase of our political, economic, social and religions development. Within seven years after gaining Independence, India has moved into a place of world leadership.  In spite of adverse circumstances intensified by drought, floods, and other calamities, Communism and resurgent Hinduism have been held in check.  India�s progress in social and economic welfare leaves one astounded.  Two and a half million additional acres have been brought under irrigation during the past year. Some 5,000 wells were dug to provide a more adequate water-supply.  Foodgrains were increased by eleven million tons last year in spite of devastating floods.  New fertilizer plants, research centres, laboratories, schools and colleges are the order of the day. Recently, divorce laws were enacted which prove how quickly India is forgetting her old religions teachings and social customs.  To what extent can Christ be regarded �the Hope of the World� in such a situation?  Is man after all �the architect of his own salvation?� What relevance have Christian Missions in a country like India? Perhaps the remarks of a leading Hindu gentleman in Raipur indicated the answer when he said, �These plans will succeed if character is built up� and an honoured leader of our Evangelical and Reformed Church said, �we must provide the leaven�.  Jesus announced �I am the Way, the Truth and the Life�. (page 61).

 

43. It is not easy to understand why the Missions should be surprised if man becomes the architect of his own salvation. Perhaps it is because the Missions look askance at �material industrialism� and �the Utopian expectations� of non-Christian religions.

 

44. The Hindu gentleman must have known that centuries before Christ the, Indian Rishis proclaimed �Truth wins ever, not falsehood; with truth is paved the way to the divine (Mundaka Upanishad quoted at page 67, Discovery of India by Shri Nehru).  To the Hindu, �character� has ethical implications; but one usually finds that in the Missionary literature and speeches character is stressed as �Christian character�.  What is the kind of Christian character liased on truth that the Missionary wants to build up?  Is it to create men of Christian character that the mass movements in Formosa have been initiated? (page 49, World Christian Handbook 1952).  Perhaps, it is necessary to do so for the reason that Chiang-Kai-Shek proclaimed himself as a �follower of Jesus Christ� and added that the success of his revolution depended upon men of faith and of character and that the best of his officers were Christians and the large number of his Generals were the members of the Church! (pages 424-425, The Meeting of East and West by Northrop).

 

44-A. On many occasions Gandhiji expressed his suspicion about the ulterior motives of Missionary enterprise. Dr. Asirvatham points out that such a suspicion springs from the manifestation of the American foreign policy in such aggressive forms as in the slogan : �Let Asians fight Asians� (page 35, Christianity in the Indian Crucible).

 

45. As the United States has no territory abroad she tries to compensate for this by establishing military bases and military alliances (page 22, Christianity and Asian Revolution).  It appears that by this drive of proselytization in India she desires to create psychological bases. The persons who came before us expressed such suspicions about American aims very strongly, and this is also pointed out at page 23 of the aforesaid book in these words : �The West is using the threat of Communism as an excuse to regain political mastery over the liberated peoples�.  The American Missionary activity in some of its aspects, is too tinged with the anti-communist world strategy to elude notice (p. 29, World Christian Handbook).  Morrison in his report on the subject of �Religious Liberty in the Near East, 1948�, also notes in more places than one that there is a suspicion of the foreign Mission being the agents of foreign political power.  His conclusion is remarkably frank in these words : �No doubt in the past Missions have been used to promote political ends� (page 49).

 

46. In a lecture which the Director of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, Dr. O. Frederick Nolde, delivered in 1954, he declared that the effectiveness of the United Nations would be dependent upon the extent to which real world community existed recognising no national frontiers.  He accordingly asked the Christians who are party to the ecumenical fellowship which recognises no national frontiers to view the problem in three aspects, viz. (i) the standpoint of faith and life within the churches, (ii) the need to promote world community, (iii) the United States �potential contribution to world peace and justice� (National Christian Council Review April 1954, page 195).

 

47. As one reads the Christian literature one comes across phrases like �colony of heaven� �historical community of the redeemed�, a Christian being �in but not of the country� suggesting that a Christian does not belong to the country of which he is a citizen and on this basis he is expected to view the problems from the point of view of the United States idea of peace and justice.

 

48. It must not be understood here that we cast any reflection on the United States� desire for peace and justice.  Our object is only to point out that while in Christian countries the loyalty between Christ and country is riot divided it comes to be divided in non-Christian countries like India.  The �World Christian community� suggests the idea of Christendom under he domination of the West for the achievement of world peace through Western unity and supremacy in armed strength.  The drive for proselytization appears to stem from the conception of denationalising the Christians in India in the way expressed by Lord Bryce �community of religion, in carrying the educated native christians far away from the native Hindu or Muslim, brings him comparatively near to the European� (page 57, Volume I, Studies in History and Jurisprudence).

 

49. Unfortunately, some of the features conspicuous in the history of the Missionary enterprise in Asia betray its political character.

 



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 Historical Missions and Politics

 

50. When Carpini was sent to China in the 13th century apparently to expound to the heathen the truth of Christianity, he went in reality on a Mission of Espionage, an instance of religion being used for political purposes (pages 376-77, Asia and Western Dominance-Panikkar).  Writing about Missionary activities in China even the Missionary historian Latourette had to point out that �the church had become a partner in Western Imperialism� (page 425 ibid).

 

51. In Japan also it was discovered in 1596 that the Christian Missions were being used for political purposes.  A Spanish Captain of a ship admitted that the object of converting the people to Christianity was to secure allies in conquering their Mother country (page 843, Story of Civilization by Durant).  It is with reference to Japan that Sir A. Toynbee observes that an aggressive foreign religion will in fact her an immediate menace to a society that it is assailing on account of �the danger of the converts being used as a fifth column� (p. 58, The World and the West B.B.C, Reith Lecture-1952).

 

52. In India, St. Xavier enlisted the support of the Portuguese King in putting political pressure upon people to become Christians (page 44, History of Christian Missions, Richter).  That was because �the Portuguese were confronted with a civilization older than that of Europe, with men more highly educated and more deeply learned than their own priests and men of letters, and with religions and customs and institutions whose wisdom equalled their antiquity (page 16, Albuquerque, by Morse Stephens: Rulers of India Series).  It was from this time that Christian theology has been carrying on a severe struggle with the Indian religious philosophy.

 

53. The Protestants did not enter the field until the beginning of the 19th century. Missions to foreign fields had not always been regarded as the immediate duty of the Church. Melancthon thought that Christ�s injunction which had been given to the Apostles had already been fulfilled (Rethinking Missions, page 7). Even as late as 1796, Dr. Hamilton, declared in the general Assembly of the Church of Scotland that to spread abroad the knowledge of the Gospel among the heathen nations was highly romantic and visionary (page 18. Missionary Principles and Practice by Speer).  But what is noteworthy is that the three bursts of Christian Mission activities after the Apostolic Epoch have been contemporaneous with periods of military, exploring and commercial activities (page 10, Rethinking Missions). The business interest and the naval and military genius including the �younger sons� were the allies of the imperialist. To this motley company of businessmen, fighting men and younger sons came to be added �another incongruous element the �Missionary� The 19th century saw a sudden expansion of Missionary efforts. �Going out to preach a Kingdom not of this world, Missionaries found themselves very often builders of very earthly empires.� (Page 63, Imperialism and World Politics by Parker Thomas Moon). As Professor Robbinson and Beard have well expressed the matter : �the way for imperialism has been smoothed by the Missionaries.� There have been always ardent Christians ready to obey the command �go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature� (page 25, World Politics in Modern Civilization by Dr. Barnes). As Dr. Dennis, Mr. Mc. Donald, Professor, Latourette and Professor E. C. Moore have shown, the Missionary movement has always been closely linked up wish the expansion of European Civilization and the growth of modern imperialism. (Page 25, ibid). Gospel, glory and gold was the slogan consciously or unconsciously of the new order (Page 27, ibid). All this is also pointed out by Sir A. Toynbee, in B. B. C. Reith Lectures, 1952, at page 2.

Evangelism not a Religious Philosophy but a Force

 

54. The writer of the article in �Life� Magazine (February 1956), referred to above observes : �to Western Europeans communism is not so much a philosophy as a force�. This was very true in the case of Christianity as it appeared to the Indians when it entered this country.  This is borne out by Abbe Dubois� remark that the Hindus soon found that those Missionaries��� were in fact nothing else but disguised Feringis ��� who had of late invader their country (Page XXV, Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies, Clarendon Press, 1906).

Church in India not Independent

 

55. Rev. J. Sadiq said that the undermentioned Churches in India were members of the World Council:

(1) Church of India, Burma, etc. 
(2) United Church of Northern India. 
(3) Church of South India. 
(4) Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar. 
(5) Orthodox Syrian Church of Malabar. 
(6) Evangelical Lutheran Church of India.

56. It is said that the Churches in India are independent.  It, however, came to our notice that the foreign Missionaries were still closely associated with the Churches and exercised influence through the purse.  �As long as I have to administer money, or be in a place where my �authority� is the deciding point�, says Rev. R. M. Bennett, �then I begin to wonder whether my presence here in India is more of a hindrance than a blessing� (p. 379, National Christian Council Review, October 1955).  This can be illustrated by the instance of the United Church of Northern India. That Church is a union of Churches formed through the work and witness of 11 Missions in Northern India. It depends for its existence upon the funds supplied by many assisting foreign Missionary organisations which are either national or denominational.  Their list is to be found on pages 15 and 16 of the Christian Hand Book of India, 1954-55.  The Churches which supply funds through their respective missions continue to be national as before. These Churches exercise control over the Indian Churches through tile operation of the condition �partnership in obedience�.  Although the money coming from abroad is styled donation it is a donation subject to the above condition.  The Indian Churches receiving the money would certainly be accountable to the source from which the money proceeds.  They are, therefore, accountable to some authority above them in a foreign country.  This was the point stressed by Rev. R. C. Das, before us.  To say that X, who receives money for a certain purpose and is accountable to Y, is an equal partner with Y is a contradiction in terms. �The partnership in obedience� savours of the Subsidiary Alliance which the conquerring British had with the Nizam.

Meaning of Supra-Nationalism

 

57. We have shown how supra-nationalism is propagated among Christians in India. It really means allegiance to a Theocratic State, styled the Universal Church.  Even if it meant internationalism, one fails to see how one can be an internationalist without being a nationalist, as pointed out by Dr. Asirvatham.  Nationalism, which was the predominant motive force in the past is now discarded in the West as a political disease (Preface to the Nationalities of Europe, Cambridge University Press).  In his Reith Lectures 1952, Sir A. Toynbee, deplores that in Asia nationalism should have obtained a foothold.  We, however, find that the Western Churches Which are members of the World Council of Churches still continue to be national as ever before, and they exercise control over the different churches in India through the aid which they send.

Inordinate Increase of American Missionary Personnel

 

58. If the Churches in India are really independent they could be trusted to look after their own affairs independently without the aid of the foreign personnel; but it is remarkable chat there has been a striking increase in the number of foreign Missionaries. Assuming that they have come out to India, inspired by compassion for the needy and the distressed, it is not clear why they should concentrate their compassion on particular sections with a view to their proselytization.  This tends to show that the object of this substantial increase in the foreign personnel is other than purely spiritual. This has been well expressed by Dr. Asirvatham in these words, �One may speculate on the amount of tolerance that would be shown by the United States if the stream of Hindu Missionaries to that country became as great as the stream of Christian Missionaries to India.� (P. 28, Christianity in the Indian Crucible).

Conversion and Proselytism

 

59. Let us now turn to consider the implications of conversion and Proselytism.  We have had the advantage of perusing an article on this subject by Marcus Ward in The Christian Home No. 30, 1954, page 7. He says, �Conversion and proselytism are not identical. Broadly speaking, to proselytize means to induce an individual or a group, by various motives, high and low, to change the outward allegiance, the religious label.� He does not deny that in the past and the present there are Christians who are guilty of doing this and that it also happens as between different Christian groups. He recalls Jesus� own condemnation of such proselytism.

 

60. We have described how in the mass movement carried on in Surguja district money flowed and how one �evangelist� called the �rival evangelist� a bhedia (wolf).  Thousands were �converted� for the promotion of the world community of the Universal Church.

 

61. The word conversion may be viewed in different aspects.  Spiritually, conversion marks the first step, and it is followed by Purification, Illumination and Union.  Intellectually, it means assent by conviction:-ethically, the spontaneous feeling of reverence for a true saint.  All this is as far apart from the �Missionary conversions� as anything can be. As stated by Everett Cattell, most men come with a need, social, physical economic or the like, and an awakened faith that Christ could meet that need. (P. 17. Ways of Evangelism).  The Missionary, as the representative of Christ, meets such material needs and thereby obtains influence on the person helped.  It is this influence, which brings about the change of religion. Is this conversion or proselytism? The large number of reversions, which were admitted before us and the statement in the Children of Hari, prove that the motive is not religious, but social and economic (See page 226).  That the stress is laid on adding to the numbers of those changing their labels is clear from Dr. Pickett�s statement, �Many of the later converts are proving as successful in winning others to Christ as the first converts were�: He is, however, sorry to note that, �There are Christians who complain that instead of making new converts the Mission should spend its fund for the benefit of the older Christians and their families� (page 55, Ways of Evangelism). The schools and medical institutions facilitate this accomplishment of the change of allegiance.

Conversion and Politics

 

62. What is the underlying idea of so-called conversions? Marcus Ward himself refers to the result of the study of Dr. A. D. Nock and quotes his opinion, �All these things we see as movements governed and directed by political and other considerations, conditioned by the intellectual atmosphere of the times� (Christian Home No. 30, 1954, page 8).

 

63. In the light of this statement and the actual experience of all the colonial countries we are asked to believe in the sincerity of the claim �without being false to its origin, the Christian Church cannot help being aggressive �� it holds its King�s Commission to make Disciples of all Nations �� and proclaim the good news with a view to conversion�� of the fact that God in Christ has entered history to save, and that power to remake life is available to all (page 9, ibid).  How this power to remake was exercised in Anno Domini was well described by Jefferson already referred to above.  If the King�s Commission was there from the beginning why (apart from the views of Melancthon and Dr. Hamilton) should �the three bursts of Christian activities after the Apostolic Epoch have been contemporaneous with periods of military, exploring and commercial activities� (Rethinking Missions, page 10), and now contemporaneous with the cold war which as described by a well-known leader is synonymous with non-violent militarism?

 

64. It is because a creed can also be used as a tool that it comes into play in the exciting periods of history.  It is used for the disruption of the society, which is assailed.  This is effected by what is called training in �the leadership of the Church� which involves training in Western Theology, ideas and methods of evangelism on modern commercial lines.  In short, it is intended to change the heritage and the history of the proselytes, as stated by Rev. Das and Rev. Williams. Shri Donald Groom�s opinion also is similar. This is amply proved when one reads a book called The Heritage of an Indian Christian.

Religion and Society

 

65. The close relation of religion to the social heritage of the person professing it is well described by Dr. A. C. Bouquet in these words: �to pass from one religious group to another has come to mean to sever one�s connection with the entire adjustment to life and the entire way of living into which one has been born and into which, therefore, one fits by tradition.  Religion in such circumstances is much more than a belief or theory super-imposed upon a  neutral system of social life.  It is actually a social system and to abandon it is to ostracise oneself from all other members of one�s cultural group.� (P.168 Comparative Religion by Dr. Bouquet Pelican Books).

 

66. It is on account of this foreign influence brought to bear upon the Christian converts that Christianity is still regarded as foreign in India.

 

67. The various ways, which we have already indicated are nothing short of abuse of �the religious liberty� accorded by the Constitution of India.

 

68. The mass conversions effected in the Surguja district could hardly be justified as exercise of religious liberty. Such mass conversions were reprobated by Gandhiji, and also disapproved by Dr. E. Stanley Jones, as they involved little or no spiritual or moral change. (Page 36, Christianity in the Indian Crucible).  Dr. Nicol MacNicol regarded the mass movements as a hindrance to the self-realization of the Indian Church (page 29, The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church).

Admonitions by National Leaders

 

69. On this point we may turn to the opinion of some of the national leaders.  Sardar Patel said, �let them (the Missionaries) on serving the suffering with their hospitals and dispensaries, educate the poor and give selfless service to the people. They can even carry on their propaganda in a peaceful manner. But let them not use mass conversions for political ends�� we want them to identify themselves with the people and make India their home.� (quoted at page 138, The Whole World is My Neighbour, by E. De Meulder, S.J.).

 

70. Rajkumari Amrit Kaur sent a message on October 3, 1948, to the Christian Congress in Columbus, Ohio, as follows : �I understand that your Conference plans a large advance in the better equipment of Mission schools, colleges, hospitals and agricultural and industrial institutions in the East. I am aware of the valuable contributions made by all such institutions in the past.  The old outlook, however, of Christian Missionaries being sent East to convert people to Christianity is outmoded and no longer welcome to India, but I believe that all those who will come to India and to help to serve her needs as friends will always be welcome.� (Page 14, The Christian Task in Independent India-Appaswamy).  We may as well refer to the opinion expressed by President Soekarno, in his inaugural address at the Bandung Conference, 1955.  �It is true�, he said, �each religion has its own history, its own individuality, its own raison d�etre, its special pride in its own beliefs, its own mission, its special truths which it desires to propagate but unless you realize that all great religions are one in their message of tolerance and in their insistence on the observance of the principle of �live and let live� unless the followers of each religion are prepared to give the same consideration to the rights of others everywhere �� religion is debased.� (Page 218, India Quarterly, July-September, 1955.)

 

71. The manner in which the Missionary movement goes on in certain places is clearly intended to serve some political purpose in the cold-war.  If an activity is found to be political, but carried on under the cloak of religion, the continuance of such activity is fraught with danger to the security of the State. Moreover, to exploit the need and distress of people for adding to the numbers of what is styled world community for the purpose of promoting the cause of world peace and justice as conceived by a foreign nation is interference in the internal affairs of India, and it is repugnant to the principles of �Pancha Shila� (page 214, India Quarterly, July-September, 1955).

 

72. We recommend that those Missionaries whose primary object is proselytization should be asked to withdraw.  The large influx of foreign Missionaries is undesirable and should be checked.  There has been of late so deep a suspicion in many countries, as has already been mentioned above, that even the Missionaries think that they will have to, withdraw. In the Foreword of the �Spontaneous Expansion of the Church�, it is anticipated that the Missionaries may be driven out of many countries.  We are informed that the Missionaries are themselves willing to withdraw and transfer their property.  This is also recommended at page 29 in The Missionary Obligation of the Church, 1952, viz., that properties now registered in the name of foreign Mission bodies should be transferred to National Churches or holding bodies or to an International Holding Body.

 

73. The question of foreign money coming to India will also have to be considered.  The mere withdrawal of the foreign personnel and the transfer of properties without cutting off the supplies of money received from abroad will always continue to keep the Indian churches under foreign control and direction.  The Lutheran Church in India is represented to be thoroughly Indianised.  But how it is sought to be kept under control by, the foreign churches is clear from the statement of Rev. Lakra himself, viz., �after the two world wars several of the large Missions claimed to have given autonomy to the churches established on the field.  But in practice the Home Board continues to control the policy and purse of these autonomous Churches.  The foreign Missionary has still a large voice in the affairs of the autonomous Churches.  The result is that indigenous Christians are still dependent on the parent bodies�. (Page 60, Ways of Evangelism, 1953).  It is this dependence on foreign support which is responsible for perpetuating the denominations which, as Dr. Moses observes, sowed the seeds of division in India.  Rev. E. L. Anant Rao thinks that if the foreign financial support is withdrawn altogether a large number of Christians who are now divided will become one (page 546, National Christian Council Review, December 1954).  Rev. R. M. Benett frankly declares that as long as evangelism draws heavily on foreign resources the Church in India must expect to bear the stigma of �a foreign Church� (page 382, National Christian Council Review, October 1955).

 

74. We find that the Enquiry into the activities of foreign Missionaries is represented in some quarters as an attack on the Christian community.  We unhesitatingly repudiate the charge.  The Christian Indians are as rightful citizens of India as Hindus or any other community.  We share with some of the thoughtful Christians themselves the view that it is highly undesirable for an important community like the Christians to be in some form or other under foreign domination.

 

75. Dr. Devanandan points out in �Communism and Social Revolution in India�, that �the denominational loyalties of the Indian Christians are mixed up with vested interests and in a great measure due to non-theological factors as well.  He, therefore, recommends to the Christians in India to think more seriously on the unity of the Church and work to realise it under the leading of the Holy Spirit (page 88).

 

76. Accordingly the best course for the Indian Churches to follow would he to establish a United Independent Christian Church in India without being dependent on foreign support. We recommend accordingly.

 

77. In India, there is room for all religions. Rajkumari Amrit Kaur in a letter to Gandhiji in 1937 said, �Are we not all Hindus inasmuch as we are the children of Hind?  Is there not room for Jesus in Hinduism?  There must be. I cannot believe that any who seek to worship God in spirit and in truth are outside this pale of any of these great religions which draw their inspirations from Him who is the fountain head of all truth�. (Page 125, Christian Missions Navajivan Press).  She was perfectly right. Sir Alfred Lyall defined a Hindu as denoting three things together-religion, parentage and country (Page 288, Second Series Asiatic Studies).  Christianity practised according to the true teaching of Jesus, can never be foreign in India only because Jesus happened to he born in Palestine.  By parentage the Christians are of this soil and the Indian heritage is their heritage. As to the country India is as much their country as of the Hindus. Rev. Mascarenhas defines a Hindu as �the only child of Mother-India, who never disowns his parent� (Page 44, Quintessence of Hinduism).

 

78. Hospitals and dispensaries have been the favourite medium of approach to the masses for conversion.  This is sought to be justified on the ground that Jesus commanded his disciples to preach and heal.  Such scriptural expressions cannot bear literal interpretation.  As observed by Sir Charles Eliot, �They are mostly the result of an attempt to describe a mind and will of more than human strength but the superman thus idealised rarely works miracles of healing. He saves mankind by teaching the way of salvation., not by alleviating a few chance cases of physical distress� (Page 329, Hinduism and Buddhism, Volume I: Reprinted 1954, Routledge).

 

79. The fact is that it is a kind of inducement held out to make the patients Christians. Dr. Thirumallai Pillay (Sagar No. 1) said that there was nothing wrong in a Christian Doctor, presenting Christ to his patient in a Christian hospital. Rev. E. Raman (Sagar, No. 2) supporting him said that a doctor should talk on religion as the patient is in a receptive mood. Dr. Jeevanmall and others took a somewhat different view.  Thus, there is a difference of opinion on the point among the Christians themselves as to the propriety of using medical relief as an inducement to change religion.

 

80. In the eye of the law the relation between a doctor and patient, lawyer and client, teacher and pupil is a fiduciary one, and any influence brought to bear by the doctor, lawyer or teacher on patient, client or pupil would be presumed to be undue influence. It is, therefore, obviously objectionable.

 

81. This point was considered by the Laymen�s Foreign Missions Enquiry Commission presided over by Dr Hocking. They considered the problem in this way : �Shall these philanthropic activities be regarded  solely as means to the end of conversion? It was natural that educational and medical work should at first have been regarded as direct auxiliaries to the evangelical work of the Mission; this was the way they grew up.  Nevertheless when medical aid or education are thus consciously subordinated to explicit evangelism there are unfortunate effects in various directions including the quality of education or the medical aid.  The service ceases to be disinterested.  It has an �ulterior object�; the philanthropic object is likely to be pursued in a manner savouring of a commercial interest in the promotion of one�s own type of piety.  It looks like adulteration of the quality of mercy.  It was recognised that the receptive attitude of the patient, the leisure of illness, the fixed association in their mind between healing and the miraculous, made the hospital, the clinic, the dispensary so many opportunities to press for conversion� (Pages 67, 68, 70, Rethinking Missions).  In the regional report of the Commission of Appraisal of the Laymen�s Foreign Missions Enquiry, Volume I (India-Burma), among the principles which were offered by the Committee as the basis of religious activities in Mission Hospitals are to be found the following:

(1) The use of medical or other professional service as a direct means of making converts is improper;

 

(2) Evangelistic services in wards and dispensaries from which patients cannot escape are a subtle form of coercion and must therefore be given up. (Page 180 ibid).

82. Gandhiji also reprehended the use of hospitals for proselytization, by stigmatising it as commercialisation of medical aid (Page 227, Christian Missions, Navajivan Press).  As this is not a' matter of pure Ethics and as the duty of Government is to protect the weaker sections of society, we recommend that the use of medical or other professional services as a direct means of making converts should he prohibited by law.

 



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 Schools

 

83. As regards schools, it is clear that the Roman Catholics use the primary schools in the villages for conversion.  Their strategy is to catch the second generation.  There have been many complaints before us about the various methods they follow for influencing the tender mind of the pupils in the primary schools.  The Lutheran Mission avowedly uses schools for securing converts from among the youngsters. In Gharbandhu, March 1953, p. 8, there is a clear statement

""Bg o_eZ j{Ì H$m CÔ{e `h h¡ oH$ ñHy$b Ûmam _grh H$m àMmaoH$`m Omd{...............................''

84. We have already given instances of the kind of subtle methods followed in the schools to induce, or to bring pressure on the boys to attend the Bible classes.  In a secular State which conducts its own schools or supports private schools by its grants, students that are turned out would be expected to be thinkers, not blind believers in dogmas.

 

85. In the schools the emphasis must be laid on the development of moral ideas.  Text books on moral lessons should contain the lives of all great founders of religions, saints and philanthropists to stimulate the desire for leading a pure life and to inducing in them the sense of social service.

 

86. There is a clear provision in our Constitution to the effect that no pupil should be asked to attend any religious class without the express permission of his parent or guardian.  In the course of our enquiry we found that this provision of the Constitution was not strictly enforced, in the absence of special forms provided for the purpose.  We recommend that the department of Education should see that proper forms are prescribed and made available to every school.

 

87. To check abuses prevalent regarding conversion from one religion to another it appears desirable to adopt the rule in force in Greece. It is as follows:-

 

�Any attempt by force, or threats of illicit means, or grants of promises of financial or other aid or by fraudulent means or promises, or by moral and material assistance, or by taking advantage of any person�s inexperience or confidence, or by exploiting any person�s necessity or spiritual (mental) weakness or thoughtlessness, or, in general, any attempt or effort (whether successful or not), directly or indirectly to penetrate into the religious conscience of persons (whether of age or under age) of another faith, for the purpose of consciously altering their religious conscience or faith, so as to agree with the ideas or convictions of the proselytising party� should be absolutely prohibited. (page 112, Religious Liberty by Bates.)

 

88. We find that the Roman Catholic Church engages itself in the recruitment of labour and uses it as a means of proselytization.  Religions bodies should, we recommend, be prohibited from engaging in such occupations.

 

89. Orphanages are a fertile field for proselytization of minors. We have already shown the political implications of proselytization.  It is the primary duty of the Government to conduct orphanages as the State is the legal guardian of all minors who have no parents or natural guardians. They may be directly run by the Government departmentally as a part of its social welfare work or the work may be entrusted to private bodies with grants-in-aid given to them, but it should always be subject to the rule that there should be no religious propaganda of a particular type.

 

90. Our main duty being to make recommendations to Government, we have normally to confine ourselves to such suggestions as can be, acted upon by the Government within the framework of the Constitution.  But in the special circumstances of this problem in India we have thought it advisable to make a few suggestions for consideration of authoritative Mission organisations operating in Madhya Pradesh. Indian Christians are loud in their profession of loyalty to Independent India. Especially, so are the Roman Catholics. Suspicion, however, exists.  This is mainly because of the Indian Christian subservience to foreign influence and because of the Western interest in saving India, from Communism.  The Roman Catholics support the Congress Government mainly because they are anti-communist.  There seems to he an unholy alliance between Roman Catholics and American money to save India from Communism.  The West must realise that this is none of their business and that Independent India needs no foreign help in solving its economic and social problems.  For Christian Missions to interest themselves in such economic and social problems and help in finding solutions for them would be regarded as extra-religious activity and as highly undesirable. The Abundant Life Movement near Bilaspur and the Jeevantara Movement near Damoh are naturally suspected, because the big money involved comes from outside and is expended without the co-operation and advice of non-Christian leaders and purports to build up the Christian community in India.  Missionary and Indian Christian indifference and even opposition to national efforts and the removal of social and economic injustices like the Harjian Sevak Sangh activities, the Kasturba Trust Women Services and Social Welfare Schemes sponsored by Government, reveal an attitude of mind not primarily interested in human well-being but in people as prospective converts to various denominations.  In the present secular State of India, the best safeguard any minority could have, is the goodwill of the majority community and the right attitude of the minority is one of trust and confidence in the fair sense of the majority. Indian Christians are not likely to suffer in the least in this manner.  There has been no discrimination against Christians as a community anywhere in Madhya Pradesh.  In fact, Christians have got more than their numerical share in offices under the State. Cries of Christisthan or Massihisthan are foolish and dangerous.  Young, independent India, still smarting under memories of the partition of India on grounds of religion is very sensitive to anything dangerous to the solidarity and security of the country. There are those who foolishly use, or encourage the use of expressions that smack of politics, or anything divisive.  Even terms like �Kingdom of  God� must be explained in their true spiritual sense in order to obviate the hurting of any susceptibility.  How much more should Christians dissociate themselves from demands for a Jharkhand State or an Adivasisthan?  An Indian today, high caste or Adivasi, Hindu or Christian, whose heart does not grow with love and devotion to his Motherland, which is making such tremendous advances, is untrue to his genius and disloyal to his nation.  It is not sufficiently realised that Western Christianity is the result of a marriage between Hebriasm, the Semetic heritage, and Greco-Roman culture.  A real welding of Indian spirituality and Hebrew ethics might result in a Christianity that might enrich the whole world.  An Indian Christianity, that is really Indian and truly Christian, might give a lead to World Christianity.  An Indian Christianity that emphasises its essentials, and holds lightly to its trappings, mainly of Western devising, will find a welcome from India that, is awakening from its lethargy under centuries of foreign domination.  Unfortunately, Indian Christianity under the leading grip of the West is not sufficiently aware of the hands stretched out to welcome it.  If Christianity in India does not accept the co-operation of the best, it will get the opposition of the worst and that will not be very much to its liking.  Christian Missions, and Christianity in general have been a great stimulant to India, awaking the people to their duties, making them realise the grossness of their neglect as in the case of Harijans.  They have done a great service along these lines and they ought to rejoice that their labours have borne fruits in a purified Hinduism and an awakened Indian Society.  If Missionaries from the West with their specialised training and aptitudes are willing to serve India, without the ulterior motive of adding to the numerical strength of the denominations they belong to, they will be truly representative of their Master and be doing their best to win for Him the heart of India.  We have come across a few such who find in disinterested service to India their true reward, who have been taken into the hearts of the people.  We wish Christianity in India to become truly Indian and truly Christian and the religions of India to come together in genuine co-operation giving a lead to the nations in peaceful co-existence.  We recommend to Government to issue an appeal to authoritative and representative Christian Missionary organisations and to Christians in general to come together and to form an authoritative organisation which should lay down and inform Government in clear terms the policy which the Missions and Christians in general will follow in respect of propagating their religion, the methods to be followed in conversions, the type of propaganda which will be permitted and the attempts which will be made to confine their evangelistic activities within the limits of public order, morality and health. Such a clear enunciation of policy will not only help the various Missions to function freely in religious matters, but will also secure the co-operation of the majority community and the Government and will thus dispel fears and apprehensions entertained by non-Christian religious or communal bodies.

 

91. We have already mentioned that in certain quarters a feeling is entertained that Article 25 of the Constitution of India gives a right to any person, including foreigners temporarily residing in India, to propagate his religion and that this right includes the right to secure converts Whether the right to propagate does or does not include a right to concert has been a matter of great controversy.  We consider it desirable that the matter should not be left vague or indefinite and recommend that an amendment of the Constitution may be sought, firstly, to clarify that the right of propagation has been given only to the citizens of India, and secondly, that it does not include conversion brought about by force, fraud, or illicit means.

 

92. There appears to be a perpetual controversy as to whether undesirable methods are used for bringing about conversions to Christianity.  In our enquiry we have found that such methods are used on a large scale and that instances of conversions due to a genuine conviction are extremely rare. Whatever may have happened in the past we consider it undesirable that such a controversy should be allowed to rage in the State for all time to come. We, therefore, recommend suitable control on conversions brought about through illegal means. If necessary legislative measures should be enacted.  In our opinion, this legislation should secure the compulsory registration of all religious bodies engaged in conversions and providing social services to persons of other than their own religious persuasion.  The property of such bodies should be constituted into public trusts and they should be required to maintain accounts in a prescribed manner to be audited through Chartered Accountants appointed by Government and should be published for general information.  The legislation should also secure submission of monthly or quarterly lists, giving names and addresses of persons of another faith, seeking information about Christianity and also lists giving names and addresses of persons baptised.

 

93. To implement the provisions of this legislation we recommend that Advisory Boards at State level, Regional level and District level be constituted of non-officials� Minority communities like Tribals and Harijans should be in a majority on these Boards. The function of these Boards will be to advise Government on such matters as the voluntariness or otherwise of individual conversions in a locality, the propaganda methods used, to scrutinise pamphlets and propaganda literature in circulation in various area, to recommend the recognition and grants-in-aid to educational and other institutions run by religious bodies, and in general to secure fulfilment of the conditions on which recognition or grants may he accorded.

 

94. We recommend that no baptisms should be allowed unless approved by the State Board on recommendations of the district and regional boards, that no schools should be allowed to be opened unless approved by the State Board as above and that no hospitals should be permitted to be run without the State Board�s approval as above.

 

95. To prevent misuse of hospitals including clinics and sanatoria for purposes of proselytization, the rules relating to the registration of doctors, nurses and other auxiliary personnel should be suitably amended to provide a condition against evangelistic activities during professional services.

 

Government should also take action to prevent persons other than registered medical practitioners to practise medicine in rural areas, especially in Scheduled Areas.

 

96. An effective control on literature meant for religious propaganda and in circulation in the State is obviously desirable.  We recommend that circulation of such literature without the approval of Government should be totally prohibited.  If necessary, a law should be enacted.  The State Government should accord approval on the recommendations of the State Advisory Board as suggested by us above.

 

97. We have noticed that although recognition has been granted and grants-in-aid given to educational-and other institutions run by religious organisations there is practically no supervision by the staff to see whether conditions of recognition are being fulfilled and whether the grants sanctioned have been utilised in the prescribed manner.  We recommend that there should be compulsory quarterly inspections of these institutions by officers of Government.

 

98. The earlier the Government realises its sole responsibility to provide social services like education, health, medicine and other amenities to people living in the Scheduled Areas, the better it would be to prevent exploitation of or proselytization of illiterate aboriginals.  We recommend that Government should lay down a policy that the responsibility to provide social services in these areas will be solely of the State Government and adequate services should be provided as early as possible.  Non-official organisations should be permitted to run or maintain social service institutions only for the members of their own religious faith.

 

99. So far as our information goes no single department of Government is in administrative charge of the various activities of the religious organisations in this State. Considering the very large number of such organisations, the wide area covered by their activities and the very large percentage of Tribals and Harijans; and other backward classes residing in this State we recommend the creation of a separate department of cultural and religions affairs at State level whose functions should be-

(a) To co-ordinate the activities of the various departments like Police, department in charge of Passport, Visas, etc., Education, Medical, etc., etc. 
(b) To control the advent of foreigners in Tribal areas. 

(c) To control grants-in-aid by Central and State Governments to institutions maintained by religious bodies. 
(d) To control foreign assistance to such bodies. 

(e) To determine the extent to which non-official agencies should be allowed to provide social services like health, education, etc., independently of Government to Tribal areas. 

(f) To supervise the proper use of grants-in-aid to institutions. 

(g) To promote goodwill amongst various religious bodies or groups and to see that the conversions are voluntary.

We feel that this department should be in charge of a Minister of the Scheduled Castes, Tribe and the Backward classes and that it should have especially trained personnel and its machinery should extend to the village level.

 

100. We make the following other recommendations:-

 

(1) No non-official agency should be permitted to secure foreign assistance except through State channels.  Employment of Technical or administrative foreign personnel should be created as part of foreign assistance.

 

(2) No foreigner should be allowed to function in a Scheduled. or specified area either independently or as a member of a religious institution unless he has given a declaration in writing that he will .not take part in politics.

 

(3) The State should prescribe forms on which institutions should obtain consent of parents and guardians for implementation of the Conscience Clause.

 

(4) Programmes of social and economic uplift by non-official or religious bodies should he approved by the state on recommendations of the Board. 
 

CHAPTER III. - SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

 

The following is a summary of the recommendations which we have made :-

 

(1) Those Missionaries whose primary object is proselytization should be asked to withdraw. The, large influx of foreign Missionaries is undesirable and should be checked. (Paragraph 72, Chapter II, Part IV, Volume I).

 

(2) The best course for the Indian Churches to follow is to establish a United Independent Christian Church in India without being dependent on foreign support. (Paragraph 76 ibid).

 

(3) The use of medical or other professional services as a direct means of making conversions should be prohibited by law. (Paragraph 82 ibid).

 

(4) To implement the provision in the Constitution of India prohibiting the imparting of religious education to children without the explicit consent of parents and guardians, the Department of Education should see that proper forms are prescribed and made available to all schools. (Paragraph 86 ibid).

 

(5) Any attempt by force or fraud, or threats of illicit means or grants of financial or other aid, or by fraudulent means or promises, or by moral and material assistance, or by taking advantage of any person�s inexperience or confidence, or by exploiting any person�s necessity, spiritual (mental) weakness or thoughtlessness, or, in general, any attempt or effort (whether successful or not), directly or indirectly to penetrate into the religious conscience of persons (whether of age or underage) of another faith, for the purpose of consciously altering their religious conscience or faith, so as to agree with the ideas or convictions of the proselytizing party should be absolutely prohibited. (Paragraph 87 ibid.).

 

(6) Religious institutions should not be permitted to engage in occupations like recruitment of labour for tea gardens. (Paragraph 88 ibid.).

 

(7) It is the primary duty of Government to conduct orphanages, as the State is the legal guardian of all minors who have no parents or natural guardians. (Paragraph 89 ibid).

 

(8) Government should issue an appeal to authoritative and representative Christian Missionary Organisations and to Christians in general to come together and to form an authoritative organization which should lay down and inform Government in clear terms the policy which the Missions and Christians in general will follow in respect of propagating their religion, the methods to he followed in conversions, the type of propaganda which will be promoted and the attempts which will be made to confine their evangelistic activities within the limits of public order, morality and health. (Paragraph 90 ibid). 

 

(9) An amendment of the Constitution of India may be sought, firstly to clarify that the right of propagation ha been given only to the citizens of India and secondly that it does not include conversion brought about by force, fraud or other illicit means. (Paragraph 91 ibid).

 

(10) Suitable control on conversions brought about through illegal means should be imposed.  If necessary Legislative measures should be enacted. (Paragraph 92 ibid.).

 

(11) Advisory Boards at State level, regional level and district level should be constituted of non-officials, minority communities like Tribals and Harijans being in a majority on these boards. (Paragraph 93 ibid).

 

(12) Rules relating to the registration of Doctors, Nurses and other personnel employed in hospitals should be suitably amended to provide a condition against evangelistic activities during professional services. (Paragraph 95 ibid).

 

(13) Circulation of literature meant for religious propaganda approval of the State Government should be prohibited. (Paragraph 96 ibid).

 

(14) Institutions in receipt of grants-in-aid or recognition from Government should be compulsorily inspected every quarter by officers of Government. (Paragraph 97 ibid).

 

(15) Government should lay down a policy that the responsibility of providing social services like education, health, medicine, etc., to members of scheduled tribes, castes and other backward classes will be solely of the State Government, and adequate services should be provided as early as possible, non-official organizations being permitted to run institutions only for members of their own religious faith. (Paragraph 98 ibid).

 

(16) A separate department of Cultural and Religious affairs should be constituted at the State level to deal with these matters which should be in charge of a Minister belonging to a scheduled caste, tribe or other backward classes and should, have specially trained personnel at the various levels. (Paragraph 99 ibid).

 

(17) No non-official agency should he permitted to secure foreign assistance except through Government channels. (Paragraph 100 ibid).

 

(18) No foreigner should be allowed to function in a scheduled or a specified area either independently or as a member of a religious institution unless he has given a declaration in writing that he will not take part in politics. (Paragraph 100 ibid).

 

(19) Programmes of social and economic uplift by non-official or religious bodies should receive prior approval of the State (Paragraph 100 ibid).

(M. B. NIYOGI)  
Chairman

(B. P. PATHAK)                                  
Member-Secretary.

(GHANSHYAM SINGH GUPTA) 
Member.

(S. K. GEORGE) 
Member.

(RATANLAL MALVIYA) 
Member.

(BHANU PRATAP SINGH) 
Member



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