Christian Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee, Madhya Pradesh
CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY ACTIVITIES
Dr. M. B. Niyogi, M.A., LL.M., LL.D. (Hon.), Kt., C.I.E.,
Chairman, Christian Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee, Madhya Pradesh, Nagpur,
Shri K. B. L. Seth, I.C.S.,
Chief Secretary to Government, Madhya Pradesh, Nagpur.
Nagpur, 18th April, 1956.
I forward herewith the report of the Christian Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee appointed by the Government of Madhya Pradesh, by Resolution No. 318-716-V-Con., dated the 14th April, 1954, to enquire into the activities of the Christian Missionaries in Madhya Pradesh, and other matters.
2. The particulars of the process of the enquiry are fully set forth in the opening part of the Report. The Committee are presenting their report containing their conclusions on facts as contemplated in the Terms of Reference, as also their Recommendations. The Committee are unanimous as to their recommendations on the question.
3. There has been, indeed, a delay which may appear inordinate in the preparation of the Report, but this was unavoidable for the reasons that the members could not devote their full time to the task on account of their usual preoccupations with their professional work and that considerable time was taken up with the visits of the Committee to some of the most interior and almost inaccessible rural areas inhabited mostly by Tribals who form the chief target of Missionary activity. To study the question from the historical point of view many books had to be referred to and as some of the books were not readily available they had to be obtained from the open market.
4. At the concluding stages of its labours judgment was delivered by the Nagpur High Court in the petition filed by Shri G. X. Francis under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. In discussing the petition their Lordships considered the powers of State Governments in appointing such Committees, the extent to which such Committees can enquire into facts, the extent of religious liberty guaranteed in our Constitution and the extent to which State Governments car, restrict or regulate the activities of religious bodies. Independently of this judgment the Committee had come to almost the same conclusions, and the suggestions made therein fully considered by them. It may be stated that throughout their deliberations the Committee were guided solely by the necessity to maintain intact the solidarity and security of the country, to prevent disruption of society and culture, and to emphasise the essential secular character of the Constitution. If they have drawn attention to certain disruptive tendencies inherent in, or incidental to, the exercise of certain liberties in matters of religion, they have done so not with a view to curtailing individual rights and freedom, but to the exercise thereof in a manner consistent with public order, morality and health. After all, the goodwill of the majority community in any country is the greatest and the safest guarantee for the fulfilment of Constitutional obligations, even more than law courts or executive authorities. The Committee have noted with great satisfaction that amongst a large section of Christian people there is a realization of this basic factor. The Committee hope that their recommendations will lead to further searching of the heart. They have touched upon some highly controversial matters and would, therefore, request Government to elicit public opinion before taking any action.
5. I take this opportunity to tendering for myself and on behalf of the Committee, heart-felt thanks to all those, including the Missionaries, who gave to the Committee the benefit of their knowledge of facts, and their views, by personally appearing before the Committee or by sending their memoranda in response to the Questionnaire issued to them. The public spirit, which prompted them to accord their ready and willing co-operation, merits high appreciation. Acknowledgment of indebtedness is also due to those in the Committee�s office, who rendered valuable assistance in various ways, as also to the Member-Secretary of the Committee, who rendered considerable help to the Chairman in drafting the report and last but not the least to those who assisted in the enquiry in the role of amicus curiæ.