Replies submitted by Shri P. S. Shekdar, Khamgaon, district Buldana
We on behalf of the Khamgaon Nagar Hindu Sabha and Khamgaon Arya Samaj, are giving below replies to your questionnaire. We hope they will receive due consideration. Any correspondence in the matter may kindly be made to the above address.
These are no means to secure figures in 1947 and 1954.
4. Such exact information cannot be supplied by members of public.
5. Almost all the converts are from the scheduled castes and such other classes. In our district, they are generally converted individually. In the case of a family it is generally the head of the family who is converted, and others follow the suit.
6. (1) Alliance and (2) Nazarin Mission. Approach individually.
7. Pracharaks are generally fresh converts and they mostly belong to the same class to whom they approach individually for conversion. They have no particular qualifications. They work under the supervision, guidance and aid of these foreign missionaries. Their salaries range from Rs. 60 to Rs. 80 per month. It is learnt that rewards also are offered to them.
8. Almost all these methods from �A� to �M� are used. These facts are widely known and some of the unfair means of conversion are corroborated by the reports of Col. Marphi who had preferred to visit some places and made secret inquiries in our State in 1935. These missionaries have no other means but these, and hence no proof is necessary. Cases of forcible conversions to Christianity are reported in Census report of 1921.
9. To our knowledge no literate or well-to-do person is converted.
10. No such conversion has taken place in our district.
11. Yes. Conversion adversely affects national Loyalty and outlook of converts. These Indian converts have since 1857 not helped any national movement for achieving Independence to an appreciable extent. On the contrary the annals of history record that in 1857, at the instance of and under the chieftainship of the foreign missionaries, an army of Indian Christians from our own province was formed to counteract the War of Independence which was being fought against the Britishers by both Hindus and Muslims (vide Diwali (Shuddhi) issue of �Hindu� (Marathi Weekly of Bombay) of 1954, at column No. 1, page No. 3 1, under an article �Videshi Khristi Mishanaryancha Upadrava� by the Rev. Pt. S. D. Satavalekar of Pardi), and also page 22, column 2 of the same issue under the Caption �Parakiya Mishanaryancha Mukstumani� �Alekzander Duff�, and also page 21, column 2 of the same issue. And vide statement of Rev. Gill as reported in the
�Times of India�, dated the 7th August 1954, page 5, last 2 columns, and vide, statement of Rev. B. Masih, formerly Missionary of the United Church of Northern India, as reported in the �Free Press of India� of 18th October 1954, page 3, columns 3 and 4(middle), and statement of our Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, published in press on 11th August 1954, and vide Presidential address of Kaviraj Harnamdas to the Anti-Foreign Missionaries Conference held at Delhi on 29th August 1954 printed on page 5, and, vide answer to Prof. Maxmullar, by Shri Pratapchandra Muzumdar, in 1898, �Kesari�, page 5 of 2nd November 1954, and vide statement of the Rt. Rev. B. A. Patekar, Bishop of Poona, as reported in the �Kesari� of 13th August 1954, and vide an article specially sent to the �Kesari� of Poona from New York by Mrs. Manoramabai Modak (An American Christian Missionary) as published in �Kesari�, dated the 2nd November 1954. (All issues are sent herewith). Several other instances can be quoted.
12. All such places.
13. There are such instances. Unpleasant consequences averted due to saner elements.
14. Even foreign missionaries.
15. They have no particular standing except that they are fresh converts mostly from the same community or village. At times they are outsiders and approach individually.
16. No educational qualifications. Salary ranges from Rs. 60 to Rs. 80. They get more than they deserve.
17. No training worth the name.
18. In Khamgaon sub-division there are about 10 Pracharaks. Foreign missionaries.
22. No fairs but camps are held. People attracted with pomp and show. Bhajans on Indian style and lectures arranged. People are approached individually.
23. Yes. Such references are even published in Press (vide �Hitavada�, dated the 5th December 1954, page 3, column 5, copy attached).
24. Hindu Sabha and Arya Samaj. The success they meet with is not appreciable as means of propaganda and money are meagre. These are voluntary institutions and cannot engage paid workers. Secondly, they believe in voluntary conversions than tainted or blemished ones.
25. There were occasions when relations were strained.
27. No Christian is seen holding any such office.
29. No, not at all.
30. There are some such instances prior to 1947.
31. Practically nil.
32. No. Conversions have not brought any betterment even in the States where these converted Christians have grown in numerical strength, caste distinctions are being observed. By about 1934 Christians from scheduled castes in Travancore State met in conference under the presidentship of Shri Joseph Kunj Pediyar-a member of the then Travancore State. Assembly and demanded that due to bitter relations between the caste and scheduled caste Christians, the scheduled class Christians should be treated and recognised as a separate class. Caste Christians treated them as untouchables and even denied entrance to Churches and burial grounds [Vide �Hindu Samaj Darshan� (Marathi) edited by Shri L. B. Bhopatkar, Advocate, Poona.]
It is also noteworthy that even today in East Punjab, converts to Christianity from scheduled castes are being treated as scheduled castes and are getting privileges as scheduled castes. Many other instances to this effect can be cited.
34. Some cases of spitting on deities by missionaries are reported in our district. Details will be sent later on. There are innumerable such instances recorded in the annals of history and even today such instances are in plenty in areas where they have grown in strength.
36. They are least interested in such efforts. They have not co-operated with these institutions.
39. Doing nothing.
40. Yes. Please refer to reply to question No. 11.
41. They give up old ones and adopt new ones. Every attempt is being made to see that they give up all traditional things, such as, even applying �Kumkum� and wearing bangles by ladies.
42. Yes. Definitely detrimental to national interests. Please refer to answer No 11. Both Indian and foreign Missionaries are publicly admitting this.
43. Nazarin and Alliance Missions for the last about 50 years.
45. As their budgets and reports are not made available to general public, they cannot be exactly assessed. But these Missions are having huge properties and are spending large sums on propaganda, salaries, establishments like schools, hostels, etc.
46. Missionaries, including Pracharaks, number about 50, out of whom about 20 are Americans.
47. In many cases they are not highly qualified. Foreign missionaries get Rs. 250 approximately with free-furnished bungalows, cars with allowances. Their wives get about Rs. 250 each. There are again children allowances at the rate of Rs. 50 to Rs. 60 per child per month. In addition to the schooling facilities are given to their children.
48. We have not come across any Indian missionary having foreign educational qualifications.
49. No. Some Indian missionaries are publicly complaining against inequality of status.
50. Foreign missionaries are supreme beads of their respective organisations.
51. They are financed from abroad. Reports and statements not published.
53. Only Government or respective missions can supply this information.
54. To our knowledge, no such amounts are being received. There is no such work in our district.
55. Pamphlets, tracts are distributed in bazars. etc. Even advertisements are inserted in press.
56. No such reports are made available to public.
57. Missions in our district have undertaken the following activities:-
All these activities tend to proselytising.
(1) Religious propaganda - individual approach by Pracharaks, bhajans, kirtans and lectures wherein they abuse Hindu religion, schools and hotels. These schools are mostly residential and up to middle school standard. Children from distant places are admitted. Religious instruction is compulsory. Children are attracted to churches by offering them sweets, photos, etc.
58. There are no such regular courts seen. But there appears to be some such arrangement, and Indian Christians are at times ex-communicated.
59. Villages. Yes, they concentrate on such areas.
60. The missions are situated at Khamgaon, Buldana, Chikhali, Mehkar and Malkapur, then there are Pracharak Centres at other places. The missions (Nazarin and Alliance) have been functioning in our district for nearly 50 years. In most cases the means of communications are available all the year round.
62. Yes. Such meetings are held. Proceedings are not made available to general public.
63. They seem to have made some such allocation.
64. Increased to a considerable extent
69. There is no Mission Hospital in our district.
71. As American missionaries of status, like Mrs. Modak are themselves publicly admitting that efforts are made by these missionaries to convert the patients in so called charitable mission hospitals, no more proof seems necessary (�Kesari�, dated the 2nd November 1954-Page 5, under caption �Paradeshi Mishanaryanchi Bhumika�, by Mrs. M. Modak).
72. It is reported that patients are obliged to take part in prayers, and Pracharaks are employed.
78. Primary and middle schools which are mostly residential are run by missions in our district.
80. More than 400. Majority Christians. Non-Christians nominal.
81. There are some such cases reported.
82. This information cannot be supplied. But according to us the matter requires scrutiny, by Government.
83. The fees charged are considerably low. In one school, fees for middle school are charged at the rate of Rs. 3 to Rs. 7 per month. These fees are inclusive of tuition, messing, lodging, medical help and sports, etc. In addition, there are some freeships. Low rates of fees for themselves mean nothing but inducement.
84. Religious instruction is compulsory.
86. To our knowledge, no moral instruction is given.
87. Before 1954, there were some non-Christian teachers on the staff of these schools but now their existence is simply microscopic.
88. Christmas holidays are the longest ones-about 15 days. Diwali holidays only for Hindu teachers-4 days. Other school holidays are not generally observed.
89. Some National festivals are observed formally but not enthusiastically.
91. There are boarding-houses attached to schools only. Open to students of the same school only. Prayers and religious instruction compulsory. Nominal fees charged.
93. All the activities of these missionaries are highly objectionable, as they are directed towards conversions to Christianity under the garb of benevolence. We are convinced that the activities of these foreign missionaries are more of a political nature and are anti-national from, Indian view point. We are convinced that change of religion ultimately leads to change of nationality. The creation of Pakistan is an eye-opener in this matter. These converts have already created problems of political nature in our nation. Even the Prime Minister of our Secular State had to take cognizance of these activities. The recent events show that these missionaries are dabbling in politics which is detrimental to the solidarity and integrity of India. Veer Savarkar and the Hindu Mahasabha have been repeatedly warning against the anti-national activities of these missionaries but these warning went unheeded so far. But now, we are glad that our Government also seems to be convinced about the anti-national character of these missionaries as is evident from the statements of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, our Prime Minister, Shri Datar, Deputy Home Minister and Home Minister of Uttar Pradesh. In some cases stern action, as expulsion of missionaries from India is taken. As the question of foreign missionaries is-as will be seen from the above-more of a political nature than religious one, we request that these foreign missionaries should be asked to go back to their respective countries in the best interests of our nation.
94. Change of religion ought not to change culture, but in the case of these, missionaries activities every effort is being make to change the culture of these converts. Their own statements speak about this.
95. We have no faith in a Secular Government. Other nations do not observe secularism as is seen in our country. Any approach to tackle the point before the committee which does not shake off the secularism, will be of no use. It may be said that it is beyond the powers of this committee either to make any such recommendation or decide the policy of the Government. It May be so, but if any Government wants to do a thing perfectly, we submit, it must go to the very root of the problem. From this point of view, we suggest that this Committee be pleased to place this point of view before the Government along with its other suggestions. An Ecclesiastical Department based on Hinduism be started by the Government.
96. They are in a few cases. In our Government Hospitals such religious practices are absent. According to us, Hospitals are not places where religious propaganda should be carried on. Religious facilities, if needed, should be arranged for by the patients themselves.
97. A Secular State has every right to interfere with the methods of propagation of any particular faith, if the propagation is detrimental to the interests of the Nation, or offends the religious susceptibilities of the majority community that constitutes and makes the nation. Yes.
98. No. Past experience is very unpleasant in this respect.
The 26th January 1956
P. D. LESI, RADHAKISAN T. ARYA,
Presidents and Secretaries of Arya Samaj and Hindu Sabha.