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Sagar (11-8-1955)

Oral Statement made before the Christian Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee.

SAGAR
(11-8-1955)

No. 1

Name-K. Thirumalai son of Thirumalai Pillai.
Age-42 years.
Profession-Private practitioner.

There is nothing wrong in a Christian doctor presenting Christ to his patient in a Christian hospital.  In fact it is expected of him that he should be both a good doctor and a good witness for Jesus Christ.  The one cannot be divorced from the other.  The efficient and kindly physical treatment of a patient by a Christian doctor, though necessary, is not enough.  He has to witness Christ with words to everybody as also to his patients.

2. I, as a Christian doctor, give medical treatment and also feel bound to testify to the Saving Grace through Christ, and I have not found any trace of undue influence in that.  I see nothing wrong, if in a mission hospital also a Christian doctor does the same.  I have lost nothing in my practice because of this. On the contrary, some friends or some former patients come to me not only for medicine but for spiritual advice and discussion.

3. The last command of Jesus Christ has got to be carried out by every Christian, whatever his profession may be (vide Mathew 28-18-20).  Witnessing Christ to a patient does not amount to inducement and he is not so circumstanced as to mind the wishes of the doctor.

4. I would allow �Pracharaks� to preach in a mission hospital.  I do not know of scriptures of other religions.  Therefore I am not in a position to say, whether a patient finds consolation in them or not. I know only of my religion and I know that consolation can be found in it, and I can present only that to my patients.

To Mr. Saraf-

5. If a particular Hindu patient wants a Hindu priest in our hospital it is up to him to bring him and we would not object to it but we would not allow in a Mission Hospital a Hindu religious man to come and pray for consolation to individual Hindu patient without being specially summoned for.

6. I would not object to similar treatment being given in a hospital run by other religious bodies.
 

(12-8-1955)

No. 2

Name-E.  Raman.
Father�s name-S. Raman.
Address-Gopalganj, Sagar.

I am president of the Evangelical Church in Madhya Pradesh.  Formerly we had what was called Swedish Mission in short, or in full the Evangelical Missionary Society.  It started in India in 1878.  As a result of missionary activities a Church' was organised called the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  In 1949, the Mission was integrated with the Church and we have now Evangelical Lutheran Church consisting of the Mission and the Church.  Its President is elected every 5 years and I have been its President since 1944, both before and after integration.  Our Church and Mission activities are confined to Madhya Pradesh in India. I was present yesterday when Dr. Thirumalai was giving his evidence and I fully agree with his views.  I would add that in fact it is to the advantage of a sick man that the doctor treating him talks to him religion.  Because at that time the patient is in the most receptive mood, even if that involves a change of religion of the patient by appeal to his heart by the doctor.  Most of the patients in Mission hospital are non-Christians and it is our duty to present Christ to them.  It is not our duty to convert, but if a person becomes converted by our presentation of Christ to him, we welcome it.  It is our duty to heal not only his body but also his spirit.  In the case of schools we have conscience class and a Christian teacher teaches the Bible only to those Christians and Non-Christians who willingly attend that class.  My answer to question 86 of the questionnaire means that moral instructions are not separately given from the Bible class.  Moral instructions are given from the Bible and only to those who attend the Bible class.  There is no separate provision for teaching moral instructions to those who do not attend the Bible class.  Our annual budget since 1947 has been nearabout 4 lacs a year.  Out of this, we receive about 2 lacs a year as subsidy from ENMSS.  This money comes from Sweden.  The missionary�s salaries and allowances are not included in this budget.  They receive it from Stockholm. I cannot give any idea even roughly of what that amount would be.  The whole budget is worked out and it cannot be said that any sum received from Stockholm is earmarked for any particular work, e.g., the Evangelical work.  It is the lump sum that we ask for from them.  I do not subscribe to the ideas of those Christians who are anxious for the day when they may not have to depend on foreign aid, both monetary and personal.  This idea does not appeal to me and I consider it as born of ignorance.  Those of the foreign Churches, who are sisters, do not give it to any individual or individuals.  They give money and the personnel for a particular cause, which is common to both the Church and the Mission.  In our Church, so far as I know, there is no group holding such views.  The work of the Church as such will not suffer if foreign subsidy is stopped but the philanthropic activities of the Church will be seriously affected. I am proud of the immense amount of good work that Christians and Christianity have done to India. (His attention is drawn to last para in answer to question No. 97 and 98 he says that he would like to withdraw the words �as in other countries of the world�).

To Mr. Saraf-

2. My grand-father was converted to Christianity.  There has been no convert from Islam though their number is quite decent here.

3. I file pamphlets (1) Isai Mat Ki Alochna (Arya Samaj Chouk, Prayag), (2) Khuda Ka Beta and (3) Isai Kiyon Bante Hai.  I do not draw your attention to any particular page or passage in those pamphlets.

Our relations with Government officers and the general public have been most cordial.  There is no complaint of any harassment to us from them.
 

No. 3

Name.-Manohar Sadashiv Hardikar.
Father�s name-Sadashiv.
Age.-45 years.
Occupation.-Teacher, Mahila Vidyalaya, Sagar.

About the year 1934-35 when Christian Pracharaks used to preach in market places through songs and music, I had told them that I had a taste in songs and music and I used to improve their musical tune.  In that way I came in contact with them and they said they would be willing to give me employment if I became a Christian.  I did not become a Christian, though I had a need of service, and there the thing ended.
 

No. 4

(12-8-1955)

Name-Shri S. A. Masih.
Father�s name-Barnabas.
Age-41 years.
Headmaster, Emmanuel Boys� School (run by the Church of India, Burma and Ceylon).
Residence-Sagar.

There are 186 boys in my school.  We have 12 Christian boys, 45 Mohammedans and the rest Hindus.  We are five teachers, including myself.  Four are Christians and one is a non-Christian.  It is a Hindi Middle School.  The Bible is taught in my school, but not as a subject.  It is taught for about 20 minutes before the school begins.  All.  Christian boys, majority of the Muslim boys and about 60 per cent of the Hindu boys attend these classes.  It is compulsory for nobody to attend.  Prayer is sung at the beginning before the school begins and it is not compulsory for any student to attend, not even for Christian students.  The attendance is never less than 50 or over 75 per cent and the prayer is not a denominational prayer, although there is no set form of prayer.  I generally lead the prayers.  Sometimes I pray in the name of God and sometimes in the name of Lord Jesus Christ.  A priest of the St. Peter�s Church takes the Bible classes.  He is not a teacher of the school.

To Mr. Tole-

Since the last three years I have a notice on the notice-board that the attendance in the Bible class is not compulsory.  Even before this the attendance was not compulsory. I put up that notice on the notice-board three years ago because it occurred to me that I should do so, so that there may be clear understanding.  The prayers that are offered in the school are definitely Christian prayers as it is a Christian school.
 

No. 5

(13-8-1955)

Name.-Miss Bojner, Mission Hospital, Khurai. -(Miss L. Bojner, R. N. Swedish Mission Hospital, Khurai, district Sagar.)

I am at present in-charge of the Swedish Mission Hospital.  In fact I can be called the founder of it as I started the dispensary about 22 years ago.  We do not give free treatment, except to very poor patients, and there is no partiality shown among them in our treatment.  The members of the staff are all Indian except myself.  We have no qualified doctor at present, but we have trained nurses, compounders and technicians.  Prayers are held before work begins in the outdoor section.  Prayers are also offered in the indoor wards, but I am sorry that this is not done daily, although I very much wish it. I do agree with what Reverend Raman stated yesterday about the duty of a Christian doctor.  A Christian doctor is in duty bound not only to heal the patient�s body but also be a witness for Christ. I regard both as equally important.  I heard Reverend Raman's statement yesterday.  Our expenditure is about Rs. 10,000 a year including salaries.  Out of this Rs. 4,000 is received as a grant from the Church and Rs. 6,000 we realize from patients.
 

No. 6

Name-Prannath Lekhi, Cantonment Executive Officer.
Father�s name-Shri Bhagatram Lekhi.
Profession-Executive Officer of the Cantonment Board.

The following copies of letters are shown to him:-

(1) Memorandum No. A-1/8/, dated the 20th August 1954, from President, Cantonment Board, Sagar, to the Director of Public Instructions, Madhya Pradesh, Nagpur.

(2) Memorandum No. 3590, dated the 4th September 1954, from District Inspector of Schools, Sagar, to the Manager, Emmanuel Boys� English Middle School, Sagar, and St. Joseph's Convent School, Sagar.

(3) Letter, dated the 10th September 1954, from Emmanuel Boys� English Middle School, Sagar, to District Inspector of Schools, Sagar.

I have seen these letters.  In this connection I state that there were two schools involved in our letter of the 20th August 1954-one the Convent school (the St. Joseph�s Convent School) and the other, the Emmanuel Boys� School.  The reply from the Convent School is not in the file of the Committee. I would very much like that the Committee should see that as well.  To the points raised in the letter, dated the 10th September 1954 of Dr. Thirumalai I have to say that our programme was between 10-30 a.m. and 11-30 a.m. an this did not conflict with the timings of their programme.  Regarding previous non-consultations with the school authorities I, as the Chief Executive Officer of the Cantonment Board, maintain that as Cantonment Board we are the elected representatives of the people of Cantonment area and it has been our practice in the past not to have any previous consultation nor do I deem it necessary that previous consultation should be held on such occasions of National function.  The reason why we made a report was that they did not reply to our letter that they had already fixed their own programme and that therefore they would not be able to participate fully in our programme.

To Mr. Raman-

The Roman Catholic School (Convent School) never attends and never co-operates in any such function of national importance.  It is a fact that Dr. Thirumalai did attend our function after the Church Service was over.
 

No. 7

Name-Peter. Patidas.
Profession-Doctor of Mission Hospital, Damoh.

I am the doctor in charge of the Mission Hospital at Damoh.  It belongs to the Disciples of Christ Church.  There are 20 beds in the general hospital, we are treating outdoor patients also.  The daily average attendance is about 50 and the total number of patients for the year is about 4,000.  We have three grades of payment from the patients: those who pay (i) full charges, (ii) half charges and (iii) free.  Last year there were 232 cases free and 32 cases of half free, and the rest of the 4,000 cases have been charged fully.  Among the free cases, the proportion of Christian and non-Christian would be 1 : 4 likewise I think is the case in respect of half payments also.  Damoh town has a population of 40,000 and the Christians are only 400.  There are 13 members of the staff.  These are all Christians, out of the total expenditure of about Rs 30,000, only about Rs. 3,000 is paid by the Church as a donation.  The rest is collected from the patients.
 

No. 8

Name-Melaram Sharma, s/o Pt. Nandlal Sharma. 
Residence-Sagar.

I am the President of the Sagar Arya Samaj for over two years now.  I am producing a copy of the anonymous letter, which I received in January, 1955.  The original is shown.  I cannot point out to any particular person who had written it.  It has been received by post.  The man who opened the letter, threw away the envelope.  I received the letter by post.  In fact the letter was received by the Secretary of the Arya Samaj who sent tile letter with the envelope to me. I have seen the envelope and wanted to scrutinize the stamp of the post office but it gave me no idea as to the sources of the letter. I sent back the letter with the envelope through a peon to the secretary.  Afterwards I got a few typed copies made of this letter. I believe that some Christian may have written this letter though not honourable Christian of the upper status.  That shows the mentality, according to my belief, of the rank and file of the Christian community.  There was a note in the Amrit Bazar Patrica, dated the 26th December 1954 in which was conveyed the news that certain Hindus of Uttar Pradesh had been converted forcibly to Christianity.  That cutting has been sent by me to Shri R. B. L. Gumastha, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Sagar.

To Mr. Raman-

I do not remember the address on the envelope, viz., whether it was to the President or to the Secretary but generally our letters are addressed to the Secretary.  My surmise is that this also might have been addressed to the Secretary.  I do not think that an Arya Samaji or even a Hindu (other than Arya Samaji) would write such a letter.
 

No. 9

Name-Balwantsingh, s/o Parmanand.
Residence-Sagar.
Profession-Music Master.

A Christian pracharak came to my house some days back and began preaching when a few other persons also gathered.  I questioned him.  He used to say that there is Mukti only through Christ, and all Indians will have to become Christians one day.  Jesus Christ is going to be born again.  And he also asked me my income and profession, etc.  He said a lot of other things also about the benefits of the former British rule and the great disadvantage of the present regime.  He also gave me a booklet.  He was an Indian.

To Mr. Raman-

I have seen him several times and could recognise him if I see him again.  But I do not know his name.
 

No. 10

Name-Donald T. Rice.
Father�s Name-Ray E. Rice.
Profession-Doctor, Mission Hospital, Damoh.

I am a co-ordinator of the Jiwan Tara (Star of Life) Programme.  It is a rural development programme intended to improve the general standard of life of the people.  Our chief emphasis in the past had been on public health.  We had one training course in the year 1954, and one is in progress now and W ill last for about 7 or 8 weeks.  I am handing over to the Committee 5 sheets, which will give them some idea of our working and programme.  Our annual budget is about Rs. 52,000 in 1955.  All this money comes from Societies in America listed in our letter-head of which I have handed over a copy to the Committee.  Our programme is for five years.  I cannot say what really is going to happen after five years.  Last year we had 18 persons in the course on our roll, which ultimately dwindled to 11 in the end.  All of these were Christians because at that time we thought we should start our work with Christian Gaon Sathis.  This year we have 11 Christians and one Hindu under training.  Out of 12 in last year�s batch, all are employed under our programme.  The scales of pay of the Gaon Sathis are given in the sheets that have been handed over to the Committee.  My salary is separate from Rs. 52,000 shown in the budget.  During the training we have no Bible class but we have devotional service.  We expect all to be there and each one of the Gaon Sathis has a rotated system of his prayer and thus the Hindu Gaon Sathi will be free to lead the worship as he thinks best.

To Mr. Tole-

I have never been present in what the Gaon Sathis used to say about religion and other matters but from their reports I gather that they used to talk to the villagers about religion also.  It is difficult for me to say what they talked.  I further maintain that as an Indian Citizen they had every right to talk to the villagers on their own religion, namely, Christianity.
 

No. 11

Name-Shrimati Malti Shrikhandey.
Designation-Head Mistress, Government High School, Sagar.

I was a student of Mission school in Seoni (Chhindwara) some 30 years ago. I was there for about four years.  Bible teaching then was compulsory and I used to learn the Bible and sometimes stood first in that subject.  Afterwards when I grew in age, I began to have some idea of my own religion and I took objection to the method in which teaching was conducted in the Bible class.  Our Hindu Gods and Goddesses used to be spoken in a very derogatory language.  Then along with another friend of mine, Miss Verma, I agitated.  But this situation was so unbearable that I had to leave the Bible class. I was then told that if I did not want to attend the Bible class, I had better to leave the School.  Mrs. Peter was the Head Mistress and she used to take the Bible classes. I and Miss Verma discontinued going to school.  When my father asked me the reason for my not going to the school, I related to him all the story.  Then Mrs. Macneil came to my house and promised me that such a thing would not recur and that I should continue going to school. I then began going to the school and I was attending the Bible class.  No such disparaging words were said while I was there. I passed the VII class and left the school but the same thing happened again when my younger sister was a student in the school and attended Bible classes.  This was about two years after I left the school.  The same Mrs. Peter and Mizi Bai were responsible for teaching the Bible and speaking derogatory words about our Gods and Goddesses. My sister then had to leave the school on this ground.  Mrs. Macneil was the wife of preacher and had influence with the school authorities.  During the time of my younger sister, Mrs. Macneil was probably out of India and there was nobody to intervene.

One Geeta Mukerjee, who is well known to me, came to me some 7 or 8 months Macro, asking me for help to her sister Sujata, as Sujata was in great need of help and service.  She told me that some Christians told her that if she embraced.  Christianity Sujata would be sent for training and helped in other ways. I told Gita to see that she does not become a Christian. I further told her that although I could not help Sujata in getting her a post or sending her for training but I would help her with Rs. 10 per month.  Soon after I learnt that Sujata was selected for some training or appointment, so I had no occasion to send money.

To Mr. Raman-

I was about 13-14 years old when I was a student of the Mission School.  I do not think that it could be a device on the part of Gita to represent in the way she did in order to excite my sympathy and extract help from me, as I knew Gita from childhood.  Gita was in training when she came to me in my place at Sagar.
 

No. 12

Name-Micton E. Coleman.
Father�s name-John J. Coleman.
Profession-Missionary.
Residence-Amarmau (District Sagar, Madhya Pradesh).

Our Mission is called �American Friends Mission�.  We started work in what is now Vindhya Pradesh from the year 1896.  Our activities in Madhya Pradesh, dated from 1949.  In Vindhya Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh our activities are confined to what is called Bundel Khand.  In Madhya Pradesh our area is only approximately 15 miles radius round Amarmau.  Our primary work is evangelistic, though we have not been able to make converts in our area and none in Madhya Pradesh.  In Amarmau we had a primary school, which we have closed temporarily since April 1955, but we have a dispensary, which is working.  We have our Pracharaks also one living in Madhya Pradesh Dayalchand was our preacher in Madhya Pradesh until 1st May 1955.  Our method of preaching is not to decry any existing religion in India but to preach Christ positively

2. I know of the complaint made against Dayalchand, or in fact against the whole party. I have received a letter, dated the 9th June 1955 from the District Magistrate, Sagar, informing me that on the 24th February 1955 in my speech at village Shahsan I had uttered objectionable words.  In reply to this, I have asked for an appointment to the District Magistrate to explain the whole situation to him personally.  All that I can say now is that neither I nor those who were with me then uttered in our preachings any objectionable words.  We do recite the 10 Commandments as part of Christian teachings.  One of the Commandments is �Thou shalt not make unto Thee any graven image� and so forth.  We have translated into Bundelkhandi as �Devi Dewta Na Manaiyo, Na Pujiyio, Na Ghar Me Rakhiyo�.  Our budget of the Mission in Vindhya Pradesh is about 1½ lakhs.  That comes mostly from Ohio Friends Church in America.

To Mr. Saraf- We do not join the Hindu festivals like Dashara and Diwali.  We join activities, which are purely social, educational and national.  We do not participate in Hindu religious festivals like Dashara and Diwali.
 

No. 13

Name.-B. L. Saraf, Advocate, Sagar.

I am connected with several social, religious and cultural institutions of Sagar. I am the president of the Mahakoshal and Vindhya Pradesh Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh, I am the Treasurer of the Sagar University. I am connected with a number of Trusts, with a charitable dispensary, and the schools in Sagar.  After passing my law in the year 1925, I worked as a Junior to some lawyer in Allahabad.  There, on some information about me, Reverend Lucas came to think that I might probably become a Christian and he tried to persuade me in many ways but I was not convinced of the superiority of the philosophy of Christianity and I remained a Hindu. I consider the non-participation of Christian friends in what I consider as cultural festivals, like Dashara and Diwali, as unfortunate.  My fear further is that any extraterritorial affiliations and religious loyalty may not be healthy for the security of the State.  That has a tendency, to my mind, of making them not good Indians though they may be very good Christians.  What I mean is that at some crucial moment of real trial and stress for the security of Bharat those who have outside affinities and outside affiliations may not prove helpful to the security of Bharat and it might lead to further division and disruption of our land.  The happenings in Jharkhand and Assam are a pointer to this.  I should also like my Christian friends to accommodate our national and cultural functions with their religious requirements.  I have heard the statements of Dr. Thirumalai and Reverend Raman. I entirely disagree with them in their views that they should preach (witness to Christ) just as he says in the case of a doctor to a patient of a teacher to a student of a manager of an orphanage to an orphan.  I consider this bad, as the patient and the student and an orphan are so situated that they cannot displease them, and it would be taking undue advantage of their situation as a patient, student or an orphan.
 

No. 14

Name-M. S. Shrikhandey, son of Shanker Rao Shrikhandey.
Age-42 years.
Profession-Headmaster, Mahila Vidyalaya, Sagar.

The witness is too vague.

   

VINDICATED BY TIME - The Niyogi Committee Report On Christian Missionary Activities

Sita Ram Goel
Chapters
Preface
The Sunshine of �Secularism�
Rift in the Lute
Christian Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee, Madhya Pradesh
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Appendices
Tour Programmes of the Committee
District Raigarh
District Surguja
District Raipur
District Bilaspur
District Amravati
District Nimar
District Yeotmal
District Akola
District Buldana
District Mandla
District Jabalpur
District Chhindwara
Questionnaire
Replies submitted by Shri J. Lakra
Replies to Questionnaire concerning the area covered by Jashpur, Khuria and Udaipur of the Raigarh district
Replies submitted by the Catholic Sabha of the Raigarh district Replies
Replies submitted by Shri Gurubachan Sing, Raipur
Replies submitted by Chairman and Secretary of the General Conference, Mennonite Mission in India, Saraipali, Raipur district
Replies submitted by Rev. Canon, R. A. Kurian, Nagpur
Replies submitted by Rev. E. Raman, President, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Madhya Pradesh, Gopalganj, Sagar
Replies submitted by Miss M. L. Merry, Khirkia R. S., Hoshangabad district, Madhya Pradesh
Replies submitted by Shri L. E. Hartman, Amravati Camp, Berar, Mission Bungalow, Amravati Camp, Berar
Replies submitted by Umri Mission Hospital, Umri, via Yeotmal, Madhya Pradesh
Replies submitted by Shri F. B. Lucas, President, Independent Christian Association, Yeotmal
Replies submitted by Shri R. W. Scott, Secretary, National Christian Council
Replies submitted by Dr. E. Asirvatham, Nagpur
Replies submitted by Shri P. S. Shekdar, Khamgaon, district Buldana
Replies submitted by Shri Sohanlal Aggarwal, Secretary, Vedic Sanskriti Raksha Samiti.
Replies submitted by Shri T. Y. Dehankar, President, Bar Association, and six others of Bilaspur
Replies submitted by Shri M.N. Ghatate, Nagpur Sangh Chalak.
Replies submitted by Shri R. K. Deshpande, Pleader, Jashpurnagar
Correspondence of Roman Catholics with the Committee, the state government and the Central Government
Extracts from Catholic Dharma ka Pracharak and other pamphlets showing the methods of propaganda
Short History of Chhattisgarh Evangelical Mission
Camp: Raipur (22-7-1955)
Camp Bilaspur (25-7-1955)
Raigarh (28-7-1955)
Jashpur (22-11-1955)
Jabalpur (8-8-1955)
Sagar (11-8-1955)
Mandla (15-8-55)
Khandwa (17-8-55)
Yeotmal (10-8-55)
Camp Amravati (13-8-1955)
Washim (16-8-1955)
Buldana 18-8-1955
Malkapur (20-8-1955)
(22-8-1955)
Nagpur (20-9-1955)
Camp Ambikapur (19-11-1955)
Activities of Christian Missions in the Eastern States and proselytism in the Udaipur State by the Jesuit Mission