10th June 1954
The 10th June 1954 -- 11-30 a.m.
Attendance-About 2,000 from 63 villages. Forty Christians and rest Non-Christians.
At the outset the Chairman introduced the members of the Committee and explained the purpose of their visit.
There are three missions working-Catholic, Lutheran and American.
Sukharam Uraon of Karmi Toli: Induced to become Christian by giving him money. A Christian Uraon purchases land in the village as a tri al, whereas others (non-aboriginals) are not allowed to purchase. If land is purchased in this manner, he apprehended that there may not be enough land for tribals of the village themselves.
Father: Pracharaks move from village to village. Christians have a special place of worship. We teach gospel, generally St. John’s.
Rajendra Prasad of mouza Harri: Complains against purchase of land by Christians. A Christian purchased the land of one Makan Miyan’s daughter on Makan Miyan's death. His wife has married another Mohammedan and the daughter is living with her uncle.
Budhwa Uraon: Christians have converted a resting place of cattle (nistar land) of mouza Deori into a market place, because Uraons of that village did not embrace Christianity. Ramsunder Patwari confirms this saying hat Christian villagers are asked to sit in that place for bazar. Villagers from Barwe Chhechari (in Bihar) come there. They observe Saturday market in that place since one year. There is also a sarna in that place.
Bawna, son of Jetho Uraon of Gajadharpur: I had given an application to Government for land as I had none for cultivation. I waited for three years and later became a Christian (Catholic) with the hope that I will get some land. But I did not get any land and, therefore, again I became a Hindu.
Ramdayal of Ghulsinga: There is ten Christian houses in my village out of a total of 80. Two Christians came to the village sometime back saying that they were Hindus, but they were Christians. Chaukidar’s son was beaten by them. They say, ‘We don’t care for any Government officers and don’t obey them’. I am treated as an obstruction in Christian work because I do not allow villagers to become Christians. They are Roman Catholics. When I was beaten, I had given a report to Sub-Inspector of Police at Kusmi He said he would come for enquiry but he was transferred later. Domni, Tani and Binny beat him.
Domi: I am a Christian by birth, belong to Ghulsi village and am a Pracharak of Roman Catholic Mission. Pay is about Rs. 30 to Rs. 35 per, mensem paid by the Mission. Father Francis of La tahsil pays it. Has been living in the village since two years. Before that he was a teacher in Adivasi School, Ambikapur, for one year. Before that, peon to Food Inspector. Before that, was living in his house in Barwe (Ranchi district). There was only one Christian house when I came to Ghulsi. Now there are ten houses. I converted eight houses. I preach that the world started with Adam and Eve. I say that idol worshippers will be ruined. When a man agrees to become Christian. I write his name in my book, and then I take him to Father Francis after teaching him dharam. Birsahay was converted by me last year. He was taken to Father Francis after one year since his name was written. Till that time Birsahay was making enquiries from his friends about Christianity. I took him to Father Francis after teaching him the lessons and giving him bath. Father had been to the village himself. Wife and three daughters of Birsahay were converted by the father. Six or seven families were also converted by the Father with all their minor children after giving them holy bath. I get my pay irrespective of the number of persons converted.
On 25th December, which is Christmas Day, we were in church. It was about 6 or 7 p.m. Chaukidar and jungle-chaprasi came there and asked for a man to take his goat, which he had brought from Titartoli to Chhapartoli. The goat was brought walking. We told him that we were in Girja and, therefore, we could not do it. Kotwal started shouting and disturbing us. Kotwal’s son was drunk and he beat Benjamin. About 50 persons were busy in prayers. There were three persons with the chaukidar’s son and jungle sepoy. He stumbled in the door and said that we had beaten him and went away. Next day, Billuram was beaten when he was sitting with his son in his yard. I did not report the matter to police.
Ramtapiram of Serangada: Pracharaks say that they will give cheaper cloth to those who become Christians when they will have their raj of Jharkhand.
Bultu of Ambikapur: Nagesia by caste. Always had come to the village saying that there will be Father’s Raj and we will not allow you to live. Pracharaks also come there. He said that you have got your seat in Delhi. They said they would give land and cloth. Some villagers were converted in Gopati.
Gangaram said that the Christian Father asked his father to be present in another toli, but he was ill. Therefore, he did not go. Alwis, Pracharak, came to him saying that the Father had said Jawahar Raj has come and there is no happiness to the people. When Christian Raj will come, they will get happiness.
Khagnaram: I had been for the meeting in January 1954. Elderly sons did not go but children went. Father from Gopati had come. He said that his religion was best of all, teaches children, gives land and houses. He said that Jawahar’s raj will go and our raj will come. If you don’t come in our religion, you will have troubles. You will not get cloth and salt.
Alwaris (Alwis) Nagesia: I had been to Khangnaram’s house to call people. Petros Father was there for the meeting. He did not say anything. About 50 persons were present in the meeting. In the Congress Raj, according to the Constitution, all religions are free and, therefore, we have come to you to preach our religion and if you join the Christian religion, God will give you salvation from sin. Congress Government is in raj, but if the raj is given to Catholics, we will not take it. He denies the statements made by others previously. There was gramophone and, therefore, children had come for the meeting,
Petros Uraon of Ratasili: On the 3rd June at 10 a.m. six to seven Hindus came in a jeep from Khatata. They called the Fathers and said that they would destroy the houses and everything of Christians. He is a Pracharak getting pay of Rs. 25. My family is in Bihar. I have come here since the last seven months. I was called by the Fathers. Belongs to Catholic Church.
Mohararam Marwa of mouza Khajria: Missionaries visited several villages and also my village when there was cholera. They asked us to join their religion and they would give free and good medicine. They gave good medicines to Christians. They took high prices from us. They asked as to whether a man was Hindu or Christian before giving medicine. Hindus did not get medicine. They could get it only if they paid high prices.
Lohara of Jodhpur supports the above statement.
Jairam of Jawaharnagar (Christian): One Tiwariram, Hindu Pracharak, came one Sunday and told that he would not allow us to pray saying that lie was sent by Government for this. We did not perform puja. Reported the matter to Samri police station. Ratiram, a Hindu Pracharak, had come through the headmaster of a school. He asked “Why do you keep this (Jesus) photo? I will give you another Hindu photo”. He took away the photo, but did riot give me another photo. The matter was reported to Samri police station. I was converted to Christianity in Assam. There also there is conversion to Christianity. There the Father is Father Lewis of Catholic Mission. Tiwari, master, is dead. I had gone to Assam on agreement for three years.
Kandru of Kardar: Louis master was a Pracharak. I had signed one paper through mistake, but did not want to become Christian. So he told me that I should become a Christian. He was threatened that he would be removed to jungle. Father will rule. Deputy Commissioner, Tahsildar and Inspectors were servants. They will go away. Gaothia’s son is a Pracharak. He said that he would shoot him.
Reverend Lakda: I am from Lutheran Mission and am an important office-bearer. There is no Jharkhand movement here. Lutheran population is divided in blocks. Lutherans here do not share their opinion. Catholics are also divided. Both Catholics and Lutherans are divided on the question of Jharkhand and in both of them there are promoters of the movement. It is not merely confined to our Lutherans only. It is also the same case with Catholics.
European method of missionaries is that they have got a Home Board. That sends missionaries and they are supported. They settle down and then they begin to work.
The Gossner Lutherans have no money. We have cut off our connections with foreign countries. It is purely Indian. Our method is first to have a Christian congregation. If the village is nearby, the whole Christian congregation from one village goes to another village. If the villagers want us, we go otherwise we do not go. They always welcome us. I have not come across any disapproval. We start with Indian Bhajans. We then explain in a very simple language about Jesus. We do not criticise other religions. Our headquarters is in Ranchi. We do this group sending several times and then if the villagers are ready, we send our pracharak. He begins to teach Luther’s catechism, 10 commandments. So far I have not come across any opposition. We would like to live peacefully with our Hindu friends. We run schools. We have got our High School near about Ranchi. We have one school at Ichkela and Sarahpani. We don’t issue pamphlets. Our main support is Indian money. We make an appeal and by way of Christian Charity, we get money sometimes from individuals, from societies. Last year, we got about Rs. 60,000 for five provinces from Lutheran World Federation at Geneva. There is a combined society called National Missionary Society. Our church is autonomous. We approached America through our executive board, and received Rs. 90,000 from U. S. A. for one year we received for Surguja area. It is from the united body. There is one authority here in Guntur in South India and he receives money for this area. From them we get the money. We maintain accounts and they are audited. There are 60 to 70 pracharaks of my mission for the Surguja area. We pay about Rs. 40 to each pracharak (basic pay of Ranchi plus Surguja allowance). Roundabout 1,500 is the population in this area. Pracharaks are trained mostly in Ranchi, and now we are training in Ambikapur. We started with 15,000. At Surguja, we have not yet started a regular school, except a Bible School. We give Rs. 30 as pay to start with. We give from the Mission Fund and then we get it back from the Government when it is recognised. They allow us to teach religion outside the school hours in the premises. We get grants even though we are Christians. There are four missions in this area-Dubki (Baptist) Mission, Roman Catholics, Mennonite and Lutheran. We have happy relations with others. Mennonites have about dozen, Catholics a hundred, and the Swedish Mission in Baikunthpur, about half a dozen pracharaks.
The 11th June 1954.
Attendance-300. Villages - 19.
Twenty-seven signatories from Budhabagicha, Bisambharpur, Khodro, Pampaur, etc.
The signatories say that -
(1) adivasis are Hindus,
Attendance-300 (Four Christian Pracharaks and the rest Hindus).
Itwaram of Patratu: Christians say that Jharkhand Raj will shortly come and they will give cheap salt and cloth. Sankargarh preachers say this.
Solomon Minj of Roman Mission: I am a pracharak at Chargarh. All pracharaks come from Jashpur. I get Rs. 25 as pay. I do not preach Jharkhand. There is one pracharak in each village. The root (jad) of Christians is in Rome city.
Patel of Chargarh: The pracharak preaches prayers. He does not say anything about Jharkhand.
Ramsahay Gond of Parsagudi: There is also preaching at Parsagudi about Jharkhand. Birsahay is the name of the Pracharak. He says, ‘If you do not become Christians, we will call military forces to punish you’.
Kanhai of Karra, Uraon Gaotia: One Pracharak requested a house to live in during the rainy season, but I did not give. The pracharak threatened me saying that I would come in difficulties.
Gahemram Gond of Ukhra: Complains against the Pracharak. The Pracharak is paid Rs. 27 per month. Domnik, Pracharak, teaches girja. We refuse to learn. He says, ‘It is your pleasure’. I have been sent by the Father for this.
Bonry of Ambikapur: The pracharaks are working since the last one and half years. There are about ten houses in each village where the pracharaks are working.
Koyram of Lan, Uraon: Missionaries wanted to induce our children to become-Christians by affording them education facilities. The pracharak in his village also talks of Jharkhand.
Sankram Gond of Parsagudi: We did not get cloth, food, etc. Therefore, we were asked to become Christian so that we could get it.
11th June 1954.
Abstract of applications received on Tour
Bhanduram Uraon of Bhagwanpur: I say I am Hindu. Christians say that by being Christian, you will have less land revenue. They say they are educated and wise, whereas Uraon’s are illiterate and therefore they are deceived by anybody. My name is Bhanduram from my childhood. Jashpur people come to my village. The pracharaks coming are Uraons. There are six houses in my village. No one in my village has become a Christian so far. Garhaipani, Batwabora and one more village have their camps. They visit six times in a year. They are coming since the last three years.
Brahmaprakash Gupta: Received information that Christians come and tell that you had been ill-treated by Hindus so long because their raj was there. If you become Christian, you. will not be ill-treated. Pracharaks say that they have been instructed not to talk to we (educated) people. They have been instructed to talk to adivasis only. I have not heard any meeting myself. So far as I know there are no converts in my tahsil. There were no Christians previously. The objectionable things which they say are-(1) If you become Christians, the Christian fold will increase and we will be able to have Christian raj and you will be happy. (2) The Congress raj will be going shortly and the Christian raj is to come shortly; so if you become Christian, you will benefit. (3) You do not become Christian, and your land will be confiscated when there is Christian raj. (4) You will get many more facilities in Christian raj. (5) All the tall talk about budget provision for adivasis is only an eye wash and propaganda. Tribal Welfare Department is starting schools registering names for giving loans. There is no Hindu organisation doing welfare work for the adivasis. Kisan Mazdoor Congress does some work in this direction.
V. N. Dube: A law student and a teacher. Those who have become Christians have not done so for the sake of religion, because they are willing to come back. A Christian comes and stays in the house of a mukhia and tries to win him over. I am told that some were given money (Rs. 5) not to restrict others from becoming Christians. 59 persons were converted in Ganjhadeo which is six mills from Ambikapur. Roman Catholics and Lutherans are active there. They were converted during the last three years. I do not know when exactly they were converted. One teacher of Ganjhadeo named Maniram has been made a preacher and he is paid Rs. 30 per month. Whole families were converted. There was no opposition in the beginning. But later on I understood from the patel that he was again reconverted. In Ratasili I met Father Francis Ekka, Roman Catholic. Hi said that Uraons are not Hindus. There is Mundan Sanskar in Uraons like Hindus. Haldi is also practised in Uraons like Hindus. The bridegroom applies Sindoor to bride. Uraons have gotras. Sagotra vivaha (marriage in the same gotra) is not performed in Uraons. He said that Uraons eat beef. I said that some of the Chamars do it. Francis said Uraons are buried after death. But so far as my information goes, still today Uraons burn their dead bodies. One Roman Pracharak of Jamdi said he would die for religion and not for nation. Objectionable features of missionaries are as follows. They are purchasing land in large quantities in villages showing thereby that they are rich and tell them that you become Christians and we will give the land to you. In marriages. Christians try to make one party Christian, and they compel the other party to be converted. Ganga Dashhara is observed on the banks of a tank or river. They immerse tribal head dress (Marriage) and other things in the river. They think the water as pure as the Ganges. Christians show that they are rich. They tell the people that we will advance money. They take their names. They say they will not take interest. Those who are given money, are asked to attend church. Christians say that shortly they will have Father or Christian Raj and they will be driven out and only the Christian will remain there. Others will be driven away. I have heard this. Preachers flatly deny this. All preachers know what is Jharkhand. Christians thought that with the abolition of States, they would be able to convert people to Christianity and have their own raj. Shri Jaipal Singh is the president of that party. They think of taking all the merged States in one zone. Here the tribals are in a large number. I saw a Pracharak speaking to 10 to 12 villagers. When I went there, he kept mum. Father Wanra said, ‘I do not support Jharkhand movement, but I cannot say what my men talk’. He said that Lutherans are in favour of it. My impression is that the Lutheran and the Catholics are both in favour of it. They have divided the area according to the various missions and they are all working in co-operation, though they do not show it openly.
Aryabandhu from Aryapratinidhi Sabha: I heard that there was an agreement between the Roman Catholics and Lutherans to work in particular areas. Lutherans get financial aid from the Roman Catholics. Salbha village is about five miles from Baikunthpur, where choti was cut off forcibly. Names of persons who were convicted for forcible conversion shown. He gives a number of complaints from several forcible converts.
The work of Arya Samaj is going on m this area since the last six months. I have come from Nagpur. I do not blame the Christian religion. They should hold their meetings in the open and if they are satisfied, they may be converted. They are all illiterate persons. We take our meetings in the open and explain to them. I preach Vaidik dharma. Baikunthpur is my centre. Christians have opened one hospital in Baikunthpur since about one year. There they charge some fees. By giving medicines, they convert people. I object to their becoming Christians, because thereby they lose their nationality and are reduced in number. I have no objection to people remaining Muslims and Christians. But they should not adopt the methods employed by them at present. We teach a person Gayatri Mantra. We do not show any attraction. So far only four persons have been reconverted. There are 30 Christians in my area. I had no clash with any Christian. Nobody came in my contact. I am 72 years of age.
Bhimsen Chopra: I am a social worker and a correspondent. I have to tour the whole district. I have several Christian friends. Two years ago m Sitapur and Geturma, I came to know that Christians were telling people to register their names for getting loans. In Pathalghon also I saw the same thing. I was given to understand that the Padri Saheb of America had come and people would get as much as they wanted. They were going to Lipti, Pidia and Dhatgodi in thousands to get their name registered with the agents at these places. Some days before I came here, some of the people met me and I was informed that they did not receive any amount though their names had been written. I saw an application only the other day. I have got the letter and shall produce it when required. I have got a magazine which gives this information. Name of the magazine is Dhambandhu of the Lutheran Church. Editor of the paper is Rev. Lakda (Mr. Lakda says that this is correct). (If copies of the last two years are available, they should he obtained from Rev. Lakda). There is a Mennonite Mission whose agent is Paul Avenger. In Vishnupur there is a Korwa. His daughter has been kidnapped by a Pracharak. He had to pay Rs. 300 as fine because his daughter was kidnapped. I am a member of R. S. S. The purpose of the register is to attract the adivasis to Christianity. (Abua Jharkhand of Ranchi). Sanjivan of Patni of 2nd or 17th August 1953 contains an article of Shri Francis. Hindus are termed as Dikkus in that article. I have got a book of about 150 pages which gives instructions about conversion. There is reference to Goa and it is said therein that the Goanese there are very happy. The present tension created in Goa is a mere show. This shows then trend of mind. They support Naga land movement of Assam (Catholic Digest magazine). There are articles contrary to our religion. Pakistan and America pact has been supported by this magazine. This is a Christian magazine. Even an illiterate adivasi says that America has helped us and our lot will be shortly improved. In school a boy was made Christian and was sent as a Pracharak. He has given a statement in the presence of prominent citizens of this thing. Always Rai from Belgium, informed me that if there is partiality against Christians, then they cannot improve their lot unless the have got their own raj, though personally he was against it.
Rev. Ekka: 90,000 has reference to special building programmes.
President, Tahsil Congress Committee: When Masih was A. D. C. here, he appointed 36 teachers in Jashpur schools who worked as Pracharaks. All the other servants also work as Pracharaks. Ratiram and Arjun, Mukhias of Pankas of Surajpur tahsil, have been given Rs. 50 and 40 respectively, and told that they should become Christians. While they were performing religious rites after death, they were advised by a Christians Pracharak that they should better become Christians, and called bad names to Hindus. Called a meeting of 2,000 Pankas on 31st. They said that all Christians are well-to-do. Hindu Brahmins do not perform your worships, then why do you remain Hindus? The meeting was called in Kaluwa.
A teacher in Samri: In 1952 Mr. Masih removed some teachers from 7th class and appointed those who had Mission School certificates. I was also removed from service. A Pracharak from Sariwa has kept a choti and says that he is Hindu. He is at present staying in Kusmi. In Gopatum village Christians came with chotis.
Yadubansa Narayan Singh: In 1949-51 he was in St. Xiever’s College in Bihar. There he saw discrimination against Hindus. They were not allowed to perform Saraswati puja in the hostel, whereas Christian students were allowed to perform their religious functions.
The 11th Iune 1954
Deopatram, Balrampur: I do not want to become a Christian, but missionaries try to influence me by saying that shortly there will be Jharkhand raj of the Christians and they will give salt and cloth, etc., at cheap rates. You will suffer if do not become Christian. Congress Government is not giving you happiness. There are no Christians in Balrampur. Preachers come here to say that you become Roman Christians. The preacher lives in Turidi.
Iswariprasad Tigga: I am a teacher. I live in Palamu in Bihar and look after the work of teacher and preacher here. There is a school in Marwah Kappa. I visit this place once a month at least. I receive Rs. 60 per month. I belong to the Church of Christ. There are six teachers. They are also pracharaks. There is also one missionary, Mr. Christie, to supervise their work. He stays here. All Christians are from Palamu. He has come here since the last three years. They are all Uraons. He is also an Uraon. I have passed Matriculation at Ranchi. When Pracharaks came, there was no Christian here. There are over 150 converts in my area, i.e., 60 to 70 families of Uraons. We teach them religion with their consent and when they grasp the things fully and express their willingness, they are given a holy bath first, and then prayer takes place and they are told that they have become Christians. When a man becomes Christian his family is also supposed to be belonging to Christian family. Only the adult is baptized. We use magic lanterns, gramophone and pictures to collect people. The local people say their religion is Purkha. We do not say anything about his religion. He says that ghost troubles him very much and requests us to show a way for betting rid of the ghost. I say that there is no ghost in our religion and if there is any trouble, Jesus will drive away the ghost. The villagers also say that there are troubles by others,. e.g., in the form of begar, taking away good things without payment or paying less. I tell them that unless you are educated, these troubles are bound to recur. So we educate ding schools also, they are not taught properly. If we have our own arrangements for schooling, it would be alright. Therefore, we have got schools where we treat them properly. Regarding finances, we ask them to make their own arrangements. If they do not do it, we arrange it. We do not charge interest and there is also no time-limit for repayment. We help the non-Christians also, but not so much. No land has been donated to us by any Uraon so far.. There is lot of trouble to our Pracharaks in their work. Hindus form a meeting and oppose us after we leave the place. This is our main complaint. I have learnt this from my Pracharaks. Hindus do not interfere so long as we are having our meetings.
Prabhudas Kashyap, Uraon Christian: Kashyap is my gotra. Born Christian. Comes from Palamu. I have come here since about three years. The name of our mission is British Church of Christ. Josi lives here. He is a missionary of our church. I get Rs. 53 as pay (43 pay + 10 allowance). There are rules for promotion. Formerly, I was a teacher in Palamu. I was getting the same pay there. I have done my 9th and teachers’ training course. If a man does good work, he is given more work. I am in charge of one school and one village. Palamu’s headquarters are Bhandaria, 25 miles from here. So also Balrampur. Three or four people of Marwah had come to Palamu and they said that they want a school at their place. Bisram Kujur has come to Marwa with two-three teachers. He is a pracharak. A school was opened there with two or three students. They had brought more teachers with the hope that students would come from other villages and open schools there also. There are schools in three villages now at Sahapur, Tirtipara and Karcha. There are six villages having schools, and preachers-cum-teachers. There are no churches in those villages. When we have money we will have our church buildings there. Now prayers, etc., are offered in somebody’s house. Nawabhandar is the headquarters of this church. We are abused by Hindus and also beaten. They do not directly attack us as Christians. When we try to hold meetings, we apprehend that the Hindus would not allow us to conduct them. There are three border-corden check people. I was arrested and asked to show D. C.’s pass to stay in that place or also he would thrust the spear. I told him that according to the constitution everybody is free to propagate his own religion. Naka Sepai simply said that I should be harrassed because I was a Christian. I was blamed for smuggling 15 seers of rice. I was prosecuted. The Judgment is out now and they have been acquitted. We were also threatened by the Naka Munshi not to open school. We were also troubled when we attempted to dig a well for the use of the public in Deepan Uraon’s field. Patwari said that was on the road and he harrassed us. We have dug the well in spite of patwari’s o position and nothing has happened. Four persons were prosecuted by the Naka Sepoy out of 35 Christians. There is a school in the village. I do not know whether it belongs to Janapada or Tribal Welfare Dept.
Basu Toppo Uraon of Marwah Jodhpur of Roman Mission. - A field was given to him by gaonthia. It was supposed to have been haunted by ghosts and nobody cultivated it. I brought it under cultivation. The gaonthia wants the land back from me now. I paid him rent of Rs. 2-8-0 per year. I had to face difficulties in cultivating the land. My buffaloes died one year.
One non-Christian complained that gaonthia gave land to a Christian instead of giving it to him though he is a tribal.
The 12th June. 1954.
Attendance-300. (Attendance is slack as the cultivation operations have started and it is morning time when the people are busy). Villages-36
Dhanuram of Jamora, Uraon: Christians say “We don’t treat the Congress Government as Government. We don’t care for Government officers. If you join us, we will give you 12 yards of cloth in one rupee. We will give you salt, plough, bullocks and free money. We will have Jharkhand Raj within 10 years, when all will be converted”. The Christian Pracharak who says this is from Patora. They do not tell their real names.
Chamruram of Gagoli, Uraon: The word “Ram” is in my name from my very birth. There is Roman Mission in Patora. They say that Uraons are not Hindus. Gandhi Mahatma has prescribed Christian religion for them. There is Bhoot in the choti, so we should not keep it. If we get converted, ghost cannot trouble us. Money allurement is shown. Fagun, Karma, Dashera are observed by Uraons.
John Lakda, Father from Patora: There are both Roman and Lutheran Missions in Patora, which is 63 miles from Dhorpur. He is under the Bishop of Ginabahar, formerly Ranchi. Gumla is the nearest centre, in Ranchi from Patora. Came to Patora on 8th December 1952 from Mandar (17 miles west of Ranchi) I am an Uraon born a Christian, educated in Ranchi St. John’s School. I went to seminary in Ranchi, and was made a priest. I worked in Ranchi, Jashpur (Tapkara, 1943-47), Genpur (1948-50), then to Mandar, 52 December came to Patora. There is a small house having two rooms, in one I live and in the other we hold prayers. In May 1952 I was sent by the Bishop to this area to have a general look. I visited villages on the Ambikapur--Kharsia road, Rajpur thana, Lakhanpur, with a view to find out whether the people would like to come to Christianity or not. They said that you are far away. If you come to stay with us and we know your ways, we will become Christians. I thought there was some hope. I saw in them some sort of willingness to become Christians to improve their lot.
They saw what facilities were there for education, medical help they were given by Christians, paddy bank, etc. I told a good many people that the Christians were happy in other places I told them that we look to the material welfare of the men and not only the soul. I found that the people were not educated. They did not know the value of schools. A Roman Catholic priest was sent to Bania. I did not visit that area, 21st mile on the Kharsia road. He has got his own area. My Bishop give the areas. Some persons had come in 1948-49. Father Vanroy in Ambikapur had come prior to my coming, i.e., about 1952 January. He was in charge. He gave me an idea of where I should go. Before I came there were five Fathers in Surguja district. 30 Pracharaks work under me. I gave a report in writing of my, experience. I said that if we go there, there is hope. First thing is to make them of our faith, then we open schools and afford other facilities. A Roman Catholic preacher goes and he asks them that lie is a preacher and whether they want to keep him. If they want, they give him shelter; he lives there. We tell them if you want, we can send them to Jashpur or other places. We have got Mutual Aid Society to advance money. In all the centres in Jashpur there is Mutual aid Society. All the members have to contribute. A certain amount is fixed. For paddy, we call Dhangola; for money, we call bank. We distribute grain on the basis of Sawai, ¼th extra. With the money collected, we give loans to the needy members. Interest is given on their money to the members out of profit. There is a Munshi for each centre. We appeal to the rich persons to deposit their money in the bank. They do not give to other Societies, because the amount is hardly enough for the members. They do not borrow from others. Each bungalow has a centre. One Father is appointed to advise each bungalow. He advises whether money should be given or not; they have got byelaws which are followed. In times of scarcity, we give for their consumption also. The Committee and the members decide whether money should he advanced in emergencies. Only Christians are members. It is advisable not to give to non-Christians. I do not get any pay. I get allowance. Rs. 30 is given to each Pracharak. A conveyance (motor cycle) is given by the Bishop to those Fathers who have to tour much.
Bishop meets all the expenses in connection with cars, jeeps, tractors etc. We have got several Committees in foreign countries from which amount is collected. That is received here and spent by the Bishop. Since my coming here, 100 persons have come to my faith, i.e., they are baptized. One-fourth of them are women. If the parents embrace Christianity, their minor children also get baptized. Adult children are instructed and they are baptized independently. There were 126 Christians before I came here. They came from Jashpur to settle down. There was not a single local Christian. No material benefit has been conferred on these 100 converts. If they come in big nos., we can manage for dhangola and grain bank. The people who have come from Jashpur have settled on lands No help to the bank from outside. We do not ask people to become Christians because it is blot our work. Dhanu is the proper Uraon name. Because now they are counting themselves as Hindus, they are putting the word ‘Ram’. People receive us very well. For half a year, we were peaceful. Then gradually communists began to stir the whole people. They asked the man who gave the shelter, w it was given and the man was threatened. I am 40 and I have put in 15 years of service. Any priest can become, a Bishop.
A Lutheran Pastor: We have accepted Christianity by studying Bible and we have been able to improve our lot in dress, education and money. That is the evidence and our Experience. I tell people that if they want to share our improvement, they are welcome to Christianity. Rev. Kirpadan is the head. There are six Pracharaks working under me in two centres, Catholics are bachelors, Lutherans are married. Catholics respect Mary more whereas Lutherans respect Isa. There is no conflict between the different Christian sects. No cases of Lutheran christians becoming Catholics. He was trained in Ranchi.
Budhu of Parpodi: Pracharaks have entered his house forcibly. I am not being paid rent. They are friends of Patora Pastor. Nabib Pracharak has entered his house (Pastor says this). If he does not want to allow we will not remain there.
Another villager: Lunda of Nowdhia, who is a Christian, has taken over the land of this boy (pointing out the boy). It is on the border. Since five or six years he has taken it. The preacher of Lunda appears.
Preacher of Lunda: I am a Christian of Roman Mission. (He is having a chuti). I became a Christian willingly. I was not shown any inducement. Murti Puja is not required in Christianity, therefore, I like it. We are poor people and, therefore, we cannot afford it. We were told there are Bhoot and other things and we have to pay. Government servants take begar from us. We were doing begar formerly and do it even now. I have a cultivation of one plough. We may take loan if required, but they will recover interest.
Each police officer has a confidential diary which gives a report of Jharkhand every week. We have no instructions to preach politics. We simply speak of religion and not politics. We say there is God’s raj. You find out his religion and you will get it. We need not worry about anything. In God’s Raj everybody will have everything.
Tite 12th June 1954.
Attendance - 2,000.
Shri Malviya introduced the Committee and the Chairman explained its purpose.
Badiram of Jajga, a janpad councillor: Some Christians came to my village. I told them that we do not want to become Christians. On this, they threatened. We worship Ram and Krishna. The Christians say, ‘The Congress Government does not give land and wood’. I am a member of Janapada. Christians move in numbers and abuse me.
Jangsahay Michael Tirkey of Lalitpur: Roman Catholic since the last two years. Parents are also Christians. There are in all 100, houses in the basti. Patel and patwari say that if people become Christians, they will not get land. Patel Nanusao also troubles. The Pracharak has come from Jashpur. I get an allowance of Rs. 5 per mensem as I help the Pracharak. There are 12 Christian families in the village (on interpellation by the people, he says that his parents are dead).
Lodhi (new name Petros) Uraon: I am a new Christian. I have been baptized. My choti is not cut. Patwari threatened me saying that if you become Christian, your land will be taken away. He has land for three ploughs. I have the land from the very beginning. My mother is not yet converted. Nobody has yet taken the land.
Sarveshwarnath Kunwar of Sitapur: Missionaries kept their agents at three places and announced that they will get loan. I had also gone to take the loan. I was told that so long as you do not become a Christian, you will not get loan. This condition was not announced before. Alamsahay and Kanwarsahay made the announcement.
Alamsahay of Bitwa: Pediawala Gaotia Kanwarsahay asked me to announce that those who want loan should be asked to get their names registered; I wrote the names of 60 to 70 persons. Pratapgarh and Sitapur people had been there. Those people had been to Pedia. I did not get anything for doing the work. The Saheb who had come to Pedia (he was a white man) said ‘If you become Christians, you will get the loan otherwise not’.
Kathal Mouza People: Inducement of education to children. Asked them not to send children to Government schools. Christians were given land to live first and helped him to steal wood from the forest.
Sukhiram Uraon of Deogarh, cultivator: Belongs to Dubki Mission. Christianed two years before. Rs. 30 per month pay since the last one year. He supports the statements made by others that he is threatened.
Bhandariram, M.L.A.: In Manipur there was a Pracharak who was staying in a house, the original occupants of which had gone outside the village for work. He was asked to vacate by them on return, but he declined to vacate. We collected people from the villages and asked them whether they accepted the religion. The villagers flatly refused it. Therefore, the Pracharak was asked to quit the village. Father Kirpadani came the next day and asked people to keep him for some days as he would teach their children. Then the Father called me alone after some days and told me that he was doing everything for the tribal people. I was also told by the Father that my tenure of M.L.A. ship was very short as soon after the Congress Government was to go, and Jharkhand was to be formed.
One Kurwai: Reported that his wife was kidnapped by a Christian. He is Rao ‘Bhat’. Christians tell him that he should not beg. He should become a Christian and then he will get everything without begging.
Soma Uraon Christian of Roman Catholic Church: Only four representatives have been taken to the Nagpur and Delhi Legislatures. More representation should have been given to the adivasis.
The 13th June 1954.
The Committee held discussions with the Deputy Commissioner, District Superintendent of Police, and the District Inspector of Schools, Raigarh, in the afternoon of the 13th June 1954.
There were several complaints of non-recognition of Christian schools in the district. The District Inspector of Schools was requested to send a comprehensive note on this subject, together with copies of relevant correspondence.
2. The District Superintendent of. Police gave in brief the nature of crimes attributed to Christian missionaries. He was of the view that Uraon community was selected by missionaries for conversion because of their poverty and illiteracy.
3. The Deputy Commissioner informed the Committee that names of students in Christian schools are changed. This has come to his notice recently. School authorities maintain two registers. He read out a report in which a case of Gholang was given, where the student’s name was changed. All these cases were from Roman Catholic Schools.
Ever since the announcement of Boundary Commission, Christians are making an open propaganda for Jharkhand.
The census figures show a very rapid change of Christian population. For example, in 1941, there were 30 Christians in Jashpur, whereas in 1951, there were 9,000. This was the case in other places in the district also.
According to the Father’s letter, dated the 19th April 1954, he had baptized a large number of people, but they were not shown as such in the census figures. He pointed out to the Deputy Commissioner that the census enumeration system was partial.
Detailed information and notes on the subject of census were decided to be collected from the authorities concerned.
In continuation of the same meeting, Shri V. G. Deshpande, Madhya Pradesh General Secretary, All-India Hindu Mahasabha, was granted interview by the Committee. Shri Deshpande wanted to know the procedure and other details regarding Committee’s work. He was told that the Committee was not generally in favour of employment of lawyer by parties, because it was not a judicial enquiry, though the Committee had not yet decided anything in the matter. Shri Deshpande was also informed by the Secretary that the complaints received by the Committee were open to inspection in the Committee’s office in Nagpur. The parties may also take notes, if they require them.