CAMP: RAIPUR (22-7-1955)
I confirm the statement which I have filed in reply to the questionnaire. I have not cared to enquire as to the exact denominations of the Missions, which are working here but I have been observing that the Missions have been trying to propagate their religion from 40 years but they have intensified their efforts since 1948 after India attained Independence. The number of preachers has been increased. The preachers include foreigners as well as Indians who have been converted to Christianity. I came across a Christian school teacher, who had come from Pharsabhadar to my village Thelki, told me that although he was actually getting Rs. 30, his salary was shown Rs. 60 in order to get increased grants. He had come to induce a farmer by name Dehra resident of my village to commit his son to his charge for education. The boy may be about 5 to 6 years of age. The farmer came to consult me. He is Satnami by caste. So I advised him not to comply with the preacher’s request as I thought that once he goes under the Christian influence he would embrace Christianity. The teacher generally goes out for preaching and he tries to induce the people to send their sons to is school telling them that by becoming Christians they will improve their social status as in Hindu society the Satnamis are not treated with respect. I learnt from people that the preachers even declare that the King Janak was a Christian-pointing out a text of Tulsidas’s Ramayan in which the word Girja occurs Girja Pujan Janani Pathai Sar Samip Giraja Griha Soha. As the Hindi equivalent for church is Girja Ghar, the preachers try to mislead the people. The people, who actually heard the preacher, told me about this.
Until the malguzari right was abolished I was the malguzar of 26 villages, which I used to often visit in the course of management and there I used to hear the reports. In these villages there are some which have got very preponderating majority of the Satnamis and in some villages there may be in a minority. In village Vishrampur, which adjoins my village Kolhey, almost all the Satnamis have embraced Christianity. I have seen the preachers sitting in a gathering of 20-25 persons. I have not heard what they preach because as soon as the people saw me they left the gathering. I am the head of the religious organisation known as Vaishnaopanth. The preachers sometimes used to visit my quarters also and I used to provide t6em with necessaries.
Formerly, I did money-lending business nearabout Rs. 4 lakhs. I used to charge interest varying from annas 8 to Rs. 1-8-0 per cent per month. Some of my debtors used to incur debt from Christians and they have become Christians. The terms and conditions on which loans were borrowed from Christians are not known to me.
It is a general report in the villages that the preachers get some reward for conversions brought about by them. I cannot say exactly about the improvement of their moral character but I know that after conversion to Christianity people change their occupation such as from farming to that of teachership or other Government service.
I have no objection, if there are special classes started for the preaching of different religions. I approve of such scheme in order to avoid complications in the schools. When I say that by conversion man’s attitude to the Indian culture is affected, I mean that the Missionary institutions get their inspiration and supplies of money from other countries and naturally they would be attracted by the culture of foreign countries and they would gradually come to disregard the Indian tradition and culture. If the monetary assistance which is received from foreign countries is stopped, then the Christians would be standing on the same footing as Jains, Buddhist, etc. In my opinion, an Indian national has got the full freedom under the Constitution to preach and propagate his religion, but a foreigner is not entitled to such privileges.
A man after conversion to Christianity loses respect for the great persons in India of history, such as, Maharana Pratap, Buddha, Ramkrishna, etc. I concede that the missions have done good work in the field of education and medical relief, etc., but their intentions are not good. They are prompted by the motive of proselytising them. Conversion generally takes place among scheduled castes, i.e., Harijans and among the Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes).
at the request of Rev. Gurbachan Singh. - I cannot give you the name
of the teacher about whom I have said that he gets Rs. 30 instead of Rs.
60. He was a teacher in the Pharsabhadar school. This may be
about 8 or 9 years back. My village is near Vishrampur. I learnt
in the village that there was a majority of Satnamis in that village formerly,
but that many of them had adopted Christianity. In that village,
besides Satnamis, there are other classes such as Marwaris, Kurmis.
About Vishrampur itself, I am stating definitely that inducement such as
educational facilities, medical relief, monetary help by way of lending
money and the hope of elevation of their social status is offered.
In village Ghirmi, which belonged to me, there were about 8 families of
Christians but there was a preponderance of Satnami population. All
the converted families were Satnamis formerly. In Abhanpur village
there are some Christians residing near the station. I cannot say where
they got converted to Christianity as they were not my tenants. I
cannot give the name of the teacher about whom I said that he received
reward for conversion. My general information was based on reports
prevailing in villages. I have no personal knowledge. All converts
that I know of my village were Satnamis and it is out of them that preachers
were appointed. They may be about 4 or 5. I cannot say how many of
the converted Christians were educated before their conversion. I
know that Indians also go abroad for preaching Hindu religion but their
main object is not conversion as it is of the Christian Missionaries.
I cannot say whether the people in other countries have embraced Hindu
religion because of preaching. When there is a preaching of any religion,
it is quite possible that some may be influenced, and if he is convinced
about the soundness he may be converted. I have not read lives of
converts from religions other than Hinduism. I do not know the names of
Sadhu Sunder Singh Narayan Waman Tilak, etc.
I am an inmate of the Leper Asylum for the last twenty years. Prior to 8 or 9 years, it was a Mission Hospital. It now belongs to Government. I the disease about 25 years back and tried to secure admission into the Mission Asylum about 21 years ago. I was told by Munsi, pastor-in-charge that I would not be admitted, unless I become a Christian. I was not willing. I remained outside for four or five days there. When I suffered too much I told Munsi, pastor, that I would become a Christian. I was then admitted into the Asylum. My baptism took place about two months after I was admitted to the Asylum. During this time they were giving me troubles and made me to do all the work myself. They said that I would get free treatment and other facilities after baptism. Twice a week a pastor from Raipur used to visit the asylum and give instructions to us about Christian religion. I did not like it, but then I had to submit because of pressure. After baptism a Christian name was given to me; now I have forgotten. I remained a Christian for about 12 years. During this time I used to read Bible. I was not permitted to read any Hindu Scripture. There might be hardly 3 or 4 persons in the Asylum as Hindus and the rest were Christians.
7 or 8 years ago the Asylum was taken over by Government. When we
came to know about this we gave an application stating that we had been
forcibly converted to Christianity and in reality we wanted to follow our
old Hindu religion. We requested in the petition that we may be allowed
to come back to our old religion, i.e., Hinduism. On our petition,
the District Magistrate went to the hospital and enquired from us whether
we had given the application voluntarily. On our telling that we
had given it willingly, our application was granted. At that time,
there were about 100 inmates including females. The application had
been given by all. All the applicants gave up Christianity.
At present there are some Christian patients in the Asylum. No pressure
had been brought on us when we gave the application. During the time
when I was there, many other patients used to he admitted. They were
admitted only as Christians and those who were not agreed to become Christians
had to go back All 'of them have now renounced Christianity.
Nos. 3, 3 (a) and 3 (b)
son of Farkut.
and Mojiram are inmates of the hospital for the last 11 years. They
state that they had adopted Christianity for some years so long as the
hospital was under the management of Christians and now they have renounced
Christianity and reverted to Hinduism because the Hindu officers have taken
charge of the hospital. Nobody asked us to become Hindu. No
pressure was brought on us to become Hindus.
Akhil Bharatiya Satnami Mahasabha has its headquarters at Mahasamund, and was started 6 or 7 years ago. The object of the Sabha was to improve the condition of the Satnami community. This Sabha is affiliated to the Schedule Castes Federation which is led by Dr. Ambedkar. Having suffered from the hands of Hindus, we started this organisation to enable Satnamis to exercise their own rights and to prevent them from becoming Christians, Muslims, etc. Our organisation consists of 7 members. There are about 4 lakhs Satnamis in Raipur, Bilaspur and Durg districts. I do propaganda amongst Satnamis as per aims and objects of the Hindu Mahasabha. Most of the Christian converts are from Satnamis. Some Satnamis also became converts to Islam as a result of injustice to them by the Hindu society arid the Government.
was caste system and untouchability amongst Hindus and Government made
no more efforts for the uplift and education of Satnamis whereas on the
other hand Christians were not treated as untouchables, were given equal
status and got employment, etc., and, therefore, many Satnamis became converts
to Christianity Satnamis become converts because they read the religious
literature distributed amongst them by preachers of Christianity.
We want to remain as Hindus and fight for our rights. They distribute
Bible, exhibit films and carry on propaganda. We have reconverted
two Christians to Satnamis. We wear sacred threads (Janau).
Sunderlal was a Brahman and he first asked us to wear Janau and cheated
I had sent the letter, dated 26th January 1955, on behalf of the Sanatan Dharma Rakshini Arya Pratinidhi Sabha. This is a reply to the Questionnaire. I settled at Basna about a year and half ago. Prior to that I was working in Delhi State. In course of my routine work and also for propaganda on behalf of the Sabha I am required to visit about 350 villages round about Basna. I am not paid worker of the Sabha. At Saraipali, there is a Roman Catholic Mission, and in Basna, the Mennonite Mission functions. Besides schools and hospitals, these Missions do preaching of their religion and later on convert.
I know one Jogeshwar who got a gift of 30 acres of land as an inducement for him to become a Christian. He got the gift of land but he later on recoiled from his promise to be a convert to Christianity on the ground that his wife was opposed to that. This occurred 10 years ago. Jogeshwar is living and can be called to appear before this Enquiry Committee, if necessary. I know also another case which occurred last year. It was of one Rishi Harijan who had become reconvert to Hindu religion. When his brother was ill, he approached Dr. Dester of Jagdishpur for treatment. Dr. Dester asked him to become a Christian before he could be treated. He also offered an inducement that his child would be treated free. He demanded Rs. 25 in case he did not accept his first proposal. Rishi was compelled to pay this big amount. Rishi is willing to appear before the Committee but he is unable to bear the expenses. He produces the letter which he received from Rishi. About six months back I had gone to a village Palsabadi. This is inhabited mostly by Christians. I expressed my desire to preach my religion there. When the pastor arrived and objected to my preaching, I told him that being a preacher himself he should not object to my preaching. We decided to go to the village church where he promised to give me time to speak. There was a gathering of about 60 persons which included 3 or 4 Christians. The pastor started his preaching, in course of which he indicated that Jesus Christ was the only Saviour and people should not have faith in idol worship, wearing of sacred thread, keeping of choti, etc. About Krishna he said that he was a debauch and kept 16,000 wives. The followers of his religion should not regard him as their King and God, and his religion cannot be called true religion. Winding up his speech in common prayer he stated that a Saitan (referring to me) was present in the gathering and advised people that if they were to listen to my advice they would go to hell, I was also given permission to speak. I explained the implications of my religion from beginning and tried to clarify some of the points raised by the pastor before the gathering I spoke for about half an hour. The atmosphere throughout remained peaceful.
Examined by Rev. Gurbachan Singh-
got a dispensary in Basna where I stock my medicines, but there is no board
to indicate that I am a medical practitioner. It is not correct that
Rishi was excommunicated from Christian religion. The report of Rishi
given by me to the Commission (attached) is in Hindi. He- got it
written by somebody and it bears his signature. I am unable to say
whether lie is literate or not. He did not sign his name before me.
Dr. Samuel is a medical practitioner at Mahasamund. He along with his followers visits Mahasamund markets and carries on preaching of Christianity. I heard his preaching. Dr. Samuel said in the course of his preaching that Salvation lies only through Jesus and not through Ram, whose wife was snatched away, and he himself had to live in jungle. One Ramu of Bastar, who had three sons, 2 of whom died and the third son became ill, came to us. We said that the only way to save him was to have belief in Christ and he did believe in Christ and he was baptised and he lived, so you see which religion you should follow? So long as there was Christian rule in India, the people were happy as life was easier, things were cheaper. Even, now your Government, i.e., Indian Government, depends upon America for its supply of wheat and also gets loan of money. That is how Indian Government is able to maintain its-elf. So if you become Christian, you will also be happy like us.
Dr. Samuel, addressing the Harijans, says that the laws passed by the Government are ineffective. They cannot help the Harijans in any way. The only course for the Harijans is to embrace Christianity so that they will demand full rights of equality in society and also be in a position to demand a separate State for themselves, as the Naga Christians in Assam are doing and others in Jharkhand . He cited the example of Pakistan and said that they would also, get a separate State for themselves. In his dispensary are exhibited placards containing a writing to the effect that those who worship idols will have to suffer in Hell as insects. This has a tendency to incite people.
In June 1955, a girl by name Jaggarbai, aged 13 years, was called by Samuel to his house under the pretence of doing some service and she was confined in the house at night. When the people discovered that the girl was in that house she was brought out. When the mother protested against the conduct of Samuel, Samuel said that she had become Christian, and she hacks lost bet caste. She, therefore, could not be admitted into the Hindu religion. The matter had been reported to Police on 12-6-1955. It bears her thumb-impression.
at the request of Rev. Gurbachan Singh- Dr. Samuel is a medical
practitioner. Dr. Samuel it citizen of India. Many people must have
heard what was said by Dr. Samuel in the bazar. I do riot know whether
Police took any action
Name-(1) Gowardhan Dhanaji Gujrathi, (2) Gajananrao and (3) Ganpatrao.
The account given by Shri Jatashankar Sharma of the preaching of Dr. Samuel is true and we corroborate as we were present and heard it.
also preaches that rivers like the Ganga and Jamuna, which are regarded
as sacred by Hindus, are everyday polluted and no Salvation can be had
through them. Hindu Gods and Goddesses are decried and ridiculed
Mennonite Mission functions at Dhamtari. They have a hospital, high school and primary schools in Shantipur village. They have a Leper Asylum at village Shantipur about 5 miles from Dhamtari.
Committee last visited Dhamtari, I presented a statement on 15th July 1954.
Some persons from Dhamtari have come today to substantiate the allegations
made in the statement, dated the 15th July 1954.
This village originally belonged to one Bisuji Pawar and was taken by Rev, Restler in 1907. As soon as he got possession of the village, he demolished the temples of Thakurdeo and Mata Deola and on the site he built his own bungalow. To the west of the Basti was the stone of Satbanidevi (village deity). This stone was broken and used for purposes of building.
Mr. Bear who was the manager of the village objected to the image of Ravan in the year 1951 which was made in connection with the celebration of Ramlila at the time of Daserah. When the Hindus asked for permission to have it atleast for a day, he said that he would not tolerate idol worship in his village.
There was another incident in 1951 when Ramayan recital was made and the servant of Rev. Bear arrived there and took objection to the recital of Ramayan without the permission of his master. Then, there was a hot altercation between myself and the servant. In that village, the Hindus are in minority, and there are such clashes occurring from time to time. There are other instances in which Hindus are debarred from following the village customs. We have made many reports about this to Deputy Commissioner and other officers.
Rev. Gurbachan Singh.- Patel of the village is a Hindu. There
are 8 members in the Gram Panchayat, out of whom, 5 are Hindus and 3 Christians.
Rev. Bear left the place 3 years ago. Except a few Sounjyas, all
are Christians. Dhansahay and Budhram, who were Hindus, were in the
service of Rev. Bear. There are Thakurdeo and Mata installed elsewhere.
The original place of village deity has now been changed by us to another
place after it was demolished by Christians. Christian’s are in majority
in the village. The Patel was not elected by the Gram Panchayat but
who is now a teacher in Dhamtari School is my younger brother. He
became a Christian 8 or 9 years ago. When he was young, I got him
admitted in the Balodgahan school. For two years, the expenses were
borne by me. Thereafter Jiwanlal said that he had been awarded a
scholarship and, therefore, it was not necessary for me to incur any expenditure.
He was in the Balodgaban school for ten years. Thereafter he went
to Dhamtari High School. There he studied for three years and went
to Bangalore. On return from there he is working as a Teacher in
the Dhamtari High School, Dhamtari. It was only last year when he
married a Christian lady we came to know that he had become a Christian.
Before that he had been telling us that he was getting scholarship from
the Mission and as such no expenses were required to be incurred by us.
Before marriage he used to visit us on few occasions. I do not know when
my brother became a Christian.
No. 11 (Date 23-7-1955)
Up to the 8th standard I was educated at my own expenses, i.e., expenses of my family. In the ninth class, I was awarded scholarship. I cannot say whether it was from Missionary funds or Government. I got this scholarship on my merit. I was in the Mission High School and I was influenced by the Christianity teaching. I was convinced of the truth of Christianity when I was 16 but I was not baptised then as I was a minor. On attaining majority in the year 1943, I was baptised, and members of my family disliked my becoming a Christian and they tried to dissuade me. I used to usually reside in the hostel but during the vacation I used to go to my home and meet the people. We are still as we were before on talking terms we also dine with each other.
Except that we differ in religion our social relations are as like those as members of the family. I got one of my brothers trained in the normal school at my own expenses but he has not embraced Christianity. I was married in the year 1953 to a Christian girl. Among Christians, we do not observe caste. I was sent to Bangalore in the year 1945 for studies in theological College. I was there up to 1948. I got a loan from the Mennonite Mission and I repaid. My ancestral religion was Kabirpanth. I belong to Teh Samaj. I was familiar with Hindu religion as well as the teachings to Kabir. I am impressed by the doctrine of redemption, viz., Jesus died for the Sins of humanity. My conversion was riot due to any inducement by the Missionary. There has been no other case of non-Christian boy to Christianity from the Mennonite High School and the majority of the school is non-Christians. The non-Christians students in the High School do not attend the Bible lesson but only moral instruction.
last two years Bible is no longer taught as one of the subjects.
is my second cousin. We came to know about his conversion to Christianity
about 3-4 Years ago, when he was married. He never told us that he
became a Christian and he told us that he got a scholarship.
who was living in my neighbourhood, sold a site to 2 Hindu for Rs. 10.
He wanted to purchase. He was a Christian and the Pastor of the Church
took him to task for having parted with the land to a Hindu threatening
that the small allowances that he was getting from the Church would be
ceased. Thereafter, the old man wanted to cancel the transaction
of sale. I had purchased the land for Rs. 10 for the use of Hindu society
looking to his distressed condition I revoked the transfer and got back
Rs. 10 and returned the land to him. The name of the Pastor is Sukhlal.
Gond was suffering from disease in the leg. He went to the Christian
hospital at Balodgahan for treatment. The doctors there said: “we wont
treat you unless you become Christian”. He was in distress. He said
that he would become Christian. He died last year. All this happened
before me. He died as a Christian.
About four years ago my mother by name Gangabai w an in-patient in the Evengelical Hospital, Tilda. I used to visit the hospital during that time. From my personal knowledge I say that in the general ward among the poor patients the pictures of Krishna and the Gopis bathing in the Jamuna, of Ram going to the forest on one side, and the picture of Jesus on the other used to be displayed between 12 and 3 p.m. everyday. The preacher, who had come from Dehra Dun, used to ell them that the Krishna was a man of bad character and Ram also had to leave his house on account of disobedience to his parents, and then he used to ask questions how can such Gods save you? On the other hand, look at Jesus, at whose birth Krishna, Ram and Shankar and Viswamitra turned up to see the new-born Baby (for Darshan).
Mr. A. B. Shinde, Advocate, Jubbulpore.- The pictures that I mention
were those which are ordinarily sold in the markets. I had objected to
this. I did not report to anybody. People from Bhatapara go
to Tilda for treatment. I told about this to the people of Bhatapara.
I also reported this to Shri Ganpat Rao Naidu belonging to Rashtriya Swayamsewak
Sangh. The preacher had come for four days and it was he, who had
exhibited these pictures.
I was a Hindu first. Then I became a Christian. Subsequently I changed my mind and performed Shuddhi ceremony and became Hindu again. The Policeman by name Pitambardas came to know of it. He came to my village one night at about 8 p.m. and called me. I came. He asked me as to what was my name. I gave him my name. You were a Christian and now became Hindu. I will see your marks, show me the mark on your body. I took out my Kurata and there was no mark. Then he said there is a mark on car, pointing to the ear-hole. I said that was not an ear-mark but it was ear-hole. He threatened me to send to Jail and also the person who converted me. He gave me a few slaps. This is about a year back. I reported this matter to the Police. I also informed some people in the village. I do not know what happened afterwards. I was converted to the Mennonite Church.
One Manohar, who is a Christian, is my son-in-law. My daughter was married to him when I was a Christian. That son-in-law of mine refused to take my daughter to me even though the daughter protested that she had not become a Hindu and why he should not take her. He insisted that unless her father changed his religion and became a Christian he would not take her back. She used to bring pressure on me to reconvert myself to Christianity.
Now my daughter being afraid of ill-treatment by her husband, she would rather remain with me than go to her husband under such condition.
To Mr, Shinde.- I was never ex-communicated from the Church. My mother was a Christian. My father, who was Christian, died. My brother, who was a Christian once, has now reverted to Hinduism. The whole of my family has now come back to Hinduism. My brother’s name is Jogindra. My daughter was married about three or four years ago. She returned to my house about 10 months ago. After marriage she used to come off-and-on to my house.
My sister is a Christian.
I had once taken my wife for treatment to Jagdishpur Mission Hospital. I went to the doctor. He gave me a slip and directed me to the cashier and then I went to the cashier by name Illiashid. (Dr. Dester is a foreigner.) Then that cashier asked whether I wanted the welfare of my patient and then he again repeated the same question. I said decidedly I want that she should be cured then he said “you have to bring faith in Christ, if you want that she should be cured otherwise you can go away”.
Anyhow my wife was admitted and there I found that they have to offer Christian Prayers in the morning at 7 a.m. That is practically indispensable not only to the patients but to their men. They give all sorts of stories of their religion. There was a leper who went to a Rishi, who was Bhakta of Ram, and asked him to cure him. The leper could not be cured by the Rishi. Then, while returning back, he found Jesus on the way. He prayed to him and he was cured. Jesus cured him. Look here, the preacher says, the difference between our Lord and your Lord. They also distribute Bibles and show pictures. A lot of difference in the charges flat a non-Christian has to pay. Their treatment to a non-Christian who shows some spirit for his religion is almost intolerable.
Mr. A. B. Shinde.- After that incident, I did not go to the hospital.
The reason why I did not go to the hospital was that there was no occasion.
She stayed in the hospital for 10 days and she was cured. I was also
in the hospital once. I have no grievance against the actual treatment.
I do not know any other Hindu patients who go there.
I took my wife to the Jagdishpur Mission Hospital, who was suffering from pain in leg. The compounder, who was in charge of the hospital by name Yudhistir, asked me to go to the Prayer Hall and join the Prayer. I said, “I am attending my wife” but he insisted that I should go to the Prayer. As he insisted, I had to go there.
Shri Shinde.- Yudhistir is not in the hospital now. But he was
there in charge as compounder in 1950.
In the village Shirko, there is a fair population of Christians and there they stage dramas, They make idols of earth representing the Hindu deities and another representing the man. They keep a wooden sword on the neck image of man. Then they ask the people: who is to save this man and one man comes assuming the form of Christ and then it is pointed out that it is. He alone that can save. They ask the people to give up idol worship and have faith in Christ who alone will help them- to go to Heaven. Jackson, who is an Indian and others from outside come to the village for preaching.
Shri Shinde.- In the village, the Hindus are in majority and Christians
in minority. The patel is Radheshyam, a Hindu. Kotwar is also
Hindu. There are 10 members in the Gram Panchayat. There is
no Christian member. These dramas are occasionally staged.
The last was held a year ago. The villagers are invited to witness
the drama. The Hindus are few who attend. They may be about
40 or 50.
Name-Shri Chakra Pani
I represent Bhatapara Baloda Bazar Constituency. I am Chairman of the Baloda Bazar Janapada also. In this area, the Missions have three dispensaries and a number of schools. The number of schools have been closed and have been taken over by the Janpada Sabha.
stage, all the dispensaries and schools have been closed. So far
as I am aware, I do not remember that any conversion took place in the
There is a Mission school at Shirko. There are four teachers and all are Christians. They are also preachers. They teach Christian religion in the school. I asked them to engage a Hindu teacher to teach Hindu religion to Hindu boys but they refused to do so. Accordingly, I sent my son to the Janapada school, which is being held in the private house as there is no school-building yet ready.
Shri A. B. Shinde.- Hindus made no contribution to the school.
Name-Mahant Nayandas, M.L.A.
I have been a member of the Legislative Assembly for three terms. I am Secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Satnami Sabha. Muktawandas was Satnami Guru. Adi Guru is Ghasidas. He was the Guru of Satnami all over India. We are adherents of Hindu Religion. We will be agitated, if he called himself Christian. People will be prepared to die in a fight with anybody who would say that the Adi Guru was a Christian. The Christian Missionaries go round all the villages, telling the people that as Satnamis the remained down-trodden in Hindu society, that the true Satnami is to be found in the Christian Scriptures, and that they should give up the Hindu society and join Christianity. Now the Hindus have become conscious of the injustice done to the Satnamis, and are improving them to some extent. The Satnamis have full hope that the Hindus will treat the Satnamis as their equals in every place.
I know of many instances like this. One Kejha of Medpa, Bilaspur district, was an indoor patient in the hospital at Mungeli. Influence was brought to bear upon him to become a Christian that if he wanted to be cured, he should embrace Christianity.
Bodhan Satnami of Dhawra Bata went to Bilaspur hospital. There he was similarly told and he was made Christian. We have reconverted him to Satnami sect.
Mr. Shinde.- What I said about the hospital is correct. I had been
to Mungeli hospital and told Bodhan not to become a Christian at any cost.
This was about 6-7 years ago. Bodhan said that he had already adopted
Christianity as it was impossible for him to live without becoming a Christian.
He was converted to Christianity, while he was a patient in hospital.
I visited the hospital a week after when Bodhan had become a Christian.
I do not know any of the Christian Missionaries in the hospital. I did
not ask anybody and protest to any Missionary. Year after he was
out of the hospital he requested me to take hint back into the Satnami
community which I did and Bodhan is now a Satnami. I actually heard
at the Tilda hospital that the Christian Missionaries preach to the patients,
when they are waiting for admission, that if you become Christians, you
will enjoy equality of status and unlike the way you are treated in a insulting
manner in Hindu society by being given a low status. These preachers
were Americans, as well as those who were trained by Americans. This
is a matter so well-known that it need not be supported by any evidence.
I was myself an indoor patient in Tilda, and I used to observe all this
preaching that was going on. I have no objection, if any man voluntarily
becomes a Christian. They had better been asked to go to other hospital.
I do not know of any case of patient being told that unless he became Christian
he would not be treated.
I produce this pamphlet entitled “Satyanami Panth”. In this pamphlet it is stated that Ghasidas, our original Guru was himself a Christian. That Ghasidas was the disciple of Jesus Christ and in that capacity he came to India and propagated here. It is misled by such propaganda that many Satnamis embrace Christian religion. There are some offensive references to some of our Gurus and they are very provocative.
To Mr. Shinde.- When I stated above that Ghasidas was a disciple of Jesus Christ, what I mean is that Ghasidas, who preached Satnam for the first time, derived his inspiration from a Christian preacher, as it is stated in the pamphlet. My interpretation was that Guru Ghasidas borrowed this idea from Christianity. Among the Satnamis, I think 2 or 3 per cent people are literate.
is unable to point out the exact passage supporting his statement.
The Mission is American Evangelical Mission which conducts the school. We get Government grant as well as funds from America. Government grant is Rs. 16,225 and the American fund is between Rs. 30,000 and, Rs. 35,000. The money comes from the Church in America, viz., “The Evangelical Church”. It has got a Board in America and it is through this Board the grant is given.
We hold our Bible Classes towards the end of the day and we also hold Moral Instruction Classes. The Bible Classes are compulsory neither for the Christians nor for the non-Christians. It is only when express permission of the parents that the pupil is admitted into the Bible Class. Since we met this Committee last, we have made a change in the form of admission on the advice of the Committee. Formerly express permission was not in the form. Now it has been inserted, since last year. The new forms are given this year. Last year 70 per cent of the consents were given. I can give you definite figures as regards 9th class where only 12 have not produced any express permission out of 180.
In fact they have given letters that they should be exempted from the Bible Class. In this class, there are not more than 20 students of Christians. Parents know that the ward will be studying Bible. We issue these forms after the admissions. This does not affect Admissions at all. This year I admitted about 40 boys in 9th class. These forms were issued only to these 40 boys and not to others promoted from other schools and who have already given once.
There are no prescribed text-books for moral instruction. These books on moral lesson are published by Christian organisations. These books are not sectarian. Besides Government Scholarships the Mission also awards tuition aids which are given to boys irrespective of caste but only to poor people.
There are very few students in the High School from rural area. The percentage of tuition aid and freeships among Christians and non-Christians is 50 per cent, Out of two hostels one is open to all but one is mainly meant for Christians. There is a difference in the charges between the two hostels. In the Christian hostel the charges are lower. In the first hostel we charge Rs. 4 per student per month and in the other hostel we charge nothing. There the facilities are better.
To Mr. Shinde.- The money received from America is called donation and not grant. It varies from year to year. The average for the last five years is Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 35,000. There have been no cases of conversion in school or boarding house.
To Mr. T. L. Shrivastava.- I joined in 1929 as Assistant Teacher. I became Headmaster in June 1946. There is a teacher named Bhattacharya. He is senior to me. He is Hindu.
(Further questions on this point disallowed.)
The Christian Prayers are offered in the beginning and all students remain present. The attendance is recorded afterwards. Since 1945, when I became hostel Superintendent. I discontinued attendance of all boys to Sunday School. Out of 26 teachers, 12 are Christians and 9 are Brahmins, 2 Muslims and the rest Hindus. The Christian teacher conducts the Moral Class. No Hindu teacher is asked to take Moral Class.
Mr. Shinde.- In the Hindu High School, there is not a single Christian
teacher. In the Rashtriya High School also, there is none.
Last year, I was Headmaster. This year, I am Assistant Headmaster. It is a Co-educational High School. The strength of the school is 572, out of whom 170 are Christians. Twice in a week there are classes simultaneously in Moral Instructions and Bible. In order to avoid all objections and misunderstanding we restrict the Bible Classes only to Christians. Our High School is conducted by the Mennonite Mission. We started this Moral Instruction Class only last year and it is taken by a Christian teacher. Whatever aid the Christian boys receive is from Church. Mission gives donation to the Church. It is not a definite sum but whatever the deficit it is there, it is met by donation from the Mission which comes through the Church and not directly. The amount of donation received through the Church is about Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 15,000 per annum. The Mennonite Mission has handed over the responsibility of carrying out the Church schools, and hospitals to the Church. This Church is a body which is registered as Mennonite Church, Dhamtari. The Headquarters of this Mission were in America formerly. This Mennonite Mission is quite different from Mennonite General Conference. Donation of Rs. 12,000 comes from America, the Headquarters of the Mennonite Mission. It is an open secret that Missions in India are receiving funds from foreign countries. Formerly there used to be 15-16 foreigners families in this district, but now there are only five families. I would welcome Indian Church to be free from outside control. Even though we receive financial aid from foreign countries, the administrative control is of Indians. Our Evangelisation work is carried through preachers who are 7 or 8, but even their number is being reduced. We are also running Shantipur Leper Asylum and Christian Hospital at Bathina. i.e. Dhamtari. To the best of my knowledge there have been no conversions since 1947.
To Mr. T. L. Shrivastava.- An American by name Dr. Friesen is in charge of the Leper Asylum at Shantipur and Dr. Conrage is in charge of Dhamtari Hospital. Ten minutes before the scheduled time for the commencement of the, school, the Christian Prayers are held but it is not compulsory to attend them. The President of Executive Council of the Church is Rev. O. P. Lal.
are for the benefit of all although some times even Lord’s Prayer may be
I am an inmate of Shantipur Leper Asylum from five years. For 27 years I was in the Raipur Leper Asylum. When the management was changed, I was asked to become Hindu or to leave the Hospital. Tulsi Babu asked me like this. Before I joined the Raipur Leper Asylum, I was an inmate of Rajnandgaon Mission Leper Asylum. I became a convert in Leper Asylum at the age of about 15 years. I voluntarily embraced Christianity and nobody brought pressure on me. When the management of the Raipur Asylum was changed and I along with others was asked to become a Hindu, there were about 75 patients who agreed to be reconverted. I did not agree and, therefore, was asked to go away and was not even allowed to take meals inside the Hospital. Along with me there were five more Christians who similarly declined to become Hindus. Out of them, three ladies are still in the Raipur Asylum. Other two are also there.
Rev. Gurbachansingh.- I affixed my thumb-impression to the general
application, but later on I changed my mind at the time of Shuddhi ceremony.
That is why I was made a scapegoat and turned out.
I appear before the Committee as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the General Conference Mennonite Church with its headquarters at Jadgishpur. In village Shirko, near Basna, the Mission ran a Primary school a few days prior to the scheduled visit of the Committee to Basna. Last year atmosphere in the village was stirred chiefly by Shri Datta Sharma of the Sanatan Dharma Mahasabha with the result that the guardians of all the students refused to send the boys to attend classes and I tried to find out the cause. It was that as Bible was being taught the students would not be sent. I told those guardians that Bible Classes were taken up only after the school hours but as the atmosphere had been created against Christians the guardians did not listen to us.
I have personal experience of the area for the last 15 years and then the relations between the Christians and non-Christians were cordial and smooth. For some time past, i.e., nearly 18 months ago an agitation against Christians has been started. I will give fuller details of incidents in a separate written note.
He files certain statement on 24-7-55.
Mr. T. L. Shrivastava.- The pressure that is brought to bear upon the
Christian community for reconversion is alarming. This I am saying
about Shuddhi movement. Shri Datta started this movement of Shuddhi.
This movement has caught the imagination of those villages which are inhabited
by Christians mostly. I have no personal knowledge of any pressure.
used. I believe this on information received from members of my community.
I was not actually present to witness the incident which is stated in my
written statement. I inspected the site after the incident and saw
the damage that was done to the wall. This incident of singing filthy
songs in Holi occurred for the first time in Christianpara in this manner.
The road is public. This time it was deliberately provocative.
There is likelihood of clashes between two parties. The matter was
reported to the police but no complaint was made in a court of law.
STATEMENT MADE BEFORE THE CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES ACTIVITIES ENQUIRY COMMITTEE, JULY 24TH, 1955, HELD AT RAIPUR IN THE COURT OF THE PERSONAL ASSISTANT TO THE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER
Written statement given by Mr. S. Stephen, Chairman of the Governing Body, General Conference Mennonite Church, headquarters at Jagdeeshpur, district Raipur, and headmaster, Christian High School at Jagdeeshpur.
The following statement is given in continuation of witness given before the Committee on Saturday, the 23rd July 1955, in the afternoon session:-
In Shirko village which is in Basna thana of Raipur district the previously mentioned Shri Dutt Sharma so much instigated the Hindu community that they withdrew their children from the Christian Primary School, where they had been going for the last fifteen years. When I went there with few men from Jagdeeshpur to attend a meeting of the leaders of the Shirko village. I heard the people say that they had withdrawn their children from the Christian Primary School because they were taught the Bible. I told them that the Bible is taught outside the school hour and their children are not required to attend the Bible Classes. Mr. Sharma was also present in the meeting. The former malguzar who is also a Janapada counsellor and has a great influence upon the people said that unless the school is turned over to the Janapada they would not send their children to school. From that time on the persecution of the Christians by the Hindus was started.
The Hindus refused to sell them rice and other necessaries of life which the Christians were formerly buying from them. Even the children were refused “chana” and “murra” when they wanted to buy it. The Christians of the village attempted more than once to restore friendly relation between the Christians and non-Christians but the answer given by Hindu leaders was unless on turn over the primary school to Janapada and unless you give ‘Deo-barar’ which means contribution for the puja of a Hindu God, same relations cannot be restored.
There were two Christian members out of ten in the village Panchayat. The Chairman does not send information of the meeting to them and does not call them. This matter was reported to the Inspector who looks after panchayats and is stationed in Basna.
The persecution continued and took a very fierce form when on the night of the ‘holi festival’ in 1955 frames of two buffallo carts belonging to the Christians were burnt; three timber pieces from the old church building which is under construction now were also offered to the burning fire. So much so that the loom of a Christian named Samsoon Barik was also burnt.
In the morning of the ‘holi’ a big group of non-Christians of the village came to the Christian para to celebrate “Holi” for the first time ever since these people are Christians. They spent over an hour in this para, dancing and merry-making, uttering all sort of filthy language, even abusing people by name, especially mentioning the name of Joseph Nag’s wife who is a very respected leader of the Christians and the Church. They also threw stones on the roofs and walls of the Christians and the Christians were so much terrified that they had to shut themselves inside their houses. But after some time a Christian by the name Bhikhari Kumar came out and begged them not to insult them in this manner and ruin their property He fell on their feet but they would not listen. The Hindus had clubs in their hands and they beat the wall of Joseph Nag’s house so much that even the plaster to the extent of about 36 square feet fell from the wall. After celebrating holi to their hearts content in this wounding manner they left.
They came back in the afternoon at 3 and began to dance with their musical instruments in front of the church within the church yard. There has been a church at this place for over 25 years and it is being remodelled now. The Hindus went even inside the four walls of the church and danced, thereby desecrating our place of worship. Then the “Baiga” established an “Itwari Devi” right in front of the Church on the border of our church yard. There had never been any sign of such a Devi in that place. This was done in order to create trouble for the Christians, otherwise what was the necessity of establishing such a place so close to the church. Even the Patwari and the Revenue Inspector who are also Hindus are influenced by them and when they were approached the Patwari using his usual professional trick showed this Devi’s place outside the Church yard by about one foot. A report of the incident of this particular has been given to the Basna Police Station.
In Palsabhari, Shri Shiv Dutt Sharma as he has already stated went into the church and preached his religion to a Christian audience on Sunday. This is definitely a desecration of the church and it has hurt the Christians very much. Would a Muslim be allowed to preach Islam in a Hindu temple or vice versa.
Our hospital in Jagdeeshpur has rendered services to the sick for over 20 years irrespective of caste and creed. We have never used our hospital as a bait to convert people, nor we have pressed the sick to change their faith. We serve them as they come and during this long period not a single person has become Christian in our hospital. Had we started the hospital with that motive, it would have been closed long ago.
During the former visit of the Committee to Jagdeeshpur, the honourable member Shri Gupta went into our hospital wards with one M. L. A. I was also with them. He collected first-hand information from the patients and I know none of them corroborated the charges which have been brought against our hospital, by the people before and by those who were examined here.
May I also add that the Indian church is independent of the Mission in policy, personnel and funds. It has its own constitution and it is registered according to the Society’s Act.
The Mission has placed its work in the hands of Managing Committees Which consist of Indians and Missionaries both as they are elected and this work is also run according to its constitution.
S. STEPHEN, Chairman,
The present Leper Asylum at Raipur formerly belonged to Mission to Lepers and was managed by a local Committee comprising the Commissioner of Division as Chairman and the Secretary used to be a foreign Missionary on behalf of the Mission to Lepers. They managed it about from 1904 to June 1947. It was taken over by Government in June 1947 with the approval of the Committee. At that time, there were 150 inmates including 70 men and 80 women.
On 11th October 1948, 77 Christian inmates presented an application to the Deputy Commissioner saying that they had been forcibly converted in the previous regime and that they wanted to revert to their old religion. In all, there were 89 Christian patients. The Deputy Commissioner deputed a senior Extra-Assistant Commissioner to enquire into the application and Rev. Seybold was also there at the time of enquiry. He was specially invited there. In course of the enquiry, each one of the applicants was asked whether any pressure was brought against him to present the application. Subsequently, at the instance of the signatories, an Arya Samajist preacher performed the Shuddhi. I have, before me original application signed by Videshi and find thumb impression of Videshi against S. No. 14. Along with the rest, Videshi was also reconverted by the Shuddhi. He continued to be an inmate till 22nd December 1949. Shuddhi ceremony was performed in December 1948.
He left the Asylum of his own accord and was not discharged by the authorities. Previous to that there were reports of misconduct and he was reported to be playing mischiefs against the rules of hospital. For this, he had been warned.
I have on my file a letter dated the 21st June 1949, from Shri Essabaggers and Shri Seybold to the address of the Deputy Commissioner, Raipur. In this letter names of all Christian inmates of the hospital have been given. The name of Videshi is not there because although he was an inmate then he had become a Hindu. If he has alleged that he was expelled from the Asylum because of his refusal to give up Christianity, the allegation is false.
At present, there are three Christian women inmates in the hospital.
As a Leprosy Specialist to Government, it is my duty to visit in-patient institutions and those institutions which treat patients in the out-door and also to attend to Government Leprosy work. I have visited all the institutions belonging to the Mission to Lepers in Madhya Pradesh. I keep on receiving reports from inmates that they are being continuously forced to become Christians and discrimination in treatment is also shown. Only yesterday, five inmates of the Rajnandgaon Leper Asylum came and stated that because of their refusal to embrace Christianity they have left the Asylum. I have not yet admitted them into the Raipur Asylum, unless antecedents were found.
To Rev. Gurbachansingh.- The Raipur Asylum was practically of the same type as the other Mission institutions like Chandkhuri, Shantipur and Champa. I say so because it was under the management of Mission to lepers. I was appointed as Superintendent of the Hospital. I took over charge within a month. I was one of the members of the former Committee. No account was presented to this Committee. I do not know whether accounts were audited or not. Never report was presented to the Committee. I was on the Committee for a year or so. I did not ask as a member of the Committee how this Asylum was run and why the report was not presented. I was co-opted as a member as a Specialist to look after the medical side. I was interested in technical part.
not come to see me in connection with the Shuddhi ceremony but in connection
with the services and I had no talk with you in this matter, and you also
did not talk to me about this. I was not present at the Shuddhi ceremony.
There is a reference to this matter in the letter mentioned before.
Before disciplinary action is taken against an inmate, proper enquiries
are made. Written records are kept. We don’t take their signatures
or their thumb-impressions on explanations. I have not so far recorded
the statements of five persons who came to me yesterday from the Rajnandgaon
Mission Leper Asylum. I am not sure as to what they said is correct.
Jalkot has a population of about 60 families, out of which about ten families belong to Christians. I am elected Patel for the three years. I have my own land and I am also religious preacher. I do preaching work on behalf of the Mennonite Hindustani Church. My preaching work is chiefly confined to Basna although I visit other village’s nearabout. I get Rs. 60 per month as pay for preaching from the Church. For preaching purposes, I collect Hindus in villages irrespective of caste or community and explain the implications of my own religion. I also hear from the others what they have to say about their respective religion. It is not correct that I decry Hindu Gods and Goddesses, I talk disparagingly of other religions. I know Shri Datta Sharma of Basna. He is also a pracharak. He is a great friend of mine. I have attended several of his lectures. He generally preaches that there is a danger of all Hindus becoming Christians and, therefore, to protect our nationality, it is necessary to reconvert those Hindus who have become Christians. He says that, if this is not done, India would be ruled by America or England, etc. Then, he calls Christians of the village and starts asking them why they had become Christians. On being told that they became converts of their free-will having been convinced of that religious faith, Shri Sharma tells them that Jesus is not God and talks disparagingly about Jesus Christ and Christian religion. He also with the help of villagers created atmosphere against Christians in several villages and they are being harassed. He says that he has been from Delhi. One Wasudeo Misra of Amapali had become a convert about three years ago. At the instance of Shri Datta Sharma, he was reconverted, and I was present at the Shuddhi ceremony. Promises of service were given to him but subsequently they were not fulfilled. I have accidentally come in possession of his post card, dated the 17th April 1955, which Wasudeo Mishra wrote to the Manager, Arya Sabha, Raipur, complaining that he was forcibly reconverted and promises of proper and service were given but not fulfilled. After reconversion, Wasudeo Misra has become without property and was for some time roaming here and there. His Christian-wife and two children were also not looked after by the Hindus. I also approached Shri Datta Sharma on behalf of Wasudeo to provide him with some means of livelihood but Sharmaji expressed his inability. Ultimately, Misra with his wife and children came and took residence with me. He repented and approached Rev. J. Cardia to take him back but the Rev. said that Misra was not a Christian as he used to make all the statements before the Committee and that he would be taken back after they were convinced that his faith in Christ is true. We are Christians and love our country, viz., India. We would not go to any foreign power and will not allow the country to be ruled by the foreigners.
I was elected by all.
Mr. T. L. Shrivastava.- Before a person is baptised, religious instructions
are given to him for a year and baptism takes place only after we are satisfied
that he has true faith in the Christian religion. During preaching,
we only point out the good points and advantages of our religion and do
not compare other religion to it. Jesus Christ can forgive him, if
Name-S. N. Solomon.
I am a teacher in Mission High School, Dhamtari, and Executive Secretary of Mennonite Church in Dhamtari. The Church has 5 or 6 primary schools, 2 middle schools, 1 high school, 1 hospital and 5 dispensaries and 1 leper home. We also have, at present, 6, 7 pracharaks. Preaching is done with the help of flannel, graph pictures, dramas, etc. Oral preaching is also done. Our sole aim is to depict the life of Jesus Christ. If, as a result of preaching, any one is convinced and believes the life of Jesus Christ and is willing voluntarily to embrace Christianity we take him in our fold. In course of our preaching, we do not criticise other religions, use no abusive language towards their gods and deities and take care that the sentiments of the other persons are not affected. Our preacher receives training in the Bible schools and we hold Bible normal conferences from time to time. So far as I am aware, none of our preachers has attempted to offend the religious feelings of any other religion. We take a special care about that. But the instances have come to my notice that non-Christians have objected our preaching mainly on the grounds that they would not like any Christian people although it may not relate to any other religion, As the Bible says that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour and, if the people are offended by the preachings of out fundamental rights, then I cannot help. I cannot say whether this preaching involves condemnation of other religions or not. About 2 years ago in a village Sihava Revenue Inspector Circle, a police constable threatened a Christian woman and asked her not to preach in the village.
I have long experience of Balodagahan village and heard statements made before the Committee by witnesses for the last two days. The allegations regarding the destruction of Satbani Devi, the destruction of Deogarh are not correct. Some people did take stones from a nallah adjoining the Devi but no Christian destroyed the Goddess. Similarly, Deogarh is still there and was not destroyed by the Christians. At present, the relations between Christians and non-Christians of Balodagahan have become tense because of the instigation of outsiders. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Arya Samajists are mostly concerned in this. During Easter Week, for a full week processions were taken on the streets of Dhamtari, shouting slogans against Christianity aria carrying placards against Christianity. Some booklets also were Distributed. In an area of about 200 square miles round Dhamtari, there are only 2,500 Christians including children. As a result of such activities on the part of non-Christians, we have become apprehensive.
Mr. T. L. Shrivastava.- My complaint is that the slogan that the Christians
should quit India is objectionable. The slogans are “Videshi Issai
Bharat Chhoro, Videshi Missionary Bharat Chhoro”. At present, there
are five American families and about three nurses working in the Mission.
They are wholly supported by American money. Our propaganda is carried
on with the aid of some subscription and some foreign aid. Foreign
aid is spent for carrying on the educational work and Evangelistic work.
Church does not contribute to the Evangelistic work. The proportion
of expense on account of pracharak is very small.
Prior to one year, the relations between Christians and non-Christians were cordial but due to the activities of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Arya Samajists, they have been disturbed, and strained. Arya Samajist preachers g6 in the rural areas of Raipur and indulge in abusing Christians and their religion by such slogans that they are beef-eaters, horse-eaters, eating the flesh of their Guru, Jesus, etc., and that Jesus was born of adultery. I have myself heard such types of preachings on several occasions. They also take out processions shouting “let Issais quit India”. By Issai, they mean Indian Christians. I have in my possession some literature which is being distributed at the instance of Ved Prachar Samiti, Raipur, derogatory language against Christians and their religion has been used in the book which I produce before the Committee. They are likely to give offense to Christians. The Arya Samajists not only carry on propaganda against Christians but also Government. I file a copy of “Bharat me Bhayankar Shad Yantra”. I file another pamphlet entitled “Issai Matki Alochana”. In this, tenets religion have been misinterpreted. There is another pamphlet “Issai Padriyose Prashna” contains misinterpretation of our religious text, the. distribution of such leaflets has offended the feelings of Christians of Raipur. In pamphlet “Padriyoko Khuli Chunouti”, there is an attack on foreign missionary at page 14. In the following objectionable and insulting references on pages marked:-
“Bibleki Vidhwankari Sanda”,
Kuda ka Beta, Issai Mat Pol Prakash,
Issai Matoki Nissarata Pakhand our Anachar,
Kya Issa Khuda the”.
Rev. Ghurbachansingh.- St. Paul’s Church, of which I am the pastor,
is financially independent. It is the part of the United Church of North
America, administratively, free from all control. It receives no
aid from foreign country.
I am Social Welfare Secretary of the Cass Memorial Centre, Raipur, and also Pastor of the United Church of Gass Memorial.
I had gone to the Raipur Leper Asylum, where I met three Christian inmates.
They told me that Shri Banerji, the Superintendent of the Asylum, had enquired
of them whether they were being harassed and on their reply affirmative
Banerji told them not to disclose this to any officer who might enquire.
About three months ago, an Arya Samajist preacher was giving, a lecture in public near Imperial Bank at Raipur, in course of which he used insulting and abusive language towards Christ saying that Jesus Christ was a debauch and a loafer, and further that Christians will be turned out of India and are cheats. When I asked them not to use abusive language, they came and surrounded me. I told them that I was prepared to offer physical violence. I am an electric worker.
I also saw those Arya Samaj processions where they were shouting objectionable things.