I am District Organiser of the Bharat Sewak Samaj. I was President of the Bharat Sewak Samaj. During my work as President of the Harijan Sewa Samaj I had occasions to move in the interior to contact the Harijans particularly the Balahi Community and work amongst them. I received complaints that the R. C. Church in their schools, after the admission of their children, show their Jat as Christian and also change their names to Christian names on occasions suitable to them. Many Balahis and guardians of the children complained to me. They also give free boarding and lodging to their children in order to convert them to Christianity, and ask their parents to attend the church as also to the children to attend the church. I made enquiries myself and sent written complaints to the Deputy Commissioner the District Inspector of Schools, and the Secretary of this Committee. There were enquiries made both open and confidential. Open enquiries were made by the A. D. M. Shri Deosthale, and Magistrate, 2nd class, Shri Gadre, and confidential enquiry by Shri Naik, A.D.I.S. From the open enquiry I found that the allegation made by me were really not enough, there were more serious and more varied things also that were done by the Missionary. For instance, they used to have their paid pracharaks, who really act as informers, giving them information about the village or mohalla activities. When a child is born, the Missionary is informed by these pracharaks and some nurse comes and helps in the delivery and also sprinkles water and then, without the knowledge of their parents, writes their Christian names in their Church registers. The nun or the priest sprinkles the water.
My whole evidence is confined to my information regarding the Roman Catholic Church and not with respect to the Methodist or any other Church. The Roman Catholic Missionary used to insist to have fees and books from those, whose parents could not attend the Church. They would even be removed from the hostels. Other methods of their operation have also come lo my notice. For instance, giving loans without interest to those Christians and non-Christians who attend Sunday Church Services and demanding interest from those who would not do so. The report to the Deputy Commissioner and others mentioned above was made by me in the first four months of 1954. I have sent a written answer to the Committee’s questionnaire.
To Shri A. B. Shinde- On behalf of the Christian Missionary.
what I have said above is based on information received by me. My
enquiries were confined to the community, members of which made complaint
Name.-C. D. Meghshayam.
Among other public works, I am the President of the Nimar District Harijan Sewak Sangh. In my capacity as such, I had arranged to get schools opened in the backward tracts mostly inhabited by Balahis. Of course, some caste people also live there. When a school is opened like this, Christian Missionaries also open their schools and induce the Balahis (the Backward Scheduled Caste whose population predominates in the Khandwa tahsil) to send their children to their schools and not to send them to the Janpad Schools. They say what is there in those schools for their children to learn, they would teach them, give them free books and other facilities, their aim being ultimately to convert people to Christianity. In the distribution of milk powder they mostly confine their distribution to the Balahis Awar in the Khandwa town. Christians and non-Christians live there. In the rural areas lately there has been free distribution of American ghee amongst the Scheduled Caste people, mostly Balahis. Their intention in using this method of distributing milk powder and ghee amongst the Balahis is an inducement to conversion. I have sent in writing my answers to the Committee’s questionnaire and therein I have mentioned the names of the various Missions working in this district, and one which is a new arrival is Seventh Day Advent Mission. I stick to my answer to the questionnaire. Seventh Day Adventist Mission is also known as Saturday Mission.
To Mr. Shinde-
villages there is no scope for more than one school. Bhojakhedi is
one of the places about which I spoke regarding the opening of school.
There are not enough children in Bhojakhedi for two schools but there are
surrounding villages, no doubt, where there are no schools. But they
are at a distance of three to four miles from Bhojakhedi. The school
at Bhojakhedi was started in the year 1954 and soon after, say after a
month, the Missionary started the school. Which Missionary is that
I cannot say. Our jurisdiction as District Harijan Sewak Sangh extends
to the whole of Khandwa district, arid therefore, necessarily to Bhojakhedi.
Owing to the opening of a Christian school at Bhojakhedi the Janpad school
has not lost but the struggle is going on between the two. By struggle,
I mean that they are trying to attract students from our school to theirs.
Similar difficulty is felt in the Community Project Area also. I have said
that the object of opening the school at Bhojakhedi by the Christians is
to convert the people to Christianity. I do riot know what is happening
in that school itself but I know of their general activities in the district.
The motive of the Harijan Sewak Sangh working among the Harijans is to
uplift them and we have no motive of conversion, while Christian Missionary
has the motive of conversion. I cannot say of all Balahis that they
have no faith in their own religion but there is no doubt that there are
among them persons who are swayed by material consideration to hang their
I was a student in the Roman Catholic Mission School from the primary class up to the end of primary education. Up to that time the Roman Catholics had only a primary school. After passing my fourth primary standard I joined Fisher Middle School of the Methodist Church. After passing my Middle, I was sent to Mhow for High School education. Mhow school belongs to Roman Catholic Mission. When the time for sending application form for the matric examination came, my name was entered as Babulal Walter though my name throughout was Babulal and I was a Balahi by caste, and I had continued to be a Hindu. I objected to “Walter” being added after my name. But Headmaster, probably Father Fernandez, would not agree to omit ‘Walter’ from my name and said that if I insisted I would not be sent for the examination. Then I had to succumb. 'Throughout, my education was free. I was then sent to Ranchi St. Xavier College and given a loan of Rs. 120 and the Mission met all my expenses there, but there was condition attached that on my passing the examination and my return from Ranchi I should serve them as teacher for one year. I went to Ranchi, passed my Inter Examination, and came back and served them as teacher in their school. While serving as teacher, I also prepared for my B.A. Degree joining the Nilkantheshwar College. During my service in the Mission School I used to take interest among my caste fellows, both among Balahi students and among other Balahis. This raised suspicion in the mind of the Missionaries who said that I should stop my activities otherwise they would terminate my services. Their suspicion was that I was working among my caste fellows, Balahis, in a manner which was prejudicial to the interests of the Roman Catholic Mission so far as conversion was concerned. They also gave me inducement that they would make me Headmaster and when I did not succumb to that, they also threatened me that they would send me to jail if I did not stop my activities. They also warned me against keeping close association with R.C. Tiwari. One other reason for their displeasure against me was also that I used to object to their changing name of Balahi students and adding Christian name without their guardian’s consent or knowledge, in their register. And as to their caste also, they used to add not purely simple Balahi but Balahi Christian. There is a register in every school in which when a student comes to be admitted for the first time, his date of birth, his name, his father’s name, and other specifications are mentioned and there is a column for the signature of the guardian of the boy, meant for the signature of the guardian himself. In that column, instead of taking the signatures of the guardian the Manager, Padri of the Mission school, himself used to sign. On complaint to the Education Department, Shri Naik, A.D.I.S., made an enquiry about the month of April 1954. There used to be a prayer for the boys of all the classes and then prayer in each class. Both these used to be Christian form of prayer and compulsory for all the students, whether Christians or not. These prayers used to be offered before the actual teaching commenced. On Saturdays, there used to be a period for religious teaching and for Moral lessons. The religious teaching consisted of teaching Christian religion only and the Moral teaching was for non-Christians. Balahi boys had to attend the religious teaching. The Roman Catholic Mission has a boarding house where students are given free lodging, free boarding, free books and clothes. The students had to attend the Church every day for prayer. This was compulsory for them. Even non-Christian boys had to do this. The boarders were asked to bring their parents or guardians to the Church on Sundays and if any boarder failed to do that he used to incur the displeasure of the authorities of the Mission and finally he used to be removed also.
On the 26th January 1954, seeing that there was no National Flag hoisted on the school building, I approached the Manager, Marriobaritto, to give me a flag for hoisting in the school. He said lie had nothing to do with the 26th January and I also had nothing to do with it. As a result of their displeasure on account of all these activities they made a report to the Police against me under section 448, I. P. C. The Police enquired into the matter and found their complaint false. I then filed a case against the Manager, Marriobaritto, under sections 500 and 211, I. P. C. The case is pending. I left the post as one month’s pay of June 1954 was given to me and a notice of termination of service was given on 31st May 1954. The reason given in the notice was that I was not a trained teacher but that was mere device to terminate my services because of their displeasure. In their Khandwa dispensary they give free medicines to those who are either Christian or whom they expect to convert. In my own case I have experienced this. I know that Fathers and Nuns go to the place, into the houses of Ballhis, where a child is born. They are informed of this by their Pracharaks. When they go there they sprinkle water on the child and make some mark with water on his forehead. They give the impression to the parents that they are giving the child ‘Ashish’. The child’s name is entered in their register with the Christian name without the knowledge or consent of the parents. The child grows up like any other Hindu child and in his home he is never treated as a Christian or he is never known as a Christian. It is only in the Padri’s register that his Christian name remains and this is used when the child is educated in their school and an opportunity for a certificate of education comes. I cannot say if this was the case with me but I have all along remained a Hindu Balahi and even in my marriage I married a Hindu Balahi girl in Hindu Balahi form of marriage, although I was a student in a Mission School at the time of my marriage and although I was persuaded to marry a Christian girl and not a Hindu Balahi girl.
As President of the Harijan Sewa Samaj I have received communications from several Balahis complaining against the activities of Missionaries. The annexure No. 26 to my written answer to the questionnaire of the Committee (page 178 of the file) contains the original signatures of the various persons. They gave me this and i have sent it on to the Committee.
To Mr. Shinde-
I was a child of six or seven years when I entered the boarding house and I do not remember the circumstances in which I came from my house. I was given Mithai (sweets) and some Chana and was carried by the Father. I do not remember whether my parents were at home or not. For the first time I realised that my name was tampered with in order to make me Christian, when I wanted to fill the application form for appearing in the Matric Examination. Then I was about 18 or 19 years of age, before that to my recollection I was not baptised. Never, before for about 12 years did I complain to my parents that I was taught Bible or things of that sort. The Christian Fathers tried several times to persuade me and even told my father forcefully that I should become a Christian. They had every hope that I would become a Christian. But I did not become a Christian, I never gave any thought to the reasons as to why the Missionaries were giving me my education, my boarding, lodging and everything free.
for correction of my name to the Deputy Commissioner on 10th March 1955.
For five years I did not take any action in that direction as I was ignorant
of the formalities required to alter the name. I did not want to forego
the advantage of getting education in the way I was getting, by then raising
controversies about my name. I have got a brother in Police. I do not know
whether he is a Hindu, but I believe him to be a Hindu. His marriage
has been performed according to Hindu rites. His name is Ramlal.
Another brother of mine Champalal is also a Hindu. To my knowledge none
of my relatives were or are Christians.
Name.-Edwin (E. Devdasan).
I am a welfare worker, connected with National Christian Council and I am stationed at Delhi. I am a field-worker of the Committee of Gift and Relief Supplies of the National Christian Council. My Committee has its headquarters in Delhi. Our Committee is Christian, but the Council of Voluntary Agencies that co-ordinates the distribution programme includes non-Christians as well. The gifts of milk-powder, ghee and other supplies come from other countries including America and New Zealand. These gifts are spontaneous from the Christian Churches in America because they know of the food shortages in India. The distribution is intended to be made to all irrespective of caste, creed or religion, and that it is not used for religious or political purposes. We take good care to see that no agency of ours goes against this. I myself travel extensively in India and so far I have not received any complaint that it. has been misused. Our contact persons through whom actual distribution is organised are confined to a particular class or person. It can be a Christian Missionary just as any other welfare worker, or hospital, or any non-Christian social worker. In Madhya Pradesh I nave seen the Additional District Magistrate, Damoh, and the Deputy Commissioner, Jabalpur and they have no complaints to make about the distribution.
To Mr. Bedekar-
a list of the agencies which share the supplies for distribution.
I have not brought it here from Delhi. Rev. Nath is our contact person
for Khandwa district. There is no other than him at Khandwa. I cannot
say off-hand if there is any or how many non-Christian contact persons
there are in Madhya Pradesh. This is my first visit to Madhya Pradesh
and I have been 8 or 9 days here. It is the first time that I came
to Khandwa, in fact Khandwa district, and I came here today by 11 O’clock
train. I will be too pleased to send a list of contact persons in Madhya
Pradesh. My address is Post Box 339, New Delhi.
I was a Headmistress in the R. C. Mission School, Khandwa, from July 1948 to 1954, i.e., for six years. I am a trained teacher. I am a Protestant belonging to the Church of England. (Now C. I. B. C.) In the beginning there used to be a common Samajik Vandana not confined to any religion. Then the classes used to go on. This used to be our practice. But for about a year before I left service the Samajik Vandana was also changed and it took the form of Roman Catholic prayer conducted by Roman Catholic teachers and students. Non-Catholic students and teachers had to attend the classes and stand quiet. After this common prayer, another prayer also used to take place in the class-room of each class. That also was a Roman Catholic prayer conducted by Roman Catholic teachers and students in which non-Catholic students had to stand quietly. Both these prayers were compulsory for all the students. On Saturdays during the last school periods there used to be one period for religious teaching for Catholic boys and girls and for those boys and girls also whom the Manager, Nuns and the Catholic teachers took to be Catholics, that is, mostly Balahi boys whether they themselves or their guardians took them as non-Catholics or not. For other students there used to be a period for Moral Teaching. In the religious teaching, Catholic religion was taught. These were compulsory for both. In fact it was a school period. There is a hostel attached to the school and there these hostellers are given free boarding and lodging, in fact all expenses, by the Roman Catholics. In that hostel, there were also many Balahis and some Korku students. They were also treated as Roman Catholics in the matter of compulsory attendance at prayers, Churches, etc. I heard about a year before I left service that those boys and their guardians were complaining that they were not Roman Catholics and that they were Balahis and Korkus and that their names should not have been changed to Roman Catholic Christian names. In the birth-date register, among other columns, there is a column for the signature of the Guardian, in which guardians have to sign, but in the case of most of the Balahi boys, the Manager, who is a Roman Catholic Father, used to sign his name. That gave him an opportunity to change the name and the religion of the boys. That is what I think. I would give a specific case of one Babu Mukund or Makund Babu. He passed his primary examination from Ganesh Talai School and the certificate showed his name as “Babu Mukund” or “Mukund Babu”. But when he was admitted in the hostel and in the fifth class “Nicholas” was added to his name. His age might have been 12 or 13 years. I was placed in a dilemma, because the Middle School certificate showed him to be Babu Mukund or Mukund Babu and the Manager showed his name as Nicholas. Then I raised that point and I was told that the Manager was the final authority and I had to do as he directed me to do. There were a few other cases also but I did not protest. There was some enquiry made by the Assistant District Inspector of Schools Shri Naik, after I had left the service, but Shri Naik had enquired from me also. When there was scarcity of water in Khandwa, we had a big cistern of water which used to be filled by the Municipal tanker. This water was to be distributed to the whole of the Bada Awar, i.e., a Mohalla of the Balahis, without distinction. Several times it so happened that when people of that Mohalla used to come with their pots (gunds) to take water, Roman Catholic Preachers would deny them water, telling them that they come to take water and do not come to attend the Church. And if it used to be a Church Service day, they used to attend the Service before they were allowed to take water. There was no compulsion to attend Church service but a strong suggestion. The cistern was in the compound where the School and the Church is located. In the case of children whose guardians or who themselves did not come to the Church they used to be deprived of their concessions. I know there used to be discrimination in the matter of giving medical service among the Roman Catholics and non-Roman Catholics. On the 26tix of January 1954, the National Flag was not hoisted in our School for the whole day, from morning to evening. I sent two teachers to the Manager to ask for a National Flag to be hoisted but the two teachers returned without it. They said that the Manager told them that it was not necessary, as the school had functions in the afternoon. In the afternoon function also, there was no flag hoisted. In the Diwali holidays of the year 1953, the school was closed only for three or four days while Government orders were to have holidays for ten days. The Manager did not agree to close the school for ten days even though I had pointed out to him Government orders about the holidays. The Manager said that it was their (Catholic) school and they could have as many days’ holidays for their school as they liked.
One of the reasons given out to me for termination of my services is that I was not a Matric trained. This is good reason for their removing me. But the real reason, to my mind, is that we were not pulling on very well.
Babulal was given a notice in the month of April 1954, that his services were terminated. I had told Babulal that he should continue.
To Mr. Shinde-
was also an Assistant Teacher in the school and was under me as I was the
Headmistress. As Manager, he was over me. The appointment
letter that I received, was under the signature of the then Manager.
The duties of the Headmistress and the duties of the Manager are not prescribed
and defined or detailed anywhere. Before I actually left service
there was correspondence between me and the Bishop regarding the termination
of my service and the final letter of termination of my service came from
the Bishop through the District Superintendent of Church and not through
the Manager. If the Committee desire, I can supply a copy of the
order. There were twelve teachers in all in the school including
the Manager of these, three were protestants, two Muslims, two Hindus and
five Catholics. (She first said only one Hindu teacher. Then she
corrected it.) Babulal Walter Nilkanth was also a teacher in the school.
He used to sign as Babulal Walter Nilkanth. I cannot recite the prayer.
I had told Babulal that the notice was not legal and that he should attend
his duties under me as they were examination days of the school.
I knew that some of the students in the hostel were not Christians, although
they were treated as Christian because they themselves and their guardians
had told me so. Some four or six complaints of this nature came to
me. I went to the Manager and questioned him. Before 1953, I remember
of one complaint of that nature brought to me. The aim of giving
the students Catholic name was to facilitate their conversion to Catholicism.
No Protestant has to my knowledge done or would do so with anybody because
there were no Protestants students in the school, except my son.
The admission register is entirely in the custody of the Headmistress and
the Manager. Other teachers in the school could see it only at our
instance. In fact the feelings between me and the Manager were bitter.
By strong suggestion stated previously I mean the circumstances in which
people were placed, owing to lack of water, and the language and the tone
in which they used to be addressed for going to Church, was such that they
had to go to Church before they could take water. But I do not mean
that any pressure or threat was used. I think wrong was done to the
Hindu boys in not giving them the full quota of Diwali holidays in order
to tag those holidays with the Christmas holidays. I would feel so
if as a Christian, only one day holiday is allowed to me during the Christmas.
There is a Janapada school in my village Barur. Barur has a Harijan population mostly Balahis of about 250 persons. About 20 children of the Balahis are reading in the school. I am a member of the School Committee. There is a Christian Pracharak and his wife. Both are staying in the village, but away from the Mohalla. They go in the Harijan Mohalla, and collect people including children and tell them that if they accept Christianity they (or their children) would be given free education, free books, slates and other things. They offer other inducements also. For instance, milk-powder, children’s clothes and some money also. I, as a member of the school committee, have approached the Harijan mohalla and asked them as to why they are not sending their children to the Janapada school, to this they reply that in our school we do not get the facilities of free books, free slates, etc., and they being poor they have to take advantage of the Christian Missionary who gives all these. They do not distribute these things to any other poor man except those from whom they expect to be made Christian. There is no doubt that 20 children in the school are not enough and there are children in the locality who need education and any management which should start a school helping them with slate, books, etc., without any motive of change of religion will get students.
To Mr. Shinde-
there is not a regular Missionary School there, two Missionary Pracharaks
occasionally do the teaching work also among the Harijan boys. I have myself
seen the Pracharak distributing milk-powder, cloth and other things mentioned
above. I have also seen the Head Padri who occasionally comes there.
If I see him I would be able to recognise him. (He identifies Rev. Nath
as the person.) My personal knowledge about the school-going children extends
only for a year, when I became a member of the school. I have personally
helped them by distributing them free caps, slates, and other things worth
about Rs. 100. Then I asked to come to school and they said they
are willing to come to school.
I am Balahi by caste. I read in Sirpur Mission School and remained there for three years in the boarding house. After two years I was sent by Father Hofstee to Khandwa Mission School. There I was for six months. During that time Father Anthony told me to become Christian, otherwise I would net be given education in that school. Then I told this to my father. My father came to the school and enquired of Father Anthony. Father Anthony told him the same thing. My father did not agree to make me Christian and he took me away from the school. For a few days I did manual work. When Shri Ravishanker Pathak of village Kundai (ex-malguzar) came to my village he was told by some people that a poor boy could not get his education because the Missionary insisted that he should be a Christian and his father did not agree to that. Shri Pathak called my father. My father related all the story to him. He then said “Give me your son, I will take him and put him in school.” My father gave me to his charge. He took me to his village Kundai. There is a school in Kundai. He got me admitted there and kept me in his own house, and maintained me at his own cost. I passed my fourth Hindi class in 1953. I then joined the Hindi Middle School at Khalwa and am getting Rs. 12 per mensem as scholarship from the Janapada, which owns the Khalwa school, and am now prosecuting studies in the sixth class. My name as entered in the school register is Babulal, son of Kunjilal, caste Harijan.
To Mr. Shinde-
was no other Harijan boy of my age in that school when I was taken to Sirpur.
Motilal, caste Balahi.
I was a student in the primary school of my village Rustampur Piplod. It was a Government school. I passed my fourth Hindi class, when a Roman Catholic Padri came to my village and told my father that he would give me further education provided my father gave me to him. My father agreed to give me to him but said I should be educated only in a Government school. I was brought to Khandwa by the Padri and was admitted in the Government School at Khandwa. There I passed my fifth class. My father told the Padri that I was not being given education in English. I was then sent to Mhow where I joined the Matric class. When the time came for sending application form for the examination I was shown as Joseph. To this I protested. I said “my name is Motilal and never Joseph, how do you put Joseph as my same? I would not agree to it.” Then they said that there was nothing wrong in putting Joseph. It simply meant Badnawala and there was no harm in my adopting that name. I then agreed to adopt my name as Vardhaman To my knowledge, my name up till that time and at the time of sending application form continued as Motilal in the school register. When I was reading in the Khandwa school, I was taken to the Church at Pandhana. It was in the year 1945 or 1946 when my age should have been 9 or 10 years. There I was baptised. What actually they did with me, I do not know. I never knew that any new name was given to me then. I did not take it that anything special happened to me or that the process involved a change of my ancestral religion. No consent was taken of my father. It was when my name was given to me as Joseph at the time of sending my application for the examination, that it came to my mind that the things they have done in 1945 or 1946 were intended to change my religion. My name Vardhaman continues up to date, but others call me by my own name Motilal.
About the year 1949 or 1950 the Christian Father who was then at Pandhana came to my house at Rustampur Piplod. He saw a picture of God Vishnu there. The Padri asked me to get him that photo. I gave him that photo and he said “why do you worship such a Shaitan?” and he took it out from the frame, tore it, and trampled it under his feet. After he went away my brother named Biharilal, who was feeling enraged, told me not to bring such persons in our house in future and if I did so he would beat me as also such persons. While teaching religion in their period of school, they speak disparagingly of Hindus. I got my shuddhi ceremony performed in June 1955 to set at rest all doubts about my being a Hindu.
To Mr. Shinde-
Shuddhi my whole family joined and performed the ceremony. Otherwise
it was likely that they may not have been recognised as Hindus. Because
of me their names were also written in the Mission. I do not know when
their names were written in the Mission. The whole mohalla people
were anxious to be reconverted by Shuddhikaran and my father also said
that they were treated by the Christian Missionaries as Christians and
therefore his name must also have been written in their register.
The file which they used to bring contained their names. The Shuddhi
was performed by the Arya Samaj and the certificate was given by them.
In my village from the last five or six years there is no prohibition of
Harijans drawing water from anywhere, and Sawarn also take part in religious
functions. There is a small temple in our village in which we can
go. The picture that I had said in my deposition was pasted on a
tin sheet. It was posted only at the four corners and could be removed
from the tin. I did not object as I was confounded and puzzled when
the Father began to take out the picture. There were in all, including
male, female and children, 10 or 15 persons present in number. Five
or six people from the mohalla also were present there. Nobody said
anything to the Father, nor did they object when the picture was trampled
by the Father. There were two other boys of my age and they are in
the village doing manual labour. They were not literate.
I was a resident of Uttar Pradesh and was educated in the Christ Church School and College at Cawnpore. I came to Madhya Pradesh in 1921, and was Naib-Tahsildar from 1921 to 1930. From 1928 to 1930 I was at Khandwa as Naib-Tahsildar, and on the 30th September 1930 I resigned my post of Naib-Tahsildar owing to the call of the country then, regarding Salt and Jungle Satyagrah. Previously in 1918 at the call of Mahatma Gandhi regarding boycott of school, I along with three others was the first in Cawnpore to leave our studies. Since 1931 I have been practising here as a pleader and advocate at Khandwa. During my duties as Naib-Tahsildar I had occasions to visit almost every village in Khandwa tahsil and afterwards also as a Pleader here I had occasions to meet people including Harijans, both Hindu Harijans and Christian Harijans and I came across no complaint of any foul or forcible conversion to Christianity, either by the Roman Catholics or by any other Christians. As Naib-Tahsildar I was also Superintendent of Fairs in Khandwa tahsil and had occasions to hear the preachings of the Christian Pracharaks both Roman Catholics and Methodists but I came across not a single instance in which they might have asked people to become Christians or spoke disparagingly against other religions. I had occasions to work during the last two general elections. In the last election I myself stood as a candidate for the State Assembly on Jan Sangh Ticket. In the election before that I worked for an independent candidate, and so I had to travel the whole of Khandwa district. Although my constituency was Mundi, and Mundi is in Khandwa tahsil that candidate’s constituency whom I supported was Pandhana in the Khandwa tahsil. But I had my sympathies for one Praja Socialist Party candidate from Burhanpur and other independent candidate from Harsud, in the last election. In this election campaign, I came to visit Harijan voters also both Christians and non-Christians, and the Christians told me that they had instructions from their Missions that they were free to vote they liked. In 1931, till 1954 there was no agitation against the Christian Missionary in Khandwa tahsil. It was since April 1954 that such an agitation has been started and it has coincided with the notices served on Babulal Waiter and Mrs. Prasad for their removal from their services. It is clear to me that the root cause of this agitation against Christians are the activities of Babulal Walter and Mrs. Prasad who are also helping some bigotted gentlemen in this agitation. I have seen with my own eyes from 1931 to April 1954 that Hindus, Muslims and Christians joined together in meetings and prayers for various things like ending of successful fast of Mahatma Gandhi and also far various other things. In 1944-45 where there was a food shortage I supervised voluntarily on my own account and I found that the Missionaries were absolutely impartial in the distribution of foodgrains between Christians and non-Christians, and no temptation was offered. It is my experience that there was absolutely no discrimination shown by the Missionary in their hospitals in their schools and in other activities in which they either joined us or they had their own activities, between a Christian and a non-Christian. The first pamphlet which I received against Christians is the one that I am handing over. (It is the same which had been filed by Babulal Nilkanth as Annexure No. 13-B at page 140.) Babulal Walter was with the boy who gave me this pamphlet. It was distributed in the month of April 1954. I got another thing written from Rajaram, dated the 3rd May 1954, regarding this affair. I am also handing over a third leaflet. On getting the handbill No. 3, I got in touch with some of the alleged signatories of the handbill and I had in writing from them that they have nothing to do with that handbill. This is No. 4 paper that I am handing over. When I heard that there were conversions to Hinduism I went to the Mohalla Chhota Awar of Khandwa town and asked them how they had changed their religion overnight. They told me that none of them had changed their religion and six of them had given to me in writing that they have never been converted to Hinduism and continued to be good Roman Catholic Christians. I know that on the 26th January 1954 the National Flag was flown over the Roman Catholic Mission Middle School. When statue of Lady Fatma was brought here last year in November or December all persons had joined the public prayer in the Roman Catholic Mission School compound and the Chaplain of Roman Catholic Mission prayed for long life of our President and Prime Minister and condemned communists.
Towards the activities of the Harijan Sewak Sang, the attitude of Missionary is one of welcome.
To Mr. Shinde-
When the notice was served on Mrs. Prasad terminating her services, she locked the school office. Ultimately the lock had to be broken open at my advise as I was engaged as the counsel for them for that purpose.
I have seen the book named ‘Children of Hari’. I would send it to you.
To Shri A. L. Arzare-
I am a Rai Sahib even now from the year 1944. As I had worked in various capacities in the National War Front in the last war, I used to be paid Rs. 250 per month as honorarium and also travelling expenses by the British Government. During the last election my security was forfeited. I do not remember if Thakur Bhagwantsingh of Ghatakhedi whom had supported in the last election was opposing me in the previous election, was a candidate in my constituency of the last election from Mundi. I have never held any office in any public institutions nor do I care to. During my career as an advocate otherwise also when I came in contact with the people I used to make all sorts of enquiries as to their welfare, as to their crop, in the case of Christians the attitude of Christian Missionaries towards them and complaints came to me whom I questioned. Before June 1954 I had no occasions to move about with Missionaries anywhere. I have never seen the Missionaries working or preaching in the mohallas going from house to house. Even after June 1954 I had no occasions to be with them in their preaching work or any other religious activities. Once I was taken in their jeep (as I was ill) when the Committee visited Khandwa. I went there not at the instance of anybody but on my own account to apprise Dr. Niyogi of my knowledge. That was in Bada Awar, where Roman Catholic Middle Mission School is situated. I was there only for about ten minutes as it was intolerable for me to hear all those things as there were charges and counter-charges, lies and counter, lies. I did not go to the Circuit House to meet Dr. Niyogi as in the two minutes talk that I had with him in the Roman Catholic Middle School I was told that statements would be recorded and questionnaire issued later on, I. did receive a questionnaire issued by the Committee but I could not reply it as I was at Nagpur for along time and later on forgot all about it. I had occasions to visit Nagpur and Pachmarhi during May and June of this year. That is what I mean by being at Nagpur. I had come across that questionnaire in the middle of May of this year. I did not know the last date of submission of the answer nor did I read the questionnaire except the first few questions, but I had seen Shri R. C. Tiwari answering it, sometimes in January 1955.I told him that one or two copies of the questionnaire were lying with me. I was really anxious to answer the questionnaire in my public capacity, as I take interest in public works. I did not prepare the notes to answer.
I have not brought the persons who gave me the papers which I handed over to the Committee. Nor did I ask them to come before the Committee. The six chits were not written nor were they signed in my presence. But they bad all come to me and persons giving them told me that they had signed them. The paper No. 4 was written in my presence in Bada Awar after I had questioned the people with reference to paper No. 3. There were some 50 or 60 people of the same locality and, nobody else, not even the Missionary Father was there. The reason why I got this written is that when there were charges against the Missionary for doing wrongful things I approached the Missionary and enquired of them and when the handbill of that nature came to my hand I wanted to verify if the Shuddhi was voluntary and genuine. I got these things in writing so that I may be able to place these things before this Committee. My idea was to keep these things before the Committee so that they could call them independently and question them. I did not send them early to the Committee. I did not know when the Committee was coming to Khandwa. I came to know yesterday when I actually saw the Committee functioning. I did not ask the gentleman Babulal Nilkanth Sanyojak to know the truth about it. As I was satisfied the Statements of the alleged signatories of the pamphlet I did not think it necessary to ask him. I did not think it necessary to question the Sanyojak about the printed handbill even after the denial by some of the signatories as I wanted to place the whole, matter before the Committee. The reason for placing these papers before the Committee was that I did. riot believe that any unfair means was adopted by the Christian Missionary to convert people to Christianity and that what the accusers accused the Christians as doing they themselves were doing. The accusations were to my knowledge, to my belief and to my information. Although I felt that the accusers of Christian Missionary who are my brethren in faith, i.e., Hindu and. though I felt that these methods and their part was bad I did ,not bring this to the notice of my Hindu brethren.
I am the
counsel engaged by Father Mario Barreto for the Roman Catholic Mission
in the case filed by Babulal Nilkanth against him, for whom Messrs. Arzare
and Meghshyam are appearing. I was also a counsel for Father Mario Barreto
in a civil suit about three months ago. In the complaint filed by
Babulal Nilkanth against Father Barreto I had been listed as one of the
prosecution witnesses which I found on the first appearance and which I
considered was intended only to deprive Father Barreto of my services in
the Court. I stood surety for Father Barreto at about 5-30 p.m. when the
surety which was being offered was refused and no other man was then available
to stand his surely. Father Leo was an Indian citizen and in every
way qualified to stand as surety. Father Leo’s surety was not rejected
by Shri Kulkarni, Magistrate, First Class, Khandwa. Father Barreto
is still continuing on my surety. It is absolutely untrue that I
have received an appointment letter from the Diocese of Indore. It
is not true that I made representation to the Congress Government through
the District Congress Committee that I should be reinstated as Naib-Tahsildar.
Nor did. I say that in the alternative I may be given a post of Public
Prosecutor. There is no case pending before the Bar Association,
Khandwa, for ill-behaviour with a colleague, but there was. The case
against me was that I told a friend who congratulated me for my letter
to Hitwad exposing certain high personages that it was silly for him as
I did not deserve any congratulations but I had done a public duty.
It is untrue that I had to apologize for the misbehaviour towards my colleague
Mr. Dulichand in the Bar Association. I have not been preaching to the
Christian Belahis to stick to Christianity and others to join Christianity.
Ex. No. 2 was written by Rajaram in my presence in my office, at 9.00 in
the morning. It is false that I got this written before Roman Catholic
Mission at my office by force.
I am Raghuvanshi Thakur and Patel, Kotwar and mukuddam are Christians of the village. In the village Sirpur there are 50 houses of Christians and about 50 houses of Hindus. It is a raiyatwari village. It was formerly before 30 or 35 years, the population was all Christians, and sonic Korkus (Hindus). Since about 30 or 35 years we have come and settled there. The R. C. Mission has extensive property in that village. Before Swaraj we could not celebrate Holi and Dashera. In fact we were used to be prohibited in doing so. We used to celebrate Diwali unhampered. After Swaraj we celebrated our Holi in our Mohalla, but the Missionary made a report for rioting which was enquired into. That was found to be false. Since then we celebrate our Holi. There is a passage for going to the well from the village. That passage passes through Abadi. There the Missionaries made a football ground close to that path, and when football used to be played and. while doing so it used to hit the ladies passing by the way. Once the football was hit and a complaint was made to Nyaya Panchayat. Father Hofsty was fined Rs. 25. We also made an application to the Deputy Commissioner. He sent the Tahsildar and the football: ground was removed from that place. The incident about the football was some four or five years ago and so also about Holi. In our village there is no Hindu temple nor Mahabir’s chabutra. We wanted to erect one chabutra of Mahabir in our own mohalla in the place where a hut of Laxminarayan tailor exists. Laxminarayan is perfectly willing to give that ground for Mahabir chabutra provided he gets the land for his hut in the Abadi. We approached the Revenue office for this purpose and the case has been pending for the last three years without any decision as the Christian Missionary are raising objection to it, so that we may not be able to erect a chabutra for Mahabir. They are opposed. The Mukaddam, who is a Christian says that he would not give this land as some other work will be done there, viz., building for patients. The land does not belong to the Christians but belongs to Government. There is a Mission hospital in that village. We used to get medicine on payment, but since we have commenced observing our Holi festival we are not given medicine even on payment, i.e., we four or six people who are considered to be the leaders.
To Mr. Shinde-
Master who asked us to settle there was a Christian. Then he had
assured us that there will be no interference in observing our religious
festivals and prayers. During his life-time owing to our monetary
reasons we did not erect any temple. In the meantime, he died and
Nicholas Master became Gumasta. Sarpanch of the Nyaya Panchayat is
a Hindu. The Nyaya Panchayat is in the village Khar which is three
miles from Sirpur. There is no Christian population, as I believe
it. All the members of the Nyaya Panchayat are Hindus.
a son who is married in Chhota Awar, a Mohalla of Khandwa, to my own caste
fellow Balahi. The marriage took place some seven years ago in the
Balahi form of marriage. After marriage the girl used to come to
my house, used to stay for some time and also used to stay at her father’s
house. But the Gouna ceremony was not performed. When the girl
came of age I came to Chhota Awar to have the Gouna ceremony of my son.
My son had also come with me. My Samadhi insisted that unless I agree
to remarriage of my son and my daughter-in-law in a Church he would not
send my daughter-in-law to my house for the Gouna ceremony. When
the marriage of my son took place they were Hindus and when I came for
Gouna three years ago I cannot say whether they were Hindus or Christians.
The Father and my Samadhi both said that he must be married again in Church.
I did not agree although the Father also told me that I should agree to
have another marriage in the Girja (Church).
I am kotwar of Goulkheda, tahsil Khandwa, since about ten years. I was serving one Nanhelal whose wife was a teacher in a Mission School. The Christian Father used to come in our village and used to stay about a week or every year and used to tell me to become Christian, as my master was a Christian. After master Nanhelal went to War I stopped working as his servant. Then the mistress Nanhelal used to tell me that I was neither coming in my service nor am I becoming Christian she would see me. Then Mrs. Nanhelal made a report against me under section 376, I. P. C. The Police came for enquiry and found there was nothing in the complaint. She said that she will restart a case unless I agreed to relinquish my kotwari dues and pay some amount. Then on the advice of certain Pandhas collected, I settled the matter and got a receipt from her, and also gave a receipt to her for my kotwari dues. Even then she made a report and the Chief Sahib came to enquire and found that there was nothing in it. There was another report against me of arson. The reason for all this harassment to me was that I used to collect people mostly of my caste and used to recite Ramayan to, which the Christians used to object saying “what was therein?” And that they shout, believe in Christ. These used to be told by the Christian Missionaries who used to visit the village and Mrs. Nanhelal. The report of arson against me was also found false.
To Mr. Shinde.-
been reconverted to Hinduism by Shuddhi ceremony three months ago.
The things which I narrated happened six seven years ago. I do not know
when I became Christian but I got Shuddhi ceremony performed because my
name was entered in their Missionary register. From the very beginning
my name has been Bala or Balya. I do not know if any other name for
me was entered in the Missionary register. Nanhelal and his wife
also used to call me by my name Balya. Shuddhi was performed in the
Arya Samaj. I follow my old Balahi Hinduism. When Shri Mandloi, Minister,
came to Gudi village I did not complaint to him about this story as there
were too many men present and as I was posted on duty and there was no
occasion. Last year also I was told by Padri Sahib that your Dharm
is false, our Dharma is true and “you should become Christian.” I
came of my own accord. Though I was not a Christian and I was Hindu
I got shuddhi ceremony done because the Padri told me that my name was
in their register. The Father did not tell me in what name I was
entered in his register. The Padri is Rev. Nath (whom he points out
who is present in the Court). Rev. Nath is an Indian. I have
not got the receipt, it is with the Sub-Inspector Dharashansingh.
The receipt was then torn by him in presence of the Panchas saying that
their zagda was useless. Even now they come to my village
and tell me and others that there is nothing in our religion and we hear
it silently. None from the village made any complaint to Mr. Mandloi.
I am storekeeper in Nepa Mills and my house is in Khandwa in Bada Awar. I as well as my parents are Hindus. I am and was throughout a Hindu Balahi. When my father died I did all the ceremonies tenth day and others according to Balahi custom. I have married a Hindu girl and in Hindu form of marriage. All my children have been married as Hindus and in Hindu form of marriage. I never dreamt that I could be shown as a Christian. It was only when I stood as a candidate for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly for the reserved seat for Harijans that on objection being raised by my opposing candidate that the Padri came with a Mission register and showed the name Sampat entered therein, and my nomination paper was rejected. In the register only Sampat was written and other specifications father’s name, etc., were not written. I never went to the Church and have all along been be having like a Hindu and never like a Christian. During the marriage of my niece R. C. Mission Father with Shri Iqbalshanker, Advocate, came and began to interfere by saying that my niece should not be married in the Hindu form as she was a Christian and should be married in a Christian form. We all resented then they threatened us with certain consequences. We then said they could do what they liked, and we proceeded with our marriage which was performed in our Hindu Balahi form. About eight months back similar incident took place in the case of my maternal nephew, my sister’s son. During that occasion even the Deputy Commissioner and other officers had been there. His marriage was performed according to our Hindu rites. On this occasion also Shri Iqbalshanker was present with R. C. Mission. When the officers and others came back Shri Iqbalshanker also gave lecture saying that when Hindus were treating you as untouchables, the Christian Missionaries cared for you, educated you and you are now cheating them. We told that we never became Christians and his remark did not apply to us.
To Mr. Shinde-
I have not undergone Shuddhi ceremony because I was never a Christian. My nomination paper was rejected after seeing the Missionary register. I did not sign election petition because a large sum of money was required. Besides appearing for me during scrutiny as he was also a Jansangh candidate like me I have entrusted him with no case work. I never went to Rev. Nath for asking for his services on the plea that I was a Christian and my name was Wilson. I never went for a certificate that I am a Christian. I am the Patel of my caste. It is true that the Christian Missionary have opened schools, teach the children, but they take fees, after primary school. In the primary they do not charge any fees. I cannot say whether the Christian Missionaries are doing good or bad for the Balahis. I do not know if the Christian Missionaries are doing good or bad work for the Mohalla.