Name-Dr. D. G. Moses.
I am Principal of the Hislop College from 1941. I am connected with the Institution from 1926 as Professor of Philosophy. The Hislop College was formerly founded by the Church of Scotland and is at present managed by a Board of Directors with headquarters constituted in Madhya Pradesh. It provides graduate and post-graduate education in Arts and Science subjects and is not directly connected with Church. Amongst Directors there are three members who are representing Mid India Christian Council. At present there are about 1,100 students on the roll including women students. There are about 100 Christian students now and the rest are non-Christians. The Institution receives a block grant of Rs. 10,000 annually from the Church of Scotland; the other expenses are met out of fees and grant-in-aid from Government. On behalf of the Church of Scotland a Missionary Professor Miss Ward has been appointed Lecturer in English. We have an American Negro who is in charge of Physical education and another American who is teaching sociology. They are paid by the American Methodist Mission.
The North India United Church of Nagpur carries on evangelical and other activities in Madhya Pradesh. I am a member thereof. They run schools, hospitals and a dispensary at Dhapewada. For the last four or five years this institution has got no paid evangelists to my knowledge. I and other members of this institution believe in the basic tennets of Christianity that every Christian is an evangelist a Missionary Christian.
My ideas of propagating the Christian religion are as follows:-
Question.-If a body declares itself under the label of “aggressive evangelism” or “evangelical crusade” and uses such means as television, dramas, radios, mobile projection vans, the media of mass communication, recording, films, pictures, posters, illustrated leaflets flannel graphs, puppets, etc., and. works only in ore caste like Uraons, Mahars or Satnamis will you call it propagation?
Answer.-Yes, provided evangelism is understood in the sense explained by me above. It would not be propagation if these activities are done with a view to convert 600,000 villagers in 10 years.
This is too much of a business method. It is not a spiritual method.
In the year 1910 at Edinburough, World Council, it was recommended to leave to the Indians the evangelistic activities. Last year at Evanstone it was decided that the Christian church is a world church and it is supra-national Evanstone expects that churches in India would be “rooted in the soil yet supranational in their witness”.
Supra-national does not mean de-nationalisation but only means that the State should not interfere with the creed that God is the final authority. The Chairman read out “The Christian forces of the world though still a minority must on that very account quickly become a very organised and militant minority” (World Christian Handbook, page 57, 1952). I do not subscribe to this. In my opinion the Church in India should be one Church as everywhere and should be entirely under the control of Indians. In my view the Church in India must eschew denominational differences and must become one Church. I do not agree with Dr. Pickett if he thinks that a National Church in India would reflect the spirit of political Nationalism. But I disagree with Rev. Anantrao. (See N. C. C., December 1954, page 544). When he says that the Christians in India would be unifying if the foreign support is stopped.
I would like the Christian faith to absorb all the best in Indian culture and to express itself in Indian ways.
words there should be an Indian expression of Christianity. If a
school or a hospital is used mainly as an instrument for conversion to
Christianity it is not evangelism. I thoroughly disapprove of primary
schools being started for utilising the fees for maintaining a church.
I disapprove of the policy of having Christi Raj or Masahi Sthan.
Name-Rev. Canon Kurian.
In reply to the questionnaire issued by the Committee I have filed a statement. I belong to the Gondwana Mission. I was formerly in Mandla and have come to Nagpur in January 1955.
There is difference between conversion and proselytization. Proselytization means only adding to the numbers. We have got only one Pracharak. The preaching does not mean attacking any other religion or the persons who are venerated by them. If somebody were to say that unless he became a Christian he would go to hell it is not called propagation. If the Government is helping the Harijans and aboriginals I would not call it as an inducement. It would be good if they were to extend their help to needy Christians. We have had no trouble from the Government officials.
which we used to get from abroad are being gradually reduced. This
year we only got £ 200 and next year we may get less. Religious
instruction in schools should be left to individual choice.
Name-Shri Jal Gimi.
I was a student in the St. Francis de-Sales High School and St. John’s High School. I joined Morris College afterwards. Both are Roman Catholic schools. Bible history was one of the subjects prescribed for the junior and senior Cambridge examinations. That was St. Francis D. School. There was also catechism class meant for Roman Catholic boys. That used to be the first period of the day. Non-Catholics were not obliged to attend the class. But I used to attend the class at the instance of my father. He was a student of St. Xavier’s College, Bombay. When I was attending the classes a lot of interest was shown in me by the Father. The special interest went to the extent that the Father said to me that I should attend special instructions on Sunday, afternoons. I continued attending the “special lectures”, on Sunday, afternoons with a particular priest. One afternoon as I entered the room of the Priest I saw his desk covered with huge thick volumes, presumably literature concerning Christianity. No sooner. I stepped in then the Priest remarked “Jal, your Zoraster had no right to found your religion”. However small I was in age, i.e. (about 13 or 14 years) something snapped inside me and I retorted by saying “Father, if my Zoraster had no right to found my religion, your Christ had no right to found your religion”. Naturally I was very badly caned. The caning was so severe that while in the process I managed to run out of his room straight home and showed the blue and black marks on my body to my father. Next morning my father approached the school authorities and without going into the demerits of the affair had my name removed from the school roll. This was in 1928. I am running 41 now. I was then admitted in St. John’s High School, where not a word of Christianity and its teaching was ever breathed by the priests in the institution. There were quite a large number of Catholic boys. There were no catechism classes in the school nor was there any Bible class.
In the St. Francis High School we were often told by some priests, “Boys, non-Catholic souls have no salvation unless they became Catholics,” because we were not Roman Catholics.
I personally and in fact my whole family have great reverence for Christ and of my daily prayers is the Lord’s prayer, i.e. (our Father).
I might also state their bright side and some of the very good points that I know concerning these Missionary activities which to my mind considerably outweigh the little unfortunate experience that I had in my school days. The sisters of Charity, as they are called, have been known by me to do such good work and under circumstances which I feel I personally would never have the courage to perform. One such instance is about a place close to Ahmedabad where I was told the lepers in the city were ousted from the Municipal area and not cared for either by the State or the local bodies. These lepers got together and managed to have a mud and tatta shelter for themselves and did not dare to leave the four walls lest they might be punished. The condition in which they lived must have been worse than that of animals. For their bread and butter they used to hand a basket outside their huts to receive alms. This went on for quite some time, till the sisters of Charity heard about this and went all out to help them, and make them live as human beings as they do now. Those inhabitants still maintain their own religion. There has been so far no interference with their original faith. To the best of my knowledge I saw that institution three years ago. On my enquiry I was told that none of the inmates have changed their religion. My enquiry was not from the lepers. It is managed by the Catholics.
I have never been to Jashpur or any other tribal areas. My experience is mostly confined to towns, i.e. to urban areas.
There is another instance which has occurred just about a fortnight back when my own cook lost his wife after child birth. The 10 day old child was a problem to the young father and his old mother who was practically blind and bent double with age. He comes to me and tells me that his neighbours in the Dharampeth area have suggested that the child be placed in the custody of the Sisters of Charity in the local Maria Immaculate Convent, till such time as the child is able to stand on its own legs and run. This man belongs to the scheduled caste and this reflects very creditably on the Missionaries that a Hindu should voluntarily take his own child for safe custody to people belonging to different faith altogether. In fact what struck me then was, why, have not people in his own community, viz., the Hindus have a home for such cases. I mean I have known of a very good institution here called the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh which is doing lot of good work in the country but unfortunately is paying very little attention to the social uplift and religious teachings amongst the lower strata of society. If they take up such work I am positive that the Missionaries will find anything hard to do in this country.
Mr. Tiwari o Mungeli.- I have never attended any Protestant institution
for school or college, so I do not know whether boys or students are told
by the Priest concerned that their only salvation is in being Christians.
I have attended church services in the Methodist Church in Nagpur twice
or thrice. I was the only non-Christian there. I went there with
Christian friends. After 1947 I have heard that people were converted
by inducement but I have no personal knowledge of any instance. I heard
this in bar-room.
Name.-Dr. E. Asirvatham.
Chairman.- When I come across such phrases as “aggressive evangelism”, “evangelical crusade”, “invasion teams” and such other form suggesting a drive, it strikes me that it may amount to propaganda.
Question.- Can these expressions be described as propaganda?
Answer.- Such a process, I shall take with a grain of salt. In India I think these are likely to be misunderstood. As a member of Christian church I would deprecate the use of such language or do not approve of such language which is likely to do more harm than good. 600,000 villages mentioned in the address of Alexander Mc. Liesh of World Dominion Press may mean only that they went to convert the whole of India.
Since the termination of the war a great number of narrow-minded, bigotted and outlandish Missionaries have come out to India. My suggestion is that a body like the National Christian Council should be asked to screen the Missionaries coming to India.
As I do not know the facts relating to Indonesia, Karens in Burma and. Nagas in Assam I cannot say anything. My feeling is that if there is any trouble like this, these people will go revolting as Nagas, Karens but not as Christians. If it is proved in a Judicial manner with due process of law that it is exciting disaffection than legal steps should be taken, preventive measures may be taken.
I know the World Council of Churches and International Missionary Council.
Question.- I just read out and I want an interpretation of the following expression:-
Answer.- Supranational does not mean anti-national or denational, I mean by obedience, obedience to God and not to Church.
Question.- Could you kindly explain the meaning of the passage, “the Christian forces of the world though in a minority should become a militant minority”
It only means to roll up your sleaves and be ready.
Question.- Will you kindly interpret for me this expression “But when there is a conflict of loyalty between Christ and the State, the true Christian has necessarily to choose obedience to Christ (National Christian Council Review, April 1955). Would the word Christ include within the ambit of its meaning “the Worldwide Organisation of the Christian Church” (World Handbook, 1952, page 58).
Answer.- I cannot say yes or no.
I want a Church a free church in India without any authority from outside India. In my life-time I would like to see a genuine indigenous church which I hope will have the uniqueness of our national character. It will be loyal to every culture. I would like to incorporate the best in the spiritual and moral experience, i.e., of cultures of all lands.
I am in favour of Church unity, but I see many difficulties in the way.
The Union of Dr. Pickett as extracted at page 544 of December National Christian council Review, 1954, was read out.
I say that there can be no true and lasting Internationalism which is not rooted in sound nationalism.
Foreign help has stood in the way of church of India reaching Indian manhood. Even if Indians are unified and become independent of foreign churches, it can receive foreign aid, I have no objection to receive money from Foreign Boards because no strings are attached.
If there is a United church in India there is no fear of its being utilised by any foreign power. If it is organised on a democratic method there will be no fear.
I disapprove of what is said in Missions in Mid-India as translated into Hindi, viz., that Police officers, forest officers and teachers should be utilised for converting non-Christians to Christianity and that the responsibility of proselytisation should be put on their shoulders. Any person whether he be a Christian or a non-Christian who uses his official position to give direct or indirect support to any religion is not true to the purpose and spirit of religion.
I am not in favour if hospitals are used for proselytising people.
To Shri S. K. Deshpande-
If mass conversion means converting of a large mass of people without any adequate preparation and the using of illegitimate methods I am not for it.
like to have the propaganda of the type that unless you resort to Bible
there is no salvation? My answer is: If a person says that Bible contains
the word of God and solves ones moral and spiritual problem, as well as
problems of the world I am in favour of it. The Bible is not the
only source, although as a Christian I believe to be so.
Name.-Shri B. E. Mandlekar.
I am submitting the copy of my book, “Musings”, wherein I have studied the relevant questions which are being considered by the Committee. The special pages to which I wish to draw the attention of the Committee are:-
(1) Pages 66 to 68.-A letter to Dr. Cholkar (Prohibition of Cow Slaughter).I turn to question No. 11.
In the present infant stage of our Bharat it is necessary that there should be no foreign influence in our national life. In our political life we do not want any interference either from America or from Moscow. In the social life, as well as in economics, we want to develop our own life. In my scheme of national evolution I will not exclude any Indian for his economic, social or philosophic outlook the assistance which he can take from his brother, I would not exclude also knowledge received through books from outsiders, but as far as monetary or other help is concerned, it creates a slavish mentality in the person receiving, as it is the hand which gives, that controls. My firm belief has been, from whatever I have read, that in matters of religious and philosophic thoughts Bharat has not to look for anybody for any help or guidance. It is being abundantly proved that what was mentioned by Bharat philosophers is being inductively proved by Western sciences and applied psychology. In our infant state, and particularly after the removal of domination by Muslims and Britishers from India, Bharat has not yet got full time to remove the rust or the ashes of embers of philosophic knowledge in books of Hindu philosophy from embers and experience of Bharat’s great swears. To illustrate: If Swami Vivekananda’s teachings are carried to every home in India, I am perfectly sure that no one would look or listen to foreign propagandists in religion preaching contrary to Hindu religion.
2. I would like to learn the principles of Christian religion from a Christian Indian, but not from any foreigner, particularly if he supplies money to Indians-institutions for the teachings of Christian religion. Because of their Indian background Indian Christians would be able to explain more correctly than a foreigner.
When the foreign Missionary goes to the aboriginals or to the untouchables of the Hindus be wants to exploit their ignorance and economic difficulties. If a foreigner goes to this area to start a school or to open a hospital I would suspect his motive because be would be doing so with the support of foreign funds; because the foreign funds may be received for the purpose of conversion. That means he should render help to poor people out of humanitarian motives but not to convert them, i.e., with ulterior motive. I do not wish that there should be any increase in the number of converts.
In my experience of elections I found that if I approach a Christian he could say that he would vote according to the instructions of the Christian Association. This means that the individual Christian is under the influence of some institution. If such a Christian is not under any obligation to any foreign body on account of monetary assistance, then I should say that there is no objection to his voting for anybody. I regard religion as a mode of social control and therefore if there is any influence working from outside in the region of religion I would suspect that some kind of force is working behind it. What I fear is that this body will be separated from the bulk of the nation.
Schools and hospitals should not be used for proselytisation, particularly with the aid of foreign funds.
I hold that conversion to Christianity adversely affects national loyalty.
If there is a war between a Muslim and a Hindu the Christian will remain neutral, but if there is a war between Christian and Hindus the Christians will help Christian.
When the Christians did not press for a separate state for themselves they did so on the assurance that the Indian Republic is going to be a member of the Commonwealth. I am prepared to absorb everything that Christianity can contribute through Indian Christian channels. Any resident of India is a Hindu.
My answer to question No. 95 is to be found on page 113 onwards of the book “Musings”.
I am in favour of religious teachings in schools and colleges. Today it so happens that although the adherents of one religion think that their religion is universal that claim is not admitted by others. On account of this conflict there arises difficulty in teaching religion in schools.
By religious teaching of Hinduism I mean that a pupil should know something about Krishna, Ram and other great personalities who are separated by Hindus. I would have no objection to teach the life of Jesus Christ, also his teachings. If in the class there are Hindus, Muslims, Parsis, the prayers of the class would be the prayer of the majority. I think it is quite fair that minorities in India should offer the Hindu prayers.
I want that there should be text books containing the lives of Jesus, Zoraster, or Buddha and so on.
I would be in favour of special classes to be held on Sundays for teaching religion, in the different classes. If the background of the religious philosophy is common, then the deity that is worshipped becomes un important. The Secular State must legislate for all persons in India irrespective of their different religion, e.g., on bigamy. This is good to all.
I am in favour of the State taking over the Maths with all their property and utilising it for social and charitable works.
To Shri Tiwari of Mungeli.
I came to know from the Nagpur Christians that an individual Christian is not free to vote for the man of his choice. I cannot mention names. I cannot mention any instance of a person having become a Christian in my presence. If a Christian Missionary finds that there are some young boys without any food or clothes, no borne, etc., and he takes them to some place of shelter and gives them food, education, etc., it is objectionable if he does it with the idea of converting them. I do not believe that any such boy brought up by Christians will remain a Hindu. I admit that there are people who are helpless. I have not seen street preaching for the last 25 years. I do not object to medical relief being given by any Christian provided he does not get money from abroad and from religious institutions I would welcome any help, from e.g., the Ford Foundation. There are many in Hindu society to render help to poor people. They are of a religious character. I know the Christian doctrine that one must love one’s neighbour and that helpless people should be helped. But I do not desire that this sentiment should be used for converting people. If a helpless Christian comes to be in distress I will help him as I would help a Hindu. I would not ask him to change his religion. I have no objection if a Christian helps a helpless Hindu. I maintain that Schools or Colleges in India should not get any financial help from abroad, particularly from religious institutions. I do not object to Ramkrishna Mission receiving help from outside. Ramkrishna Mission does not convert. I have stated in my book entitled “Musings” that I do not belong to any political party. (Page 292).
no objection to dine with a Mahar and I have inter-dined with Mahars.
On account of the present social outlook inter-marriages with Mahars will
not be favoured. The untouchables (many of them) have become Christians
not by conviction but by helpless conditions. I come across instances of
about 500 untouchables and aboriginals having become Christians on account
of their economic distress. They are all from Madhya Pradesh and
I came to know through the official records. Even before 1947 the
untouchables of a level as to enter the temple would have been allowed
to enter the temples. I would not have allowed a man wearing dirty clothes
and if he is a leper, to enter the temple. Out of the 500 conversions
which I have mentioned there was none literate, i.e., who have received
primary education. They were either such as could merely make a signature,
but mostly who would give their thumb-impression. If there are others
who are educated upto matriculation standard or even graduates, have become
Christian, it may be due to promote his further chances. Even if
a Missionary doctor serves the lepers for 10 years and then out of the
feeling of gratitude a patient embraces Christianity, it is objectionable.
If an Indian Christian pastor is converted by an Arya Samajist I have no
objection, if the pastor by conviction comes to believe in Hinduism.
I have no objection to convert him by conviction. The population
of Hindus in India may be about 28 crores, and the population of Christians
may be about 80 lacs. I am not able to tell the present population of Madhya
Pradesh. The population of Madhya Pradesh before the merger was two
and half crores. The Christians may be about 4 to 6 per cent of the
total population of Madhya Pradesh.
Name.-Rev. John W.
I have read your article published in the National Christian Council Review of January 1930. There is a word of difference between a man who respects Christ as a great man and the person who acknowledges Him as his personal Lord and Saviour. The latter by joining the church participates and in some sense carries on the work, which Christ entrusted to be done. Even if a man were to venerate Jesus as the perfect manifestation of God on earth still he would not be a Christian, if he does not associate himself with other Christians, as a member of the Church, involving baptism. I differ from Roman Catholics in regard to church and doctrines. The Christian doctrine is only an attempt to interpret the life and the teachings of Jesus. No one can be a Christian unless he regards Jesus as his Lord and the only Lord. Anybody who is outside the church cannot be called a Christian. A Christian is he who believes that the only wav of seeking peace is through Jesus Christ.
Question.- But Jesus himself said not everyone that calleth Me Lord and Lord will enter into the Kingdom of My Father but he that doeth the will of My Father which is Heaven. (Mathew, VI 21).
Answer.- He was only emphasising there the contradiction between those only calling Him Lord and Lord and those who did not do the will of the Lord. Even among the members of the church there are quite a large number of people who are not truly Christians. There can be and may be people who belong to the church by Baptism, but may not be true Christians.
In 1910 there was a meeting of the International Missionary Council in Edinburgh. The two principal recommendations were that it was the duty of the Christians to preach the Gospel to the whole world and secondly it can best be done by co-operation and unity. It was always understood that the church was more important than the Missions. Many Missionary Societies have merged in the Church. In 1912-13 the National Missionary Council of India, Burma and Ceylon, was started to give effect to the aforesaid principles. Later on it became National Christian Council in 1923.
In 1928 there was second World Missionary Conference in Jerusalem and the third in 1938 at Tambaram in Madras. In Tambaram the emphasis on the church was greatly stressed. I will send you a copy of the Tambaram Conference minutes (abridged report). There was a Regional Conference for South East Asia at Bangkok which was a joint effort of the International Missionary Council and the World Council of Churches. Dr. Raja D. Manikam (also Reverend) is the Joint Secretary of the International Missionary Council and the World Council of Churches formed in the year 1948.
At the Conference in Bangkok it was decided that Christ sitting on the right hand of God reigns and the church owes it to the world and reminding…… etc. [Christianity and Asian Revolution (pages 90- 91)]. The church is concerned with Social, Economical and Political problems. In 1952 at Lucknow there was a meeting of the World Council of Churches. This was mainly in preparation for the second World Council of Churches meeting at Evanston, in 1954. It concerned itself with the sphere of the entire life and activities of the church all over the world. The International Missionary Council and World Council of Churches have executive committees to carry on their work. We do not approve of mass conversions; even conversion of individuals for political motives is objectionable. On this particular point I agree with Sardar Patel’s words (page 138, The Whole World is My Neighbour). I do not like the word mass conversion. There have been and will be group conversions. Conversion means to raise their standard of life as a whole including spiritual. If groups desire conversion purely for social and economic aims without regard to their essential spiritual life it is not to be encouraged. There is a lot of misery, sickness and illiteracy among the people. To take advantage of their holplessness would be un-Christian, Even if the Bible women preach in. the halls of the hospitals or for the purpose of evangelization there is no objection. I wont compel anybody, i.e., any patient.
Proselytising means simply adding numbers to which we are opposed. Evangelism is conversion by conviction. The Christian does not distinguish between spiritual and secular life. There can be no divorce between the two.
If a preacher decries mother man’s religion and makes unfair comparisons between thou personalities venerated by the different religions it is not desirable. If the preaching is that “we are all sinners and that we as Christians have found forgiveness in Christ, we have a right to proclaim this, just as anybody has a right to proclaim it if he has found a similar experience. I do not approve of decrying personalities who are held in reverence like Ram and Krishna.
Question.- Kindly interpret to me, “the need of particular church to be rooted in the soil, yet supranational in their witness a rid obedience (page’ 29, World Christian Handbook, 1952),
Answer.- Here the word obedience to Christ is through the Church and so Church, is indispensable.
The resolutions passed at the Ecumenical Council are not binding but they are advisory. They are entitled to consideration and respect.
The expression “militant minority” occurring on page 57 “World Christian Handbook, 1952”, is an unfortunate phrase. It only means energetic effort.
Karens in Burma, Amboyncse in Indonesia, Uraons and Mundas in Orissa, Jharkhand in Madhya, Pradesh, etc., have been agitating. I have not studied these movement. They may be due to political immaturity and social troubles.
The, idea of the chosen people occurring at page 75 of National Christian Council Review of February 1954 has no political, significance. Supranational is to be understood only in a spiritual sense.
Question.- Will you kindly illustrate the meaning of supranational regarding the English Church?
Answer.- The Church of England is an established Church, but there are churches in practically every State in the world which together with the Church of England consider themselves as members, of one Church known as the Anglican Communion.
Question.- Is not the established Church of England the National Church of England.
Answer.- In England itself this does not mean that Church can override the State.
The nationalism which is referred to (at page 544 National Christian Council Review of December 1954) as a danger is a possible tendency that might show itself in a single united Church in India which will concern itself solely with national affairs and forget that there are fellow-believers and Churches in other country.
The mention of “a call to evangelise 600,000 villages in India in 10 years” which was issued by the National Missionary Society at Madras means the preaching of Christianity only. The purpose was that the Gospel of Christ was heard by as many people as possible in the whole country.
Question.- Would you like the Mission property to be transferred to Indian Christians as the church property, as I understand, has already been done in some cases ?
Answer.- That is what we have been urging for the last 15 years. Most of the Missions are only eager to transfer their properties in India to properly constituted trusts but are prevented from doing so because of the prohibitive cost of both registration and stamp duty. We mean by “Indian trust”. “incorporated in India and free from foreign Missionaries, i.e., foreign influence and personnel”. We would suggest that the Committee should find a practical solution regarding the transfer of properties. The National Christian Council is working towards an arrangement by which the foreign Missionary will come to India at the invitation of the Church.
To Mr. Tiwari of Mungeli.- The money which comes from abroad for abundant life movement in Bilaspur District is meant to give relief to the poor, so far as I know. The work which is carried on by this movement is for the uplift of the people and has apparently nothing to do with Communism. I do not think that this programme will involve any loss to the people or Government. I have no objection to the Ramkrishna mission preaching to Christian people. No Christian is under an obligation to exercise his vote…… under any direction of any church, i.e., every Christian has the right and freedom to vote according to his conviction. The group conversions take place very much on the lines as for instance recorded about the story of the conversion of the large number of people on the day of Pentecost. If I am in-charge of any religious institution where I have authority to use money for good causes, if a beggar or a person in need comes to me and I do not have my own money I shall be justified in using this money to help this man though I shall not be justified in giving that help on condition that the needy man accepts the Christian faith. It is not true that all the money that comes from abroad is meant for directly evangelistic purposes. Whatever money comes from abroad if it is for the good of the people should be welcome, whether it is received by the Christian institutions or non-Christian institutions. I will be the first man to stop that money which comes for the purpose of disrupting the national life of the country. To the best of my knowledge no converts have been made under pressure or by use of force or by undue inducement. The control of the affairs of the church must be in the hands of the Indian churches, but a foreigner if he is a member of that church may be assigned any responsibility which the church thinks proper. I do not personally know about Jharkhand, but judging from experience of other part of India I would simply say that I do not believe that the Jharkhand movement has been backed by the church. If there is an impression that foreign Missionary instigates the movement, that is a wrong impression.
To Shri S. K. Deshpande.- I do not know enough about the Jharkhand movement. Those people who have been returned from the Jharkhand to the Bihar State Assembly or to Loksabha are not all Christians; in fact the majority are non-Christians. Mr. Jaipalsingh is not an actively associated with the life of any church or even with the interest of the Christian community I do not know whether or not all the members of the Adiwasi Mahasabha are Christians. Any slur cast on any religion will hurt people belonging to that religion. In propagating Christianity I deprecate any decrying or abuse of other religions. I do not mind healthy criticism of other religions and of social evils. I am hearing for the first time that marriage is a sacrament for all Hindus.
The attention of the witness was drawn to page 2 of Bulletin No. 28 of Christian Home.
Question.- Do you approve of this attack on the Hindu Community?
Answer.- I shall not subscribe to the views. I certainly do not approve of the tone of the writing.
Question.- Do not the Christians also have the system of marriage between Christians and Christians?
Answer.- Yes, because of the affinity of the religion.
Question.- Does the World Council of Churches and National Christian Council take part in politics?
Answer.- If I happen to be a pacifist I may not join either India or any other country in war.
My loyalty to God takes precedence over my loyalty to any other thing, including the nation, as I believe that the church is the body of Christ. Therefore my loyalty to the church as the body of Christ is greater, though I do not believe that such conflict is necessary.
Our Anglican church is affiliated to the church of India, Burma and Ceylon. Whatever help comes to this C.I.P.B.C. comes from Great Britain.
2. Mr. Jacob.- The Resolutions passed at the Bangkok Conference are published, but I do not claim to have read all of them. I subscribe to the idea expressed in the Bangkok World Missionary. Council Conference reported on page 95 of “Christianity and Asian Revolution”, in the sense that the Bible is relevant to the conditions that exist in this country, i.e., in India and other countries of Asia. By Hindu nationalism I mean the movement that is contrary-to the ideal of a secular State.
On the 24th September 1955.- The Lucknow Conference of December 1952 was organised by the East Asia Secretary of the World Council of Churches. It was a study conference in preparation for the second Assembly of the World Council which was held in Evanston in 1954.
The National Christian Council of India has no relation with the World Council but they work in association with the International Missionary Council. Only six churches in India are members of the World Council and of those six churches only five churches are members of the National Christian Council. The Church of India, Burma, Pakistan and Ceylon, the United Church of North India, the Church of South India, the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, the Orthodox Syrian Church of Malabar and the Evangelical Lutheran Federation of India.
Hindu nationalism is not condemned because it is against the tenets of Christianity but it is due to social ideologies.
Question.- Is it not a fact that the conference held at Lucknow condemned Hindu nationalism and communism only on the basis that it was opposed t o the tenets of the Christian religion?
Answer.- Hindu nationalism and communism were condemned because they run counter to the ideal of the secular State which in the judgment of the people who took part in the conference is in accordance with the tenets of the Christian religion.
Question.- Is it not a fact that Christianity teaches only those who believe Christianity are, with God and the rest are not?
Answer.- The opinions recorded at Lucknow conference are not the doctrines of the church.
Christians believe that salvation can he achieved only through Jesus Christ. They do not know any other method.
Question.- Was not this conference organised in order to find out means and methods to carry out intensive and extensive methods for convene?
Answer.- It was not a conference to make plans for evangelization.
Evangelism was one of the subjects at the Lucknow conference.
I also adhere to the opinion that loyalty to Christ is above loyalty to the State.
Question.- Does not your loyalty to church come in conflict with your loyalty to the nation?
Question-Chairman.- We have claimed exemption from the operation of Madhya Pradesh Trust Act under section 36 (b) and as we are not a trust. Most of the Missions have applied for exemption from that Act because they are not trusts for the benefit of the general public.
over this written statement bearing upon the questionnaire for the consideration
of the Committee. This should be treated as a confidential document
so long as the Mandamus procedure is pending.
Name.-Dr. I., S. Williams.
I am a Doctor of Divinity. I got this degree from the Indian Orthodox Church. Its headquarters are in Madras (South India). It is a registered body. I shall send a copy of the constitution of this body. Archbishop Rev. K. C. Pillay was the founder of the Indian Orthodox Church. There are 18 churches in South India and one church at Bombay with a congregation of 200.
One of the chief tenets of the church is Apostolic succession Archbishop K. C. Pillay was consecrated Bishop by a synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church. The church in India owes allegiance to the patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church in Antioch. In the Bombay church the Anglican litergy with consequential amendments, is used, as most of the members originally belonged to the. Anglican church. The right, of managership of the Church is still in dispute. Originality it was an Anglican church and the property of the church vested in the Secretary of the State. I was a member of the Anglican church and so I and my congregation came into possession of that church. Later on we declared ourselves independent of the foreign church administrative system. The whole congregation without any dissident voice adopted the Orthodox faith. There is no foreign organisation which controls our church. The Indian organisation is known as All-India Federation of National Churches and all the independent churches in India are affiliated to this central body. None of the ecclesiastical dignitaries such as Bishops or Archbishops receive any salary. They all do honorary work. The building in Madras belongs to the Orthodox churches and is controlled by Rev. Dr. Pillay.
Those who are members of our churches claim to be National Christians; they am excluded from and deprived of the membership of the established churches.
We hold the doctrine that Jesus Christ is the personal Saviour and the only Saviour of the world and that baptism is necessary for salvation. We have preachers but not paid ones. They have their independent means of livelihood.
There was rally of the National Christians held at Jabalpur on the 4th and 5th June 1955. I presided over this conference. I do not believe in proselytization but I believe in conversion which means real change of heart. A Nationalist Christian does not believe in the control, domination and authority from any foreign body. It is because the foreign domination destroys initiative in the first place and tends to denationalise them. I say that the Christians with few honourable exceptions in India are not nationalistic. The loyalty of the Indian Christian to a foreign church implies a loyalty to the State to which the church belongs.
The Anglican Missions which are working in India believe that the ruling sovereign of England is head of the Church that is wrong because Christ is the head of the church and not the ruling king. The Anglican Missions working here also believe that the English Sovereign is the Defender of the Faith of the church.
I use the word “ordinary” subject to correction. The Indians who become members of the American church are influenced by American culture. To a certain extent it will affect Indian Christians’ loyalty to his country. To give an illustration if there is a war between America and India the Indian Christians who are under American church will not enthusiastically support Indian Nation. In the recent years I have noticed a trend in the attitude of Indian Christians in favour of Indian culture.
I presided over the rally of the Nationalist Christians held at Jabalpur on the 4th and 5th June J955. The resolution No. 3 passed at the rally disapproves of the continuance of the denationalising foreign church administrative system in Free India and considers it baneful to the national interest of the people in India in general and the Christians in particular. I do not mind a foreign Missionary working in India on the invitation of the Indian Nationalist Church, but I disapprove of a foreign Missionary working here under the control of his foreign church administrative system whereby he imports into India his denominational system. The foreign church administrative system results in the denationalisation of Indian Christians.
About six foreign Missionaries had come at our invitation and helped in the work of the National Church. They preached and went away. All they said was that they had come to India to share their faith with the Indian Christians.
Some of the methods adopted by the foreign Missionaries are not spiritually sound. They offer economic advantages to the poor as well as to the needy. The people gather round them with the hope of being sent abroad for education and even for sight-seeing. It is an inducement. I would not like any educational institution being under the guidance and administration of any foreign Missionary, because no independent country in the world will entrust the education of children to any foreigner. I dislike proselytization in any form. I will not approve and do not approve of hospitals being used for this work. I have no personal knowledge of hospitals being used for proselytization.
Our movement has been opposed by the churches controlled by the foreign Missionaries. Opposition is mainly from church workers and other stooges of Missionaries. We are welcomed by non-Christians, 'both by Hindus and Muslims. Even in Jabalpur an Aryasamajist, Hindu Mahasabhaite, welcomed our attitude in this matter. They did not mind expression of my faith that Jesus Christ was the only Saviour. I have not converted any one in the sense of baptism, but I did preach Jesus Christ and it is possible that people got converted in their hearts. There is a genuine respect for Christ among the non-Christians. Even when our foreign friends visited Bombay, 2 from America and one from Canada, the reception was accorded to them by non-Christians and that was attended by Jains, Aryasamajists, Parsis and others and Ramkrishna Mission and the Sanatani Hindus. The audience mostly consisted of non-Christians and Hindus. Only if we are freed from the domination of the Alien Church Administration would Christians be welcome in India by all sections of people. I can give an instance of how non-Christians appreciate the Christians and their religion also. When there was a funeral of one Mr. Kale, a Hindu, a Kshatriya by caste at Sonapur, Bombay, there was performance of rituals by Hindus, and speeches were also delivered, and before cremation I was requested to address the people, as also to offer a Christian prayer; and I did so very willingly, and there was an atmosphere of friendship between non-Christians and Christians. This will always be so between Christians and non-Christians if the foreign control is withdrawn.
To Mr. Tiwari of Mungeli-
My birthplace is Muradabad. I was educated in a Hindu school at Sitapur and in a Christian college at Lucknow and Lucknow University as well as Bombay University. Perhaps my grandfather or great grandfather became Christian. They belonged to the Sikh Community. My father was in the service of an American Mission and when. I was about 10 years old I came to understand things. After that my father did not continue in service. We are 3 or 4 brothers. Only 2 of us were learning in school. I was also reading in the High School. All my domestic expenses used to be incurred by my father. I used to work in the Methodist Church as a boy at Sitapur and Lucknow. I used to attend the St. Paul’s Church in Bombay. I never visited Jabalpur before the rally in 1955. I do not know whether the name of P. D. Yadav is in my register. I was a guest of Shri E. Benjamin while I was at Jabalpur. There were 3 members in Shri Benjamin's house. There were two females and one male. As by correspondence I knew Shri Benjamin I stayed as his guest. I know Rev. Bishop Pathak of Nagpur and also that Mr. Benjamin is a member of the C. M. S. Church at Jabalpur. I do not know if the church in Jabalpur is under any supervision of the Bishop. I do not know that Benjamin was ex-communicated from the church. I conducted the divine service in St. Luke’s Church at Jabalpur. I do not know that Shri Benjamin had taken forcible possession of this church. All I can definitely remember is that Mr. S. D. Singh attended the rally in Bombay. There was no admission form circulated in any area on behalf of my church. I knew Shri Benjamin for 2 or 3 years through correspondence I personally saw him for the first time at Jabalpur in connection with the rally. Even though a person may be the member of the All-India Federation of the National Christians and president of the Committee he may be a member of the C. M. S.; there is no objection.
Question.- The Missionaries work in India under their respective foreign denominations. Do you think that this is right or wrong?
Answer.- It is not right.
The All-India Federation of Nationalist Christians in India is not a denominational institution.
Question.- Are you a Christian?
Answer.- I am not prepared to answer this question.
Question.- Have you read the Bible?
This question is disallowed.
Our Federation is an organisation of independent local churches. There is an independent church in Nagpur, but not yet affiliated. The name of the church is the Nagpur Independent Church. Shri Rajaram Sontake is the Minister of the Church. I do not know if he was a pastor of the 1840 church.
(Mr. Tiwari says that he was a pastor of 1840 church but was removed from this office).
The Federation has no doctrines of its own; all that insists upon is that the church should be independent, nationalist, free of control of any outside church and that it should be Christian. Some of our members are foreigners and we have fellowship with foreign churches. We have received no monetary contribution from any foreign church. I do not get even a pie as a salary from my congregation. I did not get even a gift. I had invited 5 or 6 foreign friends to Bombay. I paid a few hundred rupees which were raised by contributions. In the first party there were 4 and in the second party there were 2. One was from Canada and 3 or 4 from U. S. A. There is a committee representing the All-India Federation. The president of that body is Shri R. S. Modak. He lives in America. He is the President of the Indian Federation. He is not paid by the Federation and he maintains his livelihood there.
Question.- The visitors who came to India were the members of the Federation.
Answer.- They were friends.
We do not want any foreign control even supranational. I am very positive that there should be no outside control in any form. Even in India our Bishop will not control the church, but only the Panchayats will. I preach every week in the open air. No non-Christian ever obstructed us. We distribute copies of Gospel and tracts written by ourselves or the tracts approved by our panchayat. Schools should be controlled by local panchayats in consultation with the Education Department of Government. I got the degree of D. D. in 1955. I did not go to a foreign country through the Indian Orthodox Churches, although I had been to foreign countries. I went abroad for 2 or 3 months. I have ceased to be a teacher for 3 years. When I was a teacher my salary was about Rs. 500 per month. This Bombay Education Society was founded by Europeans. I served for 15 years. This society was founded mostly by Anglicans. I joined the Federation in 1952.
To the Chairman-
are 80 lakhs of Christians in India and every Christian is an evangelist
and therefore it is not necessary for any foreign Missionary to come to
India for evangelization.
Name.-Shri R. P. Tekem.
This Sewa Mandal was started in 1947, Shri Lalsham Shaha, M.L.A., is the President of the Mandal. There are seven members in the Mandal. We do welfare work among the Adiwasis and we attend to their grievances in education, employment, land and any harassment by Government officials. In Berar there are instances of Police officer having beaten the Adiwasis and harassed them in other ways (the urine of their wives was put in their mouth). This occurred nine months ago. I complained to Government and an enquiry was made. From 2nd September 1955, I toured Berar and I found that there are no complaints of harassment by the police. The Adiwasis are not Christians. Among the Adiwasis, even the Christian Adiwasis do not depart from their customs except in their worship. Christian Adiwasis, at the time of marriage, observe their old customs at home and then they go to the church for marriage. Among us there are no Sagotra marriages. That custom continues even among Adiwasi Christians.
Among us even if an Adiwasi goes to a Hindu temple, a mosque or a Church he does not become a Hindu, or Muslim or Christian. A Christian Adiwasi will marry a member of the Adiwasi community only. An Adiwasi will marry an Adiwasi, whether he is a Christian or not because they worship their own God.
There was an instance in Jashpur State. The girl was in Government High School. Her original name was Nilima, but in the school register her name was changed to Elsie. She discovered the change of name when the school certificate was given to her. It was Government High School, Jashpurnagar. Her people for two generations were Christians. As she may be going to a Church she was considered to be a Christian, but in reality she continues to be an Adiwasi, because she was born in the Adiwasi community. The Adiwasis are neither Christians nor Hindus. In the Tribal Welfare Schools Ramayan is taught to Adiwasis and the Government is trying to convert them to Hinduism. This can be found out from the 1951 census. In the census report there is a remark that the number of the Adiwasis is being reduced on account of their conversion either to Hinduism or Christianity. Adiwasis regard that they are neither Hindus nor Christians. Their customs are different from those of the Hindus or Christians. There are now no conversions from the Adiwasis. The methods used for conversion to Christianity are not objectionable. In my opinion there is no conversion unless an Adiwasi gives up his caste, viz., the caste of a Gond. If he remains in his caste as a Gond, he will continue to be Gond even though he may embrace Christianity or Hinduism. We are not Hindus because we eat pork and beef.
I object to the teaching of Ramayan and Mahabharata, if the Government wants to give the knowledge of Ramayan then let it give the knowledge of all religions, i.e., Hindu, Christian and Muslim.
To Mr. A. B. Shinde of Jabalpur-
Adiwasi becomes a Christian, Government withdraw the concession; but if
he becomes a Hindu the privileges are not discontinued. When the
Christian Missionary tries to help any Harijan he is doing it in the same
way as a Hindu or a Muslim does.
I belong to the Church of Christ and that is the only one Church in the whole world. I was baptised by a priest who belongs to the Church of Christ at Katni. The Church itself is known as Church of Christ. I was converted in January 1952. I go to churches of any denomination and I preach the Gospel of Christ. Besides this, I am a journalist and publish the paper named “Sawadhan”. I conduct a paper called “Sawadhan” in Hindi. The proprietor of the press is Shri L. M. Patale. There are 500 subscribers. There is a fund consisting of the subscription of the paper and some private offerings. I get my pay from this fund. There is no definite salary. I draw the amount as I require.
I was not offered any secular inducement such as a high Government post or marriage, but the only inducement that appealed to me was that I was admitted into the Kingdom of God and that I would attain peace of mind and become a son of God and I would be delivered from sin. This I believed and I became a Christian.
While I was a Hindu I used to go to temples and I asked the priests pointing towards the idol whether there was God there. They said that they were only earning their living. Then I went to one Pandit who said that I should go to temple and find God there. Then I went to Bombay and I got employment in a film company. I was a cine-story writer and an artist, i.e., an actor. For writing the story I had to study the sacred books of the Hindus, Muslims and Christians. I knew Bhagwad geeta as I was Brahmin. But I did not know Islam, so I went to a Moulvi and he gave me some idea of Islam. Then I began to study the Bible. In the course of study I was interested in St. John’s Gospel. The great difference which I found between the Christian and Hindu religions was in the basic idea that God himself goes in search of sinner through Christ, whereas in Hinduism man has to seek God and he does it through digging wells, building Dharmashala and going on pilgrimages and distributing charity, alms, etc., I went also to some Missionaries. They were indifferent towards me, under the impression that I was in need of monetary help. At Allahabad I met Rev. Pal Das, Secretary, Tract and Books Society. I asked for baptism and he said that I should stay there for 15 days so that my sincerely would be tested. Then I went to Cawnpur, Lucknow Jhansi, Itarsi, Bhopal and ultimately Katni. Here I met brother Paras Masih who was pastor in charge of the Church of Christ. Here again I asked for baptism. His answer was that I should stay for a week after which I would be baptised. After this I was baptised.
When I went to Mungeli, my native place, I was much harassed by my friends and acquaintances. I was editing the newspaper “Sawadhan” At that time it was a political paper. One Babulal Kesharwani filed a criminal case against me stating that I was not the editor of Sawadhan. The complaint was dismissed in the court of Shri G. B. Singh. I have not accepted service under any Mission in India. I joined the theological seminary at Janjgir. With the help of some friends I began publication of the “Sawadhan” It was stopped due to financial stringency. I was invited to preach in many churches in Madhya Pradesh, United Provinces, Vindhya Pradesh and Bombay and South India, i.e., Deccan. Now with the help of friends I am able to keep the “Sawadhan” paper going from last year. The Hindus used to regard satnamis, and others as untouchables, their shadow also was avoided by them. That was the state of things I found when I was a Hindu. In my own house there were 12-13 satnamis as servants, but they were treated as animals. They were not even allowed entry into temples. Among the Hindus the vast majority, i.e., 99 per cent of people disapproved of a man embracing any religion out of conviction and they always try to disgrace him and put all difficulties in his way.
I go to my house out of love for my people but I am treated in a different way. Conversion to Christianity has in no way changed my loyalty to India and culture. In fact I began to love those whom I had offended before.
I am acquainted with many of the foreign Missionaries in Madhya Pradesh and I have lived with them and I never found that they tried to influence the mind of Christians against their own State or alienating them from the loyalty to their country. I never staved with any Roman Catholic Missionary. Last year I visited Manendragarh and I preached and distributed copies of tracts and gave my testimony. Some people there were so offended that they tried to catch me alone to do violence. I reported the matter to a police officer at Manendragarh and he told me that there was a certain Goonda involved in the affair and criminal case was pending against him. The police officer assured me that no harm will be done to me. I went to Chirimiri to preach in the church. But there I was shadowed by the police as I told them that I had gone there not only to preach but to baptise. Two constables of the L. I. B. objected to my activities there and they brought me back to the station.
While I was preaching at Itarsi in the open air there was an attack, on me and my friend, made by the partisans of Hindu Mahasabha or Arya Sabha. There were two or three Municipal members who forced me to get out of the place where I was preaching. The other gentleman with me was Rev. A. Aslum and Andrias from Jhansi and some Bible students from Allahabad. There was also propaganda conducted in the Newspaper “Jai Hind” and also “Yug Dharma” Nagpur, against me. Some eight or ten people who had been recently converted to Christianity complained to me that they were called by the police and threatened as to why they had embraced Christianity. In Takhatpur the tahsildar and some members of the Gram Panchayat Committee brought pressure to bear upon me to get reconverted to Hinduism. After Anjordas gave his statement before the Committee at Bilaspur he said to me, on my enquiry, that he had not been prepared to give evidence but at the instance of Mr. Varma he came forward and gave it. At Bilaspur I along with some Christian friends including women preached on 13th April 1955. There was no obstruction to the traffic as stated by Shri Chitale, but in the meantime R. S. S. men turned up and they wanted to discuss with me. Government ought to take steps to prevent people from interfering in preaching. When the appointment of the Committee, as originally constituted, was announced there was a general feeling that Christian preaching was being prohibited. The police also prevented us from preaching at Ganjipura saying that the Government have appointed the Committee.
It is my definite and firm opinion that money should be received from foreign countries for any purpose which is going to benefit the Indians and Government. As a result of an accident I was taken to the Medical College Hospital on the 12th March 1952. That accident was deliberately caused as I happened to be a Christian. I was shown as Brahmin in the hospital. I corrected it as Christian. When Dr. Balkrishna came he asked me the reasons for correcting it. Then I was sent to the Mental Hospital and I was there for ten days. Then Dr. Dube certified that I was quite alright. I interpret this as a pressure or harassment.
To Mr. S. K. Deshpande, Pleader-
(Note.-Mr. Deshpande congratulated Shri Tiwari in that he considers himself . still to be a Hindu and a patriot, even though he believes in Christ.) There is nothing like Hindu religion.. There is Hindu culture. I read Gita and Puran. I read Ved commentary. My Ishta Deveta is Parameshwar and there is only one God. The Hindus say that they tolerate worship of any God but then in practice they do not observe it. I have no faith in the Cross as a symbol of anything, such as, reality, truth, etc., The Cross stands for man’s endeavour to rise to divine life by sacrifice. A Cross whether of wood or stone or metal, has no value unless its reality is reflected in the mind. I do not regard the Cross as idolatory because I do not respect the Cross, as it is represented. I am not conversant with any of the beliefs of the Roman Catholics. It is my belief and I preach that salvation can be had only through Jesus Christ. There is nobody in the world besides him whose name is given by God. This is according to the Bible. Nobody opposed me saying that there can be salvation through other sources. Before conversion I was committing thefts from my house and used to spend money in vices.
(The Chairman brought to the notice of Mr. Tiwari a letter written by his father, dated the 20th July 1954, in which he complained that his only son Mr. Tiwari was induced to become Christian by the Mungeli Mission in the hope of being married and sent to America.)
across Miss Chobe at the. Railway Station, Bilaspur. It was
Miss Chobe who gave a copy of the Bible and I read it. What my father
says in the application is absolutely false. He wrote that letter
at the instance of Vishwanath Gupta. “Jai Hind” paper belonged to
a Trust in which Seth Govinddas was a member.
Conversion affects the solidarity of the nation and national existence is undermined.
I give instances, Eastern Bengal and Pakistan have come into existence as a result of conversion. Jharkhand is a Christian movement, so also I am afraid there will be a demand for a separate State in Travancore-Cochine. The safeguards that I suggest-
1. That no minors should be allowed to be converted and attempt to convert a minor should be prohibited by legislation. Even if the father happens to be a Christian the minors should never be allowed to be converted, from one religion to another-.
In the Managing Committees of mission schools, hospitals and hostels there should be non-Christian members with one nominee of the Government. There should be at least a nominee of the Government and there should be no religious teachings in schools. That may be given in colleges. Ramayan and Mahabharat are not religious books, but they are useful for giving moral training.
I cite the instance of Kashmir. The influx of foreign Missionary personnel and money should be stopped except on Government level. This restriction should be put through Government.
To Mr. A. B. Shinde, Advocate of Jabalpur-
I am a
witness on behalf of the Hindu Mahasabha. Mahabharat is a historical
book, and Ramayan consists of high ideals depicted in it. Ram is
believed to be God by the Hindus. Ramayan is a poetic history of
Ram. I do not know any historical developments in Buddhism and Jainism.
By prehistoric I mean before Christ. I would not recommend Bhagwad
Geeta to be taught in schools, because religion cannot be taught in school.
I do not know any Jain institution which is exclusively Jain. If
the constitution gives liberty to minority to have their own institutions
then it should be amended if there are no safeguards in the constitution.
I am not against the import of milk-powder to India. The opinions
I have stated represent the views of the Nagar Mahasabha, which I represent.
I hold that conversion affects the loyalty of the people, i.e., from Hinduism
to Christianity and Islam and vice versa. It is because the Muslims
and Christians do not regard India as their holy land that their loyalty
to the land is not to be depended on. English people’s holy land
I consider myself as Missionary but I may not be accepted as a Missionary in the normal use of the term. My work at Rasulia is such that it would not normally be classified as Missionary work.
I came to India in 1940 as a member of the Society of Friends. I had previously been working in France and Spain carrying out relief work. When I came to Rasulia and came to identify myself with the village people I discovered that the greatest contribution I should make was more completely to identify myself with the village people because the need for general improvement in conditions in life of the people was something in which I could make a contribution. My concern for service in India which developed in England came to take the shape of the desire to share my life with village people as, completely as possible. This led to work at Rasulia centre; to building up of a programme of work in the field of education, health, agriculture, cooperative, etc. All of the villagers are non-Christians. The idea of conversion to Christianity is foreign to the whole conception of sharing the life of the people. I became quickly a student rather than a teacher to learn the people’s mind in which I live. In the Hoshangabad town and Itarsi town there are Christians but in villages the people are non-Christians. In the centre there are some Christians. We have no preaching programme.
Our idea is not to build up a Church. The friends came to India and Hoshangabad for relief work about 60 years ago. Since 1935 Rasulia has become a centre of rural uplift work where both the English and the Indians work together. We feel it was a call to us to bring people of various religions together and nationalities too and make them cooperate with each other and come to deeper understanding. The depth of fellowship is much deeper now than it would be if we were to give the impression that we have mind to convert the people. Spiritually also we come to closer understanding of each other. A Hindu would show his Bhagwad Geeta to explain to us the idea of forgiveness and vice versa. If there is a conversion of a Christian or a Hindu it would he from a deep sense of call or conviction and it can take place either way. My experience is that on either side there is a desire to understand each other, but not to convert which would lead to a conflict among us which is not tolerated by us. My position on this matter is not shared by all friends but has been accepted by many friends officially and personally. I believe this is true to the basic principle of quaker faith. There are friends in India who engage in evangelistic work, because of differences of conviction in the society of friends in America. They do not approve of the service programme of other friends. The friends operated a Mission hospital of 100 beds in Itarsi. It became impossible to provide adequate financial support for such an important hospital and arrangement was made by which friends, the Local Government, the Municipality combined to administer the hospital for the past two years. It has been used by the Community Project and Friends continued to give financial support. Our friends felt that such a hospital could be run efficiently from 7,000 miles away and finance adequately for the needs of the area. While the hospital was administered by the friends the whole staff was Christian and during the five years of the transitional period by community project the same staff remains. Now the Medical Superintendent has to retire under the rule and a non-Christian Medical Superintendent is brought. It was the basic principle of friends that there should be no proselytization carried on in hospital and I have never heard. The nurses had private prayers. We wanted to get non-Christian nurses to be trained in our institution but it was difficult to get them in the circumstances mentioned. I have no specific information about allegations of Mission hospitals being used as means of conversion. I do not approve of humanitarian service being used for conversion. It is the presence of the medical man which has religious conviction which will influence the service and the treatment at the hospital, but criticism has been levelled against both Christian and non-Christian doctors, The religious question is irrelevant. The spiritual nature of a medical man certainly influences the efficiency of treatment. I do not believe in any organised society for preaching to the patients in the hospitals or in the words.
Our work here is financed by English and American Government and public there for social service projects.
We have a basic school at Rasulia. All the teachers are Hindus. Religious instruction is imparted in this way that the birth day of Ram, Krishna, Mohammad, Christ Jesus and their teachings conveyed to the pupil so that they may understand the principles of religion.
We are carrying on other activities such as relief centres, adult education, agriculture, dairying, health programme through Kasturba health centres.
An aboriginal who remains in the village and goes on getting training remains in the village environment; whereas the Christian aboriginal enters into environment in which his life in the village becomes estranged. This is an unfortunate thing which happens, because of the mental and environmental change taking place.
As a Christian I do not think that to ensure world peace the whole world should be Christianised but I think that greater hope for world peace if people following different religions understand each other better.
Conversion is a thing which no body can induce by talk, because it is an inspiration received from God and it does not involve his becoming a member of the Church on the other hand proselytisation means that one man feels that his faith is superior to other man’s faith and he should share his belief and he becomes a member of a Church. The inevitable end of proselytisation is that he becomes member of the Church whether he be a Muslim, Christian or Hindu. This may be due to human weakness. We friends do not baptise at all. During history many have attempted to deny us as Christians.
To Mr. A. B. Shinde-
The Mid India yearly meeting of the Society Friends was and is represented by the Mid India Representative Council. Many years ago, I was asked to attend the meeting of the National Christian Council as a representative of the Friends Society Council.
A church is an assembly of people with certain identity of faith and conviction. I am a Christian but do not accept any dogma. I believe in many of the teachings of Bible. Some of the teachings of the Bible which I do not believe. The World Council of Churches do not accept the Friends as full members. But our representatives do attend the world conference and they did attend the Evanston conference. We have representatives in the United Nations also. I believe that the Bible has a special message to me. (Asked if he did not feel the urge to share the message of the Bible with the people.) The witness said, that he would speak to the needs of the people and if he had a special message he would give it in a language that would be understood by the people. I have never come across any occasion on which I felt it necessary to bring in the extranious message of the Old Testament or the New Testament to meet the needs of the people, but I have shared the message of the Bible as it come to me through spirit in terms that the people could understand. I have had several people coming to me asking for the message of the Bible and for conversion but I always found that there were extranious motives behind the request. I had no case of any one coming to me desiring conversion as a direct result of my service. But colleagues of mine have asked for better enlightenment regarding my faith because of my association with them. The scheduled caste and scheduled tribes people responded more to our work than other caste people. The out-caste feel the need of our service so that he may have an opportunity to advance but our service is meant for all. There was no otter Hindu or Muslim or Government working agency working when we began our work. The centre was started in 1935. My centre operates 20 villages and I never found any particular body carrying on this work. A representative of the friends came to India to enquire into the possibilities of any mission or other group taking over the hospital without success. It was at the instance of our group. I differ from other Missionaries as my religious beliefs are generally unacceptable and my approach to village work is different. When an aboriginal becomes a Christian be is estranged from his community because he enters into different pattern of life which I regard as unfortunate. An aboriginal has a culture of his own, a pattern of life and it is unfortunate that he should abandon that pattern of life as a result of conversion.
To Mr. S. K. Deshpande-
If after becoming a Christian, one were to live and share along with his brotheren, he would not be shunned by the society because he had become a Christian but it is he who becomes Christian unfortunately feels that he can not mix up with that society and, therefore, he becomes estranged from the society.
Question.- You had said that it was very unfortunate that an aboriginal when he becomes a Christian begins to think that his history is the history of the English after conversion.
Answer.- I do not think that this is general.
To Mr. A. B. Shinde-
By history I mean sense of identity with the Missionary, his life and history, but I do not think that his loyalty is changed.
(Note.-Shri Groom says he would file a written statement.)
Dated the 27th September
Name-Donald G. Groom.
I am convinced, as a result of 15 years’ experience in India, that there is a place for Western people living and serving in India as Christians. I personally dislike to use a label because labels cause confusion. It is not clear what a “Christian” is, because those who are supposed to speak with authority as Christians differ in their interpretation of its meaning. Even so, there is no objection to a Western person, as a Christian, living in India and witnessing to his or her faith. The difficulty arises where an attempt is made to draw others from their faiths and persuade them to adopt the Christian faith, and when means are used to achieve this which are unrelated to the spiritual purpose which a change of faith necessarily involves. I don’t think anyone will deny the possibility and the rightness in some circumstances of conversion. A faith, if held strongly, has to be expressed outwardly either in words or in action, and when a faith is so expressed some will inevitably be influenced and wish to adopt that faith. This should not necessarily divorce a person from his culture or heritage, but it often does because the conversion is usually followed by some outward rite of acceptance of new associations and allegiances demanded by the group to which the convert is drawn. This is an expression of the weakness of the human vehicle by which religion is brought to bear on the lives of men and women.
Personally, I have never been interested in converting another in the sense of trying to draw him into my set of ideas, beliefs and associations. There are certain principles of life which I often find it necessary to witness to because I believe that they are fundamental to human growth, but in such witness I find that I am one with people of all faiths, and with people without religious sectarian convictions. The world would be at a great loss if people of sincere conviction ceased to witness to those convictions by word and deed, but such witness brings all sincere people into one spiritual fellowship which cuts right through sectarian barriers. Any action which stems from the idea that this truth is ours and any who wish to share in it must join our society, is a hindrance to true development as all possessiveness is.
The question of loyalty is an important one. I believe that a strongly held religious faith does temper one’s sense of loyalty, because there grows within the heart of men a sense of loyalty to principles which have their source in God’s Truth rather than in the conceptions of men and States. Such a loyalty should be considered a national asset because it brings into affairs of nations concepts which alone can lead them into paths of peace and well-being. The danger lies in an acceptance of a religious faith which has extra-national loyalties by people who cannot reach a full understanding of the higher spiritual loyalties and are liable to be non-contributive or even harmful to national aspirations. A religion preached by Western people, the outward signs and historical associations of which, are also non-Indian, can have an influence on an unenlightened person which may lead him to have anti-national thoughts.
In the Friends’ Rural Centre, Rasulia, of which I have been the Director for twelve years, there has been a conscious attempt to bring into a fellowship of service people of different religions and nationalities. The Christian and the Hindu, caste and outcaste, have worked and lived together and have grown spiritually together. Because of the complete absence of desire to change a person’s religious affiliation, there has been a greater desire to understand one another and the deeper aspects of ones life. Four-fifths of our staff are non-Christians but that is immaterial because our objective is to carry out a concern for the welfare of the village people and not to classify people under their religious affiliations.
I feel that no one from the West who lives a normal Christian life there, would deny that the spirit of our work is anything but Christian. I hope that a Muslim and a Hindu would feel that the spirit of the work is according to the best Muslim and Hindu traditions. I feel sure that within such a setting a Westerner finds a very warm welcome from India and he is not expected to be anything but the best that he is capable of being and do anything for which he has not a genuine calling.
The spirit of antagonism and suspicion between people of different religions is very harmful. It is not a climate in which the followers of any religion can make a positive and true contribution. All should try to remove this antagonism and suspicion, that the contribution of each can be truly assessed and brought into the channels of Indian life. Conversion or reconversion under any sort of pressure is unspiritual and counter to the best of the culture of this great country.
Name-Shri Y. Surender
I was an active member of the Congress in Madhya Bharat for 10 years and I am still in the Congress. In last November I was at Shirki about 4 miles from Basana and I found the relations between Christians and non-Christians were strained. The Hindus of the village boycotted the Christians and some of them (Christians) were not allowed to purchase things from Hindu shops in the village. The Christians belong to the Mennonite Church. Last November some one came from Delhi and he said that he was deputed from Delhi and the people might have misunderstood him as may have been sent from Government. He began to say that Christians insult our Gods and religion. Some Hindus approached the Christians for subscription to the Ganesh festival and the tension arose because the Christians declined to subscribe as it was not a Christian festival. They said that whenever they had their Christian festival they do not go to other people asking for money. I have personal knowledge of this incident. I heard reports from Sagar district about the harassment of the Christians by the Hindus. The trouble in Shirko was reported to the police but it appears that no action has been taken.
As regards the methods used for conversion we have to leave whatever might have been done by Missionaries before 1947. Since Independence the attitude of them has changed not in all but in most cases. The bulk of the amount which is received from Home Board is used for the maintenance of the hospitals and schools and a little fraction is being devoted to evangelistic work. By this I mean that the money goes to the churches where they have to support pastors whose business is like priest, purohits who look after the Christian community. Some money goes to the preachers. I cannot say whether in comparison with the past state of affairs it is more or less. The salary of a preacher varies according to his educational qualification. If a man is B.A., B.T., his salary may vary from Rs. 100 to Rs. 150 per month. In some churches there is a rule that nobody can be a pracharak and pastor unless he is educated in theology. Conversion to Christianity in no way affects the loyalty of a person. I was a Christian and I had joined the Independence movement in 1946 which was going on in the State. I was running a hotel in Biora in Rajgarh district in Madhya Bharat and a provision store and a soda water factory and in my absence two employees of the political department removed all the articles in my shop and I suffered a loss of Rs. 24,000. Provincial Congress Committee appointed a Committee on the direction of the All India Congress Committee and they declared it to be a political case. This occurred in 1946. The Diwan of the State asked the patel to remove crops from my 25 Bighas of land and took possession of the land. I have filed a suit in Biora tahsil court which is still pending. Last year, Government delivered the land to me but I was deprived of the land by the Patel. Hence I had to file the suit. I cannot say that it was due to my being a sufferer or Christian. What I say is that the Christians may put up with all these hardships but will remain loyal to our State and our Government. I cannot give the name regarding harassment of Christians by some officials in Sagar. It was a stray talk when I gathered this information. In 1950 the Government of India invited an American psychologist Mr. Mc. Fee through UNESCO to know the reason of tension between Hindus, Muslims and Refugees. He published his report in the book “In the Minds of Men”. In my opinion the present tension between Hindus and Christians ought to be made a subject of psychological study. This I think is the best way to deal with the problem.
To Mr. Munje, Advocate-
(Mr. Munje represents R. S. S. and Hindu community in general.)
Question.- Was not the tension between Hindus and Mohamedans solved by partition ?
Answer.-There is no comparison between that tension and present tension.
Question.-Any reason to say for not such comparison.
Answer.-The reason is that the Muslims demanded the partition of the country and the Christians surrendered the right even in separation.
The Muslims began to demand a separate State under the instigation of Britishers. Because in some parts of India there may be a strong Christian minority you cannot assume that Christians will demand a separate State. There may be a few Christians who may have any political demand but they do not do it being Christian party but as a political party. According to me this tension between Hindus and Christians will not be solved by partition because we know the conditions in Pakistan.
Even if the Christians will be in majority they will riot demand a separate State.
I do not think that even ignorant Christians if backed by foreign Missionaries will demand a separate State. I will condemn Nagas, whether Christians or non-Christians, if they want an independent State for themselves.
The 27th September 1955.
I came in contact with Missionaries that a Padri, viz., Robert McClay, used to come to my house. He belonged to A. G. Mission. I gave him a book entitled “Manav Dharma” and in return he gave me a copy of Bible and one book entitled “Nishkalank Awatar”. I put him some questions regarding the Bible but he never cared to answer the question.
(He is discharged.)
Name-Mr. M. S. Tajwarthy.
I knew the late Rev. Gass who died in 1944. I am closely associated with the Gass Memorial Centre as Secretary of the Sports Activities. Their activities cover adult education, vocational education for children, ladies club, literary society and sports. Anyone, Christian or non-Christian, is entitled to become a member of any of these branches. The subscription is Rs. 9 per year for all these activities. The member is entitled to take part in any of the various activities. The money for the maintenance of these institutions comes from abroad. The building also was constructed with the aid of abroad, i.e., American Evangelical Mission. There was no recreation centre provided for middle class people until this centre was started. I have been a member since 1944 but I was never asked to embrace Christianity. There is a hall in which the Christians go for prayer in the evening for 5 minutes. Even the Christians are not asked to go there for prayer. I know Dr. Seyboldt at Raipur as I come in contact often. He is a learned man. He is the head of the Mission which owns these Gass Memorial activities and also Tilda hospital. The Mission conducts hospitals and schools and social activities. There should be no objection to the entry of foreign missionaries into India as there should be some from our side going abroad. The money coming from abroad should be regulated by Government. The motive of those who send money to India must be for humanitarian work. This much I can guess. We also distribute milk to children irrespective of religion. I myself am distributing milk to the Muslims of my locality. Mahant Laxminarayandas is the President of the Relief Supplying Co., which distributes milk also.
To Mr. Deshpande.- Mr. Tajwarthy objects to the cross-examination and I am not a witness for any party.
Chairman.- In order to obviate the objection that the statement is one-sided we have adopted the practice of letting any one to put questions. Whether the Gass Memorial centre has some evangelistic activities I do not know.
that no self-respecting persons should like to have any charity from others.
Name-Shri R. N. K.
I am an independent farmer from 1928. I have been born and brought up in the district of Hoshangabad amongst the Quakers. In 1919 I went as delegate to the Peace Conference in London representing the Indian Quakers. I know the witness Mr. Donald Groom very well. Mr. Donald Groom is supported by the British Friends Service Council. As far as I know they have church one at Sohagpur, one at Hoshangabad, one at Itarsi, village Makodia, and Banapura. These are the churches of the Quakers. They are called Meeting Places. They have the silent form of service and they do not have paid evangelist. The Church there is self-supporting and Mr. Groom is supported by the Friends Council. There are two sections amongst the Quakers. One is called fundamentalist and the other section is called modernist. The latter is called the younger group. The younger group does not believe in the Bible as a whole but in some parts of it. They call themselves Christians.
Question.- Is a man Christian if he does not believe in the Old Testament and New Testament?
Answer.- There must be unity in fundamentals though liberty in accidentals but charity in all things.
Question.- Are the Quakers Christians ?
Answer.- Quakers are Christians. They are members of the Mid-India Representative Council. They are like Vedantis and Sufis. The Quakers are pacifists.
I am not a Quaker now. Officially I am not a Quaker but at heart I am still a Quaker. In that part of it I am a pacifist.
In my area there is no harassment of Christians on religious grounds. The little harassment that there is, is on political grounds, by the Mahasabhaites and the R. S. S. because the Christians vote for the Congress and not for the other parties. I do not agree with Mr. Groom that a man by becoming a Christian becomes estranged from the community. My loyally is double to our nation though I am a Christian. My loyalty to the Government means my loyalty to the country and State, and my foreign visit has made me doubly patriotic. The employees of the Mission are in fact more patriotic and loyal to the State. I am treasurer of the Manku Ghat Mela which is the gathering of Christians. This Mela is an Association entirely managed by churches. Indian Christians assumed foreign names for getting railway service. The change of name has nothing to do with religion. Foreign names were assumed also to conceal their scheduled caste.
When a man becomes Christian he is not estranged from the family but on the contrary he is excommunicated from his family.
I am in favour of inter-marriages in Hindus and Christians and vice-versa.
Name-Dr. L. Jiwanmall.
Throughout my life I had relations with foreign Missionaries as a student in their Mission High School and Mission College, Lahore, and as a doctor for 14 years in the Mission Hospital and now I am doing private practice for the last 8 years. The motive of the medical service is just pure humanitarian service. It is the qualification of the Christian to be a Medical Missionary. Our Lord put more force on healing. By healing I mean physical healing. The works talk more than the words. Hospitals are not intended to be used as means of evangelisation. I am the Honorary Secretary of the Hospitals of American Evangelical Mission. They are now managed by the Board created in India. The hospitals are at Tilda, at Baitalpur, Prakashpur, Orissa and Hariar (Orissa). I have worked in Tilda hospital as Medical Superintendent for 14 years. There is a separate hospital for leper which is carried on by the Mission to lepers. I have never heard of any case regarding physical, mental and economic force being used for conversion. Missionaries never give loans. The ideal of the Missionaries is that one good Christian is much better than a thousand Christians in name. We want genuine believers in Christianity and not nominal people. We want quality and not quantity. Indian Christians do not want to form any political party. They had once an association but it has collapsed. The setting of target as to numbers in the matter of conversion does not mean departure from quality to quantity.
The Chairman brings to the notice the passage in an address given by Dr. McLiash at the F. R. M. S. Conference in June 1948 relating to India. He said as follows :-
My interpretation is that we have to carry the message of Christ to these villages. That is the meaning of evangelisation.
The target is only to make the Christians active. The word evangelisation also means evangelising the Christians.
By evangelisation we only mean that we bring the good news or the message of Christ to non-Christians. Conversion is not the idea and a Christian, who does not do it, is not a Christian.
We only want to communicate our Christian experience to others and leave it to them to accept it or not.
There is peace everywhere but there is a great deal of propaganda in press against the Missionaries and the Christian community. There are two reasons. One is that aggressive evangelistic work of the Arya Samajist and the other is the political interest of the Maha Sabha and the R. S. S. Jharkhand movement is not a Christian movement because it includes also non-Christians. It is not even a predominantly Christian movement. Up till now I have not gathered it from all sorts of papers that Jharkhand movement has anything to do with Christians. It is only recently during the investigation of this Committee that it has been alleged that the Christians are behind it. I never knew that Mr. Jaipalsingh was a Christian. It is only now that I know that he is on the Jharkhand ticket in the Centre. Conversion to Christianity has nothing to do with loyalty, e.g., I am still a member of the Congress. Vishrampur started as a Christian and has ever remained a Christian village. The land was bought in 1868 by the Mission in open auction and a Missionary built his bungalow on the land. The evidence given by Mahant Vaishnaodas at Raipur that Vishrampur was a Satnami village is entirely false.
In Tilda hospital there is no regular preaching done in it but there is a church outside the hospital compound to which anybody can go for prayers. The allegations made in this respect are false.
I am not against the inter-communal and inter-religious marriages, if it is reciprocated.
By evangelism I mean carrying away the message of the Christ to the world. I used the word evangelistic in respect of Arya Samaj only in the figurative.
Question.- What do you think of the hymn which was sung at the chapel .of the hospital at Vellore.
“On Christ is solid rock I stand”
Question.- What right has the Christian to say all other ground is shifting sand?
Answer.- They are singing a hymn in the Christian worship and they have every right to sing that hymn that only shows the trend of their Bhakti.
I am of opinion that hospitals should not be used as means of propagation, because the life of the Christian doctor is a very potent Christian. I am not in favour of Bible being taught in schools. I am not in favour of hospitals being used for proselytising purposes.
Chairman reads out from the reports of the Nazarene Church, 1954, page 20. “Evangelism is our cause, we make no………… Jesus has called us to preach the Gospel to every creature………… How do you explain it?
Answer.- This statement is absolutely right. That is our right to preach by all means to every living being the message of the Christ. It may be only just by silent example of our lives and this right we inherit from our Constitution. I admit that Bible women go to the patient's attendants, i.e., relations and friends attending on the patient, who are generally non-Christians. In the wards the preaching is not allowed. Personally I do not approve of even what I have said above.
Question.- Do you approve of this “In our hospital we have a splendid Bible woman in Sarjabai Yengad who daily gives her witness from room to room also Sampat Shinde who is wonderful testimony works with the men who come there.”
Answer.- I do not approve hospitals being used like this. Such a practice does not prevail in our Mission hospital, and other hospital I know.
a written statement and a letter from Dr. Rev. Seybolt.
I am working in the Gass Memorial Centre as Superintendent. This institution has been started and is being sponsored by the American Evangelical Mission. This Mission has many other activities besides the Gass Memorial such as it runs four hospitals, a leper home, some dispensaries, high school, four middle schools and it also co-operates in Allahabad Agricultural Institute, Vellore Christian Medical College, Ludhiana Christian Medical College, Pendra Road Sanitorium, Agricultural Projects and other activities of social and humanitarian nature. Until the year 1954 it also conducted in co-operation with the Indian Church evangelistic programme. We have centres at Baitalpur, Mahasamund and Baloda Bazar and Raipur, Tilda, Vishrampur, Bhatapara, Raigarh. There are seven married Missionaries, five unmarried, one married Missionary is on furlough and two unmarried on furlough. Artpolio is no more a Missionary, as he has left before three years. Mr. Bowl is an old Missionary and he came much early as in 1946. No Missionaries in the American Evangelical Mission are such persons as had been to China. Even my name is misspelt and initials given there are not mine. The facts recorded in this directory are normally three to four years behind the date of printing and at times some of them may be out of corrections. The Mission’s headquarters are at Raipur. It sends reports to its Home Board. The Home Board has its headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I make reports to my governing body about my work and not to the Mission directly. The governing body can send the report to the Mission. Mission had at one time owned the village Vishrampur which was originally established by the Pioneer Missionary of the Mission but now the Mission does not own more than two acres of land. The last six acres were given to Bhudan. Mission has some motor vehicles for its different institutions. “Massih Awaj” and “Prakash” are edited by me. “Massih Awaj” is the organ of the church.
Question.- You, perhaps, remember that Shri Bajirao, M.L.A., had produced a copy of Satyanam Panth and he was unable to show from this book that Guru Ghassidas was a Christian and a disciple of Christ. The words which occur at page 6 of this pamphlet are these “Issi Satyanamka Prachar Sunau jiske Vareme abhi suna hu”. The passages were read out from page 5 to page 6, and part of page 7 was read.
Answer.- There is no reference that Ghassidas had become a Christian, in this passage. This passage was pointed out by the Chairman.
A reproduction entitled “Issai Jaye to Kaha Jaya” taken from Urdu Riyasat weekly 2 on the 10th May 1954 was reproduced in “Massih Awaj” because in this statement the editor of the magazine who is a Sikh very vividly reports the condition of the Christians and ill-treatment meted out to them in which even the State Government have remained silent.
At page 60 of the Blue Book, 1955, it was shown that on account of Missionary salaries and appurtenances in India Mission is 90,072,28 dollars and now there are 28 Missionaries on the India roll. In the year 1955 the number of Missionaries is less than 28 including wives. Therefore the figure 28 shown in the Blue Book is not applicable to 1955 and out of this there are 4 Missionaries on furlough. The rate of exchange between dollar and rupee may be, I am informed, one dollar is equal to Rs. 4-7-0. This enquiry could be made from the National Christian Council.
We do not use hospitals for propagating Christian religion in Mission hospitals. The reference to hospitals and dispensaries in Blue Book, 1955, at page 61, is only to the Christian staff. The reference to communism and resurgent Hinduism being held in check is a statement of fact based on the history of India. It means that people have not succumbed to the propaganda of communism and resurgent Hinduism even though some of the conditions appeared to be favourable to them. By the resurgent Hinduism I think the reporter means R. S. S., Hindu Mahasabha, Jansangh, Arya Samaj and any other similar body.
The reference to evangelical membership index on page 101 of the Blue Book, 1955, pertains to Christians of this denomination in America and not in India.
Question.- Tambaram report, page 38, on the World Mission of the Church there is a statement “Care should be taken to secure that evangelism has a central place in all medical and educational institutions”. This statement is reproduced in other parts of the report.
Answer.- On page 43, an explanation of the previous statement is given which reads as follows:-
It does not mean active evangelism in the hospitals, but the spirit of love which Christ has shown and the Christians should conduct their activities in the same spirit.
Dr. McLaish’s statement of the year 1948 I have seen it for the first time. When and where he made this statement I do not know. I think what he means by this is that Christians should go forth sharing the message of Christ with their fellow-countrymen in villages of India. Since the number of villages quoted are approximately 600,000 this statement seems to be figurative rather than historical or statistical.
Question.-What do you mean by evangelization?
Answer.-By evangelisation I mean sharing the message of Christ with the people. It is based upon the various texts in the Bible including the last command.
Christians believe in God as interpreted in the Bible, Our faith is the way it is manifested in the Bible. The description of God as the Father of Jesus Christ implied Divinity of Christ and Incarnation.
Question.-I draw your attention to the sentence “That only God can save the peoples, and that the God and Father of the Lord Jesus not only can but will-and the only hope before the world lies in those who at least attempt to know Him and to follow His way. National Gods of any kind, Gods of race or class, etc…………
Answer.-If the non-Christian religions think that by the word national Gods means Gods of Hindus or Muslims or Greeks then they are mistaken. It means nationalism raised to the status of God may Nazis and Fascists did where State was considered as God.
The attention is drawn to page 75 of the National Christian Council, February 1954, to these words "He was crucified with his crime written over his head, the King of the Jews with him the Kingship of God appeared on earth…we cannot understand the New Testament without the Old and Old Testament without New, therefore the Church treats them as one book and the central theme of that book is God’s choosing (election of a people to be his own people by whom he proposes to save the world). Now and this is the next great point (we who read in church today) read it as members of that people.
Answer.- If this paragraph is read in continuation it explains itself. It is a matter of history which refers to a distant past that is the days of the Jews and also their conception of themselves as chosen people………… We Christians do not consider as chosen Christians.
I do not understand by that statement that Christians are a chosen people and my own belief which is based upon the Bible according to that I do not believe that Christians are a chosen people. That is the opinion of many.
I am a convert. After becoming Christian I still felt that I am an Indian like every other Indian and to this day I do not feel any difference in my being Christian. Gass Memorial activities can be classified as follows:-
I present this book entitled “Chaturth Grishma-Kal”. In these children’s camps, children of all classes and communities come and generally 500 to 600 children attend camps. Saturday evening is the parent’s night when even men like Mr. S. K. Shrivastava, Mr. M. P. Dube, both former Deputy Commissioners of Raipur, Sarabhai Patel and many other leading citizens of Raipur participated by presiding over the camps.
Literary activities.- They includes poets gathering, debates, public lectures and symposiums.
Recreation activities which include all major games both indoor and outdoor and tournaments.
Free Reading-room and Library- Average attendance in our reading-room is 250 to 300 a day and in best months even 500.
Milk distributing centres.- There is a Committee of living citizens known as Relief Supplies Distribution Committee of the Gass Memorial Centre. Mahant Laxmi Narayandas, M.L.A., is the Chairman-supply with the final approval of the Deputy Commissioner. These supplies come from the N. C. C. relief supplies committee which in turn receive from the Church World Service. Distribution is irrespective of caste, creed and religion. An approval plan is shown to the Honourable Member.
Motive.- It is service in the spirit of Christ. All our activities are advertised in the beginning of every month, so that members and public know what is happening in the Gass Memorial Centre.
Missionaries bands of Rajnandgaon are members of the Mid-India Christian Council and through it of N.C.C. I have heard about a leper clinic, the one at Deori near Rajnandgaon. They have been working there for almost 20 years. Just lately I have heard that the local Government officials arbitrarily locked the clinic and told the Missionary authorities that the Government would open there an Ayurvedic dispensary. I would call it as the instance of harassment. I have received the information.
In the centre we have centre subscription and also whatever we get from the hostel and third source is Mission grants. We get no money through our social education programme, literary activities, all reading-rooms and A. V. A. activities. We do not get any grants. Total expenditure is about a lakh of rupees for all these activities. We get Rs. 33,000 from the Mission plus the free donation of the building. This money comes from outside India. Beneficiaries are predominantly non-Christians. There is no interference of foreign Missionaries in this administration.
This centre was originally started by the A. E. Mission in the year 1940-41. I have been connected with the centre from its very inception. Until end of 1952 the governing body of the centre was the Mission executive. But since then the centre is run by a governing body under its own constitution. There Are 12 committees consisting of members who prepare and supervise the execution of the programme. These members are mostly non-Christians.
My attention has been invited to a statement on page 56 of Blue Book 1955, in which it is stated that the evangelical and reformed church sends out Missionaries to Japan 40, Honkong 3, Honduras 22, Iraq 3, Equador 4, Africa 21. I did not have a chance to read any complaint about Missionaries in other countries. I have not heard any complaint from Pakistan.
I have heard about Federation of National Churches. There are a few churches who are made up of Christians mostly broken away or excommunicated by other denominations. Such churches have made this Federation. The number of their churches all over India would not be more than dozen in the sense I understand a church. These churches are not affiliated to the N.C.C. Dr. Williams belongs to this group.
I have received complaints from number of important Christians in Christian work that their letters are sent for censor. My letter was censored. I reported this to the Deputy Commissioner at Raipur, about the year 1953. I spoke to the Deputy Commissioner and D. S. P. about this and thereafter at least I could not say that my letters are censored.
Harassment that I know that some persons including some petty officials made enquiries which appeared to me without reason and authority. Such enquiries are not made in writing. For the last 2 years very aggressive anti-Christian propaganda is being published in certain section of the Press which is controlled by the communal bodies.
Some literature which has been presented before I did not feel the necessity of bringing it here but there is much literature in circulation which villifies the Christians and their faith. The Indian Church has also sent Missionaries to other countries and I believe the church may even send more if the financial resources allow. One such Missionary is sent by my Church to East Africa only last month. The Lutheran Church has sent 6 or 7 to Indonesia. I think the Church India have sent some to Papua. Normally the wives of Missionaries are not doing any work.
As far as I know Jharkhand is not a movement sponsored by either Christian Church or Christian Missionaries. It is a movement of the Adiwasis in Chhota Nagpur in which Christians and non-Christians are taking part as Adiwasis. I personally once wrote against this movement in a general way.
Friends Service Council up-till 1951 was member of Mid-India Christian Council after that membership was withdrawn but from this year they have become members again and paid their membership. There is no basic difference in our Missionary and their Missionary. Other Missions as a result of their efforts have built a church in India and Friends Service Council have built a Church in India. Mid-India yearly meeting is an association of those churches which came into being as a result of efforts of Missionaries of Friends Service Council Mr. Groom as a person may not believe.
In Raipur in his testimony Dr. Mukerjee, Leprosy Expert, M. P., deposed that the Raipur Leprosy Home was run by the Mission to lepers as Chandkhuri or Shantipur leper homes are run. He also said that the Missionary never submitted any report financial statement to the Committee and he acted always in his own way. My answer to that is that there was an association which was a registered body made up of citizens of Raipur and officers which were responsible wholly for this leper home. Some of the members of that Committee before leper home was turned up to Government was Shri K. B. L. Seth, Khan Saheb Kerawala, Dr. Abraham, Dr. D. N. Mukerjee. This body had its own constitution and secretary of the Committee was appointed by this body, who happened to be a Missionary.
There is a statement here that the accounts were audited and all audit objections answered. In one of the statements written by Shri Seth, reference is made that burnt out cases were coming to his house for admission and staying under trees and he was unable to do anything for them. Shri Seth goes on saying I submit that this position should not be to crated. This clearly shows how the Secretary who was a Missionary and the other officers work hand in hand in one of the reports there is a request to Dr. Mukerjee and the Civil Surgeon to visit the leper home from time to time. This shows that after all activities of this home were not conducted in any high-handed way. Those who became Christians in leper home, Raipur, over a long period of time but when the administration was changed they became Arya Samajists 70 or 80 of them together in one day.
There is a book depot in the Gass Memorial Centre but it does not form a part of the centre. The Mission runs it directly. I have no connection whatsoever with that depot. I can’t give a list of books because I am not connected with it. North India Tract and Book Society is a publishing house in Allahabad. I have not read the tracts distributed there.
To Mr. Munje, Advocate.- My opinion about the Akali movement is for a separate State for Sikhs which is detrimental. Any such movement is detrimental to the State. There is harassment of the Christians by the majority of people and petty officials in certain areas.
Massih Awaj is the official organ of the church. The statement from Riyasat was published in this Massih Awaj without comments. (June 1954.)
Are you aware the Christians Naga behind this Naga movement.
Answer.- It is a movement of all the Nagas and not only of Christians. If I know that the Christians are connected with any anti-national activity I would denounce it publicly. Naga movement to my knowledge is not a Christian movement. I hear there are some Christians. If Naga movement aims to secede Naga land from India completely then it is anti-national.
Question.- If Hindus say that they are persecuted by the Christians will they be justified in demanding a separate State?
Answer.- This question is absurd. Such a situation cannot arise. I have not read Christianity and Asian revolution.
Question.- Statement on page 95 on the book “Christianity and Asian Revolution”, under paragraph 2. The ideological task.
Answer.- Explains a correct position.
The church does not dabble in politics in India as far as I know. I do not want to express any opinion on happenings in any other parts of the world.
I do not understand the meaning of the term. “Religious nationality”.
I have not seen the book Christian Mission in Mid-India, by Bishop Picket.
neighbourhood nobody has drawn my attention to any objectionable literature
prepared by Christians.
S. No. 18
Name-Rev. R. C. Das.
For the last nine years I am the Head of a Ashram known as Krisht Panthi Ashram. I am Editor of a magazine (bi-monthly) entitled “The Seeker”.
The methods and policy of the foreign Missionary have been foreign and I have largely disagreed with them though not fully. As for example they preach in the streets which I think is derogatory to Christianity and I think that it is too cheap a method of propagating the religion. I am an evangelist. I think the spirit of Christianity suits the ideal of the Ashram more than the life of ordinary Missionary. Their method is very largely foreign to our Indian culture. The Christian life as it is lived in India even by the Indian Christians is largely foreign. I embraced Christianity when I was a student in Dacca College at the age of 25. I have worked with Congress people as a volunteer. Those who are converted by foreign Missionaries are influenced by foreign method of life and particularly the life in church. A few can withstand like myself. The life of the foreign Missionaries as well as those of Indian Christians who have imitated them is not consonant with the spirit of the life of Jesus who was a Sanyasi, in fact the best type of Sanyasi.
The Missionaries have been doing excellent work, i.e., noble work of social and religious uplift in the tribal areas such as Santhal parganas, Chhota Nagpur, Khasia hills, Lushia hills and some parts of Himalays, Darjeeling and Kalimpong. It is my personal opinion that perhaps the foreign Missionaries did not understand the tribal culture and they uprooted it, having been attracted by the modern material life such as Manipuri dancing.
I have had no written complaints from any tribal people but I have had verbal complaints made to me personally as a Editor of the Seeker by such a man of standing as the Rev. Jowel Lakra, President of the Lutheran Church in North-East India. His complaint has been that the Aryan and the Hindus as well as educated Bengali have oppressed them the Adiwasis in various ways especially in the matter of educational and economic ways. We belong to a different culture which is quite inevitable. We belong to a Dravidian culture and we oppose the Aryan culture. This is what they say and there is another matter rather serious to Government. They also say that the Congress Government have been trying to upset their educational system and many Hindus and Sanyasis have gone among them and tried to upset the tribal men. The Adiwasi who is animist and is a Christian both agree on this point.
I do not think there have been any Missionaries at least not many who have encouraged the spirit of independence amongst the tribals but the spirit which we now see rather separating tendency in Assam and in Jharkhand may be indirectly due to and is indirectly due to the modem education which they have received and indirect result of their acceptance of Christianity, viz., Christianity exalts the value of human personality to a particular individual or, of a group and I claim that is the contribution of the Christianity to the whole world. It has reacted on the minds of these people which I think is undesirable that they are exclusive and they do not want to be in co-operation with the more educated people who come from the plain so that they do not want to be under Union Government probably because it wants to unify the people. They have inherent love for independence, they are sturdy people. They fear that if they are under Union Government or if they co-operate with the more cultured people of the plain they would be dominated. That is the real fear.
The majority of more organised missions in India have integrated themselves into their own churches which they have appointed. That means that theoretically the missions do not exist but the Missionaries with their funds and organisations are within the church and so they are ruling as they have been ruling as before from the background.
But the Missionaries with their funds and their organisations and the pattern of the church which they brought originally to India are influencing the church life as well as outside life exactly in the same way as before when they were separate. In fact, I would say that this influence is worse in its effect than the influence which they exerted before when they were separate and outside the church. If Missionaries were out of the church and did not hold any executive administrative position in the church and give money help in the form of Christian charity and help the Indian I church spiritually, i.e., by spiritual ministration that would be the ideal thing and the Indian Christians would feel independent and they will be one with their countrymen, e.g., culturally, in the full sense of cultural and national life. I do not mean that they are not national or loyal to the State at present. It is only matter of degrees. The Christian community is very loyal to the State but not so much to the country, i.e., to Indian culture and social life. This is because of the impact of the Western culture, life upon India which has affected all communities but Christians having had more to do with the West through the Missionaries particularly have been more influenced by this. It is also due to the fact that Christian converts have been outcasted by the Hindus and in various ways persecuted and have indirectly been influenced to think less of the Indian culture than they should. But I am happy to note that the things have changed in recent years. Converts are now allowed to live with their families and in their communities and there is less of persecution.
In principle I am opposed to inter-communal, and inter-religious marriages because, in 10, 9 have been miserable cases. I am sympathetic to such marriages when they happen and I find a great growing volume of opinion both among Indian Christians and more among Missionaries in favour of my view.
Question.- How do you interpret the following expression?
Churches in every country rooted in the soil but supranational in their witness and obedience. (World Council Hand book, page 29).
Answer.- Supranational means that church as a body of Christ that is to say a Sangh of the believers and disciple of Christ are members of one another and belong to one universal fellowship, ecumenical without distinction of race, colour, nationality and status.
If it means International administrative missionary or organisation the World Council of Churches may become a huge complicated world organisation or International organisation then they will be on a par with the Roman Catholic Churches. It will have political repercussions disastrous for Christianity and world peace. It will mean not a church of Christ but Christendom, which is not a spiritual body. I am opposed to the concentration of position and wealth and political power in the hands of religious leaders. First of all it will hurt Christianity and then it will hurt other races who follow different religions. That idea from political point of view is on the lines of pan-Islamism.
The denationalisation which we observe among Christians about which mention has been made before is indirectly due to the Mission’s very set up which is foreign and has been imported into India and also indirectly due to the large amount of help that the Indian Christians are getting.
Some express the fear that in case of a conflict between India and America Indian Christians may act as fifth columnist and join with. America in the fight. I see no danger at present, but there is a possibility of such a danger if tile Indian church does not relate itself rightly to the Indian life and full social and political life of Indians. The church may develop, go into its own shell like the Syrian Church in South India, and then if the Missionaries continue for some years in India and if the Indian Christian leaders who are trained by them remain on par and if Indian Christians are encouraged indirectly or directly by Missionaries a situation that arose in India such as Pakistan may arise. This may happen especially if America continues to dominate Asia through her money power and her military power through the grants-in-aid and free gifts and through the political alliances. I am against Government receiving American aid. If that power increases and the alliances are more than the Indian Christians may be used as tools.
The Missionaries of the old, organisations were more sensible but now there is an influx of younger missionaries who are not so cultured or sympathetic towards India. I wish these were stopped. There are some Missionaries who are one day in Delhi and. second day in Benaras and another day in Cawnpore.
Some of the older missions have been decreasing in number and I know instances of S.P.G. and C.E.M.S.
I heard of the Federation of the National Orthodox Churches. Their stand for nationalism I accept but I do not approve of some of their methods which are not all above board.
There is little mass conversion but I believe it. I too believe that a group can be spiritually converted. There have been instances of mass conversions in India like the spread of Buddhism, Vaishnavism. It all depends on the motive and methods. If a motive is number that is ignoble and un-Christian. If it is a spiritual and moral good of the people then it is noble and I wish that the whole of India should be Christian in that spirit. But in the past I cannot say that the methods used by missionaries have been wise and right. In the past unwise and un-Christian methods have been used and this has hurt the church. So such methods have almost to be abandoned
I do not understand militant minority in a sense otherwise than spiritual, but personally I would not use the word for religious purposes. When you use the word in masses they lose the spiritual sense.
Instead of using the word aggressive in connection with evangelism, I would use active or dynamic.
To Mr. A. B. Shinde.- What is meant by culture?
Answer.- Culture is constituted of many things like the dress one wears, food one cats, and the life one leads (external) and certain ideological and emotional tendencies. Western culture has influenced all communities particularly the people of the Punjab, after the first world war. The majority of Christian converts have been from the untouchables and lower strata of society. They have left Hindu fold because of injustice of the caste system. But there is no caste in Hinduism in the spiritual world. The Christians have caste in spiritual world. The temple worship does not give an idea of Hindu spirituality. A priest in the Hindu temple when he realises his spiritual life leaves the temple. Temple, worship in Hinduism is not central but only peripheral while church worship is central in Christianity. The church which really means the congregation of believers not necessarily the building is central. In the villages and tribal areas people left their original fold because of the social injustices they were subject to, at the hands of the Hindus.
The idea of nationality existed among the Hindus but they did not realise on a large scale as they did under British rule. Citizenship first of all. By nationality I mean being under one political authority, and it was only under the British that the whole of India was unified. Modern nationalism has a bigger content but nationalism is not a new concept in India. I have enjoyed the friendship of many noble Muslim, they have feeling that they are untouchables in India. So the caste was partly responsible for Pakistan. Pan Islamism was largely responsible for Pakistan. Burma is separated because of the difference of race, culture, mentality and language is so different. Linguistic provinces, I think, are not essential. It separates people locally and immediately. English has been a very good via media. The rigid services of Western churches and the general atmosphere of the churches are not conducive to the full Indian Christian life. There was a practical ban on development of Indian church life including worship. Indian enquirers are not helped by worship in the churches, which do not appeal to them. Their feelings are hurt. The word rooted in the soil implies cultural and social life. Supranational means spiritual fellowship. The Catholics may be fifth columnist in case there is a war between India and a State of Catholic faith. I will not spy that about the Protestants. Protestants are more influenced by British culture.
Adiwasis are not Hindus. They are Animists nothing to do with Aryas. They fought with the Aryas but later on came to compromise. Because the Arya Samajist accept the Vedas they are Hindus. The term Hindu is not religious at all. It is a general term.
Anglican Church in India which is now known as Church of India, Burma, Ceylon is definitely receiving grants from the C.E.M.S., S.P.G.E. and other Mission bodies. The Bishop’s fund is augmented by the grants from abroad It is the administrative system that makes the church independent.
The Seeker of which I am editor is a pro-Missionary paper in the real sense. But I have written against the policies of the foreign Missions and have also attacked the church.
Mr. Deshpande.- The Indigenous religions of this country and culture
which is basically Aryan teach respect for other religions. They
teach that the different religions have various ways to reach the Almightly.
They teach that there is no monopoly of anyone creed for attaining salvation.
As a Christian I do not accept the position that the many religions are
different ways necessarily leading to the same truth. Christianity
claims not monopoly, but finality and uniqueness of truth and God.
Name-Mr. H. Rodrigue.
(Examined in Camera)
Name-Shri D. M. Gajabiye
I have been educated in Christian Mission school in Indora, Nagpur. It was run by the Methodist Mission. I have passed my fourth Marathi standard from that school. All my teachers in that school have been Christians and they used to take scripture classes as the part of our daily education. It was in the year 1928-32. Bible classes were compulsory there. They used to stage dramas in which I used to act as angel. The drama was staged about the resurrection of Christ. These dramas were used to be staged at the festival of Christmas. We were all Hindu students in the school and our teachers used to give books of Gospels for selling in the Mandali that used to be held at 2 places in Indora. I myself had collected at about 10 annas and had given the amount to the teacher. The students were nominated from the class for this work. As obedient students we did not like to displease our teachers. There was competition about the drawing of the sign of the Cross and in my second Marathi standard I had won the first prize. They used to teach us songs which of course propagated the religion but at the same time several songs also deprecated Hindu religion. These songs were taught in general class “Jap Tap Anusthan” Tirtha Yatra which refer to Hindu religion were the words of the song which were deprecated. So also, Tirthawadi Snan Dan Karuni Mhanati Punyawan, as also “Raje Yeshu Ala, Saitanala Jinkayala”. An ideology to impress a feeling for Jerusalem a song was sung by the students in which the words were “Jerusalem he far priya nam” etc.
Whenever the teachers found time to converse that the students of our religion they always looked down upon the Hindu religion saying that we had very bad customs such as cutting of goats before the “Mata” and the 10 Awatars of the Hindus was nothing but a beastly demonstration. The Satwai, the Marimai, the Marbat and the 16,000 wives of Krishna and the running away of Ram’s wife were impressed, as hateful and the merit of Christian religion was brought to the notice of the students. This had its effect on the small child mind. They used to speak high of foreigners that they never worshipped the Goddess Laxmi nor do they worship Hanuman or Bhim but are still so wealthy and healthy and are superior ruling class. They spoke ill of Hindu ways while talked high of western civilization,
When I was a student I was not asked to become a Christian and no inducement was offered. There was never a case of conversion in the school. One of my teachers in the school before my marriage had met me about 8 or 9 times and had tried to convert me by merely saying that he would arrange for my marriage with a particular Christian girl in his view. It was in the year 1950. I had asked him if the girl could be converted to Hinduism to which he had flatly refused. Mr. L. K. Damle is the teacher concerned. He lives in Lashkari bag, Nagpur
Foreign Missionary used to go round in our locality with Indian preachers for preaching and inducement. One Raibhan Dahiwile was offered a post of a teacher in Koradi when he had shown his willingness to become converted but his jot) was snatched of from him when he refused to change his religion.
To Mr. Shinde, Advocate.- I belong to Mahar community. There was no other school in my basti and others were too far away. I used to pay one anna per month as fees. I did sell these tracts under compulsion. I had no courage to refuse the sale. I was 7 or 8 years of age and I knew only to obey my teachers.
That is the school where foundation of my education was built. I have never had the occasion to make this kind of complaint before but I used to make fun of all these methods of our teachers when we met with the members of our own community. I come in complaint because the Committee is sitting.
Saitan means heathen i.e., Daityas. In the song Saitan refers to demons and daityas and Bhuraji, Nasaji, Masoba, Satwai, Marimai whom we do worship. They used to explain the song in this fashion. Mr. Raibhan Dahiwile himself told me.
the Christian girl since my childhood that Mr. Damle spoke to me.
Her mother was a convert from Mahar community. She was a born Christian.
I had seen the girl several times in my locality. Had she become
a Hindu I would have married her. I have never spoken to her nor
was I in love with her. I am a married man now.
Name-Shri P. G. Vaniker
I am working in Madhya Pradesh Tribal Welfare Department as Honorary State Organiser. I get honorarium. They give me Rs. 450 plus Rs. 200 compensatory cost of living allowance. I have been working for the last nine years. The scheme prepared by Thakkar Bappa was called Backward Areas Welfare Scheme and now it is called Tribal Welfare Scheme. I was one of the members of the Thakkar Bappa Committee which framed the Backward Areas Welfare Scheme for Madhya Pradesh Government in the year 1946 and as the scheme was prepared by Thakkar Bappa Committee and Government wanted someone who had experience of the tribal people my services were placed at the disposal of the Government by Thakkar Bappa. Prior to that I was already working as Secretary of the Gond Sewak Sangh the institution started by Thakkar Bappa in Mandla district. This was started in the year April 1944.
I want to make my statement on two points here. One that the Christian Missionaries used to convert the aboriginals by offering various allurements and two, that their activities were found anti-national and anti-Government. Since 1923 I had been working amongst the Bhills in Panchmahal district in Bohod and Zalod taluqs of the Bombay Presidency in the institution named Bhill Sewa Mandal. I am a life member of that institution. Life member means one who takes a vow to serve the tribal people for 20 years. I joined the institution in the year 1923 and worked under the guidance of late Rev. Thakkar Bappa, the President of the Mandal. While I was working in Bhill Sewa Mandal Mr. D. Semington, I.C.S., Special Enquiry Officer for aboriginals, like Mr. Grigson of Madhya Pradesh, visited my Ashram in November 1937. He was accompanied by three or four Missionaries, and raised the question why Ram-Mandir was there as the Bhills were animists and not Hindus (Mr. Shinde objects to this part of evidence, as the aboriginals are animists and this is relevant what happened in 1937 out of Madhya Pradesh. The objection is overruled.-Mr. Semington in his report at page 90, paragraph 210 of the report by Mr. D. Semington Special Enquiry Officer, 1939, Bombay). The reason why Semington was appointed was that a Christian girl had fallen in love with a Bhill boy and the question was whether she should become a Hindu or the boy should become a Christian. She was inclined to become a Hindu but her relations opposed when the matter was brought to the notice of Missionaries they expressed their disapproval and demanded back the loan of Rs. 100 which had been advanced to the family more than 12 years with interest which amounted to Rs. 1,200. Later on it was found that the loan had become barred out of time. Then not only the girl but the whole family of the girl became Hindus, and the marriage was performed. It was in this connection Mr. Semington was appointed and he came to my Ashram, for enquiry. I told Semington that Valmiki, Hanuman, Jambuwant and others were aboriginals and they were Bhaktas of Ram, because the aboriginals helped Ram in his victory. Shabari, Gohak, Hanuman who were all aboriginals were devotees of Ram. In the eye of the Census authorities the tribals in Madhya Pradesh or tribals in Bombay or elsewhere are supposed to belong to the same religion, viz., tribal religion.
From 1948 to 1953, I received reports about the various allurements that were given by the Missionaries and some other forms intended to convert them to Christianity. I file some extracts from the reports received from 1948-53. First case is that a Revenue Inspector of Sanna employed 30 to 40 men to repair his house without payment by way of Bigar. I do not know whether the Revenue Inspector was Christian or not. In order to escape from Bigar the Uraons or aboriginals embrace Christianity, so as to get the help of the Missionaries.
Father Vermier, who is generally called Father Superior of Gholeng, objected to the Government Tribal schools being started in the vicinity of the Catholic schools. He had written a letter to a friend of his in Calcutta, in which he had mentioned that he had started activities against the Government. That letter anyhow came into the hands of the Chief Minister on the 23rd August 1948. The Father had come purposely to interview with the Chief Minister with the complaint. I and Dr. Jha were present at the Chief Minister’s bungalow. When the letter was read out to him he confessed that it was written by him. Father was immediately transferred to Ranchi. I am filing a true copy of the memorandum bearing signature of Dr. Jha and Father Vermier, regarding what transpired at the interview. (Original to be returned after copying). I have not got a copy of the complaint made by Father Vermier with reference to which there was official interview but I file a copy of the nature of complaint. This relates to Tapkara Mission. This I call as anti-Government movement. Now I come to anti-national movement of the Missionaries.
In the early part of 1948 we received reports that an attempt was being made to form a separate state, e.g., Adiwasi Sthan, or Jharkhand, or Dharma Prant. Here I have a copy of the report alleged to have been sent by Mr. Deshpande who was District Organiser. This report to the best of my recollection, was made in July 1948. The original is with Government. The copy is undated. DeMeulder in his book “Tribal India speaks” at pages 107-108 tries to support the demand for Jharkhand.
In the Ahiri Jamindari of Chanda district about 50 families of Harijans who had been converted to Christianity reverted to their original. This information is based on the report of my Area Organiser. I received this report on the 25th May 1953.
I file two pamphlets entitled “Hindu Moksha” and “Kaliyug Katha.”
The Missionaries working in tribal areas try to obstruct the work of Tribal Welfare Department.
To Mr. A. B. Shinde, Advocate.- I have got the permission of the Director of Tribal Welfare to appear before the Committee. I am drawing honorarium with compensatory cost of living allowance and I am not a Government servant. I was drawing about Rs. 200 while I was in Mandla institution. There are Hinduised tribals, Christianised tribals and tribals having tribal religion. Whenever they greet each other they use. Ram Ram. Even when they drink wine they say Ram Ram.
Sewa Mandal in Dohad was a private registered body and when Semington came
there and-enquired of me as to the necessity of Ram Mandir, I did not object
to his, coming, because I wanted to convince him that the Bhills worship
Ram. They have also got a Ramayan in Bhili language. The Arya
Samajist converted the whole family as they resented the attitude of Missionaries.
To the best of recollection the marriage had taken place in 1936.
Semington came to me in early 1938 and at the end of December 1937, Bhill
Sewa Mandal was started to serve the cause of Bhills. It is not a
religious body. The Bhill Sewa Mandals help tribals whether Christians
or not. We built Ram, Mandir because they were worshipping.
Ram. They were not worshipping Christ and as such we did not build
church. If there is any movement started by some people, I will blame
the movement and not the community. The Jharkhand movement was sponsored
by Missionaries and therefore I call it anti-national and anti-Government.
This does not mean Christians as a whole. Because the 50 families
became reconverted to Hinduism I think they were not genuine Christians.
I cannot say who converted the harijan families. I receive reports of conversion
as well as reconversion from my office. In the report there was no
mention of the fact that who were the Missionaries foreign or local.
They became converts for their stomach’s sake and they are not genuine
I am D. Lit. of Nagpur University. I was Diwan of Raigarh State from 1930-40 but I was residing there since 1923, and also I was an Assistant Diwan.
I am familiar with the state of affairs relating to tribals in Raigarh State, Udaipur State and Jashpur State. In 1936 when I was Diwan, a law was enacted entitled “Anti-conversion Act” regarding conversion. In 1936 we received a letter from Bishop of Ranchi requesting us for permission to build a church. Before receipt of this letter there was some kind of activity going on in the State which people could not understand and that was from Jashpur side. Its significance came to our notice when the Bishop of Ranchi came to see me in my capacity as Diwan. He also had an interview with the Raja of Raigarh. His correspondence was really with the Raja Saheb. In the course of the interview he claimed that there were 4,000 Christians in Raigarh State which appeared to be false. He further said that he was responsible for saving their souls and that therefore he wished to have a church for them. For this purpose he wanted a plot of land. On enquiry I found that in reality there were no Christians. They told me that some people from Jashpur State came into the Raigarh State, of their own community, and said that on the frontiers of the Raigarh State the Saheb Mahajan, i.e., the white Missionary moneylender has made arrangements for lending money on cheap rate of interest to needy persons. They also said that when they went to ask for loan they were told that money would be lent to those who would cut of their choti (top-knot). They said that the tuft of the hair on the head would grow in naturally but the opportunity of borrowing money would not occur again. They allowed their choti to be cut out and obtained money. The sums raising from Rs. 10 to Rs. 50 were distributed. The total amount may be about Rupees seven to eight thousands. In their registers they not only noted down the names of the headman of the family but all the names of the family on the ground that if the head of the family died the family would be responsible for the loan. The Missionaries then proposed the condition that to make sure that they should not run away they should be sending their own man on every Sunday to know their whereabouts, Then the man who used to come on every Sunday proposed that it was very inconvenient for him to seek out debtors in their homes and therefore it would be desirable that all of them gather together on the date he arrives in that village. The emissary of the Missionary used to satisfy himself about the presence of everybody in the gathering and occasionally he also used to sing hymns and sometimes deliver a lecture. As the State did not give any land there was no church built there. On enquiry I came to know that they were worshipping their hereditary God. When I reported to the Father at Ranchi that on enquiry I have found no Christian in the village he said that they had Co-operative Society which lends, money to the Christians only and in as much as their names are noted in register they must be Christians. Thereon I reported the matter to the Resident, Col. Meek, who said that State had full rights to take whatever steps it considers. Thereon the State enacted the Law entitled “Anti- Conversion Act”. The Missionaries acquired such a great influence in the Jashpur State that even at the time of settlement the ryots told the Settlement Officer that they would appeal to the Bishops at Jashpur and Ranchi, the Heads of the Mission, before they cooperate with Government work.
Coming into contact with the Missionaries I think that they can be divided into four categories: First-Who believe in the welfare of the people. The second category attached more importance to creed but they would not resort to any unfair means, for conversion. The third category believes that the Jesus Christ is the only Saviour and there is no other Saviour for salvation. The fourth category is those who want to denationalise the people. The majority of the Missionaries belong to second, third and fourth categories.
The tradition of India has been to tolerate one another’s religion. The creed which has come from out of India insists upon the superiority of their own creed to the exclusion of others and that creates friction. This in my opinion, is repugnant to the spirit of secularism. Since 1947 the Christian propaganda has been very vigorous and extensive. Pamphlets are being distributed. One of the pamphlets which I came across says that these are the days of voting, that people talk of voting Congress and other parties but that the right way is to vote for Christ otherwise the consequences would be as unsavoury to the Indian people as to the Jews under Hitler that the best kingdom which the people of India chose is the kingdom of Jesus. I file a pamphlet “Chunao” There is another pamphlet called “Mai Japanka Kaidi tha”, where there is a statement that it was the American soldier who liberated the Japanese. These pamphlets are widely distributed not only in the bazars but in homes freely, i.e., private homes. This kind of aggressive action is likely to provoke a violent reaction, at least to my knowledge. There has not been any such violence but I receive complaints and this kind of propaganda should be stopped. The Committee should recommend to Government to take proper action.
If this aggressive propaganda goes on unchecked the popular excitement may lead to breach of law and jeopardise the security of the State.
To Mr. Deshpande.- The psychology is engendered among the Christians that their first allegiance is to Jesus Christ and those who accept this message in India will naturally be estranged from the people and their loyalty to the State and to the national leaders in the country would be affected.
To Mr. Tiwari of Mungeli.- I left my office of Diwan in 1940. I visited Raigarh once or twice every year, and have been doing so since 1940. As I am a pensioner of the Raigarh State I am often invited for some social functions such as gathering in schools or by the Raja himself or Raigarh people. I have been living in Rajnandgaon since 1948 continuously. I am a Hindu I use the word Jangali because Raigarh State is divided into open tract and another is called jungle tract. In fact I did not use Jangali but tribal. I do not exactly remember the title of the Act. It is concerned with conversion. I have got many friends among foreign Missionaries. I know Father Famil Bulke, and many foreign Missionaries at Raipur. I do not exactly recall the names of the Foreign Missionaries as I am out of touch with Raipur Missionaries. I lived in Jyotipur for three months, as a tenant of Christian. I was on visiting terms with the Missionaries of Jyotipur. I know some Missionaries in Bilaspur. I know the Missionaries at Rajnandgaon.
I have no direct evidence of a foreign Missionary whom I know personally having plotted against the Government. It is my inference that they are antinational.
Question.- From which pamphlet will you infer that the Missionaries want to subvert the loyalty of the Indian people?
Answer.- My inference is based upon the two pamphlets and others which have come to notice. The whole psychology behind this work arises from the idea of superiority complex which has the tendency of undermining national loyalty.
I cannot say nor do I meat, that the Indian Christians as a community are anti-national. The Mission which I referred in Jashpur areas regarding cutting of choti and distributing money is a Roman Catholic Mission. In my opinion every religion has its own saviour. Any saviour can save provided there is faith in him.
Assimilation of culture is good, but domination of culture is bad.
I had seen pracharaks preaching at Rajnandgaon. Before me they did not abuse anybody. I am producing the writing which one Radheshyam Agarwal sent me from Pendra Road Sanatorium who was patient there then. I have read the whole of it and I claim that what he has written is written sincerely and truly to the best of my knowledge. In my opinion it is not proper for a Christian Missionary to go to a Hindu religious temple to preach his religion. There will be no difficulty if the institution permits such preaching. I do not know whether the Government give grant to the T. B. Sanatorium but my impression is that the grant is given to it because it is secular. I do not know the school described as “Chhattisgarh Madhyamik Shala”. I cannot vouch for the truth of the statement occurring in the statement that the Suman Khetan Hostel has 300 girls in it. Anything that is written there is within the personal knowledge of the writer, but I rely upon the writer whose name is Radheshyam Agarwal. He is my son’s friend . I know him from childhood. He is not of my age. He is about 25 years. Radheshyam was in T. B. hospital before two or three years ago. I visited Radheshyam in Sanatorium when he was T. B. patient. He was living in a cottage. Radheshyam is a pleader. He addressed this letter to me before two years ago. It was given to me to be handed over to the Enquiry Committee.
had been to me who had become a Christian by some allurement. As
a matter of fact they were two or three. They told me that as there
was no separate arrangement for cooking, they took their food which was
cooked in the common cooking and when their relatives came to know that
they had taken food cooked by Christians they were outcasted. Then they
became Christians. I do not know whether they are still in Rajnandgaon.
It may be two or three years ago. It was only a casual talk and there
was no need for regular enquiry. I do not know the present population
of Christians of Raigarh. Up to 1940 I can say definitely that they were
about 350. In the forest areas of Raigarh there was not a single
Christian in 1940, but there were 350 in the plain. The object of
the vigorous propaganda is anyhow to convert people. I cannot say
how many converts there had been as a result of preaching. I cannot
say about Rajnandgaon nor about Raigarh, nor about Pendra. It is
my opinion that this propaganda should be stopped as I did stop it in Raigarh
State. I do not know Kartikprasad Mishra. I know that some Kashiprasad
Mishra was M. L. A. from Dharamjaygarh. I never went for enquiry out of
Raigarh. I am now convenor of the Mahakoshal Branch of the Bharat
Sewak Samaj. I never tried to investigate the economic, social or
other condition of the untouchables. I have tried to know the economic
and social conditions of the aboriginals and the Harijan class from Chhattisgarh.
I was surgeon and I have passed M. S. Examination of the Bombay State. I have experience of the surgical work for the last 51 years.
I am filing the written statement before the Committee. There are three points in it. One that my father was pressed to become a Christian while he was in a semi-conscious condition under the treatment of Dr. Revi, who was our family doctor. As he thought that my father’s condition was severe he called Dr. Sandilands. It was Dr. Sandilands who put the idea, that unless my father becomes a Christian he will not be treated. Then my father was brought to Nagpur but he did not survive.
The second thing is that one Ramchandra Phadke had gone wrong with a Christian girl and was compelled to marry after having embraced Christianity. This occurred in 1895. When I found him in Nagpur living among the Christians he expressed his regret that he became Christian and was feeling that his condition was miserable.
The third case relates to one Mr. Gore, a Brahmin Christian, who was going to Hyderabad in search of a Brahmin Christian girl. I met him in the train in the same compartment going from Bombay to Manmad and I enquired of him as to why he was in search of a Brahmin girl as he was a Christian and not a believer of caste. His reply was that as a Brahmin he would not marry with any other girl of low caste because of different culture. From this I infer that caste system prevails among Christians.
As a surgeon it is not necessary to offer prayers in the hospital for the efficient treatment of the patient. I have treated Mohamedans, Christians and I never asked anybody to say our prayers nor did I pray loudly in their presence. I only had in my mind. On the contrary I advised them to pray to their respective gods before operation.
I was working in politics for nearly 40 years. I took part in freedom movement. Christians as a community never took part in the freedom movement. They were in a way hostile to the freedom movement.
To Mr. Tiwari of Mungeli-
I cannot say whether Mr. Gore married a Brahmin girl eventually. It was a casual talk during the journey. I know the Mang and Pradhan castes. I have been carrying on the propaganda against untouchability since 1907 or 1908. I have not come in direct contact with them during the last 10 years.
If a Brahmin
marries with a girl belonging to the Mang or Pardhan caste, it is his personal
wish but as a rule such marriages do not become happy because of difference
in their education, culture and mode of life. What I mean in taking
Gore’s case is that although in Christianity there was no caste in practice
there was. Since. 1947, I cannot cite any instance on my personal
knowledge of a kind which I have stated in a report.
Name-Dr. Ramdas Laxman
I am M.B.B.S. of Bombay University and I have been a Medical Practitioner for the last 19 years. I practice medicine and surgery both and I have got surgical hospital. My hospital is on Ruikar road. I have got consulting rooms on Kamptee road opposite the Catholic Church. I have got decent practice in the Christian community. I have got great regard for Christian community and Jesus Christ. But I find that the Christian Missionary Activities regarding conversion are dynamic under the breach of peace and harmony and a happy life of Christians on one side and the rest particularly of Hindus on the other. Their activities are such as to excite suspicion of Hindus that they are trying to increase in number and they have political motive behind it. I am elaborating my idea of political motive. In my opinion the present policy of conversion is in continuation of the policy of British people. The policy was to impress the people through education that the British were superior in wealth, power and culture and that to create a sort of inferiority complex about their own religion and culture. Now that the political authority of the British Government is withdrawn; the foreign Christian Missionaries have come forward to separate the masses of people from the Hindu community and convert them to Christianity and attach them to some Christian centre outside India. By Christian Missionaries I mean foreign Missionaries.
The activity of the foreign Missionaries under the garb of social service has increased since Independence. I regard Indian Christians as my brothers.
An instance which I am able to place before the committee is about the conversation with a Christian about a year in my room. The conversation was-
I said that conversions should be by conviction and therefore they should try to approach people who are educated and reside in towns. His reply was that the American Missionary comes here as employee of the Foreign Mission Board and as they are paid they expected to show number of converts. These people have no hope of getting converts among educated people so naturally they go to aboriginal areas of Harijans. This talk took place in my dispensary one year ago.
Another instance that I may cite here is that of my meeting with a American Lady Doctor at Bombay. We both travelled from Bombay in the month of June 1954. She was American doctor. On our way she told me that she was getting down at Akola to go to Basim where she was in charge of a Mission Hospital. She told me that she had a. very good job offered to her in America but she wanted to serve the poor and downtrodden of India. I asked her whether she would accept the job in any non-Missionary hospital to serve poor downtrodden people such as she was serving at Basim. She said “No”. I asked her for the reason. But she kept her silence. From this I infer that she had some motive in a Missionary hospital in Basim.
To Mr. Tiwari of Mungeli-
I admit that I am influenced by foreign culture to some extent. But I have adopted some culture which I thought good for me but I have not adopted Christian religion because I thought in, my religion I can get salvation and my religion is superior. I adopted full pant and coat. It is an unfortunate thing that I use English language more as it suits me well. I do not wish to disclose the name of my Christian friend with whom I had a talk because I am sure that he will be persecuted by the Christian community.
Another reason is that during the last war when the British people were in difficulties I said to Christian friends of mine saying that there was an opportunity for us; they said that they were under the Missionaries and they watch our movements and that it is not possible for Christians to join the Indians in the freedom movement. He belongs to Nagpur but I do not know to which Church he belongs. If she had accepted my offer then I would have made arrangement to offer her a job in non-Missionary hospital.