INSIGHT V: Reality of Christian missionaries through the lens of Arun Shourie's book

The committee opined that particularly Hindus should focus on the reason why these ignorant people want to change their faith.

NewsBharati    27-Sep-2022 10:01:20 AM   
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Namaskar, the new series 'INSIGHT' is an attempt to present the central thought of a thought-provoking book. "Missionaries In India Continuities, Changes, Dilemmas", a book by Shri Arun Shourie compels readers to contemplate various points put forth.

INSIGHT IV: Reality of Christian missionaries through the lens of Arun Shourie's book

The conclusion reiterated the fact that the principles of Christianity were not introduced carefully in the process of conversion, both foreign as well as Indian missionaries neglected this aspect. So there was a very small percentage of real conversions.
The committee opined that particularly Hindus should focus on the reason why these ignorant people want to change their faith. People along with the government ought to work on raising the 'intellectual, moral, and social standard' of these classes.
It is doubted whether these conversions had anything to do with Lord Jesus. Gandhi Ji and Swami Ji too warned repeatedly about it. Even Sardar Panikkar and the committee headed by Chief Justice Niyogi had a similar observation.
1) Both of them were labelled as inborn prejudiced against the Church.
2) Strong rationalisation of the effort of targeting these classes and ' liberation theology ' was the result.
( Domination of the other and oppression of the poor is considered to be a sin, this results in concern for marginalized communities in need of political, social, or economic equality and justice. This developed in the context of Latin American countries. There is a slight tone of Marxism also.)
It is observed that in spite of the increase in services and service centres, Churches had little time for the proclamation of the teaching of Christ. The book gives impressive figures for an increase in the number of centers, dispensaries, hospitals, and educational institutions, but the burden of administration resulted in diminishing quality. As a consequence, Church as an institution appears as center of power, money, and prestige.
Catholic Bishop Conference of India working group noted that 'building of church through pastoral activities becomes the all-absorbing feature'.
Emotional and fiery persuasion to a large gathering in a large stadium was the result of the pursuit of numbers. Powerful forms of praying and healing were witnessed. The report raises the question ' will this last for a long time?'
The huge number of full-time workers, their administration and problems absorb great energy. The magnitude of assets too consumes a lot of energy and it gives the impression of missionaries being very rich in our country. Thus being with them appeared beneficial, but they were not sufficient to provide a little more than marginal help to the millions. In contrast with the Indian concept of austerity, this caused resentment or bitterness.
The report by the secretary of the organization stated that the difference among the main branches of the church in our country, hardly showed a sign of unity, it was a sign of division. This was described as the state of fragmentation. There seems to be no one to coordinate the proclamation of the Gospels. It focuses on the bureaucratic style of working of bishops.
This report was prepared for Pune Review( around 1994 2'nd Jan). The conversion did not seem to have helped the converts, and there is one more important point brought to the notice. It has caused bitterness against Christians in particular towards missionaries.

Prof. Vidya Deshpande

Professor Vidya Deshpande has had a journey of more than four decades in the field of education. Her  main expertise is in the subject of Philosophy,  and she has worked as a teacher of philosophy and logic with Nowrosjee Wadia college for 36 years. She has been associated with the Janakalyan Blood bank for last for 38 years and has also carried out the responsibility as a management committee member of Karve Stree Shikshan Sanstha for 10 years. Her special fields of interest are Philosophy of social sciences, school education, development of skills for self reliance,  and top up skills to make students profession ready,