As already pointed out, the three aims of the insidious missionary propaganda are:
a) to tell the tribals that they are not Hindus and have no connections with the larger Hindu society around them,
b) to tell the world that the tribals are not Hindus in the first place, and so it is no business of the Hindus to interfere if the tribals are converted to Christianity, and
c) to tell posterity that Hinduism is as foreign a religion to India as Christianity, in the name of the Aryan invasion theory, as the tribals follow “pre-Aryan” religions while Hinduism is an “Aryan” religion brought by “Aryan invaders” from outside.
Now, except for the existing Hindu Category Three religions (Sarna, Donyi Polo, Khasi, Meitei, Garo, and possibly others practiced by more microscopic sections of other isolated tribes), we have seen that, in the overwhelming majority of the cases, the tribals in every state declare themselves to be Hindu (Category One) in overwhelming numbers, often well above 97% of the population of the tribe, and certainly well above the percentage of Hindus in the general non-tribal population of the state concerned.
So it is clear that the tribals are certainly Hindus, having connections with the larger Hindu society around them as much as any other Hindu caste or community, except to the extent that physical isolation or separation from the general population (since these tribals usually reside in remote areas like hills, forests or separate settlements, where they have been living for centuries or millennia or more) has led to greater individuality and distinctiveness of culture and social organisation. It is equally clear that it is certainly the business of Hindus to interfere if these tribals are being converted to Christianity, more than it is the business of Christian missionaries to come from far off lands to interfere in the religious beliefs and practices of the Indian tribals.
Incidentally, at this point, the question also arises: how did these tribals, who declare themselves to be Hindu (Category One) in such overwhelming numbers, get to be branded as “non-Hindus” or “Animists” in the first place?
The answer lies in the history of the British colonial rulers of India in other parts of the world: the British colonialists had acquired colonies in other parts of the world as well, and in each of these areas they naturally had to deal with the local inhabitants of those areas. In certain areas like Australia, New Zealand, and North America, they dealt with them so effectively that they took over the entire land, and the original inhabitants, or “aboriginals”, were reduced to small groups of people living in isolated settlements and reserved areas, and the whole continents in question became completely Anglicized. The same did not happen in South America, Asia and Africa, where the original populations continue to flourish in large numbers (in South America, of course, getting ethnically mixed with the European intruders, and accepting the overwhelming dominance of their religion, language and culture). But, in the meantime, linguists had discovered that the major dominant languages of North India, and the ancient classical language of India, Sanskrit, were related to the languages of Europe, Central Asia and Iran. This led to the concept of an “Aryan” or “Indo-European” language family and to the theory that these languages must have been brought into India by an “Aryan Invasion of India” in ancient times. The British and other colonial scholars applied their own experience in North America and Australia to the Indian case, and decided that the tribal people living in remote hill and forest areas, and in separate settlements, were the descendants of the “aboriginal” population of India.
The missionaries who accompanied the colonial rulers decided to use this idea to further their own proselytizing activities by branding the tribals as followers of “aboriginal” religions distinct from the “Hinduism” allegedly brought in by the theoretically postulated Aryan invaders. In 1866, Sir Richard Temple edited a book “Papers Related to the Aboriginal Tribes of the Central Provinces”, based primarily on the writings of, and of those inspired by, the missionary Reverend Stephen Hislop (1817-1863), which set the trend in “scholarly” writings on the subject.
This rapidly became a matter of colonial policy. The Census Commission of 1891 was asked to classify the tribals as Animists instead of Hindus. However, the Commissioner of the Census, J A Baines, pointed out in the census report itself that it was not possible to bifurcate the forms of religion followed by different sections of Indians into separate categories of “Hinduism” and tribal “Animism” because "every stratum of Indian society is more or less saturated with Animistic conceptions…”.
But, in the next census of 1901, the British administration made it mandatory to brand the tribals as “Animist”. This policy continued to be meticulously followed till the Census of 1931, although every single Commissioner of the Census during this period expressed, within the Census report itself, his clear disagreement with the policy that he was implementing:
Sir Herbert Hisley, Commissioner of the Census 1901, clearly opined that Hinduism was itself “Animism more or less transformed by philosophy”, and “no sharp line of demarcation can be drawn between Hinduism and Animism”.
J T Marten, Commissioner of the Census 1911, equally clearly opined that “There is little to distinguish the religious attitude of the Gond or the Bhil from that of a member of one of the lower Hindu castes. Both are essentially animistic…. It is obvious, therefore, that the term Animist does not represent the communal distinction which is the essence of the census aspect of religion”. [While he refers particularly to the religious attitude of the “lower Hindu castes”, it is significant that the topmost elite layer of Hinduism, the “Vedic religion”, is also equally “essentially animist”]
P C Tallents, Commissioner of the Census 1921, not only pointed out the “difficulty of distinguishing a Hindu from an Animist”, but went further to declare: “I have, therefore, no hesitation in saying that Animism as a religion should be entirely abandoned, and that all those hitherto classed as Animists should be grouped with Hindus in the next census”.
But, the administrative policy continued in the next census, leading to J H Hutton, the Commissioner of the Census 1931, complaining again that “the line is hard to draw between Hinduism and tribal religions”.
Finally, the British administration was forced to abandon its policy of classifying tribals as “Animists”, and fell back on another ploy to deny the Hindu identity of the tribal people in the Census of 1941, the last Census conducted by the British rulers: the Census Commission was asked to classify each tribe by its tribal name (Gond, Santal, Naga, etc.) in the column demarking religion, leading to as many distinct “religions” as there were tribes.
While the political establishment in “post-Independence” India allowed the tribal people to declare their religion freely and recorded the same in its Census reports, it, at the same time, in the name of “Secularism”, gave more freedom and even active patronage and political and administrative backing to the foreign missionaries than the British establishment had been able to comfortably do. And at the same time, the fifth columnists of the missionaries in the media and academia are still able to propagate on a war footing the insidious terminology that even the British Commissioners of the Census had felt embarrassed at being forced to use: classifying the members of each individual tribe as followers of a “traditional belief system, which is animistic”, as we saw in the case of the Wikipedia entry on the Karbi (Arleng) tribe of Assam.
That the tribals are Hindus (Category One) is true of the tribal population of India in general, but what about the few groups of tribals in India who have indeed declared themselves to be followers of other (i.e. Hindu Category Three) traditional religions like Sarna, Donyi Polo, Khasi, Meitei, Garo and Gond, and possible microscopic sections of other tribes who regard their tribal beliefs as distinctive? Are those tribes indeed neutral in identity between Hinduism and Christianity, and therefore legitimate fodder for the Proselytising Armies (assuming that being distinct from Hindus makes them legitimate fodder)?
To understand all this, one must first understand what exactly Hinduism is in the first place. What needs to be thrashed out in detail is: what is Hinduism and who is a Hindu? And in order to answer this basic question one must understand the place of religions as a whole in the history of human society and human civilization. And, also, we must first understand what religion is in the first place, and more particularly what is Christianity.
What is Christianity?
It is clear that when human beings in prehistoric times started settling down in groups, the world of humanity was divided into thousands of “clans” and “tribes”, or distinctive groups of people settled in different areas, the members of each group bound together by common ties of ancestral affiliations, geography, endogamy, economic interests, etc. Likewise, in the course of time, each such group of people, or tribe, developed its own views (based on the speculations and discussions of the more active thinkers among them, these again being based on their responses to the vagaries of nature and society around them) on subjects like life and death and the hereafter, on the material world and possible non-material worlds beyond this one, on social customs and systems, on rights and duties, and on the human, natural or “divine” origins of all these things. Further, abstract Gods arose from natural phenomena, stories of these Gods and their activities developed when the abstract Gods were anthropomorphised to different degrees, customs and rituals were devised for the worship of these Gods, priestly classes evolved for different kinds of interactions with these Gods, rules and regulations were devised by these priestly classes, and as many tribal religions came into being as there were tribes.
In the course of history, tribes all over the world expanded or contracted (some became extinct), merged with each other or split into sub-tribes, congregated in specific areas or dispersed in different directions; and, as technological evolutions (in agriculture, industry, communications, etc) led to tribal societies expanding into small states and areas of the development of larger civilizations, the individual religions of small tribes began to play more prominent roles in history as these states became the vehicles of power for particular tribes, and the particular religions of such individual tribes became state religions.
Different trends evolved in matters of religion.
Thus we had the great religion of Egypt (the religion of Ra, Nut, Isis, Osiris, Horus, etc) which had complicated and magnificent rites and rituals, mysticism and myths, and created immortal monuments (temples, pyramids and sphinxes) which are the wonders of the world to this day, which was the national and state religion of the whole of Egypt for millennia, but which rarely transgressed the boundaries of Egypt.
On the other hand, we had the Jewish religion, which was based on a very much accentuated tribal identity. The Jewish texts describe (in a grand admixture of myth, theology and historical narrative) the genesis and history of the Jewish tribe(s) and the central role played by the (“jealous”) tribal God of the Jews, Jehovah, in the formation of an intolerant, exclusivist tribal religion which (as per the accounts in the Old Testament) led to the invasion and bloody occupation of a land (Palestine) “promised” to the Jewish tribes(s) by this God in a dream to a mythical ancestor (Jacob) and to the extermination of the non-Jewish tribes who were the original inhabitants of that land. The religion has ever since remained a religion restricted to the descendants of the original Jewish tribes [at least in theory, since common sense indicates, and early records of West Asia make it clear, that many original non-Jewish groups must have been co-opted into the religion throughout the ages and certainly there was a great racial admixture of “original” Jews with all kinds of races and peoples of the world (except perhaps natives of the Americas, Australia and Oceania) in two thousand years of the Jewish diaspora], and its emotional and historical claims have been restricted to the “promised” land of Palestine.
The ideological difference between religions like that of the Egyptians and that of the Jews, both basically tribal-national religions affiliated to one particular geographical area, was that the Egyptian religion had very little to say about “other” religions, and was merely a complete religion on its own, concentrated on its own myths, festivals, mysticism, and complicated laws, rites and rituals, while the Jewish religion (although it also developed complicated systems of laws, rites and rituals, festivals, customs and mysticism) concentrated on cultivating an animus towards other religions: the overriding concern of the God of the Old Testament of the Bible is his “jealousy” of (repeatedly expressed in the phrase “I am a jealous God”) and hatred towards other Gods, and therefore towards the followers of other Gods and other religions. To be fair, he also spews hatred and vengeance on his own people, the Jews, whenever (and, from the text of the Old Testament, this “whenever” appears to be “all the time”) they fall short in fulfilling his hate-filled commands against these worshippers of “other” Gods, and fail to slaughter and punish them to the extent desired by him!
What we see in the case of the Jewish religion is one of four possible attitudes of a tribal religion to the religions of other tribes (respect, tolerance, indifference and hatred) carried to an extreme extent: in this case of course it is hatred. But it was still all right so far as it was restricted only to the Jewish religion: the Old Testament makes it clear that this intolerant attitude was generally difficult for the Jewish people themselves to stomach, and hence we find frenzied prophets, and the Biblical God who reportedly spoke through them, constantly cursing the Jews themselves for their failure to hate as much as they should and for their tendency to “lapse” into taboo practices themselves. Further, this was in a world divided between one Jewish tribe (or conglomeration of tribes) and countless other non-Jewish tribes, so that in practice this hatred could not in any case be very effective in doing much harm. Most important of all, this state of hatred and conflict was ideologically restricted only to their “promised” land, and left the rest of the world in peace; and when the Jews dispersed into the rest of the world, it became totally irrelevant.
However, the birth of Christianity led to a new kind of “religion” of a kind totally unknown to the world before. Christianity originated in Palestine as a sect within the Jewish religion: a real or mythical character named Jesus was believed by this group of Jews to be the long-promised and long-awaited messiah of the Jews, come to liberate the Jews from their captivity (from the Romans), and as myth after myth (borrowed from the myths and beliefs of other neighbouring religions like those of the Buddhist-influenced Essenes, the Osiris-worshipping Egyptians, etc.) was adapted and added to the narrative, the sect spread like wildfire as an underground sect among sections of Jews in Palestine and then in other parts of the Roman Empire and finally in Rome itself. Finally it was emboldened to break itself completely from its Jewish origins and declare itself a new religion. The revolutionary ingredient which catapulted it out of the tribal sphere and on to the world stage was the new principle of Proselytization or conversion of people from other “false” religions to the “One True Religion” of Jesus Christ, who graduated swiftly from being an ordinary Jewish messiah to being the “Only Begotten Son” of the One and Only “true” God. The Christian religion was a grand combination of Jewish Intolerance and Roman Imperialism. As opposed to religions of single tribes, Christianity became a religion into whose tribal ambits co-option of members of other tribes was not only allowed but was in fact now a central and most primary tenet of expansionist religious belief.
Christianity is therefore basically a religion which evolved out of a tribal religion, Judaism, and became a kind of supra-tribal religion. The central belief is that there is only One God, the Jehovah of the Jewish Tanakh, and that Jesus is his Only-Begotten Son, who was sent on earth to suffer and die for Mankind. As originally an offshoot of Judaism, Christianity accepted the holy book of the Jews, the Tanakh (consisting of three sets of books, the Torah, the Neviyim and the Ketuvim) as a canon, and therefore the entire tribal history of the Jews as the history of the world from the day of creation. However, this book was renamed the Old Testament, as it represented the old covenant between Jehovah and the Jews, which recognized the Jews as the Chosen people of God. With the advent of Jesus, the old covenant was abrogated, and now there was a new covenant between Jehovah and Mankind in general, so that all those who accepted him would attain Heaven after one life on earth, and all those who did not accept him would go to Hell forever. This was represented in the new holy book of the Christians known as the New Testament (consisting of four sets of books, the Gospels, the Epistles, the Acts and the Revelations). Now, the Jews themselves were no longer the Chosen People of God, and those Jews who did not accept the New Testament and convert to Christianity automatically became earmarked for Hell.
After the Roman emperor Constantine became a Christian, and forcibly imposed Christianity throughout the Roman Empire, the religion spread all over Europe, West Asia and northern Africa, and its spread was only brought to a halt by the birth of Islam in Arabia, which was the third religion in the Abrahamic lineage (after Judaism and Christianity) and closely followed Christianity in its Imperialistic supra-tribal ideology and history. However, Christianity got a fresh lease of life after the “discovery” of the Americas and Australia and the sea-routes to India and southern Africa, and spread like wildfire in these areas.
Christianity is therefore a supra-tribal religion which is based on certain fundamental dogmas and ideologies, and whose primary objective is to uproot, destroy and supplant every single other existing (tribal and civilizational) religion in the world, which it sees as its enemy, and which it classifies as a satanic religion whose followers are bound for the everlasting tortures of Hell.
What is Hinduism?
In India, as in the rest of the world, religion was originally a tribal affair. Tribes in every corner of India, as of the inhabited world of the time, were followers of different tribal religions. As in other parts of the world, the rise of civilization in one particular part of India led to the development of one particular kind of religion among the different tribes and people spread out over a certain area. This area was the north and northwest, covering particularly northern Pakistan, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and the western half of U.P., and extending to some neighbouring areas. The area still covered many different tribes, notably the conglomerates of tribes known to traditional Indian history as the Druhyu, Anu and Puru. In present-day linguistic terms, this could be described as the Proto-Indo-European area.
The religion which developed in this area concentrated on worship of the elements (the sun, moon, clouds, rain, sky, earth, rivers, etc.) and worshipped the Gods perceived in these elements through sacrifices offered through the medium of fire, and through the medium of sounds couched in the form of hymns. This religion is found in the Rigveda (the religious book of the Puru tribes), the Zend Avesta (the religious book of the main groups among the Anu tribes who migrated westwards into Afghanistan), and in the religious practices of the ancient European priests, mainly the Celtic Druids (emigrants to Europe from among the Druhyu tribes). Other versions of these elements with more developed mythologies are found in the other European religions (Greek, Teutonic, Lithuanian, etc.).
In India, after the emigration of the Anu and Druhyu tribes, the religion of the Purus, with its highly developed priesthood and rituals, spread over the rest of the country along with Vedic culture. As the religions of the different tribes all over the country converged into the increasingly diluted Puru religion, the original Puru (Vedic) rituals and myths increasingly came to occupy the position of a nominal upper layer in a new multi-layered and multi-facetted religion which was rapidly becoming the common Pan-Indian religion of the sub-continent. When this pan-Indian religion came to be known as Hinduism is a matter of irrelevant dispute. That it is known as Hinduism is an indisputable fact.
But there was a big difference in the spread of Hinduism all over India and the spread of Christianity all over the world. Unlike Christianity, which demonised the Gods, beliefs and rituals of the religions which it sought to uproot, destroy and supplant, Hinduism accepted and internalised the Gods, beliefs and rituals of the tribal religions which converged into it. The result is that today the most popular Hindu deities in every single part of India are originally tribal Gods: whether Ayyappa of Kerala, Murugan of Tamilnadu, Balaji of Andhra, Vitthala (originally) of Karnataka (Vithoba of Maharashtra), Khandoba of Maharashtra, Jagannatha of Orissa, etc., etc., or the myriad forms of the Mother Goddess, with thousands of names, in every nook and corner of India: every single local (originally tribal) God and Goddess is revered by every Hindu in every corner of India, in the form of the kuladevata, the grihadevata or the gramadevata. In time, of course, myths were formed nominally associating many of these deities with one or the other of the main Gods and Goddesses of Puranic Hinduism as their manifestations, these Puranic Gods themselves being additions from different parts of India to the Hindu pantheon (or originally Vedic Gods like Vishnu and Rudra with basic characteristics adopted from the other local and tribal deities). But these associations were not an imposition “from above”, they were the result of popular local myth-making and part of the consolidation of the national popularization of the local deities: the deities retained their local names, forms, rituals and customs, and became all-India deities, objects of pilgrimages from distant areas.
But it is not only in respect of “Gods” and “Goddesses” that Hinduism freely and respectfully adopted from other tribes and religions: even the most basic concepts of the Hindu religion are originally elements adopted from the tribal and local religions from every part of India. The original Puru (Vedic) layer of religion which forms the pan-Indian umbrella of Hinduism was originally more or less the religion depicted in the Rigveda: the worship of Indra, Varuna, Mitra, Agni, Soma, the Maruts and Ashvins, and other specifically Vedic deities (including Vishnu and Rudra, who later become the most important Puranic Gods), and the main religious rituals were the Agni rituals (homa, yadnya, etc.) and the Soma rituals. The Soma rituals are completely defunct today (in fact, no-one knows the exact identity of Soma), the Agni rituals are still performed, but only during major ceremonies (birth, death, weddings, ritual inaugurations of houses, etc.) and on other major occasions, and the major Vedic Gods are minor figures of Puranic stories.
Practically every single basic feature of Hinduism today was adopted from the religious beliefs and rituals of the other, originally tribal, religious traditions of the people from every single corner of India as they all converged into Hinduism. To begin with, Idol-worship which is absolutely the central feature of Hinduism and which includes (a) the worship of the lingam, “rude blocks of stone” with eyes painted on them, or roughly or finely carved or cast images of stone, metal or some other material, (b) treating the idols as living beings (bathing, dressing and feeding them, putting them to sleep, etc.), (c) performing puja by offering flowers, water and fruits, bananas and coconuts, clothes and ornaments to the idols, (d) performing aarti by waving lights and incense before the idols, (e) performing music and dance before the idols, (e) partaking of prasad of food offered to the idols, (f) having idol-temples with elaborate carvings and sculptures, with sacred tanks and bathing ghats, temple festivals with palanquins and chariots, etc. (g) applying sandal-paste, turmeric, vermillion, etc. on the forehead as a mark of the idols, etc. This entire system in all its variations was adopted from the various practices of the people of eastern, central and southern India, along with the Gods and idols themselves.
All the basic philosophical concepts of mainstream Hinduism are likewise adopted from the tribal and local populations of different parts of India: the concept of rebirth and transmigration of souls, the concept of auspicious moments based on the panchanga and the tithis, the worship of particular trees and plants, animals, birds and reptiles, of particular forests, groves, mountains and rivers; the worship of ancestors in elaborate ceremonies, etc., etc.
The fact is, Hinduism can never be in true conflict with any other religion (other than the two predator Abrahamic religions which themselves choose conflict with all other religions) since it has no particular God, Ritual or Dogma to impose on the followers of other religions. In itself, Hinduism contains the seeds of every kind of philosophy, and is comfortable with all streams of thought, and not necessarily to do with the worship of “Gods”. In Hinduism, we find all kinds of atheistic and materialistic philosophies, the most well known being the Lokayata philosophy of Charvaka, who believed that there is only one life, that there is no such thing as an afterlife, or heaven or hell, or rebirth, and that our only purpose in life should be to maximize our pleasures and minimize our pains. The very basic texts of Hinduism contain the seeds and roots of agnostic philosophies, from the Rigvedic Nasadiya Sukta (X.129. 6-7, which says: “Who verily knows and who can here declare it, whence it was born and whence comes this creation? The Gods are later than this world's production. Who knows then whence it first came into being? He, the first origin of this creation, whether he formed it all or did not form it? He whose eye controls this world in highest heaven, he verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not.”) to the Upanishadic speculations which reject everything, after deep discussion, with the phrase “neti, neti”: “not this, not this”, i.e., “no, this is still not the ultimate truth”. And then of course, there is every kind of deistic, henotheistic, pantheistic, polytheistic, and every other kind of -theistic philosophy, including even (but not exclusively) monotheistic philosophy (minus the hatred of “other” false religions and false Gods, and the concepts of permanent Heaven for believers and Hell for non-believers, characteristic of Abrahamic monotheism).
This is not to say that intolerant strands are not found in Hindu texts: among the countless philosophies that flowered within Hinduism there could be found stray voices of intolerance and hatred, but they are just that: stray voices in the wilderness, which never became the voices of mainstream Hinduism, unlike in the Abrahamic religions, where they represent the Only Voice.
Hinduism thus represents the opposite end of the spectrum from the Abrahamic religions: of the four possible attitudes towards other religions and religious beliefs (respect, tolerance, indifference and hatred), Hinduism represents respect for all other religions and streams of thought and philosophy, while Christianity (as also Islam) represents hatred. This is the central thread of Hinduism: even the Manu Smriti enjoins that when a king wins a victory over an enemy king and enters his (i.e. the enemy) kingdom, the first thing he must do is to pray and worship at the feet of the deity of that king and kingdom. The Bhagawad Gita, even as it asks Arjuna (and presumably mankind in general) to abandon all other dharmas (i.e. duties, not religions) and surrender to the Supreme Entity (an abstract concept although nominally represented by “Bhagwan Shrikrishna” here), assures him that whatever form of worship he indulges in, that worship reaches Him (i.e. that Supreme Entity) and Him alone – a far cry from the “One True” God and “One True” form of worship as opposed to other “false” Gods and “false” forms of worship classified by Christianity (and Islam).
This is the reason a Hindu would not think twice before bowing his head in genuine reverent worship before an idol of Osiris or Isis in Egypt, Quetzalcoatl or Kulkulcan in Central America, or Kuan Yin in China (or, indeed, before visiting churches and dargahs, not realizing the difference between non-Abrahamic and Abrahamic religious entities). This is the reason why the Zoroastrians who fled Iran from Abrahamic persecution, and the Jews who fled ancient Palestine, found safe, respectful and helpful refuge only in Hindu India and nowhere else. And this is also the reason why the tribal Gods and tribal religions in different parts of India which, either due to isolated location or out of choice, did not choose to merge, or merge fully, into the greater pan-Indian Hindu entity (where, in any case, their distinctive characteristics would only have been respected, preserved and popularised everywhere) continued to freely maintain their distinctive identities to this day – i.e. till the advent of the predatory missionaries.
Christianity spread by way of four Grand Tactics, which are still as effective today as they were in the past:
1. Conversion: Conversion of individuals and groups from other “False Religions” to the “One True Religion” is the most fundamental tactic of Christian expansionism. To begin with, within the Roman Empire, this was done from below: i.e. individuals were converted and initiated into the Christ-cult, first in Palestine and then in Rome itself, on the force of the fanatical zeal of the already initiated, the promise of everlasting pleasures in heaven (for those who accepted Christ and his God as the only path to liberation) coupled with threats of everlasting tortures in hell (for those who, whether or not they accepted Christ, accepted that there could possibly be other paths to liberation), and the community bonding of the converted. The early history of Christianity is the history of Crypto-Christians in Rome: secret Christian cultists who met in secret places, including underground catacombs, and organized themselves and initiated others into their cult.
But with the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine (306-337 CE), conversions started from above as well, i.e. rulers were converted to Christianity and they slowly (or swiftly by issuing edicts) Christianized the lands. A primary method was to get a Christian convert girl to marry the king, emperor or ruler; secretly convert the male progeny of the marriage to Christianity; see that this secretly converted prince becomes the king, emperor or ruler after his non-Christian father; if possible see that his queen is also another converted Christian; and finally gradually employ the full force of the royal or imperial power to make Christianity the official religion, convert large sections of the populace to Christianity, persecute or severely handicap those who refuse to convert, and finally to spread the Word to other kingdoms and lands by aligning with Christian populations in those kingdoms and lands and using them to help conquer those kingdoms and lands and continue the same process there. This was the method by which Rome was converted, and which set off the trigger of conversions over the whole of Europe and the rest of the world in the course of time. This was the method which similarly almost worked in ancient Persia (see Sohrab Modi’s film “Nausherwan-e-Adil”), but then the Islamic hurricane came and wiped out all the gains there. This is also the method which almost worked in modern post-Independence India!
Today this Conversion or Proselytisation is at work on a grand scale in the tribal areas, mofussil rural areas, remote suburban areas, and, within the urban areas, in slums, footpath-dwellings and isolated localities, carried out on a systematic basis by foreign or local missionaries or strategically established “miracle” centres. Converts are generally of two kinds: direct converts and crypto-Christians. Crypto-Christians, who are secret converts to Christianity, are found mainly among (a) scheduled caste converts (since they lose their constitutional rights to reservations on open conversion, and hence the sustained campaigns to extend reservations to “scheduled caste” Christians), (b) tribal converts (in areas, e.g. Arunachal Pradesh, where there is strong and often violent reaction within the particular tribes to conversions. This continues till the converts achieve enough numbers to come out of the closet) and (c) among certain categories of socially well-placed converts (who feel they will be better placed to serve the cause by remaining crypto-Christian and working behind the scenes than by declaring their conversion openly). The proportions of the conversions going on in India today are humongous (to borrow Jaipal Reddy’s favourite phrase) and simply should not be underestimated. The various methods and tactics employed need not be spelled out here: the Niyogi Commission had exposed them in ruthless detail very long ago.
2. Military Strategy: This is the second tactic of Christian expansionism. Christian expansionism is not merely “conversion” by hook or crook involving only the individual Proselytisers and the individual Proselytised; it is a Perpetual War carried out on a war footing with full military precision. There are international think-tanks and organisations, with multi-billion dollar budgets, which plan out and execute the conversion campaigns in different countries. And they have huge armies of foot soldiers. In recent times, most of them, who may have been rivals in earlier times, often carry on their activities in coordination with each other. Their budgets and strategies are not secret documents or products of the fevered imaginations of opponents: they are set out in detail in black-and-white in their own publications, and are referred to and quoted by opponents (in India, notably in the writings of Ram Swaroop and in related Voice of India publications).
These Proselytising Armies are backed by three categories of back-up groups which facilitate the expansionist activities of the warriors: (a) powerful lobbies within the mother countries (the USA, Australia, various European countries, etc.) which exert pressures on their respective governments to in turn exert pressures on India and on international bodies, (b) effective moles and Trojan horses within the media, intelligentsia, academia, political parties and social organisations (including NGOs), judiciary and bureaucracy of the targeted country, and (c) effective moles and Trojan horses actually within the religious organisations of the targeted communities themselves. The combined potential of all these various open or hidden forces is almost limitless.
In India, there is a further strategic alliance by the Christian expansionists: with Islamic forces, Leftist and Secularist political forces, and casteist forces.
3. Hidden Indoctrination: A third major tactic of Christian expansionism is hidden indoctrination through educational institutions. A significant proportion of the white collar and the upper crust segments of society (particularly in India) are educated in English schools, and most of them are run by Catholic or other Christian organisations. Now an increasing number of educational institutions run by Christian organisations also give education in regional languages, particularly in semi-rural and tribal areas. These educational institutions turn out ex-students in the millions who occupy positions of importance in all fields of society.
These ex-students continue to be followers of their respective religions, but without realizing it a very large number of them have internalized some of the tenets, principles and beliefs of Christianity, or have learned to view things through not just Western but specifically Christian categories and viewpoints. They are indoctrinated from the earliest formative years through the media of “children’s story books” with a marked Christian stance, advice by teachers to visit the chapel or pray to Jesus whenever in trouble, sympathetic Nuns and Fathers (or preachers in Protestant schools) who give counselling to them in their problems, “moral science” periods for non-Christian students (while Christian students have Bible Classes) with text-books emphasising the “truth” of “monotheism” over “atheism”, “polytheism” or “pantheism” or subtly preaching the errors of “idol-worship”, regular story-telling sessions on the “historic” life of Jesus or “non-religious” talks by visiting missionaries, choir singing for all (especially in girls’ schools), etc.
Thus, without actually converting them, Christian expansionism creates an automatic sympathetic spectrum of people within the targeted non-Christian society which creates a very conducive atmosphere for actual conversion activity and neutralizes opposition.
4. Popular Perception-Building: The fourth important tactic is building up a popular image based on myths and perceptions which neutralizes public opposition to Christian expansionism. This takes Christian influence beyond its converts, strategic allies and indoctrinated students, into the domain of common people not otherwise influenced by Christianity in general.
Thus, there is the common lazy-intellect belief that “all religions say the same thing” which is particularly strong among Hindus. This is applied to both Christianity and Islam. The common Hindu, who may not know the “a b c” of either the Bible or the Quran and Hadiths, or of the history of either Christianity or Islam, will knowledgeably assert that “all religions”, including or particularly Christianity and Islam, are religions of “peace” and “love”. “No religion teaches you to steal, kill or hate”, they will sagely affirm, as if they have studied the tenets of all religions in great detail. Likewise, they will visit the dargahs of Muslim peers, and the churches of Christian “saints”, with equal respect and devotion.
But when it comes to viewing the two communities (Christian and Muslim), as opposed to the two religions (Christianity and Islam), there is a vast difference in approach. The common Hindu knows little or nothing about the bloody history of the early Church Fathers, the Popes, the Crusaders, the founders and perpetrators of the Inquisition, the Templars and the Jesuits, the Conquistadors, the missionaries, etc. Of course, he also knows little or nothing about the bloody history of early Islam in West Asia from the day of its foundation.
But he does know (inspite of over half a century of apologetics and falsification of history by Leftist and Secularist historians) about the barbarism of the umpteen Muslim invaders and rulers of India, the Muslim League during the Independence movement, the Muslim Underworld in India, the nature of Islamic rule in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the activities of the Pakistani Army, ISI, Taliban, international Islamic terrorists, and, presently, the ISIS. What he sees around him, in the speeches of Mullas and Muslim politicians, the generally visible Muslim sympathies for extra-Indian Islamic entities and issues and the propensity to indulge in violence in their support, the disquieting practice of large scale public ritual slaughter of animals during Bakr Id, etc., only adds to the picture. The common Hindu is therefore inclined to be prejudiced against the common Muslim in general. This prejudice becomes apparent in daily life: how many Hindus would like to buy a house and reside permanently deep inside a Muslim locality, or would like to see a Muslim buying a house in their society or building, or would take a Muslim paying guest in their own house? How many Hindus would be all right with finding out that their daughter wanted to marry a Muslim?
On the other hand, the public relations work of Christian missionaries has been excellent. The religion, known of course for its well-established system of expansion through schools and hospitals, has somehow acquired a “saintly” image. The picture of much-publicized “Nobel laureate Indian” Mother Teresa (the truth about whom is unknown to the gullible Hindu) adorns police stations, government offices and countless Hindu homes, along with the photos of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Bose, Shastri and Indira Gandhi, and her name is invoked by everyone, from schoolgirls to beauty contest aspirants and winners, as their “ideal”. This one name perhaps symbolizes the success of Christian propaganda more than anything else. It follows that while Bollywood films regularly depict Hindu priests as corrupt, crafty and villainous, Christian priests and nuns are regularly depicted as the epitome of compassion: they inevitably appear on the scene when the Hindu heroine or child or old person is in trouble and shower their compassion and help on them (a benign “my child” being a ubiquitous phrase in their speech), although on the international level, they are most famously known for their pederasty! The Christian missionary and priest, known everywhere in the world as the very epitome of craftiness, ruthlessness and treachery, has become, in the eyes of the common Hindu, a benign, saintly figure.
In combination with the increasing westernization of Indian society (and the spread of Christmas, etc. celebrations on a large scale in modern times), Christianity, which is on the decline everywhere in Europe and America itself, is on a roll in India. The attitude of the general Hindu public towards Christian expansionism ranges mostly from the indifferent to the faintly admiring. I still remember the admiring tone in which the Hindu girl, at the counter of the neera stall outside the Khadi Emporium near Hutatma Chowk in Mumbai, said (in Marathi), “how devoted they are to their religion, no?”, as I stood there with a glass of neera in my hand while a protesting crowd of hundreds-of-thousands of Mumbai Christians passed in a vociferous procession through the streets in 1978 in protest against the Freedom of Religion Bill sought to be introduced in Parliament by MP Om Prakash Tyagi. It never even struck her that her admiration for the “religious devotion” of a crowd which was demanding their right to convert people from her religion into theirs spoke volumes for her own lack of devotion to her own religion!
In these circumstances, Christian expansionism is clearly at least as dangerous as Islamic terrorism to India – perhaps more so in being a silent and unrecognized killer.
Tribal Religions vis-à-vis Christianity and Hinduism
Keeping in mind that by tribal religions, we are referring only to the Hindu Category Three religions (Sarna, Donyi Polo, Khasi, Meitei, Garo, and possibly others practiced by more microscopic sections of other isolated tribes), since the other tribals are themselves fully conscious that their religious practices are “Hindu” (which is why they clearly declare their religion to be “Hindu” in the census, as accepted even by the Joshua Project), can we say that these Hindu Category Three tribal religions are neutral between Christianity and Hinduism?
The first and most fundamental factor which places Hinduism and these tribal religions in one fundamental category completely distinct from Christianity is the geographical factor. Hinduism Category One, Hinduism Category Two and Hinduism Category Three religions are all Indian religions, as distinct from Christianity which is a foreign import.
This has further automatic implications. It means that the sacred places, the sacred rivers, mountains and groves, the sacred plants, animals and birds, the materials used in religious rituals, etc. of all the three Categories of religions are Indian. India is the stage of activity of the acts and events involving all the historical and mythological characters in the narratives of all these religions. The languages in which the original religious lore, poetry and traditions of all these religions are couched are Indian languages. The traditional religious music, the traditional religious food, the traditional religious costumes, etc. of all these religions are representative of the traditional culture of some part or the other of India. The traditional religious beliefs and rituals of all these religions are derived from their Indian ancestors.
This geographical factor alone and in itself is so important that Dr Ambedkar placed emphasis not only on the necessity of placing in one legal class the followers of all religions other than those of foreign origin (Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Judaism), but put the matter in even more categorical terms with specific reference to the question of conversion itself: “If the depressed classes join Islam or Christianity, they not only go out of the Hindu religion, but they also go out of the Hindu culture…What the consequences of conversion will do to the country as a whole is well worth bearing in mind. Conversion to Islam or Christianity will denationalize the depressed classes” (Dhanajay Keer: “Dr Ambedkar: Life and Mission”, p.279). That conversion to Christianity (or Islam) would “denationalize” the converted Indians, with adverse “consequences” for “the country as a whole” was very clearly a matter of deep concern to him.
But the geographical factor is only the beginning. Quite apart from the fact that there is no form of religious belief or philosophy (from atheism, through agnosticism, to all forms of “theism”, and from the most “ahimsak” philosophy to the most violent bloody rituals) which is not found in some part or the other of Hinduism, and which therefore, basically makes it almost impossible to point out fundamental opposition between Hinduism and any particular tribal religious system, the fact is that all the tribal religions have features which fit into the most basic accepted definitions of standard Hinduism: idol-worship, totemism, polytheism, pantheism, animism, worship of the elements and of nature, belief in reincarnation, ancestor worship, etc., every single one of which is pure anathema to Christianity. Note that in the Wikipedia entry on the Karbi tribe, quoted earlier, we are told with a straight face that the “practitioners of traditional worship believe in reincarnation and honour the ancestors”. In fact, almost all these elements, and even most of the local deities in every village and town of India, which are now the core of Hinduism, entered standard Hindu religion from these very local tribal religions in the course of millenniums of mutual interaction and influence; even as every local tribe and community preserved its own religious traditions without interference, a circumstance which would have been impossible in a Christian dominated country.
And by this is not meant only some mediaeval Inquisition-instituting and Crusades-mongering Christian country: see what has been the fate of other Pagan religions which have fallen prey to the Proselytising Armies in the very citadel of the Proselytisers, the U.S.A., which, along with its other white colleague nations (in Europe, Australia and the Americas), is always first and foremost in condemning any curbs on “religious freedom” (read curbs on missionaries) in India, and which prides itself on being the beacon of internal Democracy and Freedom:
“From the 1600s European Catholic and Protestant denominations sent missionaries to convert the tribes to Christianity. These efforts intensified during the mid 19th century through mid-20'th as US Government and Christian churches' joint efforts forcibly registered Native Americans as Christians, which caused contemporaneous official government records (and sources that reference these government records) to show "Christianity" as the majority religion of Native Americans for the past 100 years. These forcible conversions often occurred through US government and Christian church cooperative efforts that forcibly removed Native American children from their families, and forcibly moved those Native children into a Christian-US government operated system of American Indian boarding schools (aka The Residential Schools) where Native children were indoctrinated in European Christian beliefs, mainstream American culture and the English language. This forcible conversion and suppression of Indigenous languages and cultures continued through the 1970s.
As part of the US government's suppression of traditional Indigenous religions, most ceremonial ways were banned for over 80 years by a series of US Federal laws that banned traditional sweat lodge and sun dance ceremonies, among others. This government persecution and prosecution continued until 1978 with the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA).” (Wikipedia entry on “Native American Religion”)
All this, please note, was being done blatantly and on a war footing in the U.S.A. till 1978. Must we assume there was a sudden magical about turn in that year which miraculously brought about an overwhelming love for the indigenous religions of the native American Indians in the hearts of those who had been carrying on the above mentioned activities so blatantly till then, and that the suppression and persecution completely ceased thereafter?
When those same ruthless forces of Christian Evangelization, who thought nothing of indulging in the above barbarism to destroy the native religions of the U.S.A., send their Proselytizing Armies into India to do the same to the native religions of India (whether Hindu Category One, Two or Three), clearly it is the duty of all the native religions to unite against the common enemy. And clearly it is not only the right of Hindus to protect the tribals (whether Hindu Category One, Two or Three) from the depredations of Christian missionaries, it is their sacred duty to protect their fellow-Indians and fellow-Hindus from these wolves. Anyone who has read beyond the leftist and missionary sponsored articles in the media blaming Hindu organisations, every time there is conflict over conversions in tribal areas, will see that the conflicts are basically between the converted tribals and the non-converted tribals, the latter literally fighting a last-ditch battle for the preservation of their ancestral religions from the Proselytising Armies with their multi-pronged military divisions.
Note: (1) Hinduism Category One itself is basically a Parliament of (Indian) Religions. (2) If there are some religions born out of mainstream Hinduism (Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism) which have acquired distinctive identities over the centuries, they have still remained part of the Hindu cultural stream (having a common history, a common viewpoint towards life, common religious symbols like Om, respect for Sanskrit as a Sacred language and for the saffron colour as a Sacred colour, vegetarianism as an ideal ethic, similar religious-philosophical terms and institutions, etc., and, as Dr. Ambedkar pointed out: “The application of the Hindu Code to Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains was a historical development, and it would be too late, sociologically, to object to it. When the Buddha differed from the Vedic Brahmins, he did so only in matters of creed, but left the Hindu legal framework intact. He did not propound a separate law for his followers. The same was the case with Mahavir and the ten Sikh Gurus” (Keer, p.427).) And, (3) if some tribal religions have retained or acquired identities with a distinctive name, all these are included within the different Categories of Hinduism (One, Two and Three), which together form a Full Parliament of Indian Religions. In fact, all these Categories of Hinduism fall within a larger Parliament of World Religions, namely Paganism (which includes all the native religions which existed in the world before the rise of the Abrahamic Religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam).
Strangely, while this whole article has been only about the conversion of “tribals”, whom the ubiquitous moles of the missionaries in India assure us are “not Hindus”, the main theme dominating the media these days is about the inalienable right of the missionaries to convert Hindus (including Hindu Category One Hindus) coupled with the utter inadmissibility of any right of Hindus to even re-convert converted Hindus back to the fold! “Why does not Modi speak out against the ghar - wapasi programs of the VHP?” is theHindus (incluf common refrain among media people, who never bother to ask why Modi does not speak out against Christian missionaries, almost as if they believe that the BJP came to power only on the development plank, and put Hindu issues on the back burner in its election campaign, but it also at the same time promised: “we will not allow Hindu organisations to reconvert ex-Hindus to Hinduism, but we will allow missionaries to continue to convert Hindus to Christianity”! And the media is on a campaign to convince the nation that the “youth” are becoming increasingly disillusioned with the BJP because of its failure to curb re-conversions to Hinduism, as if those same youth are perfectly all right with conversions from Hinduism to Christianity; and that the “youth” feel that allowing Hindu organisations to reconvert ex-Hindus to Hinduism is a “deviation” from the “development agenda”, but allowing missionaries to convert Hindus to Christianity is not!
If all this is not the height of slave mentality, what is? [This is not to suggest that the expectations of the media are necessarily misplaced. Past experiences have shown that the BJP abandons its Hindu “cards” as soon as it comes to power, and becomes a super-secular version of the Congress, more dangerous than the Congress because it converts militant Hindus into apologists for its about turns. And when “Hindu” organisations organize and publicize farcical and self-defeating “ghar wapasi” events like the one in Agra, it does not help. But, even if the media expectations from the BJP are well-founded ones, that does not make it any the less slave mentality]
No Hindu organisation need spend its time and energy in trying to explain its position on conversions to its critics. The need of the hour is to bring to a grinding halt the military incursions of the missionaries and to protect the cultures and traditions of Hindus (Category One, Two and Three). As the Catholic theologian Louis Veuillot (1813-1883) arrogantly declared; “when we Catholics are in a minority, we demand freedom in the name of your principles; when we Catholics are in the majority, we deny freedom in the name of our principles”. This is the basic principle of the predator religions, and it is up to us to decide once and for all whether this state of affairs is to be allowed to be continued till we are completely annihilated, or whether it is time to wake up before it is too late. Hindus should refuse to be treated any more like Oliver Twist asking for more. The need of the hour is for all the three Categories of Hindus, along with the other few remnants of other Pagan religions still surviving in the world, to unite positively against Christian Evangelism and to recognize and isolate the moles and Trojan horses within their own fold who are working to create divisions and cleavages among them.