Christianity in India

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The indirect influence of Christianity has been to quicken Hinduism to life. The cultured Hindu society has admitted its grievous sin against the untouchables. But the effect of Christianity upon India in general must be judged by the life lived in our midst by the average Christian and its effect upon us. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Christianity is India's third most followed religion according to the census of 2011, with approximately 28 million followers, constituting 2.3 percent of India's population.

Quotes[edit]

  • “One chief reason why Indian Christians in general still welcome foreign Missionaries is economy; it is an open secret that the Indian Church is not yet out of the swaddling clothes, so far as its economic support is concerned. To give an extreme illustration only Rs. 6,000 of the total income of Rs. 1,12,500 of the National Christian Council of India… is from Indian sources and the rest comes from the Mission Boards abroad.”
    • Christianity in the Indian Crucible by Dr. E. Asirvatham, published in 1955.
  • All over India numerical conversion was on regular increase for nearly 100 years until the 1961-71 period. .. The only major exception is the North East Area where the traditional trend is continuing... In Arunachal Pradesh about 10,000 people join the Church per year. ... In the north-east conversions among the tribals continue
    • Trends and Issues in Evangelization in India. Catholic Bishop Conference CBCI Reports. Augustine Kanjamala. in Appendix I, in Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994
  • [Converts from among the four tribes - Oraons, Mundas, Kharias and Santhals-] account for nearly nine-tenths of the Indian Christians.
    • 1911 Census report on Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Sikkim. in Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994
  • It is well known that the primitive tribes of the province furnish the most fruitful field for Christian missionaries... In 1931 these four communities [Oraons, Mundas, Kharias and Santhals] provided as much as 88 per cent of the total number of Indian Christians in Bihar and Orissa, and in 1921 the percentage was almost exactly the same.
    • 1931 Census report quoted in Paths of Mission in India Today. CBCI. quoted from Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994
  • “Without question the most important postwar development has been the rapid expansion of the Roman Catholic Church. At the beginning of the war there were but 50,000 Catholics in the region [North East India]; in 1977 there were 369,681. In part this was due to an extraordinary expenditure of resources both in terms of money and missionary personnel, including personnel brought in from other parts of India. But it was due also to the removal after independence of the restrictions the British had placed upon Catholic missions....
    • F.S. Downs, Christianity in North East India: Historical Perspectives, Gauhati, 1983, pp. 151 ff.
  • “Though it was the hope of gain that brought the Portuguese adventurers to India, it was also the purpose of their kings to promote the spread of Christianity among those who came under their rule. On this ground several of the fifteenth century Popes granted them rights of dominion and commercial monopoly in the newly acquired territories. A modern reader will wonder what right the Popes had to do this; but in mediaeval Europe theologians held that the Pope, as Vicar of Christ, had a direct domination over the kingdoms of the earth, and so such grants did not seem outrageous – not to the beneficiaries at any rate. In a famous bull of 1493 Pope Alexander VI, 43 to settle rivalry between Spain and Portugal, the two colonial powers of those days, drew a line down the map of the Atlantic Ocean south of the Azores Islands to form a boundary between their respective spheres of influence. All lands not already under Christian rule ‘discovered or yet to be discovered’ to the west of the line, he assigned to Spain; those to the east, to Portugal. Along with this fantastic enactment went a command to the Spanish and Portuguese kings ‘to send to the said lands and islands good men who fear God and are learned, skilled and expert, to instruct the inhabitants in the Catholic Faith and good morals’. Moreover, other foreigners were forbidden to enter those lands without license from these kings. Whatever may be thought nowadays of such orders, the Spaniards and Portuguese were prepared to act on them; and not only in claiming and exercising, as far as they were able, rights of dominion and trade; they were seriously prepared to propagate Christianity.”
    • C.B. Firth, in An Introduction to Indian Church History, , quoted in Ishwar Sharan. The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. Third edition. 2010.
  • The indirect influence of Christianity has been to quicken Hinduism to life. The cultured Hindu society has admitted its grievous sin against the untouchables. But the effect of Christianity upon India in general must be judged by the life lived in our midst by the average Christian and its effect upon us. I am sorry to have to re record my opinion that it has been disastrous. It pains me to have to say that the Christian missionaries as a body, with honourable exceptions, have actively supported a system which has impoverished, enervated and demoralised a people considered to be among the gentlest and most civilized on earth...
    • Mahatma Gandhi. Collected Works, Volume 24, New Delhi, 1967, p. 476. Young India of July 13, 1924.
  • Unfortunately, Christianity in India has been inextricably mixed up for the last one hundred years with the British rule. It appears to us as synonymous with the materialistic civilization and imperialistic exploitation by the strong white races of the weaker races of the world. Its contribution to India has been therefore largely of a negative character. It has done some good in spite of its professors. It has shocked us into setting our own house in order.
    • Mahatma Gandhi,The Collected Works, Volume 40. New Delhi. 1970, pp. 58-59. as quoted in Goel, S.R. History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (1996)
  • Conversion of Hindus into other religions is dangerous to the security of the nation and the country. It is therefore necessary to put a stop to it. It is by exploitation of poverty, illiteracy and ignorance, offering of inducement and by deceptive tactics that people are converted. It is but right that this unjust activity is prohibited. It is a duty we have to discharge towards protecting our brethren in ignorance and poverty.
    • M.S. Golwalkar : ‘Bunch of Thoughts’, third edition, 1996, p. 170 Quoted from Talreja, K. M. (2000). Holy Vedas and holy Bible: A comparative study. New Delhi: Rashtriya Chetana Sangathan.
  • The missionaries were sent out to exterminate heathenism in India, not to spread heathen nonsense all over Europe.
    • August Hermann Francke (commenting about the work of Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg by which he tried to get better informed about Hindu objections to Christian Faith.) in Hindu Apologetics at the Beginning of the Protestant Mission Era in India’, by H. Grafe in Indian Church History Review, June, 1972.
  • From Greenland's icy mountains,
    From India's coral strand....
    They call us to deliver
    Their land from error's chain.
    What though the spicy breezes
    Blow soft o’er Ceylon’s isle (...)
  • A number of scholars... have built on slender foundations what can only be called Thomas romances, such as reflect vividness of their imagination rather than the prudence of historical critics. ... The story of the ancient church of the Thomas Christians is of great significance for the whole history of Christianity in India. It is to be regretted that, when all the evidence has been collected and sifted, much remains uncertain and conjectural. ... Millions of Christians in South India are certain that the founder of their church was none other than the apostle Thomas himself. The historian cannot prove to them that they are mistaken in their belief. He may feel it right to warn them that historical research cannot pronounce on the matter with a confidence equal to that which they entertain by faith.
    • Stephen Neill, History of Christianity in India: The Beginnings to 1707 AD, Cambridge University Press, 1984.
  • “The Indian Church has reason to be glad that the Constitution of the country guarantees her an atmosphere of freedom and equality with other much stronger religious communities. Under the protection of this guarantee she is able, ever since independence, not only to carry on but to increase and develop her activity as never before without serious hindrance or anxiety.”.... “The question was raised in Parliament as to whether the right to propagate religion was applicable only to Indian citizens or also to foreigners residing in India, for example, the missionaries. In March 1954, the Supreme Court of India expressed its opinion that this right was a fundamental one firmly established in the Constitution and thus applied to everyone citizen and non-citizen alike who enjoyed the protection of India’s laws. With this explanation the missionaries were expressly authorised to spread the faith, thus fulfilling the task entrusted to them by the Church.”....One must admit that the number of missionaries who came to India soon after independence had perceptibly increased. During the war years very few of them ever reached India. So a kind of surplus was building in Europe with corresponding lack of personnel in India… At the same time the Communists were expelling thousands of missionaries mainly members of the American sects from China. Some of them were then transferred to India but not all of them could adapt themselves to Indian conditions.”
    • Felix Alfred Planner, The Catholic Church in India: Yesterday and Today, Allahabad, 1964, p. 6-10
  • “The dawn of independence is a landmark in the development of Christian educational work in this country. Since 1947 there has been a fantastic expansion in the number of Christian institutions, chiefly among the Roman Catholics. Colleges have gone up from 42 to 114 and secondary schools from 500 to 1,200. The Catholic Directory, 1969, gives fairly accurate statistics for Catholic educational work. There are now 6000 elementary schools, 1200 secondary schools, 114 colleges, and 80 specialised institutions.”
    • Catholic educationist, T. A. Mathias, in 1971, quoted in F.S. Downs, Christianity in North East India: Historical Perspectives, Gauhati, 1983, pp. 151 ff.
  • In all these places, there was unanimity as regards the excellent service rendered by the Missionaries in the fields of education and medical relief. But on the other hand there was a general complaint from the non-Christian side that the schools and hospitals were being used as means of securing converts. ...The objection was to the illegitimate methods alleged to be adopted by the Missionaries for this purpose, such as offering allurements of free education and other facilities to children attending their schools, adding some Christian names to their original Indian names, marriages with Christian girls, money-lending, distributing Christian literature in hospitals and offering prayers in the wards of indoor patients. Reference was also made to the practice of the Roman Catholic priests or preachers visiting newborn babies to give ‘ashish’ (blessings) in the name of Jesus, taking sides in litigation or domestic quarrels, kidnapping of minor children and abduction of women and recruitment of labour for plantations in Assam or Andaman as a means of propagating the Christian faith among the ignorant and illiterate people. ... As a rule, groups have been converted, and we find ‘individual conversion’ has been an exception rather than the rule. We have come across cases of individual conversions only of persons who are village leaders and they have invariably been followed by ‘Mass conversions’ of the entire village soon after. We have not found it possible to accept the contention that the immediate material prosperity of these converted leaders bore no causal relation to their conversions. ... Evangelization in India appears to be a part of the uniform world policy to revive Christendom for re-establishing Western supremacy and is not prompted by spiritual motives. The objective is apparently to create Christian minority pockets with a view to disrupt the solidarity of the non-Christian societies, and the mass conversions of a considerable section of Adivasis with this ulterior motive is fraught with danger to the security of the State.
    • Madhya Pradesh Report on Christian Missionary Activities (1956), quoted from Madhya Pradesh (India), Goel, S. R., Niyogi, M. B. (1998). Vindicated by time: The Niyogi Committee report on Christian missionary activities. ISBN 9789385485121
  • The Christian-dominated parts of India's North-East have witnessed several instances of Hindu-cleansing. Hindu organizations like the Ramakrishna Mission and the RSS have been targeted for elimination from the region through pressure or violence. In the 1990s, tens of thousands of Riang tribals who rejected conversion were expelled from Christian-dominated Mizoram. The death toll of Hindus eliminated by Christian separatists dwarfs that of the much-publicized Hindu violence against Christians, which has killed only a handful since 1947, including in the supposed “wave” of anti-Christian riots in 1998-99. The killing of Australian missionary Graham Staines... was front-page news in the whole world and remains a constant point of reference in the dominant discourse on communalism. By contrast, when shortly after that, four RSS workers were kidnapped by Christian separatists in the North-East and their mutilated bodies were subsequently found, it was hardly reported in the Indian press and not at all in the international media.
    • Koenraad Elst: Religious Cleansing of Hindus, 2004, Agni conference in The Hague, and in : The Problem with Secularism (2007) by K. Elst
  • In each of these cases [of alleged Hindu violence against Christians], the original allegations against Hindus were splashed across the front pages in India and also reported in the world press, whereas the true story, once it came out, was reported on an inside page in India and not at all abroad. Even then, Christian spokesman John Dayal repeated the discredited allegations before the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, and they keep on reappearing in secularist sources. I am not aware of a single secularist who publicly withdrew the allegations and offered apologies for his slander to the maligned Hindus. Nor of one who has drawn attention to Christian violence against Hindus in the same period, such as the abduction of four RSS activists by Christian separatists in Tripura (the four dead bodies were found two years later) or the ethnic cleansing of the Hindu Riang tribe from Christian-majority Mizoram. Even so, the propaganda line of Hindu violence against Christians is no longer pursued with the same vigour, partly because its proponents seem to be embarrassed by their crying wolf a few times too often, and partly because it remains a relatively small affair even if all the allegations had been true.
    • Koenraad Elst: The Struggle for India's Soul A reply to Mira KAMDAR by Dr. Koenraad ELST, in : The Problem with Secularism (2007) by K. Elst
  • "The subcontinent of India, in the eyes of Vatican planners, has a primordial importance as the one country in Asia where the Church can make huge headway. The Roman Catholic Church has poured vast resources into India. Religious orders run 115 colleges with 135,000 students, 1,200 high schools with over 500,000 pupils, 242 technical schools with over 400,000 students. It is estimated that 60 percent of all students in India attend Roman Catholic schools and colleges. In those seats of learning, 50 percent of the teachers are non-Christian. Jesuits are involved on the local, state, and national level."
    • Malachi Martin, in The Jesuits, quoted in Ishwar Sharan. The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. Third edition. 2010.
  • "More than 7,000 educational institutions have been established by the Catholic Church in India." The real figure is much higher as these books were published in 1987 and 1963 respectively. They do not include non-Catholic educational institutions which have proliferated in recent years with the rapid spread of evangelical Protestant churches in India. A truer picture of the Christian landscape in India can be got from the 1992 report of the World Council of Churches, which says, "Indian churches put together are the biggest single land owner in India."
    • Raymond James Paul, in A Catholic's Believe It or Not, , quoted in Ishwar Sharan. The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. Third edition. 2010.
  • Cambridge University established a prize named for an essay competition on the topic: 'The best means of civilizing the subjects of the British Empire in India, and of diffusing the light of the Christian religion throughout the eastern world.'
  • Today the most fruitful ministries are carried by more than 100,000 pastors, evangelists and preachers. Full time Indian missionaries from organized societies increased from 420 in 1973 to 2941 societies in 1983. These missionaries have seen remarkable growth in northern India in places such as Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Sikkim. In Western India, Christian workers estimate that two new worship groups are formed every week through indigenous missionary effort... In Tamil Nadu, the Indian Church Growth Mission hopes to plant 1,000 churches in unreached villages.
    • Mission Handbook: North American Ministries Overseas published in 1986. Quoted by Arun Shourie: Missionaries in India and quoted from Madhya Pradesh (India), Goel, S. R., Niyogi, M. B. (1998). Vindicated by time: The Niyogi Committee report on Christian missionary activities. ISBN 9789385485121
  • “It is not only our duty but in our own interest to promote the diffusion of Christianity as far as possible throughout the length and breadth of India”.
    • Lord Palmerstone, Prime Minister. R.E. Speer, Missionary principles, A Mayhew, Christianity, cited in Niyogi Committee report on Christian missionary activities. Quoted from Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994
  • “Every additional Christian is an additional bond of union with this country and an additional source of strength to the Empire”.
    • Lord Halifax. R.E. Speer, Missionary principles, A Mayhew, Christianity, cited in Niyogi Committee report on Christian missionary activities. Quoted from Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994
  • They were doing for India more than all those civilians, soldiers, judges and governors whom Your Highness has met.
    • Lord Reay . R.E. Speer, Missionary principles, A Mayhew, Christianity, cited in Niyogi Committee report on Christian missionary activities. Quoted from Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994
  • [the work of the missionaries is] “an unrecognised and unofficial branch of the great movement that alone justifies British rule in India”.
  • Sir Charles Eliot (Bengal) . R.E. Speer, Missionary principles, A Mayhew, Christianity, cited in Niyogi Committee report on Christian missionary activities. Quoted from Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994
  • “[The Portuguese] acted throughout as if they had a divine right to the pillage, robbery, and massacre of the natives of India. Not to mince matters, their whole record is one of a series of atrocities. They delighted particularly in plundering all rich temples within their reach, even Tirupati not escaping their predatory attentions.... The Roman Catholic missionaries, headed by St. Francis Xavier, 45 were not only forcefully converting to their faith large numbers on the pearl-fishery coast ... but induced the fishermen to transfer their allegiance to the king of Portugal.... The Franciscan friars and Jesuits were busy demolishing temples and building churches in the coastal cities, and the Portuguese governor of Goa was reported to be organising a plundering raid against the rich temples of Kanchipuram. ... The Portuguese policy of [destroying temples and] turning religious propaganda to political use roused the resentment of even the tolerant rulers of Vijayanagar and their Feudatories.”
    • K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, in A History of South India, quoted in Ishwar Sharan. The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. Third edition. 2010.
  • What India gives us about Christianity in its midst in indeed nothing but pure fables.
    • Dr. A. Mingana, in The Early Spread of Christianity in Asia and the Far East and The Early Spread of Christianity in India, quoted in Ishwar Sharan. The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. Third edition. 2010.
  • The famine has wrought miracles. The catechumenates are filling, baptismal water flows in streams, and starving little tots fly in masses to heaven… A hospital is a readymade congregation. There is no need to go into the highways and hedges and ‘compel them to come in’. They send each other.
    • About the sudden jumps in the number of Christian converts during famines. Archbishop of Pondicherry, ‘Spiritual Advantages of Famine and Cholera’, India and Its Missions, 1823. cited in Arun Shourie, Missionaries in India, New Delhi, 1994 quoted from Madhya Pradesh (India), Goel, S. R., Niyogi, M. B. (1998). Vindicated by time: The Niyogi Committee report on Christian missionary activities. (RIFT IN THE LUTE) ISBN 9789385485121
  • "The Portuguese early considered that no faith need be kept with an infidel, and to this policy of perfidy they added a tendency to cruelty beyond the normal limits of a very rough age; the result was to deprive them of Indian sympathy. In religion the Portuguese were distinguished by missionary fervour and intolerance.... Of the latter, there was the Inquisition of Goa and the forcible subjection of the Syrian church to Rome at the Synod of Diamper in 1599." The Synod of Diamper was followed by the burning of Syrian books by Archbishop Menezes of Goa, and the myth of St. Thomas, now firmly in the hands of the Church, took on a marked anti-Hindu character. Roman Catholic bigotry is ancient and universal – and it continues till today. Percival Spear observes, "Then came Roman Catholicism, which today has perhaps 5,000,000 followers and an array of churches, convents, and colleges all over India. A by-product has been a tradition of intolerance, which still lingers."
    • T.G. Percival Spear, commenting on the Portuguese in India in an Encyclopaedia Britannica article, quoted in Ishwar Sharan. The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. Third edition. 2010.
  • The South Indian Missionary Conference held in 1858 had left nobody in doubt as to what the missionary schools and colleges were trying to achieve. “The object of all missionary labour,” proclaimed the Conference report, “is, or should be not primarily the civilization but the evangelisation of the heathen. Schools may be regarded as converting agencies, and their value estimated by the number who are led by the instruction they receive to renounce idolatry and make an open profession of Christianity; or the principal object aimed at may be the raising up of Native helpers in the Missionary work. Each of these is a legitimate object of Missionary labour and the value of any system of education as a Missionary Agency, must be tested by its adaptedness to accomplish one or more of these objects.”
    • South Indian Missionary Conference, quoted in S.R. Goel, History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (1996)
  • It seems, you expect from me an expression of my views on the specific question: What type of missionary workers are wanted in India, rather than on the question whether any missionary workers should come at all to India? I shall respectfully speak my opinion on the latter point. I feel it is not really possible on the ground of logic or on the evidence of miracles to hold that amongst the religions known as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity, anyone is nearer the truth than any other. You will permit me to object to the exclusive claims for Truth made on behalf of any one of these faiths. If this my first point is granted, the only justification for missionary work is proselytism. But is it good on the whole for men and women to change from one religion to another? I think it is not desirable to make any effort at proselytism. I feel that such efforts undermine the present faith of the people, which is good enough for promoting right conduct in them and to deter them from sin. They tend to destroy family and social harmony, which is not a good thing to do.
    • C. Rajagopalachari quoted in The National Christian Council Review, December 1956, p. 490. quoted from Madhya Pradesh (India), Goel, S. R., Niyogi, M. B. (1998). Vindicated by time: The Niyogi Committee report on Christian missionary activities. ISBN 9789385485121
  • These were the first specimens of Christian warfare against the heathen of Hind... It would perhaps be fortunate for Christianity, if the historic muse in India were mute, as many have endeavoured to prove her to be, since atrocities like these are alone sufficient to have scared the Hindus from all association with her creed.
    • James Tod Travels in Western India’, London, 1839, reprinted in New Delhi, 1997, p. 260. Quoted in Preface by S. R. Goel in Matilda Joslyn Gage : ‘Woman, Church and State’, New Delhi, 1997 (Reprint), p. V (Introduction) (also [1])
  • Missionary activities… which became so prominent a feature of European relations with Asia were connected with Western political supremacy in Asia and synchronised with it. ... It may indeed be said that the most serious, persistent and planned effort of European nations in the nineteenth century was their missionary activities in India and China, where a large-scale attempt was made to effect a mental and spiritual conquest at supplementing the political authority already enjoyed by Europe. Though the results were disappointing in the extreme from the missionary point of new, this assault on the spiritual foundations of Asian countries has had far-reaching consequences in the religious and social reorganization of the people...
    • K. M. Panikkar. Asia and Western Dominance: a survey of the Vasco Da Gama epoch of Asian history, 1498–1945. p. 15, 314
  • “How many hundreds of thousands have these padres turned to Christianity and keep on turning! How many hundreds of children have they swallowed up! On how many more they have cast their nets! How much evil is yet to come upon us by their means! If we sleep as heretofore, in a short time they will turn all to Christianity without exceptions, and our temples will he changed into churches... When Christianity has laid waste the land, will a blade of Hinduism grow there? When the flood rushes up over our heads it will be too late. It is because of our carelessness that these strangers insult our gods in the open streets during our festivals.” (Hindus Tract Society) ... “The nation regrets,” wrote The Hindu Reformer and Politician of Madras, “that money and trouble are spent on young men who return to their household with contempt for the practices and beliefs of their relations and ancestors, and the young men regret that their homes and community are attached to what seems to them to be foolishness and superstition.”
    • Extracts from Hindu polemics against Christian missionary activities during the British Raj. Quoted by S. Manickam, Hindu Reaction to Missionary Activities in the Negapatam and Trichinopoly District of the Methodists, 1870-1924, Indian Church History Review. December 1981, p. 84. Quoted from Goel, S.R. History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (1996)
  • There are also Chris­tian armed separat­ist movements in Nagaland and Mizoram, which are openly supported by the World Council of Churches and by a number of Catholic institutions... Some Hindu writers have therefore developed detailed criticisms of Christian political behaviour in India, detailing records of conversion, and discussing the missions' international sponsoring... The single most frightening moment for the Christian mission strategists was in the mid-1950s, when the BJS was hardly in the picture as a political force. The Congress governm­ent of Madhya Pradesh ordered an inves­tigation of fraudulent conversions through social pressure and material inducement by Christian missionaries in the tribal belt. The BJS supported the implementation of the recommen­dations (for a much stricter control of missionary ac­tivities and finances) concluding the highly critical report of this commit­tee... At any rate, Nehru prevented the report from having any political consequen­ces... In 1978, O.P. Tyagi proposed his Freedom of Religion Bill in the Lok Sabha, with the object of prohibiting conversions by force or allurement. The Christian missions launched a worldwide propaganda campaign against it, and the Leftist sections of the Janata Party also opposed it, so that nothing came of it... In 1994, the Churches created a similar stir, on the occasion of a very small incident in the Chennai area. After reading Ishwar Sharan's book The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple, which argued that a number of churches including the one commemorating Saint Thomas's alleged martyrdom had been built on destroyed Shiva temples, a back-bench member of the RSS-af­filiated Tamil organization Hindu Munnani went to a church in Pon­dicherry, equipped with the parapher­nalia for puja, and inquired where the Shiva lingam was, so that he could worship it. He had learnt that the Cathedral had been built on the site of the Vedapuri-Ishwaran Temple after the temple had been destroyed in 1748 by the Jesuits aided by the them French governor of Pondicherry. Immediately, the Catholic Church was alarmed and warned that the Hindu fundamentalists were trying to create a second Ayodhya affair... Though focusing on conflictual chapters in history has been decried and condemned in the strongest terms when Hindus did just that during the Ayodhya campaign, it is a per­fectly respectable activity in other parts of the world.
    • About the Madhya Pradesh report. Elst, Koenraad. (1997) BJP vis-à-vis Hindu Resurgence
  • “It is well known that the Portuguese sacked the famous Tiruchendur Murugan Temple on the sea coast and threw the idol into the sea. Sometime later, in 1654, the chieftain Vadamalaiyappa Pillai of Tirunelveli, salvaged the idol from the sea and installed it at the present Tiruchendur temple.” 47 He continues, “The Tirumalai Nayak Mahal [at Madurai] is another example. Jealous of its magnificence, the British began demolishing it, but public agitation checked it and what we have today is only a part of what was originally there.”
    • M. Arunachalam, in an article in Christianity in India: A Critical Study, , quoted in Ishwar Sharan. The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. Third edition. 2010.
  • There are very few Christians and Jews (in India) and they are of little weight.
    • Pope Nicolas IV sent John of Montecorvino, a missionary to convert India and China into Christianity and thus he wrote to Pope in 1306. (See G.T. Mackenzie, Christianity in Travancore, Govt. Press Trivandrum, 1901} Quoted in Ishwar Sharan. The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. Fourth edition. 2019
  • I really do not know why the Christian leaders suddenly backed out of the dialogue ( to broker a peace dialogue between the Christian and Hindu leaders).... Certain Christian quarters are carrying on a systematic and deliberate campaign against the Minorities Commission. I do not want to mention the names of the Christians who compelled the church leadership to call of the dialogue. I know the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, Archbishop Cyril Baselius very well.... It is not they who are trying to create unnecessary hysteria over the so-called attacks on Christians. It is some lay Christian leaders who are advising the bishops to act against the interests of the community. They are trying to vitiate the communal atmosphere in the country. ... Everybody in political circles and in the media knows who these Christian leaders are. John Dayal, who heads three Christian organisations, is the main leader. He is the president and secretary of the All India Catholic Union, the All India Christian Council and the United Christians Forum for Human Rights. Every day, these organisations come out with press statements from every nook and corner of the country. ... I sincerely feel that some of these Christian leaders want the attacks to continue so that they can be in the limelight. They are playing politics in the shadow of the attacks. Some of these leaders want the tension to increase in the country. They want to achieve so many other things in the name of the attacks against Christians in the country. In the name of violence and atrocities, I suspect some Christian organisations are trying to get foreign funds. ... I did not say that all the attacks on Christians in the country are isolated incidents. We, the Commission members, after studying five out of the 40, 50 incidents of attacks on Christians, came to the conclusion that these five incidents in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana were totally isolated cases. We mentioned just five cases. No Sangh Parivar group was behind the attacks on Christians in these cases. We stand by our report. But the problem is that Christian leaders want the NMC to portray all the incidents of attacks against Christians in the country as being the handiwork of the Sangh Parivar. Sorry, we are a responsible organisation. We are supposed to tell only the truth, according to the Constitution. ... I do not know. I do not want to comment. Let the truth come out. In a few days, you will hear who are behind these attacks. The country is gong to be shocked when it hears that the attacks against Christians have not been perpetuated by pro-Hindu organisations. Look at the church blast in Bangalore. The police arrested a Muslim fundamentalist. I do feel there is a definite link between the bomb blasts in churches in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Goa. But these blasts were surely not carried out by Sangh Parivar outfits.
    • John Joseph, Head of the NCM and a leader of the Pentecost church in India Rediff, 2000
  • Now, India presents the greatest of all fields for missionary exertion, greater even than China... I shall conclude by reminding you that, as patriotic people, you may be confident that the missions in India are doing a work which strengthens the imperial foundations of British power, and raises our national repute in the eyes of the many millions of people committed to our charge. You may be also confident that the results are fully commensurate with the expenditure.
    • Sir Richard Temple, 1st Baronet. [Speech delivered beore the Baptist Missionary Society in London, April 1883.] in Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994 [2]
  • But for a long time to come the prime movers in these operations must continue to be European. And we hope that a great Christian, and if we may use the term, ecclesiastical army will be raised, the rank and file consisting of natives, while the captains and generals are highly qualified Europeans.
    • Sir Richard Temple, 1st Baronet. "Oriental experience; a selection of essays and addresses delivered in various occasions" in Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994 [3]
  • For what purpose then, has this enormous territory been committed to England? .... that every man, woman and child from Cape Comorin ot the Himalaya mountains, may be elevated, enlightened, Christianised.... When the walls of the mighty fortress of Brahminism are encircled, undermined, and finally stormed by the soldiers of the Cross, the victory of Christianity must be signal and complete.
    • Monier Monier-Williams. Modern India and the Indians, 1878. in Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994
  • The foreign missionaries base their work on destruction and condemnation of all even the best in India's culture and civilization……, I say from my personal experience and knowledge that they did take part in the politics and our country and carried on subversive activities in the British regime specially during our struggle for freedom. It is an open secret that they condemned the movement and prevented Indian Christians from taking part in it. What will be their attitude in the future it is for Government to decide and satisfy itself.
    • Shri J.N. Wilson, M.P., in The Modern Review, vol 96 Ramananda Chatterjee, Prabasi Press Private, Limited, 1954. in : Madhya Pradesh (India), Goel, S. R., Niyogi, M. B. (1998). Vindicated by time: The Niyogi Committee report on Christian missionary activities. ISBN 9789385485121
  • It will be seen, therefore, that Christianity is gaining ground with some rapidity. But Christianity as propagated in India is a foreign religion. Its theology, its hymnology, its forms are all western, and its success is due to and is also evidence of the power of foreign contacts to break down old loyalties to change age-long attitudes and to bring in a new order.
    • Albert James Saunders, Professor of Economics and Director of Research and Extension, American College, Madura, University of Madras, in : Madhya Pradesh (India), Goel, S. R., Niyogi, M. B. (1998). Vindicated by time: The Niyogi Committee report on Christian missionary activities. ISBN 9789385485121

Christianity in Gujarat[edit]

  • In testimony before the NCM, Nayak notes that “Christian missionaries in the area” are converting tribals with means that are “ clearly questionable and even illegal”. ” He asserts, “They have been using a curious mix of blind faith and allurements to entice the innocent tribals into the Christian fold.” ...Nayak notes that converted tribals under the influence of preachers desecrated Hindu idols at least fifteen times in the three years preceding the Dangs violence. Converted tribals have also abused Hindu idols as “devils” and urinated on them. According to Nayak, “The ire against Christians in the area has been rising for past few years and has reached a boil now because of the provocative activities of the Christians, under the influence of their preachers”.
  • The veteran Gandhians reveal that while the VHP and its affiliates have no worthwhile presence in Dangs, the church has imported as many as five hundred missionaries in recent years to speed up conversions. They charge that “during the last five years, nearly two dozen idols of Lord Shiva and Hanuman, revered by all tribals, have been desecrated or broken. The ancient beliefs of the tribals have been mocked at openly and every effort has been done to browbeat and harass them into submission.” Tribal resentment, they say, has long been simmering, and merely came to a boil on December 25 when Christians began stoning a Hindu Jagran Manch rally... A scrutiny of the concerted response to the Gujarat events is equally enlightening. The nation-wide chorus of condemnation against the VHP, despite contradictory reports by the local press, was a shade too organised. The Congress conducted the orchestra skilfully, playing up Sonia Gandhi’s visit to Dangs by alluding to her alleged reluctance to identify with “her community.”
  • Theory and practice alike concur in proving, that to increase and multiply the members of native Christians, is to increase and multiply the only class of truly staunch and loyal native subject of the British Crown among the teaming millions of India.
    • Alexander Duff as quoted in Madhya Pradesh (India), Goel, S. R., Niyogi, M. B. (1998). Vindicated by time: The Niyogi Committee report on Christian missionary activities. ISBN 9789385485121

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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