Posts Tagged 'census'

Fence is not the border

Fence is not the border
S Gurumurthy
17 May 2010 11:09:00 PM IST

Demography is destiny”, said Augustus Comte, a French philosopher of the 19th century. Demography, to use a simple definition, means the religious, cultural, or any secular, composition of a nation’s population. As the French were the first to understand the ideas of nation-state and national interest that originated in the 18th and 19th centuries, they could realise the criticality of demography to a nation-state. History testifies that shifts in ethnic or religious demography materially alter people’s identity, attitudes, nationality and even worldview.

A recent example of what religious demographic shift could do is the separation of East Timor as a Christian state from out of the Muslim-majority Indonesia, simply because 99 per cent Timorese had become Christians. A decade before, it was politically incorrect to talk of religious demography. But, after 9/11, the US-West, which had assumed the end of religion in modern secularity, woke up to the reality of religion. And once the West got alerted, true to its nature, it became serious. It has initiated a number of studies on religious demography, but under the garb of researches into ‘spiritual capital’, a more acceptable form of study into religious demography. A study supported by John Templeton Foundation defines spiritual capital as ‘the effects of spiritual and religious practices, beliefs, networks and institutions that have a measurable impact on individuals, communities and societies’. Is it anything different from religious demography?

Despite the fact India has suffered the most from demographic shifts in the past and continues to suffer even now, to interrogate secular India from the perspective of religious demography is virtually impossible. But an honest inquiry into Indian history will reveal how, in the past, religious demographic shift in any area in India has not only carved that area out of the mainland, but, the separated cousins have even turned inimical to the mother society. Pakistan that separated from India waged two direct wars with India and losing both, it has started a covert war of terror on India. Not many Indians today are conscious that Afghanistan was part of the larger India or that Khandahar was from where Khandari of Mahabharata originated. Afghanistan ruled by Buddhist kings had resisted Islamic invasion for long. See what is Afghanistan today. It is now the land of the Taliban. Viewing anything non-Islamic as un-Islamic, the Taliban have gunned down the Bamian Buddha statues which Mohammed Gaznavi and Nadir Shah had tried centuries earlier but failed. Now, Afghanistan’s geography remains the same. But the Afghans have lost their Buddhist soul in the demographic shift. The Talibanised Afghanistan no more resembles the Buddhist Afghanistan. This is the cultural shift which religious demographic shift causes.

Look at what were today’s Pakistan and Bangladesh a few hundred years ago. The Sind in Pakistan was the birthplace of the Vedas and the Puranas. Of the 52 Shakti Peetas sacred to Hindus, two are in Pakistan; seven in Bangladesh. But a huge religious demographic swing from Hindu majority to Muslim majority saw Pakistan, West and East, move out of India. In the areas that constitute Pakistan now, there was no Muslim population prior to Islamic invasion. The Muslim population was just 1/6 when Moghul emperor Jehangir (1605-’22) ruled, according to his memoirs (Tarikh-Salim-Shahi). But it was the continuing religious demographic shift that saw the Muslims become majority in many parts later. And by 1941, the Muslim population in today’s Pakistan had risen to 80 per cent; the share of Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jain (ie, Indian religions), that constituted the remaining 20 per cent then, has tumbled now to just two per cent. In the areas that constitute Bangladesh today, the colonial officials themselves were stunned when, in the 1872 census, they found Muslims, not Hindus, in majority, despite the fact that even as late as the early 15th century a Hindu King, Raja Ganesh, was ruling Bengal. Jinnah could begin the movement for Partition of India only because he knew that the Muslim majority in West and East would make it a fait accompli. And it did. But, the Partition is not the end of the story.

In the year 1941, the share of Indian religious adherents constituted 34 per cent in the area that is now Bangladesh. But, by 1951, that had come down to 23 per cent and further down to 10.3 per cent in 2001. So the demographic religious shift away from Hindu majority not only divided India physically and carved away over 9.51 lakh sq km of land from the mainland but has also shown that where such shift leads to intolerance, like in Islamic Pakistan and Bangladesh, most of the adherents of Indian religions had to abandon the partitioned geography, and come to the mainland. In contrast, in India, while the share of Indian religious adherents has fallen from 87.22 per cent in 1941 to 84.22 per cent in 2001, that of Muslims has risen from 10.45 per cent to 13.43 per cent. It is not just higher fertility rate of 18.74 per cent among the Muslims (against the national average of 15.93 per cent) as compared to 15.55 per cent among the adherents of Indian religions, that is the reason for the rise. That the rise was also due to infiltration across the border from Bangladesh is the real concern.

This is noticeable in the unusual rise in Muslim population in the border or near border districts of Assam, Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The demographic invasion is manifest in the fact that in this border belt the share of the Muslim population in the country has risen by more than eight per cent since 1951, that is five per cent above the national average rise of three per cent for Muslims. In Assam alone the rise is over eight percent. Likewise in Bengal, the rise in the share of their population since 1951 is 9.5 per cent, that is 6.5 per cent over the national average rise. The border district of Murshidabad in Bengal is Muslim majority (64 per cent); two others, Maladah and Uttar Dinajpur, are nearly so. In Bihar and Jharkhand also the Muslim share of the population has risen by more than eight per cent. This demographic shift is caused by Bangladeshi invasion. A world-class work on Religious Demography of India by the Centre for Policy Studies, Chennai, has brought out these and other critical facts.

The demographic invasion by millions of Bangladeshis has pushed the national border into India along Assam, Bengal and Bihar. It is the very demographic invaders who are being smuggled into the National Register of Indian Citizens in the Census 2011, via the Population Register, to be gifted with uncontested citizenship and decorated with National Identity Cards.

QED: When will secular India realise that demography, not geography, is nation, and demography, not iron fence, is the border?

National pride, or shame?

National pride, or shame?
S Gurumurthy
06 May 2010 11:18:00 PM IST

An important event”, says the Union home minister P.Chidambaram referring to the proposed National Population Register (NPR). Claiming it is the biggest exercise since humankind came into existence, he said proudly “nowhere in the world has a government tried to count, identify and issue identity cards to more than a billion people”. He is right. But, while the NPR is undoubtedly a huge and proud arithmetical undertaking, if what it conceals is revealed, it may end as a national shame, a grave security risk, why even an anti-national undertaking.

On the face of it, NPR seems a normal, even welcome idea. After all, a nation must have a population register to know the micro details of its people. The NPR will be a population register, not a citizenship register. National population is just a head count of all, nationals and others, residing in India. Now, the issue: Particularly in eastern India, the massive infiltration of Bangladeshis has emerged as our greatest security risk, according to experts. The then defence minister George Fernandes fixed the number of Bangladeshis illegally residing in India in 2003 at some two crore.
The infiltration has hugely distorted the religious demography of many areas in Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur, and even in far off Mumbai and Delhi. Most border districts of Assam and West Bengal have turned Muslim majority or nearly so, in less than two decades. The illegal Bangladeshis in India almost equal the population of Australia or Sri Lanka. The individual population of 167 countries is less than the number of Bangladeshis in India! The Bangladeshi population in India is more than the total population of some 100 countries taken together! With globally linked Islamic terrorism having roots in Bangladesh on the rise, it needs no seer to say it is a grave national danger to India.
A study on Bangladeshis in India by Sujata Ramachandran (Department of Geography, Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada) for the Global Commission on International Migration sees the issue from a totally different perspective. Challenging the stereotype view of it as a case of ‘asylum seekers’ and ‘illegal migrants’ by international migration researchers, Sujata asserts that the Bangladeshi infiltration was ‘migration industry’ at work. She says, “it involves a well-organised network of dalals in Bangladesh and India — ‘manpower’ agencies, recruiters, touts, brokers, ‘travel’ agents, and their employees or contacts in many Bangladeshi villages. Dalals find, or pretend to find, employment for migrants and facilitate movement into and through India for substantial sums of money. In recent times, they also provide potential migrants with official Indian documents like passports and ration cards to minimise the risks of detention. Therefore, it is not surprising that many marginal Bangladeshi families end up in different parts of this country.”

The touts actually cheat the poor Bangladeshi Muslims. Sujata points out that some ‘three lakh Bangladeshi women are in brothels’. Yet viewing the two crore Bangladeshis out of the country as good riddance, the Bangladesh government claims, ‘not a single Bangladeshi immigrant is in India’.

Given the cultural, linguistic and other links between Bengalis on this side and Bangladeshis on the other, the Bangladeshis have just dissipated into India. It is almost impossible to distinguish between illegal Bangladeshis and local Bengalis. Thanks to obliging politicians, corrupt officials the infiltrators also get all proofs needed to say they are residents here, Sujata notes. In the late 1970s, the Assam students revolted against this demographic invasion. They were ultimately cheated into a settlement by the Indira Gandhi government, which passed the Illegal Migrants (Detection by Tribunal) Act (IMDT Act) in the year 1983. That made it worse.

Under the IMDT Act, the onus of proving that a person was a Bangladeshi was shifted on to the police, while under the previous Foreigners Act, the onus was on the Bangladeshi to prove that he was an Indian. In 2005, that is, after 22 years, the Supreme Court stuck down the horrific IMDT Act as promoting, not curbing, infiltration. Yet, the UPA-I regime has re-enacted the IMDT Act as a sub-rule under the Foreigners Act. Between January 2001 and September 2006, the Assam government spent Rs 170 crore to identify 9,149 Bangladeshis, but deport only 1,864 to Bangladesh — that is, it took six years to deport 1,864 Bangladeshis, at Rs 1,80,000 per head! At that rate, it will take 64,278 years and cost Rs 36 lakh crore to deport the two crore Bangladeshis!

See now how the NPR ‘solves’ this issue in just 45 days, from April 1 to May 15, 2010, at a cost of just Rs 3,590 crore! The details collected from all residents in India will include their ‘nationality’ ‘as declared’ by them (as per Query No 11 of the NPR enumeration form). Will a Bangladeshi illegally residing in India declare himself/herself as of American or British citizen? Obviously not.

The result, the NPR will list the two crore infiltrators as nationals of India based on their own declaration. And more. After the NPR is built, the infiltrators will get identity cards with Unique Identification Number (UID) from the Unique Identification Authority of India, like you and me.

See what other countries do to those who cross their borders illegally. North Korea sends them to 12 years’ hard labour; Iran detains them indefinitely; in Afghanistan, they are shot; in Saudi Arabia, they are jailed; in China they may never be seen again; Canada jails them for three years and France, for five years; Venezuela brands them as spies and seals their fate; Mexico and Cuba too jail them. Compare that with what India does to the two crore Bangladeshis who have stealthily crossed into India. It gives them ration cards, subsidised food, passports, driving licences, credit cards, voter identity cards, Haj subsidies, reserved jobs as part of quota for Muslims, and now citizenship and in addition, the Unique Identity Card. After this, statistically, there will be no Bangladeshis in India. This will open the floodgates for millions of Bangladeshis to enter India. But no worry, the NPR in 2021 will list them too as citizens by claim.

Sujata has rightly used the sub-title ‘Indifference, Impotence and Intolerance’ in her work referring to India’s approach to the issue. The word to note is ‘impotence’. This aptly captures the UPA government’s acquiescence through the NPR to turn the Bangladeshi infiltrators into Indians. What a grave risk to the future of India and its security? Is anyone listening?.

(N)PR, a fraud, anti-national venture

(N)PR, a fraud, anti-national venture

‘The population enumeration in the Census 2011 has nothing to do with the citizenship issues under the citizenship law at this stage, because the census does not involve any preparation of ‘National Population Register’ (NPR) now, but only the collection of information for the preparation of NPR later.’ This is what the Union home minister means in his statement on the Census 2011 in Parliament (May 7). The acute legalism in the minister’s statement conceals the truth and presents a fake view of the population census for the NPR, thus totally whitewashing this ongoing fraud on the nation.

Start with what is undeniably a lie, even forgery. The title ‘National Population Register’ is itself faked. Neither the Indian Citizenship Act 1955 nor the Citizenship Rules 2003 speak of any ‘National’ Population Register. The Citizenship rules talk about just ‘Population Register’. The omission of the prefix ‘National’ here is no accident. It is intentional. This is self-evident from the citizenship rules, which, in the same breath, talk of ‘National Register of Indian Citizens’ (NRIC). The use of the prefix ‘National’ there is intentional in contrast. The reason why the Population Register is not similarly prefixed with ‘National’ as in the NRIC is obvious. The lawmakers knew that the Population Register is not a record of the Indian ‘National’ Population. That is why the Citizenship law titles it as ‘Population Register’, that is, it is ‘PR’, not ‘(N)PR’. But how then did the prefix ‘National’ get forged into the PR to make it (N)PR in the minister’s statement? Will he explain?

Saying that ‘the population census is the total process of collecting demographic, economic and social data’ the minister adds, ‘the particulars in respect of the individuals are kept confidential’. He further says that ‘the particulars collected’ ‘shall be verified’ afterwards under the citizenship law, and cases of ‘doubtful citizenship’ will be dealt with appropriately. Thus, the minister implies — yet not says explicitly — that the ongoing population census is not under the citizenship law, but exclusively under the census law. But, as the analysis here unfolds, the minister’s explanation that what the Census 2011 does is just to collect data for the Population Register and that the verification of the information would take place under the citizenship law later, is patently untrue, why, even a lie. A seer is needed to discover this? No.

The website of the minister’s own home department on Census 2011 uncovers it. The census manual in the website says: “the field-work of the House-listing and Housing Census and the National Population Register are being conducted simultaneously by the same enumerator”. And the answer to one of the FAQs in the website says: “The Census is a statutory exercise conducted under the provisions of the Census Act 1948 and Rules made there under. The NPR is being created under the provisions of the Citizenship Act and Rules.” So, admittedly, Census 2011 creates the PR under the citizenship law. And it involves enumeration under both laws — for housing under the census law and for population under the citizenship law. Does the minister’s statement that the census is purely a data collection under the census law just now survive the truth in his own website?

Now test the Union home minister’s statement on the rules under the citizenship law. The data for Population Register (PR) and National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) are collected under the citizenship law and rules, not the census law. The citizenship rules provide for population census thus: the government shall conduct house-to-house enumeration to collect details ‘including the citizenship status’; and the Registrar General of Citizen Registration (RGCR) under the citizenship law shall notify the period and duration of the enumeration. The particulars to be collected for the PR are also mentioned in the citizenship rules. So, the enumeration for PR is prescribed under the citizenship law, not census law. Therefore, the minister’s claim that the enumeration is under the census law and the later verification will be under the citizenship law is patently untrue.

The implication in his statement that the name of the registrar general, who is the authority under the census as well as citizenship laws, may have led to misunderstanding in the sense that he is involved from the side of the citizenship law, is deceptive. This subterfuge conceals the fact that the population details now being gathered are actually under and as prescribed in — but without complying with — the citizenship rules. But for this subterfuge, the minister will have to concede that the query in the ongoing enumeration, the Query No 11, to the effect ‘citizenship as declared’ is not only contrary to the citizenship law, but is actually a fraud on the law. Read on, with some patience as it is all about law.
It is the citizenship rules, not the census law, that provide for both the collection and verification of the population data. It is not that, as the minister pretends, information is collected under the census law now and verification takes place, later, under the citizenship law. Just take one mandate in citizenship rules. The citizenship rules direct that ‘during the verification process, particulars of such individuals whose citizenship is doubtful shall be entered with appropriate remark in the Population Register.’ Unless the enumerators are first asked to notice cases of doubtful citizenship, how will such cases come up for verification at all? But, instead of asking them to notice and record the cases of doubtful citizenship during enumeration, see how the census manual directs the enumerators to fill the space against Query No 11 ‘Nationality for each of the enumerated person has to be asked from the respondent and recorded. …… Please record the nationality of the respondent as declared by her/him for each of the persons enumerated. Do not get into any argument with the respondent regarding this.’(See Para 5.21.1 of general instructions). That is, when the citizenship rules ask for doubtful cases of citizenship to be identified, the census manual to collect details under the very citizenship rules virtually says ‘don’t doubt the respondents on their claim of nationality; just record what they say.’ How then will suspect cases of citizenship be discovered? Clearly, the ongoing enumeration is not intended to discover suspect citizenship, but to suppress them, and make them appear genuine. Can the minister deny that Query No 11, read with the census manual, exposes his lie?
Shockingly, anyone who had entered into India six months before the census, or any one who intends to stay for six months after, becomes a ‘usual resident’ under the ongoing census rules. Such persons, thanks to the census, can declare themselves as Indian citizens in response to Query No 11. And more shockingly, the government proposes to issue ‘National Identity Cards’ to all such people even though under the law, ‘National Identity Cards’ are allowed only for Indian citizens.

Imagine, like Kasab who did the mayhem in Mumbai on 26/11, a Pakistani enters India today and promises to be here for six more months, he is eligible to declare himself as an Indian citizen in response to Query No 11, also get a National Identity Card. He will be an Indian terrorist, not a Pakistani jihadi. According to intelligence sources, some 40,000 Pakistanis have entered India and after throwing their passports away, they have melted into Muslim-dominated areas. Under the Census 2011 they are ‘usual residents’, can declare themselves as Indian citizens and will now get National Identity Cards. After all the enumerators are directed to not to argue with them when they declare their nationality as Indian, and to just write as they claim.

QED: The ongoing population census is undoubtedly an anti-national venture. It is placing millions of timeless bombs all over India. Is the home minister, who seems lost in legalisms, aware?

Conversions: Faith in the closet – by Dr. Shreerang Godbole

Conversions: Faith in the closet;       
Shreerang Godbole
22 Sep 2008


Post-Kandhamal, post-Mangalore, the issue of conversions has taken centre-stage.  “Christians are a persecuted, hapless minority”; “How can a minority that accounts for less than 2.5% of the population pose a threat to the 84% Hindus of the country?” is the general refrain. “If Christian missionaries had been indulging in large-scale conversions, how has the Christian percentage remained virtually static in the last two censuses” is the seemingly compelling argument. 

The Christian percentage that stood at 2.32 in the 1991 census was virtually static at 2.35 in Census 2001. In fact, a state like Andhra Pradesh presents a strange phenomenon in religious demography. Since 1971, there has been a steady decline in the share of Christian population in the state. The Christian population in Andhra had increased steadily for more than a century from the time of “mass movements” in 1860s till 1970. The Christian population increased by 2.5 percentage points from 1.7% in 1911 to 4.2% in 1971.

However, there has been a steady decline in the share of Christians since then, as recorded in every decadal census. As per Census 2001, the share of Christians came down to 1.6%. In fact, the Christian population even declined in absolute numbers, from about 180,000 in 1971 to about 120,000 in 2001. The decline in the share of Christians during 1971-2001 is seen in all regions of Andhra Pradesh, though it is most marked in the middle and southern coastal districts – the largest decline being observed in Guntur district (14.6% in 1971 to 3.0% in 2001).  


Yet Hindu organizations routinely allege that Andhra Pradesh has emerged as a hotbed of Christian activities. The annual report of the Ministry of Home Affairs, March 2007, lends credence to Hindu apprehensions. According to the report, for the year 2005-2006, three metropolitan cities namely Chennai (Rs. 7530.83 million), Bangalore (Rs. 4640.97 million) and Mumbai (Rs. 4400.47 million) reported the highest district-wise receipt of foreign contribution in the country.


Next in line are two districts in Andhra Pradesh – Ananthapur (Rs. 2880.11 million) and Hyderabad-Secunderabad (Rs. 2360.84 million). In the last four decades, Andhra Pradesh has consistently been one of the top three states to receive such mind-boggling foreign aid. A couple of years ago, Christian organizations had become bold enough to swarm the seven hills of Lord Venkateshwara to hawk their creed, but had to beat a retreat when Hindu society launched a staunch protest. Outside of the north-east, Andhra Pradesh is the only state in India to have a Christian Chief Minister. How does one explain the curious paradox of an apparent spurt in conversion activities and a static, sometimes even declining Christian share in the population? 


The answer becomes obvious when one takes the trouble of studying Christian strategy and statistics – statistics provided by authoritative mission documents. Every year Christian churches spend billions of dollars to maintain a head-count of their flock. This aids the massive evangelistic enterprise of global Christianity. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity, at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts, brings out the World Christian Encyclopedia (Oxford University Press, 1982; 2d ed., 2001) and World Christian Trends (William Carey Library, 2001).

In addition, an annual update of many of the statistics in this report is produced every January in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research. The 2001 report states that of the estimated 1.88 billion professing Christians worldwide, an estimated 124 million or 6.2% are crypto-Christians or those who conceal their faith. We need not swallow everything churned out by this seminary. As the report itself notes, “Christian triumphalism – not as pride in huge numbers, but as publicized self-congratulation – is rampant in most churches, agencies, and ministries… some 250 of the 300 largest international Christian organizations regularly mislead the Christian public by publishing demonstrably incorrect or falsified progress statistics.” Nevertheless, there is no doubt that a significant number of Christians worldwide keep their faith in the closet.


Concealing one’s faith – and double-crossing one’s pre-Christian faith – has a hoary Biblical tradition. In the Gospel of John, we come across a character called Nicodemus who was a ‘closet disciple’ of Jesus Christ. Nicodemus was a Pharisee (a group of Jews whom the New Testament typically depicts as being self-righteous and arrogant because of their disbelief) and a member of the Sanhedrin or the Supreme Court of the ancient Jews which tried and found Jesus guilty. Without renouncing his Judaism explicitly, Nicodemus had met Jesus at night and subsequently took care of his corpse.    

In later centuries, Christians have taken recourse to subterfuge to practice their faith. When Francis Xavier brought Roman Catholicism to Japan in 1549, most of the inhabitants of Ikitsuki Island left Buddhism and became Christians. Recognizing the threat that Christianity posed to Japan and her traditions, Hideyoshi and the other shogun all but stamped out Christianity. Adopting a complex sham, the Christians of Ikitsuki worshipped publicly at Buddhist temples, and then slipped away at night to hold secret Christian prayer meetings. At home, they prayed overtly before Buddhist and Shinto altars, but their real altar became the nan do garni (closet god), innocuous-looking bundles of cloth in which Christian statues and medallions were hidden.

For two and a half centuries, the Christian faith was transmitted secretly to illiterate peasants.  These Janus-faced people came to be known as Kakure Kirishitan (crypto-Christians). In 1865, when Japan permitted a Catholic church to open in Nagasaki to serve Western visitors, the Kakure, then numbering around 30,000 in the region, suddenly came out of hiding. To this day, at public ceremonies such as Kakure funerals, a Buddhist priest is always asked to officiate, but the Kakure make sure to make a secret prayer to erase the effect of the Buddhist priest!

Crypto-Christians are numerous in places where Christianity gets a taste of the maltreatment it usually metes out to others. Thus, Chinese law requires all churches to be registered with government-run Christian associations. Members of so-called underground churches are imprisoned, ‘re-educated,’ and sometimes executed. China’s official census enumerates 10 million Protestants and 4 million Roman Catholics. But reliable estimates place the actual number of Protestants in China at 39 million and that of Roman Catholics at 14 million.

In Saudi Arabia, foreign Christians generally only worship in secret within private homes. They are careful to keep Bibles, crucifixes and religious statues away from public gaze.  While the Church-inspired United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, a creature of the US State Department, makes routine noises against the Saudis, it is not known to have recommended denial of US visas to visiting Saudi dignitaries!


The existence, indeed proliferation, of crypto-Christians in India is a fact acknowledged by the Church. The World Christian Trends (2001) has placed the number of persons affiliated to the Church in India at 62243546 or 6.1%. In short, the number of Christians in India is nearly thrice the official census figure! The document places the share of crypto-Christians in the total Christian population at a staggering 62%! 

In 2002, the American mission agency Global Mapping International asked Patrick Johnstone, author of Operation World, a prayer handbook which documents demographics and mission activity in many countries, to list the seven most encouraging trends of the 1990’s. “The astonishing and mostly undocumented growth of the church in India – the official numbers (2.34% Christians in 1991) are far lower than the truth, deliberately hiding the true extent of Christianity in the nation. The true figures are certainly far more than double, and look like only the beginning. The ‘untouchable’ Dalits have started leaving Hinduism, which could lead to an immense growth of Indian churches” was Johnstone’s gleeful reply. 

So why do so many Christians in India conceal their faith, given that the rulers are Christian-friendly? The present Constitutional provision that limits the benefits available to Scheduled Castes only to Hindus (including Sikhs and Buddhists) is a major hurdle. This has created a peculiar breed of Christians with dual identity. They attend the Church but are identified by their Hindu names and castes in the Government records.

No wonder Christian leaders are vigorously demanding continuation of benefits to Scheduled Castes even after conversion. Not so long ago, Church leaders heaped abuse on the institution of caste, calling it a strictly Hindu phenomenon and claimed that conversion to Christianity would ensure social equality. That argument is passé. “Scheduled Caste converts face the same social disabilities as their Hindu counterparts” is the new mantra. Another reason to hide conversions is the fear that awareness of the grim reality would jolt Hindus into action.  If events in Kandhamal and Mangalore are any indication, the grandiose ambitions of the Church to ‘claim India for Christ’ already seem doomed.


Dr. Shreerang Godbole is a Pune-based endocrinologist, social activist and author. He has contributed in making