Evangelism as part of foreign political strategy

By | April 27, 2016

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Evangelical Intrusions, Sandhya Jain, Rupa & Co., Pp 251 (HB), Rs 395.00

THIS book comes at an opportune moment when repeated reports of religio-political violence in the north-eastern states are pouring in, accompanied by the rise in armed rebellion from groups professing secessionist aspirations.
As is universally recognised, the separatist goals are linked to agenda of religious conversion which is likely to rupture the cultural and civilisational unity of the indigenous faith and culture. The author has chosen Tripura as the subject of her study as its primarily tribal people are resisting organised armed assaults upon its native faith and way of life. The author feels that the prime aim of the rebellion is to coerce the entire tribal populations to convert to a millenarian tradition through intimidation, violence, murders, pubic firing and denial of freedom to follow one?s faith and religion. Groups engaged in such nefarious activities are trained and armed with modern weaponry obtained from external forces.

Conversion from a non-monotheistic to a monotheistic faith involves rejection of national socio-cultural tradition and transferring allegiance to an alien faith. It is well known that foreign governments are playing an active role in funding evangelism and "promoting it through foreign policy and the intrusive activism of human rights groups". The author explains why she chose Tripura as the subject of her study – it is the large tribal population which has been resisting organised armed assault upon its native faith and way of life. The present era is witnessing the re-emergence of religion in the public domain after the initial rejection in the early decades of Independence.

The author finds that Tripura tribes are under siege from several Western evangelical denominations that have no qualms in resorting to force and intimidation to achieve their objective of conversion. She points out that Dharma is primarily a matter of family, clan, social, religious and cultural inheritance.

(Rupa & Co., 7/16 Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi – 110002; www.rupa.com)

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