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Hindu outfit to counter Christian missionaries

Hindu outfit to counter Christian missionaries

Author: Sharat Pradhan, in Lukhnow
Publication: Rediff On The Net
Date: June 11, 2000

A Hindu outfit has come up with a programme to counter Christian missionaries.

Says Shashi Shyam Singh, secretary of the Hindi Heritage Pratishthan, "We have undertaken the task of imparting modern training to Hindu priests before sending them to western countries."

According to him, "Our sole agenda is to spread the message of Hinduism, as Christian missionaries are busy propagating their beliefs in India."

The first batch of 33 priests was recently sent to the United States, Singapore and Mauritius by Modipuram-based organisation. Though he denies direct association with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a senior VHP officer-bearer in Lukhnow confirmed, "We are definitely helping the organisation, which is providing yeoman service to match the growing influence of Christianity."

Funded by the B K Modi group of industries, the pratishthan runs a regular training school for pujaris.

The nine-month course imparts working knowledge of the Vedas and Upanishads, besides the Ramayana and Gita and successful understudies receive a diploma. The teachers lay special emphasis on anecdotes from religious scriptures to counter 'propaganda' by other religions, particularly Christianity.

Singh said over the telephone, "Our trained priests will spend 10 years in the countries. Besides functioning as temple priests, they will hold regular discourses on the Gita and Ramayana and perform religious rituals."

He said, "Knowledge of English will help them communicate easily with their target audience - non-resident Indians and foreigners keen to know more about Hindu spiritualism.''

He added, "The need for such a programme was expressed by several non-resident Indians who felt that their children were alienated from traditional Hindu culture and were increasingly dazzled by Western and Christian influences."

Singh claimed the programme had received a tremendous response from countries with many Indians. He said there was a request recently for 25 priests from the Sanatan Dharma Federation of Temples in Mauritius. He claimed that similar demands were coming in from Britain and the Caribbean islands.

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