Punjab has come to be gripped by Christian missionaries. These mass-proselytisers are ravaging Punjab, especially the rural areas – where evangelical preachers donning saffron and most often even wearing turbans and appearing to be Sikhs, are targeting the state’s majority community and converting its backward classes at a breakneck pace. Sikhs are being lured into Christianity mostly by being fooled into thinking that they are embracing a mere offshoot of Sikhism. Cash-rich missionaries with dubious foreign funding are, meanwhile, handsomely paying all those who convert to the “true path” and “welcome Christ” in their lives.
Jesus Christ is referred to as ‘Satguru’ in Punjab. God, meanwhile, is called ‘Satnam Waheguru’ by missionaries. This makes many susceptible and mostly backward Sikhs believe that they are merely rejuvenating their own Sikh faith – all while being bribed into the Christian fold. According to a report by Organiser, a senior journalist’s brother – who was a Jatt Sikh and had been hunting for a job, converted to Christianity last December following which he has been receiving Rs 80,000 per month.
That gives us an idea of just how much money is being pumped by Christian missionaries into Punjab. The report also claimed how the local converts are facilitating the astutely-oiled machine to spread its wings aggressively is very well in the knowledge of the state government, but under no given law the process of proselytising can be checked or disrupted. In many pockets, churches are named as “prayer houses”, where not only the locals are brainwashed but are offered allurements like visas to foreign countries. The poor are even given food grain bags free of cost – a hallmark of Christian missionaries.
In the census of 2011, Punjab had a total of 3,48,230 Christians. Since the last census, the number of Christians in Punjab was projected to double, which most certainly seems to have happened – although a definitive statement can only be made after the latest Census is conducted and its findings made public. According to some estimates, it would not be surprising if the Census finds Christians in Punjab to come to have formed 10 per cent of the state’s population. Between the census of 1991 and 2001, the population of the Sikhs saw a precipitous decline in Gurdaspur, Ferozepur, and Jalandhar districts.
The need of the hour is to immediately counter the narrative being spread by Christian missionaries in Punjab. At the national level, bringing in a stringent mass anti-conversion law is the need of the hour. Within the state of Punjab, Sikh and Hindu organisations must take up the battle of protecting their culture and faith from prying Christian missionaries. Bodies like the SGPC and other traditional Sikh organisations must give up wasting their time, money and energy on flimsy issues and come under one umbrella to counter the mass proselytization campaign of Christian missionaries in the state. The anti-conversion law, meanwhile, is a necessity since these Christian missionaries will soon spread their wings dangerously to all states in the country. We must not wait for them to do so and cull their growth immediately in Punjab itself.