Let’s get some things straight right away, shall we? Christian missionaries have become a menace in India. First, they enticed Southern states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Today, they are mounting a war-effort in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In Andhra Pradesh, these missionaries – which fool people with their false, paid-for and cringeworthy healing miracles have the blessings of chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy. But it is Punjab that stares at a similar if not a bigger crisis, thanks to its Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi.
A non-elected chief minister in the form of Charanjit Singh Channi, in his short time in office, has wreaked havoc in Punjab. He has unleashed Christian missionaries in the state, and the people of Punjab need to be worried. Conversions are taking place at a break-neck pace in Punjab. The missionaries are capitalising on the suffering of people who are financially stressed, or struggling with disease. They are fraudulently promised to be healed, in dramatic and ridiculous demonstrations that fool the people. Also, many convert so that they can get easy entry into countries like the United States or Canada by demanding political asylum. This is an onslaught on the spiritual ethos of Punjab.
India stands at a crossroads. The threat to demography is real. In such a time, would it make sense for an unelected chief minister to go all-out in his efforts to woo one community? You know the answer to this question. Even Channi does. But politics reigns supreme for opportunists and para-droppers like Charanjit. He has big shoes to fill.
Captain Amarinder Singh was unceremoniously removed by the Congress as chief minister, and the party is betting on winning the upcoming assembly election with Channi as its face. Channi needs to prove his mettle. He needs to win the election decisively. Otherwise, he will be booted out mercilessly by the Congress.
Channi’s Christian Outreach
Did you know that chief minister Channi is rumoured to be a Christian convert? Of course, the Congress is trying to suppress such information – because if he is revealed to be one, winning the upcoming elections will become an impossibility for the man, and rightfully so. But his loyalties seem to become clearer with every passing day.
On Tuesday, Charanjit Singh Channi said the Christian community of Punjab would be given due representation in the state government boards and announced setting up of a chair at university level for the study of the Bible. The study of the Bible! Channi also said the issue of graveyards would be resolved in the districts where Christians have a sizeable presence. A community hall each will be constructed in all districts to enable the community to hold functions there.
But here’s how Channi was snubbed by the people of Punjab. Slowly but surely, Punjabis are waking up to the threat posed by Christian missionaries. The SGPC, Akal Takht and Hindu organisations are all upping the ante on proselytising scamsters. At the event where Channi made these announcements – the venue was practically empty. Channi reached the venue in Gurdaspur district around 12 pm on Tuesday. Guess what happened? The hall where he was supposed to deliver a speech had no audience.
Channi was then forced to save himself the embarrassment, which is why he went on a surprise tour of nearby hospitals. When he returned, the venue was still empty – and organisers could pull in merely a handful of people to listen to the chief minister woo the Christian community. This happened in Gurdaspur district. What do you think is the population of Christians in this district? Here’s a conservative figure: 20 per cent.
Channi a Threat to Punjab
At the India Today Conclave, I happened to watch the session where Channi made a Bhangra-entry and sat down with journalist Rahul Kanwal for a conversation. I was appalled to hear the chief minister completely whitewash the criminal and exploitative nature of Christian missionaries. He went on to say how every religious group has a right to propagate their teachings and how his government will not bring in legislation to curb the menace of conversions in Punjab.
It turned my stomach. Here was a man rumoured to be hiding his religion, not showing the spine to call a spade a spade. Christian missionaries were depicted as innocents by him. But one must thank Channi for speaking his mind. How else would we know about the man’s inclinations? Now, we know for a fact that Channi must not be allowed to become chief minister again.
Channi was careful in his initial days as chief minister. He avoided Christian functions, projected himself as the ideal Sikh devout and even cancelled an appearance alongside fraudster and rape-accused Christian proselytiser Baljinder Singh. But such moves of Channi have been overshadowed by his latest outreach to Christians.
Haryana Leads by Example
While Charanjit Singh Channi gives a free pass to Christian missionaries in Punjab, Haryana has got its game sorted. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday announced that from the next academic session, students will be taught to recite ‘shlokas’ of the Bhagavad Gita in schools across the state. Khattar also said books related to Gita will become a part of the curriculum for classes 5 and 7.
Haryana – just next door to Punjab, is promoting Indian culture and values. Punjab needs to do the same. Channi will not, so the people of Punjab must. When one faces a demographic war, worrying about appearances and secularism can be self-destructive.