//Saffronizing Dang

Saffronizing Dang

Jayaram was seven years old, when malaria struck him. Living in a remote adivasi village in Dang, which hardly even had drinking water to boast about, there was no help available at hand. With his father, away at a sugar factory in Maharashtra, his mother had no clue what to do. So there lay Jayaram, with not a sign of recovery for entire one week. Forget medicines, there wasn’t even morsel to eat. Jayaram’s mother was already thinking how will she inform her husband about Jayaram’s death. But before the death came, a christian priest walked in.

He had fruits, medicines and a Bible. The medicines and fruits cured Jayaram. And the priest got a special place in their hut. This priest stayed on for five years and started a small health care centre and a missionary school in this village. But as they say, nothing comes free of cost… This priest did not return before converting 150 villagers into Christians.

The end result: Jayaram started celebrating Christmas leaving behind Diwali, started reading Bible and discarded Ramayan…

Today, Jayaram at 37 is in different dilemma. Bajrang Dal activists have knocked at his door thrice and have ‘advised’ him to become Hindu. The RSS woke up late from its slumber and since a year have occupied the Dang area to prepare for the Kumbh Mela coming up on Feb 11th and 12th. More than 5 lakh hindus will descend upon this place.

And after being ‘advised’ to come back to Hinduism, Jayaram is not only scared for his and his family members’ lives, but incase something untoward happens, he has kept a hut ready in the jungles behind to hide with his family.

First the missionaries and now The Dal, The Parishad and The Sangh are after him…

Visiting the Dangs for the first time, couldn’t have been more shocking. The RSS and the VHP have organised a kumbh mela there, with the state government’s support. Many have termed this mela as ‘reconversion fair’. The adivasis are being lured to this mela, with promises of free food and a meeting with their own lord.

A huge temple has been resurrected at the site of Kumbh mela… check dams have been built where people will take a dip during the kumbh…. The roads have been constructed right upto the temple. The adivasis who couldn’t even ride a cycle on that road, rush out of their huts when a car zooms by…. Some call this development, I call it Bribe. Bribe to buy mankind’s gullible emotions and playing with their faith… And if I may add, the RSS and the VHP may even actually succeed at it… afterall, who isnt thankful when you gift them with bearable roads, water supply in summers and temple as a tourist spot…

But my question is why in the name of Religion?? Nor am I a fanatic Hindu nor an atheist as one of the RSS Pracharaks called me… but still..

Why cant we have development without involving in religion???

Why cant we been human without a motive behind it??

Why cant religious outfits just stick to their business without FORCING people to adopt a religion??

Today, around 20% of Dang’s population is Christian… Not that it makes any difference to me… But how could RSS and BJP digest this? So there they are right now in Dang. Trying to claim whatever is left behind. They say, they have organised this kumbh because ‘poor adivasis may never be able to attend a kumbh and thus never attain heaven’.

Kumbh Mela in Dang?? Don’t we have enough already? But why not, especially when it means adding more Hindus to our clan?? Mr. Sudarshan must be dancing to this thought. Mr Modi must be mentally counting votes in his head and Mr Togadia will bask in the glory over his victory over the Christian Missionaries… Maybe its time to think, what lies beneath!!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006, Mosiqi Acharya