‘Baptized’ south Gujarat tribals re-embrace Hinduism

via Express India published on December 19, 2007

Surat, December 18 Around 2,000 tribal men and women from different villages in South Gujarat, who had converted to Christianity, re-embraced Hinduism on Monday evening at a religious ceremony ( sammelan) at the Shivaji ground in Tapi district.

They took an oath by the fire in the presence of Jagat Guru Acharya Narendra Maharaj and submitted affidavits that they won’t convert to Christianity ever again in the future.

The people had started gathering at the venue since Sunday night listening to the Jagat Guru’s teaching before re-converting to Hinduism at the ceremony a day later.

Narayan Solanki, a disciple of Narendra Maharaj in Tapi district said, “There are many disciples of the Maharaj working in different villages of Vyara, Dharampur, Songadh, Mandvi, Ahwa-Dang, Vasda and so on. They visit these places and interact with the tribals who have been baptised earlier by various missionaries and convince them to return back to Hinduism.”

According to Solanki, the Maharaj also runs an ashram at Naneej village in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. It was after a visit to one such ashram that they became motivated to become his disciples. “We visit different villages and persuade those, who have been baptised, to come back into the Hindu fold,” said Solanki.

Giving details about the sammelan (ceremony), another disciple, Mahipal Thakur, said, “We have been working for the sammelan for the past few months and contacted tribals in various villages, who had become fed up with Christianity. These tribals gathered on Sunday night at Tapi district. They were provided with food and accommodation, and later they met the Maharaj during the night. On Monday, they assembled at the Shivaji ground where the Maharaj gave a religious sermon. Many of the tribal men also cut off their hair and took oaths, while all of them gave thumb impressions on the affidavits saying they have willingly returned to the folds of the Hindu religion.”

Deputy Collector of Tapi district N S Halbe said, “The organisers had taken prior permission to hold the sammelan. The district officials visited the venue and have submitted their report about it to me.”

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