Environmental and Cultural Impacts of Conversion

via A Hindu published on April 11, 2008

Comment By a Reader to

VHP ‘converts’ 19 Christian tribals to Hinduism

Kerala state water policy (Draft water policy is available at GOK web
site for public scrutiny) consider micro water sheds as a basic unit of
conservation and emphasize the importance of conservation of water
sheds. Water sheds are the dividing line between different river
basins. At the micro level they are the dividing line between the
catchments of local streams flowing to the same river. In other words
water sheds are origins of rivers and streams.

Our ancestors attributed divinity to this watersheds and considered
them as the abode of Goddess (Grama Devatha). They were considered as
the geographical boundaries of the villages from time immemorial.These
water sheds and the surrounding hillocks with a variety of flora and
fauna acted as life line of our paddy fields and supported the agrarian
economy of our villages in midland and High ranges. Most of this water
sheds were under different Dewaswams and they remained ecologically
safe till the second half of last century yielding rich dividends with
potential for sustainable development.

But the missionaries changed everything.The massive inflow of settlers
to High ranges derailed the ecological balance of water sheds and
western Ghat as a whole.Christain missionaries acquired large tracts of
hillocks along water shed area and lured the poor Hindus by offering
them half acre land and a small house.In our place there was only one
christain family about 40 years back. An Italian missionary with his
money power managed to convert most of the Harijan population to his
fold.The only one who resisted to convert was a person who was
performing the ritual of bringing “ Kathir” to the “ Kathir Vekkum
Thara”. With his death , the temple authorities were forced to stop the
ritual of “ Kathir Vekkal” connected with NIRA festival.

Now there are about a dozen massive churches,Convents and seminaries in
this small area. All of them are situated in water sheds at the cost of
ecology and the micro climate prevailed in our locality.The
missionaries managed to purchase the local aided school by hook or
crook. Now this school is run by a group of nuns. Entire hillock , the
buffer zone of our ancestral village has been converted into a large
colony of converts.

Conversion create a lot of problems to the very foundation of our
nation! The messages from the North East is not at all good.The much
trumpeted “Kerala Model” is leading us to a Cultural Bankruptcy. There
fore, I appreciate VHP effort of reconverting our brethren back to

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