The Conversion game – Replayed back. (A true story)

via Dr.VSH published on August 11, 2011

This is a true story (or I should rather say experience) of my life, that happened in the past. The time this happened, I was somehow not ready to put this on print.. but now I;m doing this as I had to put some distance from the time this happened in my life . The characters
involved here are real people whose identity/identities I will not disclose out of respect for their privacy.

The Incident:

About two years back, I had come to know a poor man (Mr. H), a Christian. One particular day, he came over to my place looking very perturbed. I asked him why he looked very tense. After a bit of cajoling from my wife, he broke down and started bawling like a baby. He was indeed in dire straits. One of his friends had betrayed him financially and almost ruined him and consequently, he run up enormous debts and now the heartless debtors were hounding him. He was completely lost and told us that there was no option for him other than commit suicide, so that his family could benefit from bereavement payments from his place of work where he held a menial daytime job.

Since we knew this man for quite a while and also going by his very clean and honest reputation that he had built in the neighborhood, we were sure that he was telling us the truth and not some false sob story to milk money from us. I immediately decided to help him to the extent that it was possible by me and my first line of action was to neutralise his immediate debts and give him some breathing space. I explained him my plans for his rescue and told him to come home in a couple of days to collect the money which I told him was his to return whenever he deemed fit or maybe not even return it. I also assured him that there were absolutely no strings attached.

But I also had another plan in mind…

On the said day he came to collect the money which I had laid in an envelope on my dining table. But as he was about to pick it up, I held his wrists. He looked at me with surprise. “Not so fast H …..not so fast..,, there is a big condition attached to this rescue packet……”. Mr. H became perplexed as I promised him earlier that there were no conditions attached.

I told him that he had renounce his Christianity to become a Hindu if he wanted the money. I also added that it was nothing wrong on his part to do this as he would only go back to the religion of his ancestor. Mr. H was stunned… “Enna sir ittana periya vaartaigal sollarenga..” (Sir, U are speaking such big words, he said in Tamil).. he was visibly shaking and tears were streaming down his cheeks.

I replied that I was dead serious and told him that he could take 10% the money immediately, but the remaining 90%, he would get in another two days time which would also be time for him to make up his mind to convert to Hinduism.. Else, he would not get the remaining 90%. Mr. H, looking still dazed, shook his head slowly from side to side and left my home.

In two days time he returned and straight away held my hands..”Sir I’m really confused. U have put me in an extremely difficult situation. The stakes are too high for me. I risk alienating my entire family and community if I accept this condition. This will also create untold disruption in my community.. But the debtors are also humiliating me and some of them are making indecent proposals and I don’t know what to do. I can’t bear to hear their harsh words and so I ‘m eady to accept your condition..,”he sobbed.

The next moment I held his hand firmly.. “I want U to remain a Christian and of course I am still going to help U. I just played a game with U H. I was trying to see whether I could bend U by using your financial vulnerability. But, I am not a callous opportunist. But think of this Mr.H. How many Christian missionaries are using the vulnerabilities of many poor Hindus and
also innocent forest tribals to convert them to Christianity and how many poor Hindus may be converting against the wishes of their hearts and just think about the enormous disruption and alienation that would be caused within their families as well as their extended communities because of these conversions. Do these missionaries ever think of these. Even your Jesus Christ would not condone this. Ps think over this and spread this message in your community about fraudulent and coercive conversions.”

Mr. H held my hands and looked at me with tears still streaming down his eyes..”For the first time my eyes have been opened to this aspect of conversions. I have never seen this from this angle. I now clearly see as to how people convert out of sheer desperation… I myself was about to do that…More than your helping me, this is the message that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”

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