In the light of the death of a 17 year old Tamil Hindu girl due to pressure to convert, the nature of Christian schools is being widely discussed. As the ruling DMK government in Tamil Nadu is trying to divert the case as only physical harassment and rule out the conversion angle, efforts are being made to paint Christian schools as noble institutions that impart only secular education. But the meaning of “secular” itself is different in the view of the church. What the church does in the name of secularism is its attempts to spread Christianity outside its precincts. The following incidents of Hindu hatred and conversion attempts are a testimony of that.
Government Aided Christian Schools
- A girl student of the Baren Bruck Higher Secondary school in Tenkasi was humiliated by her teachers for wearing Vibhuti (sacred ash) and Kumkum. Kalaivani, the 12th standard student has the habit of wearing the sacred symbols to school everyday. One day the PT teacher and two other teachers reprimanded her for wearing them and asked her to wipe them away. When she refused to do so they called up another girl, humiliated her infront of her and asked the other girl to wipe the symbols.
- The boys go to Anderson Higher Secondary School, a government aided school, in Kanchipuram. Teacher Joyson allegedly berated the boys for wearing sacred ash and Rudraksh saying that only rowdies and misfits wear them. He also allegedly said that those who wear the sacred Shaivite symbols are immoral. He not only barred the boys from entering the classroom but beat them for wearing the symbols and asked their classmates to rap on their heads to humiliate them. As the Christian teacher abused them in obscene language and humiliated them in front of their classmates, the boys are refusing to go back to school, parents have alleged.
- In December 2021, Nirmala English High School, a government-aided school located in Karnataka’s Mandya district was accused of compelling minor Hindu students to participate in celebrating Christian festivities such as Christmas and Good Friday. Further, it was compulsory for all students irrespective of their religion to participate in Daily Christian prayer although attending the National Anthem was optional. It has also been accused of distributing Bibles, Christmas greetings, and other Christian literature to students of different religions.
- In 2017, two 12th standard students were expelled by St.Joseph Higher Secondary School in Ramanathapuram for applying Vibhuti(sacred ash). The students had obtained Ayyappa deeksha and were fasting for the pilgrimage to Sabarimala. This is also a government aided school.
Private Christian Schools
- Students were punished by Servite Matriculation School in Trichy for bursting crackers on Diwali. They were asked to apologise to nature for bursting crackers. Girl students were punished for wearing mehndi.
- St. Vincent Pallotti School expelled a LKG student for sporting a shika as per tradition. The boy’s family offers the shikha of male children to their family deity Malleshwara at a temple in Bagepalli in Chikballapur. When his father tried to explain the religious significance of his son’s ponytail, as it is a family custom for them to not cut the shikha till the boy reaches the age of five after which the lock of hair is offered to their family deity, the Principal refused to understand and told the father not to hold such ‘superstitious beliefs’.
- St. Mary’s School in Telangana punished student of class 10 named Kishore for wearing traditional Black Shirt & Dhoti as he is observing 41 days Ayyappa Deeksha
- St. Adams High School, Chikadpally, Hyderabad had also punished a 10 year old kid by not allowing him to write an exam because he was wearing Ayyappa mala.
Christian Government School Teachers
- Parents protested at a Panchayat Block primary school in Erode, Tamil Nadu against a teacher pressurizing children to sing Christian songs. Jocelyn Grace, a 4th standard teacher in the primary school, tried to impose her beliefs on the children by distributing books relating to Christianity and compelling them to pray along with her.
- Government school teachers were found to be proselytizing the students and parents who came for admission in Erode, Tamil Nadu. Materials related to Christianity like books, CDs, and caricatures were found on the desks of both teachers when officers from the educational department raided the school premises.
- Government school teacher Nithya had proselytised to 6, 7 and 8th standard students. She abused Hindu deities, said that they are just stones, and those who worship them will die. She also had shown pictures and videos about Jesus Christ in an attempt to turn them toward Christianity.
- A government school teacher in Ramchandrapuram village, Andhra Pradesh made children recite Bible instead of subjects, and justified his actions by saying that “only Bible will make them dear to Jesus not subjects”.
Naysayers might argue that these are only a few incidents here and there. But they will do well to remember that Lavanya died because she could neither tell the world about her being targeted nor shift to another school. They will also do well to remember the discovery of the hundreds of graves of indigenous children in Canada recently.