Narikuravas, the nomadic community from a village in Tamil Nadu are facing immeasurable harassment from missionaries. Many of them have lost families to the soul vultures and fear losing more of their younger generation to the Abrahamic cult. Fake cases are foisted on them to suppress their voices against the threat to their freedom of speech and worship.
Mediyaan, an online portal has interviewed the residents of Narikurava colony in Devarayaneri, Trichy exposing missionary atrocities and the nomadic community’s plight. Hindus in the village point at one man, Jack @ Chidambaram, the first convert from their neighborhood, as the cause of all their problems. As per their accounts, Jack’s father had given him to an orphanage. he was adopted by a foreigner from there and given education. But he was brought up as a foot soldier of the missionaries and started targeting his own kith and kin.
Through Jack Christianity has broken many families with children not speaking to parents and in some cases even separation of husband and wife. Children who come to play in the ground, where a revered banyan tree and Amman temple are located, are targeted because they are without adult supervision and easy to lure with sweets and trinkets. The community has a unique tradition of remembering the names of their ancestors up to 30 generations till today. But converts spit upon such traditions paving the way to the destruction of their heritage.
Mediyaan met Chandran, one of the Hindus in the village who lamented that Christianity is tearing apart families. His son has some disease and has been under treatment for many years. During the Covid-19 induced lockdown period, as getting treatment for people with rare diseases was difficult, he couldn’t treat him at the hospital and he became comatose.
Taking advantage of this situation, Jack, the first convert brought some ladies to his house and said that their prayer will cure him. Chandran said, “I have prayed to my deities all these years. If your prayers wake him up I’ll give my house to the church. But will you return to Hindu dharma if your prayers don’t wake him?”. Their prayers didn’t work and they couldn’t answer his second question.
He cites an example of how families have been torn apart due to conversion. One of his distant nieces was married off to a close relative of Jack Chidambaram. After marriage, she was locked up in a room and forced to pray to Jesus and read the Bible. They forbade her from wearing bindi, and flowers, talking to others, and watching cinema. She felt like she was in jail and wants a divorce now. To the missionaries who come to their village to convert them, he says, “Do you want to take us back to the British era of colonialism? That seems to be your motive”.
When asked why he thinks conversion is slavey, he says, “Our women folk who have converted, whether they cook food for their husbands or not, they go to the church first thing in the morning. It used to be one day in the beginning, but now they go there every day. Because they take note of who comes and give rice, pulses, etc only to them. If this is not slavery then what is it?”
Rajesh who worships Meenakshi as his Kula Devi faces troubles every day at home from his converted wife. She wouldn’t join him in worshiping the Hindu deity and refuses to sport bindi which is the first and foremost identity of a married Hindu woman. Rajesh’s children also are drifting away from him as the wife takes them along when she goes to church. Rajesh finds it difficult to comprehend how the identity passed down from his grandfather to his father and from his father to him can disappear when it comes to his children.
Another person who is believed to have converted says, “Gods do not divide people. No religion teaches bad things. They are just worshiping a different god”. But he accepts that it is hurtful when neo-converts call Hindu deities as Satan and evil.
The pujari’s family alleges that converts are paid ranging from 3000 to 5000 every month. The pujari’s wife asks how one can respect something that came in the middle to throw away something they were born into. They say that the converts who abuse Hindu deities in the church due to the brainwashing, come to sell beads and rudraksha in Hindu temples. They ask them to sell rosaries in churches instead of depending on Hindu deities for their livelihood after abandoning them.
The pujari’s wife laments that even widows wear bindi, flowers and other auspicious things after a certain period and remarry, but the converts look like widows even when they have husbands. “We are identified by the turmeric, Kumkum and Vibhuti on our face, but these people have ruined our identity”, she says.
“Our little granddaughter folds her hand in worship whenever she sees the image/murti of a deity. She goes to wherever camphor is burnt. The moment she hears the ghanta she comes running to offer worship. That’s how we bring up our children. The way of our ancestors should never die. We will not let it die. We will not convert, we will not allow those who convert, and we will bring back those who have converted.”
Vijaya Kumar, another resident of Devarayaneri, was harassed by the missionaries through fake cases. His only child, a boy is deaf and mute. He underwent surgery to reverse his condition. Doctors advised that he shouldn’t be subjected to loud noises. Even as the boy was under treatment missionaries kept beating drums near his house and made loud noises. Vijaya Kumar pleaded with them to stop as his operated son should not be subjected to loud noise. But they didn’t listen and in the end, Vijaya Kumar had to snatch at their instruments.
Missionaries filmed this specific act and filed a false police complaint using the video saying Vijaya Kumar assaulted them. it is unclear which provisions were used to book him. He says, “It is like poking one’s eyes with their own finger. They are turning our own kin against us” and appeals to PM Narendra Modi to save the Narikurava community and their belief system. He further says that he had gone to the court against the construction of a church and got a favorable verdict. But missionaries didn’t respect the verdict and are trying to fool everyone by building a house in the middle of the public ground and using it as a church.
He laments that 10 converted families dictate what Hindus should do, disrupting them from celebrating festivals with pomp, asking them to dump the house deity(a trunk or clay pot in which auspicious things and a handful of sand from Kula Devata temple are kept and worshipped as the first thing before starting new ventures and important events like marriage), etc. He begs the PM to intervene and save their deities Meenakshi and Kaali as they might disappear one day if all of them are converted.
Global Giving, an international NGO, raised funds for New Life, a Trichy-based FCRA NGO, to “conduct coaching class for 3 years for 40 Nomadic Narikurava Gypsy children in Devarayaneri”. New Life is headed by one Beatrice Vanaja. She paints a very bad image of Narikuravas saying, “children are taken advantage of and turned into criminals by their own parents”.
New Life offers micro-financing, runs a creche, skill training institute, coaching classes and a school for child laborers and juvenile delinquents. Global Giving’s fundraiser page says, “By improving the educational opportunities for the children and by developing their skills they are allowed to make decisions and influence community to change in key areas” as the long-term impact. This is the kind of enemies the Narikuravas are up against.
The Narikurava community which lives in abject poverty most of the time is easy prey for the missionary vultures. Most of them have no ration card as they roam around selling beads. They face difficulty in getting community certificates to enroll their children in school with arrogant government officials being unhelpful. Schools like Jawahar Navodaya would help them leave their children in a safe place and also give them education. But the Dravidian parties have been opposing Navodya schools as Hindi is part of their curriculum. Thus they have no option but to take the children along wherever they go.
There are numerous incidents of Narikurava children picked up from public places for selling trinkets and placed in orphanages, predominantly run by missionaries, as the Right to Free and Compulsory Education act necessitates the children to be compulsorily placed in schools. It mandates the state government and the concerned authorities to ensure compulsory admission, attendance, and completion of elementary education to every child in the 6-14 age group.
While education is a fundamental necessity, who imparts it makes all the difference in the world. With childline workers and so-called social activists being predominantly from a single religion what they do with the children they get their hands on matters.
The orphanages they are placed in by the Child Welfare Committee authorities are not likable to children and the instances of running away are too frequent to be ignored. However, police trace them and dump them back in the orphanages. It need not be specifically pointed out to the readers of HinduPost as innumerable incidents of sexual assaults in missionary-run institutions have been reported in HinduPost in the past.