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Monday, June 09, 2014

CONVERSION, EVIL, CHURCH SYSTEM, INDIA

 

True story based Novel brings to light evils in Indian Church System

 

"A Hindi Novel 'Budhiya, Ek Satyakatha', by P. B. Lomeo, brings to light the evils within the four walls of Indian Church System. The story narrates how life of a Pandavani Actor Budhiya turned miserable after getting into the fold of Christianity."

 
R L Francis  
   

Does religious conversion really bring delight to the converted? Does life really changes after a religious conversion? A novel in Hindi under the title “Budhiya-Ek Satyakatha” (Budhiya-A true story) brings to light the plight of one who opted for Christianity and came under Indian Church System.

Authored by P.B Lomeo, a resident of Jhansi and noted Christian thinker, the novel exposes how, in the name of Christianity and the church system, the Christian priests ignore and kill the traditional knowledge of members who comes into their fold. Speaking in the title itself ‘Ek Satyakatha’ or ‘True Story’, the author claims that the novel is not a complete fiction but a factual one as it is based on a real life story.

 

Instead of just criticizing Indian Churches, the novel offers church to adopt some reform measures to change the situation.

This is perhaps the first novel of its kind written on heated issue of conversion and imperialistic thinking of church in north India. There are scores of books, novels and stories on pathetic status of Dalits within Brahminical framework but nobody has tried to gauze the status of the class being discriminated and tortured inside the four walls of church system.

This short novel is also the story of millions of converted Christians who adopted Christianity and rejected their original faith in the hope of better life and respect. But, as the novel describes, their conditions have worsened and they, rather, fell into the exploitation by the priests.

The novel is based on the story of Budhiya, a Pandavani actor. As the story goes, Budhiya reaches Padlikpur Mission station and comes in contact with some priests who, in order to help the deprived souls, open their doors. They offer oil, milk, powder, imported American soap, paneer, butter, rice and wheat to Budhiya and their people. And, precisely, from here in the novel starts the story of bad luck of Pandavani actors as the priests convert them into Christianity and settle them in Judpur-Jhansi, the agriculture farm village of Catholics situated seven kilometers north-east of Jhansi. With this the traditional Pandavani playing family becomes a family of slaves from actors and their fall starts.

Pandavani was a local form of dance and music. With the rolling of time, Tijanbai popularized this form of art at international level. Everybody knows Tijanbai but hardly anyone is aware of Budhiya who is from same land and is equally or more skilled in Pandavani art form than Tijanbai.

Had they not converted into Christianity their fate would have been different. Author is also a character in the novel. He, himself, has been tormented by the church system. His friends show cowardice and don’t support him in his battle.

Church leaders always remain cautious to allegations of conversion and especially when it involves fraud, deceit and greed. They out rightly reject such allegations. People who make such allegations are told to present proof.

The author of the novel has tried to reveal the truth through interesting plots and narrative of the story. Hardly hitting the class discrimination in Church, he has not spared nuns and fathers who are using every trick of the trade to have control over the system.

Religion never teaches to practice evil. But, both good and bad things have entered even into religious system over the time and people have put blind eyes to these evils. Budhiya-Ek Satyakatha tries to give an insight to see and realize – they are evils in the system!

[Reviewer R L Francis is the President of Poor Christian Liberation Movement]

 

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