HMK to convert 20,000 Christians to Hinduism
- 1,000 Dalit Christians to reconvert to Hinduism in TN
T S SREENIVASA RAGHAVAN, TNN
13 Apr 2008
CHENNAI: Thousand members who belong to Dalit Christian community
will officially get reconverted into Hinduism on Monday in
Tirunelveli town in a colourful function being organized by Hindu
Monks Tamil Nadu Council.
This event gains significance in the backdrop March 9 police
shootout in which two people were killed when clashes broke out
between the members of upper caste Catholics and Dalit Catholics.
Speaking to TOI, Hindu Makkal Katchi (HMK) president Arjun Sampath
said: "185 families of Dalit Christians will formally return to
Hinduism. All of them hail from the interior villages of Tirunelveli
district. This event is being organized on the occasion of
Ambedkar's birthday." HMK had earlier tried to hold the event at
Nellayappar temple in Tirunelveli. However, the HR&CE department
which governs the temple refused permission saying that the temple
premises could not be used for such purposes.
"So, we're now holding the function at Nellai Sangeetha Sabha -
which is a private hall", Arjun said. It's learnt the function will
start with a ganapathi homam and would be followed by prayaschitha
yagam (atonement ritual) and sudhi chadangu (purification rite)
"We'll purify all those who return to Hinduism by sprinkling `ganga
theertha' and `sethu theertha.' We've specially brought waters from
Rameshwaram sea and the Ganges for this purpose", Arjun said and
added all of them would also be bestowed with holy Hindu names.
Further, those who want to follow Saiva cult would be given bhasmam
(sacred ash) and a string of rudraksha while the vaishnavite
converts would be given namam (tilak) and a string of tulsi. The
Dalit Christians who return to Hindu fold would also be given a
mantra deeksha (formal initiation) both in Sanskrit and Tamil.
HMK has also engaged the services of several notaries who would be
present during the re-conversion function. "The members who return
to Hindu fold will take an oath before them and sign affidavits.
Later, we'll get the conversion certificates from Arya Samaj to get
their names changed in the gazette", Arjun said.
Depending on the success of this re-conversion, HMK also plans to re-
convert 20,000 Christians in Villupuram district. "We'll take it up
in August", Arjun said.
India has a total 24 million Christian population. Of this Dalit
Christians constitute 15 million while tribal Christians account for
In Tamil Nadu, Dalit Christians complain of discrimination at the
hands of upper caste Christians. They have separate burial grounds
and seating arrangements.