As many as 181 members of a tribal community whose ancestors had embraced Christianity many years ago were converted back to their Sarna religion in different villages of Garhwa district in Jharkhand, a report published in Navbharat Times said.
The Dharma Jagran and Tribal Suraksha Manch organised the Saraedih Village Tribal Conference for the return of the Sarna tribals. In the program, all the Christian converts who wished to revert back to their original faith were welcomed as per the tribal tradition of washing their feet.
About 104 members of 18 families from the Vishrampur Goraiyabkhar village, 42 members of 7 families from Khunti Tola Karachali village and 35 members of 8 families from Mahangai village left Christianity and returned to Sarna religion.
The reconversion or the ‘ghar wapsi’ program commenced with prayers dedicated to nature. On the occasion, women sang spiritual songs to welcome the tribals back to their original faith. Those who came to get reconverted to Sarna religion were greeted with their feet washed by the activists. Women activists applied sindoor to the women who were lured by the Christian missionaries to embrace Christianity.
The tribals who returned back to the Sarna religion fold said their ancestors had converted to Christianity because of the inducements offered by the Christian missionaries. However, they added that over the period of time they realised that their conversion was a mistake. This realisation, they claimed, is what brought them in the program to adopt their former faith back.
Prominent dignitaries present on the occasion included All India Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram Vice President Satyendra, State Convenor of Tribal Safety Forum Sandeep Uranv, Deputy state convenor Devanandan, President of Sarna Committee Ranchi Megha Uranv, Dharm Jagran chief Shivamurthy among other people.
According to Megha Uranv, the Christians preachers in the region exploit the poverty of the people in the region to lure them into converting to Christianity. She says naive tribals short-sightedly embrace the new religion, before realising that they had been befooled by the missionaries.
Tribal regions in India have long been afflicted by the menace of rampant Christian proselytisation. Christian missionaries have run missions to trap gullible and poor people into Christianity by promising them inducements on converting their religion. Often, the tribals, in their bid to escape the grinding poverty, accept the offer and convert their religion, only to realise later that the reprieve has been temporary and there has not been a drastic change in their predicament.