In December last year, there was a change of guard at the helm of affairs at the prestigious Indian Medical Association, the country’s largest professional council of healthcare personnel. Dr Johnrose Austin Jayalal was appointed as the new national president of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) for the year 2020-2021 at its 95th annual national conference held in December 2020.
However, if Dr JA Jayalal’s utterances are to be believed, he harbours missionary zeal to convert the weak and the vulnerable to Christianity in “secular organisations” that he serves and nurses contempt for Hindu Nationalism and the Government of India.
In an interview recently published on Haggai International, the current president of the IMA said, “The Hindu Nationalist Government wants to destroy modern medicine saying it is ‘western medicine.’ Please keep this in your international prayers. If everything goes their way, we will not have pure modern medicine courses in India by 2030.”
Dr Jayalal wants his professional qualifications and recently acquired position as the head of the Indian Medical Association to be used to further Christian evangelism that is carried out by Christian missionaries. In fact, for Dr Jayalal, the coronavirus outbreak is an opportunity that can be leveraged to convert medical students, patients and fellow doctors into Christianity.
Dr Jayalal wants secular organisations and medical institutes to be used for conversion
Dr Jayalal regards the platform of the Indian Medical Association as a springboard for him to share the “love of Jesus Christ” and be a “living witness to God and encourage young medical students and doctors to receive Jesus as their personal saviour”.
According to Dr Jayalal, it was “Christian compassion” and Christian doctors and churches who relieved the world from lethal maladies such as leprosy, cholera and other pandemics in the past. He believes the coronavirus pandemic has provided “the urgent need of the proclamation of the Gospel to people who are suffering from the virus has allowed us to share the Gospel even in secular institutions”.
Dr Jayalal proclamation of being a devout Christian and his reverence for controversial figure Mother Teresa
In his presidential address after being anointed as the chief of the Indian Medical Association, Dr Jayalal did not flinch from expressing his Christian evangelism and hailing controversial characters such as Mother Teresa, regarded by many as a predatory Christian proselytiser responsible for industrial-scale conversions of the indigenous people to Christianity.
“…I firmly believe what I am today is the Gift of my almighty God Jesus Christ and what I become tomorrow will be my gift to God. With gratitude, I salute you for giving me this opportunity unanimously. I affirm the statement of Mother Teresa once “You can do what I cannot do, I can do what you cannot do but together we can do great things.” Shall be my modus operandi,” Dr Jayalal said.
COVID-19’s silver lining is that Christianity is growing: Dr JA Jayalal
In a recent interview with Christianity Today, Dr Jayalal saw a silver lining in an otherwise dreary and bleak coronavirus outbreak. According to him, despite the hardships, difficulties and restrictions that came in the wake of the pandemic, Christianity was growing.
“I am able to see, even amid persecution, even amid difficulties, even amid the control by the government, even among the restrictions we face in openly proclaiming the message, by various means and ways, Christianity is growing,” he told CT.
According to Dr Jayalal, it was only because of the unwavering faith of people in Jesus Christ, a crisis as grave as the coronavirus pandemic had been averted. “It’s only the grace of God Almighty that helps us to get over the crisis and stay safe, and it was his grace that protected us. Through night-time prayers, family prayers, Christians began shifting from the materialistic things to the blessings in heaven. They began to concentrate more on that,” he said.
For the president of the country’s most prestigious medical council, efforts by the medical community, the restrictions enforced by the government and the general caution observed by the public were secondary and not as consequential in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak as their faith in Jesus Christ.
Dr Jayalal accuses the central government of advancing Hindutva through promoting Ayurveda and Sanskrit language
Dr Jayalal not only promoted Christianity in his capacity as the President of the Indian Medical Association, but he also criticised the ancient Indian traditions and Ayurvedic medicine. Elaborating on his critique that “the Hindu Nationalist government wants to destroy modern medicine saying it is ‘western medicine’,” Dr Jayalal said that the government has faith in Ayurveda because of their cultural value and traditional belief in the Hindutva.
“The government of India, because of their cultural value and traditional belief in the Hindutva, believes in a system called Ayurveda. For the last three or four years, they have tried to replace modern medicine with this. Now, starting in 2030, you will have to study this alongside Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, homoeopathy, yoga, and naturopathy,” Dr Jayalal said.
Dr Jayalal’s opposition to Ayurveda and Vedic methods of medical treatment stems from the fact that most of it have been catalogued in the traditional Indian language Sanskrit, which according to him is the language of Hindutva. Dr Jayalal contends the renewed focus on the Sanskrit language is a way through which the government wants to introduce the language of Hindutva into the minds of the people.
“This (Ayurveda, Unani, homoeopathy, yoga etc.) is also based on the Sanskrit language, which is always traditionally based on the Hindu principles. This is an indirect way for the government to introduce the language of Sanskrit and the language of Hindutva into the minds of the people,” Dr Jayalal had said in an interview with Christianity Today.
Dr Jayalal, a devout Christian and ostensibly a supporter of Christian missionaries, claimed in his interview that he has opposed these measures by the government and organised various demonstrations and protests. Doctors across the country observed fasting as a mark to oppose the government support to Ayurveda and Sanskrit. The fasting was based on the Christian concept of suffering. While organising these protests, Dr Jayalal claims he is “seeking the wisdom and guidance of God Almighty about what he will do in this difficult time”.
‘God Almighty has given us the holistic way of healing people’: Dr Jayalal on being a “Christian Doctor”
While he dismissed Ayurveda and other Vedic medical treatments as “quackery”, Dr Jayalal was unabashed enough to claim that Christian doctors are blessed with a special ability to provide “holistic healing”, which includes spiritual, mental and social healing.
“Normally in the medical profession, we talk about the physical curing. But as a Christian, I believe we are not just here to physically cure, but God Almighty has called us to give holistic healing, which includes the spiritual healing, the mental healing, and the social healing,” he said.
What Dr Jayalal is implying here is that by the virtue of their faith, Christian Doctors are gifted with a paranormal ability to effect just not physical curing but mental and spiritual healing as well. He then goes on to say more Christian doctors are required to work more in secular institutions, mission institutions, and medical colleges, who can impart “Christian healing” to the patients.
These proclamations by Dr Jayalal are in line with his previously declared desire of using secular hospitals and medical colleges to convert doctors, patients and students into the fold of Christianity.
Hindus in India should accept Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad as one of their Gods because Hinduism is based on polytheism: Dr JA Jayalal
When asked what is Christian community’s relationship with Hindu nationalists, Dr Jayalal suggested that Hindus should accept Jesus and Muhammad as their Gods because their religion is based on polytheism. Since Hindus believe in multiple Gods, Dr Jayalal believes it is not difficult for them to exhibit tolerance and internalise Christian and Islamic practices.
“One of the things we must always remember is that Hinduism or Hindutva is different from other religions because of polytheism. They accept different gods. They have no difficulty in accepting or proclaiming that Jesus is one of the gods or Muhammad is one of the gods. So religious restrictions are less when comparing them with systems of other countries. I personally feel that it is not that difficult in India,” Dr Jayalal said.
Dr Jayalal’s idea of being a serious Christian
According to the Indian Medical Association President, being a serious Christian does not require one to be a pastor or a minister or in a Church.
“You can be a Christian police officer or work in the revenue department. The place does not decide how you are going to be a Christian. It is your relationship with God Almighty. When we have a relationship with the Father above, we know who we are and who is our master,” he said.
“The opportunity in front of every Christian is splendid. It is not solely the responsibility of the pastor; it is that every Christian who is born again and who has experienced the love and affection of God Almighty will respond to the calling to go and preach the gospel. I am able to see, even amid persecution, even amid difficulties, even amid the control by the government, even among the restrictions we face in openly proclaiming the message, by various means and ways, Christianity is growing,” he added.