Chamarajanagar or Chamarajanagara is a city in the southern part of Karnataka, India. Named after Chamaraja Wodeyar IX, the erstwhile king of Mysore, previously known as ‘Arikottara’. Chamarajanagara is the headquarters of Chamarajanagar district. It is located on the interstate highway linking the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Similar to that of the adjacent Mysore district, Chamarajnagar cherishes rich cultural heritage. Maaravva or Maaramma is the most widely worshipped deity in the town, more than ten temples of Maaravva can be found in the town. Chamarajeshwara Temple and Haralu Kote Anjaneya Temple are the biggest and the oldest temples respectively. Apart from these, the town has many temples.
However, the Christianisation of the rural villages of Chamarajnagar is rapid. When we travel from Mariyala a small hamlet on the national highway towards the rural landscapes, our representative was rather shocked to see an entirely different culture rooted in Christianity. Hardly 3 kilometres from the national highway, an entire village has been converted into Christian. There is a small church that resembles a shed where bible classes are being conducted too, apart from the masses.
We could also see a massive church building being constructed where the priest himself is in charge of the works. As per the information that we received, conversion was rather a slow process in the area that dates back to a few decades ago. Dalits who were often ignored by the majority were being offered possessions and were attracted to Christianity.
If we travel further interior, just 2 kilometres from there, we can find another village which is also tickly populated by converted Christians. There is another church here that is older than the first church mentioned. Unlike Islam which rather forces someone to embrace their religion, Christians are wise – in a slow and steady way, they influence the mindset of people and with their offers, most of them fall victims.
This is just about two small villages in Karnataka. If we investigate more on this, shocking reports would emerge. Forceful conversion has become an offence in the state, whereas for people who are influenced, attracted by riches or better amenities in their lives, embracing other religions is not considered an offence.
While our reporter visited the village, he was welcomed by the Dalit community, but they were inviting with a note of apology – will people like you would visit our homes? This shows another side of Hinduism whereas we must assume that it is our own approach to a fraction of people that makes them embrace another religion. Whom to blame?
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