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Monday, May 27, 2024

Forced Religious Conversion and Persecution in India, Part 4: Christian Missionaries and Portuguese

India has a long history of agony, and in this subject, the Chapter on forced religious conversion and persecution of Hindus in India by British Christian Missionaries and Portuguese is not sufficiently touched by our propagandist “Distorians” so called Historians. Our education system developed and designed by the Missionary servants didn’t remind us about the pain and despair suffered by our forefathers by the British, Portuguese and their respective Missionary culture.   

Conversion and Persecution under British and Christian Missionaries: 

During the advent of the British Government and East India Company in India, the company had three policies in their mind to implement in the Indian Subcontinent. These three policies were to trade, to rule and to popularize Christianity in India. Striking the indigenously coined principles of humanity and secularism, the same people (Christian Missionaries) started converting by tempting the needy ones. British carried out Conversion practices taking advantage of the grim Indian situation due to the long history of continuous Invasions. Southern and Eastern parts of India have been epicentres for Conversion practices by Christian Missionaries on Poverty, unemployment, freebies, religious tensions and caste conflict basis.

Author's View Point: 

Undoubtedly, India attained Independence on 15th August 1947, but we are still cultural slaves of the Western world and Christianity. Apart from this, Mughals, Dynasties of Delhi Sultanate, Durrani's, Arabs, Ghurids and Ghaznavids had invaded us for more years than that of British, but they couldn't make us cultural slaves like the British, so how did the British executed this? The Answer is; the British captured and dismantled the lifeline of Indian existence to the world, that is Indian Education System, and that was the biggest USP of the British to rule over us and make us cultural slaves. British strike the source of our Intellect and wisdom to make us slaves, and the same goes even after attaining Independence. We are still slaves of the Western world; we still talk in their language, and prefer their language more than ours. The trends of today's world are mocking native languages, places, and ethnic wares and celebrating foreign ones. We hate our own country India and want to work and settle abroad but, when Russia-Ukraine crisis occurred everybody rushed to India, when Covid-19 dared the whole world everybody rushed to India we are infected by a sickening mindset that we need India in hard times only, that much selfish we became that we don't have any duty towards our motherland we just want to use it for our selfish deeds.  

The “Distorians” of the Indian Education System such as William Jones (Manipulator of Manusmriti), Fredrick Max Muller (Demolisher of Ved and Sanskrit language), Herbert W Risley (British Census Commissioner 1931 biggest propagator of Caste divide and Caste System), Fredrick Griffith, and the list is long enough that is filled with the key contributors in the destruction of Indian Intellect. The British and their Missionaries further started teaching and propagating Christianity in different schools of the country, which are even named after British personalities, including St. Anthony, St. Paul, St. Austin and several other missionary-funded schools.

Resistance against Bigot ideas of Christian Missionaries and British

Several freedom and social activists incepted a fight against Britisher’s forced religious conversion practices, namely Veer Savarkar, Mangal Pandey, Birsa Munda, Begum Hazrat Mahal and strong but forgotten resistance by freedom fighters involved in the Sannyasi rebellion. Savarkar fought against conversion practices being carried out by the British in Cellular Jail, whereas Birsa Munda also launched a revolt against the forced religious conversion of the tribal population by British and Christian Missionaries. In today’s world, these Missionaries are still dominating, and there is a Nil check on their functioning, probably due to the vote bank politics. 

The forgotten Sannyasi rebellion showed its valiancy in the fight against the bigot ideas of the British to convert people to Christianity and persecute those who confront. Under the leadership of Pandit Bhavani Charan Pathak and Devi Chowdharani, local Sadhus of Bengal’s Murshidabad and Jalpaiguri, along with several local Bravehearts, gathered to initiate a struggle against the illegal destruction of temples and mosques of the region by British Government under the influence of Missionaries. In the name of service to the people, Mother Teresa propagated the bigot notion that, “when you are baptized you will get the ticket to St. Peters and he will forgive your all sins.” That’s how British converted Indians by betraying their trust.

During the revolt of 1857, Awadh Queen Begum Hazrat Mahal also offered inspiring resistance against the British’s cruel conversion and persecution practices. Begum further raised her voice against the religious injustice of the British as they destroyed temples and mosques in the guise of constructing roads and monuments. Consciously known to the fact that cow and pork meat are considered illegal in Hindu and Muslim customs, the British preferred only those grassed cartridges made up of cow and pork meat as their main objective was to hurt the religious sentiments and made Hindu and Muslim soldiers of Britsh Army feel inferiority complex. This unwavering hate of Hindu and Muslim soldiers against the British burst all together in the revolt of 1857 under the leadership of Mangal Pandey.   

Thus, in the name of service, help, promising to relax the tensions of life, creating caste conflicts, inferiority complex to other sections of society, the missionaries influenced the weaker section of Society to accept Christianity. The Christian Missionaries very well materialized the “Divide and Rule Policy” of British in converting people and propagating Christianity in India. Still Persists.

Portuguese Invasion: Conversion and Persecution of Hindus

The Portuguese Invasion of India is enumerated under the darkest Chapter for the survival of Hindus and the Sanatan Culture. During the 16th or 17th century, the Portuguese instigated religious hatred among Goa and started converting the Hindus based on temptation and bribing the poor. Portuguese officers such as Fr. Diogo Da Borba and Vicar General Miguel Vaz executed the conversion policy on Hindus.

Around 900 Hindu Temples were demolished, and those who confronted to accept Christianity were forcefully converted or killed. This event is recognized as the Christianization of Goa. The Portuguese destroyed numerous Hindu temples in Assolna and Cuncolim invasion. Under that brutal Chapter, Goa and Western Ghats faced widespread atrocities under which several Hindu temples and men were slaughtered, whereas women and kids were converted and raped.   

Around the 1620s, the Portuguese Viceroy issued an edict that, “no Hindu could marry in Portuguese territory and not even cremate their kin’s in the same,” thus; they had to move beyond the river or out of the Portuguese colony to carry out their religious rites and practice their Dharma. A well-revered Konkani traditional folk song of Goa speaks; 

Hanv Saiba Poltodi Vetam, Damulea Lognak Vetam.. 

Maka Saiba Vat Dakoi, Maka Saiba Vatu Kolona..  

That means, “I have to cross the river (I want to escape from the Portuguese territory) to attend Damu’s (Hindu’s) marriage, Please make me cross the river, the boatman says, “I won’t I’m scared of Portuguese.” In reply this help-seeking person says, “I will give you bangles and gold but, please take me there as I want to preserve my Dharma.”” 

Ways of Conversion of Hindus deceitfully and with Temptations by Portuguese:

  • In 1669, Portuguese higher authority passed a frightening order that all the Orphans will be handed over to the Jesuit priests for baptizing. Several laws for the conversion were introduced, including If someone’s father, mother, grandfather and grandmother died, that child is simply taken to the Jesuit. They forcibly cut down the Sikha or Shendi of the Child and ending making him a Christian.
  • The baptizing further takes place by capturing a child, feeding him with a Christian and making him embrace Christianity, the kin of the child also want to be with the child, so they also accept Christianity. 
  • In terms of Inheritance, as per the rules, women couldn’t inherit the father’s property as they received Stridhan or Kanyadaan; thus it meant to boys only, but the Portuguese amended the law that a widow or daughter could inherit her father’s or husband’s property upon their death if they embrace Christianity. Even a relative of a deceased person can inherit the property if they convert themselves to Christianity before the other kin relations.  
  • The ones who wanted to come out of Slavery, either Muslim or Hindu, can convert themselves to Christianity and be given freedom from their masters on Government’s orders.  
  • Another way of conversion practised by throwing pieces of beefs into the common well; thus, drinking water from those wells, making them violate the terms of Hinduism and social boycott, inducing them to convert themselves to Christianity.   

Thus, to counter this mass conversion policy and Portuguese bigotry, several Hindu braveheart’s initiated a rebellion against the torture of Portuguese upon inhabitants. From Maratha’s side, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj built his Navy to counter the Portuguese and got numerous successes against the Portuguese. Kanhoji Angre took his legacy forward; Peshwa Bajirao I and Holkars again initiated naval wars with the Portuguese to free up Hindus and Local Muslims from that prison of persecution and conversion. 

Southern lionhearts also joined this noble initiative of freeing up their land from the bigotry of Portuguese, freedom fighters including Kerala’s Marakkar including Kunjali Marakkar, Smoorthi Kings of Kozhikode, Doda Sankana Nayaka and Shivappa Nayak. In this expedition, several women gallants also joined, such as Abbaka Chowta, Rudramadevi and Keladi Chenamma.  


We will never forget the forgotten resistance offered by our freedom fighters against bigot ideas of forced religious conversion, persecution and dismantling of the cultural legacy of India by Christian Missionaries and Invading tyrants. The expansionary and abhorrent mentality of Christian Missionaries and their masters was sure to come to an end, but in those moments of pain, people who stood to preserve their Dharma and fought until their last breath to secure the future of their coming generations gathered the loftiest position in Bharat Mata’s heart. These tales of sacrifice might get vanish from the textbooks but will not be erased from our hearts, and we will forward these tales to forthcoming generations under the blessings of Maa Bharti.   

More Articles from the same series:  

Read: Forced Religious Conversion and Persecution in India, Part 1 Early Invaders

Read: Forced Conversion and Persecution in India, Part 2 Delhi Sultanate

Read: Forced Conversion and persecution in India, Part 3 Dark Side of Mughals

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