Tag Archives: Evangelism in India

Payment of monthly honorarium to religious workers by Govt. of AP –Will it stand Judicial scrutiny

By: K. Sahadev

The Government of Andhra Pradesh has issued orders vide GENERAL ADMINISTRATION (SC.I) DEPARTMENT G.O.MS.No. 52 Dated: 14-05-2021, enhancing financial support to the religious workers in places of worship of two important religious communities of the State viz., Hindus, Muslims. In the case of Christians, it is a new scheme. It leaves out three other minorities- Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists.

The present G.O cites “ensuring religious harmony” in the state as the main objective of payment of monthly honorarium to religious workers of different religions. The G.O. further mentions extension of payment to functionaries working in churches is similar to the support being given to the Archakas working in temples and Imams/Muezzins working in mosques. However, this is a false comparison as the G.O. very clear states that quantum of payment to Archakas is based on grade of the temple, which in turn depends upon income generated by the temple. It clearly means that Hindu temple archakas are NOT paid out of public exchequer.

The Scheme for Payment of Honorarium to Imams and Muezzins of Mosques in Andhra Pradesh commenced in June 2016. The G.O. mentions that:

The scheme for payment of Honorarium to the selected Imams and Muezzins of the non-income earning Masjids in the State of Andhra Pradesh is intended to support the Andhra Pradesh State Waqf Board since the Board is not in a position to meet the expenditure. The Andhra Pradesh State Waqf Board shall take steps to strengthen the respective Waqf institutions to attain self-sufficiency to meet the expenditure.

The latest order marks the beginning of state funding of religious workers in Andhra Pradesh. Promoting communal harmony was not the objective stated at in 2016. The new G.O. not only increased the quantum of payment for Muslim religious workers but also introduced payment of monthly honorarium for Christian religious workers. But by including the enhancement of honorarium for Hindu archakas in this G.O., an impression is sought to be given out that even they are being paid out of state exchequer, which is factually incorrect. State is yet to show any concern towards Hindu archakas rendering their services in temples without any income. On the contrary, state is meddling with Hindu religious institutions through legislation and administrative actions by arbitrarily fixing the remuneration of Archakas, grading of temples, appointing Executive Officers, interfering in dharmic rituals of temples, disposing off temple assets etc.


This raises the larger question whether the public money can be used to pay individuals of a particular religion with the purported objective of ensuring communal harmony?

In 2012, the Government of West Bengal issued instructions for payment of monthly honorarium to Imams in mosques. The decision was challenged in Calcutta High court (W.P. No. 358 of 2012) and the decision of the government was quashed. The highlight of the judgement are:

1) The State Government cannot spend any money for the benefit of few individuals of a particular religious community ignoring the identically placed individuals of the other religious communities since the State cannot discriminate on the ground of religion in view of the Article 15 (1) of the Constitution of India.

2) The State Government by providing funds for making payment of honorarium to the Imams and Muezzins has acted in clear violation of the provisions enshrined under Article 14 and 15 (1) of the Constitution of India.

3) No exercise has been made by the Competent Authority of the State Government to ascertain the financial condition of various other members of the Muslim community as well as members of other religious communities before taking the decision for issuing the impugned memorandum.

4) The public purpose mentioned in Article 282 cannot be a purpose which offends the provisions of Article 14 and 15 (1) of the Constitution of India.

5) Imams and/or Muezzins are few individuals of the Muslim community and attached with the mosques. Decision to provide honorarium to the said individuals cannot serve the general interest of the community as a whole.

6) We hold that the impugned memo issued by the State Government is not only discriminatory in nature being violate of Article 14 of the Constitution of India but the same also discriminates on the ground of religion which offends Article 15 (1) of the Constitution of India.

7) We are constrained to hold that the grants made by the State Government for providing honorarium to the Imams and Muezzins were not for the public purpose as mentioned in Article 282 of the Constitution of India

8) Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Sri Divi Kodandarama Saram & Ors. Vs. State of A. P. & Ors., reported in 1997 (6) SCC 189 considered the payment of salary to ‘Archaka’ of Hindu Temple. In the aforesaid decision, Hon’ble Supreme Court made it clear that public fund cannot be utilised for the purpose of making payment of Archakas and trust looking after the temple was advised to collect donation from the public to defray the expenses.

9) No provision has however, been made in the Constitution authorising the State Government to make payment of the honorarium to few individuals of a particular religious community. As a matter of fact, Government cannot spend any money for the benefit of few individuals of a particular religious community to the exclusion of the members of the other religious communities in view of a specific provision of Article 15 (1) of the Constitution.

10) The concerned Executives of the State Government have squandered public money by releasing funds to the Wakf Board for the purpose of making payment of monthly honorarium to the Muezzins even in absence of any government order under Article 166 of the Constitution of India. We take strong exception for spending money even in absence of appropriate government order under Article 166 of the Constitution of India.

Thus it is very clear that payment to religious workers from public funds has been held to be “squandering of public money”. The objective cited in the Govt. of AP G.O. i.e., “communal harmony” also fails to stand judicial scrutiny in view of observation (5) cited in the above judgement. The judges have clearly held that payment to few individuals of a particular community does not serve the interests of all members of that community, leave alone serving promotion of inter-faith communal harmony.

The judgement also referred to a judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in a matter of payment of honorarium to Imams. The hon’ble court clarified that the scheme formulated by the SC was for payment of a uniform scale of salary to Imams from the income of the respective state Wakf Boards and not public funds.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the aforesaid decision never directed the State Government or the Govt. of India to take the responsibility for making payment to the Imams who are admittedly performing the duty of leading the community prayer in the mosques.


June 2021, the Kerala High Court on Tuesday asked the state government, why they were financing a religious activity while considering a petition against the former’s decision to provide pension to madrasa teachers in the state. The order was  issued on a petition filed seeking to quash the Kerala Madrasa Teachers’ Welfare Fund Act, 2019, which is passed for disbursing pension and other benefits to madrasa teachers.

This is an ongoing case but it is pertinent to note that courts have consistently upheld the view that governments cannot finance any religious activity and such actions are unconstitutional. Article 46 of the Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined in the Constitution of India call upon the state to “promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people”.

Anomalies observed in recent payment of honorarium to religious workers in Andhra Pradesh:

In May, 2020, the Government of Andhra Pradesh made a one-time payment to religious workers who are facing hardship and distress of various religious institutions, as a measure of relief arising out of break out of COVID-19 Pandemic. A sum of Rs.33.92 crores was sanctioned out of Disaster Relief funds. The ratio of religious workers to population of that religion as per 2011 was highly irrational. While Christians constituted 1.39 % of the population of AP, Christian religious workers received 43.99 % of total amount paid out. Every 24th Christian in the state is a religious worker, if we go by 2011 census figures for the state of AP.


HINDUS4,48,75,69890.86 %45.70 %31,017
MUSLIMS36,17,7137.33 %10.31 %7,000
CHRISTIANS6,82,6601.39 %43.99 %29,841
OTHERS2,10,7280.42 %0.00 %0
TOTAL4,93,86,799100.00 %100.00 %67,858

This lead to a peculiar situation wherein, in some areas, the number of Christian religious workers was more than the actual number of Christians in the area. Sample figures from Prakasam district:

Pedda Aravidu1633

In addition, data obtained through RTI queries on the details of Christian religious workers who were paid honorarium showed that 60 % of Christian pastors in the sample were holding Hindu community certificates. This raised many questions and exposed a lack of strict scrutiny in the processing of applications for sanction of honorarium to religious workers.


(Sample size 347)


The present G.O. has laid out 3 eligibility criteria that have to be fulfilled by the applicants to be considered under the scheme.

(a)  Church should be registered under the Societies Act;

(b)  Land should be registered in the name of Church;

(c) The institution should not have any other source of income.

This is in addition to the existing conditions of the Christian religious worker holding a Christian community certificate and being a qualified Christian religious worker. However, the additional eligibility criteria have not gone down well with the Christian religious worker community. In videos and social media posts, they have been pointing out that most of the churches are not registered as societies and they have been functioning from premises owned/taken on rent by the religious worker on an individual basis. In some cases, the churches are functioning from structures raised on public land.  Christian community elders expressed the opinion that not more than 1,000 Christian religious workers will meet the criteria and thus eligible to receive a monthly honorarium. Well established churches, popularly known as mainline churches pay monthly salaries, have regular postings/transfers and promotions. Religious workers from such churches will be out of the purview of the present scheme.

Thus it will be interesting to see whether the present scheme, as outlined above, will stand judicial scrutiny if and when challenged in a court of law. Also, it will be keenly observed whether the government will heed the concerns raised by the Christian community and relax existing eligibility criteria.



Facing New Evangelisation Strategies

Arise Bharat


Readers of Telugu may wish to read my article that appeared in Jagruthi, a Telugu weekly on Facing New Christian Evangelisation Strategies and lessons that Hindus must learn.

Facing New Evangelisation Strategies


English Version :

Facing the New Christian Evangelization Strategies

– Nadimpalli Ayush

 What Keeps Hindus attached to their traditions and remain as Hindus inspite of varied onslaughts?  This question has been bugging almost all evangelists who have come to Bharat.  In their ambition to Christianize the whole world, the evangelists have time to time revised their strategies. Though most parts of the whole world fell to their designs, they have faced major resistance in Bharat. However, the future of whether Bharat would remain Hindu depends largely on how the Hindus respond to the evangelistion strategies and methods.

” India’s first major contact with Christianity began when Vasco da Gama, from Portugal, landed with gunboat and priests in…

View original post 2,335 more words

Mahishasura Martyrdom Day -A Christian Proxy War

Source – Daily Pioneer

Distortion of religion and religious figures has become the favourite task of certain so-called secular people and their outfits that camouflage their activities well. They see nothing wrong in hurting majority community sentiments

Mahishasura recently had its day of resurrection and glory at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. An annual ‘Mahishasura Martyrdom Day’ (Mahishasura Shahdat Divas) is observed by the university around Dussehra since 2011. The observance is accompanied by the denunciation of Durga, who allegedly personified Aryan/Brahmanic onslaught upon the non-Aryan asura. A bi-lingual (English/Hindi) magazine, Forward Press, published by Aspire Prakashan, Nehru Place, New Delhi, has been providing ideological fodder to the newly-erected cult of Mahishasura. The magazine fashions itself as the voice of Dalit-bahujan-OBC-women.

But there is more than meets the eyes. The Forward Press is managed by Ivan Kostka, a Christian evangelist who reportedly holds a Canadian passport. Then there is Vishal Mangalwadi, a contributing editor, who describes himself as a Christian philosopher and social reformer. In his latest book, The Book that made your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization’ Mr Mangalwadi argues how the Bible inspired progressive movements in Europe in science, human rights, women’s rights, and politics! Arnold J Toynbee, Will Durant, Steven Runciman and Henri Pirenne would have been puzzled! Interestingly, no mainstream newspaper/magazine in the West published a review of that ‘revolutionary’ book despite great liaison efforts by the publisher viz Thomas Nelson.

Originally from Allahabad, Mr Mangalwadi runs a ministry called ‘Revelation Movement’. Then there is Sunil Sardar, a Christian priest, who, on February 28, 2012, was arrested with 500 rounds of live ammunition at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. He said he brought them from the US to gift his friend in Maharashtra. Evidently, ‘Mahishasura Martyrdom Day’ is an evangelical proxy-war rather than genuine class discourse.

This time, the organisers overreached themselves. They vilified Durga through obscene pictures and outrageous narrative in Forward Press. Two students of JNU, Ravindra Singh Basera and Amba Shankar Bajpai, lodged FIRs against the organisers, leading to confiscation of copies of the magazine by Delhi Police. Ivan Kostka, editor-in-chief and Pramod Ranjan, consulting editor, went underground. Pramod Ranjan issued a statement saying they had done nothing against the Constitution of India. It is a specious excuse. The freedom of speech enshrined in the Constitution is not absolute. Article 25 says: “Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this part, all persons are equally entitled to the freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practise and propagate religion”. Clearly, the odious counterfactuals on Durga were calculated to harm public order and morality. It falls under the category of hate speech covered under Section 295 A of the Indian Penal Code.

To give the readers a perspective,  a few years ago, mainstream media had discovered a tribe called Asura in Jharkand and north Bengal. Numbering a trifle over 10,000, they maintain they are descendants of Mahishasura, their legendary chieftain. The community being traditionally illiterate, possesses no written history. In their ‘alternate history’ Mahishasura was a just king supposedly killed by deception by Durga, a ‘secret agent’ of the gods.

The rest of the country has no clue. In northern India, Durga is worshipped in nine different forms during the Navaratris, none of whom killed Mahishasura. It is more common to find Durga installed as Chamunda Devi (slayer of demons Chanda & Munda) as in Palampur (Himachal Pradesh), Mehrangarh Fort of Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Rajkot (Gujarat) etc. There will be no surprise if the puppeteers behind ‘Mahishasura Matyrdom Day’ now go on an anthropological expedition across India to locate the descendants, real or imagined, of Chanda & Munda or their masters Shumbha & Nishumbha!

The worship of Durga as Mahishasura-Mardini (the slayer of Mahishasura) is more common in Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh as Durga Puja. The literary source for Durga as slayer of Chanda-Munda and that of Mahishasur is common. It is called Durga Saptashati (alternatively called Chandi), taken from a larger text Markandeya Puran. I have religiously read Durga Saptashati several times. Though the book describes several wars like those of Vishnu with Madhu and Kaitava, of Durga with Mahishasura, Chanda & Munda and Shumbha & Nishumbha there is no fundamental malice displayed towards the enemy. Chapter four of Durga Saptashati describes the devtaas (gods) assembling to praise Durga on killing of the Mahishasura. Therein, they say that the asuras would have heaped further damnations upon themselves if left unchecked. Their evil deeds would have paved their way to hell. Durga, by killing them, has actually salvaged them and elevated those beings to heaven. Thus the devtaas (gods) bore no fundamental ill-will towards the asuras. They never imagined a different or dangerous spiritual destiny for the asuras. The devtaas were against the asuras because the latter had evicted them from the heavens and deprived them of their privileges.

This is verily the Hindu worldview — all differences are temporal not spiritual. But to the Christians or to the Muslims the heathen or Kafirs should go hell. One could enter the heaven only by adopting Christian or Islam. To Ivan Kostka and Vishal Mangalwadi the bahujans — Dalits, OBCs, women all are condemned to hell if they practise their native faith. Mahishasur can excite them for war against their Hindu co-religionists. But being a heathen himself, Mahishasur cannot give them salvation. They can enter heaven only through Christianity. Thus it is a strange situation where according to Durga Saptashati, Mahishasura found heaven; according to Christian theology he rots in hellfire.

The adherents of Durga view the war-episodes described in Durga Saptashati as allegorical. The asuras to them were not people, still less representative of any race, but ideas and states of mind. There is not a single mantra used in Durga Puja that has any racial bearing whatsoever. No worshipper of Durga would begrudge the asuras remembering their legendary king Mahishasura. They have their freedom of belief not merely under the Constitution of India but also in Hindu view of life.

There is actually a statue of Mahishasura at Chamunda Hills, Mysore (Karnataka). But that freedom does not extend to those who wish to hijack the practice for political ends. The fear of God — to use the Christian phraseology — must be put in their hearts in no uncertain terms.

Denying Mother Theresa’s Mission in India

Sri Mohan Bhagwat of RSS addressed a function in village Bajhera, 8 kilometers from Bharatpur in Rajasthan where he inaugurated ‘Mahila Sadan’ and ‘Sishu Bal Grah’ an NGO for helpless women and children. Speaking on the concept of service in Bharat, he talked about how service is to be done expecting nothing in return . He lauded the service of the volunteers of Mahila Sadan & Sishu Bal Grah who were delivering yeomen service. He compared this with the Christian missionaries like Mother Theresa whose agenda of service has a religious mission. Read full text

This was enough to set the English TV channels questioning the “secular” credentials of Bhagwat. After all, how can one question on the service of Mother Theresa – they said ?

But, the point that most people miss is that Theresa herself was very clear about her mission. It is the gullible convent educated Hindus who  distilled the religious overtones of her work and broadcasted to the other Hindus that her service was without any religious goals.  In fact this is an insult to Mother Theresa herself !  Her life was devoted for spreading the message of Christ and denying her that objective is denying the purpose for which she lived.  The following interview clearly shows the true nature of her work which from her perspective was indeed to spread the message of Jesus to the whole of India.

This is an excerpt of one of the last interviews with Mother Teresa conducted by Edward W. Desmond in 1989 for Time magazine. Excerpts from the interview appeared in Time magazine and the full text of the interview appeared in The National Catholic Register

Time: What’s your greatest hope here in India?

Mother Teresa: To give Jesus to all.

Time: But you do not evangelize in the conventional sense of the term.

Mother Teresa: I’m evangelizing by my works of love.

Time: Is that the best way?

Mother Teresa: For us, yes. For somebody else, something else. I’m evangelizing the way God wants me to. Jesus said go and preach to all the nations. We are now in so many nations preaching the Gospel by our works of love. “By the love that you have for one another will they know you are my disciples.” That’s the preaching that we are doing, and I think that is more real.

Full Interview


Few More links

 Huffington Post Review on Mother Teresa

First Post on Mohan Bhagwat and Mother Teresa

Christopher Hitchins Video on Teresa

Mother Teresa and Bhopal Tragedy

Theresa fasting for Dalit Christian Reservation

Fanatic, Fraudulent Theresa