WORLD VISION: Christian NGO engaged in culture murder not social service – V.K. Shashikumar

V.K. ShashikumarThe author, S.K. Shashikumar, is a noted investigative journalist for Tehelka. This article was prepared by him for IBNLive.com (the online arm of CNN-IBN, owned and funded by affiliates of the Southern Baptist Church in the US) under the title “Preparing for the Harvest”, which IBNLive so far has not published as it exposes World Vision’s Christian missionary activities in India. Donors to World Vision India – Rs 256 crores collected in 2008 – believe it to be the premier NGO working in India for the upliftment of the poor and downtrodden. In fact it is the premier Christian missionary organisation working in India for the harvesting of souls for Jesus. Since the killing of Swami Lakshmanananda and the resultant communal violence in Orissa in August 2008, World Vision’s funding and missionary activities have come under the scanner of the Home Ministry in New Delhi. – Editor

World Vision Header

World Vision bibles for slum children.World Vision’s focus is children and community development. It is involved in more than 162 projects in 25 states. It projects its community development programmes as “holistic development”. This is implemented through Area Development Programmes (ADP). Each ADP works in an area that is contiguous geographically, economically or ethnically. These programmes provide access to clean drinking water, healthcare, education and setting up of income generating projects. But infused with such development works is the spiritual component – Bible classes. World Vision, the world’s largest Christian church mission agency, has traditionally been closely linked with successive American governments. The former US Ambassador for International Religious Freedoms, Dr Robert Seiple, was World Vision chief for 11 years till 1998 when he was picked by former president, Bill Clinton, to head the office of International Religious Freedom. Around the period when Seiple was the president of World Vision, its vice-president from 1993 to 1998 was Andrew S. Natsios. He is now the administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). For more than 40 years, USAID has been the leading government agency providing economic and humanitarian assistance to developing countries.

USAID logoIn India, World Vision projects itself as a “Christian relief and development agency with more than 40 years experience in working with the poorest of the poor in India without respect to race, region, religion, gender or caste.” However, Tehelka has in its possession US-based World Vision Inc.’s financial statement filed before the Internal Revenue Service, wherein, it is classified as a Christian church ministry. In any case, its mission statement is self-explanatory:

“World Vision is an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in working with the poor and oppressed, to promote human transformation, seek justice and bear witness to the Good News of the Kingdom of God.”

Though World Vision has consultative status with UNESCO and partnerships with UN agencies like UNICEF, WHO, UNHCR and ILO, the fact is that its financial records reveal that it has funded evangelical activities all over the world including India. World Vision uses its international clout and its close links with the US government through USAID to network with governments and corporate entities in the developing world.

World Vision has an ongoing channel of interaction with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII); in its 2003 financial report it states that “the Rural Development Department of the Government of Assam recognized World Vision India as a leading development agency in the state and has recommended that World Vision be the choice for receiving bilateral funds. The government has also sought World Vision’s assistance in creating a proposal for US$ 80 million for development work in the state.”

Dr Jayakumar Christian, National Director, World Vision India, Chennai. The income and expenditure account for the year ended September 30, 2002 shows that its total income was Rs 95.5 crores, which included foreign contribution of Rs 87.8 crores. For an organisation that claims to be only involved in development and relief work, it is quite secretive about its positioning and exact nature of activities. When approached by Tehelka as part of its undercover operation for an interview, World Vision India’s national director, Dr Jayakumar Christian, after having agreed to the interview backed out because he wanted copies of the fictitious Christian magazine that Tehelka claimed to be representing.

However, what goes unnoticed by the governments and the corporate world is World Vision India’s evangelical missions as part of its development agenda. Proselytisation (conversion of faith) is an integral part of its provision of development services under its much-touted ADP programmes. Though none of the literature published by World Vision India even mentions its evangelisation missions, foreign publications of World Vision India proudly proclaim its “spiritual” component.

Take, for instance, World Vision New Zealand’s report (4 September 2002) on the funding of ADP in Dahod, Gujarat. Under the head, “spiritual development” the report states:

“Held a vacation Bible school for 150 children from different villages. The children participated in games, Bible quizzes, drama and other activities. Organised a one-day spiritual retreat for 40 young people and a children’s Christmas party. Each of Dahod’s 45 villages chose five needy children to attend the party.” In Dumaria, Banka district, eastern Bihar, “the ADP supports local churches by running leadership-training courses for pastors and church leaders.”

What has an Area Development Programme (ADP) got to do with running leadership training courses for pastors and church leaders? Incidentally, World Vision New Zealand funds ADP programmes in the tribal pockets of India. The New Zealand Government’s Voluntary Agencies Support Scheme (VASS) jointly fund the two-year project, the NZ government matching World Vision contributions on a 2:1 basis. There are many other instances of evangelical programmes run by World Vision India.

Swami Laxmanananda: World Vision leader and Congress MP Radhakant Nayak implicated in his murder.

In the Gajapati ADP, situated in Gumma Block of Orissa’s Gajapati district, a World Vision report admits that “Canadian missionaries have worked in the area for just over 50 years and today 85-90 percent of the community is Christian. However, local church leaders had little understanding of the importance of their role in community development. ADP staff build relationships with these leaders to improve church co-operation and participation in development initiatives.” Here World Vision organised two training camps for local church leaders in holistic development.

Sonia Gandhi & WV India Head Radhakant NayakIn Mayurbhanj, again in Orissa, World Vision regularly organises spiritual development programmes as part of its ADP package. The World Vision report says: “Opposition to Christian workers and organisations flares up occasionally in this area, generally from those with vested interests in tribal people remaining illiterate and powerless. World Vision supports local churches by organising leadership courses for pastors and church leaders.”

In India World Vision is active in Bhil tribal areas and openly admits its evangelical intentions: “The Bhil people worship ancestral spirits but also celebrate all the Hindu festivals. Their superstitions about evil spirits make them suspicious of change, which hinders community development. ADP staff live among the Bhil people they work with, gaining the villagers’ trust and showing their Christian love for the people by their actions and commitment.”

George Bush & JesusThis being the case it is not surprising that World Vision India was honoured with the 2003 Mahatma Gandhi Award for Social Justice. This award is hosted by the All India Christian Council. Incidentally, Joseph D’Souza who was AICC’s President [John Dayal is Secretary] during that year also heads an evangelical network, Operation Mobilisation, in India. Operation Mobilisation, again, is an American missionary organisation. It was founded by George Verwer and today is a global ministry “committed to working in partnership with churches and other Christian organisations for the purpose of World mission.”

References

  1. Tehelka Archives
  2. Tehelka Archives
  3. Vigil On-Line
  • Video: Iain Buchanan’s expose of World Vision and similar Christian NGOs. Click here.

Somebody should bell the cat!

By Dr. Mrs. Hilda Raja

Lady Professor IconI know about World Vision personally because many of my students were recruited to work in it. But invariably at the interview the question which they asked is about “evangelisation”. Even a friend of mine who had applied for a chartered accountant post in response to an advertisement, was asked not of his professional and knowledge skills but about evangelisation. He came home and shared this with me and wanted to know if World Vision was a purely a development organization or one for evangelisation. Poor fellow does not know that development is the cover up for its evangelisation.

At a public meeting I raised this issue in Chennai. I had even responded to Mani Shankar Iyer who stated that to his knowledge there is not a single Christian development agency involved in evangelisation. I reacted to that by citing the case of World Vision. It was published in the papers. I can cite quite a few examples. World Vision will not recruit a single non-Christian, no matter the competence. They will not even recruit a Catholic because they do not trust the Catholics.

They once offered one of my Catholic students a job provided she leaves the Catholic church and joins in a Protestant church. She did convert because she was in dire need of a job for financial support. Two Brahmins were converted to the Protestant church and placed in high official positions.

In fact World Vision looks out for Brahmin converts to make them show pieces. These head the various departments which is highly remunerative. This is my own micro-level first hand knowledge. So what will it be on the all India level?

World Vision has a narrow, myopic vision of the world where their main agenda is evangelisation. The government of India must be aware of it. I have been always advocating for a ban on foreign funds. China, France and so many countries will not tolerate what India not only tolerates but even abets. The fight against terrorism will be futile unless and until foreign funds for “development” are monitored and banned.

» Dr. Mrs. Hilda Raja is a retired professor of social sciences from Stella Maris College, Chennai (Madras). She is Roman  Catholic by religion and an outspoken critic of religious conversion as it is practiced by Christian missionaries in India.

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6 Responses

  1. Who killed Swami Lakshmanananda? – P. Krishnakumar in Kandhamal – Rediff.com – August 28, 2008

    “There is a high possibility that this is the handiwork of militant Christian outfits. How they got such sophisticated weapons is something for the government to figure out,” said Sahu.

    Not the Maoists, everyone except some senior state government authorities maintain.

    Even the top brass of the state police say it is improbable that Maoists were responsible for the murder of the Swami and four others at his remote ashram in Orissa’s Kandhamal district on Saturday night. A senior state police officer said the modus operandi of the murders do not provide substantial evidence that the Maoists may be involved.

    Here are the facts of the murder after preliminary investigations:

    1 – On Saturday, the ashram was celebrating Janmashtami, when around dinner time, a group of 30-40 armed assailants surrounded the place.

    2 – Eyewitnesses said about four of the assailants carried AK-47s and many others had country made revolvers.

    3 – Two of the four home guards stationed for security had gone to eat and only two of them were guarding the premises.

    4 – The assailants tied down the two guards, and gagged them.

    5 – They then sought out the Swamiji within the premises and opened fire on him.

    6 – The recovered bullets show they were from an AK-47, the police said.

    7 – The assailants then warned the guards not to raise an alarm and fled the scene.

    Within minutes of the reaching the crime scene, the district authorities made a statement saying it was suspected Maoists who killed the Swami.

    “Isn’t it far fetched? District authorities blaming a particular outfit within minutes of arriving at a crime scene?” asked Ashok Sahu, a retired IPS officer, who specialises in left wing extremism.

    There are two reasons given as to why the state could have taken the Maoist line. The first is obvious, observers say.

    “In December 2007, the area witnesses some of the bloodiest violence Orissa has even seen after the Swami was attacked by Christians. The state might have wanted to avert a repeat of the communal clashes and therefore could have pinned the blame on the Maoists,” one of them said.

    Sahu said there could be more to the government’s action than this.

    “Elections are coming in a matter of months. The state has failed miserably in tackling the Maoist insurgency. A government that has been terrorised by the Maoists may in turn be trying to terrorise the people in the name of the Maoists” he said.

    Why are so many people ready to debunk the government’s Maoist attack theory so readily? The main reason is modus operandi of the execution.

    “The central committee authorises the killings and the outfit issues statements owning up to the murders they commit. So many days after the murder, there has been no statement from the Maoists,” a senior police officer said.

    Sahu points out the following: “The five attackers who the locals caught and handed over to the police are not Maoists. They are from the region.

    “Moreover, I see no reason why the Maoists will spare the policemen on duty. They would have killed them. Then, there are the leaflets that were thrown around the ashram in a very amateurish way. The Maoists are very organised. If somebody is carrying an AK-47 he must be at least a commander. And if there are four commanders to marshal the mob, there wouldn’t have been indiscriminate firing like what we saw. And last but not the least, I have never heard or seen Maoists wear masks and hoods.

    “They see themselves as revolutionaries. They never care about whether they are seen or not. In fact, I would say, they would very much want to be seen,” Sahu said.

    Then, the most important question? Did the Swami’s activities in the jungle in any way make him an enemy of the Maoists? “Chances are very less. He was working for the welfare of the tribal people and against forced conversions in the region. There is nothing that suggests the Maoists would see him as a class enemy,” a senior officer said.

    A local outfit, the Hindu Jagran Manch said the Swami had mentioned to an office bearer that some Maoists had joined him in a program he had organsied for the tribal people. “One day last year, I was talking to the Swami on phone, and that time there was a lot of concern about his security. So, he said, don’t you people worry. The Maoists are not a threat to me. In fact some of them are here with me,” said Lakshmikanth Das, an officer bearer of the HJM.

    But do these factors clearly rule out the role of the Maoists? It is tricky, say many experts who have been following left wing extremism. “The best way this could be phrased is: ‘We do not rule out the involvement of the Maoists’.” Sahu said.

    There are many reasons why the experts are undecided. “After the December 2007 clashes, even the Hindu outfits agreed that the Maoists are working in tandem with militant Christian outfits,”

    Sahu agreed: “A lot of Maoists were converts to Christianity and were involved in the December violence. But this attack does not look like their work,” Sahu said.

    The Maoists have long claimed that most of Orissa falls under the ‘liberated zone’. Kandhamal district with its desnse forest cover is a haven for them. In fact, the police had claimed that the recent attack on a police party in Nayagarh, where the Maoists dealt a spectacular blow to the Orissa police, was planned and coordinated from Kandhamal.

    If not the Maoists, who could have killed the Swami? The needle of suspicion swings towards the militant Christian outfits. “Let’s face it, said Sahu, “even in times when the Maoist-militant Christian nexus was a possibility, there were numerous attacks and attempts on the Swami’s life.”

    “There is a high possibility that this is the handiwork of militant Christian outfits. How they got such sophisticated weapons is something for the government to figure out,” said Sahu.

    “The government’s responsibility to bring those responsible to book increases when you take into account the fact that the Swami received an anonymous threat only a week before he was killed. The local SP did not even register a case after the Swami lodged a formal complaint. They have to answer a lot of questions or this issue will snowball into a bigger issue than the December violence,” Das concluded.

    The onus now rests on the government, which has been boxed in from almost all sides.

    It has been shown up with regards to tackling Maoists, with consecutive attacks. It’s inadequacy in putting a lid on communal tension in Kandhamal have been exposed by the on-going violence in the district. And with elections looming, how it tackles the current crisis will go a long way in deciding its political future.

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  2. Which part of what world vision is doing according to this very article is wrong?

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    • The answer to your question is contained in the article.

      World Vision is destroying the village culture by proselytising and converting the children with their Bible classes. This nefarious activity is hidden in their social work. Christian missionary activity no matter how low key is an attack on basic human rights and leaves a trail of broken home behind it. Because Christians follow a prophet and believe something he is said to have said, does not give them the right to invade the society of non-Christians and induce helpless villagers and their children to accept their silly foreign superstitions.

      If World Vision was sincere, it would be teaching the village children and the elders the Ramayana not the Bible. The Bible is totally foreign to the environ and culture they are working within. There is nothing spiritual in it. It is simply a cult object Christians have attached themselves to because of the funny and occasionally lewd stories within!

      Will World Vision teach the village children that the famous Noah of Noah’s Ark was raped by his two sons when he was drunk?

      World Vision like other Christian missionary outfits is engaged in the cultural genocide of the Hindus. This has political implications too. There is reason to believe that World Vision is connected to the murder of Swami Lakshmananda in Odisha. Throughout history Christian missionaries have always employed violence to get their own way. The end justifies the means is their motto. But what is the Christian end we don’t know as it is all hearsay and empire-building fantasy.

      It is a known fact that World Vision is part of the US intelligence gathering apparatus. Therefore it is a threat to national security.

      Christians want to rule the world. So do Muslims. We Hindus and Buddhists are caught between these two asuric powers to our misfortune and dismay.

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  3. There is no two ways about it — Hindus who donate to World Vision are traitors to their own culture and civilization.

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  4. I constantly spent my half an hour to read this web site’s articles daily along with a cup of coffee.

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  5. Read ORISSA IN THE CROSSFIRE: KANDHAMAL BURNING by Brannon Parker. Get the free download at: http://www.lulu.com/product/file-download/orissa-in-the-crossfire-kandhamal-burning/6046402
    The blurb reads: “Orissa in the Crossfire’ provides many vital details related to the Hindu-Christian violence that has swept Orissa’s Kandhamal district. The book also highlights the history of Orissa and its tribes. While many have familiarized themselves with the propaganda that has fictionalized the events surrounding the Kandhamal crisis, few have had access to the facts. The true history of Kandhamal and the struggles of its people deserve a fair hearing in the court of public opinion. Is the Kandha religion sinister or sacred? Are they bloodthirsty savages or a people of a noble and ancient heritage? Can the tribes people of Kandhamal rise up out of their undeserved shame and be seen for who they really are? Long labeled as ‘a cruel human sacrificing tribe of ruthless savages’ it is time the truth be revealed. It is time for the world to learn about the Kandha ‘God of Light’ and their Culture of Life.

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