Increasing religious conversions in Punjab – Worrying Trend
Ankur Narula is a Christian pastor based in the Jalandhar city of Punjab. Starting with a handful of followers few years back, his official Facebook page ‘Ankur Narula Ministries’ is now followed by over 440 thousand people and he gives his sermons on a variety of TV channels including Sadhna. His YouTube channel has over half a million subscribers and his videos get tens of thousands of views.
Ankur Narula is not the only pastor promoting the name of Christ in Punjab. Over the past decade, many like him are operating in Punjab. What makes the likes of Ankur peculiar is the fact that they have not changed their original Hindu or Sikh name. This probably helps them to connect with the local population well and yet work as Christian missionary in Punjab.
Christianity is one of the largest growing religions in Punjab. In 2019, the Christian community established the Shiromani Church Prabandhak Committee (SCPC) in line with the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) which is the largest Sikh representative body in the world https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ludhiana/punjab-gets-shiromani-church-parbandhak-committee/articleshow/72152799.cms
Below could be some of the reasons for the surge in religious conversions in Punjab: –
- Poor economic situation;
- Socio-economic inequality within Sikhs and Hindus;
- Separate places of worship for castes and sub-castes;
- Widespread exodus of Sikhs and Hindus to foreign lands within India and overseas
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has been trying to make in-roads within Punjab and re-convert the Christians to Sikhism (and not Hinduism), it has still received the irk of its former political ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). https://www.firstpost.com/india/ghar-wapsi-punjab-rss-returns-christians-sikhism-raises-akali-ire-2001091.html. Is that a reason RSS has received un-fair criticism within India and overseas?
Locally in Canada as well, lot of Punjabi Churches have sprung up in the recent past. Punjabi Masihi Church (http://www.punjabichurch.ca/) has branches in Vancouver, Surrey and Abbotsford.
HTC Views: Practicing a religion or faith is a personal thing and no one must interfere in anyone else’s beliefs. No individual or organization must take advantage of a poor and helpless person’s socio-economic condition to promote their point of view or religion.