Christianisation of Chennai Doordarshan's Podhigai Channel

  • By Thamizhchelvan
  • April 7, 2010
  • 16257 views

Money, mission and missionaries
Canadian Evangelist Dr. Ron Watts and his American wife Dorothy Watts, missionaries of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, came to India on tourist visa in the 1970s and established an evangelical empire in Hosur on the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border and indulged in heavy conversion activities throughout South India. As their illegal activities got exposed over a period of time, the State Government ordered the Dharmapuri District Collector to deport them.
A deportation order against Dr. Ron Watts dated 05/09/2003 Letter No: 3608/A1/2003-1 was given by Smt R. Vasantha, B.A., Under Secretary to Government, Public (Foreigners) Department, Secretariat, Chennai-600 009, addressed to the Collector of Dharmapuri and received by the collector on 12 Sept, 2003. But by then, they made a heavy harvest in South India, especially later by utilizing the “Joshua Project 2000” conceived and sanctioned by the US government under George Bush.

Along with Maranatha Volunteers International, American organizations like Bible for the World, Common Global Ministries Board and United Church Board of World Ministries worked in coordination with Ron Watts. Organizations such as Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Konrad Adenauer Foundation and World Vision helped in grabbing lands and getting political support.

India based evangelists like Paul Dinakaran and Sadhu Chellappa and many others also get millions of dollars from countries like US, UK and Germany. The funds received per annum have gone up from Rs.1865 crores to Rs. 12990 crores within a period of 12 years, from 1993-94 to 2006-07. Foreign contributions have increased by more than 100% since UPA came to power.

Tamil Nadu, which was getting on an average of Rs.700 crores, started getting Rs.2000 crores since UPA came to power. Crores of rupees are being spent in each and every district of Tamil Nadu to plant crosses, build churches and harvest souls. As these are the official figures provided by the government, one can imagine the unofficial foreign money flowing into this country. (Ref: Ref. 1 and Ref. 2 and http://www.mha.nic.in/fcra.htm). In such a scenario, Podhigai’s impact will be mind boggling, facilitating a heavy harvest for the evangelists.

Impact of private media
We are aware of the private media’s bias against Hindus and its attempts to de-Hinduise this nation. From a deep analysis of the media and its functioning, we can infer a fundamentally important issue.

In our country, the majority of colleges and educational institutions which run courses on Journalism, Visual Communications, Media Management and Mass Communication are Christian. Most teachers, lecturers and professors of these institutions are either Christians or Leftists. Even Hindu students studying in these institutions become ‘secularists’ over a period of time. Thousands of students who come out of these institutions join the print and electronic media houses across the country. The names of Editors, Columnists, Sub-Editors, Correspondents and important reporters show that more than 90% of them are minorities, leftists, secularists and rationalists. No wonder the output from these media houses is blatantly anti-Hindu!

If government broadcasters also join these private players, the outcome is anybody’s guess. On the one hand the private players spew Hindu hatred and on the other hand government players support preaching by minority communities, ultimately leading to de-Hinduisation and a heavy ‘harvest’.

Podhigai shamed and snubbed by evangelists
Although media houses vie with each other to denigrate Hinduism, they don’t shy away from brazenly using the Ithihasas and Puranas to produce and air serials for money and TRP rating. They shamelessly fall at the feet of Hindus by telecasting live the many festivals like Vaikunda Ekadasi, Shivratri, Krishna Jayanthi, and Temple consecrations, etc. When Podhigai wanted to telecast a Hindu festival live, it was insulted by an evangelical organization.

The channel wanted to show live telecast of the last Vaikunda Ekadasi festival event in Srirangam Ranganathaswamy Temple and Chennai Parthasarathy Swamy Temple simultaneously from early morning up to 6.30 am. Since the evangelical organization refused to adjust its timing for that particular day, Podhigai had to stop the live telecast abruptly at 5.30 am to facilitate airing of the evangelical program ‘Victory Today’.

Podhigai against Constitution
As per the Constitution, India is a secular country. As Akashvani and Doordarshan are public broadcasters, their bias towards a particular religion is violation of the Constitution. There is nothing wrong in telecasting religiously important festivals to showcase the culture and tradition of a community. India is known for its ancient and timeless civilisational ethos. The magnificent temples are symbols of our cultural heritage. They showcase our cultural magnificence through their architectural beauty and sculptural splendour.

Just because a 60-year-old Constitution says ‘India is secular’, it doesn’t lose its Hindu identity or Hinduness. The Constitution terms our nation as ‘secular’ only for the purpose of governance and administration and not for changing the cultural ethos. There cannot be a second opinion to the fact that India is a Hindu nation with a Hindu culture. Therefore, Doordarshan and Akashvani are duty bound to broadcast all important Hindu festivals which impart religious and cultural values to viewers and listeners.

Christianity and Islam are revealed religions, brought to India by alien people. They are not religions of this soil. Their culture and tradition are totally different and alien to us. In spite of that, it is legitimate to broadcast their important festivals as a part of secular administration, as a considerable number of Islamic and Christian converts are citizens of this land.

But festivals are one thing; preaching is different. What Podhigai does is deliberate preaching of Christianity, and besides, it allows such programs to insult the nation’s culture, tradition and Gods. In a secular country, public broadcasters indulging in preaching a particular minority religion and insulting the faith of the country’s majority community amounts to a clear violation of the Constitution.

Podhigai violates the law of the land
Both Akashvani and Doordarshan are supposed to follow the “Program Code”. (Click here). By allowing evangelical programs, Podhigai has violated important sections of the Program Code. For example, it hurts religious sentiments and threatens National Integration by criticising Vigraha worship and addressing non-Christians as ‘sinners’ through the evangelical programs.
Podhigai has also violated the “Prasar Bharati (Indian Broadcasting Corporation) Act 1990” (click here). This Act clearly lays down norms for the functioning of public broadcasters like Akashvani and Doordarshan. Podhigai has violated some of them by allowing the evangelical programs.  

Indifference shown by the department
As a journalist I shot off an e-mail to Ms. Aruna Sharma, Director General of Doordarshan, with copies to Ms. Ambika Soni, Minister of Information & Broadcasting, Dr. Jegathrakshagan, Minister of  State, I&B, Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Mr. Arun Jaitley, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Saba, BJP President Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Senior BJP Leader Mr. L.K. Advani, Mr. B.S. Lalli, CEO Prasar Bharati, Mr. Ashok Jeilkhani, R. Venkateswarulu and Smt. Usha Bhasin (All Deputy Director Generals, Doordarshan). The letter dated 22 March 2010 gives complete details and requests the authorities to kindly investigate the serious matter and take appropriate action as per norms. I requested them to save Chennai Doordarshan from becoming a mouthpiece of Christianity and reinstate Vande Mataram, so that it remains patriotic. I requested an acknowledgement and assurance from the authorities that they would take immediate action. Till the time of writing this article, they had not responded. 

It is understood that Minister of State for I & B Dr. Jegathrakshagan reprimanded the Chennai team in a meeting of senior officials in New Delhi for allowing evangelical programs. He is believed to have asked, “When all denominations of Christianity have their own channels exclusively for evangelization and preaching, why do you allow them in Podhigai?” But he seems not to have taken any action to stop them either!

Conclusion
We cannot allow this indifferent attitude of the ministry and department to linger. If one channel functions without protest, the whole of Doordarshan and Akashvani would soon become official channels of Christianity. I urge readers to register their protests by sending mails to the concerned ministers and senior officials. Doordarshan must oblige.

The author is a freelancer

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