Christmas In The Time Of Conversion: Cheer Amidst Fear

The Christian community, that represents 2.3% of India’s total population of 1.3 billion, celebrated Christmas with usual cheer and festivity. But, overshadowing the prayer and celebration was the Ghar Vapsi campaign launched by a plethora of Hindu religious groups.

On Dec 20th, Mohan Bhagwat, the head of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, said “The world knows this is my maal,” referring to Muslims and Christians in India. “If I take back my maal, what’s the big deal?” This open endorsement seems to be a clear signal that this trend would continue.

With politicians like Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mr. Venkaiah Naidu, making a case for bringing in an Anti-Conversion Law at the centre in parliament , the fears of religious minorities already anxious after the BJP government came to power have been heightened.

As we captured the Christmas spirit in Mumbai we spoke to leaders of the community to get a sense of how they were responding to the current scenario. We found that while the community was feeling let down and some were even scared, non-Christians celebrated the festival with great gusto – from attending midnight mass to hosting Christmas parties to shopping for gifts.

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