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I live in an area of Mumbai that has a large Christian population. As far as I know, most of them are Catholics.

I have mentioned that I have difficulty walking, and use a cane. This has led to a few interesting encounters.

One morning I was going to the bank when a young man ran up to me and asked me whether I would come to see his father. He told me his name- an obviously Christian one. I asked him the reason for this and he replied, “My father is a healer and he will definitely cure you.” I asked him whether his father was a doctor.

No, it seems that his father was a faith healer, and I would be cured by him ‘just by touch’.

I declined the offer.
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A few months ago, I was buying vegetables in the market where I go every few days. As I was selecting potatoes and onions from the cart of my usual Batatewala, a lady stopped to talk with the vendor’s wife who was there that day. “You have not brought anyone new for prayers, in two weeks.” she said. The vendor’s wife launched into a lengthy explanation about how she was very busy.

Yes,” the lady agreed”But this is God’s work. It is even more important.”

This particular Batatewala and his family had converted to Christianity a few years ago. Seems they were expected to bring more people ‘into the fold’!

The next week when I went there again he hesitatingly asked me “Bhabhiji, you have more trouble walking nowadays, don’t you?” I agreed.

“Then why don’t you come with us for Sunday prayers at …. Church. You will definitely be cured.” I politely declined but he persisted- “Please come just once, if you don’t feel better, don’t come again”

I finally told him that I was a confirmed Hindu and would never be anything else. So he dropped the subject.
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Last month’s encounter was a weird one. About once a week, after he goes to work, my husband sends our driver back home with the car, so I can do some shopping.

That day I had bought some things at my last ‘stop’ and was coming back to the car, when a young man with a cross dangling from a chain around his neck, stopped me. He started telling me about some religious ‘healer’ who would cure me. I told him- ‘no thanks’, and started to walk on.

He insisted that I come to the weekly prayer meeting they held, where this ‘healer’ did his stuff. When I still declined, he caught my hand and kept on trying to convince me. By this time I was quite tired, but I jerked my hand free.

Our driver had noticed that something was wrong, and he got out of the car and hurried towards me. Seeing him, the man left.
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The Indian Constitution certainly allows people of any religion to propagate their faith. I can understand that if followers think that theirs is the only religion capable of ‘saving souls’, they will feel that more and more people should embrace it.

However, I wonder that while safeguarding the rights of religious followers to proselytise, the Constitution did not think to protect the right of an individual not to ‘be proselytised’!

Perhaps I am over-reacting. But I do not appreciate having ‘faith’ thrust upon me by complete strangers!

I do not appreciate being regarded as a number to complete the quota of new people my Batatewala needs to take to prayer meeting, to stay in the good books of his church.

I also do not appreciate the implication that since I am not in good health, I would be emotionally weak enough to fall prey to their ‘persuasions’.

I do not know the meaning of these incidents that I’ve just described. I do not know whether to take them at face value, or whether there were some deeper intentions behind them.

These were just small incidents, and I probably should be able to look at them objectively. But I am finding it very difficult to do so.

I would like to know the opinions of my blogger friends about this.
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