Indian Catholic News

Mother Mary’s tribal image irks locals

It is seen as a tactic to convert the Sarna tribals into Christianity.

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The statue Mother Mary in a red border sari and holding Jesus Christ in a way tribal women of Jharkhand hold their babies, by tying them to a white cloth, has created trouble in Ranhi, with some seeing it as a tactic to convert tribals.

A procession was taken out by the members of the Sarna society against the statue on Monday. The statue was unveiled by Cardinal Telesphor P Toppo in a church at Singpur village in Dhurwa recently.

"Anybody can wear a white sari with red border but making Mother Marry wear it seems to be a tactic to convert the Sarna tribals into Christianity. Mother Mary was a foreigner and showing her as a tribal woman is definitely not correct," said Bandhan Tigga, dharmguru (priest) of Sarna society.

The Sarnas worship Mother Nature or Maa Sarna.

Tigga said the Christians are trying to establish Mother Mary as Maa Sarna to confuse the people of Sarna society.

"Red border means a lot in Sarna dharm. Our women wear white sari with red border during auspicious times. If the idol of Mother Mary is shown in the getup of a tribal woman then 100 years from now people will think that Mother Mary was a tribal from Jharkhand," he said.

Sarna society is demanding the removal of that particular statue.

"We do not want any kind of conflict between the two communities. All we want is that either the statue should be removed or the attire should be changed so that Mother Mary doesn't look like a tribal woman. If it is not done then we will intensify the protest," Tigga said.

While talking to a section of media a week ago, Cardinal Telesphor P Toppo, (who is now in Rome) said the controversy is a result of politics.

"It is a policy of divide and rule. Elections are coming up and there are some people who are acting to get advantage. They want a conflict between Christians and non-Christians," he said.

The Cardinal also said they (tribal Christians) have equal rights on the sari with red border like the Sarna community.

"Who are we to convert anybody to Christianity? L K Advani studied from a Christian missionary school but did he convert? Even Jairam Ramesh studied at St Xavier's School Doranda but he did not convert," the cardinal asked.

"We are tribals by birth but we chose to convert. There is no difference between us and the Sarnas," he added.

Source: times of india

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