The story of Budhiya offers insight to see the malaise prevalent in church system
"A Hindi Novel 'Budhiya, Ek Satyakatha', by P. B. Lomeo, brings to light the evils within the four walls of Indian Church System. The story narrates how life of a Pandavani Actor Budhiya turned miserable after getting into the fold of Christianity."
Church leaders always remain cautious to allegations of conversion and especially when it involves fraud, deceit and greed. They out rightly reject such allegations. People who make such allegations are told to present proof.
“Budhiya-Ek Satyakatha”(Budhiya-A true story) has been authored by P.B Lomeo, resident of Jhansi, and noted Christian thinker and the novel exposes Christian priests. This is not a fiction but a reality and message encrypted on the grounds of truth. It offers church to adopt some reform measures to change the situation. The novel requests church to take positive view of the issues raised in the novel.
This is perhaps the first novel of its kind in north India written on heated issue of conversion and imperialistic thinking of church. There are scores of books, novels and stories on pathetic status of Dalit within Brahminical framework but nobody has tried to gauze the status of the class being discriminated and tortured under fore walls of church system.
This short novel is also story of millions of converted Christians who adopted Christianity and rejected their original Hindu faith in the hope of better life and respect. But, their conditions have worsened and priests are exploiting them even more.
This is the story of Budhiya who is Pandavani actor who reaches Padlikpur Mission station and here he comes in contact of priests. In order to help these deprived souls these priests open their doors. They offer Budhiya and their people oil, milk, powder, imported American soap, paneer, butter, rice and wheat.
And, precisely from here bad luck of Pandavani actors starts. Christian priests convert them into their faith and settle them in Judpur-Jhansi. This is the agriculture farm village of Catholics. This is situated seven kilometers north-east of Jhansi. Pandavani playing family becomes slave from actor and their fall starts.
Pandavani was more a local form of singing and dancing cultural drama. But, times changed and Tijanbai popularized this art at international level. Everybody knows Tijanbai but hardly anyone aware of Budhiya who is from same land. She was as much skilled in Pandavani art form as Tijanbai. Had they were not converted into Christianity their fate would have been different. Author is also a character in the novel. He, himself, has been tormented by the church system. His friends show cowardice and don't support him in his battle.
Author has tried to reveal the truth in interesting plots of the story. He has hardly hit the class discrimination in Church. He has not spared nuns and fathers who are using every trick of the trade.
Religion never teaches to practice evil. But, both good and bad things have entered in the religious system over time and people have put blind eye to these evils. Budhiya-Ek Satyakatha will give you the insight to see those evils.
[Reviewer R L Francis is the President of Poor Christian Liberation Movement]
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First Published 2012