Nobody—including me—perhaps knows who Baba Madhavdas was. Suffice to say that he was akin to the countless millions of Sadhus and Babas who dot the sacred geography of Bharatavarsha who do no “productive” work but without who Bharatavarsha will lapse and descend into India. I first read about Baba Madhavdas in Sita Ram Goel’s book on the Niyogi Committee Report on Christian conversions. And immediately bowed my head in reverence to this unpaid, poor, old and ailing monk from some remote village in (undivided) Andhra Pradesh who led a solitary battle against the fatcat Christian soul vultures who continue to have a free run in Bharatavarsha and who continue to tear the Hindu society apart chipping it away bit by parasitical bit.
In the summer of 1982, the “aged and visibly ailing” Baba Madhavdas walked to the office of Sita Ram Goel’s iconic Voice of India publications office in the squalid streets of Ansari Road, Daryaganj. He motivation to seek out and meet Sita Ram Goel: he had read the chapter titled, ‘Residue of Christianism’ in Goel’s book, Hindu Society under Seige. Baba Madhavdas thought Goel was “the guy he was looking for.”
With meagre resources, no income and almost no livelihood, Baba Madhavdas had dedicated his entire life to studying, observing, and learning about the activities, tactics, techniques, and methods of missionary soul vultures and the havoc they continued to wreak upon devout Hindus and the so-called tribals. Baba Madhavdas began his spirited and patient endeavor a few years after India attained independence. He was especially alarmed after he noticed that Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru recklessly, proudly opened the gates of Bharatavarsha to enable the missionary vandals of Hindu souls to sow the seeds of their Jesus cult across India with full state support if not collusion.
Baba Madhavdas decided to fight it. Alone. He begged for small amounts of money from those Hindus who saw value in his effort and tirelessly toured remote and tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam and painstakingly documented his firsthand observations of missionary machinations, deceit and other skullduggery to hawk the wares of the imperialist cult of Christ. It was the work of a lifetime.
In 1956, the Madhya Pradesh Government headed by Pandit Ravishankar Shukla—father of Sanjay Gandhi stooge V.C. Shukla, a hitman of the Emergency—published what came to be known as the Niyogi Committee Report. Its full title was Report of the Christian Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee Madhya Pradesh, 1956, published in two volumes under the chairmanship of Dr. M. Bhawani Shankar Niyogi, a retired Chief Justice of the Nagpur High Court. In my limited studies, this remains perhaps the only comprehensive report of missionary activities of such a nature.
In the same year, Sita Ram Goel had filed his nomination papers as a Jana Sangh candidate from the Shahdol Lok Sabha constituency. The present MP is Mr. Gyan Singh, from the BJP.
Baba Madhavdas was elated. The Report was an “official” vindication of sorts of his own personal observations of the missionary machinations and menace. He again begged for money and bought several copies of the Niyogi Committee Report and presented them to the leaders of the Arya Samaj, Jana Sangh, the Hindu Mahasabha, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and other small and big Hindu organisations and people. His only appeal to them: to help mobilise public opinion against the wanton spread of the cancer called the Christian cult which had historically annihilated entire civilisations. In the eventual hope that the Indian state would ban Christian conversions, which continue to be fueled by foreign funds.
But the largely apathetic and suicidal Hindu society turned a deaf ear to his appeals. Baba Madhavdas was undaunted. Because the Niyogi Committee Report was so voluminous, he painstakingly prepared summaries both in English and Hindi and began handing out copies of the summaries free of charge to anyone who cared.
Although the Congress Governments of Madhya Pradesh and Odisha passed the Freedom of Religion Acts in 1967 and 1968 respectively, outlawing Christian conversions, the law remained a mere paper tiger thanks to the corrupt police system and the even more corrupt and tardy judiciary.
But Baba Madhavdas continued his solitary quest seeking out sympathetic and understanding Hindus, begging for resources, educating people, and feeling a tiny bolt of joy when he spotted genuine hope. And so, fifteen years later, when he landed in Sita Ram Goel’s office and placed copies of the Niyogi Committee Report’s summary in Hindi and English and Goel bought them, he “brightened.” And revealed the following truth to a shocked Goel: the missionaries moved swiftly as soon as the Madhya Pradesh Government published the Niyogi Committee Report. They purchased all available copies of the Report from Government shops and destroyed them. They used their octopus-like tentacles and made sure that copies of the Report in libraries were either removed or borrowed never to be returned.
Sita Ram Goel promised Baba Madhavdas that he would reprint the full Niyogi Committee Report as soon as the publications wing of Voice of India began. He fulfilled his promise first in 1989 by publishing the summary in his classic, History of Hindu-Christian Encounters. And later (re)published the full report titled Vindicated by Time: The Niyogi Committee Report On Christian Missionary Activities published in 1997. The title of the work was suggested by Arun Shourie.
Sita Ram Goel narrates the parting words of Baba Madhavdas who said he was a
“tired old man, sick in body and disillusioned in mind, and wanted to retire to Vrindavana so that he could die in peace. He wanted me to do him a favour – take the few hundred copies of the summary he had left with him.”
These are forgotten, unsung, true heroes whose debt Hindu samaj can perhaps never repay.
Postscript: If you know of similar heroes, savants, etc please send in their stories to The Dharma Dispatch through email.