‘They use ​money to promote Christianity’: Nepal’s battle for souls

Source: The Guardian

Ram Maya Sunar had two miscarriages. Then she had a daughter, who died of pneumonia when she was one. “My second child died from tuberculosis at just six months. I’m still haunted by it,” Sunar says, sitting outside her concrete block hut in the village of Thakaldanda, in southern Nepal’s Makwanpur district.

When she became pregnant again, Sunar sought out an unlikely remedy. Rather than call the local shamans, as she had done before, she joined a church.

The 35-year-old, a Hindu, converted to Christianity and gave birth to a healthy daughter, and later a son. “They are my gifts from God,” she says.

It is a story repeated across Thakaldanda, a village of about 50 households. “There’s a church here, and another church there, and another over there,” says Kajiman BK, who converted to Christianity after surviving an unknown disease.

Ram Maya Sunar became a Christian after her two children died
 Ram Maya Sunar became a Christian after her two children died

It is not just survival stories that Sunar and Kajiman have in common. They are also Dalits (formerly “untouchables”), members of the lowest Hindu caste, who continue to suffer discrimination and abuse.

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