India Bible Mistranslation Causes Problems


Mistranslations of the Bible have long caused concerns.

Now there was been an unusual one in India:

Translated bible rocks Jharkhand assembly

Thaindian News – Sept 23, 2008
(IANS) –  Controversial lines in a translated version of the Bible in Jharkhand rocked the state assembly Tuesday, leading to an assurance by the government that the book would be recalled.
Chandresh Oraon, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator, moved the motion to stop work in the assembly Tuesday and demanded a debate on the lines in the translated Bible that call for destroying tribals’ places of worship.

The book in Kuduk language, one of the main tribal languages in Jharkhand, has been brought out by the Bible Society of India (BSI).

The translated version reportedly says: “Destroy the trees and Sarna (tribals’ worship places).”

“BSI has done a criminal act by publishing such derogatory remarks in the translated Bible. This is a conspiracy against the tribal society.

“We seek a probe and action against the society for publishing the book which hurt the sentiments of the tribal,” said Oraon.

The BJP tribal legislators came in the well of the house and shouted slogans like “Stop hurting tribal sentiments”.

Inder Singh Namdhari, former assembly speaker and independent legislator, said: “No one has the right to hurt the sentiment of any religion. Government should take suitable action on the issue.”

Deputy Chief Minister Stephen Marandi said: “We admit the fault. Wrong translation of Bible has been done by BSI.

“The state government will recall the translated version of the book and take suitable action against the publisher,” he added.

Marandi, however, did not clarify what action would be taken against the publishers.

The BJP legislators were not satisfied with the reply and they shouted slogans. They demanded action against the publisher.

The Congress legislators alleged that the BJP was politicising the issue.

A deep resentment is prevailing among the tribal scholars on the issue.

Tribal scholars demanded suitable action against the publishers. “The Christian missionaries have no right to hurt the sentiment of the tribal people. The issue could take a volatile shape if such things take place,” said Karma Oraon, a tribal scholar.

On Monday, 11 tribals were arrested in Ranchi for trying to burn the copies of the Bible.

Less than a year back, another book published by the society had insulted a local freedom fighter. The issue was also raised in the state assembly.

The above seems to be an extremely odd translation.  Apparently the translator was trying to make his/her own discriminatory “point”.

The only verse that the KJV uses the expression “destroy the trees” says not to do it:

When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees (Deuteronomy 20:19; KJV).

Mistranslations of the Bible and other early writings have affected how many view Christianity.

Several articles of possibly related interest may include:

Another Look at the Didache, Ignatius, and the Sabbath Did Ignatius write against the Sabbath and for Sunday? What about the Didache? What does the actual Greek reveal?
Is Revelation 1:10 talking about Sunday or the Day of the Lord? Most Protestant scholars say Sunday is the Lord’s Day, but is that what the Bible teaches?
India, Its Biblical Past and Future: Any Witness? The Bible discusses the origins of those of Indian heritage and discusses some of the witness to them.

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