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The S.C. finally took cognizance of religious conversions

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G Indira
G Indira
Author of the book: The India I Know and of Hinduism. Ex-Publications in -charge Pragna Bharati Organisation, Hyderabad. Academician and free-lancer

‘Forced religious conversion may pose a danger to national security and impinge on the religious freedom of citizens, the top court had said recently and asked the Centre to step in and make sincere efforts to tackle the “very serious” issue. This warning by the supreme court is a corrective step for the society though came belatedly. The apex court also had warned a “very difficult situation” will emerge if proselytization through deception, allurement and intimidation is not stopped.’— it is heartening to note that the S.C has taken cognizance of the situation prevailing. Religious conversions in India mainly target the majority religion i.e. Hinduism.

Mostly, in the western countries, the number of people attending the church have dwindled. The latest census shows the number of people who call themselves Christians are less. This is at one level by taking up humanism more than religion in those countries. Hence, whatever funds the evangelical groups are getting in the developed nations, are all siphoned off to poor third world nations to convert the poor masses in them.

With the lure of money, many change their religion but not out of any spiritual consciousness/ awareness in choosing one over the other. The converts, by and large, have neither the wisdom to judge on religious matters at the spiritual level nor the mental framework to do so. Specially, in the southern states of India, these conversions have been taking place since ages on allurement to increase their fold by the evangelical groups.

Goa is a textbook example for Portuguese Christian missionary conversion. The missionaries called themselves “a civilizing force” and for them the Indian masses were pagans (idol worshippers), hence barbaric and uncivilized. However, this kind of jargon is not used, overtly, by the missionaries now, but they say, they are converting to elevate the “social status” of the downtrodden, as Hinduism is caste-ridden and hierarchical. Christianity and Islam have been branded by our secularists as “egalitarian i.e. everyone is treated equally” religions.

Eventually, after converting by the inducement of money and brainwashing of equality in status, they seek reservations in education and in all places of work, citing that they are “lower castes” among the minority religions also. After converting into “casteless” religions/society, how could they seek for reservations on the basis of caste? Since castes are specific to Hindu society, all Hindu Scheduled Castes get reservation as per the 1950 Presidential Order. By converting into a minority religion, the converts get minority privileges. In that case, seeking reservations on the basis of caste would not be fair.

The Congress party with its appeasement policy of minorities turned a blind-eye on religious conversions. They should be reminded of what Gandhi ji once stated on religious conversions. He said, “This proselytization will mean no peace in the world. Religion is a very personal matter. We should be living the life according to our lights, share the best with one another, thus adding to the sum total of human effort to reach God.”

The missionary work in Africa is interesting. All native pagan religions in Africa are well-subsumed into a single Christian faith. According to Jomo Kenyatta: “When the missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the missionaries had the Bible. They taught us to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them –they had the land and we had the Bible.” Even in independent India, the missionary work goes unabated just because India is a secular country.

“Incidents are reported every week throughout the country where conversion is done by intimidating, threatening, deceivingly luring through gifts and monetary benefits and also by using black magic, superstition, miracles but Centre and States have not taken stringent steps to stop this menace,” said the plea filed, of late, through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey.

Hope the BJP government would draw a curtain to these wrong practices of conversions, which are dubiously done on proselytizing missions. Freedom of Religion guaranteed in the Constitution of India should not be misused or abused.

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G Indira
G Indira
Author of the book: The India I Know and of Hinduism. Ex-Publications in -charge Pragna Bharati Organisation, Hyderabad. Academician and free-lancer
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