Saturday, December 13, 2014

On the Re-conversion Game

Some RSS-affiliates created a flutter in (what else?) the Rajya Sabha this week when they converted a number of Muslim and Christian people in western UP "back" to Hinduism. If the liberal left is to be believed, this is a gross attack on India's secular character, the idea of India and other things such. Unfortunately, it is a well-known fact all over the country that Christian evangelical groups, backed by groups in North America, as well as Muslim groups backed by their gulf oil lords continue, even today, to convert Hindus, not voluntarily, but largely through taking advantage of their poverty and ignorance.

There are two separate issues here, not including the religious validity of converting anyone to Hinduism (like Judaism, you can only be born into Hinduism. The grey area here is whether you can be born into it, leave, and come back, even between generations). The first issue is about using inducements for conversion. Without a doubt, it is wrong. While people do and should have a right to choose their own religion, to use force of any kind, monetary or otherwise, to make them change it is wrong. This is not just for these lunatic Sangh Parivar-related groups indulging in this laughable display but also for, and in fact more so for, Christian evangelical groups and Muslim groups. Their activities are against freedom of religion in India as a whole.

The second aspect is the political fallout of this. Predictably, the so-called secular parties that have time and again used minorities as votebanks (so much so that the Congress party has just about been reduced to a modern version of the Muslim League, it's old rival before Partition) and their reaction in this case is no less. When Hindus are converted, it is a matter of freedom; when Christians or Muslims are 'converted back,' it is somehow a danger to the so-called idea of India (a phrase that has been thoroughly abused by now). Obviously, when Venkaiah Naidu suggested that all religious conversions be banned, they backed off because it would hurt their own votebank.

The politics of religion has divided the country for too long. Muslims have been left to bite the dust to defend so-called secularism (and loot in its name) while Hindus have been badly divided and the caste system has been made more entrenched than it was when it was outlawed. These problems will not be solved by pseudo-secular parties nor by religious groups that bring hatred wherever they go. It is hopes then that the Modi sarkar will simply ignore this silly issue (and as a law and order issue, it is with the UP state government). The Opposition, still unable to reconcile to the BJP's majority in the Lok Sabha, has turned the Rajya Sabha into a free-for-all to break the back of this government. They must not be allowed to win. 

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