Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Religious Coversion and Our Responsibility.


I have always considered Gandhi to be a left wing liberal. But he was not one in the sense of the current day anti Hindu, anti Indian leftist. He was, it seems, a Hindu to the core. Here are some of his quotes:
“If I had power and could legislate, the first thing I would ban is conversions”
“Surely conversion is a matter between man and his Maker who alone knows his creatures' hearts. A conversion without a clean heart is, in my opinion, a denial of God and Religion. Conversion without cleanliness of heart can only be a matter of sorrow, not joy, to a godly person.”
Gandhi was equally wary of the Church and its missionaries. Writing in Harijan (March 13, 1937) he said: "My fear is that, though Christian friends nowadays do not say or admit it that Hindu religion is untrue, they must harbour in their breast that Hinduism is an error and that Christianity, as they believe it, is the only true religion.
Mahatma Gandhi called religious conversions a fraud on humanity. He wrote: "If I had power and could legislate, I should certainly stop all proselytizing". "I resent the overtures made to Harijans." "Stop all conversion, it is the deadliest poison that ever sapped the fountain of
truth." Poverty doesn't justify conversion. (source: The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi Volume 46. p.110 and Volume 61, p. 46-47 volume 64, p. 37 and 400 New Delhi 1968).


He also considered Christian missionaries as "a clear libel on Indian humanity." (source: "A Repudiation," Young India, 4 March 1926, in Collected Works, vol. 30 (1968), 70).


It was Mahatma Gandhi who characterized religious conversions as "pure commerce".
 
Swami Vivekananda said the following about conversions:
Swami Vivekananda speaking about what damage Christian missionaries have done to India, he says in a lecture reported in the Detroit Free Press (February 21, 1894): "They come to my country and abuse my forefathers, my religion, and everything; they walk near a temple and say 'you idolators, you will go to hell', but they dare not do this to the Mohammedans of India, for the sword will be out but the Hindu is too mild."
 

Swami Vivekananada termed religious conversion as "religious perversion"
 
We therefore have two very different kinds of Indian leaders agreeing on the subject of conversion. To put in mildly, they were against it. My own feeling is that if the missionaries or the Islamic scholars present their case without threat, lies or enticements, then it is fine for them to try to convert Hindus. There are a lot of dalits in India who get brutally discriminated against. Their leaders badger them with quotes from Manu. Their detractors do nothing to keep them into the fold. The dalits should have the right to convert, if Hindus cannot help them. It will be our loss. That is what is known as freedom of choice.
However, in almost all the conversion cases, intimidation, lies and money are part of the process. I read that missionaries in either Orissa or Andhra, told the villagers that let us see whose god is stronger. They threw a stone idol of Hanuman ji and a wooden cross into water. They then told the villagers that the stronger god will float.
They are often on cahoots with local politicians. In Orissa, they were involved in murder of a Hindu leader who was involved with anti conversion movement. When attacked legally, they started to cry wolf and got the Indian government (UPA) and some international bodies involved. In the times of the Tsunami, some missionaries were telling the victims that they will get help only when they convert.
Of course Muslim leaders use money and threat for conversions. They often get creative and use concepts like “love Jihad” for this nefarious purpose.
Muslims and Christians are told that it is their religious duty to try to convert as many people or at least try. I have never met a Muslim or a Christian who has not tried that with me. At the very least they spend time extolling their religions. In that regard, if followers of the ancient religions like Hinduism or Judaism are responsible adults then the followers of Islam and Christianity are like insecure teenagers.
In my view, by converting, a person denies his heritage and essentially accepts that their forefathers were living a lie. It is like the suicide of the soul.
However, extreme conditions make people do extreme things. Mothers sell their children in poverty. If people can go against their animal instincts then what chance does religion have? It is the duty of all the Hindus in India to ensure that all their brother and sisters are treated equally irrespective of their caste or origins. We need to have a law like the American Civil Rights bill where any discrimination is a crime punishable by law. If we cannot ensure equitable treatment to our dalit brothers and sisters, we have not right to complain.
Disgusted by the lax attitude of our pseudo secular government, the Indian Supreme Court has taken it upon themselves to call the practice an “interference in someone’s belief” and have decried the forceful conversion.
Everyone in India needs to get on the same page on the matter. Remember, India is the only home for Hindus. We cannot let that disappear in the sea of pseudo-secularism.

SC decries forceful religious conversionsThe bench of justices P Sathasivam and BS Chauhan observed that there cannot be any justification for interference in someone's belief while decrying forceful conversions. While delivering the verdict in the murder case on Friday the court observed that investigations reveal that Staines was involved in conversions and there are materials to suggest that the missionaries were indulging in forceful conversion in the area.The article can be read at: http://ibnlive.in.com/news/sc-decries-forceful-religious-conversions/141078-3.html
An excellent article which was the source of many of the quotes is:
http://www.cincinnatitemple.com/articles/SocialPoliticsofConversion.pdf
Courtesy : Aam Aadmi /  
http://thenethindu.blogspot.com/2011/01/religious-coversion-and-our.html

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