Conversion:  Not a Fundamental Right

published on December 23, 2014

Muslims and Christians in India are all converts from Hinduism. When Arabs invaded Sindh in 8th century, first conversion from Hinduism to Islam was done by force. The conquerer gave the choice of death or conversion to Islam. That was the beginning of the forced conversions in India. Subsequent Muslim invaders up to Babur and later Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah Abdali also converted thousands of the defeated soldiers into Islam by force and the latter had no choice. Later, the Muslim rulers, the zealots of them, started converting civilians by inducements and rewards; because, they wanted a large number of committed, loyal soldiers and administrators for continuing their rule. In every country conquered by Islam, within 50 years of conquest, the whole people were converted into Islam. And their language was finished; their culture and dress traditions were changed. But  India is such a vast country that the whole lot of people could not be converted. Killing everybody was impossible. Not even every inducement could get people to convert to Islam. Even the so-called untouchables and low-caste Hindus did not convert into Islam because their belief in the faith of their forefathers for millennia was too strong to reject any inducement and even humiliation.

2. The faith of Hindus  and their protectors, the Sikhs was so great  that  they would  be prepared to be  tortured to death  but not convert to Islam.  The fifth  Sikh Guru, Arjun Dev for refusal to convert was put to death by torture on orders of Jahangir. The Guru was seated on a hot iron plate whilst burning sand was poured over him . He was immersed in near-boiling water as well and  eventually, drowned in the River Ravi.

Similarly Guru Teg Bahadur was brought in chains in a cage to Delhi on Aurangzeb’s orders.  He was tortured  because he did not  agree for conversion. His message to Aurangzeb was simple: “The Prophet of Mecca who founded your  religion could not  impose one  religion on the  world, so how can you?  It is not  God’s will”.  Of his three disciples oen was sawn into two, the second was boiled to death in a cauldron, and the third was burnt alive and finally the Guru was publicly beheaded.

 These memories and other barbarian acts are not erased from the memory of  Bharatiyas. That is why  they don’t convert to Islam.
 
3. Some Muslim rulers imposed taxes like Zizia on Hindus not willing to convert. In this vast land, the rulers had to have a population which will produce food, goods and services to sustain the empire. That is why, unlike in other countries conquered by Islam, the people in India remained Hindus to the extent of  over 80 per cent even after 800-year long Muslim rule here and there.

4. Having failed to convert majority of Hindus into Islam, the Muslim invaders  and rulers resorted to loot and brutality, besides destruction of thousands of temples and the conversion of some of them into mosques, examples of which are mosques at the  temple sites of Keshav Dev ( i.e Krishna ) in Mathura, Shiva in Varanasi, Rama in Ayodhya, Ujjain, Rajahmundry etc. The wives of the defeated and dead soldiers were taken into harems, their children were sold in  the slave bazars of Baghdad. The conversion of Hindus into Islam is going on still but only in small numbers for reasons like Love Jihad. Intention of some people to have second and third wives also make them convert to Islam as was evident from the way a minister in Haryana converted to Islam only to take a second wife.

5. A Christian  mission came to India during the rule of Jahangir. Later on, during the Portuguese conquest of Goa, there were forced conversions of Hindus into Christianity. Hundreds of temples were razed. Like in Portugal and Spain, there was even Inquisition against heretics. They were burnt at the stake as had happened in Europe. In British India, during East India Company’s rule before 1858, Christian missionaries were helped by the company in conversions of Dalits with promise of social uplift and prosperity. It was this proselytization which was the main reason for 1857 rebellion. After 1857, the administration of India was taken over from the company by Queen Victoria and she became the Empress of India and her progeny became the Emperors. The British government desisted from directly helping missionaries in their conversion activity. By the time the British left India after 190 years of rule, the Christian converts in India constituted not more than 2.0 per cent.

Since Independence, especially during the last 10 years of UPA rule, there were huge efforts of Christian missionaries to convert  tribals, Dalits and the poor among  Hindus. The ruling Congress, in the name of Secularism, started wooing the minorities for votes. Regional parties have been competing with the Congress for minority votes. While the Constitution guaranteed the right to practise and propagate any religion, it is being wrongly interpreted as the right to conversion. The Supreme Court had ruled that the right to propagate religion does not confer the right to convert but the so-called secular parties have turned a blind eye to conversions with an eye on minority votes.

6. Year after year, thousands of crores of rupees had been coming from abroad through NGOs associated with missionaries only to effect conversions.  Project Joshua  evolved by a conference of various denominations and  Churches at the turn of the 20th century decided, among other things  to plant  churches within cycling distance (10 kmts) first, then within walking  distance ( 5 kmts) and finally within hearing  distance  that is,  in multi storied  residential  complexes, of villages and  towns.  

7.  In Andhra Pradesh alone, 50,000 Churches were constructed in the last ten years. The missionaries  are prevailing upon  converts to practise a fraud namely,  not to declare the fact of conversion so that  they can continue to avail of the    reservations  and welfare measures  meant for SCs and  poor BCs.  The fraud is  evident from   the unbelievable decline in the  proportion  of the  Christian population  in Andhra Pradesh as  enumerated in the  Census of India, decade after decade. While the  number of Churches most of them  constructed illegally and many with government  money, funnelled through the  Andhra Pradesh  State Christian   Minority Finance Corporation which is funded by the  budget, increased enormously,   the census recorded the proportion of  Christians in A.P as   4.19  in 1971; 2.68  in 1981;   1.83 in 1991 and 1.44  in 2001 .

8. In the  Holy town of Tirupati alone there are  375  Churches of which   only 45 are  ascertained to have had permissions . The rest are all illegal  constructions.   Of late,  in the  wake  of  a Muslim  organisation constructing a multimillion dollar, seven  storey  International Islamic  University  and a Women’s Arabic College on the path  leading up to  Tirumala Hills,  Hindus took to  streets protesting against the inaction of the authorities and operation of the  300 and  odd illegal Churches.

9.  Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh  and even A.P made laws against conversion by fraud, force ad inveiglement but they were never implemented.  Securing Hindus within their Dharma and  resistance to conversion aggression by Christian missionaries is the  task not merely of individuals, but of the  institution of temples  with their  man and money resources.  It is necessary that management of temples be liberated from  governments and handed over to Hindu institutions so that they can educate Hindus and prevent them from falling prey to false propaganda and  inducements.  It is deplorable discrimination against Hindus  that their  temples are  managed by government and  not churches and mosques. It should not be that Christians and Muslims have  the right and freedom to  convert but  that Hindus  should not convert Christians and Muslims.  All must have equal rights in regard to practice, profession  and propagation of religions and Dharma  (the  indigenous Hinduism , Sikhism, Buddhism and  Jainism).  Alternatively, government should enact law banning all conversions and see that it is enforced strictly

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