Forced Conversion: the untold truths
What is however is not being debated at all in the mainstream media is that if any forced conversion is taking place in India, it is the conversion of Muslims to Hinduism. In most cases, such conversions take place under compulsion or as a result of lucrative offers. To make it look technically correct considering the fact that Hinduism does not permit conversion, the term “Re-conversion” is used.
Dr Javed Jamil
If the media reports and the statements emanating from the Hindutva brigade are believed, it would appear that conversion in India is a one way affair, with Hindus converting to Islam. Whatever the reasons of the conversion, the picture which is presented for public consumption is of a large-scale conspiracy, most likely a part of the global effort, aimed at converting Hindus to Islam so that the demography of the country tilts in favour of Muslims. ”Love Jihad”, they seem to argue, is the latest in a series of the methods used for the purpose. The idea that even if any conversion to Islam is taking place in the country, it is not only very low in magnitude but is also voluntary in most cases is conveniently forgotten. Even the conversions as a result of love marriages are mostly voluntary if not by heart, the reason being that most of Muslim boys do not like to flout its religious position, which disallows marriages with polytheists. Fallen in love, girls prefer to marry even if it means abandoning their religion. This is among many compromises that the couples make in order to marry one another.
What is however is not being debated at all in the mainstream media is that if any forced conversion is taking place in India, it is the conversion of Muslims to Hinduism. In most cases, such conversions take place under compulsion or as a result of lucrative offers. To make it look technically correct considering the fact that Hinduism does not permit conversion, the term “Re-conversion” is used. The way things are looking, Re-conversion can soon become a national campaign. If one surfs the Internet, one will easily find such news items on the websites dedicated to Hinduism. A report entitled, “More than 5500 Christians and Muslims returned to Hinduism in UP” says:
“A Great News from the heart land of Uttar Pradesh. Thousands of converted Hindus have been opted again their faith of their forefathers and returned to Hinduism again.
“On the eve of Christmas there was a hue and cry that the saffron brigade of RSS (Rashtriya Swamsevak Sangha), VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad), Bahrag Dal, Arya Samaj and Hindu Yuva Vahini would march forward to accept and assimilate their own brothers and sisters who shifted out of faith decades back in a spell of blunder and within an fraudulent ambit of allurement of the evangelical groups or the repressive Islamic elements empowered with inhumane forces.
“On the very 25th Dec this year 2013, more than five thousand people returned to Hinduism and said goodbye to Christianity in a vast area of Uttar Pradesh in the localities of Agra, Aligarh, Kasganj, Bareilly, Badaun, Bijnor, Shahjahanpur, Mainpuri and Firojabad.
“The highest re-conversion (Suddhi) in Aligarh, where 2000 Christian became Hindus, was held by Dhrama Jagran Samiti, a specific unit of VHP to make special efforts to sensitize the sense of Dharma in the marginal Hindus in any vulnerable condition, likely to be grabbed by the evangelic elements or other vicious elements like Zakir Naik .
“Chanting of Vedic mantras, purification with Ganga Water, wearing of sacred threads and sacrifice to the fire God were the prime rituals that had helped the aspirants to get an warm entry to Hinduism once gain and for ever. Most of the people who took the refuge of Hinduism in these programmes, told that they went to another faith by allurements and embraced Christianity . Seven Muslims in Shahjahanpur also adopted Hinduism.
“Upon a complaint, details of conversion in Bijnor, the administration is trying to get exact numbers of such ‘returned to home’ (gar wapsi). From a source it is known that more than five hundred families (1600 people) became Hindu again. These people are mainly hailed from Malkan Rajput and belonging to Jat Muslim clan.
“Mayor of Agra Town, Sri Indrajit Arya was also present in the program. In the ceremony held at Saraswati Vidya Mandir at Kasganj, 350 families (about 1,000 people) and Firojabad 66 families (200 people) rejected Christianity and returned to their traditional faith Hinduism once again.
“Prominent RSS , Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Hindu Vahini, Arya Samaj and Bajrang Dal leaders and the saints of Hindu organizations were present in these religious programmes. In Bareilly, six hundred people embraced Hinduism. Swami Yaswashi Arya of Arya Samaj sprinkled the holy Ganges water to the aspirants and initiated them with sacred thread (Yajna-Upaveetam).
“With chanting of Veda mantra and offering sacrifice in fire the converted Hindus in dilemma, strongly returned back in Hinduism with full dignity and assurance of the Hindus society in every respect. In the programme of Draupadi Devi Inter College campus in Badaun, some 918 people of two hundred and twenty families were accepted Hinduism again by rejecting Christian hegemony and discrimination in such ‘homecoming’ program.
“Various Hindu organisations have declared to extend their utmost support for providing the free education, health and rehabilitation for these brothers and sisters came to their own fold of faith almost a decade after”.
“Earlier, some 325 Muslim members of 150 families of Eta, Farukhabad, Pilbhit, Kashganj, Mainpuri, Bareilly and Badaun were assembled in Eta Arsha Gurukul, where they were reconverted into Hindu Dharma again in presence of Jagadguru Swami Rajrajeswaram of Badrinath Dham. The Swami initiated all the aspirants in the Hindu Dhrama without discriminating any caste or creed.
“Saikh Jabbar of Farukhabad and Mohammad Rauf of Pilvit told that they had a very low position in Muslim society as their forefathers went to Muslim community from a poor section of Hindu society.
“Though some Hindi media like Aaj Tak and Jagran highlighted this news of huge mass re-conversion in Hinduism, the English media (both print and electronic) skipped the same in a very strange manner.”
The long report is enough to indicate the scale of conversion, the active involvement of Hindu organizations in the exercise, open programmes of conversion in big gatherings and the lure of better worldly life and opportunities. There is also a visible expression of excitement, happiness and aggression. .
There is another report which tells how Hindutva activists created horrible conditions for a family that converted to Islam resulting in the “Ghar waapasi”:
“Four men of a family who were arrested on Wednesday in Madhya Pradesh's Shivpuri for converting to Islam have done a U-turn. On Thursday, hours after being released by the police, they embraced Hinduism at a local temple in presence of Bajrang Dal activists.
”Religious conversions are allowed in the state only if they are not forced. The people converting have to declare that it is voluntary and seek the state's permission. This was what the men - Tularam Jatav, his son Keshav and relatives Maniram and Makhubhai Jatav - had apparently failed to do when they converted to Islam nine months ago.
”So on Tuesday, these four men accompanied seven of their family members who wanted to convert to Islam to the district magistrate to seek his approval, but activists from Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad protested and tried to convince the family to give up the idea. A day later, they again took their relatives to the magistrate but were arrested and booked under Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act 1968.
”Seven other family members, including three women, were detained for questioning. If found guilty, the men would have been sent to jail for two years.
”On Thursday, the police, without disclosing any information, let off the four arrested men on bail and the seven detained. The Jatavs reached their village in Thaniyadana area, offered their prayers at a local temple and after a "shuddhikaran" or purification ceremony, again adopted Hinduism.
"I feel I am happy to return back to my religion. We had converted earlier to Islam as we were being discriminated, whereas in Islam, everyone is treated equally. But now that the family and relatives convinced me, I have re-converted," said Maniram.
”Local Bajrang Dal leader Manoj Kumar said, "These people were misled and now they have come back to their own religion. We are happy to welcome them back."
”The VHP and Bajrang Dal are both part of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-led pro-Hindu conglomerate that includes the state's ruling BJP.”
Yogi Sikand, a social scientist who converted to Islam several years back and married a Muslim girl later, has also written on the subject, and has described how certain communities like Rajputs and Jats, particularly in Rajasthan and Haryana, are vulnerable to the efforts of the Hindutva organisations. These communities living in the midst of a dominant and aggressive Hindu majority find hard to resist the pressures built on them by Hindutva forces. Once back in the Hindu fold, they are offered lucrative jobs and other supports. The numbers of such conversions, according to the writer, are large.
The Hindutva ideologues and political leaders are busy proving that the number of Muslim boys marrying Hindu girls is much greater than the number of Hindu boys marrying Muslim girls. This may be true. But the reasons are not what they are trying to prove. If Muslim boys are marrying Hindu girls, the reason is simply that Muslim boys come into contact with greater number of Hindu girls than Muslim. In my college, King George’s Medical College, Lucknow, for example, there were 9 Muslim boys in my batch out of a total number of 170 students. There were around 40 girls, with only 2 being Muslims. If none of my Muslim batch mates happened to marry a Hindu girl, it was not because they did not get the opportunity. If they had chosen, at least some of them would have easily married Hindu class fellows. But they preferred to marry within their own religion on account of the obvious reasons.
Not only Hindu girls are more in number, they tend to be more open to love marriages. Muslim families resist love marriages more than Hindus. Majority of Muslims also tend to have stronger religious convictions than majority of Hindus. Moreover, love marriages with Muslim boys more often than not are solemnised without any dowry, and this may be one of the reasons why Hindu parents tend to accept these marriages.
As far as the issue of converting to Islam is concerned, I know many Hindu men and women who have converted to Islam without a love affair. Most of them had to face serious threats from the Hindutva activists. I know some Hindus who did not convert to Islam despite the fact that they loved it just because of the social complications it created. The truth is that if any Hindu is accepting Islam in India, this is not due to any pressure from Muslims but despite the pressure by Hindu organisations and families against converting.
Muslims have already clarified in no uncertain terms that if there are any cases of fraudulent marriages involving Muslims, they do not support them and all these cases must be dealt with in accordance with the law of the country. This is another matter that many laws relating to such marriages need to be revisited. Fraudulent marriages are increasingly becoming the order of the day in the country, and an overwhelming majority of these marriages has nothing to do with religion or caste.
The conversion for the sake of allurements like money and under compulsion has no place in Islam. Such “Muslims” are no Muslims in the sight of God. But it appears that conversions from Islam to Hinduism for similar reasons are openly relished by the Hindutva lobbies. The campaigns against “Love Jihad” and “forced conversion to Islam” are only aimed at justifying their own sinister plans for the future. They have no love for their religious principles; they are only interested in dominating the country through consolidation of Hindus on the plank of hatred. Mercifully for the country, the true Hindus who love their religion are too many to let these forces prosper for long. But the dangers loom large on the solidarity of the nation.
* Dr Javed Jamil is India based thinker and writer with over a dozen books including his latest, “Muslims Most Civilised, Yet Not Enough” and “Muslim Vision of Secular India: Destination & Road-map”. Other works include “The Devil of Economic Fundamentalism”, “The Essence of the Divine Verses”, “The Killer Sex”, “Islam means Peace” and “Rediscovering the Universe”. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 91-8130340339. For his shayri visit http://urduyouthforum.org/shayari/poet-Dr-Javed-Jamil.html