Religious Conversions

Tricks and treats, coercion, threats, manhandling and extermination are the methods by which Christianity and Islam have spread throughout the world. If these tools had not been adopted, neither of the two religions would have ever crossed the territorial boundaries of the Middle East. I always thought Judaism and Hinduism were two religions where that kind of conversion does not feature. It now appears, however, that the differences have dissolved somewhere down the line. Anyone can become a jew, if they so desire. And anyone can become a hindu. The foreigners of the Hare-Krishna cult, I knew, were into the habit of wearing tilaks on their forehead and chanting Sanskrit slokas in their bid to pose as hindus. But it seems religious conversions are no longer limited to the Krishna devotees. For quite some time, India is undergoing a phase of mass conversions where groups of muslims are converting to Hinduism. Are they becoming hindus because they are suddenly attracted to the religion? If indeed they are, then I see no problems therein. If they are being coerced into it, I’ll protest. I have always been voluble against forcing people to do things, anything, in fact. The fact remains that hindu fundamentalists are coercively pressurising muslims to change their religion, and they are converting mostly out of fear. Fear of life exceeds love of religious faith. Consequently, everyone will try to avoid any active threats to their life and living by taking whatever measures he or she can. Greed is another factor: apparently, a lot of money is on offer for conversions. There is already a fund created for this purpose. It is exactly the same methodology adopted by christian missionaries or sufis. Hindus are calling this conversion wave ghar vapasi. Which means a ‘returning to the fold’: in other words, since they were once forced to convert to Islam from Hinduism, now it’s time for the prodigals to return to their home turf safe and sound. I asked a hindu orthodox, “How much time do you think has elapsed before this apparent ‘return’ is taking place?” He kept silent. I added, “About eight hundred years, isn’t it?”

Almost all muslims in India are converts. Lower caste, untouchable, deprived and impoverished hindus converted to Islam either because they were brainswashed or bribed or beaten or attracted by the sufis or out of their hatred of brahminical Hinduism. It’s still going on. In case of a hindu-muslim wedding, the hindu has to convert to Islam. Its opposite, where a muslim embraces Hinduism after marriage, almost never happens. For hundreds of years, hindus have been systematically converted in this subcontinent. Today, when hindu fundamentalists are screaming revenge, and want to reverse the tide of history, the Delhi masnad trembles in the wake of their forceful slogans. Hindus can be converted to muslims or Christians, but none can be converted to Hinduism – this strange discrimination and discrepancy in practice shall no longer be tolerated. Hindus are going about it with a lot of enthusiasm, but, the question is whether it is at all possible for 25 crore muslims to be reconverted. Especially when converting even 25 of them has ended in stirring up a controversy. There is condemnation and criticism all around.

The right to conversion should be universal. Hairstyle, fashion statements, houses, cars, political parties, ideologies, husband, wife – if one has the right to change all of the aforementioned, then why can’t a person change their faith! It’s not such an immovable, insurmountable existential truth that it is deemed irreplaceable. People should be able to change their faith as frequently as they like, whenever they like, to any whichever religion they like. Hindus to muslims, muslims to hindus, Christian to jewish, jewish to mormons, mormons to Jehovah’s witnesses, from thereon to zoroastrian, to bahai to pagan. Anything they wish. Conversion should be part of human rights. Or if they so wish, they should even become atheists, free of all religious shackles. I have been free of religious faith since my childhood. Ideally, no child should be marked by any religious faith since no child is born with any innate religious beliefs. It is riddled with its parents’ faith almost forcefully. Every child is forced into adopting the faith it is born into, and coerced into believing it to be its own. In an ideal scenario, when a child reaches maturity, and acquires an objective knowledge of the religions of the world, along with adequate exposure to humanism or atheism, it should be left to choose which of them it wants to follow. If one has to be a mature adult to adopt ideological or political beliefs, then how is it that one does not require adulthood to adopt a religious faith?

It’s perhaps because religious fanaticism needs blind faith. And children are eminently ideal for such a scenario. Enlightened adults do not get carried away by faith-related fairy tales so very easily. If it actually becomes possible to stop the brainwashing of little children with religious jargon, then the concept of religion itself wouldn’t take very long to disappear.

And now, hindu fundamentalists have taken it upon their righteous selves to follow Islamic fundamentalists to the very last detail. Since muslims are violent, they have to turn aggressive. Since muslims convert kafirs, they need to do the same. Evidently, fundamentalists from all religions are verily the same. They have only one motive, one mantra: to destroy civil society.

News is that an anti-conversion bill is about to be passed. This is taking the whole issue too far. It makes absolutely no sense that human beings, who have the right to change anything about their lives, will be debarred from changing their faith. To imprison a person within the cages of a single religion is exceedingly cruel and unjust. If the Constitution allows for democracy and human rights, then this bill cannot be legally passed. It is inconceivable how fear of extinction of religious orders can drive communities. What power can close the gates on time and evolution? When has it ever worked? Sumerian, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Viking – all the religions that once ruled the planet with pomp – are now dead and dusty. The Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism as we know now – all shall inevitably die some day. I pray to nature that when that finally happens, no other new god, no other high priest comes to plague the planet with new lies, superstitions and tall tales.

Let humanism live. No religion has the power to make a civilisation survive. Only the love and human sympathy of one people for another can achieve that. Freethinking, rational humans with a scientific temperament, unencumbered by superstition, shall eventually save humanity.


  1. says

    Yikes, they want to legislate what religion people follow? How is that supposed to make them morally superior over radical Muslim’s that force people to convert to Islam? It’s absurd, and as you say, has never worked long-term in any society anywhere in the world, ever.

    I also agree that children are not born into any religion, they are force fed faith by the families they are born into. I have long believed that all children should not be allowed to choose any religion, or to reject religion, until they reach an age when they are capable of exploring and understanding what the different religions and atheism offer that appeals to their personal sensibilities and world views. And, of course, to have the right to change their minds as many times as they feel the need throughout their lives.

  2. Anupam Singh says

    It is a fact a religion which was aggressive survived and they are the largest religion in the world whether it is islam or christianity. Religion which was tolerant, non violent, full of compassion became extinct and are on the verge of extinction like zoarostrisnism, egyptian, mesopotamian. Hinduism and judaism survived due to strong opposition. Then it can be said that religious fanaticism and fundamentalism arises for the sake of the survival of religion and its growth. It is root cause of communal disharmony. So again it is mentality which needs to change towards religion. Child should be left with whatever religion they want to choose. This is difficult to achieve as this would weaken their religion like children born to muslim couple should be raised as muslim is mentioned in quran similar is the case with christianity. It is also followed in all other religion. I think world will be better if it is free from religion rather than having freedom of religion. Human rights, womens emancipation, child heathy growth without any brainwashing would be possible if there is no religious practice apart from spiritual practice.

  3. says

    Ur views on conversion are somehow similar to Rajnish Osho.
    I feel that ur thoughts on religion are convincing also bcoz Hinduism is not a religion as per Hindu epics.We call it Sanatana Dharma(sanatana means eternal ) but religion is not appropriate translation of dharma.Dharma is not a group of followers of one god or community.Dharma is the basic character of anything. Like heat is the dharma of fire,coldness is the dharma of ice.Wherever it will go its dharma will not change; same way dharma of human is LOVE,SYMPATHY, FORGIVENESS etc.Don’t teach ur child any religion just inculcate things like kind to nature,mutual balance WD nature n DAT z enough for the existence of human civilization.

  4. says

    “The Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism as we know now – all shall inevitably die some day. I pray to nature that when that finally happens, no other new god, no other high priest comes to plague the planet with new lies, superstitions and tall tales.”
    its not justifiable, Hinduism is surviving from the time before Indus valley civilization, and since then not promoted by missionaries or any propaganda.

    didn’t know about all, but Hinduism will succeed. if it manages to succeed from Muslim and christian tyranny than it can survive anything. and no body is forced to be in Hinduism. Hinduism itself literally means freedom of way of life

  5. says

    Each has a right to be ambitious but there is no easy legal methods to make money quickly. Since primary objective of religion is wise and better living habits and style of human beings, then what is wrong in acceping any religion for sake of money. Moreover, who bother for the religion except visiting religious places and participating religious activities without following the principles. Even most of us do not have time to think about the significance of any religious ritual and rather how could when we have lived whole of our life in managing Roti, Kapra and Makan…or little better living facilities…


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