Wednesday, June 23, 2021
HomeEditorialReligious freedom in India is a fundamental right

Religious freedom in India is a fundamental right

The issue of conversion of some Muslims in Agra rocked the House and also social networks. Opposition members created uproar by demanding instantaneous debate on the matter, which they said could have grave concerns like causing riots. India is a secular country, even though conversation was biggest problem here. Poor Hindu tribes were converted to Christianity and during Mughal regime, Hindus were converted to Islam. Christian missionaries often convert people by offering incentives of job, money, housing and education. Many uneducated parents are promised great futures for their children if they convert and send their children to the missionary schools. Sexual / physical abuse by these missionaries is well known and internationally documented.

Religious conversion has a long past. History shows that people had to adopt the religion of their rulers. That’s how, Buddhism spread during the time of Ashoka, and Islam during the Mughal sovereigns. Those who are converting back to Hinduism would go back to Islam at the right time. We are still living in history; nothing has changed but the agendas. Reconversion of Muslims to Hinduism has actually shocked Muslims and Christians. Hindu activists have shown that they can act in the same way and repay in the same coin. If these reconversions are continued, their number would be reduced to a large extent. In mass conversion, which the Hindu outfit leading the charge called “re-conversion”, the slum dwellers, mostly Bengali Muslim rag pickers, had gone through an elaborate ritual that saw them washing the feet of Hindu gods, putting vermilion marks on their forehead and eating prasad. A “shuddhikaran hawan” (purification ceremony) was held and the Dharma Jagran Samanvay Vibhag, an offshoot of the RSS, and Bajrang Dal, triumphantly called it “purkho ke ghar vapasi” (the return home of our ancestors).

India has been divided into three pieces because a foreign religion (Islam) proved to be a point of contention played upon by foreign invaders (British). Now for modern India to be strong must be collectively rooted in only the traditions of this ancient civilization. Only Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism should be promoted in this country. Self-interested groups in every society and in every stage of mankind development ghettoize and disadvantage fellow human beings. Religious conversion is the adoption of a set of beliefs identified with one particular religious denomination to the exclusion of others. People convert to a different religion for various reasons, including: active conversion by free choice due to a change in beliefs, secondary conversion, deathbed conversion, conversion for convenience and marital conversion, and forced conversion such as conversion by violence or charity.

Every citizen of India has the right to practice and promote their religion peacefully. However, there have been a number of incidents of religious intolerance that resulted in riots and violence. These incidents have been condemned by the government administration, private businesses, and judicial system. Conversion or reaffiliation for convenience is an insincere act. Forced conversion is adoption under duress of a different religion. The converted may secretly retain the previous beliefs and continue, covertly, the practices of the original religion, while outwardly maintaining the norms of the new religion. Over generations, a family forced against their will to convert may wholeheartedly adopt the new religion. Proselytism is the act of attempting to convert by persuasion another individual from a different religion or belief system.

Freedom of faith in India is a fundamental right guaranteed by the country’s Constitution. Modern India came into existence in 1947 as a secular nation and the Indian Constitution’s preamble states that India is a secular state. Freedom of religion is established in tradition as Hinduism does not recognise labels of distinct religions and has no concept of blasphemy or heresy.

To stop this further, there is one solution and that is, all the law makers consistently have to agree for Anti Conversion Law and pass it unanimously. People who are complaining about this are the same ones who were against the banning of conversion activities in India. Conversion should depend on their own will and faith and not for any benefit. One concrete conclusion should be drawn here.

India faces many challenges and unfortunately, the previous regime had run out of ideas and Dr Singh and his Congress party had no viable plan to counter such issues. Now, BJP government and Modi need to be determined and robust to bring about the changes and at the same time, create environment conducive to good governance. India, like every country, needs a sound economic policy and should provide basic necessities to all. On the other hand, framing and implementing the right policies and providing people with hope and aspiration is and should be the objective and guiding principle of every government.

Dr. Vaidehi Taman
Dr. Vaidehi is an Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and an Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. Since 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond the news (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which she caters for her sister-concern Kaizen-India Infosec Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

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