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Op-Ed

The conversion is a bait

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By EMN Updated: Dec 27, 2014 9:38 pm
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Z. Lohe

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e have regained the lost empire of Delhi after 800 years’ said Ashok Singhal, the patron of VHP. He further stated that ‘we have a government (in Delhi) which is committed to protect Hindutva. Our values will be gradually established in the country’ as read in the papers. In order to claim that India belongs to Hindus alone, the Union Minister of State Smti. Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti asserted that ‘all Muslims and Christians in India are children of Ram’. The RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal and all those associated Hindutsva organisations, taking shelter under BJP Govt., have been aggressively converting Christians in India with force and allurements.The Union Govt. seems to be willing to bring amendment to Art 25 of Indian Constitution. The Hindutva activists seem to be determined to install one nation one religion. Therefore, the modus operandi is to initiate as much controversies and provocations as possible on conversion of Christians and Muslims to Hinduism knowing that hornet’s nest is stirred. As expected, there has been hue and cry in both the Houses of Parliament including voices raised by many in media against such communal activities of BJP and its frontal organisations. When the combined opposition parties raised objections, questioned the BJP Govt. and sought PM’s statement on conversion, BJP ministers took advantage and challenged the opposition as to whether they would support anti-conversion bill as they vehemently opposed conversion when it is tabled by Govt. All what BJP has been dreaming is to bring about a law that bans conversion of a citizen from one religion to another. BJP takes the protest of opposition MPs against conversion of others to Hinduism as an opportunity to push through the anti-conversion bill.
I personally feel that the opposition faces discomfort as sandwiched between two gravitational forces. To remain as mute spectator to the ongoing forcible conversions would be un-secular. Opposing such conversion and to support such anti-conversion law is untenable as such law would be detrimental to secular principle embedded in Art 25 of Indian Constitution. Nevertheless, at this rate, retention of Art 25 is becoming less relevant when it is not honoured by BJP in letter and spirit. After all, what does the Art 25 safeguard when BJP allows its frontal organisations to scrap it conveniently and brutishly. The fate of this Art 25 may be uncertain as BJP, having 282 odd Lok Sabha MPs, is willing to transform India into a theocratic country.
In regard to conversion, Hindu philosophy of conversion is totally different from that of Christians’ belief. As Christian and as nominal as I am, I have never been responsible for a single case of conversion. Yet, I know and I believe that Christians do not believe in the method of conversion either by force or by allurement. Whoever from any background, when converted to Christianity out of coercion cannot be expected to survive stably. Christians do not opt for pampered and parasite members. The Christians propagate the Good News solely out of compassion, and whoever is convinced by the Good News, he becomes one and that on his own volition. Christianity cannot become dormant but it has to remain vibrant for the sake of humanity. Accordingly, propagation of Good News continues and definitely conversion will continue. By conviction he becomes Christian and by the same conviction he will remain so. That is what the Art 25 permits.
Whereas, the Hindu fundamentalists force others to convert to Hinduism through unconstitutional means both by force and enticement. There is no comparison between Christians’ conversion and BJP’s conversion. Yet, I do not believe that those converted will remain loyal to Hinduism in the long run. Those may shift loyalty since they are not convinced by reason but by fear or by material gain.
Therefore, blaming Christian community for having converted Hindus into Christianity and retaliating in such unconstitutional manner can be compared to that of Asop’s story on how the tiger devoured the lamb citing lame excuse.
Christmas: Releasing the BJP agendas in its manifesto during the last Lok Sabha elections, it became obvious that BJP would do this to Christians when voted to power. It is not surprising; therefore, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) directed 25th December would be working day. Indeed, this is the advent of theocracy starting with Christian community in India. BJP is ruling and none can stop it from discriminating the Christians in India even at the cost of violating the Art 25. Now, practically, the PMO’s directive amount to derecognizing the existence of Christianity in India after 67 years of its Independence.
Nevertheless, unlike other religious festivals as Diwali or Durga puja, Christmas is the greatest universal celebration on earth. If BJP and its frontal organisations think that discarding Christmas in India would make Jesus Christ less significant, it is a misnomer. If BJP believes that desecrating Christmas and treating Christians with contempt would discourage people in other religious groups from converting to Christianity, it is misread. If BJP and its frontal organisations are confident that by means of forcible conversions and removal of the red letter day of 25th December from Govt’s Calendar w.e.f. 2014 would wane down the size of Christian population drastically or steadily, it is a misconception. I do not blame BJP for being ignorant of how God Almighty works in the face of such rebellion. God, the Jehovah, hardened the heart of king Pharaoh of Egypt so that the power and majesty of God was exalted through such rigidity.
Declaring 25th December as working day by PMO is a rude shock to all Christians across the globe. Can such parochial and sectarian order enhance the image of India in international arena? PM Modi made much efforts to invite other countries to make investments in India through visits to several countries. Along with it, he tried to build his personal image internationally. Yet, the single action of PMO dented the image built up, and it rather proved him to be the leader of Hindutva than of the country.
I rather believe now that there will be faster growth of Christianity in India as God, the Jehovah has His own way of expanding His kingdom. Till 2014, Christmas was considered as good as any other festival and nothing special with it. By the grace of God, Christmas is made most popular above the rest of all celebrations in India. Salman Rushdie’s book titled ‘Satanic Verses’ would not have become popular had not the Islamic fundamentalist banned it and severely threatened his life. Such uncivilized act of extremist created more curiosity for more people to read the book than expected. Similarly, more Indians will hopefully try to know more about Jesus Christ than before.

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By EMN Updated: Dec 27, 2014 9:38:25 pm