BJP President Amit Shah’s statement on the Religious conversions is the talk of the news world, for the last two days. In his typical style, Amit Shah made clear his party’s stand on Religious Conversions in India. The stand is : BJP opposes religious conversions and that’s why it wants a law banning the Religious conversions in the country.
Amit Shah may sound authentic to some on the question of Religious Conversions in India. As they may see it as reflecting the reality of religious conversions in India. But unfortunately the perspective Amit Shah wants the country to have is far from the reality. How? as there’s simply no need for a law banning religious conversions in India. Why? As that’s not the function of State. The Constitution of India defines India as a Secular Nation (meaning, no Official Religion of India). The Constitution of India gives religious freedom to the people. That’s all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion. This means the people have the right to profess, practice and propagate any religion of their choice. In simple, this means a person has the freedom to adopt any religious faith as well. Thus India as a Nation dissociates itself from Faith. But as a nation, India is duty bound to ensure one thing: No one coerce or force a person to do something, either illegal or which infringes on his lawful freedom. That’s why what the State is against is : the coercive or forceful religious conversion. If a person migrates to another religion on his own will, then the country has nothing to do with it.
BJP wants to convince people that religious conversion in India is taking place illegally. As these conversations are taking place often through the lure of money and under the garb of doing charity. I’m not saying, lure is not used. It may be. My only question is : Who in this country or World doesn’t use lures to bring people to their faith, club or grouping? Human beings are evolutionary beings, they do keep in mind their growth before doing an act. That act includes the change of Faith as well. Ask yourself: Will a person change his faith or religion, if he sees more unhappiness in his new religion?
That apart, BJP and its propaganda machines want to make Religious Conversions a big issue in India. The numbers point that it’s not an issue at all. Even after Christian Missionaries doing real work in the field of Education and people upliftment; what is the percentage of Christians in India? It’s insignificant compared to Hindus.
That apart, how should one see , BJP’s parent body RSS’s attempts to convert tribals into Vaishnavas? If 80 percent of Hindus living in India, are so much fearful of religious conversions in India; imagine what these tribals would be feeling about the extinctions of their tribal faith, which is very different from Hinduism.
Finally, what is the logic behind a ban on religious conversion, when even a section of Hindus keep adulterating their faiths all the time. Sant Rampal, Baba Ram Rahim, Radha Swami Satsang Beas teach much different from what many see as Hinduism.
History says, the religious conversions in India are not some vicious agenda on the part of Religious missionaries. These conversions have real reasons behind them. For instance, a sizable Dalit community became Buddhists and Christians, as the flagbearers of Hinduism were never ready to allow them equal status. A section of Indians became Christians because Christian missionaries helped them in their upliftment, and even established schools, colleges, hospitals for them and their children.
BJP is still confusing people on the name of religion. Saying that it opposes religious conversions and that’s why it wants a law banning the Religious conversions in the country, means nothing. The Constitution of India has clear stand on it. The Country must not interfere with people’s faith and their freedom to adopt, practice and propagate any. And that’s quite balanced, as a religion is nothing but a way of improving one’s life.
The new Government wants to sound quite credible, by demanding a law on the ban on religious conversions. It may be justifying its demand on the basis of an an article in COI, which says that — Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the State from making any law regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practice. If the new Government wants, then it can make a law banning religious conversions in India. But, if this happens, then India will not remain a democratic country. As coercing a person to take birth and die in the religion of his birth, is equivalent to making him live in a jail, with no escape to better life.