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Muqtedar Khan: “Rampaging religio-nationalists: India playing with fire”

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By Muqtedar Khan, Turkey Agenda

Things have been getting steadily precarious for religious minorities, especially Muslims and Christians since the Hindu religious nationalist party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), came to power in India in May 2014. The Indian Express, one of India’s major newspapers, reported that there were 600 incidents in just ten weeks since the election of Narendra Modi as India’s Prime minister.

There have been several instances of violence against minorities. The first major sign of things to come was when some members of the Hindu Rashtra Sena (Hindu national army) beat a young Muslim IT expert Mohsin Sheikh to death, for allegedly posting an insulting update on social media, within a few days of BJP coming to power. The episode was widely reported in the media and it shocked many in the country. The gruesome act appeared to confirm the fear of religious minorities. With a religious party in power the likelihood of religious extremists getting emboldened and acting with greater impunity seemed to be coming true.

In the past six months there have been several episodes of violence against Christians and Muslims all across the country. The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who comes from a hardcore Hindu right wing organization the RSS, could do more to speak out against such egregious violence and even launch a national campaign against religiously motivated violence, but he is too busy taking a victory lap across the world and trying to consolidate his party’s control over the Indian diaspora which is rich, influential and global.

Violence between religious communities is unfortunately not a new phenomenon as far as India is concerned. What is new however, is the brazen and emboldened actions of Hindu extremists who are now calling for a hundred percent Hindu India, through elimination of centuries old presence of Islam and Christianity. The audacity of this call is breathtaking. They are calling for the conversion of religious minorities, who constitute nearly 200 million, to Hinduism. It’s akin to making the fifth most populous country – Brazil – disappear from the world.

Trying to convert 200 million people maybe a tall order, but it is not deterring the Hindu groups. They have launched their effort in earnest. In a rather troubling development an offshoot of the ruling Hindu nationalist party, BJP, converted nearly 200 Muslims from the poorest segments of the society en masse to Hinduism using coercion and the promise of providing ration cards. Rational cards are a right of all citizens. These people should automatically get those ration cards. But now that Hindu nationalists are in power, the Hindu extremists are able to use the state and its benefits as a religio-political leverage. It’s like Republicans in the United States using social security that should be available to all, regardless of their religion, as an incentive to convert people to Christianity.

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  • Reynardine

    Why not? With so many space cases running things on Earth, space may now be the only place for Earthlings.

  • downwithpants

    Some people convert after meeting that special someone… good ol boom boom conversion

  • mindy1

    yes :))

  • Trimmercastle42

    Can I join you 🙂

  • JS

    What is the point in bribing people to convert? Their hearts are not converting, their stomachs are.

  • Ruhani

    In a way he’s not wrong. There are 200 million Muslims; a small percentage of that Christian, and they’re growing every day. I guess it does make sense people flock to the religions that say the caste system is bullshit. Hell I’d do it for free if a Brahmin told me to continue “doing my duty” as a pissant living in poverty. Seriously, that is the response you’ll get from Hindu priests if you’re lamenting from your impoverished conditions. Drink a little bovine urine, smear bovine crap all over your door, and then pray to a multitude of figurines that you won’t be reborn as a tree in the next life. I’d convert out of a dogma that definitively states that women should stay at home, cook, clean, and let her husband have his way with her.

  • mindy1

    Oh good lord sometimes I wanna join people trying to colonize space… >:(

  • Dimension

    Yet another article somewhat creating the illusion that all is hunky-dory in India. Let me put up this simple sentence: “A real pious, devout Muslim, Hindu, Christian or any other else religious person won’t ever convert in his/her life as it’s not the wont of that person.”
    But this fear psychosis is somewhat gaining currency again since the right-wing govt. of BJP has come into power, readers should know that it was also earlier in power in the past then also the same fear psychosis was tried. However, since the leader of the present PM Narender Modi has been termed having a past history, so the momentum this time is more.
    Now, coming back to the question of conversion, I just want to ask something…When have the conversions really stopped in India or anywhere else mostly?
    This question might seem offensive to some but, you have to realize who’re the people that get converted into another religion. Well, to put that realization into clearer perspective; it’s the poor, the stateless, the tribals, the opportunist who thrives on the doles, sometimes the persecuted and the other times mostly the naive who are just the obvious one likely to jump the ship into another one.
    To project that conversions are going under some Nazi Style camp forcibly is to make deliberate sort of evil projections, there might be some muscle-based coercion but not that huge bullying since, these amount to be completely criminal acts, the kinds of only ISIS or something like that org. can enact and I don’t think we have that sort of organizations flourishing in India as yet.
    Coming back to the conversions past, India has been the fertile ground for originating several religions, not just the Hindu. Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism are the prominent ones. So, naturally one can assume that all these religions flourished since they might have converted some other religion followers to their new-fold.
    Regarding the present times, taking the 18th, 19th and the 20th century time-period, the Christians are the prominent one who does indulged in conversions, the most as the country was under British occupation. However, after the independence, for a more larger period, still the Christians were prominent in conversions exercise but since the advent of oil wealth in the Arabian peninsula, Islamic conversions also gained prominence due to the generous amount of aid/zakat/Islamic finance and liberal help in establishment of Madrasas. Hindu conversion or reconversion is just the new trend coined which got more to do with the advent of right-wing government at the center although, the right-wing Hindu organisations like VHP, RSS did have existed for quite some time.
    Coming to the present hue-n-cry over the conversions, I’m sorry to say that conversions won’t stop whether you wish it against or not, since the target people are the poor, the destitute, the persecuted, the stateless and the opportunist. Thousands of poor people die in boat accidents in their effort to just gain entry into better economy countries; since the poor can embrace even the death just to get a better life then how can you going to stop poor from converting to whatever religion if it gives them even the smallest of crumbs.
    And stop making too much noises about Hindu conversions, every religion in India is indulging in conversion game. Every religion is guilty, no point trying to outdo each other on the name of hypocrisy. Everybody know the price, if you got the money, you got the people (poor) to go for it.

  • moraka

    You must really be stupid to think that lie is going to convince anybody else but your Nazi-reincarnated friends.

  • Ruhani

    Yeah and not to mention all the Hindutva gangs that roamed the streets during Ramadan. A lot of incidences where people were beaten to death if they even smelled like they stepped out of a slaughter house.

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