The lie in Uttar Pradesh’s anti-conversion law

If Jehangir and Omar are a gang running a religious conversions’ racket, then why aren’t Ramakrishna Mission, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Mahabodhi Society of India, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and Bible Society of India labelled so? asks Kanwal Bharti

Religions and religious conversions are two sides of the same coin. As long as there are religions, there will be conversions, too. Religious conversions will end only when religions themselves disappear from the face of this earth. But the stand of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – the self-appointed custodians of the Hindu religion – on this issue is baffling, to say the least. The oppression and exploitation of and discrimination against Dalits by the Hindus and the practice of untouchability do not perturb them. But Dalits switching to any other religion rankles them to no end. In Premchand’s story Saubhagya Ke Kode, Raisahab frees Nathua, a Dalit child, from the clutches of a Christian and keeps him as a servant at his home, with food leftovers as wages. Premchand writes, “He is not bothered that Nathua would be able to acquire an education in the mission and live a comfortable life. He only wants him to continue to be a Hindu. He considers the leftovers from his home more sacred than the food provided by the mission. Cleaning the rooms of his house is better than studying in the mission’s school. He should remain a Hindu, no matter what his condition. Once he becomes a Christian, he would be lost forever.”

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