Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ghar wapsi: Why the Hindus will never be a minority in India

Only the lower caste have reasons to convert in this country.

POLITICS   |   4-minute read |   19-01-2015

Sohail Hashmi @Dilliwal

There has been a lot of noise on the issue of conversion, the pitch is constantly rising and the gullible are increasingly being told that there is an international conspiracy to reduce the Hindus to a minority in the land of their birth. The ratcheting up of the rhetoric has assumed shriller tones since Nepal, the one country that used to describe itself as a Hindu state decided to drop the sobriquet and chose to declare itself a "secular state". The only people in Nepal who want to go back to being described as a Hindu state are the monarchists and that says something about the relevance of the idea of a denominational state in the 21st century.

All kinds of "histories", in fact more hysterical fulminations than the result of any serious enquiry, are put forward and claims made that Hindus have been enslaved and converted forcefully for a thousand years.

The entire thesis of slavery of the Hindus at the hands of Muslims is a fallacy, primarily because those propounding this thesis have not the foggiest idea of what precisely slavery is and when they club this so-called slavery in the "Muslim period" with the "enslavement of the Hindu nation" by the British, they place under public scrutiny their utter and absolute ignorance of what imperialism is and how it operates.

Aside from their complete unfamiliarity with historical processes and with the various stages in the evolution of societies, these worthies, who also claim to have taught the decimal system to the world, expose themselves further to ridicule by not addressing a question of elementary arithmetic, they have never tried to explain why after 1,000 years of forcible conversion, Hindus continue to be 85 per cent of the country's population. Either those engaged in forcible conversion were extremely inefficient that they managed to convert only about 15 per cent of the population in a project lasting ten centuries, or the entire thesis is based primarily on make believe assumptions.

This constant noise about conversion and the creation of this frenzy of insecurity and of a psychosis of fear, of being reduced to a minority is, in fact, a clever attempt to prevent people from asking the one basic question that the noise makers have no answer for and the question is "But why do only Hindus convert".

The entire discourse on forcible conversion has been developed in order to prevent people from asking this one question. An honest answer to this question will shake the vey edifice upon which rests the Chaturvarnashram or the caste system.

Almost 2,500 years ago, two Kshatriya princes began needling the Brahmanic order, asking questions that triggered the first exodus from the order. This mass departure was the first organised rejection of the idea of intellect being the preserve of some, power the handmaiden of some others, trade and commerce of another lot and existence in servitude, the fate of the overwhelming majority. The questions that the Kshatriya princes asked have yet to be comprehensively answered.

As long as those who control the reins of faith continue to insist that Chaturvarnashram is in fact the divinely ordained division of labour, we cannot escape the situation where large parts of the population are compelled to exist in conditions of absolute servitude, exclusion and marginalisation. The Chaturvarnashram is the Indian version of racial discrimination. Forever perpetuating the dominance of the "dwij jaatis".

As long as this discriminatory construct continues, Dalits and tribals will continue to convert as they have from the time of the Buddha, it is another matter that conversion does not help them escape the brand of being a low born and so carpenters, weavers, blacksmiths, butchers, cobblers, tailors, potters, goldsmiths, silversmiths, coppersmiths, performers, and others who had to work for a living have always been treated as life of a "lower intellect" because if they had any intellect they would be Brahmins or Kshatriyas - people who made others do their dirty work.

And it is because of this that entire communities converted to Islam and Sikhism when the opportunity presented itself and it is because of this that the finest craftspeople are to be found among these communities.

Some "upper-castes" also converted in the hope that if they converted to the religion of the king, it will help them rise in life. Whenever the "upper-caste" converted they carried their caste names into the new religion and examples of this can be found in Kashmir, in Rajasthan, in Haryana and in Punjab, but when the "low caste" converted they gave up their caste names because they were not converting for political reasons, they were opting out of a system that treated them with bias and prejudice.

Source: dailyo

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