ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Ethics and Relevance of Conversions

The concern over religious conversions cannot be naively attributed to narrow-minded Hindu fundamentalism. These concerns have been expressed by as progressive and broadminded persons as Raja Ram Mohun Roy, Sir Syed Ahmed, Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhiji went to the extent of saying that if he had the power and could legislate, he should certainly stop all proselytising. He had several convincing reasons for his persistent and dogged opposition to conversions, which are presented here. After arguing that religious and ethical grounds for conversions are weak and questionable, the article takes up the social and economic grounds for conversions and finds them equally weak and questionable. It is also argued that just as Islam and the whole Muslim society cannot be blamed for the terrorism by a fanatic fringe, similarly Hinduism and the whole Hindu society cannot be blamed for the atrocities on dalits by a few inhuman criminals. It is contended that the basic principles of Hinduism are not at all consistent with casteism and untouchability. If it is possible to quote from Hindu texts as supporting casteism and untouchability, it is equally possible to quote from Muslim texts as supporting violence against non-Muslims and inequality. But in both cases, they would be misinterpretations, for no true religion preaches violence and inhuman conduct.

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