In Media Res (In the middle of things): India being pulled in a thousand directions?
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Where everyone in the country is aware of the rigid norms and mindset regarding the Hindutva politics which certain political parties follow, the religion conversion which took in Agra was no big surprise for many. However, it did raise questions on the freedom which the constitution provides to each and every individual in the country. India has always been known as a country where people take pride in unity in diversity rather than understanding how different their mindsets are from each other. For me, the unity is only an illusion which people believe in to forego their sick understanding of each other and for all the other religion they do not follow.
The idea of a Hindu nation has definitely led the non-Hindus to live under the terror that they might be next in line of the horrible deed (religion conversion) being done in the name of ‘Ghar Wapasi’ [homecoming]. If speculations are to be believed then Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the real mastermind behind the whole concept of ‘Ghar Wapasi’ which they refuse to acknowledge as religion conversion. The mastermind involved believes that the Muslims who were converted to Hinduism had Hindu ancestors. It was their Hindu ancestors who were forced to take up Islam in the past. Hence, the parties in support of religion conversion consider themselves to be doing a favour on all mankind.
The Major Problem:
In a country like ours, religion and politics can never exist as two separate entities hence other political parties are taking full advantage of the situation raising questions and protesting against the government in power. Bhartiya Janta Party itself has a line of these intellectuals, protectors and upholders of religion who do not think before they speak. Prime Minister Narendra Modi advised his ministers to not cross the ‘Laxman rekha’. Does this point towards a new revolution?
It is a shame that issues like this are being raised when it is a crucial time to fight poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and issues in the health sector. Not only the ruling government but also the other political parties which promise to serve people in their manifestos should actually live up to the promises made. Meanwhile, the opposition is busy working on creating a pressure on the government rather than coming up with solutions.
9 December,2014 will be remembered for all the wrong reasons since 57 Muslim families which consisted of 250 people (approx.) were converted to Hinduism in Agra. The poverty of these rag picker families was used as a tool and they were made a part of the religion conversion act without them being aware.
The members of the Bajrang Dal promised these underprivileged ration cards in return of taking part in the grand event amidst photographers and other political leaders. When the families realized the injustice done to them, they lodged a FIR at the Sadar police station in Agra. The Samajwadi Party which is the leading party in the State is said to be investigating the issue but we all know what result such investigations lead to!
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Nand Kishor Valmiki, a representative of the Dharma Jagran Manch, was only arrested after immense pressure was built up on the police with an anti-bail warrant issued in his name.
Anil Pande, a Bajrang Dal leader from Uttar Pradesh boasted how such religion conversions have been carried out on low profiles since time immemorial and they would continue to do so. Such statements clearly highlight that people like these do not realise their mistakes since they are blinded by the superficiality of religion and fail to understand the real faith any religion symbolises.
Remarks from various Political Party Leaders and Members:
Ajju Chauhan, a Bajrang Dal member stated how the Muslim families had converted on their own and were not forced in any way. Renuka Chowdary, a Congress Minister stated that the figure of 57 converted families stated by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh may be false but later expressed her regret regarding the whole issue. Where the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is denying all the allegations against it, other political parties are openly accusing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the government of supporting its activities. Satyapal Singh, a Bhartiya Janta Party leader stated how it is impossible to fool 57 families at one go and had it been 1-2 families, the news could have been relied on. He further promised that Rajya Sabha would investigate the whole issue.
The Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief Mayawati openly accused Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for such actions and highlighted the failure of the State government, hence asking the central government to intervene. Where Mayawati raised her finger at the Samajwadi Party, one cannot let go of her own political agenda behind it. Mulayam Singh Yadav in Samajwadi Party’s defense stated how his party has always worked on improving the relation between people of different castes. He mentioned that such discussions are unnecessary and often have a negative impact.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Vice President of the Bhartiya Janta Party Minister requested everyone in the session to not take names of any political parties and clarified that the State government is responsible for this matter and not the central government. Hence, raising the issue in the Rajya Sabha is completely wrong.
The Next Big Step:
The next step in the ‘Ghar Wapasi’ plan is to organise a grand event in order to convert at least four thousand Christians and one thousand Muslims in Aligarh on December 25, 2014. The pamphlets distributed in order to raise money for the event hold the name of the Dharma Jagran Manch. The intellectual souls have already set the rate of Rs 2 lakh on a Christian and Rs 5 lakh on a Muslim. If sources are to be believed then Yogi Adityanath will be present in the religion conversion ceremony. He stated how it was a matter of pride (Shorya ki baat!) for the entire nation to witness such an event.
Where the government demanded the name of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to be removed from this sensitive issue, the opposition rightfully demanded an answer from the Prime Minister. Venkiah Naidu stated, “Let there be anti-conversion laws in all states and also at the Centre so that all religion’s practices and beliefs are preserved.” In support of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh he further added, “These people have said so many things about Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. What is the link? If they accuse my mother organisation, how can I be the mute spectator?”
Arun Jaitley was also seen supporting the anti-conversion law where he also requested all the Ministers to leave the differences behind and work towards a smooth functioning in the Sabha session.
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We need to question whether any law or rule will ever be enough to stop these upholders of religion from exploiting the ones who already suffer the wrath of penury. Will we ever be able to free ourselves from the clutches of religion and let humanity prevail in the society? Will people ever be able to freely live without the restriction of any religious dogmas? For me, the idea of the united nation is slowly souring away and the one free nation we all had dreamt of seems nowhere in the picture. It is like a distant dream and a fading one indeed!