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The futility of religious conversions - Contributed to this site by Ambassador O P Gupta 

Horrible and brutal lynching of five dalit Hindus in Duliana, Jhajhar (Haryana) in Oct. 02, 2002 and simmering tensions in Chakwara near Jaipur on use of a village pond attracted a number of articles either lamenting or accusing someone.

In wake of these, articles justifying conversions of dalit Hindus also appeared and group conversions into Islam, Christianity and Buddhism were organised at Jhajhar and at Selaiyur (Chennai, 6th Dec., 2002). On 28th Nov., 2002, SC/ST Commission reported that Duliana lynching was not based on caste considerations demolishing main plank of conversion lobby. Religion and conversion should be private matters like right to choose partners where State has no role but only so far as these private rights are exercised privately at private places.

Group conversions organised with fanfare at public places are not sanctioned by Constitution and are subject to IPC provisions on apprehensions of breach of public order.

First generation social reforms in Hinduism (abolitions of untouchability and caste based disabilities) were successfully led by Swami Dayanand, Swami Vivekanand, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Sant Phule, Sri Narain Guru (SNDP), Basaveshwar, Varkari, etc. and have been codified in the Constitution and various Acts. Second generation social reforms in Hinduism from within for wider social acceptability of Vedic norms of equality by birth is the real solution to contemporary problems of the Hindu Samaj, not the gimmicks of conversions, nor the caste wars.

Root cause of conversions as rightly pointed out by N. Varadrajan, State Secretary of CPM(TN) are social ostracism and humiliations of dalits which this article attempts to remove. Late Shri Mohit Sen wrote in the Indian Express that what has aggravated the caste problem is the almost complete lack of any campaign against caste system - that decisive impediment to modernisation of Hindustan - to paraphrase the remarks of Karl Marx written in 1835.

In Ambedkar’s view the caste system is a social division of people of same race. [Dr. Ambedkar Life and Mission by Dhananjay Keer, page 269]. This assertion of Ambedkar that all castes of Hindus belong to same race is in conformity with 15 richas of Vedas, specially Yaj 26.02. 'Caste is the bane of Hindus. Caste is the cause of downfall of the Hindus. Owing to caste the Hindus’ life has been a life of continuous defeats. Caste has made Hindus the sick men of India. Caste has ruined the Hindu race and has destroyed, demoralised and devitalised Hindu society.'

What is more, Dr. Ambadkar said, caste has made Shuddhi - conversion into Hinduism - impractical because one does not know which caste the convert to Hinduism will join. Caste has thus killed, he adds, the missionary spirit of Hindu religion [page 270].

Rigveda mentions four classes (but not castes by birth). Manusmriti mischievously converts these four classes into four castes by birth and introduces about forty mixed jaties but all related by blood. Manusmriti does provide some social mobility from one caste to another but through marriages. To keep Hindus divided under British Rule, 2378 main castes among Hindus were invented by employees of British Raj.

In the 1891 census about 1156 sub castes of chamars alone were recorded. God know how many castes and sub castes have so far been invented Intercaste marriages were allowed as per Satapath Brahaman( Paraskar Grihya(1.4.8—11) and Baudhyana Dharma(

Manusmriti’s caste system militarily weakened Hindus. As per Manusmriti and subsequent smritikars , sudras (working class) were kept out of villages and, thus, excluded from military, politics and the Govt. Vaishyas were kept confined to business, agriculture and cattle breeding so Vaishyas were not required to participate in military, politics and the Govt. Brahimins took position that arms and military was not their prime concern. So under Manu system, majority of population (say 75%) was mentally conditioned to be militarily impotent & politically neutral.

Only Ksatriya was supposed to be in military and had duty to fight wars. If Ksatriya were 25% (say) of population, 12.5% being ladies were excluded from military, rest one third of male being children and one third being too old to fight were also not available for military service. Thus, in Manu system only three percent of population had moral duty to fight for nation.

So, under Manu system a population of 10000 Hindus could yield a maximum of only 300 to fight whereas from a population of 10,000 of other religions over 1700 men or more were eligible/available to fight. No wonder, Hindus though larger in numbers, were always defeated by small numbers of foreigners, their women raped and molested, their temples destroyed and they were dragged thousands of miles on foot and auctioned as slaves in Kabul etc.

Was it a punishment under Slokas (XVI.18, 29 & 20) that Hindu were defeated and auctioned as slaves for violating Vedic & Gita’s norms of equality by birth? If so, should we not free ourselves from this curse by obeying Veda & Gita in our real lives? When the Constitution of India restored Vedic norms of equality by birth and gender equality, see, our Armed Forces have never been defeated; we Hindus have not again fallen as slaves, we are being accorded respect all over the world; and, India has become the fourth largest economy in the world in a short period of fifty years, a nuclear weapon country with its own missiles, satellites, digital telemetry, etc.

As per latest World Development Indicators, India’s gross national income in 2001 on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) basis was US$ 2913 billion, the fourth largest after the USA ($ 9781 billion), China ($ 5027 billion) and Japan ($ 3246 billion). These Big Four are followed by Germany ($ 2580 billion), UK ($ 1431 billion), France ($ 1425 billion), Canada ($ 825 billion) and Pakistan ($ 263 billion) on PPP basis, etc.

Ambedkar rightly diagnosed that caste is a notion, a state of mind. Its destruction means a notional change in mental set up. Hindus observe caste not because they are inhuman and wrong headed. They (Hindus) observe caste chiefly because they believe deeply that it is so ordained in their religion” (page 291). Dr. Ambedkar concluded that destruction of authority of Veda, destruction of sacredness and divinity of Vedas will lead to annihilation of castes; but, failing to destroy spiritual authority of Veda he got himself converted into Buddhism in 1956. In his famous 22 vows, Dr. Ambedkar mercifully did not include destruction of sacredness of Vedas.

If Hindus practise casteism, as Dr. Ambedkar rightly assessed, in belief that it is part of their religion, how could Hindus have agreed to destruction of Vedas - the fountainhead of their religion? I think a better way to annihilate casteism is to convince Hindus that casteism, as substantively proved in previous two parts, is truly not a part of Hinduism.

It is contrary to Hinduism. Casteism is rust and dust collected around Hinduism over centuries. I believe much more pragmatic way to annihilate caste is not engineering of conversions; not mutual acrimony; not caste wars; but full throated articulation of correct interpretations of 25 richas of Vedas, the thirteen slokas of Shrimad Bhagwat Gita and two examples set by Lord Rama which should convince upper caste Hindus that by practicing Manusmriti, they are actually committing sins (paap) of violating Vedas, Gita and Ramayana.

Such a course of action will loosen religious grip of Manusmriti on mindset of sawarnas. No Hindu knowingly prefers to earn wrath (shraap) of Vedas or Lord Rama or that of Lord Krishna by going against their commandments.

Gandhi fought tooth and nail to maintain unity of Hindu Samaj by fighting against untouchability, underwent 21 days fast to retain unity with scheduled caste Hindus by promising them more number of seats in legislatures than offered by the then British rulers. Whereas Manu after Rigvedic rishis was the one who fragmented and divided Hindus pushing them into slavery, Gandhi proved himself to be the grand Unifier in grand chain of Rigvedic rishis who mansa, vacha and karmana implemented the missionary shukta RV (X.191); and, like Moses delivered Hindu Samaj to its political liberation/freedom ,though , some may argue at much higher cost in terms of Hindu lives lost, but Gandhi was not a member of the Government.

It is another thing that Gandhi failed in handling/assessing the then Muslim League.

Articulation of above 38 richas & slokas will also convince Hindu priests that they have been preaching contrary to Vedas, contrary to Gita and contrary to Bhagwan Shri Ram’s examples. For comparison, one may note how steadfastly Muslims follow examples set by their Prophet in Sunnah. But, we, Hindus, do not put into practice what Bhagwan Ram himself practiced.

Managers of Hindu temples must instruct their priests to immediately put into practice these 38 richas and slokas. Stopping entry of SC/ST/Dalits Hindus into temples is violative of RV (X.191) and AV(III.30). Hindus of Chakwara violated AV (III.30.6) in denying access to village pond to Bairwa Hindus. Command of RV (X.191) oftenly came as shock and pleasant surprise to many Hindu priests whom I personally talked.

Many admitted not knowing Sanskrit nor ever having read Vedas but only having memorised some mantras and shlokas for conducting ceremonies. Pujaries said that they expect present-day leaders of Hindu Samaj to re-educate them and they assured that they will be second to none in spreading correct message of Vedas.

Pujaries agreed with me that they should visit SC/ST/Dalit houses for offering religious services as it would increase their regular income but their main difficulty was jhijhak i.e. who will bell the cat. Simply abusing and cursing Hindu priests or Brahmans in general will not lead to annihilation of caste, rather, their exposures to above 38 richas and slokas will certainly.

Incomes of all Hindu temples should be pooled to educate pujaries and an all India Hindu Pujari Service (IHPS) should be started by management of temples in which all Hindus would be eligible for recruitment based on their knowledge. Supreme Court has been faster than our socio-religious leaders in opening recruitments in temples for all Hindus.

In March 96, Supreme Court (JJ K. Ramaswamy and B.L. Hansaria) rightly ruled that office of temple priest cannot be hereditary. In October, 02, Supreme Court (JJ S. Rajendrababu and Doraiswamy Raju) held that non-Brahimins are eligible to perform religious ceremonies and work as temple priests if they are well versed with relevant rituals. These two decisions are consistent with real Hinduism as per RV (X.125.5) and RV (X.98.7).

At page 271, Keer informs that Dr. Ambedkar had also suggested destruction of idea of the hereditary priesthood and democratisation of the profession of priests by the grant of a sanad to any Hindu who passed a certain test and now it has been given force of law by the Supreme Court.

Conversion of Dalit Hindus to another religion has not proved to be a satisfactory answer, as even after conversion, converts do not get 'social equality' in their new religions. Conversions have proved to be divisive raising social tensions and creating law & order problems. Use of phrases like dalit Christians, dalit Muslims, dalit Buddhists in Indian media proves the point. R. Thirumalvalavam, Head of the Panthers Party of India told a website (Nov. 15, 2002): 'that for emancipation of dalits, conversion is not the solution. Converts remain Dalit Muslims or Dalit Christians or Dalit Buddhists.'

A Dalit writer, told to the Week (18th Nov., 2001): 'Over the years, when Dalits converted to Islam, Sikhism or Christianity, they did not lose their Dalit identify. They remained primarily Dalits, and, then Christians or Sikhs. Conversion is not the answer to exploitation of Dalits.' Detlef Kantowasky, a German Professor of Sociology in his recent book `Buddhisten in Indien heute` says that Mahars who converted into Buddhism are still not able to shake off their untouchable stigma. In addition, new converts invite ridicule from Dalit Hindus for abandoning old faith generating another ripple of social tensions. Gaining 'social equality' is a two-way process involving two parties, oppressor and oppressed. Unilateral action (i.e. conversion, running away by oppressed) does not solve the problem as the other party continues to treat converts as before in villages. Converted dalits get socially cut off from Hindu dalits. Converts find their social circle in new religion further reduced and limited to previous converts from their old Hindu caste. As per Hindustan Times (15th June, 98), the then Census Commissioner of India (Dr. M. Vijaymuni) was quoted saying that there were caste divisions in Muslims (584), Christians (339), Sikhs (130), Buddhists (93), etc.

The 1901 census of Bengal placed Muslims into three groups: Ashraf (better class), Ajlaf (lower castes) and Arzal (Degraded castes). This categorisation was repeated in the Indian Express of 19th March, 1997. A website lists 72 different Islamic sects. Sunnies accept and venerate Hazrats Abu Bakr (632-634), Omar bin Khattab (634-644), Uthman (644-656) and Ali bin Abu Talib (656-661) as their first four rightful Caliphs (Khalifa i.e. successor to Prophet Mohammad, sallahu alai wa sallam) in this sequential order.

Hazrats Omar, Uthman and Ali were murdered one by one. Shiat Ali (i.e. followers of Ali, shishya of Ali, written as Shia or Shiite) believe that Hazrats Abu Bakr, Omar and Uthman became Caliphs against expressed desire of the Prophet (Khumb Declaration) and; that, Hazrat Ali ought to have been accepted as the first Caliph and the first Imam after Prophet.

This is the fundamental difference between Shiites and Sunnies. Shiite Muslims do not accept Hazrat Abu Bakr, Omar, Uthman as Caliphs and Sunni Muslims do not accept Khumb Declaration. Shiite Muslims treat Hazrat Ali as the first Caliph and the first Imam. Sunnies accept Hazrat Ali only as the fourth Caliph. Consequently, text of Shiite Kalama and Shiite Namaz are different from those of Sunnies.

Shiite texts directly and indirectly declare and reaffirm that Hazrat Ali is the first Imam and the rightful successor of Prophet which Sunnies do not accept and cannot recite. The text of Sunni Kalama is La ilaha il Allah, Muhammadan Rasul Allah and the text of Shiite Kalama (Shahadatah) is La ilaha il Allah, Muhammadan Rasul Allah, Aliyun Wali-Allah, Wasiyu Rasulillah, wa Khalifa tuhu bila fasl. There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, ‘Ali is the Friend of Allah. The Successor of the Messenger of Allah And his first Caliph.

Basic tenets (usul-e-din) of Sunni Muslims are three: (i) Tauhid (unity of God); (ii) Noubouat (Prophethood) and (iii) Maad or Qayamah (day of final judgement). Shiite Muslims have two more basic tenets: (iv) Imamah based on family line from the House of Prophet (Ahlul-Bayt) and (iv) Justice of God (ahl). Shiite further believe that `noor` of Allah passes only through family line from generation to generation. These are matters of faith and belief which separate Shiite and Sunni. Shiite and Sunni generally do not inter-marry. They have different mosques, different texts of namaz, different body postures while offering namaz; and, different timings of namaz. Shiite are mainly divided into Ithna-Asheri, Bohras and Ismailies with no inter-marriages without conversion to husband’s sect; and, even these Shiite do not attend each others mosques. In Tanzania, intra-Islamic conversions were noticed: Shiite and Ahmadias were seeking converts from Sunnies and vice-versa. Ahmadias do accept Prophet Muhammad(saas) as a messenger of Allah but not as the last one. (http://www.alislam.org) (http://www.thepersecution.org).

Main sects in Sunni Muslims are Hannafi, Maliki, Shafii and Humbali. They are followers of Maulanas Abu Hanifa Al-Numan (699-767), Malik ibn Anas (714-796), Mohammad ibn Idris Al-Shaffi (767-820) and Ahmad bin Hanbal (780-855) respectively. Another Sunni sect is Ahle Hadith.

There are theological differences between Deobandi and Barelvi Sunnis. In the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Ahmadias were declared non-Muslims and now there is pressure in Pakistan to declare Shiite to be non-Muslims. In this context, it is worthwhile to take note of a recent address made by H.E. Mr. Mahathir Bin Mohammad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, at the Al Azhar University, Cairo on 22nd Jan., 2003. He said `we all know that Prophet brought only one Islam but today there are many Islamic religions. There are Sunnies and Shiites divided into numerous groups by different Imams and Orders. Some of these interpretations and teachings are so different that their followers actually accuse each other of not being a Muslim. In fact they regard many who profess to be Muslims as infidels because of the thousands of different interpretations of Islam and the very many sects and adherents, each claiming to be true followers of Islamic religion, Muslims are thoroughly confused.` (28th January, 2003 - International Herald Tribune).

Holy Quran (ISBN: 0-940368-56-0) does not accept Jesus as a son of God nor his crucifixion, therefore, nor his resurrection. It accepts Him only as one of the messengers of God. Surah (IV.157) says that `they did not kill Isa son of Marium, the apostle of Allah (Jesus Christ) nor did they crucify him;` and, Surah (IV.158) says that Allah took him upto Himself. In Surah (IV.171) it is stated that Messiah, Isa son of Marium is only an apostle of Allah.

'Desist, it is better for you; Allah is only one God: far be it from His glory that He should have a son.' In Surah (V.116) concept of trinity has been declared to be false. It reads: 'And when Allah will say: O Isa son of Marium! did you say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah, he will say: Glory be to Thee, it did not befit me that I should say what I had no right to (say).'

Surah (XXV.2) again asserts that Allah did not take to Himself a son. Thus, the Holy Quran does not accept the basic principles of Christianity i.e. Trinity, Crucifixion and, therefore, the Resurrection.

The Holy Bible is silent about life, whereabouts and activities of Jesus Christ between twelfth to thirtieth years of his age. Karna was born to unmarried virgin Kunti by blessings of God Sun; and, in Christian belief Jesus was born to Virgin mother Mary. There is similarity of circumstances. A German author Holger Kersten in his book Jesus Lived in India (ISBN-1-85230-5509) has described in detail His unknown life in India before and after crucifixion.

Some scholars believe that Christ had visited many cities in India learning Vedas, Yogas, meditation, etc. before returning to Palestine to preach, and; after surviving crucifixion returned to India and died in Kashmir. Some scholars suggest that Jesus Christ was an Essene preacher.

Philosopher Schoupenhaure in his book 'Religion and other Essays' (page-116) asserts that the Christian faith sprung from the wisdom of India. From Girnar inscriptions of Ashoka, it is observed that Buddhist monks went to Syria to preach Buddhism. Pliny, a Greek historian of first century AD has written that religious sect Essene lived in Palestine about a century before Christ, now accepted as a sect of Buddhism. In Egypt, Essenes were called Therapeuts. Christians acknowledge Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost and at the time of Baptism water is sprinkled. In Buddhism, water is sprinkled while performing 'abhishekam' and Buddhists acknowledge trinity of Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. Births of Buddha and Christ were preceded by stars and both had twelve disciples. We Hindus also have Trideva (Brahma, Vishnu & Mahesh) and we also sprinkle water at religious ceremonies. Dead Sea scrolls (about 800) discovered in eleven caves near Qumran during 1947-65 are believed to be Essene literature.

Dead Sea scrolls are carbon dated between a span of about 68 BC to 124 AD and despite being contemporary of Jesus do not mention Jesus Christ being the son of God. On internet when one puts `Jesus Christ in India` into search mode one gets about 267000 references on Yahoo.

Website http://www.tombofjesus.com gives graphic details of grave of Yuz Asaf in Srinagar (India) which points east-west keeping with Jewish custom. Some believe it is grave of Jesus. The second century Church Father Irenaeus (who lived until about 180 C.E.) in his book `Against Heresies` has written that Jesus lived to be an old man upto times of the Emperor Trajan (98 AD), before finally dying in Asia. The Acts of Thomas describes the stay of Jesus and Thomas in Taxila (now in Pakistan) at a marriage ceremony at the court of King Gundafor in the twenty sixth year of his rule (47 C.E.).

Bhavishya Maha Purana (volume nine verses 17-32) says that Jesus (Isha Masih) was in India/Kashmir during reign of King Shalivahan which has been placed within 39 to 50 C.E. On this subject of life of Jesus Christ after crucifixion one may see books by Nicolas Notovitch (1894), Maury Lee (Jesus of India), Elizabeth Clare Prophet (Lost Years of Jesus), Paul C. Pappas (Jesus’ Tomb in India) and Mark Mason (In Search of the Loving God).

Jesus Christ preached in Aramaic language. Modern scholars believe that the Hebrew Bible(Old Testament), or Tanakh, was composed by four or five writers between 1000 to 400 BCE based on much older traditions. The New Testament was composed by a variety of writers between 60 to 110 CE. The contents of the New Testament were formalized by Athanasius of Alexandria in 367 CE, and finally canonized in 382 CE.

There are many disagreements about the order and composition of the Holy Bible among various sects (http://www.sacred-texts.com). The four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) differ in some aspects at places. What is the correct chronological order of these four Gospels is known as the Synoptic Problem in the Christian theology. Very little has survived about origins of these Gospels, when, where, why and by whom these were composed.

From first few centuries to 18th century, Augustinian hypothesis that Matthew, Mark, Luke is the correct sequence was the dominant view. In 1783, Johann Jakob Griesbach proposed Matthew-Luke-Marks sequence. In 1820 Johann Gottfried Herder proposed that Mark’s Gospel being the shortest should be the earliest document. Roman Catholics, Protestants, Pentecostals, Orthodox Church, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehova’s Witnesses, Mermons, etc. have many fiercely contested theological differences among themselves.

In the medieval period, one sect of Christians used to kill/execute Christians of another sects (Catholics vrs Protestants; Inquisitions, etc.) X-mas is globally celebrated on 25th December as birthday of Jesus Christ but not by all Christian faiths. What is the truth only Jesus knows. Luke (II.8) says that at the time of birth of Jesus `.And there were in the same country(near Bethlehem) shepherds abiding in the field , keeping watch over their flock by night. It is said that in Palestine/Bethlehem, December is the coldest month when shepherds and their flock are not likely to be there in fields by night Shepherds are out in fields with their flocks in better months of summer. Holy Quran vide surah(XIX.20) does attest that Mary(Marium) was a virgin & chaste, untouched by any mortal man before conceiving Jesus. But surah (XIX.23) states that Mary gave birth to child Isa(Jesus) near trunk of a palm tree, not in a cave/stable. Surah(XIX.25) says that fresh ripe dates fell upon Mary when shaking trunk of the palm tree. It is said that ripe dates fall only in the summer months(July to September) in Palestine.Thus, both Holy Quran and Luke’s Gospel create some doubt about correctness of the present popular belief that Jesus was born in December. These are great puzzles of religion but could be explained as another miracles Jesus.

Atharvaveda says (XII.2.33) :: let him not hate us, nor let us(hate) him. Dhammapada says: 'Hatred does not cease hatred at any time, hatred ceases by love, this is its nature. Let us live happily, not hating those hate us.'

[1.5]. New Testament says: 'But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you. [Matthew 5.44]. `But I say unto you which hear, love your enemies, do good to them which hate you` (Luke 6.27). `Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you` (Luke 6.28).

But love ye your enemies, and do good (Luke 6.35). These show influence of Veda and Buddhism on Christ.

The News Week of USA (16th April, 2001) at page 45 reported that there are 33000 different Christian denominations in the world!!! The Catholic Bishops Conference of India (Sunday, 28th June, 98) estimated that 41% of new Pentecostals in India were former Catholics and 31% from other Christian sects.

So intra-Islamic and intra-Christian conversions are realities. In many countries Pentecostals have replaced Catholics as the majority denomination!!! Christians of one denomination generally do not attend Church of another denomination. Indian Christians are said to still discreetly follow pre-conversion castes of their Hindu forefathers. Syrian Christians (i.e. St. Thomas Christians) are said not to marry Latin Christians or Neo-Christians.

High caste Christians do not mix with Dalit Christians. As per http://www.dalitchristians.com, Christian Dalits suffer same oppression, segregation and discrimination at hands of caste Christians and 80% of jobs in Church and Church related institutions have been monopolised by caste Christians though dalit Christians comprise 75% of Catholic population in India.

TK Oommen & Hunter P. Mabry in their book `The Christian clergy in India` verify this discrimination. Dalit Christians website further alleges that untouchable Christians are forced to sit separately in many rural churches in India.

They must enter through a separate door into rural church and receive communion at separate altar!!! Jat Sikhs do not mix with Ramgarhias and/or Mazhabi Sikhs. There are separate gurudwaras for each group. One Muslim leader of Bihar (Dr. Ezaz Ali, President, All India Backward Muslim Morcha) was quoted (March 1997) that “social and economic condition of Muslim Dalit (arzal) is same as that of Hindu Dalit.

Their conversion to Islam has not helped them acquire social class mobility. While as Hindus they were ridiculed by upper caste Hindus, as Muslim Dalits they are looked down upon by upper caste Muslims (Ashrafs).” As per The Week (Jan. 31, 1999), Pasmanda Muslim Samaj of Bihar reiterated oppression of dalit Muslims at hands of upper caste Muslims pointing out that out of 245 Muslim MLAs produced by Bihar between 1952 to 1995 there has been no dalit Muslim MLA so far. How many Dalit Hindus have been elected to Bihar Assembly?

So, there are wheels within wheels in matters religious; these are too complicated for common persons, one does know what is truth and what is not truth and, the best way out is not to get involved in religious bigotry but to live and let live in peace and harmony with neighbours.

`Love thy neighbour` should be our motto. Let one not question correctness of religious faith of the other. Let us live happily under the banner of our tricolour reflecting unity in diversity.Concept of Vasudhaiva kutumbakam i.e. universal brotherhood is the best policy.

Another shocking but real problem is practice of some sort of untouchability, within SC/ST/Dalit Hindus. Conversion from one religion to another does not address this problem. Some websites espousing emancipation of dalits publicise only divisive/negative slokas of Manusmriti (to exclusion of harmony seeking richas/slokas of Vedas, etc.) which makes double damage to their own cause as, on one hand, it only further depresses SC/ST/Dalit Hindus to meekly give into submission believing it is too difficult to fight Dharma; and, on the other hand, convinces caste Hindus more & more that this is what Hindu Dharma ordains so they start practicing casteism with more conviction.

Various reform movements during freedom struggle made substantial gains which got codified in the Constitution of India. But from 1950s onwards there has been no real social reform movement. It is high time to do second generation reforms of Hinduism from within. SC/ST/Dalit Hindus who are already armed with the Constitutional articles and various Acts should be exposed more and more to the 25 Vedic Richas, 13 slokas of Shri Mad Bhagwat Gita and to rich contributions of their ancestors to three supreme scriptures so as to boost their morale and to convince them that their fight is not against Vedas, not against Dharma but only to cleanse Veda of the rust and dust collected over centuries - that they are going to fight to restore original teachings of holy three scriptures that they are returning to their roots.

Such a strategy will liberate dalit Hindus from their mental mindset of being “lowly born” and empower them mentally & spiritually to take up the fight.

On the other hand, exposure of caste Hindus to these very richas will change their mindset that practising untouchability and casteism is really a sin (paap) against dharma. Democratised All India Hindu Priest Service (IHPS) will only accelerate this process. Casteism cannot be annihilated by mutual acrimony, by violence or conversions, or by caste wars as it is a mental state or a mindset.

During my foreign service, I have seen educated Indians living in foreign countries for decades but still practising casteism there in foreign countries in more subtle form!! Let the Yajna (social movement) assisted by 25 Vedic richas and 13 slokas of Gita be initiated to permanently destroy both the demons – the demon of intra-Hindu casteism and the demon of intra SC/ST/Dalits Hindu casteism from the Hindu subconscious mind.

Let us return to our roots of Vedic brotherhood equipped with modern science and technology.

The writer is the Ambassador of India to Finland. The article are personal views of the author; and, not that of the Govt. of India.











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