Hinduism and Conversion

Sep 10, 2008

From time to time we are seeing lots of violence between various faiths. Lots of innocent people where caught between the web of violence where most of them hardly have any role to play. It is the time to understand the root cause of the violence, how to safeguard from the further occurrence. As a Indian and Hindu I feel to share my understanding of the “issue of conversion in our Hindu society” and how it affects the peace of the religion.

Hinduism and the concept of conversion

In general “The concept of conversion” in India fails to deal with the complex interrelationships between self, family and society to make it meaningful. Religious conversion undermines the core foundation of the human beliefs and freedom to grow with their beliefs.

Hinduism is the most liberal and tolerant religion. It believes in “Karma”. It believes that each person can create a personal spiritual path. It believes in many paths to salvation. It believes all truths (different representations by different people) leads to single truth called God. This has given rise to many sects and sub-sects within Hinduism, which have learned to co-exist. Unlike the other religions, In Hinduism no one controls people's personal belief on religious matters. It never alienates people against their own heritage.

This is the essence of the Hindu tolerance that gave shelter to the religiously persecuted people of the world. The Hindus welcomed not only Christians, but also fleeing Jewish and other communities since ancient times. It first showed to the world how one should respect other religions and their beliefs. No one can deny this claim if they recall the history.

Hinduism believes diversity is its strength, rather than a weakness. Diversity prevents conflicts. That’s why in history one can note that Hinduism never part of religious wars unlike the some of other religions of the world. 

But time and again the very own “freedom of personal of spiritual path” grossly misunderstood. Without understanding the basic foundation of the Hinduism, especially westerners started exploiting for their personal propaganda. 

By historical facts one can really understand which all religions had the most violent history in terms of human rights violation, wars, crimes, killings and injustice. It is proven Hinduism can not come on top. In this era, marketing of any product plays important role than actually what that product does. Sometimes people easily tend to forget past and also conveniently forget the present just to achieve their personal agenda.

I can not give any better example than Mahatma Gandhi for his respect for all religious people. He spoke extensively about religious conversions.

 “I disbelieve in the conversion of one person by another. My effort should never to be to undermine another's faith. This implies belief in the truth of all religions and, therefore, respect for them. It implies true humility. “

Even Gandhi was against certain forms of missionary activities specially those relating to conversion. He [fact of matter even any Hindu] was not opposed to conversion if it was based on one's will but he was against any use of force or propaganda in the matter of conversion." As he remarked, "A rose does not need to preach. It simply spreads its fragrance. The fragrance is its own sermon. The fragrance of religion and spiritual life is much finer and much subtler than that of a rose."

Hinduism never opposed free will conversion. Its history and structure itself is the proof for the same. But proselytizing (money, material, mental, force) definitely not accepted.

Root cause for the current issues:

Christians are known for their service to the people. Indians always appreciated their clean hearted service. 

But there are certain missionaries who use service as the tool for their agenda of conversion. Does their service justify conversion? No. Service with hidden motive can not be called service. It is simply business of taking profit from investment. These activities happened in the past and happening at present and will happen in future also.

Gandhiji rightly noted those activities and mentioned

 “When the missionary of another religion goes to them, he goes like a vendor of goods. He has no special spiritual merit that will distinguish him from those to whom he goes. He does however possess material goods which he promises to those who will come to his fold.”

In Hindu society if one person gets converted, his close relatives will undergo lots of hardships, trauma because the system is built around family and society unlike the western culture where it is built around individuals. By the way religion is a deeply personal thing. It touches the heart. Does anybody told to change his/her religion because doctor who cured his decease is Hindu/Christian?

If we check back history, Olden day’s colonial rule was justified by the doctrine of ‘racial superiority’. Some missionaries exhibit the same old mentality with the doctrine of ‘religious superiority’. "Dominus Jesus" declared all non-Christian religions "gravely deficient.”  The coining of ‘10/40 window’...etc shows how they demean other faiths. These tactics of religious exclusives is bad for the health of the human society similar to racism. It is very difficult for one to believe people with such mentality is doing real social service. This also implies, denying the freedom and rights of understanding of his original religion by enforcing other faith. The fact is, that some missionary Christianity has been so obsessed with its own truth; it has failed to recognize even the possibility that others may have their truth.

Western countries many times reinvented the words like “tolerance” “freedom” “rights” time to time according to the circumstances to which they belong. There were times when people were forced to accept the Christianity; legislation which deny the rights of worship because they were rulers of those countries/places. As the time changed, the definition of “freedom” “tolerance” “rights” also redefined. So these definitions are volatile and may change in future also.

Gandhiji rightly foreseen the issue of conversion and he declared

 “This proselytization will mean no peace in the world. Conversions are harmful to India. If I had the power and could legislate, I should stop all proselytizing. Stop all conversion; it is the deadliest poison that ever sapped the fountain of truth." Poverty doesn't justify conversion. He also considered missionaries as "a clear libel on Indian humanity." ... It pains me to have to say that the Christian missionaries as a body, with honorable exceptions, have actively supported a system which has impoverished, enervated and demoralized a people considered to be among the gentlest and most civilized on earth”.

Violence in any form is condemnable. Nothing costs more than human life. But at the same time one has to understand the trigger points also. One can not deny in most cases of violence, conversion was the topic of contention. It gives the tools for miscreants to do damage to the society, people beyond human explanation. One should also understand human emotion. Just to give one example: Every one knows how many Sikhs/Muslims were attacked in violence aftermath of September-11 just because they look like Muslims. Were they not innocent? Even the so-called ‘self defined peaceful religion’ could not control emotions of their own people when they are in majority.

Need of the hour:

The need of the hour is to help, respect, and understand each other in a unified way to serve humankind. These are the many areas of common ground on which we can have harmony.  Common aim should be the religion of humanity. One should think how the ideas of his/her religion can contribute to the human society instead of converting and breaking the peace and fabric of other religion.

As mentioned by Francois Gautier,  “Conversion belongs to the times of colonialism. We have entered in the era of Unity, of coming together, of tolerance and accepting each other as we are -- not of converting in the name of one elusive "true" god.”

To understand the point of view of another faith requires tolerance, sympathy, broad mindedness, humility and willingness to recognize Truth wherever it is to be found. If we posses these qualities we can appreciate other's faith, traditions, customs, culture and way of life.

In the interest of innocent common people, to gain respect and peaceful coexistence, it is the time to understand every religion is sacred and each religion has the right to exist without disintegration. It will greatly serve the society. India is the only country in this world which has shown what it means by TRUE SECULAR AND DEMOCRATIC country. Let us preserve it.

"Our innermost prayer should be that a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian." 

Let us respect Religion of Humanity and Morality.

(Compiled from various sources)

Also See:

Bharath Shetty Kateel-USA
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Comment on this article

  • Reema, Mangalore

    Thu, Oct 02 2008

    Mr Bharath shetty you said Gandhiji was against conversion now read this "She was born as Madeleine Slade in an aristocratic family in England. She read Romain Rolland's book 'Mahatma Gandhi' at one sitting and this changed the course of her life. She came to India and remained with Gandhiji. Gandhiji gave her the name Meera in view of her devotion to him and her dedication and service to India. In India she was sent to Kanya Gurukul at Dehradun where she studied Hindi and scriptures and taught English there. She accompanied Gandhiji to the Round Table Conference in 1932 and acted as Gandhiji's interpreter in the continents on their way back."

  • girish rakesh, Mumbai

    Fri, Sep 26 2008

    Dear Ganesh, Untocuability was the issue in Hindus. But i really do not think any educated people follow this currently. By the way Chirstians/Muslims also had same issue. It is just to whom you met. There are lots of Hindus who follow/teach good principles. May be you have not seen. It is not wise to guess "far away mountain is smooth without knowing it"

  • Ganesh Kumar, Bantwal

    Fri, Sep 26 2008

    Dear Brother Bharth If I tell my caste you will never talk to me, because I belong to the lower caste in India and I know how we got treated. I was told by my Dad and Mom, some time I think why I was born to this family just because the treatment of our upper caste (So called Hindu brothers). To tell you the truth First people who came to our house and ate with us none other than a christen Priest and there after other nuns. We got the taste of love from them We haven’t converted till today. But they taught us good deeds which our most of the Hindu brothers need. Dear brother Bharth you have written nice article not with your experience just you read from some article and you got some knowledge and skill. Come down to India and visit our village, forget every thing if you have guts come and have dinner in one of our family members house, show the same love what we got from those priest and nuns. Then you will never dare to write this kind of articles.

  • thimothy, mysore, bahrain

    Thu, Sep 25 2008

    "Dominus Jesus" d all non-Christian religions "gravely deficient.” The coining of ‘10/40 window’...etc . WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS. It means to me dominating Jesus Christ. In the article she mentioned that , we are proud Indians, we belive in faith, Not in relegion. If the relegion stands then this problem starts. If faith stands there is no problem. Conversion is not ones ability, to convert,It is the change of faith. One cannot change ones relegion only God can chane ones relegion. I was sadened to say that bharath shetty mentioned that we help the people to live in India. If you did it where is your words now. People Killed because of there faith and because of there belief. We noticed problem of relegion in India than any other country in the world. Bharath shetty says so why she went to America, to tkae a refuge. If the world acts like what Hindus are doing In INDIA, It will be a grave concern. The heavily minded relegious culprits turning the senario into convrsion. Conversion is ones understanding, faith is ones ability to understand. I strongly condemn forcefull conversion. In this nothing will happen. And Strongly condemn, THose who use CONVERSIN AS A STATEMENT, to Change and divert the mind of the people. And use voilence to scare the people from there faith. This both is part of India,, If both it happens in the world HIndus they have to sit and drink in the place where a pice of land is. Please think when you give astatement, YOu are also living away in aforeign land.

  • prithviraj shetty, kumble

    Thu, Sep 25 2008

    Arun Lobo, Mangalore Saturday, September 13, 2008 Mr. Bharath, a challenge for you, just try converting some of the christians to your faith, let me see if you will succeed. If you dont then ask yourself as to why you were not able to.. you might get some better insights about religion as a whole.. dont forget to share the thoughts ok? how many of them are following christainity in US and europe??? do u know the fact peeple are converting to hindu faiths but no body can vecome hindu,,,,,, because hindu is not only religion it way of life,,,of people india( saptha sindhu desha)

  • Sandeep Kumar, Belthangady

    Tue, Sep 23 2008

    Mr. Bharth, One of our most popular leader of VHP Mr. Bhattacharya, who is the first person, went top of the Babri Masjid to destroy Who is now converted to Christianity with his own free will and our Hindu brother chopped him into pieces. Still he didn’t care for any thing he still preaches in many institutes. Mr. Bharth you are a good writer. If you start writing the stories like “Harry Porter “you can mint money.

  • Rajesh, Dubai

    Sat, Sep 20 2008

    Mr. Bharath,you have addressed the real facts in your article. I feel people have forgotten the term harmony.Religion is ruling, not the humanity! When humanity is the first & last term taught by our holy books. We have been driven backwards to our history when the british applied their divide & rule strategy.Now the politicians & heads of religious groups are resorting to the same tactics. So my fellow Indians beware! peace & stability will disappear from your homes for ever, if you dance to the tune of these anti social elements.

  • Pradeep, Mangalore / Muscat

    Sun, Sep 14 2008

    One of the best article put so far at daiji. appreiciate Daiji website's consideration publishing this article.

  • Arun Lobo, Mangalore

    Sat, Sep 13 2008

    Mr. Bharath, a challenge for you, just try converting some of the christians to your faith, let me see if you will succeed. If you dont then ask yourself as to why you were not able to.. you might get some better insights about religion as a whole.. dont forget to share the thoughts ok?

  • K. S. Mayya, Mangalore/South Korea

    Sat, Sep 13 2008

    Some of the comments is at best laughable. Some people just don't get it...meaning they cannot make a difference between artha and apartha. Anyway, Hare Rama Hare Krishna is also being raked through mud to defend conversion to Christianity in India. Do they know what is ISKON? Has anyone forced ISKON down the throat of someone in the subway. May be I don't get the point. And there are others who confuse politics (of the independece era I must agree) with religion and conversion. These very sane people forget that if it was not for Gandhi, we would not have had Pakistan and Hindustan. That's a different matter that Hindustan was never going to be formed even if Gandhi wanted it but Gandhi certainly contributed to the formation of Pakistan. Pakistanis praise Jinnah for that by the way.

  • Joseph F. Gonsalves , Bannur Puttur/Mangalore

    Sat, Sep 13 2008

    It is evident from this article that fear rules with Mr. Bharat and some others for their religion. Instead of curing the disease kill the disease. Emphasis is laid in the article showing examples of Gandhiji who fought for freedom. I respect him for the non-violence method adopted to liberate from British rule. But we cannot accept every word of Gandhiji as a gospel truth. In a free, fair and secular society every one has the privilege Right to Freedom of Religion.

    Refer Part III Arts. 25 says Subject to Public order, morality, and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion. In that sense a free will of a person cannot be denied at any sense and nobody should snatch away birth right of a person. I salute India for this privilege provided irrespective of cast, creed, religion and colour. The question of conversion was a plot hatched and raised by the fundamentalists of RSS, VHP Rama Sene & BJDL due to fear of Hindu religion. Vedas were written in sancrit. Brahmins were not permitting to learn sanscrit by others due to which ultimately the language is disappearing and now trying to protect. Whose fault? Instead of finding solutions pointing others and terrorizing/taking laws in their own hands is not a dignified manner. The writer should nurse poorest of the poor in the slums bind the wounds where worms and fuss comes out from the rotten flesh of a human. Then can raise the question where there is dignity, humanity, value and love for your own brothers which is a greatest morale.

    Where as your reason for promoting conversions in US and denouncing conversions in India is unjust and biased. Dear Mr. Bharat read the Gosepl of Jesus Christ which is a spiritual book with full of divine revelations. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free John 8:32

  • donfrank, mangalore, India

    Sat, Sep 13 2008

    Mr. Shetty's article is not the correct authentic artilce on Hinduism. He should be thankful to 'Daijiworld' for publishing his article, which is not accepted by the majority of daiji's readers. I wrote many articles for some of the mainstream Indian News Papers about Christianity, but none of them got published, mainly because the owners of these Newspapers are sympathetic to VHP and the fanatic Hindu groups.

    Many secular Hindus do not agree with his views. We Mangloarean Catholics were not forcibly converted by foreign missionaries, as stateed by one of the readers (Mr. Siva). Our ancestors had chosen Christianity on their own, because of the greatness of the this beautiful religion - Christianity. Mr. Siva, should not mislead the readers by writing something which is not true. We have high regard for Hinduism. In fact, the forcible conversions are done by the Hindu fanatic groups all over the world. The tribals and the dalits, who do not belong to Hindu religion, are forced to accept Hinduism by the VHP and its allies.

    One question I want to ask to our Hindu brothers who are openly supporting their fanatic groups. Why are they afraid of Christianity? Why are they trying to wipe out Christian religion from India? Why are they hating us so much, when millions of Hindus are living in Western and Christian countries peacefully? We Christians are living in fear in India due to Fanatic Hindu Groups. Stop this hatred and try to respect each other.

  • Dynel, mangalore

    Sat, Sep 13 2008

    Dude its easy to preach and write articles...if you were so concerned about thngs you would have settled down in india and made things change rather dan sitting in US nd writing articles...


    Sat, Sep 13 2008


  • Bhaskar, mangalooru

    Sat, Sep 13 2008

    Very nice comments to read by Bhandhavya better than article.

  • Taranath Hegde, Udupi

    Sat, Sep 13 2008

    Thank you Daijiworld for publishing a truely secular article.Good it has opened up the isuue for more or less cultured debate,which is the essence of matured democracy.My advice to the people who are making negatve contribution to the whole healthy debate,to take a print out of the article and read it with the open mind.

    We as the readers of the Daijiworld should Congratulate Mr.Bharath Shetty for contributing such a article which has ignited the minds of the great race of South Canarites who are the jewels of Indian Nation who can contribute in a great deal to solve the problem the country is faceing at this moment.Mr.Bharath has rightly said let us respect 'RELIGION OF HUMANITY AND MORALITY'

  • Paul P, M'lore/Dubai

    Sat, Sep 13 2008

    One thing sure, hindus can be lured b'cause they are greedy, it is evident from the responses from daiji readers comments thus admit their weakness in religious practice. Further to substantiate this if today US or George Bush give a call to indians/hindus that those who convert to christianity will be given US citizen ship, I am pretty sure more than half of hindus living in india will convert to christianity voluntarily including Maadari Modi. Dear hindu friends please exuse me if it hurts you, It is a fact.

  • K. S. Mayya, Mangalore/South Korea

    Sat, Sep 13 2008

    Reading the article and subsequent comments to them one cannot help but notice the much required dialogue between people of various sects. These are real signs for the emergence of a mature society where everyone engages in a discussion on a topic rather than go out in arms to prove their point. Thanks Daijiworld for providing this unique platform.

  • K. S. Mayya, Mangalore/South Korea

    Sat, Sep 13 2008

    Mr. Jerome, no offense, but my gut feeling says you must be a lawyer whose first line of defense is to throw loads of paper work over the other party. Regardless, for rest of us, it would suffice if you could make a point rather than fill columns with quotes. I don't think any and all of those references would advocate conversion over one pretext or the other.

  • Mohan H Naik, Mangaluru

    Sat, Sep 13 2008

    Mr.Bharat, Your article is an offshoot of Mahatma's view on Hinduism and Fraudelent Conversion. Even Mahatma could not convince those,who unsuccessfully tried for Mahatma's faith change (Mr Coates).Not to worry.You have done a good job.We appreciate your efforts in trying to unpurl the truth and myth.

  • Jerome, Mangalore

    Fri, Sep 12 2008

    Dear Shetty, Since you have taken so much trouble to write, I strongly suggest you take someone's help and read, compare make some researh and see what holy books say and about whom. I only pray that God will enlighten you. We are all shortime passengers in this world. Rigveda X:121:1, Bible (Genesis 1:3) John 1:9 Ithareya Upanishad 1:1:3 Bible :Luke 1:35 Colossians 1:15-17 Rigveda X:90:2 Bible Rev 1:8 Rev. 22:12 Rigveda X:90:7 Bible John 19 and 20 Yajurveda XXX:18- Rigveda X90:16 Bible Romans 10:9 Rigveda X:90 7,15 (Bruhadarnyakopanishad III 9:28) (Ithareya Brahmanam 2:60) Yajurveda XXXI Bhagavat Gita 4:31 Bible John 19:2,18,33,29,23 Mathew 26:26,27 Bhagat Gita 9:34 Bible Exodus 20:2-3 Bruhadaranyakopanished 1:3:28 Bible John 14:6, 8:12,51 Mundakopanished 2:7 Bible Mathew 23:23-24 Bhagavat Gita 1:7 Bible John 3:3 Mathopanishad 6:12 Bible Hebrews 11:1 Swethaswatharopanished 6:19 Also Hoy KHOR-AAN Chap2 (Al Kakhara):87 Chapt 19 (Mriyam):19 Chapt 48:2 Chapt.35:18 And also swamy Vivekananda- P411 chapt."Isa Messiah," vol VI page 317 , 422 and 424. God bless you.

  • Ronnie, Mangalore

    Fri, Sep 12 2008

    Our emotions what culture has termed as negative and posstive neither positive nor negative - they are there as emotions, our basic nature which are not different than any other species at the basic level. So, irrespective what religion you belong to, when you do somthing which is not approved by the society, should I paint you with christian, muslim or hindu brush?

    Should I go back to history history and confirm one group had the vices and the other had virtues. Why do we need even to talk about it when the need of the hour is to address more pressing current issues like - polution, global warming, employment, poverty. I think, if we have some leisure time it would be better off to debate on topics like I mentioned and come up with real solution for our next generation and not drag them into forgotten history.

  • Shetty,

    Fri, Sep 12 2008

    I admit that christian missionaries have done great service to the education. But, I think we also need to understand that, we have lecturers and students of all religions who make these institutes reach even higher altitude. I being from one of the christian college would love to say that I'm privileged and honored being a student of that college. I would think my success, if any, is also because of the lecturer's of different religions in that college. I think our colleges are classic example of how India should be.

  • K. S. Mayya, Mangalore/South Korea

    Fri, Sep 12 2008

    Some of the readers have provided a lame excuse in caste system for the reason behind conversion. Infact, I believe that is the selling point for christian missionaries to lure the backward castes to their mold. Infact the missionaries have effectively used it to their advantage. However, one must ask some simple questions. What is the government's position on caste system. What percentage of seats/jobs are reserved for the backward castes. How the brahmins have been systematically eliminated or are in the process of elimination from the Indian politic?

    There is a firm/systematic process of pushing the brahmins to oblivion in the future. They are in effect being programmed to be the future backward classes. Christians missionaries better get their acts together and focus for tomorrow's conversion if some of the readers' logic is to be believed. And then the secular Congress (and BJP also wants people to believe that they are also no less secular), talk about lingayat, vokaliga candidate for chief minister etc., etc., and Ivan D'Souza is being fielded in Mangalore because of the huge Christian vote bank.

    Do all these conform to the secular politics? The word secular according to these political parties actually means appeasment of minorities on paper but actually distributing party tickets based on the religion/caste demography. The best conclusion for the discussion initiated by Mr.Barath Shetty would be that conversion given its history as long as history of India, must be stopped immediately. Our population is very much sensitive to the minutest additional identity provided and there are already many divisive forces inherent in our society. We don't need an additional divisive force in recently converted versus born christian etc etc.

    The above commments must not in any way take away the unique/quality service offered by various christian institutions in India. Mangalore will have to be redefined had there been no christian institutions. Last but not least, this is coming from a guy who himself spent a good years of his childhood education in christian institution.

  • JayRao, puttur/sydeny

    Fri, Sep 12 2008

    Belonging to a particular religion does not automatically make somebody good or bad. I have not seen anything in the article which finds fault with non-Hindu religion. Where as most of the comments have got lot to say against Hinduism. If anybody needs, I can give lot of information from around the world, past and present, attrocities done/being done by people belonging to various non-Hindu religions. I can give countless examples of holymen/statesman/intellectuals killed by those belonging to the same religion.

     I can give information about what happened in the land where Mother Theresa was born. I can also give countless examples of those who have fought against the evils of followers of their own religion without abandoning their religion. Please have something positive to contribute. Something to reduce conflict. To make any sort of progress,spiritual or otherwise, mental peace is needed.

  • Siva, usa

    Fri, Sep 12 2008

    Mr. Shetty's article is great. I do not know why many consider it as attacking Christians - it is not. The article addresses only to people who forcibly convert. I have hardly seen anyone trying to address the points raised by Shetty. Rather many here have chosen to attck Mr Shetty and a few have chosen to attack Hinduism itself. Do you think the religion based on 'pardoning' others approves this? Are there not enough Christians who can write logically? Here is what I think about conversion. Everyone has and should have right to convert of free will for theological reasons only. But most conversions happen due to poverty or by force.

    For example Most Christians of Mangalore, however should understand that they are Christians today because their ancestors were forced to become Christians (especially in Goa) and not for theological reasons. Compared to the force used to convert them, Bajrang's actions deserve peace prize. Another great threat about conversion is threat to nationalism.

    Over the years, the entire north east has been converted and it has lead to strong 'armed struggle for independence' from India. So it clearly shows that the conversion has ultimately an anti-national aim, though unfortunately people who are on the ground working meticulously to convert others are not aware of this anti-national effect, they sicerely believe they are doing everything for 'Lord's Praise'. Invisible 'hand' behind these activities though is very evil

  • A.D'Cunha Shenoy, Mangaluru

    Fri, Sep 12 2008

    Dear Mr. Bharath Shetty. Your article reflects views based on religious conversions particularly coversion of Hindus into Christianity. To state at the out set "Hinduism" is not a religion. Its a way of life. I hope you agree with me. If you do then the so called conversion does not arise. Beyond that I must say those Christians you claim who covert people into Christanity are not obligated to enter into Christianity.

    Chrsitianity is a broad based term and after being in USA you must know how many denominations exist. Which denomination are in the conversion business? Do you know? Yes, Catholics who run the education system in India and if these catholics are on the conversion rampage, by this time, half of Indian population would have be Catholics.

    I can go on and on but as you said each of us must beleive that we are the creation of GOD a devine power and no so called religion can take us to him. Because that power does not know any religion.

  • Arun, Bangalore

    Thu, Sep 11 2008

    Mr. Bharath, your Hinduism doesnt speak about Untouchability in Hindus? So many dalits like Ambedakar converted themselves to Buddhism. Do you think Christians are Reason behind this?

  • Asha, Sharjah

    Thu, Sep 11 2008

    Dear brothers & sisters, Mr. Bharath is referring to the extremist groups in all religions, therefore I feel there should not be any debate on this issue. All are created by the same God so we are brothers and sisters. We have to only "LOVE ONE ANOTHER" and not judge others. None of us are perfect in all that we do, all of us need correction at one point or the other.

    Mr. Bharath please do not make statements and comments on the history of the world for you are living in the present and know little truth related to the past.

  • Rolphy Almeida, Udupi/Bangalore

    Thu, Sep 11 2008

    Dear, Mr. Shetty, Mother Theresa wouldn’t have lived in India, had you and me cleaned the wounds of our brothers and sisters suffering from leprosy. You are a knowledgeable person must be well aware, why and in what situation Missionary came to India and how they saved thousands of poor Indians dying due to lack of medical facility probably mine and your family too. Missionary is God’s job, if you understand correctly.

    There is no your God or my God there is only one God and God’s wish is to help the needy. I lived in Udupi, and now I am 53 years old, there are many Christian schools and missionary hospitals. Till date I have not come across any one converted to Christianity from other religion. Whereas, I know a few Christians converted to Hinduism after getting married. Do I have any right to say this is forcible conversion? You lived in Kateel, how many you know who converted to Christianity? Well-known Singer Easu-Das a Keralite Christian goes to Hindu temple and offers prayer, have any Christians stopped him? Orissa problem is different it is not conversion, rather education.

    Landlords in Orissa are suddenly found shortage of slaves, due to education provided to the poor by the missionaries. They are like Dictator Ferdinand Marcos of Philippines. They want those people do their work for free or for very little and Vote for them. They wouldn’t do this when they are educated. You have rightly written many quotes from the father of our nation. Gandhiji also said “We need to learn to do our daily work” When his wife was hesitant to clean the toilet. You must be aware that there is a vast difference between rich and the poor in Orissa.

    They lend money to the poor and want them to work for life, which is being stopped by the missionaries by educating them. Please note the country where you live is also secular and not Christian-stan. We live in Hindustan and love Hindustan come what may.

  • Sr. Loretta Viegas, Mangalore,Tanzania

    Thu, Sep 11 2008

    Dear Mr. Shetty, Your article says "Hinduism is the most Liberal and Tolerant Religion". Don't you think that your statement is contradicting the activities carried out by these fanatic groups. If Hinduism was a tolerant religion then I think the situation would have been normal in Orissa and the Swami's funeral procession also would have not been so violent.

    I would advise you not to preach but practice and to do so please come back to your own land. Thank you and may God bless you.

  • bandhavya, Mangalore

    Thu, Sep 11 2008

    Mr.Bharath Shetty, you quote Mahatma Gandhiji to prove your point. Very good. The person whom you hold in such high esteem was killed by a hindu. Was it not violence? You give a very glorious picture of hinduism saying that it is peace loving, non-violent religion. How come that this peace loving religion didn't stop him killing this great personality?

    You say that conversion, preaching is provoking others. What do the har ram hare krishna people are doing in the train? What are they doing in the western countries and in the states? You are not able to see their actions? Advise your people first before you preach to others. You are speaking about conversions. But you are not able to prove with facts and figures as to where they are taking place and how many are taking place. You are saying that missionaries are converting people. Ants flock where there is sugar and not where there is vinegar.

    Caste ridden hindu society is filled vinegar. So the people fed with this kind of religion move away from it and get attracted to Christianity which based on love and service. Mr. Bharath, this is the root casue. So if you can, tell your people to give up caste practices and start serving the people. If your religion has value for the human persons just show how rehabilatation houses you run where you take care of the people suffering from leprocy, tuberclosis, hiv/aids.

    These are the less fortunate people of the soiciety. What have you done for them? The only good that your good religion has done is exploitation of the poor people with the weapon of caste. You have done it for centuries. Now when people get out of it you feel nervous. The solution is not blaming missionaries but serving the poor. Can you do that. The richest people in the world today are from India. How much do they contribute for the social cause? Instead of writing articles approach the Ambanis, Lakshmi Mittal, Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguli and ask them to take up the cause of poor and down trodden. Western countries have the values of sharing what they have with the less fortune. How much of it is seen with the rich in India.

    We have people rich enough to donate gold in kilos to the temples. But they have nothing to give to the poor. Serving a free meal in the temple doesn't solve the problem of the people. When you take care of the socio-economic needs of the people they enjoy dignity of life. That is done by the Christian missionaries. That is why people get attracted to Christanity. You have written about he root casue. But you have not gone deep enough to find the roots.


    Thu, Sep 11 2008

    Dear Bharath, CONGRATULATIONS. One of the best article published in Daijiworld.

  • Jeevan, Barkur/USA

    Thu, Sep 11 2008

    Dear Mohandas, You have cleared the confusion and taken a stand a stand that is troubling all the christian brothers. I am with you on this conversion issue. I do not hate any religion and come from a family that has taught me the tolerence to religion.

    This entire debate of the christians trying to condemn Mr. Bharat Shetty is wrong. The article does not condemn christianity or Jesus Christ. It just provides a glimpse of Gandhiji's opinion on conversion. The reason why Gandhiji dwelved into religion is because the christian missionary were trying to convert him into a christian in South Africa and he did not buy it.

  • Mohandas, mangalore/USA

    Thu, Sep 11 2008

    First let us clarify that america or canada is not a christian nation. Here are the excerpts : In 1797 America made a treaty with Tripoli, declaring that "the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." The First Amendment To The U.S. Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ." The constitution contains no mention of Christianity or Jesus Christ. There is of course a debate stating that since the majority of the population is christian it should be a christian nation and this is from the christians and remember US of A is secular.

    Take somalia, it is officially an Islamic state and proselytizing for any religion except Islam is prohibited. So let us not put the USA or India in the same plate. India is a hindu country, here the context of hindu is geological and not religious. The hindu or hinduism that most are referring to is to an indian who follows the sanathana dharma.

    I guess the theologists would be familiar with this. Having said this, I see in this forum several comments on India being secular but deep down is run / controlled by hindus, aren't the hindu's a majority, if the above applies to to the U.S. then why not to India. I am stating this not in support of the barbaric situation in orissa or for that matter any violence in the name of any religion. I am only irritated by the reference to "our institutions", "our schools". All this message was conveying is that conversion is the root cause of all the problems.

    Yes we should be free to choose a faith or belief or sect but it should not be based on something in return. Remember, the product is god and the payment is your soul and that is being traded. The coining of "our" simply conveys a segregation - we are not you!!. No difference between this and racism or casteism. Can we all come out and take a stand that conversion in any form pertaining to any religion should be accorded a no-tolerence status. I would stand for it and I do see a few in this debate who would too.

  • Savitha, Bangalore

    Thu, Sep 11 2008

    Dear Shetty I pity your petty argument on conversion.My dear,this is an assignment by the Living God and will continue until the end of ages and NO POWER in the universe would be able to stop this process. From time immemorial christians have been butchered by the enemy of Christ in the name of conversion.The prince of darkness will not allow people to receive the "Light of the World"becuase they are ruled by the god of the air.Let the wrath of God be upon the people who oppose the work og GOD.

  • Rony, Nitte, Karkala/Qatar

    Thu, Sep 11 2008

    Dear Bharath Shetty, next time do not make an attempt to write such provoking article. Please read the bad responses. I am sure that followers of Jesus will forgive in their prayers. To balance the sin it may affect you and your family.

    Therefore, please go ahead with convert yourself as soon as possible. You have three options. First option embrace Islam, second option convert to Christianity and Last & Best option: Become a Good Hindu.

  • Rony, Karkla/Qatar

    Thu, Sep 11 2008

    Dear Mahendra Shetty, I you have a problem of understanding comments written in English. For your understanding nobody (Christians, Muslims) hate Hinduism. We hate fanatic Hindus who are involved in criminal activities in the name Religion by joining VHP, BJ etc. Please dont be in line Bharath Shetty, you can see a few supported him like you.

  • Nurya, Kundapur/usa

    Thu, Sep 11 2008

    Mr. Shetty if you are a faithful Hindu, why don't you go back to India and preach to various low caste people. . Why you have come to USA leaving your sacred land? By writing a long article you gained nothing but made your selves an idiot. I know many Shetty families in Kundapur, DK, and they respect christians so much. Compared to them I find you are a communist misusing Gandhiji's name.

  • K. S. Mayya, Mangalore/South Korea

    Thu, Sep 11 2008

    Christian missionaries in India who think that they must also compete with other nations when it comes to conversion (its more a competition rather than spreading fragrance) must be carefull. They are in a multireligion, multicultural society. India is not Korea for example, where conversions are "literally" forced to an extent that Bhuddists have taken to the streets against, believe me discrimination.

    What is more worrying that growing number of South Koreans enter India as tourists or in the disguise of working for a company (for visa purposes), while infact they work for missionaries. A good 2 dozen of them brought national disgrace to Korea during their confinement in Afghanistan....but what is worse, they are in much higher numbers in India.

    Hindus are not stupid...they will find this sometime or the other. So, conversion addicts must watch out. I strongly beleive a link between conversion and orissa killings. The link might not be direct...but conversion gave a different identity to a certain group of people. What was one group of people became two. I need to stress that I am totally against conversion.

  • Alexander, Melbourne

    Thu, Sep 11 2008

    If the intentions of Missionaries were conversion, then at least Mangalore should have been 100% christian city by now. It is due to their foresight, we have good educational institutions. How many non catholic and non government primary and secondary schools are there in Mangalore? Hardly any. It is because Primary and secondary schools are not "Gold Mines", but technical shools are.

    When people wanted Mother Theresa to be expelled from Calcutta,the chief of police said : "I Promise you that I would expel this foreign woman, and I will do so on the day that you persuade your mothers and sisters to come here and do what she is doing" (City of Joy - Dominique Lapierre)

  • Hubert , Udupi/Canada

    Thu, Sep 11 2008

    Bharat, I must say you have an excellent style of inking your thoughts on paper! However my impression is that you are looking with a coloured glass at the situation at hand. I am sure if you were brought up in and around Kateel you have been educated, treated or been served by a christian. I will not ask you this, ask yourself if you have been offered money in exchange for your faith?

    It is not only the poor and downtrodden that are attracted to Christ, but even scientists, educationists, accountants and managers, whom I know personally have found peace at the feet of the Saviour! They are now bold enough to reach out to the world with the good news of Jesus Christ. Opposition to the message of truth will always be there, everywhere, not only in India.

    Even in the so called 'Christian' countries you and me live in, it is not easy or should I say extremely hard to witness to Christ! That is why Jesus said, The way to hell is easy and smooth, many follow it, whereas to heaven it is narrow and winding and few will find it! If we can't do good to our brothers and sisters and help them in their hardships let us atleast not create road-blocks for them. We have education, let us use it to unite, not divide.

    By the way, let me state this humbly, Jesus Christ was not an American or British, nor is christianity is a western religion. The mission is not westernise the world, but it is the command of our Lord to make known His message to the whole world. For him Braman or Shoodra or Jew or Gentile or Christian is the same. "For we all are sinners by nature and have fallen short of the glory of God", as recorded in the Bible. It is only by the HOLY BLOOD of the saviour we are cleansed!

    This is not political my friend, if it was so he(Jesus) would not have healed the ear of the servant of the high priest, among the crowd who came to arrest him in the garden of Gethsamne. He commanded to Peter to put away his sword, saying, "The one who lives by the sword will perish by the sword.".......... Bharat, you have quoted Gandhiji, father of our nation, extensively in your essay, why don't you please tell the VHP and Bhjrangis to follow his peaceful path?

  • Antony T. D' Souza, Karkala, Qatar

    Thu, Sep 11 2008

    If Hindus are converted voluntarily by the teachings of Christianity nobody can stop them because there is a conversion of their heart by themselves. Secondly, incase they are converted on provision of certain commodities given by the missionaries like food, clothes etc., they are called commodity Christians where their heart is not converted. Hence, in case commodity supply is stopped to them by some circumstances they will roll back to their original faith murmuring that “what is Christianity there is no rice no clothes”.

    Therefore, nobody encourages such material Christians in Christian fold. Hence, hard line Hindus need not get panic. In most of the churches in India non-Christians are more in attendance than the actual Christians. They are attending the Prayer Meetings by their faith and not by anybodies force and in case they are converted by their faith it is not called forceful conversation and no force on earth can stop them too.

    Some hard line Hindus are extreme in their thinking as if they are the savior of Hindus but deep down they are egoistic corrupt, malice, selfish for a greater mission for dirty politics for power to win the elections. Therefore, by their surplus thinking they divide the peaceful society but yet they can not take our peace and courage that we received from our faith. Praise the LORD.

  • Antony T. D' Souza, Karkala, Qatar

    Thu, Sep 11 2008

    If Hindus are converted voluntarily by the teachings of Christianity nobody can stop them because there is a conversion of their heart by themselves. Secondly, incase they are converted on provision of certain commodities given by the missionaries like food, clothes etc., they are called commodity Christians where their heart is not converted. Hence, in case commodity supply is stopped to them by some circumstances they will roll back to their original faith murmuring that “what is Christianity there is no rice no clothes”. Therefore, nobody encourages such material Christians in Christian fold. Hence, hard line Hindus need not get panic. In most of the churches in India non-Christians are more in attendance than the actual Christians.

    They are attending the Prayer Meetings by their faith and not by anybodies force and in case they are converted by their faith it is not called forceful conversation and no force on earth can stop them too. Some hard line Hindus are extreme in their thinking as if they are the savior of Hindus but deep down they are egoistic corrupt, malice, selfish for a greater mission for dirty politics for power to win the elections. Therefore, by their surplus thinking they divide the peaceful society but yet they can not take our peace and courage that we received from our faith. Praise the LORD

  • mahendra shetty, mumbai ,dubai

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    well done shetty,i saw some comments very sad .their comments like they hate hinduism.INDIA IS THE ONLY ONE COUNTRY ALL COMMUNITY ENJOYING THEIR LIFE.WELL DONE SHETTY.

  • fredrick tauro, bantwal

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    I did not become a christian because I chose it,neither Bharath Shetty,a Hindu because he had options.If I were born in Muslim family Iwould have been a Muslim.If Bharath Shetty were born to christian parents he wold not have been a Hindu.We inherited our religion but we did not choose it.We stay in a rented house.Wisdom says" make it your home".What is important is how we lived in it.

  • Sujith, Mangalore/Dubai

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    I was watching a documentary on CNN-IBN recently and was given to understand that the place in Orissa where the atrocities took place recently is Kandhamal and these tribal people are not actually Hindus as they do know know anything about Hindu dogma. Missionaries have reached some places where even government and NGOs cannot reach. These people are educated and their second or third generation start showing results by becoming teachers, engineers etc and leading a normal life which otherwise is not possible as they are rejected by mainstream upper caste people and looked down upon as they have no school nor religious institutions to attend. These people are still poor and are not lured by money but being accepted into a community and living a normal life into the mainstream rather being isolated and unproductive. One must take into consideration all these.

  • Wilfred Rego, Siddakatte/ Jeddha

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Mr Bharath Shetty , you article hurting sentiments of Christen community . As Daphney comments that you having good writting gift by God . So i advise you to use in a better way . By writting such articles you are again communalising each other and causing enimity . This is only politising common people . I remember in childhood days we used to play together irrespective of cast and creed . But when RSS came everything changed in my village disturbing peace in our neighbourhood . Mr Shetty it is easy to write by sitting in USA . You only write good about Gandiji but the Hindu Extremist groups Like VHP, RSS hate Gandiji .

  • Shantanu, Bangalore

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    The overwhelming conversions happen voluntarily(I am not just talking to Christianity but to other relegions as well). Of course there may be a few "conversions" for monetary considerations, I do not term them as conversions at all. These "converts" look for other pastures once they run out of money. The theory of conversions through fraudulent means is just propaganda by the Sangh parivar for political reasons, just like Hitler and his thugs did during World War 2. We all know the consequences of that!

  • A.S.Mathew, U.S.A.

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    The Radical politicians have used religion as a tool for their political gains and even some educated people blindly follow the politicians. Mr. Shetty has a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation. Visit www.southasianconnection.com where we can read about many Hindus who came to the Christian faith.

    Some of them are business people, highly educated and nationally known people. Ask them, how they came to the new faith: or did somebody force them to change their faith? The new terminology "forced conversion" is a paradox like "bitter sugar". Nobody can be forced to convert!

  • Harold Albuquerque, Bondle / Mangalore

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Bharath Shetty, good article about Hinduism but about conversion it is one sided. I fully agreed with the very true comments of Fr. Roque D’Souza, Baptist Sequira, Montu D’souza & Alfred J. Rebello. My comments - Conversion is a tool for BJP, VHP & BD, like some years ago Ram mandir, only for vote bank. After selfless service for years, Christian missionaries are getting returns like Orissa & Karnataka incidents.

    Since selfish political & communal leaders playing dirty shameless game by killing, torturing & raping noble missionaries, it is better to adopt similar path to serve within the community, like muslim community they serve among themselves & not others…

  • Padmanabha Shenoy, Udupi /Dammam Saudi Arabia

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Thanks Mr. Shetty for your openion on conversion. As per Navaneeth you have to go to India for serving people of India and to comment on anything. Mr. Navneeth if all Indians working abroad comes back you would have had no time to write your comments as you would have been working hard to get your livelyhood.

    Remember because of NRI's India is economically becoming strong. regarding conversion I appreciate Shaikh Hashim Ali's comments as upper caste in Hindus are also one of the reason for the conversion. If you go back to history Mogul Kings like Aurangjeb and Humayun forcefully converted lots of Hindus. But now things have changed. rich Hindus should help poor hindus for the basic necessity like food, cloth and shelter so that they will not accept these things from missioneries and get converted.

  • Preema, Mangalore/Australia

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Mr.Shetty,am currently residing in Australia and I have come across Indians preaching about Hinduism and literally asking the so called phirangis to attend their temples and religious workshops.Firstly,do I call it as conversion or a conspiracy to convert? And if these westerners want to follow the Hindu religion would you say No?

    I feel every Indian who is above 18yrs of age has the right to chose & follow the religion of his/her choice.After all India is a democratic country(that Secondly,you have spoken highly of Gandhiji & his values,but you should also remember that Gandhiji was a peace lover just like Jesus.He showed us that we can win the battle through NON-VIOLENCE,which he used as a weapon against the British. So why the so called peaceloving Indians taking the law in their hands?

  • Purushottama, Byndoor

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Good article. It appears that your views are not for some amongst us. It requires a different level of thinking to understand certian issues. In the present Society you can not sell comb to a bald person - likewise some reactions indicate how intolerant we are to any thing contrary to our views. One more such article - one more platform to spit venom on each other- thats what we are. The solution go according to hat your conscience permits. If majority have the same view ultimately that shall hold good.

  • Pinky S. B, Udupi

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Mr. Navaneeth I am praying to God same like you "Devaru nimage swalpa daye kodali harijanarannu maneollage kurisi ootaa hakalu"

  • Ronald Rodrigues, Dubai/Katapadi

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Mr. Bharat, Thanks for the article as I feel that you have taken lot of time to go through books & "quote" the saying of our National Leaders.Every human being has the abilty to think what is good & bad for him/her so how can you can you write about conversion(forcibly)? If you are feeling that something like this is happening in India why dont you come back from US(A Christain Country) & start educating people.Please dont write such articles which is like putting oil on fire.Let us all live peacefully!

  • Steevan, Sharjah

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Bharath shetty is a big fool I have ever seen in my life Just remember Hindus are minority in this whole world, I have many hindu friends , below 25 age and I think u should learn from them starting from A to Z ok munna join the class ASAP

  • John Castelino, Shankerapura

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    I read with interest comments from both sides and both communities are not wrong from their point of view. When we are dealing with religion and faith it is about the non physical world as no body has seen GOD.

    We all believe in the historical recordings as the word of GOD. When a believer reads the scriptures that states it's writings are the only truth, then you cannot blame the believer in speading the message as the believer feels he or she is doing the right thing by obeying the word of GOD. Let us all be vey honest here... regardless whether one practises religion or not, all believe that his or her religion / faith is true or superior or at least carries the sentiment.

    As no one can prove whose religion or faith is true, let's follow the religion of our choice and leave the jusgement to GOD alone. If at all we can do something let us be of service to humanity and not kill or hate people in the name of religion as all human beings are creation of GOD. After Gandhiji, there is one more saint whom we can emulate and learn from and that is Mother Theresa.

  • Sheik Hashim Ali, udupi, Saudi Arabia, Al-Khobar

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    I read bharat shetty’s article on “conversion”. As per his view conversion is the only cause for the violence. But it is not the actual cause. First we have to know why the Hindus are converting to other religion like Islam and Christianity. In Hinduism there is caste system. Due to this caste system some hindus are higher in their status like brahmains. They are the only people who can take charges of temples and other religious rituals.

    Only these people can do the pooja. As per the Hindu religion they are suprerior. On the other hand take the example of Dalits. They are the inferior to other castes. Even they can’t freely mingle with the upper caste people. Even they are refused to enter some temples. Due to this inequality these people converted to Islam and Christianity. It was happened in Minakshipuram (tamilnadu) in 1983, that the people of the whole village accepted Islam.

    Because of the inequality, the upper caste hindus are also responsible for this convertion. If they treat these lower caste people equally they would have not converted to the other religion. My second point: If people’s are converted forcefully by giving money, property etc. it is totally wrong. But if people want to accept other faith willingly (if they attracted by its teachings) nobody have the right to prevent them. It is their personal decision. If somebody forces a person to convert to his faith, definatly the forced person will take legal action against the forcing person.

    So it is a baseless allegation that hindus are forced for convertion. In India some Hindu fanatic groups like VHP, Bajrangdal purposefully creating some issues to create havoc in the society. They want to make minorities unsecure and they want to create terror in them. Because of these people India will never improve. Mr. Bharat told one more thing that Mahatma Gandhi told this and that regarding conversion. In our daily life it is not compulsory for us to follow what Gandhi told. Nither he is a Prophet nor a Saint. He is only a freedom fighter. So everything whatever he said is not to be followed .

  • Shareef Moideen, Mangalore/Saudi Arabia

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Bharath Shetty, Just refer to the statistics the population of Christians has been declined in recent years, now if they were converting then the population should have been increased, before you write know the fact. You are stationed in USA if Christians were converting why are you still a Hindu. Religion is something for individual if he/she is not comfortable they have the right to choose the religion they want. I am the product of Christian Institution and all our teachers were Christians they never forced us not follow their religion, in fact being a Muslim we had a relaxation of 15 minutes on Friday to attend the mass prayer.

    You are living in USA which is a Christian country just tell me did anyone obliged you to follow their faith. The great, Mother Theresa being Christian devotee did she ever tried to oblige anyone to follow her path, I am sure if she would have done that all patients or down trodden people whom she served would have followed her religion. Her aim was to serve Humanity, serving humanity is serving Almighty and come to Father Muller’s Hospital in Kankanady, Mangalore and see the service provided there for minimal fees and all the poor patients go to Father Muller’s hospital only because they can afford and get the treatment they require.

    As you said you should be better Hindu rather than projecting you an extremist Hindu. India is not only for Hindus it is for all the people regardless of Religion, Caste, Creed and Race.

  • rajesh, Mangalore/ Kuwait

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    To Mr. Bharath Shetty /Navaneeth/K.S.Poojary Your comment on the following will be highly appreciated. When some western couple in MOODBIDRI and in other parts of India accepting HINDUISM how all these people were HAPPY? Is there any people in USA converted to HINDU? IF YOUR ANSWER IS YES THEN TELL ME WHO CONVERTED THEM??????

  • Leo SEqueira, Udupi

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Dear Mr. Bharat, your article on conversion are based on your views however please read the following message which is selfexplnatory for your article "Quote" Karan Thapar's article in Hindustan times....worth reading.... Spread the word Karan Thapar , Hindustan Times August 30, 2008 Who's the real Hindu? Does the VHP have the right to speak for you or I? Do they reflect our views? Do we endorse their behaviour? They call themselves the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, but who says they represent all of us? This Sunday morning,

    I want to draw a clear line of distinction between them and everyone else. My hunch is many of you will agree. Let me start with the question of conversion — an issue that greatly exercises the VHP. I imagine there are hundreds of millions of Hindus who are peaceful, tolerant, devoted to their faith, but above all, happy to live alongside Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Jews. If any one of us were to change our faith how does it affect the next man or woman? And even if that happens with inducements, it can only prove that the forsaken faith had a tenuous and shallow hold. So why do the VHP and its unruly storm troopers, the Bajrang Dal, froth at the mouth if you, I or our neighbours convert? What is it to do with them? Let me put it bluntly, even crudely. If I want to sell my soul — and trade in my present gods for a new lot — why shouldn't I? Even if the act diminishes me in your eyes, it's my right to do so. So if thousands or even millions of Dalits, who have been despised and ostracised for generations, choose to become Christian, Buddhist or Muslim, either to escape the discrimination of their Hindu faith or because some other has lured them with food and cash, it's their right. Arguably you may believe you should ask them to reconsider, although I would call that interference, but you certainly have no duty or right to stop them.

    In fact, I doubt if you are morally correct in even seeking to place obstacles in their way. The so-called Freedom of Religion Acts, which aim to do just that, are, in fact, tantamount to obstruction of conversion laws and therefore, at the very least, questionable. However, what's even worse is how the VHP responds to this matter. Periodically they resort to violence including outright murder. What happened to Graham Staines in Orissa was not unique. Last week it happened again. Apart from the utter and contemptible criminality of such behaviour, is this how we Hindus wish to behave? Is this how we want our faith defended? Is this how we want to be seen?

    I have no doubt the answer is no. An unequivocal, unchanging and ever-lasting NO! The only problem is it can't be heard. And it needs to be. I therefore believe the time has come for the silent majority of Hindus — both those who ardently practice their faith as well as those who were born into it but may not be overtly religious or devout — to speak out. We cannot accept the desecration of churches, t <

  • Ronald D'Souza, Auckland

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Hi Bharath, you have totally lost the plot here.In Orissa where it all began the Maoists first threatened and then actually bumped off that swami.In response we saw the brutal behaviour of the Sangh Parivar against the Christian communities and apportioned all blame of this murder on them. Several Fora of the Christians have openly condemned the killing but this condemnation was never noticed or heeded - in fact several Fundamentalists kept on repeating that their swami's killing was not even condemned by the Christians. Something totally unrelated - i.e. conversions has taken centre stage.

    Tell me Bharath, if an average Hindu who has been taught of Maya and Karma and Ling worship reasons out that to him there is more sense and purpose and satisfaction to himself in life in becoming a Christian why should it be anyone else's business? Surely a person can take a personal decision without anyone else getting stomach pains in the bargain. Some of the priests attacked say they have been in service only and they have never converted anyone. Why can someone seeing their sense of service to the Lord and Master not feel touched and want to know the same Lord and Master Jesus Christ without it becoming the business of other people?

    Answer this one question and then we can have some meaning into your semantic acrobatics on conversions. Or is it not a fact that educated and liberated tribals not available to do obesiance to their higher groups is putting casteist Hinduism out of sync?

  • john, Mangalore/ Kuwait

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    When some western couple in MOODBIDRI accepting HINDUISM how all these people were HAPPY? Is there any people in USA converted to HINDU? IF YOUR ANSWER IS YES THEN TELL ME WHO CONVERTED THEM?????? Mr.Bharath Shetty Please answer to the Main point, if you answer this i can say your surely right........

  • Thomas, Abu Dhabi

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Shetty has totally forgotten about the 'REAL PLAYERS' behind all these incidents. He maybe afraid of the 'Leaders of some Sections'.They want to show that they are alive in India, by igniting the fire.

    Everybody wants freely available Services provided by the Missionaries, but don't want to teach the villagers What is right and wrong. Bharat want the poor and neglected people should remain as it is in the same status. Did you  point out any other community doing these type of Services to these remote villagers? If you can not do these things please allow others to do. Think Bharath !!!

  • Sunil, Brisbane

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Mr Bharath I have a question for you. The question is, Hinduisam teaches Karma, which means coming back into this world again and again, till you have gained spiritual perfection.Christians regardless of being Protestant or Catholic who believe in Jesus christ as the one and only saviour of this world,Creator who came down in human form to show the right path, the only Historical figure proclaimed himself as equal to God who crushed every theory of science and with power showed the world, what is light and what is darkness, warned us not to be Idolaters but rather believe in true God and warned us about the consequences on the Day of Judgement for our short comings and you tell the world to believe all roads lead to same God.

    If what you said was true than I think, Jesus was a Liar. Can the world prove that he was a liar? History Proves that he laid down his life to proove himself who he was and even today his followers are laying their lives to tell who he was. If someone is getting converted from Hinduisam to Islam, christianity or any other faith its his decision.Why some one else should get upset.Do christians come and attack a hindu or muslim when he converts to other religion? When you say all paths go to God, than why are people like you getting upset when they follow other path?.

    The fact is you dont want to admit that you are worried about people leaving your faith and Joining other faith. Listen buddy, no matter how hard you try to unite this world for peace,Its not going to happen without the Prince of Peace.I am very sorry for what the Vatican has done in its history becas neither where they following the Teachings of Christ.Teachings of Christ are in the Bible and not in Rome! because he said, to lay down our lives to preach the Gospel no where he told us to do forcefull conversion.

  • Nelson D'Cunha, Mangalore/Riyadh, KSA

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Dear Writer, Well done, you have raised a question of conversion. Why people convert? Why they really change to other religions? Is it illegal? Please ask these questions with your own soul (which you call Atman) The constitution of India has given the freedom to follow any religion of our choice. It only opposes the activities of terror. Please be informed that before any religion world knows us from our country, they call us Indians not Christians or Hindus.

    You have blamed the service done by Christians to the society of India. If missionaries wanted to convert why still in a country like India Christians are only 2%. I think the major educational and health institutions are run by missionaries from last century but still only 2% of Indians are Christians and it was 2.57% before 10 years, still you blame conversion is going on??? What we can say about this? Dear friend before writing you have to have some sense and knowledge of present situations and there should be some truth.

  • Savithri Mohan, Bangalore

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Mr.Bharath Shetty Please answer my question. India got Independance in the year 1947. If christians would have started forcible conversion, today more than 70% of the Indian population would be Christians including you and your family. Do You know the meaning of faith,come down to India and we will teach you.

  • Anil Rodrigues, Mangalore/ Hyderabad

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Mr. Shetty, You need to Visit Orissa to know whats happening there. Moreover, Arent Hindu's into Conversion in the US? Arent Huindu's trying to Spread their Faith Across. You mask the whole effort as a "WAY OF LIFE"...What is AOL, HARE Krishna, ISKON etc? And as far as African countries are concerned Christians Missionaries are active there as well, doing the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. And about Foreign Funding, Being an Indian

    How many times have you given money towards orphanages, Old age homes? What has the Government done to help Education of the Masses? Think about these questions before you point fingers at Christians. The Bible Declares that we spread the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ, Through word and Deed. I have known Hindus who have converted to Christianity cos they were tired of living in dead customs and traditions that held no value to them! You need to think from all angles before writing an article in public.

    Never the less, It is your right to act, my right to react. The same way where Christians have the constitutional right to spread their Faith and the others have the constitutional right to accept only what they think is right.... So you cannot stop it.....

  • bharath shetty , Kateel -USA

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    I think i missed following defintions: (1) "proselytization" > means "Induced conversion". (2) "miscreants" > means the people who create physical violence in the name of religion. Such people never be justified regardless of the cause. Thanks

  • J. LOBO / INDIA, Mangaore

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    I agree with Mr. Naveenth comments it is 100% true. A true Indian Never leave his country. Mr. Shetty, USA i wonder why are you leaving in USA?????? why can't you do social works in INDIA? Educating all poor people, Harijans and there are lots of slums in INDIA u can see in Mumbai and all other parts of the cities in INDIA. Why can't VHP/RSS/BD do this? Mr. Shetty God will definetly give answer to the question for converion to all of you one day.

    When some western couple in MOODBIDRI accepting HINDUISM how all these people were HAPPY? Is there any people in USA converted to HINDU? IF YOUR ANSWER IS YES THEN TELL ME WHO CONVERTED THEM?

  • jacintha, mangalore

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    While on missionary work, would anyone name few missionary centers like Mother Theresas, Seon Ashram or similar? I wonder what benefit Mother theresa really got by 'inducing abandoned dying & sick people, unwed mothers, orphaned children etc. Across the world, there is no award for generating large numbers of christians. And, those who are converted, by bharat's own admission are weak - lurable people.

    What aditional value do these really bring to the missionaries or existing christians, that educated and well placed young men/women sacrifice their lives to serve them and 'convert' them. Beats my logic. Income tax exemption isn't there, no free ticket to Rome, or any other free-bee.

    I appeal to all missionaries, stop your services and let our roads and streets see the misery and deal with it 'suits and boots on', while going to work. Forced Conversion I believe, can't you write better fiction?

  • Daphney, India

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    I feel your article just stresses on the term Hinduism. Let me tell you there is only one God and God has decided which person needs to be in which place. Every person has a freedom to live where he /she wants to live. Catholics run service institutes to improve the living of the sick, needy and lost people. They help them to recognize themselves and in that course of time if the person who is being treated feels that he /she needs to be the follower of Christ, it’s his/her wish and not convictism.

    The nuns, priest or the social service people do not help the people seeing the tag as to which religion they belong to they just help any person without knowing who that person is. People have their own brains to think as to what they do, Catholics do not believe in something called as witchcraft or hypnotism where in a person is forced to do things. And as said by you can a 80% population of Hindu be converted by 2% of Catholics, its never possible.

    Today I don’t think because of all this conversion and other topics coming up you would be finding even 2% of Catholics as they are just being killed mercilessly because of all this talks and articles spreading around. Do you know the things that are happening in Orissa? Who are we to decide that he/she is being converted just sitting here. If the people feel that a person is being converted let them take that person back to his religion . No one can be tied or forced to follow Christ. If the person has converted it’s because of his /her will.

    Catholics want true followers of Christ and not just increase the head count. A person who has been forced can never be a true catholic trust me. People just dont go by any persons words and act violently, you need to know the root cause and find out what is the truth. Anyways I am just trying to say just stop blaming each other and allow the people to live the way every individual wants to live. Do not write an article which brings further division in the country. My friend Naveentha your comment about a priest is so very wrong. You are still not aware of the fact that priest and nuns don’t earn money by following Christ they have dedicated their life for the suffering people and not to earn currencies. They are being sent abroad to server people for some years as we have churches there and not to enjoy life. Remember we are accountable for all our thoughts words and actions against others.

    And if the Catholics are helping the tribal people to come up to a normal persons level as you and me by helping them study and work its the tribal people are benefited and not the priest and nuns who slog to get them to that level. If Catholics stop helping the tribes to come up they will be the way they are life long as I don’t think anyone has come forward to stay with them and help them.

    Bharath, I fully agree you are a good writer but think you could have presented it in a much better way. You have got a beautiful gift from god

  • Gurubaliga, Bantwal/New Delhi

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Many comments pointed out the cast system in Hinduism is the root cause of conversion to Christianity. Sadly the following references proves that Change of religion did not succeed eliminating castiesm. "...The Change of religion did not succeed in eliminating castes. The converts carried with them their castes and occupations to the new religions.

    The result has been that even among Sikhs, Muslims and Christians, casteism prevails in varying degrees in practice, their preachings not withstanding. Casteism has thus been the bane of entire Indian society, the difference in its rigidity being of a degree varying from religion to religion". (Art. 400, Mandal Case Judgment, Vol. 6, No:9, November 30,1992, Judgment Today). "Though Christianity does not recognize caste system, there are upper and lower caste among Christians. In Goa, for example, there are upper caste Catholic Brahmins who do not marry Christians belonging to the lower castes. In many churches, the low caste Christians have to sit apart from the high caste Christians.

    In Andhra Pradesh, there are Christian Dalit, Christian Malas, Christian Reddys, Christian Kammas, etc. In Tamil Nadu, converts to Christianity form Scheduled Castes - Latin Catholics, Christian Shanars, and Christian Gramani are in the list of Scheduled Castes. Such instances are many and vary from region to region. (Art. 477, Mandal Case Judgment, Vol. 6, No:9, November 30, 1992, Judgment Today).

  • Noel Coutinho, Belloor

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Nice Article Bharat. I fully agree that Humanity is the main religion in this world. If you don't have human respect then what is the use of following any religion in this world.

  • Abdulla Madumoole, Abu Dhabi, UAE

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Even though Mr.Bharath Shetty has tried to portray that he is opposing only forced conversions, finally he has ended up saying that a Hindu should be a good Hindu, a Muslim should be a good Muslim and a Christian should be good Christian – meaning that there should not be any religious conversion at all. While strongly opposing any type of forced or lured conversion, I am fully in favor of allowing people to choose their religion of faith. Generally religion is imbibed from parents, whatever religion parents follow , naturally the same religion is inbuilt in children.

    When the children grow up and find that another faith is more suitable and change their heart, I don’t find anything wrong in that. It is the responsibility of the parents and their community to teach their religion to their children and make them understand the virtues of their religion so that they will not be attracted towards any luring by anyone to change their mind. Changing of faith is anybody’s right as pointed out by many here. It is a basic human right, no body can question it or no one can stop it. If one converts to a new faith it means that either he has not understood his religion well or he has found more solace in the new faith. In this era of information explosion, we get knowledge about any religion anywhere. I have the right to decide which faith I have to follow.

    I can follow Hinduism in the morning, change to Christianity in the after noon and again switch to Islam in the night. As said by Mr.Bharath , religions have become marketable commodities. Let the religions market themselves, compete with each other, present their plus points , educate the public and let the consumers decide which one to choose, more importantly, let no one stand in the way of consumers’ ion of their faith. To sum up, while forced conversion to a new faith is totally wrong, forcing or coercing one to stick to his old faith is also equally wrong.

  • Jeet Raj, Surathkal / KSA

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    I feel some readers here are confused with the word “forceful”. The force need not be physical but rather “emotional force”, which is more effective. They come to the houses of poor people and start preaching. At the same time denouncing, cursing their gods and showing the beautiful picture of other religion and awards waiting them if they join.

    When someone does this to a person, who struggle everyday for one square meal, ultimately finds himself in their hands. Rest becomes easy, one needs to convert the first generation only and their children automatically become are part of new religion.

  • Sumeeth, Mlore/Blore

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    We didnt take any admission letter from any religion when we were born. I am hindu cos i was born to hindu family. Everyone has right to convert to other religion but we cant force them to convert. Its his/her wish. First, be a good human being then think of god and religion. Live and let live. God bless all!

  • Ronald Prabhu, Mangalore

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    You are right the Christians are known for their service to their fellow beings. Yes, its ulterior motive is to increase the numbers of Chrisitans. Most of the conversions take place out of their free will and not due to any pressure from the missionaries. Many low caster Hindus have become disillussioned with the Gods, practices and traditions of the Hindus.

    Is this the true Hinduism, they ask? What have the upper caster Hindus done to ensure that the lower caste majority do not leave their religion? When there is a division of the God created humans, based on caste it can only lead to a revolution in the thinking of the masses and they will move out of their free will to other religions and this phenomenon cannot be stopped.

  • alphonse, Pangla/Abu Dhabi

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Dear Bharat, you rightly said: "A rose does not need to preach. It simply spreads its fragrance. The fragrance is its own sermon. The fragrance of religion and spiritual life is much finer and much subtler than that of a rose." that's why we Christians have multipled all over the world and not for voilence. If your Hindu brothers really looked up/uplifted your own people the question of conversion would not have arised today and forget about your term: FORCED CONVERSIONS.

    It is actually some Hindu leaders FORCING some really converted Christians to come back to religion out of Jelousy and shame. I do not blame ordinary Hindu brothers but really hard core fundamentalist who work to gain political mileage. secondly, Hindus have to do their home work first. I saw one news today morning that in Bombay, the funeral lands belongs to lower cast hindus have been forcebly taken over by Upper cast Hindus for planatation/cultivation. What you say about it???

    Let us forget all issues of conversation, etc. and worry simple truths of humanity, love and charity towards each other and make this world a much better place to leave in harmony. for all those who said " WELL DONE BHARAT " for your article, I will tell them to find out the real facts first and not to imagine things.

     Finally reg Orissa it is Moaists who killed your spiritual leader and they have agreed to this brutal act yesterday in Orissa. So why persecute Christians for someone's fault??

  • Jacintha, Managalore

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Mr.Bhrath, it would be better if you can visit the remote villages in India and see what exactly the missionaries are doing. Sitting in USA and quoting from some book will not work. It is not easy for christen missionaries leave their dear ones behind and work for the downtrodden.

    Why don't you and your hindu brethren (Specially VHP, BD and RSS) to go to remote villages and work for the upliftment of the downtrodden people?

  • Rajan, Mogarnard/Canada

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    It is primarily due to some Christian groups like Jova witness that the concept of conversion is generalized. Some groups are creating this confusion but in a country like ours no body wants to understand - just react.

  • Prakash, India

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Dea Bharath Shetty, I can say that you have worked hard to write/find this article. I will ask you one question that if such conversion going on since britishers acquired India, then why suddenly this BJP led sang parivars woke up now with this issue? Same saffron made issue on Ram mandira and it happened to fight b/n Hindu and Muslim brthers. Who did that first? Its BJP led safron people!! All these sanghas have come because of political leader’s selfishness. You being in USA do not have proper knowledge on real fact of the issue.

    I do agree that some missionaries are converting people in to Christian. For your kind information there are so many catholic intuitions in India, Show me even a single person been converted by going to such institutions. when you say Christian’s means, there are several groups in Christians and some groups are defiantly doing conversion and effecting to all other christion group. Especially catholics. but I do not think that they are harming anyone’s life by this . There are several farmers making suicide and any dal/Sanga's have taken care of such farmers? I can show at least some Christian churches are helping them in some of Indian states.

    If saffron people cannot do good to others then what right they have to do bad? Show me even a single good work that these sangas dodng for any poor regardless any cast pople. First of all you tell me from your heart that what good so far have you done for your poor brother being in USA? If you ask me yes I can show and I can say that at least we Indian Christians do send some containers for poor (especially rain affected areas in India), for old age Ashrams etc.

    I do not ask you to help poor but think from your internal heart that what good you have done for others? (This questions is not only for you, for all people who oppose Christians work doding nothing even for their own brothers).

  • Jude, Mangalore Dubai

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Mr Shrinivas, it seems as if only Bangalore is your universe. A answer a few of your questions, please note that the majority of christian institutions are located in cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Mangalore, Goa and Delhi and missionaries have not made a beeline into tribal areas to convert masses of gullible innocent and poor hindus.

    Secondly you ask as to why they are not active in Africa and other backward countries. Please note that christian missionaries are present in large numbers in the most backward and most poor countries around the globe serving the poor and destitute selflessly.

    If you have the means please visit places like Darfur, Sierra Leone, Congo, Tanzania, Chad, Guinea Bolivia and also Yemen in Arabia. I have visited many of these places and therefore i know. These are only a few examples.

    Do not make statements when you don't know the facts. You may not appreciate the aid that comes in from all those genuine donors in the west, but it is very well appreciated by those who receive it. Just visit one of the leper colonies or orphanages served by the missionaries and see those tears of happiness and gratitude. May be you yourself will change then and think of converting and serving humanity.

  • Gurubaliga, Bantwal/New Delhi

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    I appreciate Daijiworld.com for providing a fair platform for dialogue between religions. Gandhiji extensively studied and wrote about factors wich are causing discord between religious communities in India. He started revolutionary movements within hinduism also. I dont believe Gandhi's thoughts are limited to a time frame. They are still relevent. Gandhi has an answer to every issue which is still burning.

    Only we need ears to listen. Here the dialogue should not be between Fantatic Hindus and fanatic christians or Muslims. The dialogue between peace loving citizens of India should be louder. We need to reassure ourselves about every individual's faith in humanity and brotherhood. The article qualifies to be read and discussed.

  • Wilma Peris, Katapadi, Muscat

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Mr. Bharat, if you feel that christians render service with the motive of conversion, then why are the schools, hospitals, orphanages, oldage homes run by the christians filled with non-christians? After all the christians form only 2% of the Indian population and hindus are the majority. It clearly shows that those hindus who queue in front of our schools for admission for their children do not fear that their children will be converted.

    Those who receive medical care in hospitals run by christains do not fear conversion. Still if you feel that the christian service is conversion oriented, then why dont you advise people not to accept the services from christians? The crimes commited in Orissa are not crimes against any religion but crimes against humanity. Can anyone justify such crimes if this was to happen to their own kin? Let us realise that first religion is humanity then everything follows.

  • Anil Pinto,

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Good Article Bharath. The core issue of being a better individual and contributing to society is what every person should practice - I totally agree. However the publishing of this article at a time when Christians are facing persecution in Orissa is a bit strange.

    I can understand you writing about forced conversions being wrong but why dig the past. Most of what you have written is of a bygone era. Throughout my younger and adult life I have met numerous Catholic priests especially working in impoverised regions of India and not once have they discussed anything about conversions.

    I believe that before writing this article you should have done some groundwork on the current reality in the country. You have completely ignored the fact that fundamenalist forces with hidden agenda have exploited the past history of various religions to further their own goals. Although in the olden days, and I strongly agree , violence was propogated on religious grounds particularly relating to coversions, today the situation is very different.

    Nobody is forcing conversions today. Whatever good work is done by missionaries is being marred by past history of proselytization - which is very wrong. I agree with what Gandhiji has said - but the Christians in India are not of British blood - they don't carry British genes and are not politically motivated as the British were.

    A lot of individuals enter the religious order out of a deep desire to serve humanity just as Christ had done and it is with this same fervour that they move to the less affluent areas of our Country . I recently met a young priest who was given the opportunity to go to Germany for higher studies - instead he chose to move to a very poor area of India to help build a shelter for orphans. When I asked him the reason he said that this would give him greater satisfaction in his vocation.

    Passing a blanket judgement as you have done undermines the good work done by a lot of sincere individuals. Please lets not pass judgement anymore especially by digging the past. Such comments only fuel the flames of an already burning issue.

    Like you said let us all strive to be better individuals - Lets keep religion to ourselves - we need it for our own spiritual nourishment but lets also not get polarized by our own religion, caste or creed and look at others with suspicion all the time.

  • Rajesh, Mangalore/Dubai

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Dear Bharath, It's very good article.Poor people of india have been converted by giving assurance that they will give some jobs and money to live.Hindu's fall into this trap and get converted to have better life.This is happenning continuosly in Kerala state.

  • Navaneeth, mangalore

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Hindus accept all Gods as one, all religions as equal but different paths to God. Hindus are different from region to region, family to family. Therefore in this regard, Hindus are willing to hear the points of view from other religions. Missionaries abuse this tolerant and open-minded virtue of Hinduism for their devious purposes. Missionaries abuse India’s tolerant nature for conversion. Instead of peaceful co-existing with other religions as millions in India already do, they attempt to decimate all other religions through by conversion.

  • Jude, Mangalore Dubai

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    I agree with Bharath Shetty that forced conversions are wrong, but what about those who convert willingly out of their own free will?. There have been a few inter religious marriages in our family. One of my cousins has converted to hinduism after marriage and another who came into our family has converted into christianity. We never had any problems with this. Mr. Bharat Shetty should send copies of his articles to people like Praveen Togadia, the VHP and Bajrang Dal and let them know the difference between forced conversions and choosing ones own faith.

    Also Mr. Shetty has extensively quoted from Gandhi's writings on conversions, but has failed to produce a single quote from Gandhi on casteism. why are you ive Mr. Shetty and forget that Gandhi was most disturbed by the practice of casteism and wanted an end to it. He says conversions create problems for individuals and families, but what about descrimination based on caste. Don't the people who are treated no better than slaves have any feelings? Are they made of stone?.

    The missionaries have uplifted these downtrodden and for the first time made it known to them that we are all equal in the eyes of god. Improving the lives of these marginalized people is not trading or inducement. If Togadia and his gang understand this truth then our India will be a much better place. Mr. Navneeth's comments on Indians living abroad and earning there are just rubbish.

    It is us NRI's who are working overseas and sending money home that help India in increasing its foreign exchane reserves and there are so many NRI's who have invested big in India thus creating thousands of jobs in India. It is us Indians who act as ambassadors of our country and help spread our culture in foreign lands and at the same time bring in foreign know how back home.

    If Mr Navneeth wants to remain a small frog in a small pond, then that is his life. It is better that he keeps his ideas to himself.

  • Chandra, Bangalore

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Dear Faisal, Simple answer to your question Here is the verse taken from kuran Sura (8:12) - "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them" Does that mean muslims support killing of people who does not belive your god? So dear, better to read the entire scripture first than taking it out of context. Hope that answers your doubt.

  • William Lobo, Mangalore / Singapore

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Well its a fairly good article but I get this feeling that there is no fairness in this article while the writer has made an attempt to highlight only " Conversions" by the christian missionaries and nothing else.I get this feeling that Mr. Shetty is trying to blow this issue of 'conversion' out of proportions

    I would suggest that he gets his facts right......going by this article in the way that Mr. Shetty has focussed on "FORCEFUL CONVERSIONS" by Christian Missionaries one would get a feeling that the Christian Population has only exploded ten folds from two percent or so ,but on the contrary Mr. Shetty the Christian Population in India has stagnated or rather reduced by 0.20 % in the past decade.

    How will you explain this fact Mr. Shetty? Well if the other name of selfless service of the poor ,deprived and underprivilige by the missionaries is called "Conversion" then i am afraid the future of India (not U.S) looks bleak. And lastly the India that Gandhi lived in is different from the one that we live in today.

  • Shrinivas, Bngalore, India

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Although I appreciate the service given by christian organization. I don't believe its selfless. There is always some religious element associated with it. The infrastructure developed by the christian missionaries through education, health sector etc are mainly during colonial era. British forcibly acquired vast amount land owned by temples through 'moolageni' and from other hindu landlords and gave them to missionaries ( At least in dakshina kannada we have many such instances).

    Even the people who got converted those days got land and other material things. This has been the path followed by missionaries to alienate committed Hindus from their religion. People say there are only 2-3% Christians in India. So how does it matter. It matters since even 2-3% means 4 crores in India. Its larger than many pure christian countries.

    Many of these missionaries get funding from the rich in foreign countries. To get the funding its important for them to show how they are utilizing it. People talk here casteism and its evil. I completely agree. Although slowly we are doing a move against it.

    Even christian society is not out of evil systems. Racism has been part of it from decades. Why they are very active in these rural tribal belts? Its easy to persuade these innocent people. And for this funding can be achieved from abroad. Its important to have strong base in this big important country. I don't see this kind of involvement in very poor African countries( may be they are less in number, may be not easy to persuade as most of them are Muslims. Or may be government in those countries doesnt support as our does etc).

    I dont support any of these violent elements who are doing havoc in Orissa. Violence in any form is condemnable. But reactions are spontaneous. for Sep 11/13 even America had spontaneous reactions towards all Muslims/Sikhs. But the conversion is the solution. Then why so called Dalit Christians asking for reservations and other facilities. That even after the conversion their situation hasnt improved.

  • Faisal, Mangalore/Dubai

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Dear Bharath, I respect your views on Hinduism, but your Holy books say totally different things. Read below. Bhagavad Gita Chapter 7 Verse 20 Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures Yajur Veda - Svetasvatara Upanishad, Adhyaya(Chapter) 4, Shloka(Verse) 19-20 19. No one has grasped him above, or across, or in the middle. There is no image of him whose name is Great Glory. 20. His form cannot be seen, no one perceives him with the eye. Those who through heart and mind know him thus abiding in the heart, become immortal. Yajurveda, Chapter 40, Verse 8 - mentions that God does not have a body and is pure Yajurveda, Chapter 32, Verse 3 - Mentions God does not have an image. It further says as “He is unborn, He deserves our worship” Yajurveda, Chapter 40, Verse 9 - mentions people who worship Asambhuti i.e natural things (air, water, stones, fire, trees, humans etc) enter darkness i.e no knowledge of God. and those sink more deeper in darkness those who worship Sambhuti i.e. created things (idols, statues, pictures) Rigveda,

    Book 8, Hymn 1, Verse 1 - mentions do not worship anybody but Him, the divine one and Praise Him alone. 1. GLORIFY naught besides, O friends so shall no sorrow trouble you. Praise only mighty God when the juice is shed, and say your lauds repeatedly Sama Veda -Chandogya Upanishad, Prapathaka(Chapter) 6, Khanda(Section)2, Shloka(Verse) - mentions there is only one God 2. No, my dear, only that which is, was in the beginning, one only, without a second. Brahma Sutra of Hindu Vedanta - mentions God is one, without a second

  • Alfred J. Rebello, Kundapur/\dubai

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Bharat, You are a good orator, no doubt about it because your writing makes some one to believe it. Bharat, one thing I agree with you when you said 'it leads to single truth called God', which means you accept God is one, as I understood.

    If so, why there is lot of difference in Hinduism itself. Many Hindus can not go to certain temples. Even if they go, some consider the temple has become dirty, why? Are we not equal? An incident happened in Gujarat some time ago, when some entered a temple, the so called upper class hindus cleaned it thinking it has become dirty.

    Has God made any upper class or lower class? Yes, we also have different churches but we have no restrictions like Hindus have. We can enter any church we like, because we consider GOD is one. For me, variuos religions are different paths to God thats all. If there is only one religion then there will be traffic jam just like to go one point to other if we have only one route. More the routes better the way but purpose of all routes are the same.

    But the biggest problem is everybody claims their route is the best and this is the cause of all the dissasters. Show me in any holy book is it mentioned anything about religion or will God ask us which religion you come from when we meet him after our last journey? This is again if you believe it only. All the holy books says unless you follow what is written, you will not be with God. But it is we who do not follow it truthfully, isn't it? Then what are you saying?

    Again conversion, it is only a 'tag' given by some fanatics. No conversion is done forcefully because forcing someone against his will is itself is a sin. But few convert from one religion to other thinking they will be better off. Eeven christians converted into other religions and we do not object it because it is his individual right. But I do not understand why other religions make it a issue when few convert to christianity? For me, In the end, whatever you do to the fellow human being, only will accompany you with your last journey and NOT your materialistic assets.

    Again, we have only one GOD but we call him in different names, thats all. And the minute we know this truth then there will be peace in this world.

  • Sandeep, Mangalore

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Dear Shetry, In your next vacation to Mangalore please visit some of the converts take their opinions and then reframe this article. No one can be converted forcefully.Its is their own will.. As bible Clearly says that "Truth will set you free" Perhaps they are free from all the bondages of satan ..Halleluah

  • R. Shetty, Mangalore

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Bharath you have rightly said that " there are certain missionaries who use service as the tool for their agenda of conversion. Does their service justify conversion? No. Service with hidden motive can not be called service. It is simply business of taking profit from investment. These activities happened in the past and happening at present and will happen in future also" which explain all.

  • Montu D'souza, Koppa/Kuwait

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Mr.Bharath Shetty I disagree with your view but appriciate your efforts to express your ideas.What happened in Orissa is entirely different than the causes of conflicts as you had explained.In Orissa upper cast Hindus exploited the tribals and lower cast Hindus for many years.Christian missionaries helped the upliftment of the down trodden.They ran orphanages to take care of destutes.

    Tribals got education and directed towards progressive paths,which irritated the upper castes.Hatrated towards christians accumulated since long and outbursted in uncivilized way during recent riots.Whatever the issue no one have the right to take law in hand to butcher christians.Christians in Orissa faced the persecution same as that of Jewish people under Nazi forces.Our priests were beaten mercilessly,stripped naked,nuns gang raped,women and childrens massccred,houses,churches were burt,there is nothing left for furhter torture.

    This is the award we christians received for our best service in so called secular nation and from peace loving most tolerant Hindu's.May I ask you a question can the Swamiji's of all muths and temples come forward to utilize the wealth accumulated there for the upliftment of backward Hindu's without discremination.If so we request all our social service organizations to stop the work in remote villages of India,because they have many other devine tasks for the mankind.

  • Digganth.Shetty, Mangalore

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    hmm rocking bharath nice article you are 100% right conversion is main reason for violence .More people have died for religion based wars than any other wars combined..

  • Benedict, Puttur/Kuwait

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Nice Article. People need to understand whatever our relegion, aim is God. Bhagavadgita, Vedas, Bible and Quran tells about super soul, i.e. God. Why people are making Communal Voilence? It is Political Game not religion faith.

    If people have time buy a book "Second Coming of Jesus Christ" written by Hindu Swami Paramahamsa Yogananda. Each and Every people in India  think first about "WE ARE INDIANS" then Religion. Don't be Selfish. God has not Given us Power to kill our lives. God has created us same like him. So Please treat all Indians as Brothers and Sisters and not Hindus, Muslims, Christians etc.

  • Rafeeq, Mangalore/Australia

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Fair points I suppose from the perspective of a devout Hindu.But do the extremist Hindu youths care whether someone has converted on their own accord or not?The fact is they don't!For the record I agree forcible religious conversion makes no sense!

  • Rajesh, Barbados

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Hi Bharth, Great article liked it and do understand the core you tried to explain,You tried to convince more yourself holding those scripts from Gandhi! perhaps you dont need them much!! As people say India is again leading towards another religious war..looking at most of the comments there is no wonder if that happens soon! Keep writing and good luck to you


    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    One of the best article published in Daijiworld. I rate this as top of all best articles published so far. Keep it up Bharat.

  • Suresh.Hegde, Dubai

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Nice article morale of this article should be that a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian."

  • Theo LD'Silva, Mangalore/Canada

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Dear Bharath. Our ancesistors got converted with a reason and a vision. We should be open minded. Dont be a hypocrate. Read bible and Bagavat gita and see the similarites. Be a shudra to go to heaven not a high caste or a monied guy. Be humble and do charity. Gandhi belived in these princples and he had a Cruscifix in his room.

  • Yajnesh, Mangalore

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Nice article. Thank you for differentiating between "free will conversion " and "induced conversion". Hindus are only against "induced conversion". Induced conversion is nothing but taking advantages of the weakness. "Induced conversion" is nothing but deniel of freedom

  • anon, mangalore/usa

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Bharath's paper on conversion is based off of gandhiji's impressions. I am amazed at naveenth comment on Bharath's Dollars and luxury, compare this to an Indian's culture change to a western ideology or god when living in India for generations.

  • Lawrence Mascarenhas, Mangalore/USA

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Dear Bharat Shetty, Why one should be concerned about which faith I belong to? My religious belief is between me and my God. I am Christian but I have a right to become Hindu, Muslim or an athiest. Even I become a devil worshiper that is not anyone's business. I should not be punished for exercising my freedom of religion. We must stop this hypocricy and learn to respect fellow human beings for whatever their belief is. You are in the United States and you know for sure how many Hindus own Subway and other restaurants which sell beef. None of this beef is from naturally dead cow, but by cow slaughtering. What kind of leather belts we are wearing? Are we sure it was made out of dead cow skin? If I revere Cow as "Go Matha", I will not wear a leather belt or shoes made out of my mother's skin - dead or slaughtered. Btw, thanks for the good article.

  • John Cutinha, Bangalore/USA

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Bharath, H.T.Sangliana from remote corners of Mizorom went on to become the Police Commisioner of Bangalore and is currently the BJP MP for North Bangalore. In a discussion with RSS and other groups on the topic of Conversion, informed that he would have become a Hindu if the swamiji's would have come there and helped him and others. Upliftment and enlightenment of the poor downtrodden people is the true conversion. The Hindu fundamental forces can use their resources towards this cause rather than serving the vote bank for the religious majority.

  • Willie, USA

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Mr. Bharat Shetty, with a pinch of salt your article and the thoughts are excellent. But you have not touched the aspect of selfishness involved in the recent anti minority section of the people of India. Where as Krishna said in the Bhagavadgeetha that whenever there is decay in the human ethics HE comes among the humans to restore the good.

    In Ramayana the author presents Ram as a maryada purush. Now in India among so many segments of the so called Hindu followers who is imitating Krishna and who is with Maryada Purush like Ram!!!! Both of thiese heroes in Mahabharatha and Ramayana tried to re-establish the human values of equality, fraternity and justice among their own people and when needed they even killed their own who did not fall in line with or prepared to live according those values.

    Can you see the parallel between the stripping of Draupadi in Mahabharatha and stripping of Bharat Maatha in our own times by the so called politicians who are the dhushaasanas (=bad politicians) of our time? In these days the Bihari people think that is India, The Orissa people think that is India, the Maharastriyans think that is India, the Kannadiga thinks that is India, the Tamilian thinks that is India, the Keraliate thinks that is India, but one who is none of these, for him where is India? How can you see your Bharat Maatha being stripped in the open forum of this 21st century.

    Your thoughts under the present prevalent circumstances are utopian. When Mahatma Gandhi spoke the quotates that you have highlighted, he did not anticipate the India of today. He did not expect so corrupt politics as of today. If he somehow can get to know the situation he will even his side in the grace!He spoke in the light of an India which was divided before the foreign powers possesed India in their selfishness they united India for their purpose but today our leaders are trying to devide that India. Do you see that? I understand that forced conversion is no conversion.

    Yet even if one is forced to convert, to turn him back forcefully is again a force, don't you think so?

  • Tarcy Mascarenhas, New York

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    I think Bharth Shetty should check the definition of hinduism. I belive hinduism is not a religion. wikipedia had the following definition:

    The characteristic of comprehensive tolerance to differences in belief and Hinduism's dogmatic openness makes it difficult to define it as a religion according to the traditional Western conceptions.[17] While Hinduism is a clear practical concept to the majority of adherents,[citation needed] many expressed a problem arriving at a definition of the term, mainly because of the wide range of traditions and ideas incorporated or covered by it.

    please update your knowlege about hinduism. you can find it in wikipedia.com

  • Ajith Lobo, Sydney/Australia

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Dear Bharath, Congratulations on the article. Well written. While FORCED conversions are bad for society, isn't chosing one's religion a fundamental right of every citizen.Are you suggesting that those chose to follow an alternate religion have been forced to do so or they do not have sound decision making ability. Also if missionaries were rampant as suggested by you, why is India's Christian population still 2%. It should have been 20% right. While we cannot correct history, we can be wise not to repeat it. I think India is headed for a religious war and in danger of repeating what other religions did in the past.

  • Jerry Moras, Kuppepadavu, Canada

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    I totally disagree with Naveenth with his comments “ To be true Indian need to be physically in India”. What do you mean by to be True Indian? From your comments you seem to be lacking knowledge on foreign exchange, investment, financial markets. We are living in global world not in Indian well.

    Come out India and then you’d also use Bharat Shetty’s language. Many Christians helped the poor in India by building hospitals, daycare centre, schools. Now, it has back-fired us and specially on Christians. It is time for us to re-think of what we do...Due to excessive education learnt to be more corrupt. Thanks for the gift in India - burning churches, schools. As our politicians are over-educated, they are doing wonderful job and hence we send $$$ back home.

  • Baptist Sequeira, Bangalore

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Now I have a question to the writer. Can he give any example of Hindus making a service? Does he think, people from South India who are from poor families who become religious people want to go and increase christian count in north India, so they give service? Has the writer ever helped a Hindu in his area by any chance? I can give him a plenty of examples where Chiristians helped Hindu people to go to Gulf, Built houses, donated land etc... is it for converting to Chirtianity? If the writer still wants to know, I can show him the poverty and helplessness of Hindu brothers in my place, how much help they require in Medical treatments, for shelter etc.

    Then you can contact one of your Mat or temple head and make an organisation and help them. But do not blame the kind selfless service done by Christians.

  • Pramod, Yellur /USA

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Good article. Bharath. I always wondered why christan missionaries do their social services(conversion) in tribal or extremely backward dominated communities. One of the reason may be is that most tribal communities do not have a strong affinity to hinduism and follow their own customs or traditions. So it will be easy for the missionaries to easily convert these gulliable people to christanity.

  • Roshan Pais, Mangalore

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    I thank Bharath Shetty for taking all the pains to write this article. But this explains his views and every one is entitled for expressing their views and I am not an exception to that. I disagree with Bharath. In India we have lots of problems with our society and the main bane is that of cast system. No one can justify it and glorify it. Its a shame ! Personally every one of us should be the moderators of change.

    The key issue is exploitation of dalits and ignorance of issues faced by them. Suppression by higher casts should be the focus here and agitations should be geared up to address this and not against service minded people. I totally disagree with Shettru about Christians cannot help dalits. christians are part and parcel of India and are Indians . I want to make an exception to those( splinter groups ) who critisize other faiths and say they are the greatest. One cannot punish entire minorities for their crimes. This is exactly what is happening and this is stereo typing and again akin to what happened in Germany during WWII . We in India have a very nice term for it -communal violence.

    I suggest Bharath come to India and work with the "service people" in Orissa and check the ground reality there. Ganndhiji was hindu by birth but a true practioner of christs principles. He daily used to read not only Gita but also bible. Lots of hate propaganda and money is being used against minorities. Can’t this be used for the betterment of dalits? All humans are created equal. It is our culture which makes them un equal. Secondly the female foeticide. Does our faith , morality culture make us kill a living fetus just because its female? Happens in India all the time! I call upon Shetty to enligten our readers about these issue and create awareness.

  • Ian Pinto, Mangalore

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Mr. Bharath, I do not agree with your opinion but I fully support your right to speak your mind. Your article appears totally one-sided. It does not address the reasons why conversions are taking place and why people are being converted.

    You just make a blanket statement that conversions are bad and imply that every religion (especially the minority ones) should mind their own business. Yet,you conclude the article by boldly stating "India is a TRUE, SECULAR, DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY". It appears that you are contradicting yourself. On the one hand, you are saying, India is a secular nation, while on the other, you are saying conversions are bad. According to the Webster's New World Dictionary, the meaning of secularism is: A system of doctrines and practices that disregards any form of religious faith and worship. In layman's terms, what this means is that, people are free to choose or not choose any religion or faith.

    Since you have rightly pointed out that India is a secular nation, why are you still implying that that conversions should be prohibited. Remember, in a secular country, every citizen has a right to choose their religion. It is interesting to note that you are living in one of the most progressive and secular nations of the world (USA)where you can freely practice your religion or convert anybody and everybody to any religion you choose. Yet, at the same time you are denying this very right to the people of india to practice religion as they choose.

  • K.S.Poojary, Bikarnakatte

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    I take this opportunity to applaud Mr.Bharat Shetty. This conversion problem is not going to change unless we become part of the solution, for that a collective voice is needed.

  • John Stanilaus Faife, Mangalore/USA

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    I do agree, this is a really good article indeed. I however would like to lay emphasis on the fact that conversion is truly based on one's free will. Most of the conversion cases that have come to light in India, individuals have converted to Christianity out of free will.

    They have taken advantage of the services that Christian missionaries provide in the form of education, vocational training, spiritual upliftment, fairness in treatment without discrimination based on caste (remember even though caste system is abolished by law in rural villages people still are identified by their family caste ) and seen the goodness and wanted to be a part of this Christian faith. It is all out of free will. There is no one holding a gun to their head and asking them to convert. The christian church declaring all non-Christian religions "gravely deficient” is just one more in the list of all mistakes made in its long history. I agree it was directly in opposition to the principle of tolerance it preached. But you must remember it was an attempt to prevent the faithful from drifting away. Just like the Hindu faithful are attempting to prevent conversion.

    The christian church has since realized that you cannot prevent free will of the faithful. There is a valuable lesson to be learned from this my friends! Conversion and violence against a particular religious population are two different aspects that are independent of each other. The recent violence against the Christian community had nothing to do with conversion. It was a result of the slaying of a particular individual who was part of a Hindu religious group.

    Without investigating through and through the actual persons or conditions that lead to this, it doesn’t make sense in going around desecrating, destroying churches, orphanages, assaulting the priests, the nuns just because you are fearful of the decrease in number of the Hindu faithful. Besides these priests and nuns are no strangers, they were born right here in India and are patriotic Indians just like the rest of the people. Instead of channeling this energy in the destruction, it needs to be channel it into the development of socio-economic condition of India.

  • Chandrashekar, Bangalore

    Tue, Sep 09 2008

    Christians living all over India peacefully for years. But why do we see violence in only some places? It is total hypocracy to reject conversion is not an issue. When US attacked IRAQ, many evangelicals in USA who openly talked about the opportunity to spread their religion in Iraq. It was condemned by some people also. It is called opportunistic and taking advantage of people’s weakness. It is well known agenda of conversion all over the world. Not just in India.

  • Naveenth, India

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    I often see many comments about Mr. Bharath Shetty in every single article. and also few people who live abroad and talk about the countries welfare and politics, its very very easy and effortless to write and blame others ... a true Indian will never leave his country for Dollars and luxury, to be a true Indian live first live in India, serve Indians, help the poor to fight against poverty, corruption and illiteracy and then take the right of being a Indian, not just sitting far from India earning western currencies

  • Fr Roque D'Souza, Mangalore (Seminary)/ Fort Dodge, Iowa

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    Sir Bharath have your ever heard this: When Rome was burning, emperor Nero was playing flute? And he blamed the Christians for the fire. Though persecutions followed thereafter, what happened? We better look at history too. Bharath seems to be out of touch with the real issues behind the problem of "conversion". There are many expert studies to point out how fundamental forces in India play the conversion-phobia for vote bank on religious majority.

  • Navaneeth, Mangalore

    Wed, Sep 10 2008

    One of the ever best article I ever read regarding conversion. "Isaayigale innadaru nimage swalpa buddi kodali aa devaru endu nanu yesu christanalli prartisuttene!"

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Title: Hinduism and Conversion

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