REJOINDER TO ‘A MATTER OF FAITH’
By Prem B. Matlani
Kudos to Mr. Ranjit Butani's hardwork and research done on the burning problem of conversions of Sindhis to Christianity going on in Ulhasnagar town. In this context, I would like to add few additional points. I think, the major culprit for this malice is ignorance on the part of Hindu Sindhis about their own religion as they have seen and experienced just the form of Hinduism, without real knowledge of the religion itself. They are introduced to their religion through rituals of worship; like worshipping idols, observing fasts and visiting shrines etc., but know very little about the essence of the religion; like Vedas, Upanishads and Puranas etc. They are so ignorant, that they don't even understand the very meaning of word 'faith', which is a substitute for 'religion'.
There is a common saying, that whoever believes in God, doesn't need any proof of His existence and whoever doesn't believe, can't be made to believe it by whatever arguments, one may put forward. The idols are needed to give manifestations to the peoples' thoughts about their gods. Whoever believes in God, believes that God is omnipresent which itself implies, that He is present in each and every object; be it an idol, a holy book, a church, a temple or a mosque. If a worshipper sees his God in an idol, He is there to oblige him. One can study the tenth & eleventh chapter of Bhagvad Geeta, where Lord Krishna describes His presence in each and every object by saying that the Arjuna, who is listening to Krishna is also Krishna, as nothing in this universe is bereft of Lord Krishna. And how can Christians question the idol worshiping of Hindus, when they themselves worship the idol of Jesus Christ in their churches. Muslims bow before 'Kaaba Sharif' which is situated in Mecca and kiss Hajar-e-Aswad, and stone three pillars; taking them to be devils, while performing the rites of Haj, annually.
The Christians boast about their religion, while in 16th Century the church had put to death the famous physicist of the times Galeilo, who had said that earth revolves around sun, and not vice-versa; which infuriated the Christian clergy and they had to silence him by killing him as it clashed with the saying of the Bible. By declaring their religion as supreme, they smack of fascism and racism. Christians never take the prasad offered to Hindu gods, whereas Hindus never make a differentiation between Gods of various religions as they genuinely believe that God is one, though He may be addressed with different names by different religions. Isn't it sufficient to prove Hindus' magnanimity when they openly say that all religions are one and same and no one is superior than other.
If Hindus and their organizations are really serious about the problem of conversions, they should establish part time classes to impart religious education to our younger generation, though it is primarily the duty of our government to introduce such subjects in our school curriculum. Hindus will have to awaken the ignorant co-religionists from the malady of un-touchablity which is still rampant even in the 21st century in India; though by the grace of God, Sindhis are free from this evil There may also be other reasons behind conversions; like poverty, lucre of matrimonial alliances (as Hindu society is plagued by dowry), employment opportunities provided by the knowledge of English language for which people tend to admit their wards in convent schools which in turn imbibe Christian religious education alongside regular courses.
The vote bank politics of our political bosses has also contributed a lot in this direction, as they think that Muslims and Christians vote en-masse and by appeasing these communities; they are sure to capture the seat of power. Just collections of funds won't help us as Hindus will have to help the poor and needy, in order to dissuade them from conversions. A news report in 'Hindustan Times' showed there to be a competition among Hindus and Christians to help the poor people of Kandhmal, which has helped poor folks a lot. These types of movements are the need of the hour.
To sum it up, I would like to say that a concerted effort on the part of Hindus is needed to counter the evil designs of other religions' efforts to convert the poor, needy and ignorant Hindus.