Dr Pravin Togadia
NEW Age methods of reaching out to people have become popular not only among youth but also among all others. Social sites, SMSs, Net TVs, Hang Outs etc. make good sense for social cause and businesses. Any communication toll has two important things. One: Communication Message; Two: Target Group. Both depend on who really is using the tool. While many social outfits, individuals and businesses are using new age tools to interact with people, there are a few who are using them to manipulate social systems and emotions. Some shrewd ones are using them to create right or masked perception among their target groups.
The dangerous ones are those who use new age systems for religious conversions. Alarming rise of websites and Face Book pages termed as ‘Islamization On Line’, ‘De-stress in the lap of the God’, ‘Dooms Day – Only God can save’, etc. are making rounds of cyber space promising peace, prosperity and many other material benefits. This is an effort of virtual conversion through allurement using hi-tech tools.
Youth these days are stressed because of limited academic seats, politicization of education, job insecurity and difficult conditions for businesses. In 80s when such situation due to projected fear of Russia was spread purposely in America, youth got depressed and got into ‘Hippie’ styles and drug addiction. We could see them in Bharat at pilgrimage places, beaches and streets. Today’s youth is wiser and checks every info that comes his way. But in the mindset of depression and stress, some go away away from the right thinking process. They either get so angry that they get into some crime in a spate of a moment or commit suicide and the worst part is that some look for going against their set establishments – religion, family, etc. Non-conformity in their minds is fueled by such alluring, pink or green dreams in cyber space.
Recently I came across friends of such cyber converts. Their friends too were shocked to see how and when their own close friends converted. Anger in the minds takes its toll first by expressing in words or small actions either on Face Book or similar sites or among close groups. Here the ‘Cyber Converters’ catch these people who are already vulnerable with their weak minds. They start with degrading Hindu Bhagwans and explaining how ‘boring’ and bound their lives are, how they should ‘reject’ their parents etc. Young minds get attracted to ‘No restrictions’ life and convert. Initially there are not forced to follow much of the indoctrinated regimentation of Islam or Christianity. This makes them get comfortable, specially trained good looking boys and girls befriend these new converts to make them feel more ‘cared for’. They are invited for ‘Dawats’, parties and interesting dinners.
These new converts further unknowing lure their friends in Hindu Dharm. This is a vicious cycle and a dangerous one at that. Issue is not only to know that it is happening; more important is to come around the problem treating it on war footing and sensitively.
What we all should do:
1.Union and state Govts should at once stop giving any special benefits, reservations, academic seats, jobs, bank loans etc. based on religion – especially to the so called minorities like Muslims. They are getting more that what the Hindu youth is getting itself is an allurement for conversion and the government is responsible for it directly.
2. Socio-cultural organizations like ours should hold parents’ camps, parent-teachers meets, then parents – their young children’s meets to make them aware of the dangers of such new age conversions. There is a strong need to newly forge a warm bond between parents and children now. This relation is the most stressed one now due to external factors as mentioned in the beginning. Mutual expectations are being viewed as burden and liability. Love, care and warmth are limited to western styled ‘Father’s day’. Mother’s day etc. Family has been a strength of Hindu Dharma and we all should rework on getting this bond stronger so that youth can express themselves to their parents and siblings rather than suppressing the stress for a long tong time and then expressing it as a last resort on social sites.
3. Ant Conversion laws should be passed at Central and all state levels and should also apply to cyber conversions. These days, Islam has found out an escape from the anti-conversion law. They get youth only to ‘try Namaz’ thereby they claim that it is not conversion but the choice of practice by the youth. This anyways gets the youth away from Hindu practices such as doing Namaskaar to Bhagwan / parents, doing Aarti etc. All such short-cuts should also be included under anti-conversion law.
4. There are many so called ‘Religious (?) Preachers’ like Zakir Naik, Hafiz Sayeed and many ‘Abu’s as well as ‘Salvation through Mass’ etc types on the net. They also hold closed door meetings and ‘healing camps’. Such people and activities should be completely banned.
5. There is a new attractive method of new age conversions – ‘Love Jihad’. Muslim girl or boy, with a specific plan, lures the opposite sex person and when the undoubting teenager above 18 gets engulfed in the so called ‘love’, they are taken away from their Hindu families, converted and shielded. Recently a Hindu girl from a religious family in Maharashtra and the other one from Gujarat faced this. They were so brain washed in the ‘shelter’ hostel that Maulavis kept them in, that the girls asked their mother and father to convert! Such activities are on the rise from Kerala to Andhra and Assam to Karnataka. Christians in Kerala too are scared now as their daughters are now being made targets of this Islamic Love Jihad. Govts need to take note and treat this as allurement for conversion and punish the Maulavis and all those involved in it.
There is yet another category of New Age Converts! They are born as Hindu; but for political, social or economic benefits their souls / minds are no more Hindu! They like to call themselves ‘secular’! In cyberspace, they are called ‘Sickulars’ by those who are irked by such people’s ‘holier than thou’ attitude. They are not only in politics, but also in media, academics etc. and some run dollar-funded NGOs! They condemn all that is Hindu – Temple, Bhagwan, festivals, people, systems etc. They themselves may invite Pundit to find an auspicious ‘Muhurt’ for their children’s wedding, but publicly they criticize all such things as ‘humbug’. Some call their such behavior as ‘development’, ‘inclusive growth’ etc. and they misquote verses from Hindu religious books or by great Hindu saints to suit their motive. Hindus need to stand united against such new anti-Hindu virus.
New Age Conversion is a menace and a war proclaimed by the anti-Hindu forces. Many organizations like VHP, Sangh etc. are doing their bit to bring back the converted as much as possible among tribes and others. This is a mammoth task and all Hindus need to stand behind these efforts as well as act against new age conversions!
(The writer can contacted at [email protected])