Faith Integration : Restoring Acceptance
As the awakening increases, the people who were lured to alien faiths due to various dubious means, are now returning to their roots. It not only strengthened social cohesion, but also curbed religious conversion effectively
The first Census in India was held in 1872. All Census figures from 1872 to 2011 are available in public domain. Lt Col UN Mukherjee wrote a book, 'Hindu – A Dying Race', in 1912 discussing the changes emerged in the Census from 1872 to 1911. In the same period, Swami Shraddhanand, the
champion of 'Shuddhi Movement' also penned a book, ‘Hindu Sanghatan: Saviour of Dying Race’. In that period, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was formed in 1925. The detailed census studies based on religions were conducted by Chennai-based Centre for Policy Studies in 2003. Dr AP Joshi, MD Sriniwas and Dr JK Bajaj accomplished this vital task with
perfection. Now we have the figures of 2011 Census also.
The population of India as per 2011 census is 121 crore, out of which Hindus are 101 crore and Muslims are 17.22 crore. There has been an increase of 24.65 per cent in Muslim population from 2001 to 2011, while the Hindu growth rate for the decade remained at 16.67 per cent. The Christian population grew at 14.97 per cent in the decade. The Muslim growth rate is higher by 50 per cent than the Hindu growth rate.
Census has been held in Indian sub-continent for 13 times since 1881 to 2011. Each Census recorded a fall of 1 per cent in the Indian-origin religious populations (Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh). The population of Hindus declined by 13 per cent in the last 130 years from 1881 to 2011. The border districts where Hindu population declined got separated and became another country called Pakistan in 1947. We have lost 30 per cent of our territory to 24 per cent Muslims in 1947.
After Partition, there were 10.45 per cent Muslims in India. Now their number has swelled to 14.45 per cent. In 2011, the Christian population was 2.3 per cent but the ‘World Christian Trend’, ‘World Christian Encyclopaedia’ put this growth at 6 to 7 per cent. It includes about 4 per cent hidden Christians who are Hindus on papers, but Christians in practice. Most of them belong to SC/STs.
The Muslim population growth is more in Northern Border States of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, and Eastern Border States of Assam, Bengal where Muslims outnumber Hindus in many districts. The Church driven conversion activities have assumed dangerous portents in north-eastern states of Arunachal, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya and Assam. In the far South, some parts of the Union Territory of Andaman & and Nicobar Islands has become Christian dominated (71 per cent) area.
Hindus have become minority in Kerala and J&K. The demography researchers have warned that if this trend is allowed to continue, by the year 2061 Hindus will be reduced to a minority in the Indian sub-continent. When Hindus are reduced to minority the country has experienced a Partition—the 1947 being the latest.
Wherever Hindus are reduced social tensions, security and other problems have also popped up there. The remedy to this problem lies in educating and awakening the masses and to stop conversion. Keeping this in view, the activities of Faith Integration or Dharma Jagaran began.
The work of Dharma Jagaran Samanvya began as an activity and it is believed to be a very timely step. India has been facing Muslim and Christian aggressions since long. The fundamentalists indulge in love jihad, terrorism and conversion, while the Missionaries encourage conversion and other anti-national activities.
There has been some awareness amongst the Hindus due to the sustained efforts of Hindu awakening since the last 90 years. As a result of this awareness, there have been instances of opposition to a certain extent, from the Hindu society to the anti-national activities of
fundamentalist and Missionary elements.
The Hindus are awakening to the reality of religious conversion through deceit, threats, attractions, or force on going for hundreds of years. Due to this awareness many a Muslim and Christian bretheren are searching for their original roots. Dharma Jagaran is acting as a bridge for these people and helping them to relocate their roots. The same work was done earlier by the Arya Samaj, Shuddhi Sabha, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Masurashram, etc. Some of them are still engaged in this activity.
Dharma Jagaran aims at coordinating all such efforts to put an effective check to religious conversions through fraudulent means.
Activities for Dharma Jagaran
Following activities are conducted for Dharma Jagaran:
1) Awaken Hindus: To identify the converted communities and geographical area and to conduct awareness programmes; to set up Dharma Raksha Samitis. These areas and communities are called sensitive areas and communities/castes
2) Save Hindus: To conduct training and awareness programmes for activists and through them carry out a massive contact campaign to stop conversions
3) Increase Hindus: To make available legal help to the people who willingly want to return to their roots due to awareness campaigns
4) Protect Hindus: To make arrangements to inculcate Hindu sanskars among those who have returned to their roots.
Throughout the country, the Dharma Jagaran conducts 'Dharma Rakshabandhan on Rakshabandhan Day, Bharat Mata Pujan on January 26 and observes death or birth anniversaries of those who sacrificed for saving their culture and religion. Contacts are established with lakhs of people through 25,000 Dharma Raksha Samitis every year. This makes easy the task of restricting conversion and to make up their minds for returning to their roots.
Some major programmes organised under the aegis of Dharma Jagaran Samanvay which are appropriate to mention here.
Shabari Kumbh 2006: This Kumbh was held in the leadership of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram at Gujarat's Dang district in 2006. All Dharma Jagaran activists were involved in this Kumbh. Vanvasis from adjoining Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh also participated in lakhs in the Kumbh. Representative participation was also there from other Prants. This increased the awareness level of the people in this region that people from nearly 6,000 villages willingly returned to their ancestral faith.
Dr Ambedkar Vanvasi Kalyan Trust has undertaken a number of welfare and vocational projects in Gujarat's Dang and Tapi Districts for socio-economic uplift of the Vanvasis. Similar efforts were made in Maharashtra's Nandurbar District by Dr Hedgewar Sewa Samiti. Coordinated efforts are being made by various organisations for water, forest, land and animal resources.
The Janjati uplift projects are being run in around 1,000 villages. Continuous contacts and awakening programmes helped in restricting conversion by Christian missionaries making their task even tougher.
Narmada Kumbh: This Kumb was organised on the banks of river Narmada in Mandla District of Mahakoshal Prant in 2011. Over 40 lakh people participated in the Kumbh and took a dip in the holy River Narmada. People had gathered from all states of the country, including the people from sensitive areas. Due the awakening of this Kumbh, nearly two lakh people of Vidarbha came back to their ancestral faith after the year 2011. Similar results were seen in Mahakoshal, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
Vamshavali Sanrakshan Evam Samvardhan Sansthan: A new dimension was added to Dharma Jagaran with the registration of Vamshavali Sanrakshan Evam Samvardhan Sansthan. People knew their bards who kept the record of their families, but this profession was on the verge of extinction. The Sansthan undertook programmes to create awareness through Jagaran Yatras, seminars for writers, and to attract new generation to this profession. In Ujjain Kumbh, the second conference of Vamshavali writers was held. This was attended by 2,500 people from nine states.
Yojak: Large programmes of Dharma Jagaran were held in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan due to the Shabari Kumbh. Those programmes resulted in restricting conversions. A new company called ‘Yojak’ was formed to accelerate developmental activities in these and other areas of the country. The office of Yojak is located in Pune and work has been started in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and
Rudraksha Mahasabha: While working the field the Dharma Jagaran activists realised that lack of contacts with the people of their own communities or groups is the main reason for their conversion to alien faiths. To overcome this, they embarked on an ambitious project of tying Rudraksh, which is considered as the most pious. This was initiated in Malwa Prant first, where encouraging results were achieved. Now this is being implemented all over the country. A Trust has been constituted for this purpose and so far Rudraksh have been distributed to over 20 lakh people.
Bharatiya Sant Sabha: This is an unregistered organisation where experiment is conducted to contact to the Mutts, Temples, Purohits, Pujari, etc. An effort to contact 4,500 saints was made through this experiment out of whom 1,000 saints have become active to check and curb conversions.
Sanskriti Samanvaya: This Trust has been formed to create
literature to spread awareness about Dharma Jagaran with
headquarters in Jaipur, Rajasthan. So far, 22 books have been published through this Trust. These books have been distributed to activists and saints all over the country. All these programmes are aimed at restricting the religious conversions and accelerate home coming.
The writer is a RSS Pracharak and Akhil Bharatiya Sah Pramukh, Dharma Jagaran Samanvay