The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

`No need to repeal Anti-Conversion Act'

Wednesday, Jun 09, 2004
By Our Staff Reporter

MADURAI, JUNE 8. There was no need for the Tamil Nadu Government to repeal the Anti-Conversion Act as it aimed at preventing conversions by force or allurement, the convener of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, Dayananda Saraswati, said today.

Talking to reporters here, he said religious freedom should not be misused to convert people and it was the duty of government and the society to protect ``non-aggressive religions.''

``There is violence in conversion as it destroyed the roots and emotional connection of a person and completely threw away the culture and tradition of his religion. The Greek and Roman religions were completely ruined in this manner.''

``Let us not tread upon other religion in the name of conversion because conversion is a type of aggression,'' Swami Dayananda said and called upon all sections to live in harmony.

The Peetadhipathis and Mandaleshwars, who attended an Acharya Sabha meeting in Chennai from November 29 to December 1, 2003, had accepted, in principle, a proposal to link all rivers without destroying heritage monuments or displacing people. The Sabha would work closely with the Centre and ensure that this project materialised. It would continue to voice the concerns of the Hindus.

The Sabha was opposed to the misuse of temple land by the government or ministers, especially in Andhra Pradesh, and efforts would be taken to spearhead a movement to put an end to this practice.

Through the Aim for Seva, a movement started by Swami Dayananda Saraswati to promote social welfare activities, it was planned to form self-help groups throughout Tamil Nadu to help the poor. Besides constructing hostels for school students, the organisation introduced a micro-finance scheme to provide financial assistance to small vendors and others as part of an exercise to combat moneylenders.

Decision `perplexing'

Our Udhagamandalam Staff Reporter reports:

``The Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, should not have revoked the ban on religious conversions,'' the Hindu Munnani leader, Rama Gopalan, told a press conference at Udhagamandalam today. Her decision was ``perplexing'' as many people made the demand.

He claimed that while the other concessions announced after the AIADMK's debacle in the Lok Sabha elections would increase the financial burden, the decision on conversions was fraught with danger to the nation. Regretting that politicians were worried only about the minorities, he said the withdrawal of the ban tantamounted to a ``slap on the face'' of the Hindus. Advocating formation of village-level committees to oppose conversions, Mr. Rama Gopalan said the Hindu Munnani would not rest until conversions were ended. To emphasise the need to re-impose the ban, the Munnani would organise a demonstration at Udhagamandalam on June 14. He alleged that conversions were taking place in many parts of the Nilgiris.

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