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7. What are the objections to conversions?

      Conversions create social tensions. The targeted community feels that it will lose out on its culture and civilisational values. Mahatma Gandhi said, "In India one finds that conversions brings about deep disdain for one's old religion and its followers, i.e., one's old friends and one's relatives. The next change that takes place is that of dress and manners and behaviours. All that does great harm to the country." Similarly, Babasaheb Ambedkar said that by joining Islam or Christianity, the Depressed Classes would 'not only go out of the Hindu religion, but also go out of the Hindu culture....Conversion to Islam or Christianity will denationalise the Depressed Classes.'
    Swami Vivekanand has expressed himself in even stronger terms. He said that a convert from Hinduism is not only one Hindu less, but an enemy more.
     A non-Islamic student of Islamic theology wrote: "Islam's aversion to the past should be viewed from the perspective of conversion. Islam aims at destroying the past completely lest it should hark the converts back to the pre-Islam days. There is always a fear of the past which threatens to jeopardise the very existence of Islam. The "fear of recantation" is more often than not dealt with violent measures. Since conversion is not without its past, Islam tries tooth and nail to expunge all the traces and remnants of the past." This would apply equally to Christianity.
    All societies try and protect the collective consciousness of the past. The destruction of a culture is not only in terms of physical structures like places of worship, but also a destruction of amassed wisdom. The great library of Alexandria in pre-Christian and pre-Islam Egypt were destroyed by the followers of these two systems. In South America, we see only mute monuments of what were obviously great civilisations.
    The Hindu civilisation is today the oldest surviving civilisation. This has been achieved at a great cost in terms of resisting those who came to destroy. It is easy to destroy, but difficult to preserve.

See also (Q. 8)


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