Tag Archives: Conversion

National-level TT player enmeshed in ‘love jihad’ now in Kanpur

Arisebharat does not agree with the phrases like much-hyped while referring to “Love Jihad”. We are however reproducing the article as it is from http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-national-level-tt-player-enmeshed-in-love-jihad-now-in-kanpur-2015190

Close on the heels of the Tara Shahdeo conversion case of Ranchi, another such episode of the much-hyped “love jihad” variety has been played out in Kanpur. While Tara is a national level shooter, the girl in the latest case, allegedly forcibly converted and bound in a farcical ‘nikah’ besides having been sexually abused, is a national level table tennis player. Neetu (name changed), a minor, is also a state level Taekwondoist.

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The Muslim boy Waseem, who had allegedly posed as a Hindu named Raja to court the 17-year-old girl, has been arrested. But the incident has once again exposed the overpowering callous attitude which is now a hallmark of the UP Police.

According to the girl’s statement before a magistrate, Waseem and his sister using a false alias (Rani) had lured her to their house where she was taken hostage on August 16. She was then forcibly converted and given a Muslim name. Two days later (i.e. on August 18) she was forced into a ‘nikah’ with Waseem who took her to an unknown place where he sexually abused her despite her resistance. The same day, she managed to call her father, an auto driver, from Waseem’s mobile and told him about her plight. The father immediately went to the Babupurwa police and even gave them the mobile number.

But the police did absolutely nothing despite the parents’ repeated cries for help for eight long days. It was only on August 26, when the father met Kanpur DIG RK Chaturvedi who geared up things in the language which the police understand, that the girl was recovered within a record 30 minutes!

“I had to give up my auto driving. All day long, we used to just sit outside the Babupurwa police station hoping someone would listen to us and help us recover our little girl. We even cried before the police officers and constables. But no one helped us,” Neetu’s father told reporters between wails of agony. “How did they recover her in half-an-hour when the DIG pulled them up? They had his mobile number and could have easily traced him on August 18 itself,” he asked angrily.

Neetu said in her statement that Waseem, a bus conductor, had befriended him as Raja during an NCC tour about six months ago. He had taken her mobile number and kept in touch after they returned. “It was only when he and his sister took me to their home on August 16 that I got to know they were Muslim. But, the entire family ganged up and made me a captive in their house,” Neetu told reporters.

Babupurwa SO Ajay Varma said initially the case against Waseem had been registered as one of inducing a minor for elopement. “After we came to know of the true story, stringent IPC sections for rape and illegal confinement have also been added,” he said. Asked whether it was a case of “love jihad”, he said a junior officer was inquiring into it. “We are yet to get papers relating to her conversion, rechristening and ‘nikah’,” he added.

Source: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-national-level-tt-player-enmeshed-in-love-jihad-now-in-kanpur-2015190

Photo credit: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/love-jihad-taekwondo-national-player-from-kanpur-up/1/380151.html

Thoughts on the Right to Propagate Religion – I

“Propagation of religion” is an area where Indian law is both unclear and unfair to non-proselytizing groups:

  1. The word religion cannot describe our society and hence propagation methods of religions are not acceptable in India
  2. The terms and ethics of propagation are not spelt out, which have been accepted norms in this nation for ages and helped a peaceful and non-traumatic spreading of traditions and mutual enrichment with interaction
  3. Practice is a right, but propagation is a privilege to be earned. Calling out propagation a basic right (Art 25.1) unwittingly encourages infringement of others’ freedom of their faith to not be interfered with.
  4. Like in many other areas like corruption and bad leadership, the primary assumption of constitution has been a use of law, not misuse.

We seek to explore here in brief, the conceptual background that helps formulating proper laws in this matter.

What is religion comprised of?

Religion by definition, is a truth claim and not a truth-seeking system. Indian traditions share a knowledge system with its formal hypothesizing, deductive and validating structures. India’s knowledge traditions have the culture of debating based on formal epistemology among the proponents of traditions, to earn the moral right to propagate their respective traditions.

Who can propagate?

In oriental societies, subscription and practice of any tradition is a matter of personal choice almost entirely. Propagation and preaching is a privilege, not a basic right as our constitution proclaims. It is similar to saying that to learn is a basic right but to teach is a privilege to be earned, and that to be treated of a problem is a basic right but to treat others is a privilege to be earned with knowledge and ability.

Among traditions/sampradayas, there is a formal debating structure. Propagation is a privilege earned by one who, having mastered one’s own tradition’s worldview and formal learning structures, ably defends one’s own siddhAnta in a formal debate, without taking recourse to deceptive arguments. There are ethics of argumentation or vAda, and arguments are qualified as ethical and deceptive.

What if deceptive arguments are used for propagation?

In formal argumentation, a deceptive argument is the last resort one uses to save a humiliating defeat. It cannot be used to defeat an opponent. Debates are officially moderated by scholars, who would object to such arguments. Argument proceeds as long as one does not withdraw or concede defeat, but it has to stick to either pUrva paksha (refutation of counter theory) or uttara paksha (affirmation of one’s own tenets).

Who cannot propagate?

One who is defeated in a debate, has to either convert to his victor’s position, or retire from propagation. It is immoral and fraudulent to continue propagating, once having lost a debate. Before doing that one must reverse the loss by inviting to debate proponents of erstwhile victorious tradition and defeat them.

What is ‘loss’

A tradition is not expected to be defeated in a defeat. It is the proponent who is defeated. This is because –

  1. The depth of tradition and the strength of argument of scholars are two different things. A tradition could be great, but the scholars may or may not be able to defend it for various reasons.
  2. Traditions evolve with time, and their practice cannot be questioned as long as practitioners retain belief in the core tenets of the traditions. This is unrelated to any scholarly debates.
  3. A scholar being defeated at a point of time could happen for various reasons:
    1. One not being equipped with sufficient knowledge of other traditions to win a debate
    2. One not being the best proponent of one’s own tradition compared to his rivals in debate
  4. The arguments extended from one tradition being refuted by others, which means the losing side would reformulate their arguments over time and conduct victorious debates and be back in propagation. This happens over several generations, not even in the life time of one proponent
  5. At a given point there could be places where proponents of one tradition are strong in scholarship and widen their practice and there could be other regions where weak scholarship of regional proponents weakens the tradition and shrinks practice

When is a tradition prohibited?

When a tradition becomes anti-social and disrupts the civilized social order it can be prohibited by the state, as was done in the case of nIlapaTa-s. Its practitioners would be warned (and punished in extreme cases) and propagators punished.

Market Argument

Often, a free market kind of argument is extended to justify right to propagate, that anyone is free to propagate and anyone who does not want to convert to another religion is free to reject it. This is ridden with several flaws, a few to mention:

  1. Even in a free market, right to buy and right to sell are distinct and the latter requires norms and licensing for productizing, marketing and selling. If an equivalent be applied, right to propagate is to be earned by clearing certain norms common to traditions.
  2. This puts the onus of knowing ins and outs of religions squarely on the common man, who is not equipped with the know how to understand the deception of specialized propagators.
  3. As a basic principle of propagating, one needs to respect the right of practitioners to not be interfered with. To say “I will bombard you with my speeches and keep coming to your places to insult your traditions but you are free to reject my version” is simply immoral and worthy of punishment.