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A melange of facts and fiction? A survey by a US group claims Hindus ‘gain’ from conversion

WebdeskJul 19, 2021, 06:46 AM IST

A melange of facts and fiction? A survey by a US group claims Hindus ‘gain’ from conversion

                                                                                                                                                                 Nirendra Dev


New Delhi: It’s a mix of facts and fiction as some survey figures are difficult to stomach, some look doctored, while some seem to be true.


The latest research by American think tank, Pew Research Center, claims: “Hindus gain as many people as they lose” due to conversion.


It also says “religious conversion is rare in India” and goes onto add–“This survey finds that religious switching has a minimal impact on the size of religious groups.”


It says, “Among Hindus, for instance, any conversion out of the group is matched by conversion into the group.


O.7 percent of respondents say there were raised Hindu but now identify as something else, and roughly the same share 0.8 percent say they were not raised Hindu but now identify as Hindus.”


It says–for Christians, there are “net gains” from conversion as 0.4 percent of survey respondents are former Hindus and are now Christians, while 0.1 percent were raised Christian but have since left Christianity.


The study ignores the menace of Love Jihad in the entire debate and also seeks to make light of ‘conversion’ into Christianity from amongst tribal and other vulnerable groups among Hindus.


When there are debates about population control, ban on cow slaughter, and beef-eating and uniform civil code, the survey reveals that the “Dietary laws are central to Indians’ religious identity”.


The survey claims 72 percent of Hindus stating that a person cannot be Hindu if he eats beef, and over three-quarters (77 percent) of Muslim respondents say one cannot be Muslim if they eat pork.


It also says most Muslims favor (74 percent) having access to their religious courts. It is true Indian Muslims since 1937 have had the option of resolving their family and inheritance disputes in officially recognized Islamic courts known as ‘Dar-ul-qaza’.


The research claims 43 percent of Hindus say the motherland partition in 1947 was beneficial for Hindu-Muslim relations, and only 37 say it has harmed.


This is also a questionable claim.


Only three out of ten Muslims (30%) believe Partition was good for the Hindu-Muslim relationship, while 48 percent believe it was detrimental.


These figures certainly must be taken with a pinch of salt.


Caste has been showing as a pervading factor amongst all Indians. A whopping 70 percent say ‘most or all of their close friends share their caste’. This may be entirely imaginative and a rather ivory tower tabletop data fudging.


It says caste divisions persist even among Christians, perhaps making a mockery of the religion of Jesus Christ.


Survey says 36 percent of Christian men and 37 percent of Christian women say it is “very important to stop” people of their community from marrying into another caste.


The survey on Indian Christians says most of them believe in karma (54%), which is not rooted in the Christian religion.


And many Indian Christians also believe in reincarnation (29%) and that the Ganges River has the power to purify (32%), both of which are core teachings in Hinduism.


It is also somewhat common for Indian Christians to observe customs tied to other religions, like celebrating Diwali (31%) or wearing a forehead marking called a bindi (22%), most often worn by Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain women.


Among Muslims, it says - 43 percent identify themselves as Other Backward Castes (OBC), 4 percent as Scheduled Castes (SC), and 3 percent as Scheduled Tribes (ST).


A higher number of Christians are still caste-bound, with 78 percent identifying themselves as SC, ST, or OBC.


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