The lead story in today’s Times of India (Delhi edition) flashes the headline: RSS body seeks donations to fund Christmas ‘conversions’ in Aligargh. ‘Rs 5 lakh to convert a Muslim, Rs 2 lakh for a Christian,’ says the subheading.
RSS is collecting funds in order to buy adherents to Hinduism. Ghar Vapsi (returning home) is the affectionate name of the project. The Muslims and Christians in Uttar Pradesh were allegedly converted from Hinduism and they are being brought back home by purchasing their religious loyalty.
But why the disparity in the prices? Why 5 lakhs for a Muslim and only less than half of that for a Christian? Because the Christians were originally Valmikis, untouchables.
This is precisely where the problems lies. Even when the people return home their caste will be retained. The erstwhile untouchable will continue to be an untouchable. What the RSS and its affiliates fail to understand is that the people abandoned Hinduism precisely because of the indignity of its caste system. When they switched their divine loyalties, they were in fact looking for a life of dignity, for a society which would place them on an equal footing with others. Not too many people are willing to sell themselves for money.
It is quite ironical that the RSS which boasts about its ideological foundations in the philosophical spirituality of the country has stooped so low as to put a price on human beings and their gods. It is also a symptom of what the whole process means to the Parivar ideologues: bringing back the ancient caste-based system.
RSS hopes to convert 6000 people (“5000 Muslims and 1000 Christians”) on the coming Christmas Day. The capital invested in the project is Rs 270 crore. That’s just a fraction of the black money that Prime Minister Mr Modi had promised to get back from abroad for the welfare of the poor people in Hindustan. RSS can get some kickbacks in the whole deal hopefully. So the RSS gains, the poor people in Uttar Pradesh gain, Hindustan gains. Why grumble then?
For many people, this could very well be the achche din promised by Mr Modi. For a family of four persons, let’s say, the conversion would mean an income of Rs 20 lakh, an amount which they cannot even dream of in the normal course of their life. A windfall. Achche din!
What will be the price tag for a Brahmin if a Hindu Dalit wants to convert to that class? Will the RSS eventually put price tags on various gods and goddesses in India? On the godmen and godwomen who run numerous cults which don’t follow the tenets of Hinduism?
When gods and religions have become commodities on sale and people’s dignity is bought for a few lakhs of rupees, what will be the next hot item in the Parivar market?