Two different reports of Dalits converting to Bauddha Dharma have come to light. In the first case, 25000 Dalits converted to Bauddha Dharma in Kanpur-Dehat, while around 300 Dalits in Badohi district have converted recently.
In village Kasidha of Badohi district, two recent converts to Bauddha Dharma – Komal Ram and Surinder Kumar – said that they had no issues with Hindu Dharma but decided to convert to escape oppression. They were not getting heard anywhere and were being ill-treated by other communities. After converting, the villagers did visarjan (immersion in water) of pictures and murtis of Hindu devi/devatas.
Gram Pradhan (village head) Lodhar Maurya said that some Buddhists had visited the Dalit basti of the village. BJP’s district head Hausila Pathak said that he will visit the neo-converts and listen to their difficulties.
In Pukhraya village of Kanpur-dehat, 25000 dalits converted to Bauddha Dharma on Vijaydashmi day during the Dussehra festival this year. Rathriya Dalit Panther’s state head Dhaniram Panther said that both Emperor Ashok and Dr. BR Ambedkar had taken deeksha (initiation) into Bauddha Dharma on the same day. He said that the Dalit community was looked down upon, due to which they were compelled to convert. He also claimed that their ancestors were not Hindu and that Hindu Dharma had been ‘forced on them’ – now they had returned to their ‘original roots’. Dhaniram Panther further said that Ravana was not a bad person. The Bauddha Dharma guru present on the occasion said that they do not believe in Bhagwan Ram or the tradition of burning Ravan’s idol.
A girl student, Suman, said that even 70 years after indepdnence they faced abuse from many sections of society; they were not allowed to take water from common hand-pumps and wells in the village. Teachers also discriminate against us in schools. It is because of these reasons that they converted.
Dhaniram Panther said that Dalits are discriminated against in the name of development. When President Kovind (a Dalit) visited Ishwariganj, the Yogi government’s officers got toilets constructed for other castes but Dalit homes still don’t have toilets. From PM Modi to CM Yogi, all have discriminated against Dalits. We had hopes from BSP’s Mayawati, but even she has cheated us, he added.
There are many aspects of this matter which merit careful introspection by Hindu society –
1.) Core scriptures of Hindu Dharma talk about a guna-based varna system which is merit and action based (not determined at birth), and no varna is considered superior to the other. Yet, caste discrimination is a reality of Hindu society which cannot be denied. Centuries of brutal, foreign rule by Islamic and British colonizers has left a deep scar on Hindus and resulted in the strange mix of social rigidity and inferiority that many of us suffer from even today. We have made significant strides in combating this social evil since independence, especially since the PVNR led economic liberalization of 1991. But the fact remains that caste discrimination is a real social problem even today. It is incumbent upon each right thinking Hindu to openly challenge such attitudes and spread the message of Hindu brotherhood. Next time you hear someone disparaging others as ‘chuda, chamar, bhangi’, even if behind their backs, speak up. Established Hindu socio-religious groups need to follow the lead of start-ups like Agniveer which is conducting scared thread sanskar for Dalit Hindus. We need to follow the lead of Veer Savarkar who stated that birth-based caste system should be abolished.
2.) All Dharmic paths – Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Bauddha and others – can and do co-exist with mutual respect. But as the ill-treatment of Tamil Hindus at hands of supremacist Sinhalese Buddhists in Sri Lanka, and the Khalistani movement have shown, extremists within Dharmic panths can very well breed hatred towards Hindus. In the above instances of mass conversion from UP, it is instructive that while ordinary Dalits are saying that they harbor no ill-will towards the Hindu religion but are converting to escape social oppression, this new breed of neo-Buddhist clergy and groups like Dalit Panthers and Bheem Army have nothing but unadulterated hatred for Hindu Dharma. These groups have ideological affinity for the ultra-leftist ideologues like Kancha Illaiah or the Church-backed fringe groups which celebrate Mahishasur divas in JNU and call Maa Durga as a prostitute. While praising Ravana, these people knowingly forget that Ravana was a Brahmin who developed asuric qualities because of his arrogance.
3.) These people distort history by peddling the discredited Aryan-invasion theory (AIT), and making the absurd claim that natives of Bharat were Buddhists who were later ‘forcefully converted to Hindu Dharma’. Gautam Buddha was born in 6th century BCE, while the AIT theorists claim that Aryans ‘invaded’ Bharat in 1500 BCE – so how could the natives of Bharat be Buddhist before this so-called invasion by Aryans? They spread vile anti-Brahminism, overlooking the fact that most of the discrimination faced by Dalits today in the villages and small towns of Bharat is at the hands of the powerful lower/middle castes represented by casteist outfits like SP, RJD, NCP who have come to power by playing the secular-socialist game and aggressively wooing ‘minorities.’
4.) Neo-Buddhists and Ambedkarites need to guard against their movements being hijacked by such ultra-leftists who have close links to #BreakingIndia forces like Naxals, Islamists and the Afro-Dalit project being operated by Evangelicals in US. These ultra-leftist Dalit groups are silent about Dr. Ambedkar’s thoughts on Islam, or the persecution suffered by mostly poor Dalit Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh, and even in Muslim majority regions of states within Bharat like West Bengal, J&K and Kerala. They are silent also on the complete evisceration by Evangelical Christians of beautifully woven tribal religions which have co-existed in Bharat for millenia alongside mainstream religion. Even mainstream Dalit politicians like Maywati are feeling the heat of these new Dalit groups as she senses her support base slipping, and hence we are seeing some desperate statements from her.
Bharat currently has its first OBC PM who enjoys a full majority in the Parliament and has risen on the dint of his hard work and performance. Yet, these new-age Dalit groups are peddling propaganda that Dalits/OBCs are under attack and that ‘Brahminism’ is rising. Our country stands at a critical juncture – the choices we make in the next 10 years could very well decide our future for the next 50. The enemies of our nation and civilization know how critical the next decade is going to be…but do we Hindus understand?
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