Pakistani Hindus concert to Islam to stop harassment

In Southern Pakistan, an extensive number of Hindus converted in June, in Badin district. The videos of the ceremony had caught the fire on social media. This anguish Muslims had left no single ray of hope for the Pakistan Hindus. This ceremony is the current one which has given vague ideas on the Pakistani Hindus majority conversion. The exact data is scanty and some of these conversions are with consent while some are without consent.

It was about to come through various channels that the conversions are forced but what is happening under the nose is that the political and religious leaders have been the reasons behind the change of their religion.

A protest last year in Karachi, Pakistan, against the forced conversions of Hindu girls to Islam. More voluntary forms of conversion, driven by the desire for a better life, are less often discussed. Credit...Fareed Khan/Associated Press

Not only this but these converted Hindus face discrimination everywhere whether it is housing, jobs, or access to government welfare. And the minority ones are convinced by putting a word in their ears to join their majorities in regards to not face any discrimination or violence. Hindu community leaders have come out saying that they are often convinced by the economic pressures.

“What we are seeking is social status, nothing else,” said Muhammad Aslam Sheikh, who was named SawanBheel until June, when he converted in Badin with his entire family. He also added saying that ''These conversions are becoming very common in poor Hindu communities.”

The point which brought the Badin ceremony to notice was the number of people that were present, exceeding the number 100 also. 

Of course, there are perks of conversion you can get incentives, land for the minority, adding to the groups, etc. 

Mr Sheikh also stated that '“There is nothing wrong with that Everyone helps the people of their faith.”

During Independence in 1947 Hindus had 20.5% of the population that now form Pakistan. And according to the last government census Hindus were just 1.6% of Pakistan's population The population has diminished over the last two decades.

When a ceremony took place in Sindh Province there had been many people who had left for the other countries as they face discrimination and another is what if they get false imputation for blasphemy which is a capital crime if they say anything against it.

FarahnazIspahani, a former Pakistani lawmaker stated “The dehumanization of minorities coupled with these very scary times we are living in — a weak economy and now the pandemic — we may see a raft of people converting to Islam to stave off violence or hunger or just to live to see another day,” she is now a senior fellow at the Religious Freedom Institute, a research group in Washington.

She also speaks of the food of 2010 in Sindh when there was no empathy for the Hindus as they were not allowed to sit with the Muslims to eat. And when government aid came Muslims received it more in comparison to the Hindus. 

“Will they be converting with their hearts and souls?” Ms Ispahani says. And answers “I don’t think so.”

Mr Wahab an adviser to the chief minister of Sindh said '“The Hindu community is an important part of our society and we believe that people from all faiths should live together without issue''.

Another topic of concern is the forced conversions of Hindu girls and women through kidnapping or marriages through threats had been a thing in entire Pakistan. Some take place in such a situation that comes out as a voluntary one but is almost equal to the forced conversion and this has been a tough situation for the Hindu right groups.

Hindus at Shri Krishna Temple in Mithi, Pakistan, in 2018.Credit...Rizwan Tabassum/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Late Muhammed Naeem who was a religious leader said that he had himself seen more than 450 conversions at Jamia Binoria in which most of the conversions were from Sindh Province mainly low-caste Hindus. The conversion was happening at such a fast pace that they had set up a different department for guiding the converted and also assisting them with legal and financial matters.

Mr Naeem also quoted “We have not been forcing them to convert. People come to us because they want to escape discrimination attached to their caste and change the socioeconomic status.”

Matli in Sindh had been overcrowded after a wealthy Muslim family bought the land last year for thousands of families that converted from Hindus. Whereas the new mosque in the area had a person named Muhammad Ali whose Hindu name was Rajesh before he converted last year. Along with him, 205 more people converted. He said “We have found a sense of equality and brotherhood in Islam, and therefore we converted to it''.

The rights group also has said that the landlords often trap the poor strata of Hindus in the restraints by giving them the loan that can never be paid back by them and also the women are sexually exploited while they and their families are asked to work.

 Mr Naeem said “Those who make efforts to spread the message and bring the non-Muslims into the fold of Islam will be blessed in the hereafter''.

The topic has been a major concern for the right groups as well.