One of the largest mass conversion took place recently in Mumbai (India). Nearly a lakh (hundred thousand) people from tribal and dalit background publicly renouced their animist and hindu faith to embrace Buddhism. Read the news report in TOI, IHT, CNN etc.
It happend on the 50th anniversary of Dr B R Ambedkar’s conversion. The man who wrote the consitution of India and a well-known statesman of early Independant India forsook faith of his birth to become a Buddhist. In the history of modern India, this may be the largest mass conversion.
This is not a random occurence, but there has been steady rise in conversion to Buddhism in recent years and is believed to escape the rigid and oppressive Hindu caste system. The low caste masses want social and economic mobility and find the traditional Hindu order to be suffocating.
It may not have anything to do with real faith issues, but a social escapism. These mass movements also has many politcal reprecussions and many are closing watch this growing trend. Will this mass exodus spark other similar conversion rallies in other cities? All this is happening when there is ban on conversion in record number of states and forceful recoversion back to Hinduism.
Will India have religious freedom or curtail the personal and faith issues of its people? Are Hindus and nationalist thretened by these trends? Does all Indians have to be Hindus only? Are Christians (who have been supportive of dalits) behind this conversion conspiracy? Or Will these low caste hindus who converted to Buddhims eventually convert to Christianity – a 2-step conversion?
Check DFN for more resources and what Christians are doing for Dalits in India.