Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
(Editorial Note- The views expressed in this article have been shared from an article published at The New York Times)
The lips of Hindus stumbled over Arabic phrases, as they performed the prayer rituals awkwardly. These phrases, once recited, would convert them to Islam for the rest of their lives. As the last words were recited, the men and boys were then circumcised. They are prepared to leave their many deities behind and worship their new, single god.
Many Hindu families were converted in June in the Badin locale of Sindh Province in southern Pakistan. Video recordings of the function were circulated around the web, across the nation, pleasing extreme Muslims and burdening Pakistan’s diminishing Hindu minority.
The mass ceremony was the most recent in what is a developing number of such conversions to Pakistan’s majority Muslim confidence lately. Although, the exact information is scant. A portion of these conversions are voluntary, and some not.
Media sources in India, Pakistan’s majority Hindu neighbor and archrival, rushed to condemn the conversions as forced. Be that as it may, what’s going on is more subtle. Religious and political leaders on the two sides of the discussion state that desperation has frequently been the main reason behind their change of religion.
Follow NewsGram on LinkedIn to know what’s happening around the world.
The Hindus of Pakistan are regularly and systemically discriminated in varying social statuses and treated as second-class citizens. They’re discriminated in every walk of life like lodging, employments, access to government assistance, etc. While minorities have for some time been attracted to convert, so as to join the majority and getaway from discrimination and sectarian strife. Hindu community leaders state that the ongoing uptick in conversions has likewise been roused by newfound economic pressures and burdens.
“What we are looking for is societal position, nothing else,” said Muhammad Aslam Sheik, whose name was Sawan Bheel until June. He converted to Islam in Badin with his family.
“These changes are getting basic in helpless Hindu people group”, he added.
Proselytizing Muslim ministers and noble cause bunches like charity groups add to the faith’s allure, extending incentives of jobs or land to devastated minority individuals only if they convert.
With Pakistan’s economy near the very edge of collapse in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the burdens on the nation’s minorities, frequently its most unfortunate individuals, have expanded. The World Bank predicts that economy will decrease by 1.3 percent in the 2020 fiscal year in light of the pandemic and up to 18 million of Pakistan’s 74 million employments might be lost.
Mr. Sheikh and his family would like to receive money related help from well off Muslims or from Islamic foundations that have sprung up as of late, which center around attracting more individuals to Islam.
“There is nothing amiss with that,” Mr. Sheik said. “Everybody helps the individuals of their confidence.”
As Mr. Sheik sees it, there is nothing left for Pakistan’s more affluent Hindus to provide the individuals of their own faith. That is on the grounds that there are scarcely any Hindus left.
At independence in 1947, Hindus made 20.5 percent out of the number of inhabitants in the areas that currently structure Pakistan. In the following decades, the rate shrank quickly. The last government census to arrange individuals by religion, conducted in 1998, showed that Hindus were just 1.6 percent of Pakistan’s population. Most estimates state it has further dwindled in the past two decades.
Sindh Province, which was once a mixture of religions and where the conversion ceremony took place, has seen minority individuals escape to different nations in large numbers in late decades. Many face harsh discrimination and unforgiving segregation, along with the specter of violence. There is also the risk of blasphemy, a capital crime— in the event that they stand up against it.
“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,” said Farahnaz Ispahani, a former Pakistani lawmaker who is presently a senior individual at the Religious Freedom Institute, a research group in Washington.
Ms. Ispahani recalled the destructive floods of 2010 in Sindh Province, which left thousands of people destitute and homeless. She informed that Hindus were not permitted to sit with Muslims at soup kitchens. Furthermore, she told that when government aid was distributed, Hindus got less of it than their Muslim peers.
“Will they be converting with their hearts and souls?” Ms. Ispahani said. “I don’t think so.”
Ms. Ispahani worries that the further economic devastation brought about by the pandemic may prod more sectarian violence and that may increase the weight on minorities to change over to Islam.
Murtaza Wahab, who is an adviser to the chief minister of Sindh, was among a few government officials who said they couldn’t address Ms. Ispahani’s allegation that Hindus got less aid after the floods, as it occurred before they got to work.
“The Hindu community is an important part of our society and we believe that people from all faiths should live together without issue,” Mr. Wahab said.
Forced conversions of Hindu young girls and women to Islam through kidnapping and coerced marriages take place all through Pakistan. Not only this, but Hindu rights communitites are also disturbed by the deliberate and voluntary conversions, saying they happen under such financial pressure that they are equivalent to a constrained and forced conversion in any case.
“Overall, religious minorities do not feel safe in Pakistan. But poor Hindus are the most vulnerable among them. They are extremely poor and illiterate, and Muslim mosques, charities and traders exploit them easily and lure them to convert to Islam. A lot of money is involved in it”, said Lal Chand Mahli, a Pakistani Hindu lawmaker with the ruling party, who is a member of a parliamentary committee to protect minorities from forced conversions.
Clerics like Muhammad Naeem were at the cutting edge of a push to convert more Hindus. (Mr. Naeem was 62 and died of cardiac arrest two weeks after the interviewed in June).
Mr. Naeem said that at Jamia Binoria in his seminary in Karachi, he had regulated more than of 450 conversions in the course of past 2 years. Most of the converts were low-caste Hindus from Sindh Province, he said.
“We have not been forcing them to convert. In fact, people come to us because they want to escape discrimination attached with their caste and change their socioeconomic status,” Mr. Naeem said.
He added saying that the demand was so incredible, that his seminary had set up a different department to manage the new converts and give counsel in legal or monetary issues.
On an ongoing evening, through a bunch of recently raised tents in Matli (an infertile patch of Sindh), the call to to prayer echoed. A group of Karachi’s affluent Muslim merchants purchased the land a year ago for numerous families who had changed over from Hinduism.
Muhammad Ali, who was known by his Hindu name Rajesh before converting to Islam last year, performed ablutions before praying at another mosque adjoining the tents.
A year ago, his whole family had chosen to change over to Islam when Mr. Naeem, the cleric, offered to liberate them from the bonded labor in which they were caught, living and filling in as obligated workers in light of unpaid debt. Mr. Ali belongs to one of the lowest castes in ,the Bheel caste.
“We have found a sense of equality and brotherhood in Islam, and therefore we converted to it,” Mr. Ali said.
Lower-caste Pakistani Hindus are regularly the victims of bonded labor. It was banned in 1992, yet the practice is as yet predominant. The Global Slavery Index evaluates that a little more than 3,000,000 Pakistanis live paying off debtors bondage.
Rights groups say that landowners trap poor and helpless Hindus into such bondage by giving advances that they know can never be reimbursed. They and their families are then compelled to work off the obligation. The ladies are often sexually abused.
Mr. Naeem’s seminary had safeguarded a few Hindus. This included Mr. Ali and his family. They were rescued from bonded labor by taking care of their debts in return for their changes to Islam.
At the point when Mr. Ali and his family changed over, Mr. Naeem and a gathering of rich Muslim traders provided them with a piece of land and helped them look for some kind of employment, thinking of it as an Islamic duty to support them.
“Those who make efforts to spread the message and bring the non-Muslims into the fold of Islam will be blessed in the hereafter,” Mr. Naeem said.
By- Salil Gewali
If humanity is hurt, God is hurt.
Religion without compassion might give way to hatred. Compassion with a "self-interest" motive is completely irreligious. But of late, some of the religions have departed from those basic human values. Love and compassion are for only those who follow their "specific" faith. Very sadly, the religions are up as trading commodities in the world of proselytization. Better preachers attract more followers. Of course, no issue if they are not vying for their religious "supremacy". But the ground reality is utterly different. The claim for exclusive supremacy has become the first commandment --- a real bone of contention among the existing religions. In the name of religion, we have polluted our minds. we have corrupted our souls. We have also gone so much astray that God must have now shut his gateway to heaven!
Are we not too foolish to believe in the twenty-first Century --- my God is different and your God different? If the Sun and the Moon are the same for Islam, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, by that simple logic, why is the CREATOR of the infinite cosmos not ONE for all? Is the digestive system in the stomach of a Hindu and a Christian different? The body system secrets the same kind of digestive enzymes to digest the food eaten by people of any faith. One divine power is controlling each of us. It is too outrageous that we bear malice and hostility towards others for God. The paths are different but the destination is the same. One wonders in amazement, why we are so "unscientific" in our approach to the Almighty? Why is there so much bad blood among the different faiths? Truly, our fanaticism and belligerence have become the stumbling block in our understanding of the real teachings of the holy scriptures.
Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.The recent unprecedented brutal atrocities upon Hindus in Bangladesh during the holy festival of Durga Puja made each of us more anxious. It should also serve as a wake-up call for West Bengal and Assam. How could one's holy place of worship provoke godless hatred in others? If God-believing people nurture animosity for others, then that religion itself has been wrongly understood or misinterpreted. Who all are to blame? Is there any organisation of rectitude that will come up to address this glaring fault line?
Brutal atrocities upon Hindus in Bangladesh during the holy festival of Durga Puja made each of us anxiousFile
All should agree that "tolerance to inhumanity" begets more violence. The act of vandalizing the religious pandals of Hindus in Bangladesh is utterly unpardonable. This calls for serious soul-searching. Who has placed the Holy Koran near the sanctum sanctorum of Hanuman Idol? The investigating agency has found out that it was not by Hindu, but some Iqbal Hossain with wrong intent upon the minority Hindus.
Iqbal Hossain, a Muslim, deliberately placed a copy of the Quran at a Puja Pandal and gave hate speeches against HindusFile
Of course, this act is not at all sacrilegious as understood. One holy mandap and another holy book do not make anything unholy. But the "intention" must be good. It is my personal observation. But this incident, a pre-mediated plan with "wrong motive", has stoked the unprecedented communal violence in Bangladesh. And consequently, many places of worship were desecrated, sacred idols were destroyed, houses and business properties of the minority community were burnt down. Besides the United State, even UN officials condemned this diabolical cruelty against the minority Hindus. Tulsi Gabbard, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, retorted – "God is love, and his true servants embody and manifest that love in this world. It is time for the supposedly secular government of Bangladesh to protect that country's religious minorities from the jihadist forces of hate."
The Hindus in the country are experiencing regular vitriolic attacks from the dogmatic group which is beyond descriptionFile
Hatred for Hindus is not confined to Bangladesh. Even in the home states, Hindus are not at all safe. Kashmir, West Bengal, Assam, Kerala have become the hotbed of crime and violence against Hindus even then being the majority. The Hindus in the country are experiencing regular vitriolic attacks from the dogmatic group which is beyond description. The silence of the unpatriotic media, and other sinister forces have given enough leverage to such extremist elements. It has been established that madrasas are factories where tender minds are radicalized – the fact is passionately reiterated by an eminent social activist Khalid Umar of Lahore, Pakistan. Just two days ago, one boy in Assam posted a photo in which he placed his foot on a Ganesh idol. Such shocking instances with photos and videos are regularly posted on social media. But such cases are suppressed too soon.
Well, one can't agree more than what Human Right Activist and a senior journalist of Bangladesh – Mr Saad Hammadi has said --- "Such repeated attacks against individuals, and destruction of the homes and places of worship of minorities in Bangladesh over the years show that the state has failed in its duty to protect minorities. Targeting religious sensitivities to stoke communal tension is a serious human rights violation and requires immediate and decisive action from the government to address the situation of minorities in the country."
Here one wishes that all people would stand with Mr Saad Hammadi. The hatred and violence should always be vociferously condemned by one and all. No one has the right to hold humanity to ransom. As believers of GOD, all should shake off narrow dogmatism and malice. All need to follow the path that takes us from darkness to light and ignorance to knowledge. The practice of expressing LOVE and COMPASSION for "all" ---- irrespective of caste, creed, and colour, always ensures communal harmony and peace. Not just that, it is the pathway to DIVINITY. If humanity is hurt, God is hurt.
An India-based writer and researcher, Salil Gewali is best known for his research-based work entitled 'Great Minds on India' that has earned worldwide appreciation. Translated into Twelve languages, his book has been edited by a former NASA scientist – Dr AV Murali of Houston, USA.
By- Your Service
Taking out time for family has become very difficult as people are pretty busy in daily life and find very little time to spend with their loved ones. Planning a family vacation is an excellent way through which the whole family can step away from their daily life and have fun. You can find many destinations for a family vacation, but there is no place that can beat Aruba.
Being a part of the Caribbean islands, Aruba is a great destination to spend quality time with family. A family vacation in the Caribbean is just a fantastic choice as the islands are a great blend of everything that sums up an unforgettable time filled with adventure and fun. Aruba being one of the most beautiful Caribbean islands, is perfect for spending some quality time with family members.
There will never be a boring moment in Aruba as there is a lot to do for the best of vacation time. Be prepared to have the best of time and relaxing times. As you are going on a family vacation, you need to book and plan everything to make sure that you do it online to get the best deals. Enjoy your budget vacation in Aruba with your loved ones. Here are the ten reasons you need to plan your dream family vacation to Aruba.
Follow NewsGram on Instagram to keep yourself updated.
1. Beaches Curated for Families & Kids
There are plenty of beaches, in Aruba, and the best one amongst them is Palm Beach and Eagle Beach. Along with your family, you can make the most of your time by spending time on the beach. To make your beach day even more impressive, you must pack some snacks and your favourite drinks.
2. Amazing Outdoor Adventures
You can treat your family to unique outdoor activities in Aruba, such as UTV tour, ATV tour, snorkelling, Catamaran sail, jeep tour, jet skiing, and a lot more only at Around Aruba Tours & Rentals. If your kids love to indulge in some thrilling adventures, then there are many activities from which they can choose.
3. Safest Island
When it comes to family, safety becomes the topmost priority. You don't have to worry about it when you are in Aruba, as this island is regarded as one of the safest islands amongst the other Caribbean islands. You will not face any issues during your family vacation.
4. Best Accommodation for Families
In Aruba, there is a vast range of accommodations to choose from, due to which you can find the perfect pick for small as well as big families. At www.VacationAruba.com you can find amazing Aruba villas for your stay. It is an excellent choice as they are quite reasonable and provide many amenities and facilities. The Aruba villa has great interiors, an outdoor facility, amazing bedrooms, clean bathrooms and huge living space. Aruba Villa Rental are the perfect and luxurious vacation rental for families.
5. Interesting Sightseeing Attractions
There are many sightseeing attractions in Aruba, so you must choose to visit the places you like. You will get to find many fun-filled excursions which you will be able to do that your kids will really enjoy.
6. Rich Culture & Heritage
Family is all about the culture and the heritage that has been running for many years; similarly, the island has a rich culture & heritage which you will love to know. Visit the alluring sightseeing destinations of the island and book a tour so that the tour guide can guide you well. On the guided tour, you will get to listen to many stories related to the places that you will visit. Your kids and other family members will love it.
7. Perfect Fishing Adventure
The fishing adventures are just perfect if you and your family love fishing, so along with them, you can head out to catch all the exotic species. You will get to find such amazing species which you might not get in your home country, and the best part about Aruba is that the water is always brimming with lots of fish to catch. There are many fishing techniques that you can try out, like deep-sea fishing, trolling, fly fishing, and a lot more. After fishing, you can enjoy the catch of the day as there are some restaurants which will serve you.
8. Great Cuisine Options That Fits All
You will find a very wide range of cuisine options in Aruba due to the rich cultural diversity. There are people from different parts of the world who reside in Aruba, due to which you will find your cuisine easily on the island. It is best if you try out the local Aruban cuisine and cocktails, which you will not get anywhere else. Apart from experimenting with food, there is a wide variety of street food as well as fine dining options.
ALSO READ: How Vacations Create Strong Family Bonds
9. Breathtaking Natural Beauty
The natural beauty of Aruba is such that you will just be enchanted by it. You can spend quality time with your family members along with enjoying the breathtaking sights. There are tons of natural wonders that you will love, and the sights are such which you might not find them anywhere else. The incredible beauty of Aruba is what attracts people from all different parts of the world. Plan your days in Aruba in such a way that you are able to visit most of the natural wonders.
10. Snorkeling Fun
By snorkelling in Aruba, you will get to see the exotic species and the marine life of Aruba.Pexels
This activity is something that all of your family members will truly love. By snorkeling in Aruba, you will get to see the exotic species and the marine life of Aruba. Be prepared to get truly mesmerized by the beauty of Aruba. There are many snorkeling spots in Aruba, and everywhere you will have a great experience. You must try out snorkeling at Eagle Beach to get the best experience. The water in Aruba is so clear that you will have a great experience doing snorkeling.
Here were the ten reasons you need to plan your dream family vacation to Aruba. On vacation, remember to make each moment the best when you are in Aruba.
Disclaimer: (This article is sponsored and includes some commercial links)
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has for the first time spotted signs of a planet transiting a star outside of the Milky Way galaxy, opening up a new avenue to search for exoplanets at greater distances than ever before.
The possible exoplanet -- or planets outside of our Solar System -- candidate is located in the spiral galaxy Messier 51 (M51), also called the Whirlpool Galaxy because of its distinctive profile, NASA said in a statement.
Astronomers have, so far, found all other known exoplanets and exoplanet candidates in the Milky Way galaxy, almost all of them less than about 3,000 light-years from Earth.
An exoplanet in M51 would be about 28 million light-years away, meaning it would be thousands of times farther away than those in the Milky Way, NASA said.
"We are trying to open up a whole new arena for finding other worlds by searching for planet candidates at X-ray wavelengths, a strategy that makes it possible to discover them in other galaxies," said Rosanne Di Stefano of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the study.
The findings are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
The exoplanet candidate was spotted in a binary system called M51-ULS-1, located in M51. This binary system contains a black hole or neutron star orbiting a companion star with a mass about 20 times that of the Sun. The X-ray transit they found using Chandra data lasted about three hours, during which the X-ray emission decreased to zero.
Based on this and other information, the team estimates the exoplanet candidate in M51-ULS-1 would be roughly the size of Saturn and orbit the neutron star or black hole at about twice the distance of Saturn from the Sun.
The team looked for X-ray transits in three galaxies beyond the Milky Way galaxy, using both Chandra and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton. Their search covered 55 systems in M51, 64 systems in Messier 101 (the "Pinwheel" galaxy), and 119 systems in Messier 104 (the "Sombrero" galaxy).
However, more data would be needed to verify the interpretation as an extragalactic exoplanet. One challenge is that the planet candidate's large orbit means it would not cross in front of its binary partner again for about 70 years, thwarting any attempts for a confirming observation for decades, NASA said.
Named in honor of the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Chandra X-ray Observatory is the world's most powerful X-ray telescope. It has eight times greater resolution and is able to detect sources more than 20-times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope.
Known to the world as Chandra (which means "moon" or "luminous" in Sanskrit), Chandrasekhar was widely regarded as one of the foremost astrophysicists of the twentieth century. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: NASA, Space, Milky Way galaxy, Solar System, an X-ray telescope.