Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sindhi conversions in Ulhasnagar raise a storm -

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    • Kiran Tare / DNA
    • The close-knit Sindhi community in Ulhasnagar, north-east of Mumbai, is undergoing a social upheaval of sorts. Over the last two years, a sizeable number in the township — primarily created for Sindhis who came in as refugees from Pakistan’s Sindh province after partition — have drifted away from Hinduism and embraced Christianity.
    • Mumbai
    • Those who are taking to Christianity are not branding it as a conversion; instead, they say they have only changed their faith. Most have not even changed their Hindu names, which is turning out to be a major bone of contention with the Hindus.
    • Global recession is to blame, say Hindu leaders in the community. Ulhasnagar is largely a business township, full of small scale industries and traders.

      Balram said, “The Christian missionaries helped the small businessmen rebuild their businesses. Since then, there has been a wave of conversion.”

      But Ram Budhwani, a resident who follows Christianity, rubbishes the argument. “I started visiting the chapel to get peace of mind. I lost my wife in an accident two years ago. I became an alcoholic. I suffered heavy losses in my business and had to close down my shop. But since I am visiting the prayer house (known as Prarthana Ghar in Ulhasnagar) I am making progress in my business. I set up my shop again and am doing well. I have changed my faith, not the religion,” he said.

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