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User Name: abdulruff
Full Name: Dr.Abdul Ruff Colachal
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India's communal politics: Hindus in Bihar reconvert to Buddhism




Hindus in Bihar reconvert to Buddhism

When the year 2014 ended with many Muslims and Christians forcefully embraced Hinduism as part of the Hindutva’s so-called vapsi trend, the year 2015 has begun with the reverse trend of Hindus leaving Hinduism by disappointment and embracing Buddhism.

Around 1,700 Hindus in Bihar have embraced Buddhism citing the religion’s emphasis on unity and no discrimination among its followers.

A district police official said of these, 1,200 belong to Bainkathpur and Kudarbagha villages in Saran district, about 80 km from Patna, capital of Bihar state where Buddhism took birth. The conversion took place Saturday and Sunday, the official added.

According to the official, most of those converted to Buddhism were dalits and mahadalits, the SCs and STs and have been facing social discrimination in day to day life from the high caste Hindus who also promote RSS ideology of Hindu varna or caste system. On Saturday, 500 Hindus embraced Buddhism in the state’s Gaya district alone.  After converting to Buddhism, they said they have chosen the new religion for its stress on unity and no discrimination among its followers, the official said.The massive reconversions from Hinduism to Buddhism would make a big impact on India.


Buddhism is a religion to about 300 million people around the world. The word comes from 'budhi', 'to awaken'. It has its origins about 2,500 years ago when Siddhartha Gotama, known as the Buddha, was himself awakened (enlightened) at the age of 35. The workings of the mind are examined with great precision in these teachings of the Buddha that originated in India over 2000 years back. However the way to freedom lies not in a scholarly study of these teachings, but instead in practicing meditation and mindfulness. The reality of suffering draws many to Buddha's teachings; the teachings are not about suffering though. Instead they are about ultimate freedom, and the exuberance that this freedom is accessible to all. Strive to be a Buddha, not a Buddhist!

Since Hindu kings opposed Buddhism threatening the monks, Buddhism took shelter in other nations, from Sri Lanka, Laddakh to China, Japan, South East Asian nations.

The decline of Buddhism in India, the land of its birth, occurred for a variety of reasons and happened even as it continued to flourish beyond the frontiers of India. Buddhism had seen a steady growth from its beginnings in the 6th century BCE to its endorsement as state religion of the Maurya Empire under Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE. During the Maurya Empire, during which Ashoka banned Vedic sacrifices as contrary to Buddhist benevolence, Buddhism began its spread outside of its Magadha homeland. It continued to flourish during the final centuries BCE and the first centuries of the Common Era, and spread even beyond the Indian subcontinent to Central Asia and beyond to China. But a steady decline of Buddhism in India set in during the later Gupta era and under the Pala Empire. By that time, Buddhism had become especially vulnerable to hostile rulers because it lacked strong roots in society as most of its adherents were ascetic communities. Buddhism was virtually extinct in India by the end of the 19th century.

In recent times Buddhism has seen a revival in India due to the influence of Anagarika Dharmapala, Kripasaran Mahasthavir, B. R. Ambedkar and Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.

The revival movement of Buddhism in India underwent a major change when after publishing a series of books and articles arguing that Buddhism was the only way for the Untouchables to gain equality, Ambedkar publicly converted on 14 October 1956 in Nagpur, Maharashtra, which now the fort of BJP-Siva Sena networks, and then in turn led a mass-conversion ceremony for over 380,000 Dalits. Many other such mass-conversion ceremonies organised since and have become a politically charged issue. Since Ambedkar's conversion, many more people from different castes have converted to Buddhism. Many converted employ the term "Ambedkarite Buddhism" to designate the Buddhist movement, which started with Ambedkar's conversion. In order to contain conversion from Hinduism to Ambedkarite Buddhism, the RSS was established with HQ in Nagpur.

The frequency of such conversion, however, has been reducing due to the efforts of Hindu reform movements and gurus who have openly voiced their support for the untouchable caste. Another reason for the decline of conversions is the implementation of government’s reservation policy to block any conversions into other relations in the name of poverty alleviation programs which have greatly improved the situation of many sections of society, including the Dalits.

All the reservations giver n to low caste SC and ST people are meant essentially to stop them from embracing Buddhism or Christianity.

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