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I Converted To Islam From Hinduism, And Suddenly, My Privilege Turned Into Discrimination

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By Anonymous

I was born into a Hindu family and, for the first 16 years of my life, I dutifully practiced the same faith as them. As I grew up though, I began to feel detached from my religion and found myself moving to a more agnostic/confused position of faith. I still passively participated in all the rituals that are a norm in a religious, Brahmin Hindu family. But, deep down I stopped identifying as Hindu. For a few years, I lived in this state of religious limbo. This state of limbo included some time spent studying and living overseas – a time when I had the opportunity to settle there. But, of course, I chose to come back to India, my beloved country.

All this while, my name – and the privilege it brought along – meant that I could afford to benefit from perks of being a Hindu Brahmin male in India without really ever understanding how it feels to be on the other side of the rope. Despite not being a religious person, never visiting a temple or, praying to any Hindu deity, my name and the unspoken entitlement it brought, made me comfortably oblivious to the discrimination that others – who didn’t come from the same privilege – face.

That was, until I changed my faith and converted to Islam.

Quran-islamic-ramadan-I won’t get into why I embraced Islam and the story behind it, because I don’t want this to turn into a Hinduism vs Islam debate. That is not what this story is about. Although, I have full faith (nod to irony) that it will eventually become about that in some way. That unfortunately, is one of the many things wrong with our society today. In fact, it’s the main reason I’m choosing to remain anonymous as the writer here. Anyway, I did what I did because I had the freedom to religious expression – and I exercised it. A freedom that the great constitution of India, morphed by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar – provides me. Incidentally, Dr. Ambedkar himself had faced discrimination on the lines of caste and denounced Hinduism to adopt Buddhism. But then again, this isn’t about Hindusim vs Buddhism either. This story is about how my life suddenly changed, how my privilege suddenly vapourised and how discrimination – from the farthest, closest, expected and most unexpected quarters – came crashing down on me, the moment I stopped being a Hindu. No, wait, the moment I started being a Muslim.

It’s incredible to suddenly learn that having a Muslim name in India is, at the very outset, an impediment. If it were a race, then imagine all names standing at the start line and the ‘Muslim sounding’ names standing a couple of paces back. Because as soon as you tell someone your first name, pat comes the question, “are you Muslim?” That’s where the discrimination begins. I imagine Dalits/lower caste Hindus face something similar but are instead asked about their surname and the follow-up question, “what caste?” Why is this discrimination? Because the moment someone asks you this, even before you answer, they are doing a mathematics of segregation, assumption and prejudice in their mind. Rest assured, the rest of the conversation will be in some shape of form influenced by this aspect and, more often than not, the influence will not be a positive one.

The discrimination is more subtle from those who know me from before. For example, if I want to grow a beard, just because I think it’s cool to do so, a friend would casually remark, “Haan ab toh dadhi rakhega hi (You will of course, grow a beard now).” Or, if before the latest cricket World Cup match between India and Pakistan I say that I’m not sure if India is in the kind of form to maintain their perfect record against their neighbours then someone would be quick to ask me if I’m secretly hoping India underperforms and Pakistan wins? Most recently, someone who knows well that I’m a vegetarian made a point to ask me every few days if I have started eating meat now. Then, there are the relatives – distant and not so distant- who make sure they drop the sympathetic, sombre line about how I have “taken an extreme step” and “not thought about my family”. It’s worth noting that my family is 100% supportive of my decision – to the point of my mother offering to get up at 3.30 a.m. during the last Ramzan to make Sehri for me. An offer I declined while my insides swelled up with extreme pride and love for her.

For representation only. Source: REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee
For representation only. Source: REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

However, it’s the more blatant and, at times, aggressive prejudice which bothers me most. Some people who know about my past get questioning, demeaning and argumentative to the point of being confrontational about my new faith. They come across like I owed them the allegiance of faith and I’ve done a disservice, a great betrayal by joining the ‘enemy’ ranks. They ask me who has “misguided me” and tell me how “these things can lead to riots”. These are all affluent and well-educated people who justify religious genocide with their tit-for-tat reasoning. They casually say things like “Muslims are dirty and dangerous”. Then they pause for a second to realize I’m a Muslim now too and make it worse by saying, “I hope you also don’t become like the rest of them.”
It bothers me because I was 16 when I realized I don’t identify as a Hindu anymore, and it was a full 12 years before I became a Muslim. In those 12 years, whenever I told someone that I didn’t relate to Hinduism anymore, they’d give me a comforting, warm response about finding my own way and taking my own time to “understand things”. In the last two years, since I have adopted Islam, the same people have distanced themselves from me, abused me and at times, even threatened me – when all I have actually done is try and find my way and chosen my own means to understand things.

So, if a person like me has faced all these and many more forms of discrimination, alienation and intimidation in only two years of being a Muslim, I can only imagine what people who grow up and spend their entire lives as someone from a minority community, or a lower caste, face. Some of them also have to struggle against class, but many are affluent and well placed, much like myself, and yet, the discrimination they face is just as ever-present. The constant fear they live in is just as palpable. Just as real.

Yes, it is the great constitution and freedom in India, which gave me the ability to choose my own faith. Yet, the attitude of people living in the same India is now making me question my faith – not in the religion I have chosen, but in this great country that I have grown up calling home. Can I really spend the rest of my life surrounded by the same type of fear and resentment – simply because I made my own choices? Can I honestly hope to start a family, to raise children in my own country without worrying constantly about their social and physical well-being?
I don’t know the answers to these questions. So, I’d like to ask you a question instead.

If the India that I grew up loving – the one I came back to when I had the opportunity to spend the rest of my life overseas – is no longer the India that exists, then am I to continue living here, amidst fear, resentment and hate? Should I never consider leaving, because if I did, you would call me anti-national – even though it is you who has made my India a shadow of its former free and glorious self?

You must be to comment.
  1. parag

    It is about peace. In medieval India many honorable Hindu families converted to Islam through
    Sufism. But in a generation or two they became fundamentalists and fanatics. Sufism is fraud. It is not true Islam. Islam is rigid and terrorises its adherents to practise it. Your children will not be as tolerant and broad minded as you are. In next generation the poison of hatred will fill their hearts.

    1. Annonymous

      Do not tag a religion based on people following it.. Religion and Followers are two different things in todays world.

    2. beachjustice

      They’re different but hardly unrelated.

      Different teachings produce different perceptions followed by different behaviors.

      If we’re honest with ourselves, we will be able to look at codified religious texts and determine some as more conducive to the type of society we want to live in.

      None may be perfect, but because they are different, teachings enshrined in each can hardly be said to be equally backward.

      I don’t think any codified ideology which simultaneously claims to be eternally immutable, is quite so totalitarian in its treatment of all aspects of human social and private life, and places particular importance on turning all societies into monocultures where it is the dominant strain of thought, can ever be conducive to a socially progressive, technically / artistically forward, and intellectually pluralistic nation. You know, a modern nation.

      I suppose that’s all subjective. Some folks will say spiritual fulfillment and a guaranteed spot in heaven come before all of that. Moderate place civil participation before even religious duty, or selectively appropriate teachings from their text into their worldview to reconcile their religion with their modern life.

      The problem is religion is hereditary, so there’s always some gamble in raising the next generation. The children always have to grapple with the cognitive dissonance that their mother faith, what was familiar to them through their childhood, frequently contradicts what is required of them to be the citizen of a modern nation. And because the teachings are written in plain text, proclaim to be immutable and the be-all end-all, there isn’t any room for interpretation of adaptation, let alone reform, of what is expected of them to be considered faithful.

      How long are we going to pretend that no matter what you teach you child, no matter what you tell him to follow, the results are always going to be equally acceptable for the child herself, for the society that can be expected to produce? We stay quiet because we don’t want to hurt the feelings of believers, but that’s a cowardly, dishonest route. We liberals should not tolerate any ideology with supremacist doctrine, period. Not in Hinduism, not in Christianity, not in Atheism, not in Islam, not even if it is the whole religion with 1 billion followers. It is not racism to discriminate against Islam, I am the same race as he is. He deserves from society the same as every citizen; one vote and to be secure in all his constitutional rights. He does not deserve that private citizens respect him for his personal beliefs.

      Many secular Indians like myself are weary of Islam but we cannot address its spread without at some point talking about muslims.

    3. Aoneesh Sharma

      Absolutely Not! it is the religion that molds its followers to think in a certain way. it is the followers who reflect what kind of religion they follow. Religion and its followers are the one and the same. to say other wise is absurd.

    4. This One Girl

      What nonsense. Children learn what they are taught, and they question what they do not understand. If someone teaches their children to love and accept, do you think that they will grow up to hate and destroy?

  2. Dhirendra Pandey

    Hopeless

  3. Annonymous

    You have chosen what you wanted . nothing wrong in that… What is you are facing is absolutely unjustified …. But question yourself this had you been a Muslim and converted to Hinduism wouldn’t your friends mock you on shaving. Would they ask have u turned veg coz u are now Hindu….. The voicing of your suffering is acceptable but to give a religious intolerance tone is not acceptable at all

    1. Abhi

      U r right he is too much fussed bout it

  4. Indian

    Change always doesnt go without some rubbings.. I am from forward community and if i decided to marry someone from different community i would go through the same suffering as you have indicated… Please do understand that vice versa is also true… It is hard to change the practice that have been followed for long… It is natural atleast in india to push ones hope on others through social fabric and now a days i am afraid that even good things that bound via social fabric is getting distortioned… If you want to change it is your choice because hindusim for me is more than religion but a way of life and we believe in karma… ( what you sow thou shall you reap ) we have 100 thousand gods and for us allah or jesus or any other religious deity will be one among them… If muruga bhakt listens to kanda shashti or vishnu bhakt listens to vishnu saharsarnaman, a true hindu or indian for that matter would consider reciting quaran or bible on similar notion …. nothing more or nothing less… Period!!! Issue arises only when some one says theirs is superior or using forceful means to propagate the beleif ( in any case )…. hope you never do that !!!

  5. Ano

    Is that because u have enough time to waste?? I don’t understand the whole point of this long STORY.. i m hindu and i don’t follow any of the rituals and also i never felt myself as lost like u..u r complete bullshit..u suddenly felt lost as u were not able to connect?? Bc

  6. Korah

    Well from your story we get know that you’ve been living with your parents. I hope being a Muslim you would know the punishment for apostasy according to Sharia law right? It’s death. So if you expect all the Hindus around you to be so blind to your conversion and wish to practice Islam and follow the Sharia law, just ask yourself a sane question. What would you do if your son wants to convert to Hinduism. Kill him according to your sacred law, or love him as he is and not see him as a Kafir?

  7. NK

    Muslimization of India needs to stop and the fake Hindu Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi really should switch to Indian languages and stop using the Islamic origin language Hindi is using at Indian tax payers expense.

    BJP is a secret Muslim part planning the complete eradication of Indian languages and replacement with the Indianized Islamic origin Pakistani language Hindi.

    India became a Pakistani Muslim colony when the British left when the Hindians took over and fitted the Muslim origin language with the Sanskrit script.

    India must revert back to its own languages. BJP is doing mega conspiracy to convert India into a Muslim country. The secret Muslim PM of India Narendra Modi goes around to Muslim countries speaking the Islamic origin language and praises the Islamic religion.

    Muslimization of India must stop and that includes India reverting back to its own languages and declaring all the original Indian languages as official languages, and stop the imposition of the Islamic origin language Hindi in schools, customer service across India and PM speeches.

    1. Voice

      It is because of people like you that development of India is constantly thwarted. It is written in no constitution that India is a HINDU country. We are a democratic republic and for that we must be accepting of all religions. Converting one’s faith should not be looked down upon. Our Prime Minister, his religion and BJP’s religion have nothing to do with how they run the country. And Urdu is a beautiful language, as is Hindi, and mone of them need to be associated with any RELIGION. It is because of assholes like you that intolerance thrives and prospers in this secular country.

      – An Indian

    2. This One Girl

      Well said, Voice. I scrolled down that 'Muslimization' comment expecting to see a punch line of some sort at the end. A secretly Muslim BJP? What far out conspiracy theory is that? And I suppose this guy thinks Godhra was an elaborately staged show with clones and drones, theatrical props and Spectre-esque special effects, etc.

  8. AA

    Cool Story Bro.

  9. indian

    I do not find a single point of yours effective. I myself is a Hindu brahmin. I never found any privilege of that. I have friends who are non hindus or of other castes. I never found ang discrimination when I was with them. Though there is a discrimination that comes in the Form of reservations in all ggoverment institutions in education and in job. My friends of other caste and religion have that privilege, though I dont have. I have not had any hard feelings for my friends. My dad never added a surname to my name saying if my caste is obvious from my name, I will face many discrimination.

    And the things you have pointed out, your friends and relatives have asked, that is hiw we as a Country are, we interfere a lot in our friends and relatives life. Even if I decide to do anything in which my parents or relatives do not believe in, I would be asked multiple questions.

    The silly questions your friends qnd relatives asked that is how we indians as an ethnicity are. This is not about any religion or caste.

  10. Captain Logic

    While I do believe that it is a privilege to be a Hindu in India, I see this article as more a problem with people’s attitude towards change of faith, not Islam in particular. If you were Muslim and changed to Hinduism, you’d probably be seen as a traitor by other Muslim people too. Or any religion, for that matter. I would like to know your experience with people who don’t know you were Hindu once. Does the general population that doesn’t know you were Hindu once treat you any differently as Muslim?

  11. VS

    Agree that being a Hindu is a privilege. I get away with wrapping my ‘faith’ around me very lightly and sometimes it is as good as if it didn’t even exist.

    I have eaten beef, doubted God and still have not been thrown out of the Hindu fold. No one questions if I read a given text that was written 10000 years ago half a dozen times or not.

    Don’t feel suffocated, discriminated against or part of a sect that is viewed with suspicion for obvious reasons. I can convert if I wanted and no one would kill me.

    Not having chosen this religion, it came to me via birth, I accept its shortcomings and love the ‘freedom’ and ‘lightness’ it bestows upon me.

    Unless controversy erupts that provokes thought, my religious identity is absent for all practical purposes.

  12. Anonymous

    As someone rightly said- change doesn’t go without some rubbings. You should be confident about what you have chosen and not bother about what others say! I really don’t think this is a discrimination. It would have been the same if the situation was vice versa. Pls don’t tag this issue as a minority discrimination!

  13. India

    Seriously, you are trying to twist the thought process of people to favor your new found religion. You are trying to say, people distanced from you when you changed the religion and that is discrimination. I will explain you with an example. Suppose, there are both cricket and Football players. You played cricket and suddenly you didn’t like cricket and you changed your game to football. How can you expect all the remaining cricket players to follow suit and play the game of football or at least to know the rules of football. Obviously, they will distance from you and they will play their game along with their players. Similarly, you can’t expect your Hindu friends not to distance from, when you had changed the religion. This is discrimination. You are expecting your mom and friends to help you adopt Islam and follow Islam rituals. But, likewise have you ever followed Hindu rituals for the sake of your mom or friends. Even though, you had become a muslim

  14. India

    Seriously, you are trying to twist the thought process of people to favor your new found religion. You are trying to say, people distanced from you when you changed the religion and that is discrimination. I will explain you with an example. Suppose, there are both cricket and Football players. You played cricket and suddenly you didn’t like cricket and you changed your game to football. How can you expect all the remaining cricket players to follow suit and play the game of football or at least to know the rules of football. Obviously, they will distance from you and they will play their game along with their players. Similarly, you can’t expect your Hindu friends not to distance from, when you had changed the religion. This is discrimination. You are expecting your mom and friends to help you adopt Islam and follow Islam rituals. But, likewise have you ever followed Hindu rituals for the sake of your mom or friends. Even though, you had become a muslim now, can you go to temple for the sake of your mom or friends?. If you can’t, you can’t expect your mom or friends to help you follow Islam rituals. From you post, I can understand there is no discrimination, but it is really you who is having the problem. You are expecting your Hindu friends to help you with Islamic customs, but you are not ready to sacrifice your Islamic customs for the sake of your body friends. When they are not ready to do so, you are feeling they are discriminating. Also, please don’t associate yourself with the born in Brahmin family tag, because from your post I have understood you had never followed Brahmin rituals and practices all through your life , but just want to associate yourselves with the tag. If you want to come back again to Hinduism, you are welcome anytime. But, can you really come back again once you had gone into Islam? Are you having the freedom to do so there?

  15. Hussain

    Dude, I am a muslim and tell you what? it is just like a dictatorship.Just think of islamic countries like saudi,uae and now isis.
    Chritians are treated better or at par because christians are good at heart.
    You seem to love islam,but your sons will hate it ,but they cant do anything
    This is the harsh reality of islam
    Islam is worlds most hated religion.just google it

  16. Hussain

    Dude, I am a muslim and tell you what? it is just like a dictatorship.Just think of islamic countries like saudi,uae and now isis.
    Chritians are treated better or at par because christians are good at heart.
    You seem to love islam,but your sons will hate it ,but they cant do anything
    This is the harsh reality of islam
    Islam is worlds most hated religion.just google it

    admin-i beg you please post this.maybe edit if it is hurting
    thank you

  17. Helo

    Hello…. Please answer a few questions for me….
    Will Muslims ever be able to obey or function under a non Muslim government????

    Do you think your lifestyle Will be better if you start living in middle east Muslim country…… All the freedoms you enjoy in. India will be gone……. As for foreign countries in Europe and America.. They are even more prejudiced against Muslims……

    Do you think if a person living in Muslim country.. Converts to another religion… Not only Hindu but anything… Maybe Christianity… Do they people will accept it in your Muslim majority country???? No… They will kill him….

    It's because of Indian constitution that you are not facing any physical retaliation…. Not that there should be such things, but you have to realise it happens in other countries….

    Have you even tried to go deep into the teachings of Hinduism…. Leave all the rituals and caste and various other things that can be discarded….. Have heard about the basic principles of Hinduism before you so blatantly threw it away……

    Do you think you modern Muslim practices…( not eating meat)…. Doing only the part that suits you and not all the other gory and restrictive parts of Islam…….. Do you think your modern Islam will be accepted in Muslim country??????

    Again you only complain and complain
    …….
    Do you think you can have. A better lifestyle in other countries while practicing full Islam rituals which others feels is disturbing…. Even in America you will not be able you practice your religion to its fullest……

    Why are you so against India…..

    Why do you have to portray the feeling of victimization……..

    I have many Muslims friends…. we are great together…… The only thing I will not do with a Muslim is marry one…
    . Otherwise any other relation is fine… Even a parent and child one…….

    Again, don't portray India in a bad light…

  18. kasi

    yep.. christianity and islam are the saviours.. WTF screwed up logic are you propagating.. if possible try to condemn all evils …. not be a agent for conversion.. everyone knows why people convert… there is always money or emotional blackmail that is involved.. people of this land are too nice and try to keep their word when possible.. that is the only reason.. why so my convert and go out of their comfortzone.. to satisy the word that they gave..

    1. Srinivas

      It's a hoax story, let the person identify and provide proof if the
      conviction to convert was strong and personal integrity is intact..

  19. Srinivas

    What “privileges” did you see as an alleged Brahmin? the whole story seems hoax, the whole system is pitted against
    Brahmins, the quota system discriminates against Brahmins, so what fucking privilege did you carry around? Other than
    the possible large portion of free prashad in temples, if at all?

  20. garry brunt

    utmost foolishness.
    a man who doesn’t know difference between religion can never understand sanatana dharma (hinduism)
    its not about conversion…but only brainless person can think that conversion takes them to peace or different god.
    why does god need conversion ?
    is he so incapable ?
    Sanatana dharma (Hinduism) never needed conversion only foolish and brainless people need conversion.

    Writer accept the fact that you are either fake or you foolish waving for new to get new.

  21. PG

    I wonder how you’d react if your son or daughter told you they were converting out of Islam, or becoming an atheist, and justified their decision by pointing to your decision to convert.

    If you let them, good for you, you’ll have demonstrated that the tug of humanist impulse is stronger in you than the teachings of Islam.

    If you don’t, well then, not only would be technically practicing Islam (apostasy is punishable by death), but you’d also be a hypocrite.

    One can’t run with the rabbits and hunt with the hounds, my friend. I’d love to fast-forward twenty years to see how your views change.

  22. Ruplina Sarkar

    My family is a Hindu and I already converted into Islam!!
    I am really wondering what to do now 🙁
    Plz help me someone !!!
    What shall I do now ??

    1. J Raj Bali

      You should study moral philosophy and leave Islam.

  23. someone

    How can someone so rational convert to a Violent religion. Out of all the religion in the world why Islam only? Just try to re-convert to any other religion!
    I believe you know 90% of the Muslim majority countries have law against apostasy the remaining which don’t have are so because of state supported atheism for long. Example Uzbekistan, Albania etc
    My point is do you think these 90% countries are delusional enough to misinterpret the true teaching of Quran and formulate a law inconsistent with freedom.
    Or are they just following what is just said in Quran.

  24. dont lie

    God is beyond human understanding , senses and imagination. God is absolute truth. Agnostics believe a God like this. Hindu scriptures also tell God as beyond senses and imagination though the time tested worship of God with forms (as God in true nature is beyond human capabilities to be worshipped) is proven to be effective. However Islamic god will be present sporadically here and there and talk to so called prophets, angels etc thus making him not beyond senses (ear). Allah is not beyond senses and imagination. Also, God is an ocean of compassion, not a sadist who will burn humans eternally in hell for the finite crimes they do. Islamic god is also not beyond space and time as quran says he is “in the heaven” – Quran 67:16 to 67:18

    Now a days few Muslim apologists are translating these verses as “over the heaven” or “above the heaven”. This creates another problem that Quran is not a clear unambiguous message of god.

  25. Ajmal

    Dear, all these phases are necessary to come in the way of a true believer in GOD almighty, the most compassionate. Each and every bit of difficulty would bring virtues accompanying elevation of your status in the hereafter. Be steadfast as this is the compulsory test to get to Paradise. Read Quran with understanding and Lives of companions of the last messenger of GOD, that will give you courage to tolerate all this. We pray for your Eeman.

  26. Ex_Muslim

    Now If possible find an exmuslim or ask some ulema about apostasy, u will come to know what intolerance is, from your way of writing and analytial skills I see you are not well educated about the history of Islam and religion, how it was imposed upon the different countries, the general problem with people who accept Islam are those who like to be celebrity, and have no clue about how barbaric this religion is look at Pakistan how they have been killing ahemadis for decades, yezidis from Kurdistan have been massacred , ISIS ,AlQuida, Bokoharam all the same breed of this religion, look how intellectual secularists are being murdered in Bangladesh, but no you are busy feeling discrimination from Hindu society, we were never arab or pagan, we were always Indian and always will be.

  27. Lola Way

    Well , I am kinda like in the same shoes as you ..don’t now how u got the enlightenment the only diff btw the one u got and I got was that I have a complete disregard and no what so ever belief in any faith ..born a Hindu Brahmin ..shared the perks well but as soon as I realized what a mess and nonsense this faith thing is ..btr get out I decided ..converted to Islam .. Christianity …and devine forgive …even Buddhism…but all of them are the same idiotic baseless ..illogical stupid faiths..none of them not a single one of them ever explains even with a penny of proof that if God exits …the one thing common to all is that they all are actually good literature to read thou marvelous works of fiction even shakespeare whould envy them …that said brother just live what u have chosen to live as ..to live with and let the ppl go to hell ..what ever we do someone somewhere is gonna get hurt be prejudiced about it …who cares ..this is one life we got ..don’t know if there’s any other ..so enjoy …TC

  28. Praveen Kumar

    Hinduism ” Sanatan Dharm” is the known oldest faith. I don’t know how & why you changed. Please don’t reconvert because there is miracle in this religion which can never die due to foolish people like you, & you are not eligible to be Hindu now. You cannot become Hindu, it is only by birth. All other religion don,t have base & will vanish in due course of time but Hinduism will remain intact.

  29. Sachin Vats

    Great and bold decision. You should not stay in any religion if you don’t like it. But my friend – did you bother to check the real greatness of your religion. Hinduism is just a way of living and is closely associated with the concept of being a part of the great Indian society. By the way you seem to be proud of hinting at your past Brahmin identity. Is it really so? Because had you been a brahmin – you would have known that the religion part of hinduism if ever compared to others is called Sanatan Dharma or Vaidic Dharma and the idea of that is much and far superior to the shallow religions originated from the middle east ( in fact the most evil of them) which have a past of killing a large number of human beings just because they do not share their beliefs or followed a different manner to prey to the almighty (and you talk if feeling discriminated ..intolerance etc.)!!! Friend our sanatan dharma is far noble and much more superior to that as we welcome multitude of opinions and embrace all much more flexibly. The Vedas clearly says Eko Brahma (there is one God, the almighty and its nirakar) – but we do not kill those who lovingly portray images of various gods (with small “g”). This is same in all the religions (read Dharma forms) originated in India like Buddhism Jainism and even Sikhism. Why did you have to embrace a foreign religion which is nothing but an illiterate’s amalgamation of popular Jewish and christian and pagan religious books and preached by a person whose loose character (raped a nine year old wife …married to 10+ women, had sex with many of them on the same day/simultaneously ..while preached max four for other followers … Married women of husbands/fathers he killed on the same day … Propagated satanic verses about killing of non believers/bievers of other religions in the holy book …read Rangeela Rasool and Satyartha Prakash for details and logical evaluation of the most famous pbuh in your new product) …. BTW who sold this product to you … Zakir naik or any other militant!!!! Boss – before complaining of discrimination in India ..please visit Saudi Arabia and see how they treat other non Muslims and ladies of any religion (including Muslims) who want to follow their choice of life style…. And you will know what discrimination and unfair treatment is …..Chhalni Bole Sui Se There Pet Mein Chhed.

  30. Aryan Verma

    for reasons muslims face the diacriminations. for reasons islam has highest number of terrorists in the world. for reasons islamic countries rank least on peace index. for reasons people like trump hate muslims.

    I dont know why would you choose to follow a religion which says ” its ok to have sex with female slaves.” I dont know why would you choose to follow a religion which allows muslims to kill innocent animals on the name of allah on eid.

  31. All Good

    Going through the comments and it is evident to the blowback you have received from your local community. It seems like most just read few paragraphs and then spewed their ignorance. I was laughing when some commentator said who compulsed you to convert
    “was it zakir naik” lol . Anyways , a happy multicultural society is much needed .

  32. Apeksha Shrivastava

    It’s mostly same as my story.. and I feel the same about the discrimination. The difference is : your family gives u support.. but my family doesn’t.. that is why it’s been 4 years since I became a muslim I still haven’t gone open about it. Only my family and a few friends know about it.
    But of course, the community or specially the religion which supports discrimination on the basis of cast within the same religion, is not supposed to support someone who has completely gone to the different faith.

  33. J Raj Bali

    I think generally where people lose understanding and sympathy is that at it’s core Hinduism promotes a general universalist attitude while Islam at its core tenets for action promotes more of an exclusionary, hierarchy of the world with Muslims at the top, Dhimmas then Kafirs. Your relationship with your own god is your own choosing. If after 12 years of study you didn’t recognize those core elements that are amoral and based in supremacy, then you must not have bothered to study into Hindu philosophy very deeply either to give you a framework for comparison. This kind of makes sense of you absolutely negating Hinduism at 16. That is more the youthful rebellion against the establishment, but it’s unfortunate that in hindsight you cannot see the narrow purview of your actions. This isn’t a debate on superiority-inferiority, but when the main moral tenets are broken down and examined from a universal humanist perspective there is a vast difference. I think what makes people bristle as well is that there is a negation of your own history in acceptance of the religion of a group of people that will never be considered insiders. In general, you’ve made your own bed. You rebelled against sensibility/the establishment without fully giving yourself perspective on what you were rebelling against and blindly accepted an acontextual concept of spirituality. Kudos to your mom though.

  34. Monica Yeshaswini

    dont make ur inability to succeed because of your religion addul kalam,Ar rahman,salman,shah rukh,and the list goes on and on, the only country which treats all religion equally is india,if u have problem living in india then u cant live anywhere in any democractic countries, start packing your bags and leave the nation.

  35. Jayaram Srinivasan

    Well, the fact that you could convert grom Hinduism to Islam and post it here without fear is proof of no discrimination. If a Muslim tried to convert to Hinduism in any of the muslim majority countries, he would be dead now. Now take a deep breath and ponder over which religion is discriminatory. And having chosen such an ideology for yourself, what moral basis do you have to even compare it with how gracefully India has treated you.

  36. Manisha Patel

    You are talking about discrimination? Do you know if you were to be Muslim and converted to other religion, how your life would be? How would the society would have treated your Muslim parents, how would they reacted? You are lucky that you were born in a Hindu family. You would have been doomed had you been born Muslim and didn’t identify yourself as Muslim!

  37. Steve Boral

    As a Hindu, I feel very sad about the demonization of Islam in sections of Indian media. Many middle-class Hindus would recoil with horror if one of their close friends/acquaintances, or even a distant acquaintance converts to Islam. Just because a person feel a strong pull towards Islam should not be a reason to alienate him/he from your friend circle. That’s very petty-minded of you!

    The author here clearly stated that no one compelled him to embrace Islam. He did it as per his own free choice. And now the discrimination he faces is very real but middle-class Hindus don’t want to see it. Having a Muslim name should not be a cause of discrimination in India in jobs, housing and social circles. But, sadly, it is often the case because so many middle-class Hindus have a misconception of Muslims.

    How many Muslims do you really call as your friends? Let me guess – ZERO. Indian Saffron parties do their part in adding fuel to fire.

    What will it take for all these VHP propaganda Hindutvadis to accept that Indian Muslims are absolutely normal like them? Just because they are Muslims does not mean that they will have any connection to ISIS, Al Qaida or other terrorist groups. It’s an absurd logic. Most educated Indian Muslims care about the same things that you do: getting a good job, being successful in life and living peacefully.

    I strongly condemn this “other-ization” of Indian Muslims. They are our people. Period.

  38. Think Now

    It’ll be difficult, but don’t worry, there are good people and bad people, and you will meet both! So, no matter what, trust in your faith. And see how miracles will flow in your way. It’ll take a long time, you need to have perseverance, as they call it ‘sabr’ . It’ll be all worth! 🙂 All the best for whatever you have chosen.

  39. Charul Chaturvedi

    I have many Muslim friends two of them are my best friends most of my teachers were Muslims but nobody had never described this type of situation in their life stop portraying yourself as a victim you are a confused personality who doesn’t know what he wants and how religion is going to help you in achieving that

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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