The phenomenon of conversions as changing one's religious affiliation has become an issue for lively discussion and even controversy in India today. Some do not see the need for them. others are ready to tolerate them, but decry the use of allurement or force. Force need not be physical: it could be psychological, social or even spiritual. Democracy is a game of numbers. Therefore the increase in the numbers of one religious group becomes a political problem, when religion has become a factor in politics. Some would like to keep religion a private affair that should not get mixed up with politics. Where religions do not have a strong institutional structure, religious identity itself becomes an ambiguous phenomenon. While some count every one who does not belong to 'foreign' religions, namely Islam and Christianity, as belonging to the broader Hindu fold, Buddhists, Sikhs, some Dalits and tribals have declared that they are not Hindus.

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