Free will: Christian converts to Hinduism

Published: September 28, 2012
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The couple got married under Hindu rituals in a local temple. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

The couple got married under Hindu rituals in a local temple. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

HYDERABAD: A Christian girl, Sonia Masih, converted to Hinduism on Wednesday in order to marry a boy, Kumar, of Hindu origin.

Sonia submitted an affidavit to the oath commissioner confirming that she converted her religion out of her own free will. The couple got married under Hindu rituals in a local temple.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (64)

  • nitish
    Sep 28, 2012 - 10:55AM

    Welcome Home!!Recommend

  • amused
    Sep 28, 2012 - 11:00AM

    if your partner really loves you, you do not need to convert

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  • Marx
    Sep 28, 2012 - 11:06AM

    There is no provision in Hinduism that conversion is necessary for marriage. Infact, conversion doesnt exist in Classical Hinduism.

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  • Sunny Kumar
    Sep 28, 2012 - 11:56AM

    Congratulations to the couple !! but there was no need to convert for love marriage they could have married wihout conversion because A Hindu can only be a Born Hindu , No body can convert to Hinduisim. well congratulations for love marriage.

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  • Pungi
    Sep 28, 2012 - 12:18PM

    Yup..! If you convert to any religion it would b free will .Recommend

  • RK Singh
    Sep 28, 2012 - 12:33PM

    Why should she convert? It is not required at all. She can be Christian and still follow Hinduism.

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  • andleeb
    Sep 28, 2012 - 12:42PM

    And you call it news?

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  • HS
    Sep 28, 2012 - 12:43PM

    Best of luckRecommend

  • BRUISED INDIAN
    Sep 28, 2012 - 1:12PM

    Horrible! Why change faith just to marry someone. If you are loyal to the faith you were born and brought up in how would you remain loyal to the person you met a few years ago?

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  • Sinclair
    Sep 28, 2012 - 1:19PM

    Strange, because there is no conversion in Hinduism. Either you are born one, or you are not. Pandits these days make them chant something, and give a Hindu name and its all good is it?

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  • BlackJack
    Sep 28, 2012 - 1:32PM

    Anyone can get married with Hindu rituals – I have quite a few cousins married to foreigners who have also gone through Hindu nuptials just to give the famiily a chance to congregate. There was no conversion (either ways) involved.

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  • JS
    Sep 28, 2012 - 3:01PM

    Just imagine the outrage if this was a muslim girl converting to Hinduism……

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  • Honest Opinion
    Sep 28, 2012 - 3:07PM

    Good luck to the newly married couple, but it would have been a big HOO HAAA & Allegations thrown at each other … if it would have been a Hindu/Christian gal converted to Islam to marry a Muslim boy…

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  • GrimmJow
    Sep 28, 2012 - 3:08PM

    Good that she married her love, conversion however was unnecessary!

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  • Abhishek
    Sep 28, 2012 - 3:17PM

    BS!
    In pure Hinduism there is no concept on conversion!
    Conversion is a recent practice!

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  • Ali
    Sep 28, 2012 - 3:21PM

    To Indians,

    The laws in Pakistan are different from India. I’m not sure if an inter-religious couple can get married here. But i think its best that she converted to save a lot of possible legal hassle.

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  • Sep 28, 2012 - 3:53PM

    This is called a civilized way of conversion. Not brining in camera or broadcasting live on TV

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  • Asad
    Sep 28, 2012 - 4:20PM

    Are you going to report about every conversion on the country? Its some one’s personal matter.

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  • Feroz
    Sep 28, 2012 - 4:43PM

    In Hinduism no one needs to convert to marry someone of another religion. Anybody can make a claim I have become a Hindu, there is no need of any ceremony/ritual. Anyone who thinks himself a Hindu is accepted as Hindu.

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  • BRUISED INDIAN
    Sep 28, 2012 - 5:00PM

    @Abhishek: +1 Million to you! We need to educate people across the world that YOU ARE EITHER BORN HINDU or YOU SIMPLY ARENT ONE! Hinduism does not have the concept of conversion.

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  • Jpy
    Sep 28, 2012 - 5:08PM

    I was wondering what should have happened to her if she has converted from Islam???

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  • nitish
    Sep 28, 2012 - 5:49PM

    Personally i feel ,this girl should be subjected to discrimination in hindu society.Hinduism doesnt allow conversion.Once gone ,you cant come back.This conversion hypocrisy is all creation of arya samaj and sanatan dharma(sab dharma ek saman) which yet have to be accepted by many sects of the hinduism.Recommend

  • G. Din
    Sep 28, 2012 - 6:07PM

    @Jpy:
    “what should have happened to her if she has converted from Islam???”
    Her funeral!
    @Honest Opinion:
    ” it would have been a big HOO HAAA & Allegations thrown at each other … if it would have been a Hindu/Christian gal converted to Islam to marry a Muslim boy…”
    True! Why? Because Quran requires Muslims to marry only Muslims. Muslims use this excuse to coerce their love partner to convert. Love diminishes when coercion steps in. Even well-educated cannot escape this trap. Kareena Kapoor is going to convert to Islam before she can marry Saif Ali Khan. There are exceptions to this rule. Enlightened people like Aamir Khan did not insist on this conversion hoax when he married an Hindu.
    Conversion, if not based on conviction, is a hoax!
    But Mullahs aren’t complaining. One more captured into Islam. And, they know there is no exit door built in this trap!

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  • bingo
    Sep 28, 2012 - 6:33PM

    converted to Hinduism.. what exactly did she do to convert?

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  • joy
    Sep 28, 2012 - 6:34PM

    @Sonia and Kumar: where was the need for conversion. She could and should have retained her religion….
    anyway..wish u both all the best.

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  • Akshay, India
    Sep 28, 2012 - 7:13PM

    To All who say there is no conversion in Hinduism:
    How is it possible that there are 1 billion Hindus in the world and no conversion happened!!! Yes, there is no organised conversion like in Islam or Christianity but gradual conversions of tribes in Hindus has been happening throughout ages. Gujjar for example have become Hindu only 800-1200 years ago. Similarly many people gradually become Hindus overtime. This IS CONVERSION. The spread of Hinduism in South Asia ( Indonesia) was through conversions. As the empire of Chola kings ( Shaivites) spread to Indonesia many people gradually embraced Hinduism. Yes, I agree that there never have been any compulsory or immediate conversion into Hinduism, but gradual conversions have always been taking place.

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  • BlackJack
    Sep 28, 2012 - 7:57PM

    @Akshay, India:
    I am not going to reply on behalf of all, and frankly, Arya Samaj conducts a small amount of organized conversions to Hinduism these days. However, to your point on 800 – 1200 years ago (or more), a number of practices by locals were brought into the fold of Hinduism – this is not the same as conversion, as it is not the individual who changes, but the religion/ culture itself. The Indo-Greeks, Indo-Parthians etc also became ‘Hindu-ized’ by adopting local practices and accepting new Gods into their existing pantheon without significant changes. 1500 years back, India was largely Buddhist and Hinduism underwent a resurgence after Adi Sankara – but there was no conversion from Buddhism to Hinduism. Conversion in the Abrahamic context requires you to renounce your existing belief system and accept a new one – such a practice is fundamentally at odds with Hindu thinking, which is accretive and accomodative in its construct.
    @ET – this is a polite reply that addresses issues raised in his post – pls allow.

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  • Abhishek
    Sep 28, 2012 - 8:14PM

    @Akshay, India:
    There is difference between accepting some thing as true in your heart and going around shouting that u converted to something.
    there is reason why there is no concept of conversion.
    its because the basic premise of is to be good and do good to others..
    No one cares if you worship some god or u hate him .
    ravana and kans are good examples of attain Heaven even while heating god.
    its not like abrahmic faith where you have follow whatever god/ book said.

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  • unbeliever
    Sep 28, 2012 - 8:17PM

    most of the indians are sounding here as jews, that you have to be born a hindu to be a hindu, or else you are not a hindu.

    maybe you have no idea of, what hinduism is then?

    i advise you to study a bit deeply.

    when, india was having a large number of buddhist population, then sankracharya defeated buddhist monks in shastrartha, and they eventually converted to hinduism.

    so, this talk of HINDUISM PROHIBITS CONVERSION, in my opinion, is bumkum.

    those who want to convert, can and should.

    also there is no legislation which prohibits conversion to hinduism. period.

    btw, to convert just for the sake of marriage, is idiotic, to the extent of hating one’s identity.

    unless and until you are inspired by the spirituality inherent in the religion, there is no need to loose your identity and dignity.

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  • Sinclair
    Sep 28, 2012 - 8:34PM

    @Akshay, India

    You do not have to go as far as Indonesia to prove that there have been conversions. India was a majority buddhist (atheist) country (Ashoka’s time) and Hinduism was nowhere to be found. It was Shankaracharya who made it accesible again, which would have meant a re-acceptance of the concept of God at mass level. As far as the 1 Billion number is concerned, its not an argument because the population of India at independence was 30 crores – now its nearing 120 crores, all in the space of 65 years.

    The argument I have against conversion is on a point of principle rather than for tracing bloodlines across the centuries. Religion is not as important as faith, and faith is not as important as spiritual health.

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  • nitish
    Sep 28, 2012 - 9:12PM

    Some commentators here advocating conversion is possible in hinduism.My simple question to them, if Christian/muslim( man) converts to hinduism , which caste slot they will be granted? The answer will be very enlightening…..Remember hinduism says girls have no caste/religion.So after marriage, she(christian/muslim) simply come under hubbys caste slot.

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  • Curious
    Sep 28, 2012 - 10:01PM

    Wow, you can actually convert to Hinduism? I didn’t know that. So that means I can get refugee status and move to india? I look foward to becoming a born again Hindu.

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  • Hillarious
    Sep 28, 2012 - 10:08PM

    No need to convert . Hindus don’t prefer this conversion . We don’t need numbers , we need true followers . You can be follower just like a facebook follower….haha…anyways,congrats

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  • Observer
    Sep 28, 2012 - 11:02PM

    @BlackJack:

    ” I have quite a few cousins married to foreigners who have also gone through Hindu nuptials just to give the famiily a chance to congregate. There was no conversion (either ways) involved.”

    Yes, that is correct. I know of many Hindu/non-Hindu marriages that go through both Hindu and non-Hindu wedding ceremonies. There is no conversion. Each couple is free to practice her/his own faith.

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  • BRUISED INDIAN
    Sep 28, 2012 - 11:05PM

    @Akshay, India, @ Unbeliever, @ Sinclair:
    Three of you or any of you please cite with examples where in the Vedas, Bhagwat Gita, Ramcharitra Manas or any other religious scripture whether Arya Samaji and Sanatan Dharm is there anything remotely mentioned about conversion to Hinduism? Yes Shudhikaran (purification) is there but that is a long shot on the topic of conversion. As Abhishek rightly pointed out, its a recent practise and has no mention in any Hindu Book.

    @Curious: Not happening budd. We arent Christians, no such thing as Born Again.

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  • jism
    Sep 28, 2012 - 11:08PM

    just fall in love with nature around you and you are partly following what Hinduism states. i don’t think any religion celebrates other forms of life as much as Hinduism,from animals to tress,to sea creature,birds,forests,land,the water(rivers),the air,the sun,the food. literally, we respect and honor everything that makes this world beautiful.

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  • BRUISED INDIAN
    Sep 28, 2012 - 11:14PM

    To all who are chiding me for my Hindus cannot convert comment / remark please read this

    ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti
    The ONE is known as Many.

    Rack your brains hard as to what this means and what exactly does it transpire (again; not construe but transpire) to.
    Hint: It proves tolerance of Hinduism towards other faiths!

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  • Observer
    Sep 28, 2012 - 11:20PM

    @Hillarious:

    “No need to convert . Hindus don’t prefer this conversion . We don’t need numbers , we need true followers

    You are only partly correct. Hindus don’t really need “true followers”. Hinduism is a personal philosophy of spiritual self-purification and self-enlightenment. It does not involve. The words “personal” and “self” are very important. A true Hindu is not asked to worry about the enlightenment of others unlike Islam and Christianity where they are taught to convert others. There is no concept of comparison or superiority of faith in Hinduism

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  • Mir Agha
    Sep 29, 2012 - 12:44AM

    Where are the “human rights” organizations? The western funds don’t cover making an issue out of conversions to hinduism?

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  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Sep 29, 2012 - 1:17AM

    Thanks God she was not Muslim. I think there should be no objection if it is done on free will.Recommend

  • Bigboy
    Sep 29, 2012 - 1:42AM

    Most people commenting here are unaware that certain sects of Hinduism do convert into their sects.

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  • Curious
    Sep 29, 2012 - 1:54AM

    @nitish:

    Im jat, so same caste after conversion for sure.

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  • BRUISED INDIAN
    Sep 29, 2012 - 4:23AM

    @Nitish and Blackjack: I agree that some Arya Samaj centres in Northern India (mainly NCR) have converted people and so called brought them in the fold of Hinduism but it needs to be said that there a dozen cases itself in Delhi Courts which have challenged such conversions. Because there is no such written code or verse or whatever you may want to call it in any Hindu Scripture.

    Hinduism allows leaving but certainly doesnt allow coming back!

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  • Toba Alu
    Sep 29, 2012 - 6:50AM

    With all respect this most interesting discussion exposes the difficulties with all religions. Only nurture and not nature is nowadays responsible for what religious or philosophical ideas children are likely to adopt. Paradoxically, the first Homo sapiens sapiens ascribed their religious believes mostly to nature i.e closely linked to their physical environments. With an increasing globalized world all religions are facing the same challenges as nurture is no longer strictly confined the home or local place of worship. Unfortunately, many children still only have the home and their place of worship as the only source of knowledge. This lack of education nurtures the “We” versus “Them” concept in live. The huge advances in sciences over the last hundred years is challenging most religions. It is highly unlikely, that any religious scripture can continue to be followed to the letter. Not all religions can be true at the same time, neither can one religion claim to be to only true one, as all lack sufficient evidence. So rather than arguing and/or fighting each others religion (at the fringes), the logical way forward is to keep your religion more and more between you and your God or Gods and separate State and Religion. Promote real open education. Although fanatics have been able to slow down education, globalization will counter their actions in the long run. Most TV networks in Pakistan still hardly broadcast any program on the recent advances in sciences. Nothing about the Universe, nothing about the origin of life, nothing about genetic code and so on. You can shelter your kids but you cannot hide them. The peak of polarization has unfortunately not yet been reached, it seems. Nevertheless the future is bright, only I do not have the time to wait for that.

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  • vasan
    Sep 29, 2012 - 7:00AM

    Observer : “A true Hindu is not asked to worry about the enlightenment of others ”
    Agreed that enlightenment is what one should seek and obtain and this is what hinduism is all about. But a true hindu is also expected to guide his disciple as one is put on the right path only by a guru at the initial stages of finding the true meaning of “I”.

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  • Sahara
    Sep 29, 2012 - 7:34AM

    @BRUISED INDIAN:
    The hindu scriptures do not mention conversion because they predate the man made religions. The concept of conversion came in extence after the abrahamic faiths came into being. Anybody is free to convert into a hindu.

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  • Roy
    Sep 29, 2012 - 7:38AM

    Will the girl get her free will if she were Muslim?

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  • Zeeshan
    Sep 29, 2012 - 9:14AM

    @Sahara,

    “@BRUISED INDIAN:
    The hindu scriptures do not mention conversion because they predate the man made religions. The concept of conversion came in extence after the abrahamic faiths came into being. Anybody is free to convert into a hindu”

    “man-made religions”? So, Hinduism, unlike Islam and Christianity is not “man-made”. But unlike other “man-made” religions, its boundary is only God’s own country and the far and near neighbors of that God’s own country called “Bharat”.

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  • Curious
    Sep 29, 2012 - 11:24AM

    @RK Singh:
    What nonsense. You cannot be christian or muslim and still be a hindu. Bible and Quran quite clear on that. You cant have everything. Anyway good that someone converts in Inter-religious marriage, clear identity is important.

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  • Curious
    Sep 29, 2012 - 11:47AM

    Hindu organizations like vhp are Converting christians, tribals and muslims. Clearly you can convert and join the club. Simple reason being that abrahamic and hindu religions are not compatible with each other.

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  • Jim
    Sep 29, 2012 - 5:05PM

    She need not have. Hinduism does not demand conversion. It is a secure, all-embracing religion, from what little I know of it. It does not recommend conversion or killing or burning just because a person believes in another god or prophet or simply does not believe in one at all. Only insecure religions call for conversion.

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  • nitish
    Sep 29, 2012 - 5:06PM

    @Curious: No you r wrong?VHP r not converting anyone.VHP is hardcore hindu organisation.They r there to protect hindus so that they cannot convert themselves.They promote hinduism through interfaith marriage but dont support direct conversions. Frankly speaking hinduism is very complex.Infact there is no concept of conversion in hinduism.The only privilege is for girls as i stated in my earlier comments.I m a brahmin and i m telling you ,dont believe on conversion theory in hinduism.All those who r inspiring you for conversion ,will leave you alone as you will face the difficulty after conversion.Brahmins r racist and still dominant.They will not recognize you.You will face discrimination like separation from religious events,marriage ,raising your kids etc.Regarding your jat identity,even jat community will refuse to identify you. You r simply a christian/muslim nothing else.Stick with your religion.Every religion has good teachings.Moreover be loyal to your country.Hindus r persecuted so they r seeking refugee.But i dont see any reason for your case.
    @moderator ET pl approve this.This is a polite reply and doesnt offend anyone.

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  • Anonymous
    Sep 29, 2012 - 5:47PM

    ET i m waiting for my comment .Pl publish…………Recommend

  • abc
    Sep 29, 2012 - 7:27PM

    @Curious:

    yeah, the abhramanics expand half their energy trying to prove this.

    the conversion of christians in india, is only because they were duped by catholics into liberating them from tyranny of casteism, but christians in my country have their own elaborate caste system. so, it’s the former member coming back to their original faith.

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  • nitish
    Sep 29, 2012 - 9:01PM

    @Curious: Why not Brahmin….and for a second if you say you r a JAT, who will believe you?Situation is not as rosy as it looks….atleast for outsider.
    Also What you said about VHP is completely wrong and i will ask you for evidence.Recommend

  • Observer
    Sep 29, 2012 - 11:38PM

    @vasan:

    “But a true hindu is also expected to guide his disciple as one is put on the right path only by a guru at the initial stages of finding the true meaning of “I””

    Now you are mixing up function of a guru with a generalized statement that a true Hindu is expected to “guide” others. Then according to this definition, only gurus would be true Hindus! The fundamental thing is that a practitioner of Sanatana Dharma should seek his own self-purification and enlightenment as the only goal in human life. Being a teacher or a guru is just a function and not Hinduism itself.

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  • Hindu
    Sep 30, 2012 - 4:52AM

    @Honest Opinion:

    Yes, there would be a lot of “hoo-haaa” if a Hindu/Christian girl had converted into Islam and married a Muslim boy. That’s because, as experience has shown, most Hindu girls (and also Christian girls) are forcibly converted into Islam and married against their will (with the blessing of mullahs) to completely unsuited men who are either very old or mentally or physically retarded

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  • Sep 30, 2012 - 1:10PM

    How is this a news?

    Usually when they kidnap minority girls it still doesnt any news here.

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  • Sep 30, 2012 - 1:27PM

    there isn’t need of converting to Hinduism. any body can marry a Hindu boy or girl without converting to Hinduism, and can continue to practice their own religion. Hinduism is all about freedom and love.

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  • Kumail
    Sep 30, 2012 - 2:23PM

    How did this make the news?

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  • Sep 30, 2012 - 2:37PM

    Hindus do not insist conversion of religion on marriage. both can have separate faith if they want.. Normally no prescribed rituals for conversion to Hinduism,.

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Sep 30, 2012 - 2:51PM

    Her pastor must have thrown a fit.

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  • from India
    Oct 1, 2012 - 3:50PM

    You never know how and when you may become a Hindu :)

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  • Sachal Sarmast
    Oct 26, 2012 - 5:22PM

    @BRUISED INDIAN
    I have one more verse from Bhagwadgita to support ur claim..

    ‘Whosoever comes to me, though whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me.’ (Krishna in Srimad Bhagwadgita)

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