The re-conversion or the ‘ghar vapasi’of the minorities to Hinduism is the latest controversy in the country that surfaced after the alleged conversion of around 100 Muslims in Agra by the Bajrang Dal and Dharma Jagran cell, an offshoot of RSS.
The people mainly rag pickers were renamed in the ceremony ‘Purkhon ki ghar vapasi’ consisting of rituals that included tying sacred threads on their writs and putting the ‘tilak’ on their foreheads. The incident invited huge criticism and uproar from all sides. The government abstained from the matter saying that the law and order was a state subject despite inviting huge criticisms and sparking debates across the nation. As the various saffron outfits continue with their ‘ghar vapasi’ programs intending to convert the minorities into Hinduism, a group of Hindus from Maharashtra is making headlines by contemplating reconversion to Buddhism- through the same path of ‘ghar vapasi’.
The OBC community claims that everybody has the right to ‘come home’ and plans a mass reconversion of around five lakh people to Buddhism by October 2016 in the state. Around 6000 people belonging to 1600 families, including Muslims and Christians, have already registered their names for the program. The group leaders say that they were forced into Hinduism in the 19th century and were considered as ‘shudras’ who were given no respect. They faced severe discrimination from the upper class Hindus who treated them as untouchables due to the oppressive caste system and hence were reverting to Buddhism without any compulsion. The instance of Dr B R Ambedkar, the principal architect of Indian constitution, who fought strongly against the Hindu caste system and later converted to Buddhism, should not be forgotten.
According to the Sangh Parivar, the Hindus were converted to Muslims and Christians using power, wealth and force and therefore should be reverted to Hinduism through the ‘ghar vapasi’ program. For the saffron outfits, this is the right time for such ‘cleansing’ as the country is under Hindu governance. But the history chronicled in the records proves that no frequent conversions into Islam and Christianity in India took place during the time of the Mughals, Afghans, Persians or the British. The major conversions in India to Islam and Christianity were performed by the Sufi saints and the Christian missionaries respectively. Eminent orientalist D W Arnold, in his book “The preaching of Islam” describes in detail how the oppressive caste system among the Hindus compelled the lower class people to convert to Islam thus fostering the spread of the religion in India.
The mass religious conversion of hundreds of Dalit Hindus of Meenakshipuram Village in Tamil Nadu in 1981 to Islam sparked a huge controversy and outrage forcing the government to bring an anti-conversion legislation. The village was renamed to Rahmath Nagar and the people converted into Islam, the religion proclaiming equality after facing severe discrimination from the upper class Hindus, caste related violence and political suppression. The VHP with the support from the government have tried luring the converts through money, job posts and power, to undergo the ‘ghar vapasi’ program; but they are apparently chasing their own tail. The mass conversion to Buddhism in Maharashtra is yet another blow to the Sangh Parivar agendas that would ruin the secular foundation of the country if left unchecked. Lets not allow saffronisation to take over the nation and turn it into a Hindu Rashtra.