Azad’s remark about Muslims' Hindu ancestry draws praise from Hindu groupstext_fields
Kashmir: A statement made by Ghulam Nabi Azad, Chairman of the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP), has sparked a heated debate regarding religious conversion and its implications for political discourse.
Azad's assertion that a significant number of Indian Muslims were converted from Hinduism has ignited both support and criticism from various quarters.
Azad's comments, delivered at a gathering in the Doda district, have been met with mixed reactions. Notably, right-wing Hindu organizations such as the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) have welcomed his statement, interpreting it as an alignment with their viewpoint of Hindutva.
The National Convener of the Bajrang Dal, Neeraj Douneriya, lauded Azad's remarks as a favourable indication, highlighting their consistency with the group's long-held claim that Muslims and Christians in India originated from Hinduism.
Vinayak Rao Deshpande, General Secretary of VHP's central organization, also expressed approval, emphasizing Azad's recognition of the antiquity of the Hindu religion compared to Islam. Deshpande stated, "I welcome Ghulam Nabi Azad's statement that Kashmiri Muslims were Hindus and that the Hindu religion is older than Islam."
However, Azad's assertion has not been without controversy. Some critics have raised concerns about the potential for his comments to fuel religious divisiveness and exploit faith for political gains. Azad, in his speech, stressed that religion should not be manipulated for political purposes and cautioned against using religious identity as a vote bank.
Senior BJP leader Kavinder Gupta echoed parts of Azad's historical analysis, acknowledging the introduction of new religions by invaders. Nevertheless, Gupta urged restraint in interpreting history in a manner that divides society.
He urged a focus on shared heritage and unity, asserting that all citizens belong to the same society with common ancestors.