A national controversy over whether Muslims and Christians are being pressurised to convert to Hinduism has been amplified by politician Asaduddin Owaisi. He said, everyone is born a Muslim, and then he is converted to another religion. Ghar wapasi is for these people to return to Islam, referring to the Hindi phrase for homecoming used by right-wing hardline groups who organise conversion ceremonies for religious minorities.
VHP believes that the Hindus were prospering and safe for centuries till about 2,000 years ago. The population of Hindus should have been 700 crore in the world but it’s only 16 per cent at 100 crore. They talk about, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh among other countries where the population of Hindus had declined drastically, so in India they want 100 per cent population of Hindus. The question here is, what about those Christians and Muslims, who refuse to get converted to complete this 100% figure? Where will they go and why? Will they be cleansed in the name of riots or they will be shunted out ethnically? Whatsoever it is, but the way VHP and RSS are going, there is threat to human life. Government must ensure protection to every individual of the country.
Meanwhile, RSS chief believes in creating a strong Hindu society. Those who have strayed, they have not done so on their own. They have been allured and have been forcibly taken away. When the thief has been caught and my property has been recovered, they believe that these converted people are the property of Hindus and by reconverting them, they are backing their own property. Bhagwat’s comments assume significance in the context of Sangh Parivar outfits carrying out ‘ghar wapsi’ (return to Hindu fold) programme in parts of North India. Rajya Sabha was stalled over the issue with the opposition demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on the issue.
On the other hand, Mr. Owaisi quoted Quran, saying that everyone born on this earth is born as a Muslim. He further said, “I am not offering money, nor telling people that they are not citizens of this country, if they don’t belong to a particular religion. Nor that the country will be converted into a one-religion nation. After all, plurality is India’s strength,” he professed in support of his claim that his take differs from that of people like Bhagwat. Taking a strong objection to the recent mock anti-terror drill in which “terrorists” were made to wear skull caps and shout pro-Islamic slogans organised by the Gujarat police, Owaisi implied that deliberate attempts were being made to link terrorism with Islam. Owaisi believes that the truth is Islam and Prophet Muhammad came to finish off terrorism. And as much as we are proud of our faith, we are proud of being Indian. There is an investment summit in Gujarat and they want to show that there is a war on terror in progress. However, I want to make it clear that we have nothing to do with terrorism.
Taking a dig at the Sangh Parivar’s Ghar Wapsi campaign, Owaisi said that the real homecoming was to return to the fold of Islam and invited the RSS and VHP to it. We cannot offer you money as we have nothing. But we promise you success in this life and thereafter. Ridiculing the Ghar Wapsi conversion rate card of Rs. 5 lakh for Muslims and Rs. 2 lakh for Christians, Owaisi exclaimed, Only Rs. 5 lakhs? What a joke! Prophet Muhammad said that a breeze is blowing from India. We are Indians by birth and by choice. We will not leave our faith even if the world’s wealth were thrown at our feet! Owaisi said, “India belongs to Muslims and they no need to fear staying here.”
Few days ago, even Bhagwat also said in his speech, that there is no need to fear. We are in our own country. We are not intruders or infiltrators. This is our own country, our Hindu ‘rashtra’ (nation). A Hindu will not leave his land. What we have lost in the past, we will try to bring it back. No one should be afraid of Hindus rising. Those who are raising voice against the rise of Hindus are selfish and are having vested interests. Hindu society does not believe in suppressing anyone. Hindus have been tolerating crimes whether it is by Bangladesh or Pakistan. Our God says that after 100 crimes, don’t tolerate any more crimes against Hindus. Stating that Pakistan too had been part of India before partition, he said that Hindus do not have a very strong presence there which is why Pakistan can’t live in peace. Bhagwat also feels that Hindus were strong enough to save their property and honour, adding that “for the betterment of the entire world, there is need for a strong Hindu society”. His speech was very much provocative and stimulating. Too much emphasis on Hindutva and Hindu Rashtra may lead to riots and innocent killings in this country.
It’s high time, there is need to ban politics based on religion. This is the only issue where both the protagonists and the antagonists look similar, repulsive and hateful. India being a secular country, every person has the right to practice his/her religion. Helping a fellow human being in whatever capability we can is what we should be doing rather than offering help with a conversion clause inserted into it. The present government and the lawmakers at large must give priority to development of the nation and welfare of the people – to eradicate hunger, malnutrition rather than getting distracted into legal tangles. I hope the next session of parliament won’t be stalled over this and media channels will not debate on this issue to elaborate it.