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After ghar wapsi, VHP now plans roti-beti ka rishta

December 30, 2014 09:58 IST

The VHP leadership notes that 'ghar wapsi' wasn't something started after the Modi govt took over. Archis Mohan reports

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad will project 'ghar wapsi' or 'homecoming' of Muslims and Christians to Hinduism as an ideal that is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 'sabka saath, sabka vikas' (together with all, development for all) vision.

Unfazed by criticism that the issue of religious conversions distracted from the development plank of the Bharatiya Janata Party government, the VHP decided to go ahead with its “ongoing” ghar wapsi events.

The VHP concluded the biannual meeting of its central board of trustees and management committee in Hyderabad on Monday by passing a resolution that demanded the Centre enact a strong law to ban forced religious conversions. But 'ghar wapsi' was not forced religious conversion, insisted the VHP leadership.

VHP General Secretary Pravin Togadia said ‘ghar wapsi’ wasn’t religious conversion as the Supreme Court had recognised Hinduism as a way of life.

"Ghar wapsi will be better for development,” Togadia said after the two-day meeting, which elected a new VHP working committee for a three-year term.

The meeting was inaugurated by Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh sarkaryawah or general secretary Suresh ‘Bhaiyyaji’ Joshi on Friday.

The RSS is the ideological parent of the VHP.

Elaborating on what Togadia said, VHP Joint General Secretary Surendra Jain told Business Standard ‘ghar wapsi’ would help Muslims join the national mainstream of development.

“Homecoming to Hinduism will deliver Muslim women from the cruelty of talaaq (divorce) and suffocation of wearing a burqa (veil). It will also help Muslim children to get out of madarsas and be exposed to modern education,” he said.

Jain, a Rohtak-based academician who was elected as one of the top 10 office-bearers said ‘ghar wapsi’ applied only to those among Muslims and Christians whose forefathers were Hindus.

He said over 95 per cent of all Christians and Muslims in India have Hindu ancestry.

‘Ghar wapsi’ was not applicable to those whose ancestors converted to Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism as these were religions that took birth in the soil of India, Jain said.

In Hyderabad, Togadia said ‘ghar wapsi’ brought back those detached from the national mainstream. Jain claimed ‘ghar wapsi’ wasn’t something new that the VHP and other Sangh Parivar affiliates have started in recent times.

"It is a 700-year tradition which started with the founder of the Vijaynagaram empire returning to Hinduism. The Arya Samajists revived this tradition over a 100 years back,” he said.

The VHP leaders said there had been three commissions, all instituted by non-BJP state governments, which have advocated a ban on religious conversions.

The VHP leadership stressed that 'ghar wapsi' wasn't something started after the Modi government took over, but that 'secular' parties and media were making an issue out of it since they had little else to criticise the Modi government with.

Asked if VHP would stop ‘ghar wapsi’ if the prime minister requested, Togadia said the question was “hypothetical”.

Jain said the so-called secular political parties and media were doing a good job of spreading the message of ‘ghar wapsi’ by their criticism.

He said the VHP will, as part of its 50-year celebrations, focus on organising 400 public meetings across India in the months to come to spread its message.

This will involved encouraging Hindus to have ‘roti-beti ka rishta’, that is inter-dining and inter-marriage, with those Muslims and Christians who have returned to the Hindu fold.

It will also hold ‘Ram mahayagna’ at 100,000 places for character building of the country’s youth to prevent rapes and other crimes.

Archis Mohan
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