Ghar Wapsi

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Ghar Wapsi (Hindi, meaning "Back to Home") is a series of reconversion activities, facilitated by Indian Hindu organisations Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP),Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Hindu Makkal Katchi[1], to facilitate conversion of Christians and Muslims to Hinduism and Sikhism.[2] It became a subject of public discussion in 2014.[3][4][5] The Bharatiya Janata Party's Yogi Adityanath has claimed this campaign would continue unless conversions to other religions are banned altogether in the country.[6]

The Vishva Hindu Parishad and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh organised several Ghar Wapsi events in Telangana,[7] Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Goa.[8][9] The Indian Express reported that Scheduled Caste Manjhi families demanded better facilities along with education and healthcare before they converted.[10]

In a Supreme Court judgment, the judges ruled that reconversion to Hinduism will not prevent a person from accessing quota benefits and adopt the caste of his forefathers. It observed that: "There has been detailed study to indicate that the Scheduled Caste persons belonging to Hindu religion, who had embraced Christianity with some kind of hope or aspiration, have remained socially, educationally and economically backward."[11]

Etymology[edit]

The word ghar is of Sanskrit origin which means "home".[12] The word wapasi means to "return".[13]

Major instances[edit]

Telangana and Andhra Pradesh[edit]

More than 8,000 people in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh converted to Hinduism from July 2014 - December 2014 under the Ghar Wapsi programme.[14] According to a VHP official, 1,200 people converted to Hinduism in a Ghar Wapsi event in Hyderabad.[7] In October 2019, 500 Christian Dailts in Andhra Pradesh were convinced to become Hindu and promise to never go to church again.[15]

Jharkhand[edit]

In April 2017, at least 53 tribal Christian families converted to Hinduism as part of the RSS's "Christianity-free" block campaign in Arki, Jharkhand. And at least seven other Christian families underwent a Shuddhikaran (purification ceremony) in Kochasindhri village.[16][17]

Punjab[edit]

Between 2011 to 2014, about 8,000 Christians in Punjab were converted back to Sikhism. Most of the reconversion was done in the Hoshiarpur district, followed by Amritsar and Batala.[18]

West Bengal[edit]

More than 100 tribal Christians were converted to Hinduism in the West Bengal's Birbhum district.[19]

Uttar Pradesh[edit]

In May 2017, RSS performed conversion of at least 22 Muslims, including women and children, into Hinduism in a secretive ceremony at an Aryasamaj Temple in Ambedkar Nagar district of Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh.[20]

Tripura[edit]

In January 2019, 96 Tribal families that converted to Christianity 9 years prior, underwent Ghar Wapsi to reconvert back to Hinduism. The event took place in Kailashahar in Unakoti district in Tripura. The event was done by the Hindu Jagaran Mancham, an affiliate of the RSS, and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).[21]

Kerala[edit]

In 2015, about 35 people were reportedly converted to Hinduism at an event organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in Alappuzha.[22] In 2015, 35 people reconverted to Hinduism in Kottayam district. They were Dalit families who had converted to Christianity a few generations back.[23]

Tamil Nadu[edit]

In 2015, first ghar wapsi happened in Tamil Nadu where 18 Dalit Christians re-converted to Hinduism by a ceremony done by the Hindu Makkal Katchi.[24]

Gujarat[edit]

In 2020, 144 tribal Christians who converted to Christianity many years ago reconverted back to Hinduism in Dang district, Gujarat by the Agniveer organisation.[25]

Reception[edit]

Many Hindus in India, especially those affiliated with Hindutva-oriented organisations such as the BJP and RSS, are supportive of Ghar Wapsi efforts to counter what they perceive as mass conversions to Islam and Christianity and to a lesser extent Buddhism (neo-Buddhism), among Dalit Hindus in India. Some secular groups and political parties are critical of Ghar Wapsi, especially when it is done with the state's support, as they say that it threatens freedom of religion in the country.[26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. "First 'ghar wapsi' in Tamil Nadu, 18 Dalit Christians 're-converted'". Indianexpress (31 January 2015). 2 January 2020. Retrieved 31 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "In Punjab, Sangh works for 'return' to Sikhism as well; SAD fumes". The Indian Express. 22 December 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2020.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Ghar Wapsi continues in Kerala; 58 more embrace Hinduism". Rediff News (25 December 2014). 25 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "'Ghar wapsi' only way to end terror says BJP leader". Hindustan Times. 25 December 2014. Archived from the original on 29 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. VHP to hold 'ghar wapsi' for 4,000 Muslims in Ayodhya in January, Times of India, 24 December 2014
  6. "Ghar wapsi to continue till conversions are banned: Adityanath". The Hindu. 24 February 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Faith matters: 'Ghar Wapsi' boom in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh". Deccan Chronicle. 28 December 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "VHP plans 'ghar wapsi' in 5 Kerala districts today". The Times of India. Retrieved 4 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "RSS to Facilitate 'Ghar Wapsi' of Goan Catholics". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 4 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Education, healthcare before ghar wapsi". The Indian Express. 27 December 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "SC ruling on reconversion: It's a stamp of approval for ghar wapsi, says VHP". Firstpost. 28 February 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "A dictionary of Urdu, classical Hindi, and English". dsalsrv02.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 3 December 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Platts, John T. (John Thompson) (1884). "A Dictionary of Urdu, Classical Hindi, and English". dsal.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 3 December 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "'Ghar wapsi' not conversion: Togadia - Nagaland Post". Retrieved 2 January 2020.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Carvalho, Nirmala (25 October 2019). "Andhra Pradesh, nationalists push Christians to mass conversion to Hinduism". Asia News.it. Retrieved 31 October 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Roy, Saurav (10 April 2017). "RSS converts 53 families in drive to make block in Jharkhand 'Christianity-free'". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 18 September 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Gupta, Mohak (11 April 2017). "53 families converted to Hinduism: RSS in Jharkhand wants block to be Christianity-free". India Today. Retrieved 18 September 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "In Punjab, Sangh works for 'return' to Sikhism as well; SAD fumes". The Indian Express. 22 December 2014. Retrieved 27 December 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Ghar Wapsi: More than 100 tribal Christians converted to Hinduism in West Bengal".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Ghar Wapsi: 22 Muslims convert into Hinduism in Faizabad, UP". Oneindia. 22 May 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "'Ghar Wapsi' bid in Tripura: 96 Christians 'reconverted' to Hinduism". 21 January 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "VHP holds 'ghar wapsi' for 35 tribal Christians in Kerala". 5 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "35 'reconverted' in Kottayam district". The Hindu. 16 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "First 'ghar wapsi' in Tamil Nadu, 18 Dalit Christians 're-converted'". 31 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "Gujarat: 144 tribals 'reconverted' to Hinduism in Dang". City: World. Indian Express. TNN. 26 January 2020. Retrieved 26 January 2020.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Rajeshwar, Yashasvini and Roy C. Amore (9 May 2019). "Coming Home (Ghar Wapsi) and Going Away: Politics and the Mass Conversion Controversy in India". Religions. 10 (5): 313. doi:10.3390/rel10050313.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading[edit]

  • r/GharWapsi, Official Ghar Wapsi Subreddit
  • Jaffrelot, Christophe (2011). "Militant Hindus and the Conversion Issue (1885–1990): From Suddhi to Dharm Parivartan. The Politicization and Diffusion of an "Invention of Tradition"". Religion, Caste and Politics in India. C Hurst & Co. pp. 144–169. ISBN 978-1849041386.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Katju, Manjari (3 January 2015). "The Politics of Ghar Wapsi". Economic and Political Weekly. 50 (1): 21–24. Retrieved 13 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Sikand, Yoginder; Katju, Manjari (20 August 1994). "Mass Conversions to Hinduism among Indian Muslims". Economic and Political Weekly. 29 (34): 2214–2219. JSTOR 4401654.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Vandevelde, Iris (2011). "Reconversion to Hinduism: A Hindu Nationalist Reaction against Conversion to Christianity and Islam". South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies. 34 (1): 31–50. doi:10.1080/00856401.2011.549083.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Ghar Vapsi: Civil society needs to challenge RSS's conversion agenda, Firstpost, 14 December 2014
  • 'Reconversion' Paradoxes, Christopher Jaffrelot, Indian Express, 7 January 2015
  • The politics of othering, Charu Gupta, Indian Express, 20 December 2014.