In a fresh case of ghar wapsi (literally “homecoming”), the likes of which subsided after a few years under the Narendra Modi government, seven Muslim families brought the name of Bhogipur, a village located just 70 km from Delhi, to news headlines on 6 July when they embraced Hinduism of their own volition. They were neither forced nor tempted to convert in any way, informed a retired sub-inspector of Delhi Police, who is among the people of the village who just converted.
The seven families that have adopted Hinduism, their names and gotra are all Hindu again*. However, these families followed Muslim customs and the dead were buried. Now after adopting Hinduism, these people will follow Hindu customs and procedures.
* It is largely believed that a majority of Muslims and Christians in India were Hindu generations ago
To solemnise the ghar wapsi, elders in the local society, forming a mandal under the aegis of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, presented all these families with a copy each of the holy book of Srimadbhagavadgita and the epic Mahabharata. The mandal welcomed the families to Hinduism.
Retired sub-inspectors Balbir Singh, Suresh Kumar, Ramesh Kumar, Bijendra, Ashok, Deepak, Sunil, Amit Kumar, Rohit, Manoj Kumar, Jogendra and Yogendra and their families are among those who converted back to Hinduism.
Most of these people who did ghar wapsi said even though they have now completed the process of formal return to Hinduism, they gradually started adopting Hinduism in the last several days. According to Hindi daily Amar Ujala, one of them, Suresh, admitted that his ancestors were Hindus who had adopted Islam decades ago.
For the past several years, the nation is witnessing a slow but sure process of Muslims and Christians returning to the Hindu fold. While they agitated the self-styled secular brigade in the years 2015-19, their voices muted on realising that these reconversions were voluntary exercises.
The reconverted families of Bhogipur belong to the community of washermen, referred to as “Muslim dhobis”. The families said that by getting rid of the word “Muslim”, they now stand mainstreamed. Other villagers heartily welcomed their adoption of Hinduism.
All the families stated that they had voluntarily embraced Hinduism without any pressure. They spoke highly of the Hindu culture and attributed their decision to this aspect of the majority community of India. They said they were impressed by Hinduism’s “broad outlook” under which one was free to believe in one’s individualistic manner.
The villagers said that they had no objection to the ghar wapsi. They welcomed the decision of the seven families. “They had been celebrating Hindu festivals including Deepawali, Holi and Karva Chauth for many years,” noted a villager.
In the vicinity of Mewat of Haryana, Bhogipur’s ghar wapsi phenomenon sends a strong message to Muslims who have been persecuting the Hindu minority. A retired judge had recently remarked that Mewat was slowly changing into another “Pakistan”.