Tejasvi Surya, 30, is not some fringe figure. He is a parliamentarian and the president of the ruling BJP party’s youth wing, also gathering more than a million “followers” on his Twitter account.
In a recent speech which went viral, the Hindu nationalist politician set out the aim of “reconverting” Muslims to Hinduism.
Some of his words, as CNN-News18 reports:
Only option left for the Hindus is to reconvert all those people who have gone out of the Hindu fold. Those who left this religion for socio, political, economic reasons over the course of history and forced to go out of the fold must be brought back. I appeal that every temple and every mutt must have yearly targets to bring back people to Hindu faith (…) those who had converted in today’s Pakistan, it is our duty to reconvert them back to Hinduism. That’s when we will have geographical Pakistan back. This may seem impossible today. But some time ago, removing Article 370 and building Ram Mandir too seemed impossible.
This is not Surya’s inaugural controversy; earlier he has been criticized for targeting Arab women.
“Ghar Wapsi”: a Hindu Nationalist Dream
Surya is not alone in embracing this fantasy.
Ghar wapsi literally means “homecoming,” as Hinduism, as a polytheistic religion, promotes solidarity in purely racial terms (not religious because of the caste system). Hindu nationalists have a racial definition of “Hindu,” thus converted Muslims, in their imagination, are still Hindus because of their ethnicity.
So, for them, the “reconversion” of a Muslim into Hinduism is indeed “homecoming,” because, fundamentally, he never ceased to be a Hindu.
Ghar wapsi is so important to Hindu nationalist consciousness that Walter Andersen and Shridhar Damle, authors of Messengers of Hindu Nationalism, dedicate the whole tenth chapter of the most-respected academic study on Hindu nationalism to this notion of homecoming and its racial undertones.
Muslims of India should then know that ghar wapsi is certainly not the individual project of a single Surya, but literally one of the core tenets of the ideology which now rules their country.
The Hypocrisy Of Ghar Wapsi
Apart from exposing this nefarious plan, let’s also point out the usual hypocrisy.
Hindu nationalists have often called Christian converts “rice-bags,” as they allegedly accept Christianity in exchange for some food. Yet Hindus themselves often offer “material well-being” to attract converts. For instance they offered Below Poverty Line (BPL) cards, ration cards which give access to state-sponsored cheap shops for the poorest sections of society, to hundreds of peoples in exchange for ghar wapsi.
Another hypocrisy is that they have been relentlessly pushing for an “anti-conversion law,” again mainly targeting Muslims and their supposed “love jihad.” But “reconverting” Muslims to Hinduism is legitimate according to them!