Under Siege in BJP’s ‘New India’, Many Muslims Consider Converting to Hinduism



Hindu nationalists are using the coronavirus to foment hatred against Muslims, using online platforms and some mainstream media to accuse them of spreading the disease

‘Born a Muslim, Some Truth About Islam in India’ by Ghazala Wahab reveals that a few lower-caste/class Muslims, ‘who are second or third-generation converts, have started to revert to the identity of their Hindu forefathers’

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – A book on the situation of Muslims in India reveals that many Muslims are thinking of converting to Hinduism or at least changing their names because of everyday harassment.

 “A few lower-caste/class Muslims, who are second or third-generation converts, have started to revert to the identity of their Hindu forefathers, starting with a name change,” writes journalist Ghazala Wahab in her book titled ‘Born a Muslim, Some Truth About Islam in India’.

She gives an example of a Muslim man who has performed Haj but was willing to become Hindu so that his business doesn’t come under attack.

“One of them, Mohammed Islam (not his real name), who is engaged in the business of processing bovine hides for leather tanneries in Agra and Kanpur, says, ‘My forefathers were Hindus. They converted because upper-caste Hindus did not treat them well. Islam offered both dignity and security. Now, if Islam does not give us the security, then we can become Hindus again. What will we do with dignity if we can’t stay alive?’” she says in her book.

Mohammed Islam, who was very hesitant to reveal his plans, said that he is forced to do it for the security of his family and business.

“Looking uncomfortable, Mohammed Islam looks around before answering. ‘It is not that I am not a devout Muslim. I am a Haji (one who has undertaken Haj to Makkah),’ he says, a bit indignantly. ‘My younger son is studying to be a hafiz. But security is also important. It is not just about my life alone, but my family too.’ After a pause, he adds, ‘It is about my business also. If I have a Hindu name, no one will bother that I work with cattle skin. But as a Muslim, I worry every moment’,” wrote the author.

Noting about Mohammed Islam’s business, the author said “For people like these, the stakes are very high. From being a daily wager in different tanneries, 20 years ago, Islam started his own business of skin-processing. Now he is a businessman, supplying to tanneries where he used to work earlier”.

Talking to Clarion India about the incident of conversion, the author said that she did not explore how many such incidents are occurring. While doing research for her book, she was told by somebody about this.

“He is talking to some people to do his ghar wapsi. The reason being is he feels that his business could be attacked due to his religious identity. He is doing the business of leather. When I asked him if he will now convert to Hinduism, he says he would first change his name. I have no figure how many people are doing this,” Wahab said.

Apart from Wahab’s book, several incidents of Muslims converting to Hinduism for security concerns have been reported in the media.

According to a report published in Times of India on 23 April last year, 35 Muslims converted to Hinduism in Haryana’s Danoda Kalan village. They have converted at a time when Muslims of the village were facing hostility after Tablighi Jamaat was blamed for the spread of Coronavirus in the country. Muslim residents told the Times that their lives were dependent on seeking alms but they were being boycotted and receiving threats.

In another village Bidhmira of Haryana, 250 Muslims have converted to Hinduism. The incident was reported in May last year.

The author can be interacted on Twitter

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.


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