In a huge development, 250 members of 40 Muslim families have converted back to Hinduism in the Jind district of Haryana. Earlier, in April this year 6 Muslim families, who belong to the Mirasi community and work as Doms (traditional singers) embraced Hinduism, and now these 40 families have followed the lead.
An elderly woman in the family had died and the families decided to perform the last rites as per Hindu rituals. Satbir Ahlawat, the son of the deceased women, has informed that his family has cremated the body as per Hindu rituals and embraced Hinduism.
“Earlier, our families had been following the tradition of burying the dead as per Islam. But we have decided to do away with that tradition as well and decided to cremate the body of my mother as per Hindu traditions,” he said.
“In official documents, we are Doms who are Scheduled Caste Hindus. Barring cremation, we have been following the socio-religious activities of the Hindus,” he added while explaining the move to return to Hinduism.
There are millions of families across North India who converted to Islam during Islamic rule in the country but still follow Hindu culture and rituals. They live in harmony with neighboring Hindu families of the village and caste and community relations are more important for them than religion, be it Hinduism or Islam.
The majority of these families converted to Islam during Islamic rule in India as they were otherwise suppressed, tortured, and forced to pay jizya, a tax imposed on non-Muslims. Many of these families are now realizing that they must go back to their roots of Sanatana Dharma to strengthen the relationship with fellow-villagers.
Satbir claimed that he was from the Doom caste and has heard of his ancestors converting under pressure during Mughal ruler Aurangzeb. “Our localities are close to Jat houses and we enjoy congenial social relations with them. We work as workers in their fields and also help them during social functions,” said Ahlawat.
The villagers welcomed the decision by these families to come back to the fold of Hinduism. “These people earn a living by working in the fields and by singing traditional ‘saangs’. If they have decided to convert to Hinduism, we welcome their decision. But there is no pressure on them to do so,” said Satish Patar, another villager.
The majority of the people of non-Dharmic religious affiliations have converted from Hinduism and this still reflects in their social and cultural practices. Many communities among Muslims are known by their caste affiliation like Khoja Muslim, Memon Muslim, and others. The number of Muslims whose ancestors were from foreign land does not constitute even a double-digit percentage population of the community.
The Muslim community of the country practice caste system and even untouchability, which is traditionally seen as a practice associated with Hinduism. Research on untouchability among Muslims in the state of UP, published in Economic and Political Weekly, concluded, “The precarious condition of Dalit Muslims due to the actions of the state is further complicated by the position taken by the conservative elite of their community. Every attempt of this marginalised group for recognition is countered by conservative Muslims citing certain Quranic verses.”
The theory that Christianity is casteless was challenged in Arundhati Roy’s debut novel, “The God of Small Things” which was based on the prevailing conditions of converts in Kerala, which is also the setting where recent murder of a Dalit Christian youth at the hands of his Syrian Christian wife’s family took place.
Hinduism is a non-proselytizing religion unlike Abrahamic religions like Christianity and Islam. But, Ghar Wapsi of the people who converted to other religions due to some external stimulus is very much allowed.