By Muslim Mirror Staff
Around 190 people from 35 families belonging to the nomadic Madari society have converted to Hinduism in Nemawar, situated on the banks of the Narmada River. The event took place on Monday morning and was presided over by saints Ramasav Das Shastri from Nemavar and Anandagiri Maharaj from Salana, Ratlam.
The process began when these individuals, originally hailing from Amba village in Ratlam district, came in contact with Sant Anandagiri Maharaj about four years ago.
On August 1, around 55 men, 50 women, and the rest being children, all performed various sacred rituals such as shaving, Narmada bath, havan, and yajnopavit to formally embrace Hinduism. The rituals were conducted at the Sant Samaj in Nemawar, located at the far end of the Dewas district of Madhya Pradesh.
Ramsingh, formerly known as Mohammed Shah, expressed his happiness on returning to Hinduism.
“Though our ancestors may have been confined by specific circumstances, the essence of our ancient traditions still flows within our veins. Today, as we return to our Swadharma, we are experiencing immense joy,” he said.
Sant Anandagiri Maharaj, in his address, said that these families trace their lineage back to Amba village and their ancestors were once residents of the same village.
“After residing in the same village for generations, their ancestors had embraced a different religion four generations ago. When they connected with us four years back, they expressed their desire to return to the ancestral faith,” he said.
“The process had been ongoing since then, and on Monday, they joyfully reclaimed their original religion, performing the sacred ritual to have their name inscribed once again,” he added.
Hindu groups have said that around four generations ago, the ancestors of the present-day people underwent a significant change in their circumstances, leading them to adopt a special social class. During that time, they started worshipping a deity named Chamunda as their Kuldevi (family goddess). This tradition of worshipping Chamunda became an integral part of their homes, and they performed various rituals, including marriage ceremonies, following the customs associated with the deity. On Monday, the groups said that the families conducted a ritual known as “Ghar Wapsi”.
“Ghar Wapsi” is a Hindi term that translates to “homecoming” in English. The term gained popularity in India during the early 2010s and refers to the conversion or re-conversion of individuals from a non-Hindu religion to Hinduism. It was part of a controversial religious conversion campaign led by some Hindu nationalist groups, who claimed that many people of Hindu origin had been converted to other religions over the centuries and sought to bring them back to Hinduism.
Advocates see it as a reaffirmation of cultural identity, while opponents raise concerns about coercion and communal tensions.