“In 1964-65, all shankaracharyas, mahants and saints of the religion met in Udupi in Karnataka and decided to allow re-conversion. This was the first public declaration made by the leaders of the Hindu society. Before that there was almost a social ban on conversion in the Hindu community.” – M. G. Vaidya
In a surprising revelation, senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue, M. G. Vaidya, claimed that the nod for proposals of re-conversion to Hinduism was given for the first ever time in Udupi, Karnataka.
This information, which has come at a time when parliamentary proceedings are stalled on the issue of ‘homecoming‘ of converted Hindus, has come in the form of an interview given to the publication, The Asian Age, by M. G. Vaidya.
Hindu leaders had, for thousands of years, taken a conservative stand that those who leave their religion cannot be taken back into the fold of Hinduism. Vaidya said there was no provision in Hinduism for persons belonging to other religions to be admitted into. Vaidya recalled that a convention held at Udupi in 1964-65 in which swamijis, sages, saints and other Hindu thinkers, had converged, had for the first ever time, decided to allow people to get re-converted as Hindus. Vaidya said during the interview that this was the first ever open declaration about welcoming people who desire to come back into Hinduism
“In 1964-65, all sankaracharyas, mahants and saints of the religion met in Udupi in Karnataka and decided to allow re-conversion. This was the first public declaration made by the leaders of the Hindu society. Before that there was almost a social ban on conversion in the Hindu community,” Vaidya was quoted in the interview.
He also said that 99 percent of Muslims in India were basically Hindus, and that the controversial ‘ghar vapsi’ programme is not re-conversion, it is a system in which people who deserted Hinduism are received back.
“Who were the Muslims in India? 99 percent of them were Hindus. How they were converted, history knows. We are only doing their ‘ghar vapsi’” he contended.
As there was no provision in Hinduism for people willing to come back till recently, most of them remained in their respective religions. Now that there is scope to come back, people are utilizing this occasion, he justified.
He also said that Indian Muslims alone could save Islam because they believe in plurality. “Hindus believe in the plurality of religions, while Muslims do not. You can see how Shias and Ahmediyas are being targeted in Pakistan and elsewhere. Muslims have to change according to the times. However, only Indian Muslims can save Islam because they believe in plurality,”
Meanwhile, reacting to the din raised over the re-conversion issue, Sri Vishwesha Teertha Swamiji of Pejawar Math questioned those leaders who had kept quiet when large-scale conversion of Hindus into other religions had taken place, about the purpose in stalling the proceedings of the parliament when these people want to come back. When questioned about Vaidya’s statement on welcoming people into Hinduism, Pejawar Swamiji confirmed that a decision to take back those who want to become Hindus had indeed been first taken in Udupi as mentioned by Vaidya.
“Till 1969, there was no provision for people to convert into Hinduism. At the convention of Hindu leaders held at Sri Krishna Math in 1969, a decision to welcome back those who were once Hindus, was taken. Discussions on this aspect were held at the previous convention of religious leaders held in Prayag in 1966 too,where important decision on prohibiting cow slaughter had been taken,” the Swamiji recollected. –