Ghar Wapsi

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Ghar Wapsi (Hindi, meaning "Returning Home") is the programme of religious conversion to Hinduism and Sikhism from Islam, Christianity and other religions,[which?] conducted by Indian Hindu nationalist organisations Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and their allies. The term owes to the Hindu nationalist ideology that all people of India are ancestrally Hindu and, hence, conversion to Hinduism is one of "returning home" to their ancestral roots.[1][2][3]

The programme became a subject of public discussion in 2014.[4][5][6] The Bharatiya Janata Party's Yogi Adityanath has claimed this campaign would continue unless conversions to other religions are banned altogether in the country.[7] According to proponents of Hindutva, such as Sangh Parivar, the process is called "reconversion" of Christians and Muslims who were previously converted.[8] The process is viewed as Shuddhi or "purification" rather than conversion, since they state, through Ghar Wapsi, people from the other religions are returning to their "true" religion.[9]

The Vishva Hindu Parishad and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh organised several Ghar Wapsi events in Telangana,[10] Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Goa.[11][12] The Indian Express reported that Scheduled Caste Manjhi families demanded better facilities along with education and healthcare before they converted.[13]

In a Supreme Court judgment, the judges ruled that reconversion to Hinduism will not prevent a person from accessing quota benefits and adopt the caste of his forefathers. The bench further held that "the Scheduled Caste persons belonging to Hindu religion, who had embraced Christianity with some kind of hope or aspiration, have remained socially, educationally and economically backward."[14]


The word ghar is of Hindi origin which means "home".[15] The word wapsi is of Persian origin which means "to return".[16][17][18]

This term indicates the belief held by the organisations facilitating such programmes that most of the Muslims and Christians in India have descended from Hindus, and hence are returning to their "home" through reconversion.

Historical precedence[edit]

There have been multiple cases of individuals and communities applying for reconversion into their old faith. Kulkarni has given instances of reconversion in Maharashtra region from early modern times. He claims that there was also reluctance on Hindu society of that period to accept people back into the fold but upon pressure from rulers such as Shivaji, the reconversion was allowed. More serious objections were raised when a community desired to return to their Hindu caste after many generations. During Shivaji's rule a group of Panchkalshi converts wanted to return, however the caste council (Got sabha) raised objections and Shivaji and later Sambhaji had to postpone decision on the matter.[19] The rules on reconversion became tighter under Peshwa rule in mid and late 1700s.[19]

Major instances[edit]

Telangana and Andhra Pradesh[edit]

More than 8,000 people in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh converted to Hinduism from July 2014 - December 2014 under the Ghar Wapsi programme.[10] According to a VHP official, 1,200 people converted to Hinduism in a Ghar Wapsi event in Hyderabad.[10] In October 2019, 500 Christian Dalits in Andhra Pradesh were convinced to become Hindu and promise to never go to church again.[20]


In April 2017, at least 53 tribal Christian families converted to Hinduism as part of the RSS's "Christianity-free" block campaign in Arki, Jharkhand. And at least seven other Christian families underwent a Shuddhikaran (purification ceremony) in Kochasindhri village.[21][22]

In March 2021, 181 Christians in Garhwa district were converted to the tribal Sarna religion.[23]


Between 2011 and 2014, about 8,000 Christians in Punjab were converted back to Sikhism. Most of the reconversion was done in the Hoshiarpur district, followed by Amritsar and Batala.[24]

In September 2022, about 500 Christians reconverted to Sikhism in the Amritsar district. 56 families were reconverted to Sikhism from Christianity in the border area villages of Punjab.[25]

West Bengal[edit]

More than 100 tribal Christians were converted to Hinduism in the West Bengal's Birbhum district.[26]

On 15 February 2018 an Organisation called Hindu Samhati led by Tapan Ghosh organized “Ghar Wapsi” with 16 members of a Muslim family, who had “been re-converted to Hinduism”, being showcased on the dais of rightwing outfit Hindu Samhati.[27]

Uttar Pradesh[edit]

During Agra religious conversions 2014, it was claimed that 100 – 250 Muslims converted to Hinduism. In May 2017, RSS performed conversion of at least 22 Muslims, including women and children, into Hinduism in a secretive ceremony at an Arya samaj Temple in Ambedkar Nagar district of Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh.[28]

In Bulandshahr On 25 December 2022, More than 100 Christians reconverted to Hinduism.[29]


In January 2019, 96 Tribal families that converted to Christianity 9 years prior, underwent Ghar Wapsi to reconvert back to Hinduism. The event took place in Kailashahar in Unakoti district in Tripura. The event was done by the Hindu Jagaran Mancham, an affiliate of the RSS, and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).[30]


In 2015, about 35 people were reportedly converted to Hinduism at an event organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in Alappuzha.[31] In 2015, 35 people converted to Hinduism in Kottayam district. They were Dalit families who had converted to Christianity a few generations back.[32]

In 2021, 209 Christians converted to Hinduism, while 32 Muslims converted to Hinduism.[33]

Tamil Nadu[edit]

In 2015, first ghar wapsi happened in Tamil Nadu where 18 Dalit Christians reconverted to Hinduism by a ceremony done by the Hindu Makkal Katchi.[2]


In 2020, 144 tribal Hindus who converted to Christianity many years ago converted back to Hinduism in Dang district, Gujarat by the Agniveer organisation.[34]


In 2021, 1,200 people were reconverted to Hinduism from Christianity in Chhattisgarh's Jashpur.[35]

In January 2023, 1100 people were converted to Hinduism from Christianity in the presence of BJP's Chhattisgarh state minister Prabal Pratap Singh Judev[36]


One notable event of Christian to Hindu conversion in Manipur occurred in 2016, when around 300 members of the Meitei community in Thanga village in the Bishnupur district of Manipur publicly converted to Hinduism. According to news reports, the converts were dissatisfied with the Christian missionaries in the area and felt that their traditional Meitei culture and religion were being eroded. They also reportedly felt that converting to Hinduism would enable them to reclaim their cultural identity and better resist external influences.

Another reported incident of Christian to Hindu conversion in Manipur occurred in 2019, when a Christian pastor in the Churachandpur district of Manipur reportedly converted to Hinduism along with several members of his congregation. According to news reports, the pastor and his followers cited disillusionment with the Christian church and its teachings as the reason for their conversion. They also reportedly expressed a desire to reconnect with their Meitei cultural roots and traditions.


Secular groups and political parties are critical of Ghar Wapsi, when it is done with the state's support, as they say that it threatens freedom of religion in the country.[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rajeswar, Yashasvini; Amore, Roy C. (2019). "Coming Home (Ghar Wapsi) and Going Away: Politics and the Mass Conversion Controversy in India". Religions. 10 (5): 313–. doi:10.3390/rel10050313.
  2. ^ a b Janardhanan, Arun (31 January 2015). "First 'ghar wapsi' in Tamil Nadu, 18 Dalit Christians 're-converted'". Indian Express. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  3. ^ "In Punjab, Sangh works for 'return' to Sikhism as well; SAD fumes". The Indian Express. 22 December 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  4. ^ "Ghar Wapsi continues in Kerala; 58 more embrace Hinduism". Rediff News. No. 25 December 2014. 25 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  5. ^ "'Ghar wapsi' only way to end terror says BJP leader". Hindustan Times. 25 December 2014. Archived from the original on 29 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  6. ^ Khan, Arshad Afzal (24 December 2014). "VHP to hold 'ghar wapsi' for 4,000 Muslims in Ayodhya in January". The Times of India. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  7. ^ "Ghar wapsi to continue till conversions are banned: Adityanath". The Hindu. 24 February 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  8. ^ Katju 2015, p. 21-22.
  9. ^ Vijayan & Gabriel 2015, p. 23.
  10. ^ a b c "Faith matters: 'Ghar Wapsi' boom in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh". Deccan Chronicle. 28 December 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  11. ^ Ramavarman, T. (25 December 2014). "VHP plans 'ghar wapsi' in 5 Kerala districts today". The Times of India. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  12. ^ IANS (28 December 2014). "RSS to Facilitate 'Ghar Wapsi' of Goan Catholics". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  13. ^ "Education, healthcare before ghar wapsi". The Indian Express. 27 December 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  14. ^ "SC ruling on reconversion: It's a stamp of approval for ghar wapsi, says VHP". Firstpost. 28 February 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  15. ^ "A dictionary of Urdu, classical Hindi, and English". Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  16. ^ Platts, John T. (John Thompson) (1884). "A Dictionary of Urdu, Classical Hindi, and English". Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  17. ^ "معنی واپسی | لغت‌نامه دهخدا". Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  18. ^ "واپسی - معنی در دیکشنری آبادیس". Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  19. ^ a b SOCIAL RELATIONS IN THE MARATHA COUNTRY IN THE MEDIEVAL PERIOD Author(s): A.R. Kulkarni Source: Proceedings of the Indian History Congress , 1970, Vol. 32, VOLUME I (1970), pp. 231-268 Published by: Indian History Congress Stable URL:
  20. ^ Carvalho, Nirmala (25 October 2019). "Andhra Pradesh, nationalists push Christians to mass conversion to Hinduism". Asia Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  21. ^ Roy, Saurav (10 April 2017). "RSS converts 53 families in drive to make block in Jharkhand 'Christianity-free'". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  22. ^ Gupta, Mohak (11 April 2017). "53 families converted to Hinduism: RSS in Jharkhand wants block to be Christianity-free". India Today. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  23. ^ Singh, Sudhendra (15 March 2021). "ईसाई बने 181 लोगों ने की 'घर वापसी', पांव पखार कर सरना धर्म में हुआ स्वागत". Navbharat Times (in Hindi). Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  24. ^ "In Punjab, Sangh works for 'return' to Sikhism as well; SAD fumes". The Indian Express. 22 December 2014. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  25. ^ "500 from border belt who had embraced Christianity reconvert to Sikhism". The Tribune. 22 September 2022. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  26. ^ Bhabani, Soudhriti (29 January 2015). "Ghar Wapsi: More than 100 tribal Christians converted to Hinduism in West Bengal". India Today. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  27. ^ "Tapan Ghosh: 16 of a family put on display at Bengal 'ghar wapsi' event". The Times of India. 15 February 2018. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  28. ^ "Ghar Wapsi: 22 Muslims convert into Hinduism in Faizabad, UP". Oneindia. 22 May 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  29. ^ Rajpoot, Dharmendra (25 December 2022). "Ghar Wapsi: 100 converted back to Hinduism in UP". THE NEW INDIAN. Retrieved 22 January 2023.
  30. ^ Deb, Debraj (21 January 2019). "'Ghar Wapsi' bid in Tripura: 96 Christians 'reconverted' to Hinduism". The Indian Express. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  31. ^ "VHP holds 'ghar wapsi' for 35 tribal Christians in Kerala". The News Minute. 5 January 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  32. ^ "35 'reconverted' in Kottayam district". The Hindu. 16 February 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  33. ^ Vidyanadyan, M S (2 April 2021). "At 47%, Hinduism biggest gainer in religious conversion in Kerala". The Indian Express. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
  34. ^ "Gujarat: 144 tribals 'reconverted' to Hinduism in Dang". City: World. Indian Express. TNN. 26 January 2020. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  35. ^ Mallick, Avdhesh (20 November 2021). "Chhattisgarh: 1200 people reconvert to Hinduism under Ghar Wapsi Abhiyan". Free Press Journal. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  36. ^ "Chhattisgarh: 1,100 Christians converted to Hinduism in "ghar wapsi" ceremony, by BJP Sec". SabrangIndia. 25 January 2023. Retrieved 27 January 2023.
  37. ^ Rajeshwar, Yashasvini; Roy C. Amore (9 May 2019). "Coming Home (Ghar Wapsi) and Going Away: Politics and the Mass Conversion Controversy in India". Religions. 10 (5): 313. doi:10.3390/rel10050313.

Further reading[edit]

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