An estimated 6,000 OBC (1,600) families in Maharashtra have registered themselves with an organisation engaged in a campaign for ghar vapsi for ‘Buddhists’ who were converted recently. They want to embrace Buddhism, claiming it as their “real home”.
As the right-wing Hindu organisations give an aggressive push to their ghar vapsi agenda in a bid to form a ‘Hindurashtra’ by converting Muslims and Christians to Hinduism, an intense campaign by OBC organisations is on in the State to bring back people into the Buddhist fold.
“When we tried to find out our roots, it became clear that we are ‘nagvanshi’. It proves that the OBCs were originally Buddhists. We have decided to return to our home. This is not conversion. This is the real ghar vapsi,” said Satyashodhak OBC Parishad activist Hanumant Upare, whose organisation aims to conduct mass conversion of five lakh OBCs into Buddhism in October 2016.
The Parishad embarked on its ‘Original Buddhist Cadre’ mission to reach out to OBCs in 2011. The organisers have been making personal visits to homes of those desirous of returning to Buddhism besides holding small rallies, group discussions and conclaves. In 2015, the activists are planning to reach out to every tehsil of the State with their message and a Statewide conference will also be called to push the agenda.
‘Shown their roots’
Till date, around 6,000 individuals have registered to join Buddhism and number is likely to rise as the campaign intensifies. “We are not forcing anyone. We are only telling them the truth and showing their roots,” he said. Brahmins, Marathas, Christians and Muslims too were coming forward to join them.
The OBCs were cheated by upper caste Hindus in the past, Mr. Upare said. “Despite agreeing to conduct a separate census of OBCs, it was not carried out in 2010, which is why all the OBCs, who constitute 52% according to the Mandal commission, feel cheated.”
“We were forced into Hinduism in the 19th century, but the caste system always considered us as shudras. The present social set up does not reward us as it should. The only way is to break out from the system,” he said.