Ghulam Nabi Azad, chairman of the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP), has ignited a controversy with his recent statement claiming that the majority of Indian Muslims have converted from Hinduism. Speaking at a gathering in the Doda district, Azad cited the example of the Kashmir Valley, where he claimed that a majority of Kashmiri Pandits converted to Islam.
Azad’s statement has garnered both criticism and support from various political leaders and observers. He explained, “Islam came into existence just 1,500 years ago. Hindu religion is very old. Around 10-20 of them (Muslims) must have come from outside, some were there in the Mughal army.” He further asserted that “all other Muslims converted from Hinduism in India.”
While some have agreed with Azad’s remarks, others have questioned the historical accuracy of his claims. Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti took a dig at Azad’s statement, suggesting he should delve deeper into history to explore the origins of his ancestors.
Ghulam Nabi Azad also criticized the use of religion for political gains, emphasizing that religion should not be exploited as a vote bank in politics. He stressed that voting decisions should not be based solely on Hindu and Muslim identities.
Senior BJP leader Kavinder Gupta supported Azad’s timeline for the inception of Islam in India, agreeing that the conversion from Hinduism to other religions occurred over time. Gupta noted that the people used to practice Hinduism before “invaders” introduced other religions.
Ghulam Nabi Azad’s statement has sparked debates about the historical and cultural factors contributing to religious diversity in India. The discussion also touches on the delicate issue of using religious identity for political purposes. Azad’s assertion that Islam is a relatively newer religion compared to Hinduism raises questions about the complexities of India’s religious history and the social dynamics that have shaped its diverse population.
As the controversy continues, Azad’s statement highlights the need for accurate historical context and sensitivity when discussing matters related to religion, culture, and identity. The response to his remarks underscores the significance of open dialogue and informed discussions in addressing complex issues that intersect with politics and society.