“Beware of Sangh Kumbh Melas !”

The observance of Kumbh Mela dates back to ancient India s Vedic period. It is considered to be one of the most auspicious rituals performed by Hindus with full devotion. The first written evidence of the Kumbha Mela can be found in the accounts of Chinese traveller, Huan Tsang who visited India in 629 -645 AD, during the reign of King Harshavardhana. The term Kumbh Mela evokes deeply religious sentiments among devout Hindus.


The Sangh Parivar affiliated organizations succeeded in watering down the term by organizing ‘Shabari Kumbh’ far away from limelight in the interior villages of Dang, Gujarat, in 2006. The ideological ‘guru’ of the movement Swami Aseemananda, (presently in jail in connection with serious criminal charges), then said to the media, ‘‘Hindu samaj faces two big challenges—Islamic jehad and Christian conversions. We need to confront both these threats on a global scale,’’ he said. The four traditional kumbh melas (held at Prayag, Hardwar, Nasik and Ujjain) had begun when ‘‘Hinduism was under threat’’. ‘‘We thought it was time to start a ‘fifth Kumbh’  then to be continued every four years’’.  Ghar Vapsi (re-conversion),  was the main aim of this movement. As usual, Sangh Parivar with the tacit backing from the state government recently held Samajik Kumbh Mela at Mandala district of Madhya Pradesh.


Many devout Hindus allege that it is less religious and more political. Since the Shabari Kumbh yielded political results to BJP, they expect the same result in Mandla too. Jagadguru Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopand stated, ‘the BJP Government in Madhya Pradesh is ruining the established Sanatani traditions. He requested the BJP and the RSS to refrain from terming these events as the “Kumbh”, as it amounts to playing with the sentiments of people and also misguides them.’ Bewildered Congress Party maintained an absolute silence on this issue. It only alleged corruption and irregularities in the preparations being made for the Kumbh and use of public funds on a religious-cum-political function. However, the party did not make any comments on the irreparable damage done to the communal harmony of this country; the open threats to Christian-Muslim minorities, problems faced by the tribal farmers etc.


The re-conversion,(Ghar vapasi), drive has no legal basis. The Hindu Marriage Act 1955 has not included tribals in the definition of Hindu and in 1991 census did not include triblas into Hindu. In 1971 the High Court has clarified that Gond tribals are not Hindus. To note the latest is the judgment of the Supreme Court in a recent case dealing with the appeal against a judgment and order passed in the case related to Nandabai, 25, a Scheduled Tribe by the Aurangabad Bench of Bombay High Court. The Supreme Court Bench said that they are the original inhabitants. Therefore the anti-conversion law must be enforced on those indulge in forced conversions in the name of ‘re-conversion-Ghar Vapsi’.  The research works of Dr. Jamil Khan provides ample evidences to prove his claim that the origin of Hinduism is traced outside of South Asia. So it is clear that most of those who are Hindus are converted to Hinduism from the aboriginals of India. The Constitution of India and Freedom of Religion Acts existing in different states too do not provide any provision for converting anybody to Hinduism or any other religion through force or allurement by promising economical benefits of Scheduled Caste. The amendments proposed by Chhattisgarh Government in 2006 had this provision but this proposal has not yet become a law.


They also succeed in spreading the venom of hatred against all who do not follow their paths. One can witness a total violation of the very preamble of the Indian Constitution under a democratically elected government. Sangh Parivar organizes all kinds of Melas in areas legally protected to preserve the traditions and cultures of tribals and other aboriginals under Scheduled Five of Constitution. Media widely reported that tribal farmers’ land is forcefully attached for the use of Mela, their original culture, environmental laws are violated and religious practices are vitiated etc. They incited local residents to rise against followers of other religious followers and political ideologies. Law abiding citizens stand stunned at the violation of law in-front of the law keeping agencies. Is it not a challenge to a civilized nation? It is right time that the political parties and secular minded NGOs spread awareness among the people about the religious importance of traditional Kumbha Mela so that no one will fall into the trap of Kumba Mela by the Sangh Parivar aimed at serving their vested interests. Our law makers will have to explore exact policies to protect the constitution and rights of all peoples.

Fr. Anand Muttungal
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