Saturday, June 15, 2024

Ghar Wapsi of Shiv Prasad Lodhi and Kavita After Twenty Years

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After twenty years of living under the shadows of a forced religious conversion, Ghar Wapsi of Shiv Prasad Lodhi and Kavita took place! Their story is marked by exploitation and resilience.

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The Deceptive Conversion Ghar Wapsi

In the early 2000s, Shiv Prasad Lodhi and his wife Kavita, originally from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, moved to Poore Ujade village in the Fatehpur district seeking employment. Lacking essential identity documents, the couple became vulnerable targets for Mohammed Amil Sheikh, the village pradhan. Promising them the necessary documents for survival in what he described as an “all-Muslim village,” Sheikh coerced them into converting to Islam. They were given new names: Shiv became ‘Abdullah’ and Kavita was renamed ‘Fathima’. They were given fabricated parental identities.

Prelude to the Conversion

The couple’s misfortunes began when they had to sell their ancestral property in Dulahipur village. Upon arriving in Poore Ujade, they faced further tragedy when Kavita, already grieving the loss of her first child, suffered a miscarriage. During this vulnerable time, local Muslim women persuaded her that their misfortunes were due to worshipping Hindu deities and encouraged her to pray at a local dargah. Kavita’s employment with the village pradhan further entrenched her in the Muslim way of life, including adopting Muslim attire and customs.

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The Forced Conversion

The pivotal moment came when Shiv needed government documents to register a plot he had purchased from Sheikh. The pradhan insisted that conversion to Islam was a prerequisite for receiving these documents. Following a ceremony at a local mosque, where they recited the Islamic oath of allegiance, the couple received their identification papers. However, this did not end their ordeal.

Years of Harassment

For two decades, Shiv and Kavita endured continuous harassment from their Muslim neighbors. They faced pressure to adopt Islamic practices, including Namaz and Roza, while their neighbors forbade them from celebrating Hindu festivals. Shiv’s neighbors even coerced him to undergo circumcision to finalize the property registration. It was a demand that led to social ostracism when he refused. Consequently, Shiv struggled to find work locally and had to travel to Mumbai for seasonal employment, leaving Kavita to face isolation and harassment alone.

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Ghar Wapsi Finally

In 2023, the couple learned about ‘Ram Bal,’ a local Hindu organization. Seeking their help, Shiv and Kavita received support from the organization, which involved the police and organized a havan to signify their return to Hinduism. In February, under police protection, the couple renounced Islam and re-embraced Hinduism through the ritual of ‘Ghar wapsi,’ a ceremony marking their return to their original faith.

The story of Shiv Prasad Lodhi and Kavita poignantly reminds us of the struggles faced by Hindus coerced into religious conversions. Their Ghar Wapsi, facilitated by ‘Ram Bal,’ underscores the importance of religious freedom and the right to return to one’s faith.

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