MUMBAI: While the row over VHP’s Ghar Wapsi campaign rages on, a Marathwada-based social organization has undertaken a mass campaign to convert OBCs to Buddhism in Maharashtra.
“I have set a target to convert at least five lakh people to Buddhism by October 2016,” said Hanumant Upre, a prominent Other Backward Class (OBC) leader. His organisation, Satyashodhak OBC Parishad, has undertaken a campaign to encourage people from backward castes to adopt Buddhism.
Upre, a professor of Zoology based in the backward region of Marathwada, says the OBCs in India have their roots in the Naga Vansh. “In India, 52 per cent population falls in the bracket of OBCs. Out of them 43.8 per cent are Hindus. The Hindu OBCs are following the principles of Buddha. So they should convert into Buddhism,” he argued.
A former Republican Party of India leader, Upre, is not afraid to call his programme a Ghar Wapsi. He says adopting Buddhism is the intellectual and religious need of the OBCs.
“We were always denied our justified place in the society. Though our numbers are high, we are not known as the so-called upper class. There are four rungs in the Hindu caste system and the people on the lowest step are not allowed to go up,” he said.
Influenced with Upre’s campaign, around 1,650 OBC families have given up worshipping Hindu Gods.