Ghulam Nabi Azad’s statement about everyone being born a Hindu in India sparks a reaction from Mehbooba Mufti.

Ghulam Nabi Azad’s recent statements during an address in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district have ignited a heated debate concerning the historical context of religions in India.

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Ghulam Nabi Azad, the leader of the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP), has stirred controversy by suggesting that a significant portion of Indian Muslims originally converted from Hinduism, as reported by news agency PTI. Azad’s comments were made while he was speaking to a gathering in the Doda district, where he was discussing the intricate tapestry of religions in India.

Citing an example, Azad mentioned remarks made by a BJP leader, stating that some Muslims have roots outside India, while others do not. Azad vehemently disagreed, asserting that neither group has foreign origins. He highlighted the relatively recent emergence of Islam, which he dated to around 1,500 years ago, contrasting it with the antiquity of Hinduism. In his view, only a small number of Muslims, around 10 to 20, might have arrived from outside the region, possibly associated with the Mughal army. The bulk of Indian Muslims, he claimed, were descendants of Hindus who had converted to Islam over the course of history. He highlighted the example of Kashmir, explaining that Muslims in the region were originally Kashmiri Pandits who embraced Islam over time.

Emphasizing the unity of various communities within India, Azad asserted that they all consider the nation their home, having been born and raised on its soil. He underscored the interconnectedness of Hindus and Muslims with the land, drawing an analogy between Hindus’ cremation practices and Muslims’ integration with the soil upon death.

In response to Azad’s remarks, senior BJP leader Kavinder Gupta concurred with his viewpoint, stating that before the arrival of “invaders,” Hinduism was the predominant religion practiced by the people. Gupta affirmed the accuracy of Azad’s timeline regarding the inception of Islam in India and further contended that historical records would show that around 600 years ago, there were no Muslims in Kashmir, and the population was predominantly Hindu.

However, Mehbooba Mufti, the president of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), expressed skepticism about Azad’s statements and humorously suggested that Azad should trace his ancestry back further in time, perhaps even to the point of discovering ape ancestors.

In contrast to the polarizing opinions, Manoj Jha, a leader of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and a Rajya Sabha MP, stressed the importance of prioritizing humanity above religious, national, or civilizational considerations

It’s worth noting that on September 26, 2022, Ghulam Nabi Azad launched his own political venture, the ‘Democratic Progressive Azad Party,’ following his departure from the Congress party after nearly five decades of service. Azad’s departure from the Congress was accompanied by criticism of the party’s practices and policies.

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