Anwar to Anand: Muslim lawyer in Bihar converts to Hinduism with two sons
A Muslim lawyer in Bihar’s Begusarai who converted to Hinduism two days ago with two sons has said his decision to renounce Islam was “purely voluntary” and taken in “desh hit (nation’s interest)”.
Mohammed Anwar, 46, who changed his name to Anand Bharti after changing his faith on Tuesday, said circumstances helped him make up his mind.
“I had no option after some radical Muslims of Begusarai town threatened me with dire consequences if I did not follow the tenets of Islam,” he told HT on Thursday.
Bharti alleged that his family received several threats after the conversion ceremony at a temple in Begusarai, 125 km southeast of Patna. “Some people even threatened to chop off our heads. We will submit an application to the police for protection on Friday,” he added.
“The ghar wapsi was performed at a Shiva temple. Dressed in dhotis and wearing sacred threads, my sons Mohammad Amir, 11, Mohammad Shabir, 9, and I embraced Hinduism amid chanting of Vedic mantras,” he said.
“My wife Sabnam was not present as she was unwell. My wife will be known as Shabnam Bharti once she performs the ghar wapsi rituals.”
The lawyer said, “My sons will be known as Aman Bharti and Suman Bharti. We have sworn an affidavit in Begusarai court in this regard.”
Bharti said he was a humanist, who had respect for all faiths, and insisted he was not influenced or coerced to convert. “It was purely voluntary and my affidavit makes this clear,” he said. He added that he took the decision after a mob of radical Muslims attacked his house in Pokhariya locality of the town.
“I have been living in Pokhariya, a Muslim-dominated locality, for more than 18 years. Apparently unhappy that I did not eat beef and was donating money for construction of temples in the town, some of my neighbours had been harassing me for the last few months.
“On July 2, they attacked my house, accusing me of not following the tenets of Islam. They alleged that I had not been offering namaz five times a day and also expressed displeasure that my sons were studying in an English medium school and not madrasa,” said Bharti. “They also beat up my sons when I protested.”
Bharti claimed that contrary to general belief, Muslims in India were divided on caste lines, with some “upper caste men acting” as “dharm ke thekedars (contractors of religion)”.
“Upper caste Muslims send their children to missionary schools and even abroad for higher studies, but force others to make their children study in madrasas,” he said.
Asked if he would face any caste-related problem as a Hindu, Bharti said there was already a campaign to make sanatan dharma casteless.
District convener of Bajrang Dal, Shuvam Bhardwaj, who claimed to have organised the ghar wapsi ceremony for the lawyer and his children, said they were welcome to Hinduism.
Bhardwaj added that a hate campaign was launched on social media after the lawyer’s decision and it was a matter of concern.