Aged and young queue up before Arya Samaj
Kozhikode: Sabeera, a 23-year-old Muslim woman hailing from Meenchanda, will now figure alongside film actresses Lissy and Annie for a crucial decision she took before entering into wedlock with a Hindu man in the neighbourhood.
Following the footsteps of those charming wives of film directors Priyadarsan and Shaji Kailas, Sabeera is in fact the latest applicant at the Kozhikode Arya Samaj, for a conversion to Hinduism.
With an authorisation from the government for issuing certificates of conversion to Hinduism, the Arya Samaj here has converted 4,102 persons to Hinduism since 1986.
Though being watched closely by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials for reasons better known to them, about 13 to 15 persons are getting converted to Hinduism at the Samaj in a month over the recent years.
"They are from all age groups, from almost all other religions, and sometimes an entire family would turn up to embrace the ancient dharma," says B Ranaveer Singh, the secretary of the Kozhikode Arya Samaj.
"It's rather a reconversion. A chance for a comeback for those who had left Hinduism to embrace other religions," he asserts.
Conversion to Hinduism had been taking place here ever since the Arya Samaj branch was set up in 1922 by Pandit Rishiram who came here from Punjab.
"Somewhere between 16,000 and 18,000 conversions have been recorded in the early years when my father was the secretary after Rishiram."
Ranaveer Singh has taken charge after his late father Buddha Singh, a native of Bijinore near Ayodhya in UP.
The conversion ceremony, he says, is not a time consuming affair. "It's a sudhi karma (purifying ceremony) which may take one to one-and-a-half hour for completion. The applicant will have to render hymns from the four Vedas during the homam."
One among the four places in the state for conversion to Hinduism (the other three include Dayananda Salvation Mission, Ramadasa Mission and Ayyappa Seva Sangham - all in Thiruvananthapuram), Arya Samaj was included in the list through a government circular dated December 15, 1987 based on a government order dated March 19, 1985.
"However, we are authorised only to issue certificates of conversion to Hinduism and nothing on the caste," Singh points out. After getting converted to Hinduism, one may approach organisations like SNDP or NSS, citing family origin with substantial evidence.
"They will have to fetch a community certificate from the village office before getting it published in the government gazette."
The most attractive feature of certificate issued by Arya Samaj: It will provide an entry into Hindu temples anywhere in the country.
May be Devaswom Minister G Sudhakaran and his retinue, who are taking devotion beyond the confines of religions, are listening.
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