A journey from maulvi to Pandit

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A journey from maulvi to Pandit

Amidst an intensive conversion programme, launched by various Hindu outfits across the country, Pandit Mahender Pal Arya has become the most sought for pracharak (preacher). A foot soldier of Army Samaj for past 30-years, he owes his coveted status, not only for converting to Hinduism from Islam, but he is perhaps the only 'maulvi' or Islamic preachers crossing the religious divide.

Arya, 57, was born into a Muslim household in Kolkata and became as an Imam at Bari Masjid in Barwala, Uttar Pradesh. "Even as an Imam, I never supported religious intolerance preached in Islam,"said Arya. Arya who before adopting Hinduism was known as a maulvi Mehboob Ali, now blames Muslims and scriptures for all ills afflicting the globe.

Arya traces his indoctrination to Arya Samaj, to and Urdu book authored by Swami Satya Prakash Saraswati. "Till 1983, I did not know Hindi and Sanskrit. I read Urdu translation of the book. The book was an eye opener and a turning point in my life," said Arya. Today Arya is a polyglot well versed not only in Urdu and Persian, he had mastered in a madrassa, but also in Hindi and Sanskrit.

Arya says he was reborn when his family including his wife and five children adopted to Hinduism on November 30, 1983. "It was from here that my real journey began. I learnt Hindi and Sanskrit and became a full time worker for International Aryan League." Arya said. Since then he has travelled world over to preach the teachings of Arya Samaj.

While three of his children too have adopted Hinduism and propagate Hindi learning, his wife and two other children are rebels. Arya says they have been misled by Islam and have failed to realise the essence of Hindusim. His family, back home in Kolkotta has snapped ties with him, but Arya has no regrets.

Arya's second wife is a Hindu, who has two children. "My elder daughter is learning Sanskrit. She can recite three Vedas and is also a pracharak," says the proud father.

This Arya Samaji also takes credit of converting 15,000 Muslims to Hinduism and says that ghar wapsi has been an age old concept. "By birth we are all Hindus. We have been doing re-conversion drive for the past hundred years now. The new league is unnecessary gathering media attention," he criticises.

Arya for the past three decades has been doing re conversions all across the country. To his credit he also has several books and articles that questions the teachings of Islam. However his contribution so far were less acknowledged. "I was given an opportunity to speak thirty years back when I adopted Hinduism, after that I have expressed my views on the platform on December 25, when the members of Arya Kendriya Samaj felicitated me at a ceremony in Delhi." Here too Mahender Pal was not given enough time to speak. "They invited me to speak on Swami Shraddhanand, but refused to give me more than ten minutes. I told them, if you really want to know about Swamiji's sacrifice, call me in your prayer meeting and I shall speak," he said before leaving the gathering.

The Iman turned pracharak feels being exploited by the other members of the community, but says it is a small issue in a larger mission, "I am here for a mission. I have been born to save the Hindu dharma. Even if they use me for their convenience, I don't want to complain," said maulvi turned devoted Hindu devotee.

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