It was not another cremation that took place at Bidhmira in Hisar district of Haryana when Phooli Devi, 80, was cremated as per her wishes. Being cremated following Hindu rituals would be like going back to where she belonged, said her son Satbir.
With this, about 250 members of 40 Muslim families, all of them related, embraced Hinduism in entirety on Friday. The families are said to have adopted Islam to save themselves from atrocities during the Mughal period of Aurangzeb, Satbir said.
Since Independence, they have been slowly returning to their original faith by adopting Hindu rituals and customs, but only the last rites had remained Islamic, he added.
On Friday, when his mother died a natural death, the family members thought of giving in to her last wish and declaring themselves as Hindus completely. “That last straw has been broken now with my mother’s cremation. She became the first member in the entire clan to embrace Hinduism fully,” he said.
The decision was welcomed with open arms by fellow villagers all of whom joined in the last rites of Phooli Devi.
“We celebrated all Hindu festivals and followed all rituals, but only continued to bury our dead. We belong to the Doom caste and all the villagers have supported us in our endeavour. It was only when some one of our own died that we looked different, as otherwise we led a Hindu way of life,” Satbir said.
According to a report in Times of India, about 35 Muslim families had earlier converted to Hinduism at Jind’s Danoda Kalan village on April 18.