Hindutva Icon of West Bengal, Tapan Ghosh, passed away on Sunday, days after he was diagnosed with the Wuhan Coronavirus. The founder of Hindu Samhati, he had gained widespread popularity due to his staunch opposition towards Radical Islam and his commitment towards the welfare of the Hindu community.
Tapan Ghosh was a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for years before he quit the organisation in 2007 over ideological differences. He founded Hindu Samhati a year later. He quit the organisation he founded in 2018 due to differences within the organisation. What began with only a few hundred members, the Hindu Samhati soon expanded into every district of West Bengal and opened units in Jharkhand and Assam as well.
During his life, Tapan Ghosh was known to speak his mind and often adopted novel strategies to strengthen the cause of Hindutva in West Bengal. Unlike some other Hindutva outfits, he was not averse to the idea of Valentines Day and instead, encouraged Hindu boys to court women, both Hindus and non-Hindus.
He once opined, “What will the Hindu girls do if Hindu boys don’t mix with them? I would instead urge you to fall in love with girls – both Hindu and non-Hindu. If you don’t do this under family pressure, the girls will get pally with Muslims.” Tapan Ghosh did not hesitate to speak his mind about the Trinamool government in the state either.
He once said, “What happened to the police officers who were attacked by a mob on Red Road during a gathering organised by Siddiqullah Chowdhury? Chowdhury is a minister now. But what is the status of the cases? Are they still alive?” Tapan Ghosh was extremely concerned about the inability of the state to curb violence by people from the minority community.
An issue that was close to his heart was the matter of Gharwapsi. At the foundation day rally of Hindu Samhati in February 2018, 14 members of a Muslim family were re-converted to Hinduism. Tapan Ghosh had announced proudly that his organisation would welcome those who were converted forcefully but wish to revert to their faith.
Another issue Tapan Ghosh advocated greatly was the marriage between Hindu men and Muslim women. He used to say quite proudly that since the inception of Hindu Samhati, they had arranged as many as three hundred marriages between Muslim women and Hindu youths. The Hindutva icon used to say that these women used to consider him as their father since most were disowned by their family.
“While Bengal celebrates Jamai Shasthi, we celebrate ‘Mey (daughter) Shasthi’. It’s about embracing love. Most of them are not in touch with their parents and hence treat me like their father. They treat my house as their maternal home. They call me whenever there are fights between them and their husbands and any other marital issue. I have strict guidelines for all men to keep their wives happy and safe. I have also told all my daughters to inform me if their husbands ever verbally or physically abuse them,” Ghosh once said.
The Hindu Samhati founder used to say quite openly that Muslim women want to come back to the Hindu fold but Hindu men often do not show the courage for such relationships. Therefore, his organisation, he says, has helped such couples settle into proper homes. He once said in an interview, “We are also seeing a trend of Muslim girls awakening to their plight in Muslim society and preferring to marry Hindu boys. But many Hindu boys lack the courage for such relations – we have helped several such Muslim girl-Hindu boy couples to settle down.”
In many cases, the Hindu Samhati has helped such Hindu men find jobs so that the newly wed couple could lead a comfortable life. In case there was opposition from the boy’s family, the Hindutva organisation spoke to them to resolve the matter amicably. “They met my family and told them marrying a Muslim girl was a service to Hinduism,” recalled Chandan Sardar who married Chhanda Sardar, previously Ispa Naiya.
Nirupa Sultana, who changed her name to Rupa Konra after marrying Gopal Konra and embracing Hinduism, said, “I fell in love with Gopal Konra but lacked the courage to give up my religion. I was taken to Tapan Ghosh of Hindu Samhati and he told me my original religion was Hinduism and I should return to it, spend my life with my love. I ran away from home and lived in a shelter. I am happy now. I go to college everyday. My family has disowned me. I have accepted that too.”
Rumpa Chatterjee, previously Rukaiya Khatun, said, “There were three couples with us. We stayed there almost six months. Tapan Ghosh of Hindu Samhati told me he would settle everything. Since then I have called him Baba. On September 9, 2014, we got married.” Her father Sirajuddin Mollah joined the BJP after quitting SUCI for ‘safety’.
There are numerous stories such as these about Tapan Ghosh where he helped love-struck couples find solace in each other’s embrace. At the same time, he spoke out against the demographic shift underway in the state and criticised it harshly. He also criticised the minoritarian policies of the existing West Bengal government and always spoke out for the welfare of the Bengali Hindu community.
Tapan Ghosh might have forsaken this world but the fire of Hindutva he lit in Bengal will continue to shine for years to come. At a time when the darkness of Radical Islam and minority appeasement became rampant in the state, he stepped forward and carried the beacon of Hinduism in his shoulders. His legacy will continue to inspire generations of Bengali Hindus to come. His watch may have ended but the path he forged will continue to be tread upon by hordes of Bengali Hindus in the future.