Shuddhi is Sanskrit for purification. In Hinduism it is a part of worship. It also sometimes refers to reverting to Hinduism after converting from Hinduism to another religion.

Shuddhi movement

The socio-political movement, derived from ancient rite of shuddhikaran [1], or purification was started Arya Samaj, and its founder Swami Dayanand Saraswati [2] and his followers like Swami Shraddhanand, who also worked on the Sangathan consolidation aspect of Hinduism, in North India, especially Punjab in early 1900s, though it gradually spread across India [2]. Shuddhi had a social reform agenda behind its belligerent rationale and was aimed at abolishing the practise of untouchability by converting outcasts from other religions to Hinduism and integrating them into the mainstream community by elevating their position, and instilling self-confidence and self-determination in them.[2][3][4]The movement strove to reduce the conversions of Hindus to Islam and Christianity, which were underway at the time [2].

In 1923, Swami Shraddhanand founded the 'Bhartiya Hindu Shuddhi Mahasabha' (Indian Hindu Purification Council) and pushed the agenda of reconversion peacefully, but ultimately created a flashpoint between Hindus and Muslims as it offended Muslim exceptionalists, who argued that Hindus, being dhimmis, do not have any rights to convert others to their faith unlike the Muslims, who are munim. The main point of contention was the reconversion Malkana Rajputs in western United Province [5] Subsequently the movement became controversial and antagonized the Muslims populace to no end [3] and also led to the martyrdom of the leader of the movement, Swami Shraddhanand in 1926. Gradually the movement faded away especially with the rise of nationalistic fervor during the Civil Disobedience movement of Mahatma Gandhi in the 1930s [6].

Further reading

  • Socio-Religious Reform Movements in British India: Socio-Religious Reform Movements in British India, Volume III-I, by Kenneth W. Jones. Published by Cambridge University Press, 1987. ISBN 0521249864.
  • Shuddhi Movement in India: A Study of Its Socio-political Dimensions, by R. K. Ghai. Published by Commonwealth Publishers, 1990.
  • Hindu Nationalism: Origins, Ideologies and Modern Myths, by Chetan Bhatt. Published by Berg Publishers, 2001. ISBN 1859733484.
  • Religion in South Asia: Religious Conversion and Revival Movements in South Asia in Medieval and Modern Times, by Geoffrey A. Oddie. Published by Manohar, 1991. Chapter 10: Reconversion to Hinduism: The Shuddhi of the Arya Samaj. Page 215.


  1. Hindu-Muslim Relations in British India: A Study of Controversy, Conflict, and Communal Movements in Northern India 1923-1928, by G. R. Thursby. Published by BRILL, 1975. ISBN 9004043802. Page 136.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Dayanand and the Shuddhi Movement Indian Political Tradition, by D.K Mohanty. Published by Anmol Publications PVT. LTD. ISBN 8126120339. Page 116.
  3. 3.0 3.1 untouchable assertion The Politics of the Urban Poor in Early Twentieth-century India, by Nandini Gooptu. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN 0521443660. Page 157.
  4. The Khilafat Movement: Religious Symbolism and Political Mobilization in India, by Gail Minault. Published by Columbia University Press, 1982. ISBN 0231050720. Page 193.
  5. The Fundamentalism Project, by Martin E. Marty, R. Scott Appleby, American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Published by University of Chicago Press, 1991.ISBN 0226508781. Page 564.
  6. Hindu Nationalism and the Language of Politics in Late Colonial India, by William Gould. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2004. ISBN 0521830613. Page 133.

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