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Vishva Hindu Parishad

Vishva Hindu Parishad
विश्व हिन्दू परिषद
VHP Logo
Logo of the V.H.P
Abbreviation VHP
Motto Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah
धर्मो रक्षति रक्षितः
Formation Template:If empty
Founder S. S. Apte
Swami Chinmayananda
Type Right-wing Hindu nationalist organization
Purpose Supporting Hindu nationalism
Headquarters New Delhi, India

28°20′N 77°06′E / 28.33°N 77.10°E / 28.33; 77.10Coordinates: 28°20′N 77°06′E / 28.33°N 77.10°E / 28.33; 77.10{{#coordinates:28.33|N|77.10|E||||| |primary |name=

Region served
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6.8 million[2]
Official language
G. Raghava Reddy[3]
Subsidiaries Bajrang Dal (youth wing)
Durga Vahini (women's wing)
Affiliations Sangh Parivar
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Formerly called
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The Vishva Hindu Parishad (IPA:Viśva Hindū Pariṣada)(pronunciation: /vɪʃv(ə) hɪnd̪uː pərɪʃəd̪/, English: World Hindu Council), abbreviated VHP, is an Indian right-wing Hindu nationalist non-governmental organization based on the ideology of Hindutva. It was founded in 1964 by M. S. Golwalkar and S. S. Apte in collaboration with Swami Chinmayananda. Its main objective is "to organise, consolidate the Hindu society and to serve, protect the Hindu Dharma."[1]

The VHP belongs to the Sangh Parivar,[4][5] an umbrella of Hindu nationalist organisations led by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). It has been involved in social service projects in India[6][7] such as construction and renovation of Hindu temples, issues of cow slaughter, religious conversion, the Ayodhya dispute and its role in the Babri Masjid demolition.


The VHP was founded in 1964 by RSS leaders M. S. Golwalkar and S. S. Apte in collaboration with the Hindu spiritual leader Chinmayananda.[8][9] The delegation of the founders included Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan founder K. M. Munshi, Gujarati scholar Keshavram Kashiram Shastri, Sikh leader Master Tara Singh, Namdhari Sikh leader Satguru Jagjit Singh and eminent politicians such as C. P. Ramaswamy Iyer.[10][11] Chinmayananda was nominated as its founding President, while Apte was nominated as its founding General Secretary. It was decided at the meeting that the name of the proposed organization would be "Vishva Hindu Parishad" and that a world convention of Hindus was to be held at Prayag (Allahabad) during Kumbha Mela of 1966 for its launch. It was further decided that it would be a non-political organization and that no office bearer of any political party shall be simultaneously an office bearer in the Parishad.[11]

The VHP, which considers Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs as well as native tribal religions as part of the greater Hindu fraternity, officially mentions that it was founded by the "Saint Shakti of Bharat". The VHP was first mooted at a conference in Pawai, Sandipani Sadhanalaya, Bombay on 29 August 1964. The conference was hosted by RSS chief M. S. Golwalkar. The date was chosen to coincide with the festival of Janmashtami. Several representatives from the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain faiths were present in the meeting, as well as the Dalai Lama. Golwalkar explained that "all faiths of Indian origins need to unite", saying that the word "Hindu" (people of "Hindustan") applied to adherents of all the above religions.[12] Apte declared:

The world has been divided to Christian, Islam and communist. All of them view Hindu society as very fine rich food on which to feast and fatten themselves. It is necessary in this age of conflict to think of and organise the Hindu world to save it from the evils of all the three.[12]

Its main objective is "to organise, consolidate the Hindu society and to serve, protect the Hindu Dharma."[1] It has been involved in social service projects and in encouraging the construction and renovation of Hindu temples. It is against the caste system, opposes cow slaughter and conversions to other religions. Defending Hindus around the world and Hindu rights has been one of its stated objectives.[13] The other main objective which it has been involved with is the Ayodhya dispute.[1]

The organisation acts under the guidance from Dharma Sansad a religious parliament of Gurus.[10] The VHP is associated with the Sangh Parivar, an umbrella of Hindu nationalist. Its slogan is Dharmo rakṣati rakṣitaḥ, which means "Dharma protects its protector" and its symbol is the banyan tree. The current international president of VHP is Raghava Reddy,[3] while its executive president is Praveen Togadia.[3]

Social activities

Vishva Hindu Parishad is active in social welfare work[14][15]

  • Medical - People are trained in villages to provide primary health care and referral services. The organisation also conducts medical check-up camps.[15]
  • Vocational training - Organisation is running self-employment training camps in Bihar, Punjab, Rajasthan, Maha Kaushal, Assam, Brij Pradesh, Orissa and Maharashtra. The training areas involve farming techniques, bee-keeping, agriculture, horticultural techniques, animal husbandry and sewing.[16] There are 959 training centres currently operating.[15]
  • Education - It tried to provide educational facilities in remote area. It supports 3266 educational facilities.[15]
  • Social welfare - Organisation runs 45 Orphanages, Marriage Bureau, Help Centres, Rescue Centres, Working Women Hostels. VHP is also active in environmental causes such as Tree Plantations. Social Services are provided in religious pilgrimages, emergency help during natural calamities and rural development.[15][17]
  • Relief services - Vishwa Hindu Parishad has provided emergency Relief services. In 2014 Jammu and Kashmir floods, Vishwa Hindu Parishad organised medical and relief camps. These services provided relief via medical camps to 1400 patients.[18][19]

Ayodhya dispute

The VHP had been involved in the dispute over the Ram Janmabhoomi, or Babri Mosque, for twenty years before its demolition. This activity involved demonstrations, petitions and litigation. According to the VHP and its affiliated organisations, the Babri Mosque was built by demolishing the temple at the birthplace of Rama (Ram Janmabhoomi) by the Mughal Emperor Babur in the 16th century. It further stated in Allahabad court documentation that the building was in a dilapidated condition. It was in ruins and could not be used for worship or any activities .[20][21]

Child organisations

File:An old building at Haridwar.jpg
Local office of Vishva Hindu Parishad, at Haridwar

The Bajrang Dal is the youth wing of the VHP, and it is organised in many states in major training camps called shakhas, where thousands of young men simultaneously train in various activities, receive sports, education in Hindutva and cultural education. The Durga Vahini, founded in 1991 under the tutelage of Sadhvi Rithambara as its founding chairperson and the support of the VHP, is described as the "female arm of the Dal". Members of the Vahini contend that the portrayal of their group as a branch of the Bajrang Dal is an oversimplification, and that their goals are to "dedicate ourselves to spiritual, physical, mental and knowledge development".[22] The VHP also have divisions made up of women. VHP secretary Giri Raj Kishore charted out highly visible roles for women in the group. He charted out two "satyagrahas" for women during their demonstrations.[23]

The VHP has been a prime backer of the World Hindu Conference in which issues such as casteism, sectarianism, and the future of Hindus were discussed. Prior Conferences have included Hindu Groups such as Parisada Hindu Dharma.[24]

Religious activity

VHP organises programmes to reconvert Hindus who had previously converted to Christianity or Islam through their trained missionaries called Dharma Prasaar Vibhag (Dharma Propagation Unit), some of them were sent to remote villages and tribal areas which have substantial Christians and Muslims population. On 4 March 2004, more than 200 Christians were reconverted in a ceremony organised by the VHP in the state of Orissa, part of its plan to reconvert 400,000 tribal Christians.[citation needed] According to them, the tribal folk were lured for monetary benefits and Christian missionaries were there to convert them under the pretext of community service. They claim that Vanvasis (Tribals) are part of Hindu culture.[25] The Christian community denied this and six women were beaten for refusing to reconvert to Hinduism. Religious conversions is a debated topic in Orissa.[26]

In Punjab, the VHP has played an active role to prevent conversions of Sikhs. Majority of them are low caste Sikhs converting to Christianity. This may be a result of oppression by high caste Sikhs but there are considerable free will conversions among the higher class Sikhs too; however, the VHP have forcibly stopped Christian missionaries from converting Sikhs.[27]

The VHP collaborated with Christian Association for Social Action and played an active part in providing relief to both Hindu and Christian families affected by the Love Jihad activity in Kerala during 2003 – 2013 period.[28]

The then vice-president[29] of VHP Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati was killed in 2008 in his Ashram. The VHP accused Christians for the murder of Swami Lakshmanananda,[30] Maoist militants had claimed responsibility for the killing.[citation needed] All the seven accused in the murder case were found guilty and awarded life imprisonment.[31][32][33]

VHP engaged in reconversion program, involving both voluntary and forced reconversion.[2][26] In the resulting disorder, Christian settlements were set on fire,[34] and 250 Christians were forced to flee their villages.[35][dubious ] A Catholic nun was raped during the violence and Roman Catholic Church priest said that at least 7 Christians were killed.[30][36][37][38] A judicial commission probing the violence said that conversion and re-conversion were among the major factors that led to the disorder, without blaming any religious groups or the CPI (Maoist).[39]

VHP continues to "aggressively defend" anti-Christian violence.[40] VHP joint general secretary Surendra Jain alleged that the church was built "for the purpose of aggressive conversion" and likened its destruction to the violence of the 1857 war which he claimed "was fought for the cause of religion".

International presence

Vishwa Hindu Parishad is active in many countries outside of India.

United States

Known as VHPA, the VHP in the United States advocates for human rights for Hindus around the world. They also offer Hindu Pandits to serve the Hindu community, and usually hold rituals around the nation where members are invited. The VHPA has also organised many charitable causes, such as raising money for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, and the Fiji flood victims of 2012.[41]

United Kingdom

The VHPUK, is the British branch of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which has held demonstrations in London for the rights of Hindus in Bangladesh and Pakistan. It offers many Hindu services such as priests and matrimonial services. VHPUK has been vocal advocates of the pro-life movement, and stands against abortion.[42]


Vishwa Hindu Parishad has a temple in Frankfurt, offers Bhagavad Gita classes and recites the Ramayana.[43][44][verification needed]


The VHP is active in Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa and other major Canadian cities.[45]

Australia, New Zealand & Fiji

The Vishva Hindu Parishad is gaining popularity in these countries. The Australia wing of Vishva Hindu Parishad conducts activities such conducting weekend schools, language classes, cultural workshops, festivals. The festivals are also organised for open to all communities promoting Unity in Diversity.[46] The press release from city council of Holroyd state that Vishva Hindu Parishad is active in supporting multiculturalism in the same region.[47] In March 2014, the VHP had its first National Hindu Council in Fiji and New Zealand. The VHP has established a Vedic school in Sydney, has temples and organised 3 National Hindu conferences in 2014.[48]

See also

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  1. ^ a b c d "VHP main objective". 1964-08-29. Retrieved 2014-08-24. 
  2. ^ a b Gethin Chamberlain (19 Oct 2008). "Convert or we will kill you, Hindu lynch mobs tell Christians". Guardian. Retrieved 2014-08-24. 
  3. ^ a b c "Raghava Reddy takes over as VHP international chief". Andhra Wishesh. 20 Dec 2011. Retrieved 24 Aug 2014. 
  4. ^ Jelen, Ted Gerard; Wilcox, Clyde (2002). Religion and Politics in Comparative Perspective: The One, The Few, and The Many. Cambridge University Press. p. 253. ISBN 0-521-65031-3. 
  5. ^ DP Bhattacharya, ET Bureau 4 Aug 2014, 06.38AM IST (2014-08-04). "Communal skirmishes rising after Narendra Modi's departure from Gujarat - Economic Times". Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  6. ^ Thomas Blom Hansen (1999). The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0195645743. 
  7. ^ "VHP's social service activities". The Hindu. 2011-12-18. Retrieved 2014-08-24. 
  8. ^ Katju 2013, p. 5.
  9. ^ Kurien, Prema (2001). "Religion, ethnicity and politics: Hindu and Muslim Indian immigrants in the United States". Ethnic and Racial Studies 24 (2): 268. doi:10.1080/01419870020023445. 
  10. ^ a b Katju 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Inception of VHP". Retrieved 24 Aug 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Smith 2003, p. 189.
  13. ^ "Welcome to Organiser". Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  14. ^ The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India - Thomas Blom Hansen - Google Books. 1999-03-23. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  15. ^ a b c d e "विश्व हिंदू परिषदेची पन्नास वर्षांची वाटचाल |". Archived from the original on 2014-08-14. 
  16. ^ The author has posted comments on this article (2003-12-19). "VHP to highlight its social work - The Times of India". Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  17. ^ Everyday Nationalism: Women of the Hindu Right in India - Kalyani Devaki Menon - Google Books. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  18. ^ "Jammu and Kashmir floods: Vishwa Hindu Parishad organises medical camps, 1,400 patients treated". dna. 
  19. ^ "VHP organises medical camps in Jammu, 1,400 patients treated". The Economic Times. 
  20. ^ "Ayodhya files, Vol. 7" (PDF). Allahabad High Court. Retrieved 2014-08-24. 
  21. ^ Vinod Mishra (Dec 1992). "On Communalism". Retrieved 2014-08-24. 
  22. ^ Women 'Ram Bhakt' hog limelight,The Tribune
  23. ^ Kohli, Atul (2000). The Success of India's Democracy. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-80144-3. 
  24. ^ "Historic world Hindu conference at Prayag". News Today. March 2007. Archived from the original on 2009-03-18. 
  25. ^ The Tribal Culture of India - Lalita Prasad Vidyarthi, Binay Kumar Rai - Google Books. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  26. ^ a b Christians convert back to Hinduism,BBC
  27. ^ Rana, Yudhvir (31 March 2005). "VHP against conversions in Punjab". The Times Of India. 
  28. ^ "'Love Jihad' racket: VHP, Christian groups find common cause". The Times Of India. 13 October 2008. 
  29. ^ "Centre ready for CBI probe". Tribune News Service. 31 August 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  30. ^ a b Blakely, Rhys (20 November 2008). "Hindu extremists reward to kill Christians as Britain refuses to bar members". The Times (London). Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  31. ^ "Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati murder case: Seven accused found guilty". Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  32. ^ "Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati murder case: All convicts get rigorous life imprisonment". Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  33. ^ "Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati murder case: 7 accused found guilty". Zee News. 30 September 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  34. ^ "BJP MLA convicted in Kandhamal riots case". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 9 September 2010. 
  35. ^ "BJP lawmaker gets jail for murder in Kandhamal riots | Accident / Crime / Disaster". Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  36. ^ "Nun was raped and priest brutally assaulted in Kandhamal". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 30 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  37. ^ "Four arrested over India nun rape". BBC News. 3 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  38. ^ "Medical reports confirm Kandhmal nun raped". NDTV. Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  39. ^ "Conversion, reconversion led to Kandhamal riots: Commission". Bhubaneshwar: The Times of India. 3 July 2009. 
  40. ^ "VHP defends attack on Haryana church, calls 1857 'communal war'". Times of India. Retrieved 2015-03-17. 
  41. ^ "Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America | World Hindu Council of America". Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  42. ^ "VHP UK". 2012-04-30. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  43. ^ "VHP ev Germany". VHP ev Germany. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  44. ^ "Multinational clinical trials in Europe" (PDF). 
  45. ^ "Ilford Branch | VHP UK". 2012-04-30. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  46. ^ "Community Directory". 2014-03-23. Retrieved 2014-08-24. 
  47. ^ "Hindu heritage inspires multiculturalism in Holroyd | Holroyd City Council". 2014-02-13. Retrieved 2014-08-24. 
  48. ^ "Vishva Hindu Parishad of Australia | Bringing Hindus Together". Retrieved 2014-08-14. 


  • Clarke, Peter (2004). Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements. Routledge. ISBN 0-203-48433-9. 
  • Jaffrelot, Christophe (2011). Religion, Caste, and Politics in India. C Hurst & Co. ISBN 978-1849041386. 
  • Juergensmeyer, Mark (1993). The New Cold War? Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular State. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-08651-1. 
  • Katju, Manjari (2013). Vishva Hindu Parishad and Indian Politics. Orient Blackswan. ISBN 81-250-2476-X. 
  • Kumar, Praveen (2011). Communal Crimes and National Integration: A Socio-Legal Study. Readworthy Publications. ISBN 93-5018-040-5. 
  • Smith, David James (2003). Hinduism and Modernity. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-631-20862-3. 

External links