History is a proof that whenever issues related to expression of love be it, a simple Valentine Day to a remarkable change such as homosexual acceptance, the love jihad have arisen the Hindu and Muslim rights and ethics have particularly been a master at creating panic in the name of dharma and the so called morality. The ‘warning’ of such intimacies has often ensued in ‘constructed’ crusades expressing the anxieties and fears of the conservative forces. The most recent case in the list of such constructs by the Hindu right is the alleged ‘LOVE JIHAD’ or the ‘ROMEO JIHAD’ organization that supposedly has been launched by Muslim fundamentalists.
WHAT IS LOVE JIHAD?
“Love jihad”, a notion drenched in religious conspiracy theories, contends that Muslim men in India are waging a war against the Hindu population by tantalizing and marrying young innocent Hindu girls. This purported war reaches its zenith when girls are forcibly converted to Islam, thus increasing numbers of Muslims and diminishing those of Hindus.
What is ironical here is that even the state as well as the judiciary are playing a complicit and colluded role with Hindu communists in attempting to delegitimize such love. One big example here lies the passing of The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance,2020. It requires couples from different religious communities to provide two months’ notice to a district magistrate before getting married.
Under the terms of the ordinance, the presiding judicial official would have the discretion to decide whether the conversion was through compulsion; the offending person could then be denied bail and sentenced to 10 years in prison and this law is particularly anti-Muslim because the Muslim personal law requires both the spouse to be belonging to the Muslim religion compulsorily.
Even though the law here applies to all interfaith marriages but still after its implementation a year ago, it is only the Hindu Muslim marriages that have been a target of this enforcement and as many as 30 Muslim men are under prosecution. Not only UP but 4 other BJP ruled states have been working on the implementation of a similar law in this aspect. The problem with India’s ‘love jihad’ laws (theconversation.com)
THE CHAOS OF LOVE JIHAD LAWS
As a matter of fact, it is important to note that Islamic community represents only 14 per cent of India’s population, this idea of a belligerent takeover would be ludicrous if it wasn’t so dangerous in its intent of targeting a minority community already persecuted by vigilantes and zealots. Making a bad situation worse is the state machinery of Uttar Pradesh that has put its weight behind this ordinance.
This ordinance has not only undermined the Muslim population but has also had a significant impact on how we perceive women as being inferior beings and are required to submit to the controlling families either their parental families or their spouse. This apprehension has deep-seated patriarchal roots, wherein a woman is perceived as little more than cattle, handed over from her parents to her husband, with little say in the matter.
There lies no doubt that on the face of it, Muslims might seem as the ones most affected by the ordinance but the real victims here have been the Hindu women who are denied the right to choose their partners according to their personal preferences which is not only a violation of their constitutional right but at the same time recants the free will of Hindu women, undermines their autonomy and civil liberties.
Since ancient times women have been constantly rendered helpless and docile by the overpowering patriarchal forces in matters related to their sexuality, their personal life choices and marriage has more often than not been used a the most extensive tool to refrain the, from exercising their own autonomous choices. This concept of Love Jihad has become less and less a Jihad issue instead more and more of a women centric issue whereby it possess the civil rights of women at a greater risk than that of Muslims. UP anti-conversion law pushes women back under parental and community control | The Indian Express
The incidents of communal differences whereby the majority Hindu community have urged people against such conversion dates back to the 1920’s whereby a Hindu Revivalist Regime that went by the name of “SHUDDHI” emerged.
Under this movement, people who had earlier chosen to embrace other faiths were motivated and consoled to take up Hinduism again. It was a time when interfaith marriages did not prevail at large. The movement had a strongly patriarchal tenor and portrayed Hindu women as unfortunate victims of the ploy of Muslim men. This movement, while it initially acquired a degree of support, later faded out due to other pressing concerns prevalent at that time.
This present day scenario of the LOVE JIHAD is just a contemporary display of what has been happening since ages. The rage which was displayed by the Hindu conservatives on the display of the recent Tanishq advertisement that showed a marriage between a Muslim boy and a Hindu girl is an unfathomable display of the deep entrenched intolerance that people posses in their minds against the other religions especially Islam. Another incident of such aggressive and intolerant behavior was depicted when a series on Netflix showcased an act of intimacy between a Hindu Muslim couple and this was met with various petitions against the series at large that even involved the participation of certain politicians as well amongst other protestors.
In the modern world, where both boys and girls are stepping out of their homes and taking up careers in various domains, the society has developed to such an extent whereby they are capable and mature enough to exercise their own rights in matters related to their personal lives. This is in reference to the various fundamental rights that have been given out in the constitution of India and is totally the choice of the individual itself.
The prejudice which the various laws including the abolishment of Article 370, the Citizenship Amendment Act and now such laws in the matters of matrimony are coming out as more and more of anti-Muslim and serve as oil to the already burning fire of communalism and heated intolerance towards this minority religion and also violates the right to freedom of the female community. Saba Naqvi writes: Love jihad law speaks to Hindutva’s insecurities about conversion, and is driven by need to curb free will (indianexpress.com)
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