Opinion

‘Love Jihad’: An Imaginary Scarecrow To Dissuade Hindu Women From Marrying Muslim Men

In the last few decades, virulent propaganda against Islam and its practices didn’t seem to deter people from embracing it, after unfairly demonizing Muslim rulers, rewriting history to suit the Hindutva narrative, stereotyping Muslims as ‘madrasachaps’, ‘puncture walas’, ‘terrorists’, and tons of other derogatory titles, inter-religious marriages still thrive – a glowing testimony that a rational mind with a loving heart is immune to communal conditioning.

Frustrated with the failure to curb such marriages, an imaginary scarecrow called ‘Love Jihad’ was erected to dissuade Hindu women from marrying Muslim men. This has become an oft-repeated cliché over the last decade, exasperated with their failed propaganda, a draconian and unconstitutional law is being tabled to act as a deterrent. However, vice-versa seems perfectly acceptable and not termed ‘Love Hindutva’. There are numerous Muslim female celebrities married to Hindu men, nowhere will you find Muslim groups harassing such couples.

These insecurities are not new. In the 1920s, a fleet of radical Hindutva organizations sprang up. The term Jihad was not synonymous back then – members connected to these Hindutva groups ran an abduction and seduction campaign demonizing Muslims. Today, it is old wine in a new refined bottle.

Numerous documented evidence reveals that a similar campaign took shape a couple of years before the Gujarat pogrom, which was the premise that etched macabre tales of wanton killings unparalleled in modern Indian history, especially Muslim women subject to these brutal assaults.

The rhetoric crystallized in the mid-2000s. Pramod Muthalik, the leader of Sri Ram Sena was instrumental in propagating the imaginary term ‘Love Jihad’. This was not accidental, radical organizations have mastered the art of propaganda, any activity connected to the Muslims and perceived as a threat is automatically termed as Jihad, naturally for its negative-connotation acquired over the last few decades.

In the infamous Hadiya case from Kerala, after being subjected to a quagmire of shady interpretations and turbulent judgments, the Supreme Court finally let the married couple live in peace. Even the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was not able to establish any substantial evidence of an imaginary Love-Jihad narrative.

Character Assassination of Muslim Celebrities

Hindutva brigade cannot stomach the fact that Muslim celebrities like Dilip Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan romance women on-screen and are emphatically loved by their woman folk and rule the roost in predominantly Hindu society. A calibrated effort is being made to character assassinate these celebrities and discredit their contributions. Masculinist anxieties and inferiority complex are at its root cause eliciting such commotion.

Saif Ali Khan marrying Kareena Kapoor was deemed ‘Love Jihad’, his sister Soha Ali Khan marrying Kunal Khemu is honoured and finds no mention. Veer Zara, the movie won accolades but the movie Kedarnath and Sushanth Singh Rajput romancing Anushka Sharma in PK was deemed offensive. Hindutva hypocrisy knows no bounds!

The fact that even a NEET topper and UPSC success in the Muslim strata made the Hindutva brigade jittery shows a whole new proportion of bigotry.

Being a non-practising, secular Muslim celebrity does not guarantee immunity from the Hindutva onslaught. Even Muslim celebrities maintaining a low profile and neutral stance is a subject of vile propaganda. Earlier it was limited to social media, now it is being amplified in the mainstream media by a notorious rabble-rousing demagogue on prime time.

Muslims or Dalits emerging victorious in areas of Savarna strongholds do not sync with the fascist stereotypical propaganda of a meek and incapable community.

Who is Threatened by Inter-Religious And Inter-Caste Marriages?

Self-proclaimed upper caste folks are vehemently opposed to not just the idea of inter-religious marriages; they are even opposed to inter-caste marriages. So, what is this call for Hindu unity all about when there is so much resistance to inter-caste marriages itself?

Lower caste folks are minions of Hindutva, deceitfully provoked with the call for Hindu unity – only in opposition to the Muslims but never to establish an egalitarian Hindu society, naturally since the caste system is the bedrock of Hindu society; equality is antithetical to the laws of Manu. The recent question on KBC and the unwarranted controversy that followed is a classic example of Hindutva hypocrisy and Dalit tokenism.

Caste identity and superiority are so deeply ingrained that even marriages between sub-castes are abhorred. Such marriages destabilized the pre-Islamic and Christian social order established by the blue-eyed Savarna boys in India threatening their superiority and hegemony. Their resentment with inter-caste marriages and reservations is an account of losing those privileges.

The death metal around Islamophobia is so depressing and deafening. Time and again, the courts and investigation agencies have declared the non-existence of an imaginary ‘Love Jihad’ conspiracy, yet the government is so obsessed with this fetish. Maybe the government can start their investigation with their two Muslim ministers married to Hindu women.

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