Skip to main content

Expert objects to new Love Jihad formula, says pro-Modi campaigner Madhu Kishwar is legitimizing it

Nivedita Menon
By Our Representative
Noted feminist and political scientist Nivedita Menon has said that far-right Hindutva groups, caught on the back foot by the humiliating backfire in their fantastical Meerut claims of ‘gangrape and forcible conversion’, have arrived at a new formula: That the anxiety over ‘Love Jihad’ has also been expressed by the Church in Kerala and the Akal Takht, hence “there must be some fire generating all the smoke.” Menon adds, the votaries of the new formula – who include feminist-turned-pro-Narendra Modi campaigner Madhu Kishwar -- claim that as the dangers from Love Jihad are real, quoting investigations by police and court directions.
Interestingly, according to the expert, who is professor at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, this “new formula” has no objection to inter-faith marriage; what it objects to “is the cheating of Hindu women into marriage in a well orchestrated campaign by Muslim men who trap them in polygamous marriages only to convert them and produce several children, thus raising the Muslim population.” Apart from Kishwar, who seeks to provide some respectability to Love Jihad, the formula “has found its space in the social media as well as in personal blogs”, Menon adds.
The votaries of the new Love Jihad formula believe, it is just one small part of the “global Islamic terror machine” whose aim includes using non-Muslim women as sex slaves. Not without reason, while Kishwar wants Love Jihad to be “freed from the clutches of rabble-rousers claiming to speak on behalf of Hindutva”, such as “hysteria-mongers like Yogi Adityanath and outfits like the Bajrang Dal”, she does not doubt its existence.
Menon quotes Kishwar to prove her point: “We need to rise above the left-right divide to investigate this menace with thorough precision. Only then will we know the extent of the threat, whether it is real or phobic.” Wonders Menon, “How could Kishwar term something ‘a menace’ and talk about ‘the extent of the threat’ even before finding out whether it is real at all or merely a ‘phobic fantasy’?”
The professor comments, “The ‘phobic fantasy’ of patriarchal elements across the religious spectrum that is not a fantasy at all is this – young men and women are falling in love, across caste and religious divides, and this is rocking the foundations of caste and religious identity. Muslim parents are as worried and anxious about this as are Christian and Hindu parents. They don’t want their daughters marrying non-Muslims any more than the latter want Muslim in-laws.”
The expert observes that even “the left is not immune from mean-minded political calculations on this matter”. She quotes CPI-M leader VS Achuthanandan, who said in 2010, talked of how Muslim numbers in Kerala were multiplying “by influencing youth of other religions and converting them by giving money, marrying them to Muslim women and thus producing kids of the community.” Menon suggests, Kishwar has taken advantage of this statement by saying, “The situation must have been grave if the then chief minister of Kerala VS Achuthanandan, of the CPM, alleged conversion of non-Muslim girls to Islam…”
Madhu Kishwar
Pointing out that “men promising marriage and backing out is routine, and by no means restricted to Muslim men/non-Muslim women”, Menon says, “The funnier part of Kishwar’s assertion is her reference to the Akal Takht taking seriously reports that Pakistani youth are seducing non-Muslim girls to convert them to Islam and ‘use them in jihadi activities’.” According to Kishwar “some of these girls were later dumped by their husbands in Pakistan, where their in-laws have been using them as domestic slaves.”
Menon comments, “That sounds pretty much like a routine marriage to me -- men marrying women to act as domestic slaves for their families while they earn their livelihoods (and often carry on in other relationships) abroad. Want to do a survey of how many marriages like this exist across the spectrum of religious identity? And supposing these wives/domestic slaves were Muslim rather than non-Muslim, Kishwar would think its fine? Probably she would, because she also holds that elopements are not okay, and that marriage without the ‘blessings of family elders’ is to be avoided.”
Suggesting that Love Jihad in any form is nothing but an electoral plank of supporters of India’s ruling establishment, and communal hatred is sought to be spread ahead of elections, Menon says, this is what is happening in the national capital too, as “Delhi elections loom”. According to her, “Trilokpuri burns, as doubtless, will many other parts of Delhi. The role of Hindutvavaadi organizations is again clear in setting up an atmosphere of tension and violence.”

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.