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

132 Gujarat citizens, including IIM-A faculty, others declare solidarity with Kashmiris

Counterview Desk
A week after it was floated, 132 activists, academics, students, artists and other concerned citizens of Gujarat, backed by 118 living in different parts of India and the world, have signed a "solidarity letter" supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), who, it claims, have been silenced and held captive in their own land. The signatories include faculty members and scholars of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Bharat Ratna nominee ‘joined hands’ with British masters to 'crush' Quit India

By Shamsul Islam*
The Quit India Movement (QIM), also known as ‘August Kranti' (August Revolution), was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee. It was to begin on August 9 as per Gandhi's call to 'Do or Die' in his Quit India speech delivered in Bombay at the Gowalia Tank Maidan on August 8. Since then August 9 is celebrated as August Kranti Divas.

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…