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Love Jihad: Why every interfaith marriage has potential to turn into communal flareup?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
A young aspiring Nikita Tomar was murdered by Tauseef, who happened to be stalking her since here college days, as both studied in the same institution in Faridabad, a North Indian town. Nikita, it is reported, had turned down Tauseef’s proposal in the past. The young man could not take the rejection and killed her.
The entire incident was recorded on CCTV camera, which has gone viral. It shows Tauseef, described variously as a brilliant student, tried to kidnap Nikita, but having failed to do so, he shot her and ran away. There seem to be other accomplices too in the crime. The Haryana government swung into action and formed an SIT to probe into the incident and has got the accused arrested.
Normally, this should have been seen as an incident of a young boy feeling humiliated after the 'rejection' by a girl, but since the story is between a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy, the media has jumped into it suggesting it as Love Jihad. Irresponsible reporting by a TV channel in this matter is highly despicable.
Things have not top stopped to media reporting. Efforts are being made to it turn into an electoral issue in the backdrop of Bihar elections and other bypolls. The whole effort is to blame the entire community for what had happened. If the accused was not Tauseef but a Hindu, would the channel have reported the issue at all? They would have said, it is a failed love story or a Romeo trying to intimidate the girl, who does not want to respond or reject the boy's overtures.
This is not an isolated event. A few weeks back, a young boy named Rahul was allegedly killed by the relatives and family of a girl who happened to be in relationship with him, but belonged to the Muslim community. Both Nikita’s and Rahul's murder have become high points of anti-Muslim propaganda by the notorious IT Cell of BJP. The Karni Sena too has jumped in to call it Love Jihad.
As part of the campaign, someone has suggested that Tauseef is the relative of a Congress MLA in Haryana. However, being a relative of a person does not make one accomplice in the crime, as reported by some newspapers. In fact, Nikita's family had filed a case against Tauseef in March. The issue is, why did the police fail to take action earlier?
Be that as it may, whether this was a one sided-love or an affair, the fact is, a girl was murdered just because she refused to surrendered. Meanwhile, police have arrested the accused and is filing a case against the boy. Nikita's family has sought death penalty. There are a few lessons that need to be drawn from the way we look at such incidents.
Unsurprisingly, there is not much reaction from the 'liberals' on the issue. Not that they need to, but it is important that that they understood implications of how things are sought to be interpreted. In our activism or criticism, we are often extremely selective. This is done in order to be seen as champions in the eyes of our friends.
A few days back, “secular” and “liberal” celebrities were upset with Tatas for withdrawing a Tanishka advertisement under pressure from the troll army, which felt that Hindu sentiments were 'hurt'. Tanishka withdrew the advertisement, and “liberals” were upset. However, the same liberals don’t give Charlie Habdo the right to “offend”, which is very much part of the French culture. It may not be part of our culture, but is definitely theirs.
Best way for an interfaith marriage to sustain is to not ask the partner to convert but enjoy good practices and values of both the cultures
The issue is not Love Jihad but why has it come to this level that every interfaith marriage or affair has the potential of being turned into a communal flareup. If we know that our actions are resulting in our communities behaving in particular way, going so far as to seek blood of the other community, then what is the way out? The same question should be asked to people who marry beyond their castes – inter-caste violence is also known happen in such cases.
So what is the way out? Should we discourage our youngsters to look for their own partners? Indeed, the Love Jihad campaign is nothing but an attempt to suggest that only parents and relatives should decide one’s future, and no young adults have the right to decide being in relationship or marry, because everything that we decide must have the 'approval' of 'society' and 'family'.
One should remember what Dr BR Ambedkar said long back: that we are not a society that respects the choice or privacy of of the individual. However, the point is, how does one tackle with obsession of an individual? A crime is a crime, and youngsters in the schools should be made aware about it. Indeed, it is time to discuss in our schools and colleges how to respect the freedom of choice.
In fact, the way our women and other dissenters get trolled on social media speaks volume of the 'maturity' of our system. These trolls, presumably, are young boys and girls from 'respectable' families who want to get noticed and shout loudly that 'our culture is great'. Nothing wrong in that, but a culture or a system does not become 'great' and 'powerful' just because we want it or like it.
The issue of freedom, choice and individuality comes from an enabling environment which is fast eroding. Today, one is either identified as Hindu or Muslim. In the process, it is forgotten that women have their own voices as independent persons, that they are not just one's wife, mother or sister.
The question should also be asked: Why should a woman be forced to either change her name, religion or cultural practices just she is marrying into an another faith. Why should the name of the children in inter-faith marriages be of the male's choice. Why can’t we develop secular ways of marriages, like they are in Europe?
The best way for an interfaith marriage to sustain is not to ask your partner to convert and enjoy the good practices and cultural values of both the cultures. Imposing one’s culture and value system will create issues. Indeed, it is time come out of the calculations of whether a particular issue would help Hindutva forces or the likes of Asaduddin Owaisi, because unless we speak up boldly and categorically, things are going to get worse.
The youngsters who claim to love someone must understand that a woman is not here to be 'owned' by someone. She has the right to reject you even if you were in a relationship. The youngsters must be very clear that if their partner or lover belong to any other religion or caste or nationality, they should consider all the pros and cons.
Asking your female partner to change as per your 'culture', 'religion' and 'nationality' will only bring disaster to such the relationship. It might have worked in the past or in certain cases where women have 'accepted' things, it but it won’t succeed all the time.
---
*Human rights defender

Comments

Anonymous said…
Sir, U must be blind not being able to see clearly. The way u mentioned is ur wishlist, not bad. Wish it happens that way, but no. Why would they want to convert girl's religion? Only those inter-caste marriage were successful where bride-groom both respect each other freedom of choice. Slowly but for sure, we the common people are waking up from long overdue ignorance, when we used to think mirage as real. Paid media like you are also the main reason as to why we were blinded/cheated for long time. Just reading u, anyone can smell ur bias towards Bullywood easily. So no more please. Stop trying to fool us with ur fake compassion crooked literature.

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