By Abdul Majid Zargar
As if their vilification and demonization was not enough, Godse’s children have now weaved a new narrative around Indian Muslim youth -that they indulge in “Love Jihad”.
The origin of this slanderous narrative, referring to an alleged Muslim plot to convert young Hindu girls to Islam by having Muslim boys entrap them in love affairs, can be traced back to Kerala wherefrom it travelled to Karnatka in 2007. Since these Southern States were outside the political clutches of RSS & its political arm BJP, the narrative was constructed & used to hilt to polarize the society along communal lines for electoral gains. So much so that Election Commission had to issue a show cause notice to Karnataka’s Deputy Chief Minister, KS Eshwarappa when he used the term excessively in his campaign trail in 2013 to divide the electorate.
The term love jihad was given a sudden legitimacy when the Kerala High Court, on a reference in 2009, asked the police to look into the matter. In 2010, the controversy resurfaced in the press when Kerala Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan referred to the alleged matrimonial conversion of non-Muslim girls as part of an effort to make Kerala a Muslim majority state. A probe was ordered which found the allegations utterly false & baseless .Authorities in both Kerala and Karnataka eventually denied that such a plan existed. But the fact that it was actually investigated through a judicial intervention gave a huge boost to the idea that love jihad might be a real strategy.
This narrative has a pre-partition history as well. In 1920’s, The Hindu Arya Samaj launched campaigns against abduction and conversion of Hindu girls using poems like “Chand Musalmanon Ki Harkaten” .A shuddi movement, aimed at reconversion of Muslims back to Hindu fold, was also launched by Arya Samaj around this period under the patronage of Lala Lajpat Rai, considered to be a pillar of extremist nationalism in India . Little known but Interesting that this movement was based on Kashmir’s Dogra ruler Ranbir Singh’s 21-volume encyclopaedia by the name of “Ranbir Karit Prayaschit Mahanibandh” [‘Ranbir’s Great Essay on Repentance’]. This book argued the case and suggested strategies for the mass conversion of all Muslims in India to ‘Hinduism’. It is believed that around three million Muslims were converted under this Hindu revivalist movement. The shuddi movement provoked Muslim leaders and groups to launch counter initiatives to check the Arya Samaj’s conversion drive which led to a riotous partition of India. I believe that Indian historians are well aware of this undisputed fact.
Unfortunately its memories have come to haunt again with the recent mass conversion of christains into Hinduism in Agra.
Kashmir had its own tryst with an episode of this kind in late seventies when a pandit girl married a local Muslim boy. Pandits came on roads with huge processions. The Hindus in rest of India found a common cause with Pandits to stir the issue & arouse religious passions. When the matter was thoroughly investigated, it turned that the girl’s conversion to Islam was voluntary without any coercion. The matter rested after a huge political turmoil which at one stage threatened to damage the relations between the two communities.
The mantra of Love Jihad is yet another attempt to vilify Indian Muslims already reeling under tyranny of obscurantist Hindutva forces. The magnitude of the problem can be gauged from the slander & mudslinging thrown at this largest minority by surfing through “ readers comments” to news/columns published in on-line Editions of national & regional newspapers. While it is generally believed to be a handiwork of computer- savy lumpens known as inter-net Hindus, the concerned newspapers are either sympathetic or helpless before this lunatic tribe as their own in-built policy of “ moderation of Comments ” is rarely invoked to block the muckraking.
With BJP’s ascendance to power at centre and in many other states, the confidence of minorities in the role of the state is fast crumbling, especially as regards their physical protection & prevention of communal violence. Hindu right-wing dominated State governments are lending tacit or express support to the Hindu zealots to promote the agenda of violence & hatred. Many years after anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat (2002) and Mumbai (1993) offenders still wait to be sentenced. Instead, persons convicted of murder have been let free like Maya Kodnani & babu Bajrangi in Gujrat. Similarly Sangeet som, accused of engineering Muzaffar nagar riots has been awarded Z+ security cover. To top it all a rabid communal lunatic has been made in charge of UP poll campaign.
And all this does not augur well for India.
(The author is a practicing chartered Accountant. E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)