Jihadi or Sexist?
I know you are surprised that someone can blame Feminism for a clearly visible religious agenda called ‘Jihad’. There is no reason to think that I have even remotely become insane or became so anti-feminist that I try to bring in a feminist angle in everything. I am surely going to explain why I think that success of Love Jihad in India, shows success of feminism than success of Islamic terrorism.
Love – Jihad or Feminism?
Well, before I even try to explain this, let me categorically say that I am not a Muslim, I follow and uphold Sanatani Vedic Principles and I am terribly angry with Love Jihad like any other Hindu. I am saddened by the death of innumerable Hindu girls and recently a Hindu boy in this Love Jihad. I was also terribly angry when I saw the Tanishq ad where it was shown that a Hindu woman married a Muslim man and lived happily thus promoting ‘love Jihad’ and I was also terribly angry with all those Hindus (mostly women) who felt that Tanishq ad was ‘cute’, ‘cool’, ‘trying to break the stereotype’ etc. Let me also clarify that I am yet to see a narrative that showed Muslim girls getting married to Hindu boys and accepting Hindu rituals. Having said all this, I must still say, that the success of ‘Love Jihad’ is more attributed to the success of feminism in India rather than the success of Islamic extremism.
At this outset let me also clarify that whereas there is no denying the fact that Sanatani Hindu principles need to be upheld, Islamic terrorism need to be countered but the majority of the problem associated with Love Jihad is that of growing feminism and not of Islamic fundamentalism as I see it.
Love Jihad – Examples
In recent years we are seeing a lot of cases coming up in media where a Hindu woman is betrayed, killed, violated or forced to commit suicide due to Love Jihad. We have not seen so many cases reported even a couple of years earlier. There may be one reason that media largely ignored such cases earlier and only highlighting these cases in recent years; or there may also be another reason that Hindus are largely feeling the heat now, because they are attacked from all angles. Since religious sentiments take precedence over anything else, now even normal Hindus are highlighting these cases.
Love Jihad – Feminism first
The reason these cases are not seen as the success of ‘feminism’ is because the victims in most of these cases are Hindu ‘girls’. I will rather not be surprised if people think ‘toxic’ masculinity and patriarchy is behind such killings or atrocities against women and thus it becomes important at this point to categorically explain why it’s not patriarchy but feminism that is to be blamed here.
We need to understand that if ‘love jihad’ is an issue, then the first point we need to look into is the factor of ‘love’. The first question that comes to our mind is, ‘why are Hindu girls falling in ‘love’ with Muslim boys? Muslim boys are not forcing them to marry, then? Why should we blame Muslim men for the success of Love Jihad? If patriarchy is to be blamed at all that will be existing patriarchy in Muslim society and not in Hindus. That is almost never spoken about. But in the case of love jihad if you notice, patriarchy comes later and feminism comes first, when Hindu women fall in love with Muslim guys knowing fully well that they are Muslims.
Why Love Jihad is Special
Now the problem is, when there exists a ‘Special Marriage Act’ that legalize such inter community marriages in India, why is there so much problem in such marriages and why do some people call it ‘Jihad’ or some kind of religious agenda? When a Hindu woman marries a Muslim man, that is not only legal but there is no coercion involved in that marriage. Rather most often it is the Hindu girl who feel more than obliged and emotionally bound to marry her love. Recently, we have seen a video where a Hindu Rajput father has put down his ‘Pagri’ (turban) on the feet of his daughter to stop her from marrying a Muslim boy but the daughter turned that down, turned her face away. After being humiliated by his daughter in front of everyone on camera and when that father could not stop his daughter from going away with the Muslim boy, that old man has committed suicide. We need to understand that a ‘pagri’ or turban is the symbol of pride for these Hindus. When the ‘pagri’ is not respected that man has felt the insult of his life.
I am not sure when we will see that girl’s dead-body bundled in a suitcase or her self-immolating in front of a police station because justice and even rights are denied to Muslim wives; I am also not sure if the marriage will be a success but one thing is for sure that the girl will always feel that she was responsible for her father’s death.
Love Jihad – Jihad or Love?
If you look at all such cases closely you will see that despite knowing the boys as Muslims and despite knowing that Muslim laws and lifestyle differ substantially from that of Hindus; these girls are not only loving Muslim boys but also marrying them going against everyone else in their family. It is not that these Muslim boys are highly qualified or have high earning potential in many cases, too. Recently, I saw a case where a Hindu media anchor married a Muslim boy who had nothing and she gave him money to set up a garage. Later she was pressurized to change her religion and eventually thrown out of their matrimonial home for not doing so when she finally had to immolate herself in front of a police station demanding justice.
While Hindus may continue to shout that this is love jihad and some kind of religious agenda, what they forget is that these women were not forced to marry Muslims. When they married, they accepted all odds of being in a Muslim family. Women feel empowered when they decide their soulmate, they take their own decisions of marriage and in many cases these Hindu women abuse all those who talk against Love Jihad or try to prohibit them from marrying Muslim men.
I have seen another case from Bengal where a Hindu girl used to abuse all such Hindu men as ‘gau-mutro’ (cow-urine) and Gobar (cowdung) eaters, married a Muslim man only to be found bundled in a suitcase some time later. These are Hindu women who mock Hindu goddesses in the name of feminism and depict Hindu Godesses in obscene and derogatory forms. They feel empowered by doing these, by going against set norms by breaking stereotypes and by projecting themselves as ‘progressive’ and ‘liberal’.
Love Jihad – Breaking the Glass-Ceiling
If the question is asked, why do these Hindu women marry Muslims when so many other Hindu men are around, the answer you will find is simple. These women do not find that thrill of ‘breaking the glass-ceiling’ as they find when they marry outside their community. It is also evident from all these cases that Hindu families are forced to become much more liberal in thinking and in accepting such relationships of there daughters. They are now left with no choices.
We have seen in the case of the Rajput father who had put down his ‘pagri’, the ultimate symbol of his pride, at the feet of his daughter and still she rejected his plea. This probably gave her an ultimate sense of pride and empowerment that she was finally able to smash evil patriarchy. She was made to believe that she was taking her own life’s decision without bothering about archaic patriarchal mindset. And how do you think she felt when she did all that? She felt empowered, she felt she was being progressive, she felt independent, she felt liberal, she felt secular, she felt she was in control of her life. And all these thoughts come from feminism that prompts every woman today to disobey patriarchy, ignore the feelings of elders and break set norms.
If these women didn’t try to break the norms or didn’t marry Muslims going against their family’s wishes, probably they would have been alive today. And as Hindus, more than we blame Love Jihad and Muslims for this, we need to introspect first and see what we are doing. Why are our girls marrying Muslims? What is that Hindu boys not able to offer to these women that economically and culturally poor Muslim boys are offering? If we talk about ‘women’s rights’, a Hindu woman has much more ‘rights’ compared to a Muslim woman; still Muslim woman seem to be happier than Hindu women, why? We don’t see Muslim women falling in love with Hindu boys. Why and how they remained untouched by the same feeling of feminist empowerment, by the feeling of ‘breaking the glass-ceiling’?
It is time for Hindus to introspect. Did we get too much feminized than needed? Because the symptoms are clear. We are telling our daughters to break the glass-ceiling, we are telling our daughters to smash patriarchy, we are telling our daughters to break-free from the clutches of stereotypes and become independent; then when they are taking their independent decisions and dying as a consequence – why are we blaming Muslims? Why are we blaming Love Jihad? Isn’t it our responsibility first to correct our daughters if Love Jihad is such a great problem?
Love Jihad, religion and More
When the Tanishq ad promoting Love Jihad came up first and we were protesting against that; I have seen mostly Hindu girls felt the ad was cool, it was breaking the stereotype, it was ‘cute’ etc. I have also seen Hindu girls and mostly Bengali girls depicting themselves as Maa Durga or Maa Kaali and portraying filthy caricature of Hindu Goddesses like showing Hindu Goddesses drinking alcohol or smoking cigarette during Durga Puja. But we don’t see Hindu men making mockery of Hindu gods like that. Hindu men mostly get offended by such filthy portrayal of Hindu gods – then where did we go wrong? Why and when did it become the sole responsibility of Hindu men to save their religion?
Sanatani and Islamist
As Hindus, we need to introspect why Sanatan Hindu Dharma didn’t give the ‘right’ to take independent decisions to women and women were kept under strict check of ‘patriarchy’? This is explained in Geeta and I will probably talk about it some other day; but when we Hindus wanted to deviate from our Dharma, we ourselves wanted our daughters to be free, to take independent decisions – why are we now blaming Muslims for our faults? Everything comes with consequences and if our daughters are becoming bigger feminists everyday, if they are now going to any extent to ‘smash’ patriarchy and dying because of that – why are we even sad?
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