Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Love Jihad!

I tried to find out what is Love Jihad. First I thought it referred to the fights at home, with your college sweetheart whom you married after a long courtship. If such people were to be hanged, as someone in Mangalore has suggested, I would be among the first to leave this world.

Later, I read an article and found out that it was something to do with marrying girl from a different community. Even then I would be hanged, as I am a follower of Shankara and my wife’s ancestors were from Udupi, the land of Madhwacharya!

Ismail says he does not know who coined the term. I know. Well, almost. ``Love Jehad’’, is a catchy blurb. I strongly suspect this was born in a news room. Newsrooms are places where people argue on what is creative and what is destructive. And as you know, all arguments don’t lead to the truth.

There seems to be a sudden surge in the number of people who believe something like Love Jihad exists. I don’t know whether Manoj Night Shyamalan, who makes films about the `fear of the unknown’, inspired them. I also see that a large number of young men have come out in the streets to protect Hindu women from this `menace’. Yesterday, I heard of a young man who tried to sue a deodorant company that had failed to deliver its promise of helping men attract women. He claimed the support of a large group of college going boys. I don’t think there is much of a difference between the first and the second group.

What is serious though, is the hint that the idea generated in the factory of the right. What do the self declared saviours of Hinduism mean then? Do they have a problem with girls who fall for the well built, fair and sometimes bearded young men? Do they have a problem with the girls making their own choices? Would Love Jihad make such a big noise if it was a case of Hindu boys marrying Muslim girls? Does anyone have comparative figures?

Finally, do they have a problem with conversion?

I think it is a bit of both- the tendency to deny the right of choice to women and the sense of power and superiority that makes the majority feel that the minority should submit to its command, always.

Secondly, some skin heads have been spreading rumours of 3,000 women missing from Mangalore (this does not include dowry deaths!). But police say the number is just 55. The guy who has admitted to killing 18 women is in police custody. DIG Gopal Hosur has said the psychopath might have killed even more.

Those who have known them clearly understand what they wear under their trousers. (This is clearly different from the question: `What does a Scotsman wear under his kilt!’)

That ``the other camp is kidnapping our innocent girls’’ is a very common night time gossip from right wing cadre camps. What is dangerous is such gossip has gained credibility by appearing in the media, and by being the subject of litigation, at least in one state. The reaction of some media groups has been reactionary. A case of rape attempt in Bangalore has been termed an example of Love Jihad.

After all, what is wrong in an adult choosing the spouse of or a faith of his or her choice? Will the media or the government tell us whom to marry or which faith to follow? Is the media asking the government to play Big Brother? If the government is allowed to have its way, will it annul all inter –faith marriages in this country? Will it force me to change my son Gautam’s name because I named him after the Buddha?

I am reminded of the movie `Hibiscus Field’, in which a poet and a singer wait for decades before the government permits them to marry. Finally they marry without a permit and the government sticks a poster outside their house. ``Black listed couple. Keep off’’. The wife starts crying. The poet smiles:`` Be happy, at least now, they have called us a couple’’.

And to think that it was just fiction!

Last wicket

I was provoked by a friend to Google out `Love Jihad’. The result was this - About 3,560,000 for love jihad (0.16 seconds).

Just for kicks, I tried to search for ``communal harmony’’ and the results are here- About 238,000 for communal harmony. (0.34 seconds).

You can see that communal harmony has to work twice as hard to find just 6% of the Web space occupied by Love Jihad.

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