Love Jihad or Khap Yuddh
By Vidya Bhushan Rawat
27 October, 2014
The brutal killing of three person of a Dalit family in Ahmednagar district of Maharastra is a reminder of the power of people who want to govern us through domination. In democracy they say, it is the choice of the people but in India democracy is conveniently being used as a tool to reinforce the primitive barbaric values on people. As the reports are coming in from Maharashtra that the Dalit family of three who were butchered to death in the village might be the case of honor killing as it is being alleged the young son of the Dalit family who was a student in Mumbai had an affair with a married Maratha woman.
According to reports published in DNA, Mumbai, “the incident took place in Javkhade Khalsa village of Pathardi town. The bodies of the couple - Jayashree and Sanjay Jadhav and their son Sunil were found with body parts chopped in pieces in the nearby well. Sanjay Jadhav, a farmer by profession owned an acre of land. Whereas, his son Sunil, who works in a milk dairy in Mumbai had come to his village a week ago.’
The incident and the brutality with which it has been conducted would definitely disturb and outrage any sensitive person as why such things are happening at the regular intervals in India. Is India love starve and living in sexual frustration or there is plainly a caste angle behind these things since the boy allegedly having a secret relations with a Maratha woman whose 16 years son came to know about it and planned it with his maternal uncle.
Well, how can a Dalit boy have an affair with a Maratha woman is the core issue in caste ridden India where caste means everything including your right to have relationship and sex too. There may be other side of this story, which is natural that sex has become so sacrosanct for us that once we come to know about any affair in our families or friendship our opinion about the person changes. ‘ Oh! you too kind of attitude. In the cases of women belonging to high caste Hindus having any affair with either Dalit or Muslim community youths, the reprisal is much bigger. Our children are filled with hatred once they come to know that their parents had sex or if they had seen them having sex. Such is the filth in the minds that any affair outside the traditional framework will find a violent retaliation. Frankly none is happy with their woman to be in relationship with any one else outside their defined frame. A Maratha man with big landholding would enjoy any extra relationship and would find encouragement for his ‘brave’ ‘manly’ act but a woman engaged in a relationship would be met with brutality unparalleled.
A few weeks back, we faced the similar situation and this time the girl was a Muslim who used to come to learn computer education at a Centre opened for girls in a place in Uttar Pradesh. Many days she was not turning up at our centre and one fine morning her brother came to office threatening the colleagues working there that they have ‘abducted’ his sister. He spoke to me and I guided him to file an FIR in the police but his family was not interested in doing so. He put lots of external pressure through police but nothing materialized. After many days, the girl returned home. It was said that she was found at a religious town in a red light area. Now, the girls brother again came back and this time he did not go to the police but to the local politician and complained about our work. We got a call from the politician asking us to immediately close our office and leave the place. It was shocking for us. My colleagues tried to reason with the leader but he was not willing to listen. I asked them to keep their patience and try to meet this person in the evening. Finally, in the evening when they went to meet this man whose family is an authority with generations they have been leading that area with ample members of Parliament and legislative assemblies, informed them that girls at our centre need to be ‘disciplined’ as many of them are too ‘bold’. What was his problem? Some of them don’t wear dupatta and many come with Jeans and tops without any dupatta carrying over their head.
I knew this was a sensitive issue there. The problem of this man was that he was the leader of Muslim community and girl who disappeared was a Muslim and hence he wanted to send a signal to all others to fall in line and behave ‘appropriately’.
The fear of boys and girl meeting and in love has never threatened our societies like today. Parents have become victim of the continuous propaganda of ‘love Jihad’ as if some body is planning his marriage according to numbers of their religion. It is disturbing to see continuous violence and communalization of the process after incidents of love marriages, which are either inter caste or inter religious. Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar and many other revolutionaries’ felt that for India’s unity and integrity, the concept of inter-caste and inter-religious marriages must be encouraged and those who are into it must be provided complete protection.
Unfortunately the last few years’ love has become symbol of our male superiority where women’s sexuality is controlled and confined through arranged marriages. With rapid urbanization the individual’s choices will also increases day-by-day resulting in close interaction between boys and girls. The numbers of court marriages have grown and girls too are ready to take risk at their own threatening the very edifice of this structure, so laboriously protected by religious rights as their fiefdom. One has to understand who are the forces opposing and politicizing a very personal issue of choices between the two individuals. Why has the term Love Jihad emerged so powerfully to be politicized and used as a weapon of communalization process, which has created chaos and anarchy in many of the Indian cities just because the state of India has failed to protect its citizen from the thugs pretending to believe the moral guardians of our society.
Several years ago an acquaintance of mine informed her parents that she was in love with a boy and want to marry him. Her parents after much persuasion agreed but when they came to know that the boy was a Muslim they tried everything to stop that marriage but of them were determined and had their way. Neither the boy nor the girl changed their religion or identities and are happily living together. The family of the girl who were determined and had hardcore allegiance to Sangh orientation today feel that their son in law is the best.
The institution of marriage is under pressure and more so because the age old caste hierarchies are crumbling under the power of love but then the forces of status quo will never allow such things to happen. We must not underestimate the point as where is the Love Jihad term used at the moment? And the answer is simple in the areas where young couples have been lynched to death. Western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana have seen maximum violence against inter caste marriages and now to evade the issue of Khap Panchayat they created the term Love Jihad.
We all know that Sangh Parivar has never raised any movement for inter caste marriages. There is no history of any Hindutva organization working against caste system, elimination of untouchability or for the inter caste marriages. They got exposed in Haryana as when the Khap were threatening people with dire consequences BJP kept silent. In fact the current incumbent to the chief minister’s position in Haryana is an open supporter of Khap Panchayats as he feel they work according to the social laws. Yes, girls should ‘dress’ appropriately not get assaulted by the boys he said. So, when the Khap issues exposed you, suddenly the new enemy in the form of ‘Love Jihad’ was created.
In the early 1990s during the Ayodhya movement the RSS and its hate propagandists actually raised loads of slogans of hatred against their political opponents. And the third grade slogans rented in the air.’ Tel lagado dabar ka, naam mita do Babar ka’ (massage yourself with Dabar oil, eliminate the name of Babar). That time every Muslim was termed as ‘Babar Ki aulad’, son of Babar and slogans were deliberately created to provoke them to react. It is disturbing to see many of the so-called secularists in India still feel that Muslims are responsible for the violence as they ‘initiate’ it. Many of the leaders having allegiance to Sangh Parivar have their children or that of their relatives, near dear ones have married in Muslim families. These include the most pious of our to day’s leader Subrahmanyam Swamy, Lal Krishna Advani and even relative of Bal Thackrey. I am sure none of them would have ever liked to call their ‘grand children’ as Babar Ki aulad if he or she were born to Muslim father.
Love, sex, marriages have been converted into not just political but thoroughly communal ideology by the religious rights. A matter of choice or what we call as right to choice has become public propaganda material for the Sangh’s hate brigade which in fact help the fanatics among the Muslims who have the ‘similar’ perception of ‘sanctity’ of their ‘religious’ ‘values’. A Muslim girl marrying a Hindu boy is a ‘loss’ and ‘shame’ for the Islamic fanatics in the very similar fashion as the Hindu zealots these days are feeling when a Hindu girl is falling in love with a Muslim boy. The fanatics wants in perpetual war so that we do not have time to question them and the status quo which they wish to maintain with growing assertion on part of the Dalits and other marginalized communities. Hence the whole Love Jihad campaign may look against Islam and Muslims but the fact it has an unambiguous hidden agenda and that is to maintain the Hindu caste order that confine their children to their own castes. The growth and glitter that post 1990s economic reforms brought them in Western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana is now fizzling out. Land made them ‘industrialists’ with children enjoying ‘ night life’ in Delhi, it became clear that caste citadels were crumbling in sex and marriage. Once there are more self arranged marriages the shops of the moral guardians will be closed and all the political issues related to Hindus, Muslims also get affected. You cannot emotionally blackmail people then.
It is therefore important to understand that those campaigning hatred in the name of Love Jihad are the same who justified the violence and extra constitutional authority of the Khap Panchayats. And it is not just the problem related to north or Haryana as ugly face of caste exists everywhere in the country. Muslims will be the face of this campaign but the real aim is to stop inter caste marriages as purity of the castes have to be maintained here. Have we not seen the brutality of the Vanniar community in Dharmapuri in Tamilnadu on Dalits? It is not for unknown reasons that the leaders of PMK in that state called for abrogation of SC-ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. The Vanniyar leadership is irked like the Sangh Parivar hate campaigners that the girls from their community are being ‘lured’ by the Dalit boys. Mujaffarnagar’s riots started from such filthy campaign and they provide great political dividend even when the cost is very high. The whole western Uttar Pradesh was epicenter of this hate campaign and we were just reduced to responding to it.
When the state fails and become one of the party in all this the enormity of the situation has to be understood. Now with a government in power that came on these dividends, the agenda is getting wider and wider day by day and states are unable to fix them as most of our secular leaders too cant go beyond their castes and respect their individual choices. Organisations like Ram Sene are on rampage finding out how many new couples came for registration for marriage. They have enough money and time to put people to find through RTI applications and state like Maharastra provided them this information. It reflects that how dangerous have we turned. How can we provide information about two individuals who are under the threat by these goons?
Those who are impressed with Hitler and his Nazism know it well how to keep people on toes all the time. It give good time to business too. Hitler was afraid of Jew businessmen and here in India such mobilisation also isolate Muslim businessmen and put them endanger. The theory is never remain in peace as it will bring people together and force them come more nearer. Once that is done, all the propaganda fail. It is therefore essential for the hate propagandists to keep spreading lies and deceits so that all their talks look original. If there is no enemy then please construct it. If there is no news please create it. If there are no rumors please bring more and more. Bring the issues that touch people’s heart. Corruption may not touch us that heartily as marriage of our women folk with a man from other community.
Filing of false cases and intimidating couples are direct threat now, which can turn purely an individual affair into a monstrous war between the communities. If matter is investigated properly such cases get exposed as happened to a Meerut girl who was allegedly paid Rs twenty five thousands to accuse the Muslim man of rape who she was working with in the Madarasa, by a local Hindutva leader. Entire Meerut was tense for many days with newspapers coming out with different stories. Soon after we had a story from Jharkhand even when the woman clearly informed that all the charges alleged by her are false.
There was a time when people used to have high opinion of those who wore religious apparel but today they are proving to be more treacherous and dangerous. The shocking tale of a woman from Manglore reflects this who accused how a VHP man kidnapped her and forced her into marrying him. It is not for unknown reason that Shiv Sena declared that it would give Rs 21,000 to those Hindus who will produce 10 or more children. Can we have more frightening and maddening ideas such as this, which violate the fundamental rights of individual to have families of their choice and children accordingly? Shiv Sena has run out of ideas. It shows how disconnected they are from the real issues of livelihood and survival of the people.
Now, we have come to such a situation when we can accuse some one falsely as that will kill the person with more TV studios peeping into our personal lives, there is no space for a person to survive and even prove him or her as innocent unless state fails to bring proof of our being criminal. Today, we are surviving on state’s failure otherwise it won’t allow us to even raise our head and prove our innocence. No mechanism is in place to challenge media or punish it or the state apparatus where if the stories turn out to be false after several days. A person is guilty much before the court verdict is declared and their individual choices becoming ‘threat’ to the nation and its ‘social fabric’. This is the state of affair here, which will strengthen the hate mongers. As they are not involved directly as most of them had actually relations among Muslims too but they want to use our marriages, our love affairs, our private lives for their political survival. An India on this will never be safe and secure for all. It will never move ahead. It will be disastrous for all.
The killings of the Dalit family in Ahmednagar did not become a national issue because it did not have a ‘love-jihad’ angle. For media to become a main story for many days you need a Muslim character in it so that our ‘experts’ can discuss it endlessly for hours and hours. How many time this sick media discussed the carnage committed by upper castes against Dalits and Aadivasis? How many times did we hear discussion on such barbaric incidents that reflects how ‘tolerant’ we are? The show will go on. We will continue to fight ‘Love Jihad’ but the implications are already there. Love threatens status quo maintained by caste forces and it is bound to weaken their foundation. It is a war by the caste forces on the citizens of this country who want to live on their own choice, which has been granted under the constitution of India and all the international covenants and conventions. Why should only Dalit speak on the issue? Where are the Hindu leaders who feel Dalits are Hindus and have been working on their ‘social engineering’ for years? Does our prime minister know how brutal Hindus can be when their caste sanctity is challenged? The religious rights and their organizations are happy. It suits well to all that people remain confined to their caste and religious identities so that they could be used for political purposes and sanctity of the caste remains intact. If the threat of Love Jihad can save our caste system very well and further perpetuate it then what is wrong. It is needed to protect the caste minds who are posing the biggest threat to social change so we will hear more cries of Love Jihad and less on Khap Panchayats and their misdeeds on the warring zones of our TV studios. Meanwhile, life for individuals, who our constitutional forefathers imagined would build a stronger idea beyond the narrow confines of caste, region and religion, would be more threatening, painful and isolated. A secular constitution would not be able to save them from being lynched in the streets, at home or elsewhere as Barbarians rules our streets, our life and media. As a citizen of India, this helplessness is more painful and worrying trend. Such acts are only going to strengthen religious rights and extremists in each society who do not want intermingling of people and are afraid of crumbling of caste and religious barriers. State must act and do its duty. Will it ?
Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com twitter @freetohumanity Email: [email protected]
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