A Divided Nation: The Struggle for Love Amidst Religious and Caste Prejudices

Law enforcement agencies often criminalize interfaith couples, posing a threat to their safety. New criminal laws have a significant impact on minority communities, exacerbating their vulnerabilities. Opposition parties must actively debate these issues in parliament to ensure fair treatment

The criminal flogging of two individuals for their alleged relationship in Bengal is a reminder of what is happening all over the country. In this age of social media, people convert every incident into an event and give their opinion according to the side of the political divide we sit in. The stories of lynching or flogging of couples in intimate relationships have been regularly coming from different parts of the country.

A couple of days back, Indians were ‘celebrating’ the ‘interfaith’ marriage of a Bollywood star- Sonakshi Sinha (with Zaheer Iqbal). People congratulated them and then many of those on the other side of the divide ‘ trolled’ them.

In the tinsel world, the making and unmaking of marriages happened and nobody ever bothered. Still, now the party in power and propaganda machinery of social media is hyperactive to ‘punish’ those who dare to do such marriages. I have always said that the agenda is not to stop the interfaith marriages but inter-caste marriages. The idea is to create an environment where children don’t challenge the authority of their parents and settle according to their ‘caste pride. An ideal Indian would be like the ‘children of Ambanis’, obediently following the path of the elders. None will then bother about the obscenity of these marriages, the extraordinary amount spent and the hypocrisy around it.

The fact is, India and the Indian subcontinent have not arrived at a stage where we respect individuals and their choices. An interfaith marriage is successful when there is no faith and the couples enjoy being humanists. Bringing the issues of faith in the name of liberalism will not resolve the crisis. If two couples from different religions are getting married then where is the need to organise the religious part of it? Why can’t the ‘special marriage act’ be enough for it?

No, since we are political families hence we need to give this message: Look, even if I have gone for an interfaith marriage, I am a  Pucca (Kattar) Hindu or Muslim. After some time, you will have children and decide their names. How are these names decided? Most of the time as per male religion. Of course, these days, interfaith marriages have become extremely difficult as it is not merely the issue of acceptability but the safety of the couple.

What can you do if law enforcement too converts you to a criminal just because you love someone? Media particularly the vernacular media, has played a dirty role. All depend on the religion of the male partner. If the boy is Hindu and the girl a Muslim, then the headline would be Razia bani Rani, Maang Mei Sindoor Daal Rohit Ke Saath Vivah Rachaya. If the boy is a Muslim and the girl is a Hindu then the headline would be, Nabalig Ko Bahla Fusla ke Jabaran Islam Dharm Grahan Karwaha. Love Jihad Ka Maamla.

Unless our judiciary comes out strongly on these issues and directs the police and the administration to protect the individuals involved, such things will happen and we will only be just reacting. If there are no laws to protect you please be extremely careful. Your life is more important than your love affair. It is important particularly for the tender age youngsters to focus on their work. Our political class is not ready to break it at the moment and all such issues are coming in handy to them. The parents of these interfaith children are rarely satisfied. Many of them agree but have a kashish in their heart. Liberal secular values people will have to find a different planet for them as they are becoming unwanted and the reason is political forces representing them are afraid of taking the bull by the horns.

That is why I said that Congress or Rahul Gandhi or Akhilesh Yadav were speaking powerfully about SC-ST-OBCs but were afraid of speaking about Muslims. If they were afraid of the Muslim world, they could have used Pasmanda Muslims and Dalit Muslims. India’s secular liberal political class will be hypocritical and cowardly if they are unable to condemn the violence against Muslims in the name of their faith. The grandson of Jawahar Lal must read a few anecdotes and notes how Nehru stood to the crowd many times targeting the Muslim localities immediately after partition. We need to stand up against all kinds of fundamentalism and criminalisation of our polity. Let the rule of law prevail but then it is now completely changed.

How are the opposition parties preparing to raise the issue of New criminal laws and its huge impact? Will they raise the issues of minorities and ask for a debate in parliament? Let the parliament debate on all castes and communities in India. Let us have it as the price of our young people being attacked and killed is too much. We must not condone such violence against people in the name of faith. Stand for a secular liberal constitution and its fair implementation without excluding any individual or community.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat

The author is an activist and is currently working on Impact of Ganga and its tributaries in the Himalayas and the plains of India

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button