Dear Swapan da, will these recent cases from UP convince you that ‘Love Jihad’ is real?

The Love Jihad menace continues to raise its ugly head, with at least 2 cases being reported by Hindi daily Amar Ujala from Western UP alone in the month of November.

Yet, why is it that most of the Hindu intelligentsia is in denial about this problem, including perceptive thinkers like Swapan Dasgupta? This is what Swapan da, a veteran journalist and now also a Rajya Sabha MP, wrote in the aftermath of the no-trust vote in July this year –

“The next few months will witness a flurry of political activity centred on the Lok Sabha election of 2019. The BJP’s strongest card is the Prime Minister whose appeal is much greater than the pull exercised by the BJP. The party’s organisational machinery and the performance of the Modi government are also assets it can build on. However, the party is in danger of being dragged down by wild elements that seem to believe that issues such as ‘love jihad’ and Muslim bashing are vote winners.

Muslims are unlikely to vote for the BJP in any meaningful way. However, the danger of extremism is that it can potentially deter Hindus who don’t want vigilante squads in the streets flexing their muscles. Checking the wild bunch is an exercise the BJP cannot put off indefinitely.”

And his dimissal of Love Jihad concerns is not new or a one-off instance. Back in Oct 2014 too he had written

“Some BJP hotheads, looking for shortcuts to popularity, even chose to persuade national leaders into making love jihad the main subject of street politics in Uttar Pradesh”

Swapan da has been resisting, in his own restrained style, the dominant left-liberal narrative in Lutyens’ Delhi for as long as one can remember. Surrounded by the likes of Shekhar Gupta, Karan Thapar, Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai, Vinod Dua, Siddarth Vardarajan etc., he has often ploughed a lonely furrow in the pre-social media era,  attempting to articulate the Hindu viewpoint in our inherently anti-Hindu English-language mainstream news media.

But before we try to understand why he and others like him still refuse to accept the social evil of Love Jihad, lets first take a look at these 2 recent cases, a tiny sample of what is now a frequent occurrence across the length & breadth of the country:

1.) Tanvir Alam, an already married Muslim man from Kishanganj, Bihar working in Noida (Delhi-NCR) pretended to be an unmarried Hindu (Anil Sarkar) to enter into a relationship with a Hindu widow living with her mother. The two got married in a temple in Malda, WB, and lived together as a married couple for 2 years, along with the woman’s 5-year-old child from her first marriage. He made the woman abort multiple times.

In Nov this year, the woman found out that her ‘husband’ was already married to a woman named Afreen and that he is Muslim. When she confronted him, he beat her up and started pressurizing her to convert to Islam, threatening to kill her when she refused. He even took out a loan of Rs 1.8 lakh using her jewelry. The woman lodged a complaint with police, and Alam has now been arrested.

2.) Around 200 Hindu villagers led by BSP leader Darasingh Prajapati protested at the Meerut SSP’s office over police inaction in the case of a 15-year-old Hindu girl from Kharkhoda village being abducted by 2 Muslim youth – Saifulla & Faizan – with the assistance of 2 others – Aftab & Zeeshan. The girl’s family fear that she could be illegally converted to Islam by her abductors.

The villagers have claimed that similar instances of minor girls being lured away by Muslim youth have occurred earlier as well. Despite the accused being named in the complaint lodged with Kharkhoda police, no action has been taken thus far, they alleged.

In another case from Etah UP, which does not strictly fall under the Love Jihad category as there is no outright deceit or criminality involved, but which still demonstrates the disturbing attitudes towards women, especially Hindu women, in sections of Muslim society, a Hindu girl converted to Islam to marry one Mohammed Sajid before being divorced through triple talaq and abandoned. Sajid also forced the woman to abort their child. The girl & her family appealed for a panchayat to resolve the matter, but Sajid refused to take her back and his family threatened the girl’s side. The girl has now lodged a police complaint against Sajid, his brother, mother and other relatives.

Love Jihad denial

Why is it then that an intellectual like Swapan da, based in Delhi and surely clued in to events on the ground in neighbouring Western UP, dismisses Love Jihad as an issue raised by ‘wild elements’? Are the villagers protesting in Meerut along with a BSP leader also part of the ‘extremist Hindutva lobby’ which is dragging BJP down, in Swapan da’s opinion? What about this case from Delhi where police’s fear of being called ‘Communal’ almost got a minor Dalit girl trafficked? How do protests by local Hindus over such incidents, who may or may not belong to BJP/Sangh parivar outfits like Bajrang Dal, translate into ‘vigilante squads indulging in Muslim bashing & flexing their muscle’?  How exactly should Hindu society respond to such incidents, if they can’t even protest outside police stations to demand action?

While we openly acknowledge the social evils within Hindu society – like casteism, female foeticide, blind superstition – why do our public intellectuals refuse to talk about the evils within Muslim society, which affect not just Muslim women, but even Hindus & other non-Muslims? Who gains from stifling these much-needed debates? Would we have had a campaign like ‘Beti bachao, Beti padao‘ to save the girl child if the harsh reality of female foeticide had been swept under the carpet? Then why does our intellectual & political establishment pretend that social evils like Love Jihad and hatred for ‘idolators’ will disappear if they pretend it doesn’t exist?

Maybe a trained psychologist can explain what drives this self-imposed blindside, wherein one just shuts out certain events and social realities, discussing which is considered outright distasteful in the refined circles one moves in. Maybe acknowledgement of Love Jihad as a genuine Hindu concern would lead to a social excommunication from the Lutyens’ Delhi circuit that Swapan da finds closest to his innate sensibilities; maybe he thinks its a bridge too far and that his urban audience will stop listening to his other arguments if they identify him as a ‘divisive’, ‘fringe’ thinker who is against inter-religious relationships (the usual red-herring used to dismiss the Love Jihad debate); or maybe he has convinced himself that these incidents are just not occurring on a scale that merits attention.

An added insight can be gleaned from the fact that Swapan da, a self-avowed Anglophile, in this article on British politics does acknowledge the “depredations of British Muslim ‘grooming gangs’ targeting vulnerable white girls in the north of England.” Now, the modus operandi of British grooming gangs which exploit white girls by hooking them on to drugs etc is not exactly similar to the average Love Jihad case in Bharat (although many Love Jihad cases do involve blackmail and group exploitation of girls using obscene videos & threats), the underlying fundamentalist religious ideology which motivates such acts is largely the same. It is telling that Swapan da feels no inhibition in stating facts related to grooming gangs in Britain but doesn’t want to even talk about multiple proven cases of Love Jihad in Bharat.

Whatever be the rationale behind Swapan da’s denial of Love Jihad, this single issue shows just how skewed the narrative is against Hindus in this nation. A BJP whose top leaders and ideologues have gone out of their way to assuage the minorities, scrupulously avoided all ‘controversial’ issues and respectfully abided by the new buzzword of our times i.e. ‘constitutional morality’, is still painted as a fascist Hindu-supremacist organization!

When your own elites, including the well-meaning ones, abandon you & stop believing your lived experience,  a society becomes truly rudderless and easy prey for inimical forces. This is the stark reality of Bharat in 2018 – Hindus are the true minority in this country, divided into various sub-identities with each group oblivious to what the other is experiencing.

Creating a Hindu consciousness beyond these sub-identities is not just a political imperative, but an existential one. And the bare minimum for this to happen is to have a non-predatory Government, which even if not openly supportive of a rising Hindu consciousness is at least not ideologically opposed to it, for a continuous period of 15-20 years.

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