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Love Jihad law- from the middle-class (not elitist) perspective

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G Indira
G Indira
Author of the book: The India I Know and of Hinduism. Publications in -charge Pragna Bharati Organisation, Hyderabad. Academician and free-lancer

The Uttar Pradesh Government’s Ordinance aimed at curbing forcible or fraudulent religious conversions including those for the sake of marriage, is a step-in the right direction. Since it has got the assent of State Governor Anandiben Patel, it has become law and has been published in the U.P. Gazette. After many parents complained about their daughters being married to convert religion, this law has been brought in. Colloquially, the inter-faith marriage between a Muslim boy and a Hindu girl is called ‘love-jihad’. This coinage is often ridiculed by the Liberals of India.

Love Jihad meant marriage only for the sake of religious conversion. It is a repulsive and abominable term for the Liberal elite class and liberal media too. To them, marriage is between two individuals out of free choice. Those two individuals are hassle- free and like free radicals they could float/flirt as they want to or as per their wishes, according to them. In their opinion, marriages- arranged between: a young man and woman is archaic and atavistic. The liberals have these western philosophies soaked in mind. They use the West-lens to see the East, which is a world that has a huge past civilizational history. However, in Indian society, family matters. The liberals view, most often, Indian parents to be illiberal, when it comes marriage of their children. Why would parents be, in the first place?

For instance, as a baby their son/daughter cries for a toy, parents buy. When sick, they worry and forgo sleep many days and nights to look after. Some women after attaining motherhood devote their time totally to look after their children, forgoing their personal goals and ambitions. As grown-ups, if their son/daughter wants to pursue higher education in their desired field, parents go out of their way to provide them wherewithal. This is how they bring-up their pesky children with patience all through. Most middle-class parents strive to fulfil their (parental) aspirations of reaching higher perches, through their children’s accomplishments.

At each step, parents try fulfilling their children’s wants, even if they are beyond their means. Unlike in the West, parents in India sacrifice their money, pleasure, time and other personal enjoyments to educate their children. Of course, as the saying goes: “Children sweeten Labour”, every middle-class parent thinks of their Labour, in their work sphere, to be sweet, as they do it for their children. For, most parents in India (barring the ones who work in government), their children are their pension in old age.

After having guarded so much, so wholesomely, if their grown-up son or daughter falls in love and would like to marry the person of their choice, parents think twice, whether the marriage is enduring. For, they are not sure whether it is love or impetuosity.  If it (the proposed marriage) comes with an inter-religious (specially between Hindu-Muslim) equation, they think not twice but hundred or thousand times. For, Hindus attach sanctity to marriage, whereas Muslims treat it as a civil-contract. These contractual marriages, the West approves, because it is free-society. In it, marriage is not binding. One can leave his/her spouse, as their marital-love recedes or love outside marriage blossoms. The couple there are always on tenterhooks. They are not certain of their marital-faith lasting forever. In India, the Hindu-code laws are stringent on divorce. From age immemorial, Hindus have a feeling that  marriage is a bondage, carried through many lives. Not of this life alone. In any case, as per the present time, these notions (nowadays) are loosened. Whatever be the case, the family system in India is still intact.

To parents, children are their assets. One may argue, a parent is a parent in any part of the world. True but culture in different parts of the world differs. Arranged marriages are in place, because Indian parents expect their children to concentrate on studies. They do not like distraction of love and girl-friends that mars the education. Parents do respect the feelings of their loved ones. Liberals all over the world are of the view that children when they are grown-up, should be liberated from the bounds of parents totally. For parents that groom the children right from birth, it is difficult. They know that they should not interfere or micro-manage children’s affairs, after being adults. However, when larger life-settling decisions like marriage is to be taken, parents do need to counsel them with their experience. Otherwise the mis-step, a son/daughter takes, makes them painful throughout their life.

Under the new law, which deals with different categories of offences, a marriage will be declared “null and void”, if the marriage of a woman is solely for the purpose of conversion (love jihad). There is nothing wrong in the law, as many parents are crying hoarse of these inter-faith marriages, that take away their daughter’s cultural roots. There is provision in the said law: If the woman wishes to change the religion after marriage, she needs to apply to the district magistrate. Hence, it doesn’t violate the Constitutional norm i.e. the freedom of religion.  Still in India, the two major religions: Hindus, Muslims— are living in silos. They are not bound by a Uniform Common Civil Code (UCC). The minority religions in India are guaranteed to propagate and proselytize. One of the dubious measures, is Love Jihad, says the Uttar Pradesh Government on the behest of their electorate.  Rightly, the Cabinet Minister and Spokesperson of the U.P. Govt., Siddharth Nath Singh said, “The way in which religious conversions are done using deceit, lies, force and dishonesty is heart-wrenching, and it was necessary to have a law in this regard.” The government is correct in making the law, as Government in India is generally formed by the poor and middle-class, it should represent their voice in enacting laws.

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G Indira
G Indira
Author of the book: The India I Know and of Hinduism. Publications in -charge Pragna Bharati Organisation, Hyderabad. Academician and free-lancer
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