But first an anecdote. A few days ago whilst looking for a flat in Delhi, I approached a broker. With a pleasant smile on his visage, the 27-year-old real estate agent ushered me into his two-room office. After I had apprised him of my requirement, in a serious vein he asked my name, as though everything depended on my reply.
“Sapan Kapoor," I said.
"This is good."
"But what is in a name?”
He paused for a moment and then said laconically, “Hum Mohammedans ko ghar nahi dete hai (We do not rent out to Muslims).” When I asked him the reason behind this discrimination against a particular community, he refused to elaborate. I feel ill at ease in the company of such people, so I left that place at once in a huff. Such is the current state of affairs in India. Sigh!
Now Love Jihad. I mean seriously?
It is one of the ridiculous things I have ever come across in my life heretofore. For those talking of it understand the true import of neither love nor jihad. Love is a beautiful feeling which can happen between two human beings. In the realm of love, one does not fall for somebody after asking his or her religion, caste, or nationality. One cannot plan for it, for it just happens. Those, who have been in love, will understand where I am coming from. And to the rest, was it all Greek?
Indeed, the term ‘Love Jihad’ has been coined by those benighted, ne’er-do-well fellows who have, perchance, not yet experienced this emotion. I pity them. The ignoramus cranks allege that Muslim boys are bent on proselytizing Hindu girls using the most potent weapon in their quiver i.e. ‘Love’ and therefore, they wish to create an awareness amongst the masses about this ‘serious threat to the very existence of Hindu religion’.
In this regard, a morphed image of Kareena Kapoor Khan - Saif Ali Khan’s wife - showing her face half-covered with a veil has been used as the cover photo of the latest issue of Himalaya Dhwani, a magazine brought out by the women’s wing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad called Durga Vahini. A strap underneath reads, ‘dharmantaran se rashtraantaran’ meaning ‘conversion of nationality through religious conversion’.
Rajini Thukral, the coordinator of the magazine, has reportedly said, “She (Kareena) is a celebrity. The youth try to emulate celebrities. They think if she can do so, why not us?”
Kareena (34) has not converted to Islam but has added 'Khan' to her last name.
Thukral, further said in an interview to a Hindi publication, "The youth is influenced and attracted by people like Kareena, who at the time of her marriage had claimed that she would not embrace Islam and will not drop her surname, but only add 'Khan'. However, she is seen practicing various Muslim rituals and she is leading a dual life. She should completely embrace Islam for this dual behavior is affecting the youth.”
Firstly, what an independent woman like Kareena does in her personal life like whom she marries, which religion she follows or does not follow any at all, etc. should be none of the Hindutva brigade’s business. You are nobody, I mean nobody to comment on her personal life.
Alas, women are considered nothing but mere booty to be treated as property in the patriarchal societies of India and Pakistan. According to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Hindus have over the centuries lost a lot of maal (property) to other religions which they are now seeking to recover.
Referring to ‘ghar wapsi’, Bhagwat said: “Bhule bhatke jo bhai gaye hain, unko wapas layenge. Who log apne aap nahin gaye, unko loot kar, lalach de kar le kar gaye… Abhi chor pakda gaya hai. Mera maal chor ke paas hai. Aur yeh duniya jaanti hai. Mein apna maal wapas loonga, yeh kaunsi badi baat hai (We will bring back our brothers who have lost their way. They did not go on their own; they were robbed; tempted into leaving… Now the thief has been caught and the world knows my belongings are with the thief. I will retrieve my belongings. So why is this such a big issue?).”
So how exactly are they retrieving their ‘belongings’? By using the same tactics which they allege Muslims and Christians had used to convert Hindus. According to a report, it costs around Rs 5 lakh and Rs 2 lakh to convert a Muslim and a Christian respectively for RSS. Poor people are lured through promises of ration cards, cash, jobs, and scheduled caste status. They fall for it, for as they say - it’s economy, stupid.
Moreover, the Bajrang Dal – an offshoot of RSS – is planning to wage its ‘Reverse Love Jihad’ on Muslims and Christians through its ‘bahu lao, beti bachao’ campaign under which they will provide protection to those Hindu boys who get hitched with Muslim and Christian girls. Pharisaical and iniquitous, aren’t they? By my troth, it is actually a case of the pot calling the cattle black.
Things have indeed changed for worse ever since Modi Sarkar has taken over the reins. From treating minorities as third-class citizens and calling them ‘haramzadon’ to violent clashes, leading to deaths of innocent civilians on the border, this government has shown its true colors so soon. I wonder how one could hate a people so much. Do they not have hearts? Do they not have compassion?
Do not they know it is no bravery to make the troops fire on unarmed civilians? It is no courage to kill women and children. They are the worst of India; they want to turn everybody like them – killers and haters. But I do not want blood on my hands. They thrive and prosper in the climate of hatred. It acts like oxygen for them. Without it, such outfits would cease to exist.
A Pakistani Facebook friend of mine recently confronted me following the Peshawar massacre and killings of civilians on the border.
The person said: “Do you realize you have an evil government?”
“Why did you guys vote for such people?”
I told the Pakistani categorically that I could not be held responsible for the possible evil deeds committed by my government. I did not vote for this government. In fact, I tried my best to stop them in my individual capacity. Now whatever happens between our two countries, we should at least not spoil our personal relations. I wish just once, for once we could see the people living across the border as fellow human beings and thus realize the worthlessness of this conflict.
As I mentioned earlier, it is a fight between good and evil, love and hate. And in order to win this war, we ought to blot out the latter through the power of love. This, I believe, is true Love Jihad.