WEBINAR

TANISHQ’S ‘EKATVAM’

INTRODUCTION:

‘Ekatvam’ denotes oneness or unification. Accordingly, Tanshique through its campaign ‘ekatvam’ aimed to celebrate the coming together of people from different walks of life, local communities and families during these challenging times and celebrate the beauty of oneness. The ad hoc advertisement, featured a pregnant Hindu woman cordially escorted by the Muslim mother -in -law to her baby shower ceremony, depicted the religious harmony between the two communities. However, the advertisement was slammed for promoting inter faith marriages, love jihad and sexism and ultimately Tanishq was forced to take it back.

  1. WHAT IS LOVE JIHAD?

The propagators of the love jihad, (organizations like Rashtriya Sawamsevak Sangh, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad) espouse that it is an international Islamic conspiracy to increase the Muslim population by compulsive and deceitful religious conversions by winning over young women.[1] The abstraction rose to national attention in India in around 2009 when the propagators vehemently publicized the idea by distributing pamphlets and filing court cases around Kerala, Karnataka and Delhi against the couples of inter religion[2] marriage featuring Hindu bride and Muslim groom. The movement has been labeled as Islamophobic and antifeminist.

It is true that most non-Muslims women or men do convert to Islam when they marry Muslims. That is because the Muslim marriage ceremony or nikaah, is not valid unless both parties are people of the book.[3] National investigation Agency report (prepared on the instance of the Supreme Court to probe the alleged conversion and marriage of Hindu girls in Kerala through allurement and radicalization) revealed a common link with another such instance where the mentor in both belonged to same radical group[4]. However, the thesis of love jihad can’t be generalized on the basis of sporadic instances.

Consequently, the Supreme Court in Hadiya case[5], by protecting the right of privacy and self-determination of Hindu women held that validity of marriage shall not be subject to any such investigation.

  1. SOARING RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM IN INDIA:

Contemporary India is witnessing a major intolerance, enmity and religious hatred between Hindus and Muslims. The interactions between the two have been exacerbating since independence. Both the groups sense that they have been exploited, persecuted, swindled and victimized by the other.

Major causes for Hindus’ resentment happen to be the religious persecution, violence, forced conversion, documented massacres and demolition of temples and educational institutions in pre and post independent India.

In medival India, Hindus have been oppressed by the bigot and sectarian Muslim rulers. Andhra’s  last indigenous Hindu dynasty Kakatiya was collapsed under repeated pressure from the Delhi Sultanate,[6] Hindu temples were demolished and desecrated,[7] and violence of Muslim rulers against the India population was driven by rejection of non-Islamic religions. For example under the reign of Firoz Shah Tughluq Hindus were forced to pay Jazia Tax[8] and Aurangzeb was the vile oppressor of Hindus[9]. In modern India, Bengal partition of 1905 and separate religious electorates in 1909 further proved at the disadvantage of Hindus. Moreover, causalities in independent India like Fidayeen attacks on Raghunath Temple 2001, Varanasi Bombing 2006, exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, Amarnath Pilgrimage massacre 2000 further relate to cause of Hindus’ outrage.

Conversely, Muslims assert that for decades they have been at the receiving end of structural, cultural and direct violence. Cities bearing Islamic names are being renamed, history textbooks are being rewritten and also they have been the victims of cultural violence (judgment in Shah Bano Case, declaring Triple Talaq as unconstitutional, and passing of Citizenship Amendment Bill), recently the Muslims are being accused of waging a corono-jihad in India.[10]  Moreover, fatalities like operation Polo in Hyderabad, 1950, East Pakistan Riots 1964, Gujarat riots 1985 and 2002 further advance their averments.

Such animosity and bitterness run against the principles of fraternal relations and religious tolerance which are basic postulates envisaged under the Indian constitution.[11] India was historically a country where religious tolerance and a culture of fraternity existed[12], and the same principles were added into the Indian Constitution as the framers believed that it would then in turn aid in the establishment and the sustenance of an egalitarian order.[13] However, desired constitutional values of secularism and fraternity have been reciprocated with fundamentalism and communalism.

  1. UNTANGLING THE MAZE OF TROUBLESOME RELATIONS:

Some steps would produce desired results. First, religion should not be politicized. Gandhi wrote in 1942 religion is a personal matter which should have no place in politics[14]. However, parties on purpose choose religious controversial issues to capture power. For example, Ramjanmbhoomi controversy was taken as a election manifesto by the Modi Government, Rajiv Gandhi Government change the law after Shah Bano Case[15] and passed The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce Act) 1986 to woo the sentiments of Muslims, Anti-conversion laws have been legislated to prohibit the incidents happened in Meenakshipuram in 1981, where 100 Dalit families converted to Islam,[16] transfer of land in Kashmir valley to the Amarnath shrine Board was followed by the agitation in Kasmir valley,[17] and idea of embracing Uniform Civil Code would further perturb Muslim population as it poses thereat to their cultural identity.

Second, both the communities must step towards upholding our pluralism and cultural diversity. Quran also upholds the idea of a pluralistic society.[18] Religious harmony and consonance is the essence of every religion. Third, people of India should strive towards fulfillment of their constitutional duty[19] of promoting harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood transcending religious diversities.

Fourth, it must be realized that religion is a mean to achieve our goal and not an end in itself. Issues pertaining to growth and development must be prioritized over religious matters. Media too should serve the nation in its role to promote social and political issues[20] and not fulfill its own agenda.

  1. CONCLUSION:

Our constitutional fathers chose India to be a secularist nation rather than a communalist. Gandhiji was uncompromisingly opposed to the idea communalism[21]. Today Gandhi’s India should adhere to its constitutional values of oneness and unity. Though the Tanshiq’s Ekatvam envisaged the same idea but the animosity and friction between the two groups would not let any such step to be a viable solution to the problem.

Author:

Naina Agarwal

National University of Study and Research in Law,

Ranchi

 

 

[1]Jyoti Punwani, Myths and Prejudices about ‘Love Jihad,’ 49 ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL WEEEKLY 12 (2014)

[2]Charu Gupta, Hindu Women, Muslim Men: Love Jihad and Conversions, 44 ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL WEEKLY 13 (2009).

[3] Supra note 1, at 12.

[4]Bharti Jain, NIA Finds a Common Mentor in Love Jihad Cases, T.O.I., Aug, 28, 2017.

[5] Shafin Jahan v. Asokan K.M & Ors, Criminal Appeal no. 366 of 2018.

[6]Cynthia Talbot, Inscribing the other, Inscribing the Self: Hindu- Muslim Identities in pre-Colonial India, 37 COMPARATIVE STUDIES IN SOCIETIES AND HISTORY 694 (1995)

[7] Harbans Mukhia, Communalism: A Study in its Social Historical perspective, 1 SOCIAL SCIENTIST 46 (1972)

[8] Id. at 49

[9] Id

[10] Sudha Ramachandran, Hindu Violence in India, 12 COUNTER TERRORIST TRENDS AND ANALYSIS 15 (2020)

[11] S R Bommai v. Union of India, 1994 AIR 1918, at 123

[12] Id. at 148

[13] Id. at 93

[14] Zenab Banu, Religion in Indian Politics: Need to be Value Oriented not Power oriented, 70 THE INDIAN JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE 705 (2009)

[15] Mohammad Ahmad Khan v. Shah Bano Begum, 1985 (1) SCALE 767

[16] Supra note 13, at 710

[17] Id. at 712

[18] Asgahr Ali Engineer, Resolving Hindu-Muslim Problem: An Approach, 34 ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL WEEKLY 196 (1999)

[19] Indian Const. Art 51 A

[20]Diana C. Mutz, Contexualizing Perosonal Experience: The Role of Mass Media, 56 THE JOURNAL OF POLITICS 690 (1994)

[21] Bipan Chandra, Gnadhiji Secularism and Communalism, 32 SOCIAL SCIENTIST 34(2004)

 

Disclaimer: The author bears sole responsibility for the accuracy of facts, opinions or view stated in the present blog.

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