Egging people to buy gold Jewellary from its recent collection, upmarket Jewellary brand, Tanishq, released a unique emotional commercial. A beaming lady walking through a beautifully decorated home, being ushered along by her delighted mother in law. Around 20 second into the 55 second commercial, do the views realise that the lady is pregnant and she is being escorted for her baby shower. The emotion quotient is so high that the viewer is almost lost to the whole idea of a Jewellary brand. Around 35 seconds into the commercial, one realises the beauty of the concept. The lady in question is being escorted by her Muslim mother in law will all Muslim relatives to celebrate the bliss of life, motherhood. That a Hindu lady is being accorded this loving gesture by her Muslim in laws is the crux of endearment of the entire commercial. The visualisation leaves the audiences, misty eyed and lost in the world of love and togetherness.
Nothing should have been wrong with this commercial. Hang on, this is a new India! In today’s India, everything is viewed from the binary or prism of religion. Why is the girl a Hindu and the family Muslim. Why couldn’t the creators of the commercial reverse the religion. A muslim girl in a Hindu family being welcomed for baby shower. Just because, Hindus have been taking it on the face, does it mean that they should be served blows after blows.
Suddenly the narrative changed from emotional, familial bonding of baby shower to ‘Love Jihad’. The opinion makers of 21st century India drew their swords on social media and within hours the Tanishq commercial was being derided as insensitive, biased, disrespectful, anti-national and above all promoting ‘Love Jihad’.
To my dazed existence, even within various Television newsrooms, the opinion was highly polarised and divided. Young men & women, who are tuned to absorb news as it is, were highly weaponised with their aggressive thoughts. A young lady in my newsroom, confronted me with the same twisted logic that I was fight out on the social media - ‘why don’t liberals ever dream of making a commercial with a Muslim girl in a Hindu family - even in this case, baby shower is a Hindu concept, so should have been natural for a Muslim girl to feel kicked about festivities in a Hindu family’.
Aghast as I was, I wondered, what has come about 21st century young people. For heaven’s sake, baby shower is a practice followed in all religion, be it Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, and so on. Does the presence of a Hindu girl in a Muslim family, come as a shock to us. Look around us, people, for centuries, such interfaith marriage have been taking place with hardly any notion of so called ‘Love Jihad’.
When Princess Jhodha Bai was offered in marriage by her Rajput father to Emperor Akbar, what was that? Was that interfaith alliance for a stronger state or ‘Love Jihad’. Thousands of Rajput princesses across the country married Muslim ruler, why did their families offer their daughter in marriage
Rather than understand that crux of power alliance, those episodes are today dug out as repression and projected in a new light. Basis those so called “injustice”, this whole new concept of ‘Love Jihad’ has been created.
Interestingly, those who profess their Hindu thoughts of protecting women from Islamic “Love Jihad”, seem to be completely clueless about facts presented by leaders of the Bharatiya Janta Party(BJP).
In Feb 2020, Minister of state for Home, G Krishna Reddy stated in a written reply in the parliament, “Love Jihad — popularly used to describe cases of allegedly forced interfaith marriages, was not defined under existing laws and no such case had been reported by the central agencies. There are no cases of ‘Love Jihad’ in the country”.
To further buttress the point, let me quote the former Home Minister Rajnath Singh. On repeated questioning by media person in 2014, Rajnath Singh quipped, “What is this, I don’t know something like this happens in India. I am not aware”.
My two - bit question to all proponents of ‘Love Jihad’ theory is very straight - please find us cases of ‘Love Jihad’. Can any of the so-called protector’s of faith, find any such cases in India. And if not, they what are they loathing about. If under BJP rule in states and centre, case of ‘Love Jihad’ have not been recorded, then, who is hiding facts they this section loves to quote and believe in.
Are these proponents of the Hindutva, proclaiming the BJP government is hiding facts, lying to its core vote and hiding cases of forced interfaith marriages. Are they questioning their champions of uprightness? And they are not, then who is suffering, who is complaining, who is the victim?
Clearly, in the veiled attempt to demonise Muslims and paint them in utter distaste, a section of mindless Indian populace is attempting to divide and deride the very notion of India. In their effort to secure lasting political gains for a set of political parties, these modern 21st century Indians are creating an atmosphere of fear and despair.
Protect your women from the aggressor Muslims - this is the concept, these modern day demons desire to force in our heads. While, most of them push hate in our thoughts, little do they realise that, we Indians are the most potent example of mixed race. Aryans invaded India and converted it into Aryavrat. Greeks invaded India and then settled in India. Then came Huns, Kushnas, Mongolian tribe, Christians and Muslims. And yes, shall we forget the indigenous local tribal population of India, which has suffered the onslaught of all, from Aryans to Muslims. So who are we? How pure are we? What is our race?
The day, these modern 21st century social media thinker find an answer to these vexed questions, we could speak about interfaith confluence. Because, till then, lets allow them to trace their purity of race, thought, religion and yes, themselves.
(Writer of the article, Ajay Kumar, is Consulting Editor, India TV)
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The opinions do not reflect the views of India TV)