Stories about Love Jihad

The intolerance behind #BoycottCareem and #BoycottSurfExcelIndia

As Careem takes down its controversial billboard ad featuring a runaway bride after being accused of promoting immoral ideas, one wonders about the real culprit behind this ongoing protest. With its target audience mostly consisting of youngsters growing up watching Moltyfoam’s pensive version of a Pakistani bride, the Careem bride simply couldn’t appease its customers’ androcentric worldview. Feminists have no sense of humour, a common grievance many have against people who are sensitive to sexist jokes, not realising how the same joke would offend them if tables were turned. This is what we recently witnessed in the reactions to Careem’s latest ad ...

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India has never looked as divided, as communally vulnerable, as broken as it does now

Narendra Modi, a serial communalist, assumed the mask of an inclusive figure just before the 2014 Elections to make him more acceptable to the masses. The myth he came to weave around himself five years ago made him seem like a man of development – the only mission in his life being to usher in a new era of economic reform in India. It is now 2018, and the mask and the myth are both in tatters. The one and only colour Modi has is called saffron – the colour of the majoritarian Hindu. It’s now known to one and ...

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India’s undeclared emergency: Dear BJP, arresting a citizen for calling you ‘fascist’ makes you… a fascist!

Dissent breathes life into a democracy, which is why when you stifle free speech, you strangle your democracy. Sadly, freedom of speech and democracy have never felt as suffocated in India as they feel today.  The latest example of this is the detention of 28-year-old Lois Sofia at an airport in Tamil Nadu, for the crime of shouting a slogan against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The incident escalated because Sofia shouted in front of the Tamil Nadu BJP Chief Tamilisai Soundararajan, “Fascist BJP government down, down.” This is a normal way of expressing displeasure and discontent with the functioning of ...

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For Muslims in India, Eid namaz was offered under the shadow of fear

I recently recalled the memory of an argument I had with one of my friends from school six years ago, when I was still in high school. It was around the time Narendra Modi was vigorously campaigning to become the next prime minister of India. He was a hot topic for debate, and every media house was discussing the sharp rise in the popularity of the chief minister of Gujarat, despite the Hindutva identity he carried. The media termed it the ‘Modi wave’. My friend and I were discussing the series of corruption scandals that unfolded during the tenure of ...

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#JusticeforAsifa: Has India discarded its moral compass?

What is at play in India today is a systematic dehumanisation of its Muslim community by the ruling establishment in Delhi. The ruling Hindu nationalist government, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, has empowered extremist forces trying to further entrench the country’s religious fault lines. With the rise of Modi and his ilk, a political echo system has emerged in India, where Muslims are treated or looked at in the same way as Jews were seen by the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s. The tragedy in Kathua is the by-product of that mindset. Located some 550 kilometres north of ...

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Why 2019 looks difficult for BJP

Until recently, what seemed like Narendra Modi’s India now looks a little disenchanted after Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) lacklustre performance in Gujarat and the party’s humiliating defeat in Rajasthan by-poll. It seems that the disillusioned and disappointed Indian voter is once again looking for a change. Not long ago, the intellectuals, human rights groups and journalists across the globe were lamenting the rise of ultra-right and orthodox Hindu nationalist government in India. The stray incidents of beef killings and love jihad gave them sleepless nights, compelling them to predict the onset of terrible times for the minorities and the end of the Nehruvian consensus. However, today it seems that ...

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By labelling Muslims as Pakistanis and their localities as mini-Pakistan, BJP is fracturing India’s social fabric

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, poured scorn on the Congress party, blaming its flawed policies and self-indulgence for the Partition of the subcontinent. His over an hour-long speech, amid rising slogans from the opposition, was punctuated with gesticulations and anti-Gandhi family barbs. There was no reference to the contentious Rafale deal, the details of which Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman refused to divulge, for they were “classified”. The prime minister, almost two months after accusing the Congress of conniving with Pakistan “to influence Gujarat elections”, once again attempted to divert the attention. Though still a very popular figure, Modi’s ...

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Of Afrazul’s brutal murder and India’s love(less) jihad

The brutal murder of Muhammad Afrazul in Rajasthan has left everyone aghast and shocked. Washington-based Baloch activist, Ahmar Mustikhan, writes, “My head is bowed in shame as a defender of Hinduism as a humanist faith and an Indophile. I am speechless and very angry.” He has compared the killer Shambhu Lal to the Muslim killers Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale who hacked an off-duty fusilier, Lee Rigby, with a knife and cleaver in London, putting the debate in an altogether different category. After this, one feels the urge to look for a suitable nomenclature for an extremism-like phenomenon in Hinduism. Huffington Post quotes the ...

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BJP is to India what the Taliban are to Afghanistan

The Taliban government in Kabul during the 1990s had become symbolic, not only of political barbarity, but also of great cultural intolerance. They wanted to obliterate all the symbols present in the country that did not relate to its Islamic history and culture. The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas – which symbolised the epitome of Afghanistan’s history and heritage – was a brutal extension of that mentality. Today, India’s ruling Hindu party is besieged with a similar sectarian outlook. It displays an obsession to turn India into a Hindu nation, side-lining its other cultural and historical diversities. This fixation is so pronounced ...

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Dear Pakistan, I know our history is complicated, but our friendship is greater. Love, India

When I was a little girl, it was customary for our family to watch at least one new movie every month. Back then, movie titles were always displayed in English, Hindi and Urdu. Therefore, while English remained my primary language of communication, I ended up speaking both Hindi and Urdu fluently. I grew up in Mumbai which has a strong cosmopolitan culture. I grew up with friends and neighbours from different faiths, and was simultaneously introduced to Diwali and Eid, to Navratra and Ramazan, even as my friends got to know more about Christmas and Lent. It was because of this multi-cultural experience that I got to learn so much about the ...

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