5.10.07

Is marrying a Hindu a crime?

Rizwan and Priyanka got married. She belongs to a rich Marwari family in Kolkata; he was not so well-to-do. He was murdered, his body found on the railway tracks. They say the injuries showed he was killed before being thrown on the tracks. Killed because of his religion. This is Kolkata where the Left Front rules, a political party that is avowedly non-communal. It is sad the police have been trying to give the case the look of suicide.

In recent times more and more such couples are being harassed. Panel discussions are concentrating on a weird theory. Last night I watched Tarun Vijay of the RSS tell us that this has to do with jihad. I don’t have a clue. A Muslim guy was murdered; where is the jihad here? But Islamic conversions invariably come into the picture.

Let us be open about it. Is there any compulsion here? Unfortunately, it is, not just with Muslims but with every community. It is the man’s religion that prevails at most times. It is indeed rare for a male to convert. I have problems with non-ideological conversions, anyway. It does not thrill me to know that some boxer or rock star has discovered Islam while doing time in prison.

You might attribute it to the fact that I am not a religious person and that various streams of Islam and other religions can and do co-exist in my environment.

However, in Rizwan’s case it is clear that it isn’t merely financial circumstances that have caused his death. One would hate to make it sound communal, but unfortunately this is the case. We in India talk about secular democracy – now you know why I have been calling it a sham? Many have asked me why then do I take up the Indian Muslim cause. The reason is simple: IMs are a group of people, a minority. It is a matter of standing up for that group. I have spoken about Dalits – no one complains then. I speak about commercial sex workers, about the disabled, about those who are forced out of their shanties. I am not those. Why don’t they question me then?

I am in no position to talk about Islam, which is why I will not quote surahs. Islam does not need me to justify its existence.

My position on god and religion do not conform to any set pattern. God could be…

A mythological character
An abstract entity
Nature
Conscience
A source of inspiration or succour

However, for those who believe that god is a Supreme Being, I do not see any reason to invalidate it.

Given the above incident, and many such that happen within the confines of secrecy, I do not believe a Supreme Being would make such distinctions. A Supreme Being in any religion is supposed to be superior, so whether it is a Priyanka or a Rizwan, both have a right to be together and to follow the paths they wish towards spiritual enlightenment.

I have constantly argued that Hinduism must stop this pretence about being a ‘way of life’ because it does not allow everyone to have their own way of life. The heavy adherence to rituals makes it difficult.

These are not abstract issues; they are real. And please don’t tell me what would happen in Pakistan. I am talking about India. It happened in Bhopal earlier, where incidentally the Muslim boy converted to Hinduism and yet there were problems. It will happen again.

This India is so intolerant. So, why don’t I leave? Because I can fight intolerance. Many give up. I don’t and I won’t.

14 comments:

  1. And it is happening to my friend, which is even weird because it's not even hindu-muslim here, the guy is Maharashtrian-Parsi and the girl is Jain. I guess, secularism is a myth, like and advertisement that is created to sell a product but doesn't guarantee it. We are not united, we are religiously segregated. Not to mention the housing colonies that will allow only a certain community to reside.

    It would be so much better if people would just chill and let others live their lives, like you said. I mean if they spend half the time that they waste bickering about others, in doing what they like, they would be leading happy lives. But hey! Don't dare point it out, ok? After all, we have tradition and culture!!!!!

    Blah!

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  7. blog
    No marrying anyone from other than your religion or caste isn't a crime, but, the consequences that we face later whether in the form of confrontation by society or among the married couples when they start living their married lives together, but, in their own ways influenced by their own pattern of growing up in different backgrounds...

    The only way to predict success in such marriages is , if, both of'em remian in love crazily for the rest of their lives, which can make'em more tolerant to eachother's ways......

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  10. SM:

    Am glad you gave the example of other communities. Why is it always Hindu vs Muslim?

    Tradition and culture will invariably come into the picture because they form the backdrop. Now it is for the couple to tide over that, and in our society the onus is largely on the male.
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    Circle:

    You are right about consequences being faced later. The issue then goes beyond tolerance because two people have to have more than that going...

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  12. Getting lot of hatespeak messages aren't you!
    So there is intolerance, you see. Education doesn't bring tolerance.

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  13. I usually avoid the term 'tolerance' because there is an element of being patronising. I'd say the hatespeak is a result of severe insecurity regarding one's own position.

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