Love Jihad is a very controversial subject matter, which often gets labelled as a conspiracy theory. Go on the Wikipedia page and search for Love Jihad and the very first statement that it says is that it is an Islamophobic Conspiracy theory. The general message in the mainstream is that such thing as Love Jihad does not really exists.
On October 10 2020, Indian Jewelry brand Tanishq launched their Ekatvam Campaign, where they uploaded a video on youtube showing an expecting Hindu girl who has been married into a Muslim family. The video then shows how her mother in law has arranged a Hindu ceremony that is practiced before the birth of the child. At the end of the video the girl asks her mother in law that why is she doing this, when such things are not practiced in their house. To this her mother in law replies that the tradition to keep a daughter happy is practiced in all homes.
For anybody who does not know what Love Jihad is, this is a great message that should melt your heart. What you see is a peaceful confluence of two cultures mingling peacefully with each other. However, anybody who has even a little bit of practicality in their thinking will clearly notice a problem here. Let’s reverse the situation shown; let’s say that instead of showing a Hindu girl in a Muslim family, the creators had shown a Muslim girl in Hindu family, what would have happened? There would have been a fatwa against Tanishq and some of their stores around the country would have been targeted by Muslim mob. If you think this is a speculation, just remember that in the 2001 Hindi movie Gadar, there was a scene where a Sikh man puts sindoor on the head of a Muslim girl. In response to this a fatwa was declared against the movie and many cinema halls were targeted. All the creators know this and therefore whenever they have to portray religious harmony, they will always show a Hindu girl marrying a Muslim man. This way they can show religious harmony and at the same time not anger the Muslims.
If you read the Quran, the absurdity of what was shown in the Tanishq video becomes self evident to you instantly. Quran 2.221 clearly mentions:
Do not marry idolatresses unless they believe; a believing woman is better than an idolatress, even if you like her. Nor shall you give your daughters in marriage to idolatrous men, unless they believe. A believing man .is better than an idolater, even if you like him. These invite to Hell, while GOD invites to Paradise and forgiveness, as He wills. He clarifies His revelations for the people, that they may take heed.
Based on this it is clear that under Islam you are not allowed to marry a Hindu girl or give your girl to a Hindu boy. If you do, then you are going against the word of Allah, which instantly makes you a non-believer. After you understand this, you realize that the Hindu girl shown in the video must have converted to Islam, in which case all the respect of girl’s Hindu traditions that they are showing is just a hoax!! It does not happen in real life. In other words, just to create some false positivity, a very wrong message is sent out to Hindu girls that if they will marry a Muslim man, they will not have to convert and that their religious beliefs will be respected. This reminds me of the scene from the 2008 movie Jodha Akbar, where Akbar who is a practicing Muslim accepts the demands of a Hindu princess whom he is going to marry, that she can practice her religion and can bring her idol of Krishna with her. Considering Quran 2.221 this was a request that Akbar could have never accepted, if he wanted to stay in power. It is this kind of misrepresentation that we as Hindus need to point out, otherwise the ignorance in these matters will continue to propagate.
Some people might object and say that what’s wrong in converting your religion for true love. Love is a very strong emotion which sometimes blinds you, however with the passage of time its effect fades. What you are left with afterwards, is the values of the community you are now associated with. Hindu and Muslim traditions treat women quite differently and therefore Hindu girls need to made aware of what they are getting into. Let’s have a look at Quran 4.34, which says
Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance — [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand
This Aayat should be made known to all the Hindu girls. This will clarify to them, their place in Muslim community. She must know that if she decides to get in a relationship with a Muslim, she will have to accept Islam and after that the man will be in charge of her. She has obey him faithfully and if she disobeys him then he is allowed to strike her. There are numerous stories of Hindu girls who went into relationship with Muslim men and faced domestic violence. Not that it is completely absent in Hindu families, however there is no institutional instruction allowing Men to beat their wives if she does not obey him in Hinduism.
She must also be told that under the Indian constitution (under Muslim law)it is allowed for Muslim men to have four wives. Quran 4.3 says
If you fear that you will not be able to observe their rights with exact fairness when you marry the orphan girls (in your custody), you can marry, from among other women (who are permitted to you in marriage and) who seem good to you, two, or three, or four. However, if you fear that (in your marital obligations) you will not be able to observe justice among them, then content yourselves with only one, or the captives that your right hands possess. Doing so, it is more likely that you will not act rebelliously.
She must realize that right now two of them are in love and she might think that this will last forever, however relationships get old. After sometime when the effect of love fades, he is free to go and marry another woman. If she protested, then his “holy” book has given him permission to beat her. There are numerous Hindu women who have faced these difficulties, however, such uncomfortable truths that were overlooked in the video by Tanishq, instead rosy picture was painted that everything is happy under such relations. Imagine an 18 year girl, with no clue about these complications, looking at this video. The impression she will be getting will be quite the opposite of what the reality is. Such misguiding of naive young girls is a very serious crime.
Instead of making such video, what is actually needed is to bring out the truth. Recently two Kerala women Nimisha aka Fathima and Sonia Sebastian aka Ayesha were captured in Afghanistan. They were lured to convert to Islam by their husbands and then made to travel to Afghanistan to fight for ISIS. There is also the case of Pragya Debnath aka Ayesha Jannat, who converted to Islam and was arrested in Bangladesh for recruiting terrorists and raising funds on behalf of Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh. It turned out that she fell in love with a boy of the different community who actually was a terrorist.
One of the arguments contrary to Love Jihad that is often thrown out is that these cases are scattered and unrelated; there is no organized effort to lure Hindu girls to convert to Islam. In 2017 Kerela court annulled a marriage of a converted Hindu woman Akhila alias Hadia to a Muslim man Shafeen Jahan. Although this decision was subsequently overturned by the Supreme court. Her father insisted that his daughter was indoctrinated. NIA continued to investigate this case and found that Hadia’s case was not isolated and that same individuals who indoctrinated Hadia have been involved in another case.
Even if an organized platform for conversion using Love Jihad may not have been found in many cases, we must acknowledge that if a non Muslim has to marry a Muslim he or she needs to convert to Islam. This is clearly an avenue that can be used by Muslims to convert people. Considering the belief of Muslims that they cannot achieve Jannat until all the people have converted to Islam, it is quite evident that if they can use this method, they will use this, after all for a follower of Islam their whole existence is a Jihad to convert everyone to Islam. At the end of every namaz, that they perform 5 times a day, they pray “Ya Allah hamein kuffaron ke upar ghalib kar” which means “O Allah make us dominant over the idol worshippers”. In many of the Masjids at the Mullahs and Maulvis have asked every Muslim to convert at least two Hindus to Islam in a year. With this attitude it is natural that they will use every means possible to convert others and love Jihad is one of them.
With this understanding you can see that the pushback that has come against the Ad is quite justified. More awareness need to be generated with regards to the challenges that Indian society faces in terms of Love Jihad. The mainstream media does not raise this as an issue because if they did, they will be termed Islamophobic and Regressive. However if you read local newspaper, you will see that such incident are quite common, where a Hindu girl eloped with a boy, and later realized that the boy was a Muslim. The sad part is that by the time she realizes the deceit, it is too late for her. She might either be pregnant and stuck in an abusive relationship or she might be abandoned by her lover. Moreover, since she had eloped without the consent of her parents, her family will not accept her back out of social stigma. Many a times in such situations the woman ends up performing suicide. Just yesterday a similar case came up in Lucknow. I think we as Hindus need to change our outlook regarding this, we should accept the girl back and support her to get back on her feet. After all in the end it is the loss of our society itself.
So to conclude I will say that the Tanishq Ekatvam campaign was a highly misplaced campaign, they should not have done it. However, now that this has happened I think it gives us a very good opportunity to showcase the issue related to Love Jihad and interfaith marriages in India. Let’s use this occasion to create more awareness on Love Jihad and keep the tempo high for any future misadventure on this issue by some other company.