Love Jihad and live-in: nationalism controlling women’s bodies

Renu Singh

For few months now after BJP has won the election with a clear majority, the rights wing agenda has picked up more intensification. They have shapely intensified their campaign against muslims and this time they have given it a name “love jihad”. Love Jihad crudely but effectively argues that Muslim men are waging jihad in India through so-called love- marriages. The young men apparently waging war through love – through the capture of innocent Hindu women – are also referred to as “Love Romeos”. ABVP, The student wing of BJP has announced an intensive campaign against ‘love jihad’. The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members joined hands to form a human chain and launch a campaign in Delhi University to raise awareness and sensitise students about “love jihad” and the “menace of live-in relationships”.

bjp cartoonThe arguments they are using to justify their campaign fall against the choice and rights of women. They are using arguments such as ‘Raising awareness among girls to not fall for such traps’. By arguing that the right wing forces are trying to establish that girls do not have brain of their own and cannot take decision for them. This reinforces the brahmanical patriarchal ideology that women should always be under the surveillance of either father, brother, husband and son’ throughout her life.

Their campaign is also about raising awareness against the ‘live in relationship’ and ‘love marriages’ saying that these relationships hardly works. The glorification of family as an institution is an open right wing agenda. As feminist rightly puts out that family is the primary institution for women’s oppression. And what they have to say about the fact that most cases of sexual violence against girls take place within the “safe boundaries” of home.

The glorification of Indian culture goes against the right to choice. While girls are going out and making multiple choices in their lives, this campaign is danger to their freedom. Today what we as women have is the result of historical women’s movement across the world, which established that women are human beings too and deserve the equal rights as men have. The right wing forces, on the name preserving Indian culture are pushing women again in the close wall of home and community. We should understand that these are the same forces which kill couples for choosing the partners of their own choice from different castes. Now they are widening their agenda and waging a hatred war against Muslims. These are the same forces which beats up couple on valentine’s day on the name of following western culture and reinforcing the “great Indian culture’ of hearted and violence against the women.

We would like to reinforce that women have the right of choice and decide for them. We are not ready to be worshiped on one hand by the myth of ‘devi’ and other hand beaten up for making their life choices.

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