The Hadiya case has quickly turned into a war of political interests between Hindutva and Islamists. Prima facie, the issue is simple. A woman choses to convert to another religion and marry a man of her choice from that religion. Enter evil parents. The marriage is anulled. Hadiya is becomes a prisoner. Clamour grows with the Hindutva pride seeing exploitation, while the anti-Hindutva prejudice seeing nothing but a matter of choice. I don't see the issue as that simple, and for once, I agree with all parties. I definitely applaud the courage of Hadiya in sticking to her choice and taking it all the way. While I restricted myself to stating this, all was well. The problem arose when I also understand the perspective of the father as well as the courts. In my view, this is a complex issue with several factors that need considering. The high voltage drama around the issue has ensured it is largely reduced to accusations of love jihad and scoffing at the accusations with complete inability of both extreme stands to actually understand the issue beyond the lens they are habituated to.
For me, this is not a religious issue in the sense of Islam or Hinduism or whatever, but it is similar to countless instances of women (and men too) being infatuated with a belief system to the point of cutting off their previous life. It isn't a matter of choice of religion or choice of husband, but a matter of a series of choices that literally amount to abdicating her entire family, name, identity, residence, marital status and more. It is a series of extreme and life changing decisions in rapid succession. This is where the case is a cause for concern. She is literally abdicating the person she used to be in order to embrace a completely new way of life. It is clear that she is convinced about this. It is equally clear that those cheering for her are convinced that it is the right thing. But if you take off the lens of specific religions, where have we seen similar behavior?
Well, we have seen women leave their families and join the Sanatan Sanstha (a Hindu extremist organization). When their concerned parents tried legal means to get them back, the girls informed them that they had joined the Sanatan Sanstha by choice. They accused their parents of abuse. A more recent example would be when the parents of two sisters in Bombay filed a complaint against Sunil Kulkarni who ran an "organization" called Shifu Sankriti for entraping their daughters who.... found his cult and left their parental home. They accused Sunil Kulkarni of entraping their daughters, giving them drugs, sexual exploitation and what not. The daughters rubbished their claims in court and accused the parents of domestic violence. Other parents too have made similar complaints, but those who followed him have not spoken against him. Sunil Kulkarni is not Muslim, none of those accusations were proved. He was arrested anywayand is still being denied bail. The girls of the college in Dera Sacha Sauda had released videos endorsing Ram Rahim and angry with the state over his arrest. I'd post a link, but that is one sad video I wish I could unsee.
While it is tempting to see this as an issue of religious choice or prejudice against minorities or love jihad, the fact is that there are patterns to people suddenly immersing themselves in a new faith they find. And sometimes the patterns are suspicious enough to raise serious questions on whether the person is acting of their own will. This is not limited to any specific religion or cult. However, it usually happens when there is some kind of fundamentalism or cult going on. Merely being interested in and following religion does not lead to an abdication of family and loved ones, home and routine life and a complete immersion in the new lifestyle. Hadiya didn't just embrace Islam, she changed her name, her dress, her educational goals, she got involved in an Islamist organization, and she quit her family, stayed with several new acquaintances in quick succession. When legally challenged, with the assistance of her new associates, she came up with another Islamist to marry! A parent who wouldn't be alarmed by something like this is hard to find. This is not merely a change of faith or interreligious marriage. For something like this to happen, the mind is completely captivated by the promise of the new faith and completely disinterested in existing life and loved ones to the point of losing all realistic view. In that sense, the NIA is not altogether wrong when it speaks of indoctrination subverting consent. The bigger problem is that the NIA seeing it as happening only as the pet bogey of love jihad, when, in fact it happens across religions, cults, politics and even love marriages with gullible minds absorbing visions of utopia and giving up anythign that would deter from chasing that infatuation. Anything that drastically changes life while looking at limited aspects of a situation based on information promoted is suspect.
For that matter, even if an atheist were to suddenly turn hostile with family over suddenly discoverign that there is no God, it would still be a suspect state of mind during which they probably should not take life altering decisions. One of the wisest pieces of relationship advice comes from the polyamory community, to enjoy a new relationship, but to not make any life altering decisions while under the influence of NRE (New Relationship Energy). Something like this applied to matters of changes in beliefs - whether political or religious would mean to learn more, engage, enjoy more, but not burn bridges with existing life in rapid succession to rely solely on new choice for all matters - even those unrelated to it.
That said, what should be done about such subversion of free choice is anyone's guess. Many people indoctrinated continue to live what is to them a normal life. Many times indoctrination can be inadvertent rather than deliberate (happens in most homes where kids learn to think in black and white prejudice). While being indoctrinated may be unfortunate, there is no objective way to assess it and thus acting on such an evaluation always runs the risk of violating rights. Even if it is a mistake, it is that person's mistake to make, after a point. Also given how highly charged these kind of situations can be, there is great potential to both frame people as well as get away with indoctrination if it is the "right" kind of indoctrination.
But I am glad this case hit the courts. Hadiya must indeed have the right to choose her way - even if it is wrong (which in my belief it is - drowning in religion/religious politics, in my view is always suspect). But I am glad that the process kept the space open for her to pause for breath and think things through very seriously. At the end of the day, it is her life, her choice.
It would, however be useful if people who claim to endorse human rights contributed to creating a larger picture instead of abdicating all responsibility to prevent exploitation (that is what brainwashing is, fundamentally) in their eagerness to present an unambiguous and ringing endorsement of whatever the cause they are showing off. Whether minorities or women's right to choose or opposing Hindutva propaganda, or whatever. Because at the center of such situations are very vulnerable people living in a virtual reality. It may be their right to live in that reality, but well wishers watching their six wouldn't hurt.
Finally, Hadiya's father is not a Hindutva activist but an atheist. The court gave her into his custody with guard and restrictions. Nor was his case against Hadiya's husband - he really doesn't have the power to order NIA investigations. It may be worth looking at what actions are being attributed to him just because he dared question the holy cow of free choice. He can approach the courts, but the judges do have minds of their own and are not obliged to obey.
The war that was brewing on the internet since 2009 seems to have been unleashed on the country at large, and it is increasingly looking like the rotten framework of India is powerless to withstand it. A defeated, demoralized Congress cowers from the consequences of its own choices and is too busy navel gazing to see the larger picture beyond the "alarming" rise of the right wing. Liberal elites are content with posing opinions from the high perch of a supposed neutrality.
On the ground, the country is savagely sabotaged and enslaved in the worst of ways with the political collusion of the Congress that would rather protect itself from accusations by not provoking BJP. The demon of communal fanatism that the Congress let thrive in order to point at it and look angelic has cannibalized the Congress, the BJP itself and is headed for the country.
That BJP saw a winning horse in the success of the 2002 riots is hardly a secret, no matter how much "development" it is coated with. The relentless exploitation of every weakness of the system to cover up and present a facade of noble ideals has led to an unprecedented war on India from within. Defended staunchly when exposed, otherwise sinking into obscurity and letting the "development story" unfold.
While most of BJP supporters appear to be moderate, educated and supposedly law abiding, they have stood the test of time, never deviating from seeing Modi as the ideal, no matter what inhumanity gets exposed.
There is abundant evidence that the Gujarat state rewarded those guilty of riots and did its best to defend them. Maya Kodnani, responsible for several deaths and inciting mobs into murder got the Ministry for Women and Children. That bubble burst only with the dedicated efforts of activists (who were continuously painted as enemies of India). Babu Bajrangi's sting that shows a chilling insight into the matter-of-fact butchery. This ought to be enough for anyone who puts country over religion, political party or community to shun the BJP. But those accusing Muslims of putting religion over country are consistently doing it themselves. Very very few BJP supporters stopped being BJP supporters because Hindus killed Muslims who were Indians too.
This pattern repeats over and over. The Ishrat Jahan case showed clear extra-judicial murder. With complete disregard for the law and complete lack of apology for disregarding the law, BJP supporters insist that she was a terrorist, and that is why it is ok. Her being a terrorist is disputed, and even if she were a terrorist, a custodial killing faked as an encounter is cold murder. The acceptance of the Hindutva war machine disguised as the arms of the state replacing the judicial system makes a mockery of claims of patriotism.
Vanzara's letter from prison after the arrest of Asaram makes it clear that he had abdicated his duty to the country and had pledged his loyalty to the dictator in waiting and that the fake encounters were indeed fake. Aseemanand seems to take pride in his role in Hindu terror and is clear on the approval he got from the top leadership of the RSS. Revelations such as these get dismissed as "political conspiracy" even when they fit the facts better than the evasions and excuses BJP makes. Aseemanand's case is even more strange. His statement before a magistrate is apparently fake. His sting interview is apparently fake. Why? Because his lawyer says so. While Aseemanand himself consistently says something else.
The lack of convictions of BJP's guilt, when the state machinery being systematically misused to prevent justice and destroy evidence is abundantly on record. Cases transferred out of Gujarat have done better. It is no coincidence that Modi's sidekick Amit Shah was forced to leave Gujarat to protect the trials.
Over the years, BJP has successfully woven a story of its dictator in waiting being a victim of a false conspiracy to malign him and that he had tried his best during the riots and other bullshit, when Babu Bajrangi's video clearly states Modi's approval.
Modi's own speeches during his election campaign after the riots make no hint of any apology and in fact endorse the riots as a justified response by a majority to traitors within. This too is parroted by his followers by presenting "proofs" of Muslim duplicity, while Modi's speeches are conveniently wiped from public memory. The original videos are taken down from youtube - this is not possible without media collusion, because copies can be removed citing copyright violation, but the originals, uploaded by media channels must be deleted by the channels themselves. Yet content has a way of never dying on the internet, and the award winning documentary "The Final Solution" on the Gujarat riots (dismissed as a conspiracy) contains footage of the speeches (which cannot be dismissed as did not happen):
This, in no way sounds like Modi had any intention whatsoever of preventing the riots, as BJP likes to claim. Not only are BJP supporters keen to take whatever stand allows them to continue supporting Modi without embarrassment - however flimsy - they have over the years contributing to inventing his innocence through sheer repetition of their preferred interpretation and discrediting anyone who says otherwise. This has nothing to do with logic, but then critical thinking is the first victim of mental colonization.
This is clearly the formation of an alternative force within the country that follows its own laws and considers the country's laws and constitution to be optional, while creating a huge noise about patriotism.
There is no alarm that a woman was put under comprehensive surveillance, including surveillance of those she met - a deployment of security forces completely off the record, for the personal interest of the Chief Minister. The man she met, has - independently of this sting - been implicated in cases filed against him by the state government and he is appealing to the Supreme Court to investigate call records of an another Reliance number Modi used to verify his claims of being framed. BJP dismissed this sting with a letter from the woman's father that he had asked for the woman to be protected. BJP doesn't seem to have any problem with the idea that a Chief Minister uses state security for personal reasons without any record. Even if offered at her father's behest, why would protection have to be secret, so that the supposed person at risk doesn't know there is help if she needed it?
But then the BJP has consistently endorsed absolutely every show of force against minorities in recent times and every illegal action by an entity affiliated with them - no matter how illegal, inhuman or unpatriotic it is. BJP ruled states have consistently been soft on criminals supporting BJP terrorizing and assaulting citizens. The only exception is backing off on allowing Sri Ram Sene (of the pink chaddi, pub attack and hoisting Pakistan flag on govt building fame) leader Pramod Muthalik when reactions were impossible to defend against. Supporters who were horrified quickly got over their horror and purred that the BJP listened to them, quite ignoring that BJP did not see anything wrong with inducting him in the first place.
It is war, and it is psyops and disinformation and strategic use of force and whatever it takes to win it. "Truth" is whatever strategy for this win determines it is. An unaccountability is generated by keeping mouthpieces "independent" and "apolitical" as far as possible. Thugs are "unaffiliated". Other than bursts of spontaneous violence, violence that is congruent with the BJP views (and defended by BJP supporters and enjoys impunity in BJP ruled states) usually happens as the actions of random Hindu groups and not BJP - ideally, even RSS will claim to not be affiliated, though they may express approval and pride - as in the Mangalore homestay attack. The guy who assaulted Prashant Bhushan three years ago is now officially in BJP and distributing pamphlets of Kejriwal as Osama Bin Laden at last report. At that time BJP was pretending to support the Jan Lokpal Andolan and he was "unaffiliated".
This election has been a season where the masks fall off and it is too late to do anything about it. The media is already trained to juggle serious accusations and manipulate them into oblivion. Particularly the TV channels. Newspapers are more difficult to control. The internet is impossible to control, and it is here that you find abundant criticism and stripping of this party of treachery of India. But the penetration of internet for news in India is so miniscule, that the counter narrative rarely reaches those on the ground. The stage is set for the large machinery to swing into action, using seemingly unlimited and incomprehensible funds that are not explained by what they declare to the Election Commission.
The BJP propaganda machine claims a wave. And there is indeed a wave in propaganda. Modi stares at you from hoardings, from newspapers, from your TV screens, from internet websites you visit, from pamphlets slipped in your newspaper. The radio tells you to vote for Modi too. The money spent on this is a mind boggling 5000 crores. Yet, the BJP chooses to employ unethical means of disinforming the voter to dissuade them from other possible alternatives. Pamphlets declaring Kejriwal to be a terrorist are circulated in Varanasi before Modi calls him AK49 in a speech. Stories that expose wrongs by BJP are swiftly killed by a media that can spend hours of prime time discussing the imlications of a 10 year old blog post and toppled metal detectors, but not video tapes where "service providers" offer to trigger riots in the country or discredit Rahul Gandhi by spreading rumors that he participated in the gang rape of a woman just before the elections. Hours can be spent discussing a "fingertip rape" where the absolute of guilt is unequivocally discussed, but not the Muzaffarnagar rapes, which served to unite the Hindu vote in favor of BJP uniting dalits and Jats in an eerie echo of the Gujarat riots. Media glosses over those accused in riots getting honored in public ceremonies and getting tickets to contest elections, while the side kick of "Development Man" Modi goes around evoking the riots, claiming the aggressor as the victim and encouraging them to take revenge through the polls. Not unlike Modi's election campaign after the Gujarat riots, where he gave massive speeches explaining how Hindus had been wronged. He won those with a massive margin.
This too is not enough. BJP is so confident of a Modi wave in the population, that they and their allies are putting up fake candidates to sabotage chances of competitors. Media cannot see this as relevant to elections. Complete blackout. But then media themselves are using doctored surveys to project "people's opinion" to favor who they want to encourage people to believe some parties to be more popular and others less popular than they really are, and thus influence voting patterns with classic middle class Indian "everybody thinks". Why would they expose affiliated processes?
It is amazing that the AAP support continues to grow on the ground in spite of a sustained vicious campaign against them aimed at showing them everything from corrupt to terrorist, opportunistic, rapists, rioters and worse. It would seem that the real problem with a 67 year old India is a party that was formed 2 years ago. BJP clearly sees AAP as a sustained threat remaining after the Congress is rather visibly defeated.
And we have the final assault on the country. Aam Aadmi Party representatives have reported compromised poll booths at 110 places in Gurgaon with the nature of compromise ranging from some fake voting during parts of the day to completely BJP controlled booths with mobs of supporters outside, BJP volunteers pressing buttons on the voting machine on behalf of voters, non-secret voting with threats to voters, AAP agents forced to leave and more. This is the open assault on democracy - no matter what party does it and apart from stray reports like INLD in Mewat, it is clear that BJP is massively engaging in electoral rigging. Media has so far maintained complete silence on this. The toothless Election Commission appears to be severely compromised as well.
Given the BJP's sustained insecurity and methods employed to ensure success, it becomes clear that BJP does not care for democracy or India, and is merely interested in controlling the country to profit its undisclosed investors making expenses comparable with the country's.
In my view, a BJP win is still unlikely given that the BJP themselves appear to think that they need to use illegal practices to win. However, what is clear, is that BJP has declared war on India that it intends to win with any means possible. The idea of people of India having a right to choose is not a consideration, just as the rights of the country being attacked are not a concern for invaders . An immoral media is already on the side of colonists, before they have won, encouraging the people to believe that the entity that is actually silencing their right is what they need.
Regardless of the results of this election, India is entering a phase that will make or break it. BJP losing this election will likely expose this further (but not stop it). BJP winning this election will put us firmly on the Pakistan path, only with a "superior and tolerant" religion.
India has hardly faced such attempts at takeover for the first time. The Maoists tried it and were eventually banned as a party and became open about their not recognizing the Indian state as their government and have proceeded to capture parts of the country. BJP on the other hand has not made the mistakes the Maoists made in their bid for the takeover. They have successfully captured the media and business cartels before making their play. This is not unlike what the Congress did for years (which is also how they could "kick the Maoists out" of the legal stakes for representation), if only in a more subtle way, which leaves the government powerless to confront this takeover without wading through their own skeletons.
Not to mention the Congress being exposed in scams without adequate action has lost them support of people, and the little inadequate action they were forced to take has lost them support of the business cartels. They are effectively in a place of "dhobi ka kutta na ghar ka na ghat ka" that is going to be very difficult to recover without complete reinvention - which they so far seem unable to face. They are still clinging to the defaults that left them wide open to corruption for the sake of the support those cartels get - which has already left for other pastures, nicely persuaded by the media machine that the Congress is a corrupt party whitewashing the others in the process and ignoring that the UPA is the only power in rule since the RTI was passed - which is at the root of most disclosures. On a stray note, the Gujarat government was sitting on 14,000 unanswered RTI queries this time last year. That is one way of preventing scam exposes and looking honest, I guess.
BJP is hardly the only party to realize that no information to public is no exposing of self as all six National Parties ordered to institute a Public Inormation Officer by the CIC have simply.... not appointed them. So there is literally no way of getting information on who profits from the bullshit being fed to the country, who supports the spread of this bullshit and how much money goes into facilitating all this.
The Aam Aadmi Party is still young and powerless. Even if they won the elections with a sweeping majority (which they are unlikely to), they cannot match organized thug power that is entrenched into the very fiber of the country through sustained sabotage of democracy when the pillars of democracy themselves have been infiltrated.
And at this point, there is little difference between BJP and Modi. Senior politicians are sidelined. Opposing views sabotaged. The Modi cult prevails, the others must survive or exist. One only needs to look at the leadership within the BJP and the respect for diversity and differences to get an idea of what India is in store for - whether the BJP wins this election or not.
Regardless of who wins this election, India is in for a period of class struggles and violence - whether physical or economic. And we only have ourselves to blame for seeing only what we wanted to see till too late. A BJP government will result in India's undeclared Emergency and BJP not winning will result in immediate riots and less immediate attempts to topple whatever government forms. Whatever funding they have demonstrated so far is not going to sit idle and be okay with BJP not being in power. Return on Investment will demand that the piper be paid.
Not really a post, some thoughts. Beginning with saying that this was a gruesome mass murder and act of terrorism. I applaud the response of democracy from Norway. That said, this incident brings into stark relief some of the worst prejudices as the world and country.
Many assumed that it was an Islamic attack.
Few were interested in him not being Muslim
People substituted details of incidents in their templates and returned to canned rhetoric, inlcuding drawing similarities with "Hindutva terror"
I think this kind of thinking is not useful to the world or any country in it. The danger with being slave to stereotypes is that we lose touch with the reality and our responses to situations are to our imagination, rather than what is actually happening.
Like I spoke in Intellectual deficit in Indian society, the dangers are that in being slave to decisions rather than data, we miss out on a lot of points where functional change can be introduced.
This kind of thinking is not only alienating, but rather deficient in logic. How does Hindutva terror fit in? If it does, is the same assumption applied to other entities and people mentioned similarly? Why is there such resistance in us to acknowledge acts of terror from non-Islamic religious orientations? How does this help?
I think it is high time people learned to see terrorism as a sum of actions rather than a singular melodramatic monolithic entity. Anyone can act. Stereotyping the actors blunts our ability to analyze and address incisively. I say, even if the terrorist was Muslim, it is important to see specifics rather than hooking to pet donkeys and flogging them along well worn and ineffective paths.
Definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If our response to any happening anywhere in the world is through a narrow minded Indian version complete with pet accusations... doesn't help.
He is right. The Muslim groups do more damage, but the Hindu groups are more dangerous because India has a Hindu majority. If we look at world news, Indian Muslims are actually a wonderful lot. An improving economy and greater possibilities opening up for Muslims have ensured that most Muslims in India see themselves as Indians first. Never mind what the people say. Look at Muslim friends you have. Shopkeepers, colleagues. Do you seriously think they spend time planning how to harm you? Yet, the Hindutva thoughts on Islam or Christianity color people's outlook to the extent where they can go "Oh, you are a Christian? I didn't know!" if they like someone before realizing his religion. As though knowing Christians automatically means that your being Hindu is under threat, or knowing Muslims means that at the first sign of a riot they will come looking for you to kill you, all of a sudden.
Look at all this rhetoric and compare it with people you actually know and interact with. Its simply not true. The Hindutva guys have an utter blackout on the subject of Hindu on Hindu violence, while Muslim on Hindu violence is the big evil, Christian missionaries are absolute personifications of Satan or something.
Yet Hindu extremists continue to promote Muslims as a vicious lot - changes in our society have not registered, and the projected image of Muslims remains as that from brutal killings of the partition, and other riots. This is dangerous to India even if there were not a single Muslim in it, because once a population is sensitized into finding 'enemies', the process takes on a life of its own, and the range of enemies and hostility takes on a life of its own after a certain critical mass, after which, it destroys the society itself.
Why go far, look at Pakistan. Extremism began as a means of getting resources for an anti-India agenda, then anti-Soviets... it was never intended as anti-National - in fact its origins were highly patriotic. As India hardened its security and Afghanistan was clear of the Russians, what happened? A whole new set of enemies were born. Now we have Shias, Sufis, Ahmediyas, being attacked - even the government itself, as Taliban starts seeing wrong in what they do.
It didn't begin with bombings. It began with believing that a certain country, then a certain kind of people, etc were evil and must be resisted. The rest was simply natural progress.
Already we see among many Indians a denial that what happened in Gujrat was horrible. We see all kinds of excuses ranging from "who started it" to "Hindus got killed too". Everything except the fact that an overwhelming number of Muslims were mercilessly slaughtered.
Never mind the Muslims. Heck, they are a minority anyway. What is happening to Hindus in the process? We are turning into a lot of people who think its okay to butcher people if they are bad enough. Islamic terrorism can never destroy us as thoroughly as the rot we nurture ourselves, just like India didn't need to do much to bring Pakistan to this horrible state it is in now.
And this is totally from a focus on India as a Hindu state. Even if Muslims didn't exist, this would still be true. If a dog bites you on the street, it is insane to think its okay to bite dogs you see. Similarly, it is insane to nurture hatred in our hearts because of what someone else does. We only destroy ourselves.
Rahul Gandhi is absolutely right. It is a sad thing for India that the BJP doesn't stop to reflect and starts throwing tantrums everytime Hindu or Muslim is mentioned.
BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said Gandhi's comment shows that he wants to identify terror with religion and is ignorant about Indian civilisation.
"Terror is terror, it must not be translated into vote bank politics. Terror should be investigated and guilty must be punished," he added.
If terror must be investigated and guilty proscecuted, why is there such a pandemonium each time Hindutva is so much as mentioned? When was the last time Prakash Javadekar protested against references to Islamic terrorism?
With the Congress corruption and the BJP's insanity, India is thoroughly screwed in terms of possibilities for solid leadership. How I wish that we had a political party that had the governance skills of the BJP and the inclusive perspective of the Congress.
I am utterly disgusted (as usual) with the obsession with rhetoric among Indian newspapers and politicians. NONE of the Indian newspapers quote any actual cables saying anything - only claims that "wikileaks says". This is journalism?
The news with the real concerns has less focus than gossip about politicians. Of course, with out "Made in US" understanding of ourselves and the world, it is more important to know what Rahul Gandhi told US diplomats about Hindu terrorism or what the US diplomats thought of Sonia Gandhi's leadership. Congress moves on to calling wikileaks a conspiracy, while BJP is out for Rahul Gandhi's blood saying that he speaks for Pakistan.
In the meanwhile, how many people have paid attention to the detailed perspective we got on Kashmir? Reports of Red Cross concerns with numbers of prisoners suffering from different kinds of torture are met with zero accountability. The media doesn't attempt to even question the government on this matter, nor do we hear any political statement other than denial.
The only newspaper to remotely have some ethics of journalism left seems to be the Hindu. This is the time for an ordinary citizen to ask why is he not provided the information from the cables in the words of the diplomats themselves? Why all this indirect reporting, why all the rhetoric without knowing what it is about?
If the government has asked for this kind of censorship, on whose authority? If the news agencies are doing it themselves, why are they calling themselves newspapers or news channels? Might as well call them propaganda and publicity and increase their readership because supporters will buy them based on political affiliations, and opposers will buy to keep an eye, no?