Milking the Stereotype by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (September 23, 2014)


Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam

It has been a long open session on Muslims. For weeks together we have heard and read a concentrated demonising propaganda against Muslims. According to it, the Muslims are running a well-funded “love jihad” campaign to trap Hindu women and covert them to Islam.

This love jihad has been said to be an “international” campaign involving not only Indian Muslims, but their Mid-Eastern coreligionists as well. Bigoted men like Yogi Adityanath and others have put all the venom and hate into their anti-love jihad campaign.

There have been other jokers in this great show, including the film actress Hema Malini and journalist Tavleen Singh. These ladies showed concern about love jihad, comfortably forgetting that they themselves are great love warriors: Malini marrying a convert to Islam, Dilawar Khan (formerly actor Dharmendra) and Singh having an affair with Salman Taseer (the Pakistani governor who was later assassinated). Singh had a son with Taseer, who grew up to be the writer Atish Taseer. So much for their credibility.

What love, which jihad?

The steam has gone out of the “love” in the “jihad” and the jihad has gone back to the dirty tricks suit case of the RSS. Instead they have brought out and polished other weapons, including animal slaughter and Muslim Personal Law. Consider how they have expanded the scope of their old anti-cow slaughter campaign to a generic “animal slaughter” issue.

Maneka Gandhi has claimed (of course, falsely) that the proceeds from animal slaughter go into terror funding “to kill us”. In this us versus they, the Muslims are the demonised they. Remember the Prime Minister’s generous comment that “Indian Muslims will live and die for India”. Now, put it in the context of his minister Maneka Gandhi’s hate speech against Muslims to know the actual worth of the PM’s character certificate to us.

The open, anti-Muslim BJP propaganda has gone to the absurd length where a BJP MP, charged with heinous crimes, Shakshi Maharaj, has declared that madarsas are training youth to lure young Hindu women. They are getting huge funds from Muslim countries for that. They are given Rs. 11 lakh for each Sikh woman, Rs. 10 lakh for every Hindu woman and Rs. 7 lakh for every Jain woman thus lured. To this man, who is not pleasant to look at, the most unpleasing and unwanted are Jain women, whom he has priced at Rs. 7 lakh only.

New heights of hate and hysteria

In this large-scale demonisation campaign against Muslims a new angle has recently been added: Muslim men must be kept out of garba festivities. Otherwise, they will seduce Hindu women and convert them to Islam. This joke was started by a BJP woman MLA, who herself is overweight and well past her prime, yet she carries a dagger to ward off love jihadis. She even goes to the assembly carrying that weapon. To tell the truth, no love jihadi worth the name would bother with a woman of her age, weight and looks. The unkindest cut comes from the antics of Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Barkha Singh. Singh has written to the Prime Minister to review the Muslim Personal Law to protect Muslim women from domestic violence and prevent Muslim men from marrying more than one woman.

Protecting women (Muslim, Hindu and others) from violence is a good idea. But that not certainly is the reason Ms Singh has chosen to write to the PM. After all, it is not really the Muslims who are doing female infanticide, female foeticide or dowry killing. It is not the Muslims who are burning their brides.

Had the Muslims discriminated against their women in allocation of food their women would have been anaemic like others’ women. Also, the male-female ratio among Muslims is not as bad as among others, which means Muslims are taking better care of their women. It is thus not the condition of Muslim women which has forced Ms Singh to write to the PM.

The real motive behind Ms Singh’s complaint against Muslims is her desire to get an extension in her job by joining the present chorus of condemnation against Muslims. Her vicious allegation directly feeds into the manufactured stereotype of the polygamous, violent Muslim.

Her allegation of Muslim polygamy is not backed by statistics either. Exact figures are not readily available, but the 1961 census (the last to look at marriages by religions) said that Muslims were the least polygamous among all Indians. According to it, 5.7 per cent of Muslims were likely to be polygamous as compared to 5.8 per cent Hindus. Buddhists and Jains had even higher incidence of polygamy, the highest being tribals at 15.25 per cent polygamy.

Then why is Ms Singh crowing about Muslim polygamy at the end of her term when she did not open her mouth so far? Just to curry favour with BJP. That’s why.

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