#Issues

Feminist Devaki Jain on Love Jihad: No Hindu Dharma Asks Us to be Vicious With Young People

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Feminist & economist Devaki Jain questions India’s brand of democracy at a time the country is headlined by stories of love jihad. Jain says we have no right to be vicious with young people. “Religion has been abused, not by us feminists or those who marry across religious domains and boundaries but by those who claim they are defending religion. This is not Hinduism or Islam, it’s old fashioned fundamentalism.” The concept of ‘love jihad’ primarily pivots around interfaith Hindu-Muslim relations that believers claim is a way for the latter to forcefully convert Hindus to Islam on the pretext of love/marriage.

A feminist economist, Jain’s out with her memoirs titled The Brass Notebook where she narrates not just her personal experiences understanding fabric of India and the state of its women but also reflects on changing politics of India.

“Hinduism was always so open. You never needed to go to a temple to be a Hindu. No century in India was as bigoted as this is. It hurts so much to find a political group which claims to be putting religion in the dirt by bringing up issues which are not part of the Upanishads, Hindu Dharma or whatever by being vicious with young people. I am deeply grieved at this. But there is a place for us to fight. I think feminist and young women are taking that space. How they fought for Shaheen Bagh. How women run wherever there is a communal fight. They are the only ones who are waving a progressive flag not just for women but also for rights.”

Feminist Devaki Jain on Love Jihad: No Hindu Dharma Asks Us to be Vicious With Young People

Jain believes, the next revolution will be led by women. Not divided by religion, caste or class. “But it cannot just be women’s groups, it has to be Dalits, Muslims to really shake away this pall falling over us, which is Hindu fundamentalism. I found it unbearable that a young couple was separate or the story where the young man if he is a Muslim he is actually killed by the girl’s brothers. It’s happening in India because it gets the sanction of the state. This can be changed only with an uprising. The voice of women.”

Jain, a Padma Bhushan awardee, says we need to “stop abusing religion.” She adds, “We need to depend on the voices of women to fight against this form of conservatism and this misinterpretation of religiosity. How religion has been abused, not by us feminists or those who marry across religious domains but by those who claim they are defending religion. This is not Hinduism or Islam, it’s old fashioned fundamentalism.”