In an important judgment with negative political implications for the Adityanath government’s desire to criminalise inter faith marriages involving conversions, the Allahabad high court this week denounced a previous single-judge bench decision that religious conversions only for the sake of marriage are unacceptable, saying that decision was 'bad in law'.
That judgment, the division bench of the Allahabad high court said on November 11, does not take into account the right to life and personal liberty of mature adults. The bench was referring to the 2014 decision in Noor Jahan Begum @ Anjali Mishra and Another vs. State of U.P. and Others, which was followed in Priyanshi @ Km. Shamren and others Vs. State of U.P. and Another in September 2020, the LiveLaw reported.
Yogi Adityanath had referred to the September 2020 judgment at an election rally in Jaunpur recently, and said, “This is why our government has decided that we will act to stop love jihad in a firm way.” Apart from the fact that the UP Police has found no evidence of what Adityanath calls ‘love jihad’ in the state, the legal crutch the chief minister was leaning on has now been taken away by the high court.
Love Jihad, which the Hindutva groups, including Bharatiya Janata Party leaders like Yogi Adityanath, raise the pitch against, itself seems to be in doubt of existence. Love Jihad, or Hindu woman being “forced” or “coerced” to convert to marry Muslim men, with the ultimate goal of making Hindus a minority in India, has no evidence at all and hence termed as a conspiracy. Why can't a woman and a man, may it be of any noted caste or religion choose to be together when in affection? Why a marriage where Hindu woman when with a Muslim man, given a name of conspiracy to increase the ultimate community of the 'now minority'? As if they don't have any Right to their own life and personal liberty, ohh wait, do they?
“We fail to understand that if the law permits two persons even of the same sex to live together peacefully then neither any individual nor a family nor even the state can have an objection to the relationship of two major individuals who out of their own free will are living together,” the judges also said.
Love jihad is a figment of political imagination, but the power of its politics can’t be underestimated. The bending of Hindu minds around the ghosts of ‘love jihad’ is to ultimately create the Hindu Rashtra. Muslim men are accused of running a foreign funded jihadist ploy for a while now, where much like guerrilla warfare, charming Muslim men ambush and lure innocent Hindu women to fall in love with them. These men then, apparently, smooth talk women into converting to Islam for the sake of ‘love’. This phenomenon of a Hindu woman marrying a Muslim man has been coined as ‘love jihad’, because consensual interfaith marriage can’t be a reality in new India.
Eventually, understanding the patriarchy, is the very concept of ‘love jihad’ based on the premise that Hindu women are incapable of thinking for themselves and that they’re gullible enough to fall for potential ‘terrorists’ who just want to marry them for the sake of religious conversions? That they have no agency or choice? Often, it is the parents or family of the woman who files complaints alleging ‘love jihad’. Only because their daughter’s choice goes against theirs.
India has a long tradition of arranged marriages, wherein the bride and groom do not self-select their partners. It defnitely in consequence today seems difficult for parents, the society to accept the fact that their infants (turned adults) have Right, Freedom and full authority to pick one special with whom they tend to spend their comlete life, may it be of varied religion, caste!