By Aswathy Senan:
When we first discussed marriage, my partner said, “Are you sure? ‘Love Jihad‘ is no longer a joke and Modi will become the Prime Minister of the country in less than a year!”. I was furious and amused at the same time. What does Modi, or the Indian government, have to do with anyone getting married in our “socialist secular country” which has the Special Marriage Act provision, I wondered! On the 16th of May last year, six months into our marriage, the Modi-Shah duo became the most powerful couple in the country; I held his hand and said, ‘it’s ok, we’ll manage’. But I knew he was not relieved.
Then, there was the Ghar Wapasi program launched by the VHP and the RSS to end terrorism, as all Muslims are terrorists and if they all become Hindus, terrorism will end and the world will be a better place.
Then there was the Hanuman Sena that attacked men and women protesting against moral policing by kissing, as the act of kissing and hugging spreads AIDS and turns them into Maoists, which is against Indian culture.
Then there was Sakshi Maharaj who demanded Hindu women produce 4 children each because every Muslim has 4 wives and 40 children, and that is the only way we, who constitute 80% of the Indian population, can outnumber the 14% of them.
Then there were ABVP units in various universities offering women empowerment classes to female students, advising them to not fall in the ‘trap’ of love because that will protect them from all atrocities against women.
Then there was an open challenge to the Khans of Bollywood to convert to Hinduism, because that is the only way the Hindu Mahasabha proposes for them to prove their love towards their Hindu wives.
Then the fifth Church was attacked (in less than a year) in Delhi this January and the police arrested the Christians and activists protesting, as peaceful protesters are a menace!
When the journalists, the social activists, the academicians, the political commentators wrote, spoke and spit fury at the corporate raj, a 46 year old man stood up, gathered a few people around him and devised a plan. He showcases an earnestness, honesty and fearlessness to question, expose and work for, the constitutional rights of the citizens of the country. He attracted the young people of the country to leave their jobs and bunk classes to develop programmes, run social networking sites, do door-to-door campaigning and perform flash mobs. An alternate political party evolved that has female candidates dressed in jeans and riding bikes, that replaced Innovas with auto rickshaws for campaigning, that reassured the chole-khulcha wallah of Delhi that Bharat does not become a little less ‘swacch’ if he sells stuff on roadside, that has a Chief Minister candidate who ecstatically hugs his wife in public when he wins. There is our St. Valentine, who with this one simple gesture, replied to the Hindu Mahasabha’s open threat to couples found hugging in public places this 14th!
I know I will never understand how my husband feels when there is a bomb blast in some part of the world and the first suspect of the media is a Muslim organisation.
I know I will never understand why he says “Salaam” softly in a public place when one of his relatives call.
I know I will never understand why somewhere he is glad that his Christian-sounding name creates an ambiguity about his religious identity.
I know I will never understand how he feels in this country today, because I was born a Hindu.
But I know why he felt relieved, reassured and ecstatic when Aam Aadmi Party won in Delhi.