Love-Jihad, Padmavati, Ayodhya, Kashmir…
This is not just a list of the biggest controversies that polarize Indians into the Hindu vs. Muslim binary today. Each one of these was mentioned by Shambhu Lal, as a justification for killing Mohammad Azraful.
Years of mind-numbing Hindutva propaganda has normalized communal hate to an extent that between cute cat videos and narcissistic selfies, one comes across the video of a man burning another man for no other reason but his religion. Shambhu is the personification of the insecurities that plague the vulnerable Hindu men of our country. A constant fear of losing Hindu women to Muslims, of being outnumbered in a country where Hindus form 80% of the population, of losing pride as Hindus.
It does not matter that numerous independent inquiries have established that Love-Jihad is a figment of communal imagination or that an ex-Hindu woman like Hadiya can decide for herself. It does not matter that Padmavati is a fictional character or that one hasn’t even seen the film before killing people over it. It does not matter that Ram could have been born at any place in Ayodhya or that mandir-masjid can co-exist. It does not matter that Kashmiri Muslims can also have human rights. It does not matter that unemployment, poverty and farmer suicides are real issues.
All that matters is the Hindutva male’s idea of protecting his imaginary pride, even if it comes at the real cost of burning the entire idea behind our nation.
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