The Constitution of India gives us the right to marry anyone, irrespective of caste, creed or religion. The Special Marriage Act of 1954 allows Indian citizens to marry anyone irrespective of their religious belief or faith.
In 2019, the Supreme Court said, “Inter-religious and inter-caste marriages are good for socialism, not averse to them.” I agree with the comment of the Supreme Court. In my opinion, interfaith and inter-caste marriages can bridge the gap between different communities.
However, politicians and self-declared godmen have politicised inter-religious marriage. As a repercussion, inter-religion marriage is still considered a taboo in many sections of the society. Sometimes, the interfaith couple faces not only discrimination, but is also met with violence. In one such instance, Ankit Saxena, a photographer, was murdered by his partner’s family.
In the last few years, hatred and division have crossed the threshold. Last year, the BJP IT cell started a boycott campaign against Surf Excel for an advertisement that shows a 6-year-old Hindu girl befriending a Muslim boy. Hashtags including #BoycottSurfExcel and #BoycottHindustanUnilever were trending on Twitter earlier this year. This incident reflects how the divisive agenda of political parties is brainwashing millennials.
A few tweets under the #BoycottSurfExcel are:
— PAYAL ROHATGI & Team- Bhagwan Ram Bhakts (@Payal_Rohatgi) September 1, 2019
Here is the picture, you need to check before buying anything… #BoycottSurfExcel @HUL_News
Leave Hindus alone. Make ads on other religions because WE are not interested in your products. pic.twitter.com/0QMlISzFIW
— Nikita Gupta (@GuptaNikita4891) March 12, 2019
#SurfExcel #BoycottSurfExcel I will #BoycottSurfExcel #BoycottHindustanUnilever #boycottjihadiHUL @hnikhilkumar @07nov91 @TajinderBagga @CleanTheNation1 @followsanjeev @HUL_News @yogrishiramdev @narendramodi @dr_maheshsharma @Akanksh50479402 pic.twitter.com/RJX2w8VWPb
— Alakshendra Mishra (@Alakshendramish) March 10, 2019
Many times, leaders from right-wing parties have played the game of brinkmanship by inciting fear. For instance, once Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, had said that love jihad is a dangerous thing.
Recently, a catholic church in Kerala said that Christian girls were lured by the IS (Islamic State) through love jihad. Religious Institutions like the church have a huge following. So, such ‘witty’ remarks influenced a lot of people and drew a divisive line among various communities.
In 2017, the Karnataka High Court gave a strange verdict by annulling an inter-religious marriage. K.M. Ashokan, father of the girl, filed a case and told the Kerala High Court that his daughter Hadia was brainwashed by two of her friends. However, in 2018, the Supreme Court overturned the Kerala High court decision and restored their marriage. The Supreme Court said that state and authorities have no right to interfere in the personal life of the people.
All in all, it is high time for political leaders to stop politicising issues such as inter-religious marriages, in order to enhance plurality and inclusiveness in our society.