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The Love Jihad Conspiracy Gives The State The Keys To Your Home

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Trigger Warning: Islamophobia

If you don’t live under a rock or perhaps if you follow Indian politics even a slight bit you must’ve heard the term ‘Love Jihad’, one of the now popularised terms used by the right-wing of India to spew hatred, Islamophobia, fear, and violence.

All in the name of identity politics and law to eventually garner votes by carrying out these grotesque and inhumane acts of injustices by the government against its citizens. The BJP is infamous for labelling dissenting voices as urban-Naxals, anti-national, ‘tukde-tukde gang’, and so on for the cause of curbing these dissenting voices. Likewise, Love Jihad is a conspiracy theory made up by the BJP & Sangh to target and demonize a particular community (Muslims in this case) that involves interreligious marriage with Hindu girls.

Love Jihad Is A Farce. Representative image only.

What Role Does The Media Play In Spreading Propaganda?

According to the BJP & Sangh’s narrative, Muslim men lure Hindu women for conversion to Islam by unethical means such as seduction, kidnapping, feigning, deception, and ultimately marriage as a part of a broader ‘war’ by Muslims against India and Hindus.

Not to much surprise, the media also plays a vital role in spreading this conspiracy to every house possible. We can witness this upon tuning in to any of the major news channels operating in our country. Almost every channel has or regularly shows content based upon this topic and is very much responsible for directly manipulating people by the means of fake and distorted information.

Even the police under BJP governed states user fear and intimidation against couples, even those who have had consensual marriages and subjugate young Muslim men by fake charges and FIRs based on a facade as we have already seen on multiple occasions after the administration of this law in states like UP and MP.

It’s quite clear that the BJPs prior argument is that most of the people who convert their religion are mostly misguided and ill-informed. For the sake of a counter-argument, I interviewed two Muslim converts, Mr Saddam, an ex Hindu and Mrs, Heena an ex-Catholic. We shall delve into their psyche to see the factors which come into play for someone to convert their faith in this case particularly Islam.

The Love Jihad Conspiracy Undermines Free Will Of People!

The problem with India's 'love jihad' laws
Representational image only.

Mr Saddam lives in the small town of Dhanbad and used to work petty jobs due to not having a proper education. He worked his way out to finally own a small barbershop in a predominantly Muslim locality.

He says, “I always was fascinated with Islamic culture and traditional values but the main reason due to which I converted to Islam was that I despise and oppose the Hindu tradition of burning corpses and also my love for a Muslim girl who is now my wife. I was certainly scared at first for falling in love with a Muslim girl and that too in a predominantly Muslim neighbourhood but I somehow managed to convince both of our families after a lot of abortive attempts.”

He went on to add, “I knew that I truly had to convert when I had to watch the burning corpse of my father and at that moment I truly questioned my belief and traditions for the very first time.”

In India, 800 Valmiki Hindus convert to Islam to save homes from demolition
Representative image only.

Whereas in the case of Mrs Heena, a former Catholic who grew up in the city of Kolkata, says that she grew up with a lot of different cultures and religions around her but eventually she couldn’t help but embrace Islam later in life. “I grew up in quite a secular household, my mother herself who is a former Hindu converted to Catholicism to marry my father.

But despite her conversion, my dad never was against the idea of her performing Hindu traditions and rituals and hence I actually grew up believing that all regions are equally true at least morally and ethically but as soon as I entered my 20’s, I felt that I have to choose my faith. Perhaps it was due to my existential crisis in that period and eventually at the of 26, I made the decision to shift towards Almighty Allah. My family came out to be very supportive and accepting of my decision and I certainly consider myself very privileged regarding that,” she says.

And no matter what the government of the day might propagate, we can clearly make out that that certain people willingly chose the faith Islam which also comes off as contrary to the general content put out in the media, and mind you these above-mentioned people are just a couple out of possibly thousands of others who either due to being subjected to casteism or perhaps due to other reasons chose to leave behind the faith they were born into.

In conclusion, we can state that even though the Love-Jihad conspiracy is nothing but yet another improbable hoax and a mere distraction based on the sensitive issue of faith and marriage which is harmful to the harmony of our country in the long run.

But despite all that the BJP has still managed to use this rhetoric for their benefit and particularly to solidify the roots of conservatism and hatred. So it is up to us citizens who need to reconsider our priorities and make them heard loud and clear so that we might have more progressive topics in political discourses instead of an absolute unjust and farce topic like love-jihad.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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