The real issue is gender, not community
Tarushikha Sarvesh | September 18, 2014
Love Jihad is being seen, or rather perceived, as a worldwide phenomenon. We get to hear of it from various corners. In the UK as in India it is being seriously talked about and strong opinions being formed around it. What if Love Jihad exists? What if the circulars by the Imams, encouraging young men for such “congenial crimes” are for real and have an impact? Will naively denying such a concept be enough for the protection of the social fabric of a healthy society? Can we leave such claims and denials for the politically motivated groups to feed off such arguments?
Actually the issue is not of Love Jihad. If at all there can be or might be any such issue then it needs to be seen as a form of terror, crime or fraudulent activity. Whoever indulges in such activities in individual capacity or as a group should be checked. Now there are two gnawing issues here – first of all, the question whether such “congenial crimes” exist. And secondly, who is the real victim of such crimes? Even if we say that such concepts as “Love Jihad”, as is understood in political terms and “congenial crimes” as in more neutral or somewhat legal terms, exist only as perception and not in reality, yet the issue raised needs to be thought about. Even if we take the targets or victims simply as imaginary ones, still it gives us the opportunity to brood over the concept of “congenial crimes”. The politicisation of issues resulting in politics of hatred can hardly be blunted by outright denial and refusal.
The issue is that women are seen as extensions of men and their insult or mockery is seen as the mockery of that culture and its male members. In doing so it is the woman who actually ends up bearing the brunt from both sides. This kind of mindset of using women for targets of violence/mockery or for protection seems to be a universal phenomenon. The well known Hutu-Tutsi tribe’s antagonism that had led to large-scale ethnic violence in Rwanda in Africa is an example worth mentioning. In the Rwandan genocide too the treatment meted out to women showed that they were seen as an extension of the men. Llizlie L Green has said in ‘Sexual Violence and Genocide Against Tutsi Women’ that gender hate propaganda was perhaps the most virulent component of the propaganda campaign. This mindset of using women to settle scores seems to have universal takers. The issue of targeting women or protecting women of the respective communities gives the politically motivated groups a ready platform for scandalous agenda.
If we accept that Love Jihad or congenial crimes exist, what is the solution? Is giving hate speeches or circulating inflammatory pamphlets or preparing a brigade of young men of respective communities to attack one another the best of solutions? Any reasoning and thinking being would say that these are far from real solutions. Then why do certain groups resort to such solutions? This also does not require much of thinking. Therefore, one thing becomes very clear, that in case such crimes exist as are being suggested, protecting the targets or victims of such crimes is not at all the concern of the politically motivated groups. The real sufferers of congenial crimes would be the women and these groups do not see this as part of overall exploitation of women or violence against women in general.
Accusing these groups of lacking in the ability of introspection is another flawed argument and one should refrain from such accusations. This again diverts the attention from the main issue. People come up with arguments that these groups do not raise their voice when it comes to exploitation of women within their own community. Actually these are all wrong questions and accusations being resorted to by certain people or groups making secular claims. This takes away the focus from the two issues involved – one, of terrorism and another of women as tragets of exploitation.
We need to deal with the issue without playing devil’s advocate. Neither would questioning the claimants, who perceive congenial crimes as real, help nor outright denial help. These seem to be the two most disastrous ways of going about any issue for that matter. If there is a worldwide rage about something called Love Jihad or congenial crimes then we need to give it a thought and make sure that if it exists then there are proper avenues for the registration and for enquiry into such allegations.
Congenial crimes might be a reality but it is very difficult to imagine that women only belonging to particualr communites are being victimised by the men of one particular community. If we take congenial crimes as real then we have to say that the women of every community will be the sufferers, as it might cause a chain reaction. What a chaos it will be. The solution at hand appears only in treating such congenial crimes or love crimes as crimes against women in general and not as crimes by a particular community against the women of another. Solution most definitely is neither in accusing or denying. One needs to realise that perception is also a form of social reality and sometimes we just need to accpet it and seek solutions to mitigate it.
Every year since 2000, February 21 is observed as International Mother Language Day by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). It is to celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity, and multilingualism.
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