Over the past few days, ‘love jihad’- a term which has been integrated into India’s political lexicon in the past few years – has been trending on social media.
The concept, which has no credible/legal evidence, is about Muslim men wooing Hindu girls and forcing them into marriage through religious conversion.
When the term became popular a few years ago, it had launched a million humorous memes; but it’s not joking matter anymore. States like Haryana, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh, have already declared that they are bringing laws against ‘love jihad,’ which includes imprisonment for forcing someone to convert their religion.
Naturally ‘love jihad’ was the most popular topic of discussion for netizens in the past week, with many voicing their concerns over such legislations marring democratic values of personal liberty and freedom of religion.
Journalists Barkha Dutt, Tavleen Singh, and Rohini Mohan, and Supreme Court lawyer Karuna Nundy were among those who pointed out the irony that is India when it comes to gender rights:
Only in India will we legislate on something called 'Love Jihad' but refuse to pass a law on marital rape. This is how much we love our women. And their right to say both Yes and No.
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) November 20, 2020
Senior BJP leaders advocating for laws to stop ‘love jihad’ have minds that seem pickled a century ago. In that time women had no rights of choice or free will. Today they do.
— Tavleen Singh (@tavleen_singh) November 20, 2020
The above is proof of lots of love, but no jihad. There may be anecdotes about suspected #LoveJihad, lots of pamphlets from conservative Hindus & Christian groups, upset parents, some willing conversions, but repeated investigations have found NO EVIDENCE of it happening.
— Rohini Mohan (@rohini_mohan) November 17, 2020
Bye bye love. Stay quietly in your gender, caste, religion box. Forget that you are Indian, with constitutional rights. Or this regime and its friends, the non-State actor rowdies, will come and get you. #lovejihaad
— Karuna Nundy (@karunanundy) November 17, 2020
Another topic that continues to make noise nationally was the attack on press freedom in the country. While journalist-turned-showman Arnab Goswami was arrested and released in the blink of an eye a few days ago, the arrest of three journalists, including Kerala-based journalist Siddique Kappan on October 5 when they were on the way to cover Hathras case, is still making news – and for all the wrong reasons. Journalists Rana Ayyub, Pamela Philipose and Sakshi Joshii called out this hypocrisy via tweets:
Power, Privilege and Personal liberty in one frame. pic.twitter.com/OxWA29FBYm
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) November 17, 2020
Article 32 petitions will be encouraged if it’s for Arnab.
Discouraged if it is for Kappan
Wow SC in ODD-EVE mode https://t.co/Cp3C3TtFyx
— Sakshi Joshi (@sakshijoshii) November 17, 2020
"Aren't we citizens?" Raihana's poignant plea to the Supreme Court that will hear the bail case of her husband journalist Siddique Kapan today. Important question raised: Is Arnab more Indian that others languishing in jail?
— pamela philipose (@pamelaphilipose) November 16, 2020
Another person who remained in the news for all the wrong reasons was actor Kangana Ranaut, who made hateful comments against a young artist who spoke on Twitter about her mental health issues. (See the thread.)
somedays I’ve done all of them together and that’s what i call multi-tasking😉 https://t.co/iw4vsZ0NCz
— Priyanka Paul (@artwhoring) November 18, 2020
But the social media world has not forgotten the biggest threat among us too – the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
Will not lie: this Diwali has been hard. This year has been hard. And mostly because of the pandemic.
I has also made me think why it has been so difficult dealing with sorrow, frustration, rage, and more that come in waves...
— Sunny Singh (@ProfSunnySingh) November 15, 2020
Please follow this critical discussion. @WTO not @WHO or @Covax will decide who gets vaccines and who doesn’t. This one’s probably going down the wire as there’s a lot at stake. @MSF_access #NoPatentsInAPandemic https://t.co/P8gF7Yg6IJ
— Chitra Subramaniam (@chitraSD) November 20, 2020
All in all, it was not exactly a cheerful week. And before wrapping up, another gentle reminder about the world we live in:
Blind love for your country, party, religion or yourself is deadlier than COVID.
— Faheem Younus, MD (@FaheemYounus) November 20, 2020