Recently, Tanishq Jewellery, part of Tata Group, released an advertisement as part of what is called its ‘Ekatvam’ campaign. The advertisement depicts a Hindu woman being led by her Muslim mother-in-law for a baby shower ceremony that is arranged as per Hindu customs. The advert raised a furor in the social media circles, and many pounced upon Tanishq for promoting what they called ‘Love Jihad’. And many others supported it and termed it a ‘beautiful’ advertisement promoting communal harmony and interfaith relationships.
There should not be any objection to interfaith marriages as long as they don’t result in trickery and conversions. But there are many cases that are seeing light where Hindu women are tricked into interfaith marriages and forced to convert. They are not allowed to retain their Hindu identity post marriage. There are also reports suggesting that many Islamist organizations are making organized efforts to convert Hindu girls through ‘love’. These efforts are rightly being termed by Hindu organizations as ‘Love Jihad’.
Moreover, an overwhelming majority of interfaith marriages involve Hindu women and Muslim men. If a Hindu man falls in love with a Muslim girl, it may well prove to be fatal for the man as the Muslim families outrightly refuse to accept interfaith relationships. Very recently two Hindu boys were brutally killed by Muslims just because they fell in love with girls from their community. Many Hindus are enraged by this kind of intolerance prevalent among Muslims. The brutal killings of Ankit Saxena and Rahul Rajput, the Hindu boys who were slaughtered just because they fell in love with Muslim girls, stand as a testimony to the fact that Muslims don’t accept any interfaith relationships.
There are also reports suggesting that many Muslim boys, as part of their organized effort, are concealing their religious identity to lure Hindu girls into ‘love’ and marriage. They force the girls to convert thereafter, and if they refuse to convert, they kill the girls. Recently, in Uttar Pradesh, a Hindu girl was beheaded just because she refused to convert to Islam after marrying a Muslim man. All these instances make it increasingly difficult for any interfaith relationships to materialize.
And, Hindus are also enraged by the fact that the Bollywood, media and commercial organizations in their entertainment and commercial content are promoting one-sided ‘love’ – always a Hindu female and a Muslim male. Because these organizations are well-aware of the fact that if they depict a love affair between a Muslim female and a Hindu male, it would certainly result in riots and bloodshed.
All the above factors contributed to the growing resentment among the Hindus towards the interfaith relationships. And the resentment manifested in the form of social media outrage against Tanishq. After the outrage, Tanishq was forced to withdraw the advert and issue an explanation. But unfortunately, Tanishq, in its statement, mentioned that it is withdrawing the advert keeping in mind the “well-being of employees, partners, and store staff” implying that Hindus may riot and assault their employees. This further enraged many Hindus.
Any interfaith relationships should be based on transparency and trust and must not involve any conversions. They must also not be one-sided. The law enforcement agencies must make sure that all those who are making organized attempts to trick Hindu girls into deceptive relationships with an express intention to promote conversions are punished. Otherwise, this pernicious trend will continue unabated.