Opinions

Hadiya: no one has the right to separate a married couple

All eyes were on Hadiya – the brave young woman from Kerala who travelled to New Delhi to plead her case in the Supreme Court of India.

She stood out, a gentle determination playing on her face. Armed with that force of conviction that only love can ignite, she looked fearless and confident as she arrived in New Delhi, to plead for her freedom! Out from the clutches of her parents, she wanted to be united with her husband, to be able to live with him.

Imagine, in this day and age, an educated adult woman is pleading to be united with the love of her life - her husband. Why do we have to punish her! Why? Simply because she fell in love with a Musalman, converted to Islam, and married this man to live happily ever after.

Quite obviously she defied her parents who seem to be fed on the fabricated claims of the reach of the ISIS and Al-Qaeda. The very hype to those outfits seems to be another of those ploys in the grip of the political rulers hell-bent on intruding into people’s private lives. Compounding the situation is the communal surcharge unleashed here and there, all over. Myths and misconceptions about the Muslim community are doing the rounds… In this polluted mahaul, anti-Muslim cries are gaining ground. And along the expected strain the State is doing little to contain the political mess that’s begun hitting psyches. After all, this is exactly what the political rulers want – to polarise society and create a captive votebank. They have to do very little in terms of governance as non-issues are distracting us to such an extent that real issues don’t come up to the solving or dissolving stage.

In those earlier decades communal rioting left dozens dead or near-killed but today’s communal propaganda is affecting lives of millions. All sorts of bizarre notions are heaped on the Musalmans of this country. Dissections-cum-discussions are on, on what they eat or wear or do! Lynching is on, not just on the beef alibi but even if one covers his head with a rumaal or a scarf. Yes, last week three clerics were attacked inside a train compartment while the train was passing through Uttar Pradesh .Their fault, in their traditional Muslim attire, they looked Muslims!

Today the State is controlling lives, either directly or through the various agencies in its grip. It gets worrying because the fears of the ‘other’ are growing and will grow still further, as polarization accelerates. Also, with Muslims and Hindus living in separate colonies, away from each other, there are fewer occasions for any of those expected interactions to take place. Whilst visiting the Mumbai University I was told by one of the academics that love rarely takes off between a Hindu and a Muslim because of the propaganda of the ‘other’ and also because there are no ways and means to see through those false notions. Why? Because, in Mumbai, Hindus and Muslims reside in their ‘own’ housing colonies, and so how the hell will one get to see or sense the living patterns of an average Muslim family. In fact, ghettoization is creeping into other towns and cities of our country and it’s directly linked to the hyped apprehensions of the ‘other.’

I couldn’t fully comprehend the absolutely dangerous offshoots to communal unleashing, till that fateful morning when I landed in Ahmedabad for a day-long convention. This was few years back but till date I cannot erase the poison dripping words of the taxi driver who took me from the airport to the venue in the heart of the city. Of course, right till the end of the long drive, he didn’t realize I was a Musalman and had continued uttering – muttering what Muslims do or don’t do in Ahmedabad…words along the strain, “Yeh log bomb banate hain; yeh log bacha paida karte hain…en logon ko marna hai …yahaan se nikalna hai, marna-katna hai!” This taxi fellow, who hailed from Rajasthan but was raised in Ahmedabad, wasn’t to be blamed. Fed that he was on the typical propaganda to the Muslim community – that is, they are a violent and abusive lot!

And as I have mentioned in one of my earlier columns, it’s during train journeys that I heard the worst possible communal comments about the Muslims. Nah, I couldn’t confront the surcharged lot, for fear of getting thrown off from the moving train. And to the best of my knowledge, there are no helpline numbers where one can get instant relief from communally-charged characters filling train compartments. In fact, going by the rising number of communal clashes taking place in train compartments it’s essential that emergency contact telephone numbers do exist and function.

***

Getting back to Hadiya. Its essential her constitutional rights are not snatched from her. She has every right to fall in love and be with the man she loves. Love is love …one of those spheres which should not be intruded into, though politicians have been doing exactly that, under so many garbs; be it Yogi Adityanath government’s anti-Romeo squads or other governments falsely linking Muslims to the ISIS and Al-Qaeda networks! Do we realize that these networks could have a hundred prefixes to them but are in the grip of the American and Israeli agencies!

Let the murky mahaul not kill love…not hound those who are blessed to have found love… I’m finding it difficult to describe the strange lop-sidedness hovering around – We have given a sanction of sorts for live-ins to flourish but are sabotaging the very marriage of a woman who has not just declared her love but also crossed all hurdles to marry.

*****

Leaving you with a verse from this recently launched book – Ralph Russell’s A Thousand Yearnings: A Book of Urdu Poetry and Prose (Speaking Tiger). A remarkable book by a remarkable Urdu-lover.

Verses and prose tucked in its pages are so very touching…laden with emotions. In fact, there is an entire segment holding out love poetry. Ghazals of Mir and Ghalib more than beckon and hold out… Of course, long gone are the romantic poets of yesteryears, leaving behind their emotion-laden lines for you and I to sigh along. Quoting these lines of Ghalib from this volume: ‘You stand away, and purse your lips/and show their rosebud form/ I said ‘How do you kiss?’ Come, kiss my lips and say ‘Like this!’

And also these lines of Mir: ‘My love, I cannot tell the tale of all the things I want from you /A hundred longings fill my soul, a thousand yearnings throng my heart.’

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