June 02, 2020
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'Love Jehad': Like The 1920s Hindutva Propaganda

'Love Jehad': Like The 1920s Hindutva Propaganda
'Love Jehad': Like The 1920s Hindutva Propaganda

Historian Charu Gupta in the Indian Express: The myth of love jehad:

The 1920s in UP witnessed a flurry of orchestrated propaganda campaigns and popular inflammatory and demagogic appeals by a section of Hindu publicists against “abductions” and conversions of Hindu women by Muslim goondas, ranging from allegations of rape, abduction and elopement, to luring, conversion, love and forced marriages, although the term “love jihad” was not used at the time. Drawing on diverse sources like newspapers, pamphlets, meetings, handbills, posters, novels, myths, rumours and gossip, the campaign was able to operate in a public domain, and to monopolise the field of everyday representation. Pamphlets with provocative titles like “Hindu Auraton ki Loot”, which denounced Muslim propaganda for proselytising female preys, and “Hindu Striyon ki Loot ke Karan”, an Arya Samajist tract showing how to save “our” ladies from becoming Muslim, appeared at this time. The love jihad campaign of today, too, is using similar tropes.

The tales of the 1920s and of 2014 have certain common strains. Both campaigns are critically tied to a number-crunching politics and claims of Hindu homogeneity. In 1924, a pamphlet titled Humara Bhishan Haas, published from Kanpur, constructed a picture of the terrible calamity of declining Hindu numbers due to increasing conversions of Hindu women to Islam. It claimed that a number of Aryan women were entering the homes of yavanas and mlecchas, reading nikah with them, producing gaubhakshak children, and increasing Muslim numbers. Hindu organisations of today, too, have claimed, without any evidence, that forced conversions of Hindu women in the name of love are part of an international conspiracy to increase the Muslim population. The issues at stake here are not only to construct a picture of a numerical threat from Muslims but also to lament the supposed decline in the number of Hindus and mourn the potential loss of child-bearing Hindu wombs.

Read on at the Indian Express: The myth of love jehad

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