Oppressor at home the bigger villain ?

India’s Hindutva ruling party and its leader Modi wants to make India a Hindu country run by rules and regulations of Hindu traditions. They garner votes by spreading hate of other religions and its followers.  But interestingly  here we see follower of a non Hindu religion, Islam, petitioning the Prime minister for help.

 

When mother-of-two-girls, Shagufta Shah, became pregnant a third time, her husband asked her to get an abortion.
Shamshad Sayeed didn’t want another daughter; neither did his parents.
“They feared that if I deliver a girl again, she will be a burden,” Shagufta said. “When I refused repeatedly, they started torturing me. On March 24, they forcibly tried to take me to the hospital and, when I resisted, they started beating me mercilessly.” Failing to get the child aborted, Shamshad and his family threw Shagufta out of the house.
“He (Shamshad) verbally gave me triple talaq and I was left on the road to die,” she said.
Taking a cue from fellow Saharanpur resident Atiya Sabri, Shagufta too decided to raise her voice against the instant divorce practice and wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for help.
The triple talaq is a Sharia law practice which allows men to end a marriage simply by saying “talaq” to their wives three times in succession.
While many Muslim-majority countries such as Pakistan and Indonesia have outlawed the custom for years, India -home to the world’s third-largest Muslim population- continues to allow it.

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Shagufta approached the local police station the same day she was thrown out. “However, they took my complaint and only assured me that they would look into the matter. They did not register an FIR and chased us away,” she said.
“Since then, my brother and my father are getting threatening calls and they (Shamshad and her inlaws) are threatening to kill us.”
Failing to get any help from the police, Shagufta sent a letter to the PM with copies to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, the National Commission for Women as well as the district magistrate and top cop.
“Mr Prime minister, it is my humble request to please help this poor and helpless woman. I also request you to ensure that this evil tradition ends so that woman like me and other victims get justice and live a dignified life,” she wrote.

 

She believes she will get help from the Prime Minister. Modi will be happy to help her and to underline the pet rhetoric of his party that those living in a Hindu country cannot follow personal laws of a foreign religion. This will also help BJP to pose itself as a champion of women’s rights. Non BJP opposition who is taking a stand of minorities themselves should decide their personal laws can easily be exposed here as pandering to patriarchs of Muslim community for votes.

For muslim women living in very conservative families, BJP’s Hindutva may seem much less oppressive than that they face day in and day out in their homes. For them BJP government will be a better ally than non BJP governments which depends on votes controlled by Muslim patriarchs.

Take home message is this:

If a severely patriarchal tribe do not reform itself, women of the tribe may ask and get help from a more powerful patriarch of a rival tribe.

If you want secularism and is troubled by gender oppressive religious laws, you should be in the fore front of the Muslim women’s struggle against oppressive patriarchal customs. If you are not there, the void will be filled by Hindutva and we may only get a Hindutva version of patriarchy instead of the Islamic one.

 

Hate speech gives you power

Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has a new chief minister who is a Hindu priest and the head of the Gorakhnath Math (Gorakhnath Mutt), a temple of the Nath monastic group in the Nath tradition. Prime minister Modi chose him because the saffron clad Yogi Adityanath was the most popular among BJP leaders. He became popular as he was able to raise hatred against Muslims the most, following the path shown by Modi himself.

Yogi Adityanath

Yogi Adityanath

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Hindutva science and the cow

Hindutva forces currently running the central government in India is obsessed with cows. They worship not only cows but also its milk, urine and dung. But this love and worship is only for indigenously bred ones, not the “non Hindu” cows.

So it was not surprising to hear that several proposals for studies  to “validate” “beneficial” effects of indigenous cow urine, milk and dung was discussed in a workshop organised by Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

Scientists and medical experts floated 40 proposals, including setting up a “gau vigyan (cow science) university” and researching the “anti-cancer” properties of cow urine, at a workshop organised by the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi on Sunday.

The programme was aimed at instituting a national project to validate the health benefits of Panchgavya – a concoction prepared with cow urine, dung, milk, curd and ghee.

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Intolerant theists forcefully cancel an atheist meet in India

The Hindutva brigade in India has used violence and intimidation to cancel a Nastik Sammelan (get together of Atheists) in Mathura, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Not surprisingly, they got support from their supposed to be enemies, the Islamic clerics. This happened to a meeting called by Swami Balendu at his ashram. Balendu was a Hindu spiritual guru, but has turned into an atheist few years ago.

Over 50 activists of the VHP, the Bajrang Dal and local Hindutva groups reached the Bindu Seva Sansathan Ashram at about 10 in the morning and started shouting slogans and attacking the ashram property. Armed with sticks, the Hindutva activists broke the glass panels of the ashram,” Swami Balendu told The Hindu on phone from Mathura.

“Immediately after the attack, the Hindutva activists, accompanied by senior police officials, told us that the protest was a mere start and if we went ahead with the meeting then much bigger things could happen in the city,” he said.

“Even though it was a private event we had taken official permission. The Constitution permits us to be non-believers. But this seems like an all-out attack on the freedom of expression and the freedom to be a non-believer,” added Swami Balendu.

Saints from Vrindavan at collectorate in Mathura to lodge protest against Nastik Sammelan on Friday. (HT Photo)

Saints from Vrindavan at collectorate in Mathura to lodge protest against Nastik Sammelan on Friday. (HT Photo).

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Attempts to saffronise California history curricula fails

As posted by me earlier, there was a raging battle between a coalition of interfaith groups the South Asian History for All and Hindutva groups on the revision of  California  school history curriculum. It was a high stake battle as many other American states follow Californian curricula. 

The “saffronising” of textbooks isn’t limited to Gujarat or Karnataka, or even just India. The American Hindu groups in the California battle include the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), whose founding members have links to the Sangh Parivar; the Hindu Education Foundation, a project of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, and the religious research group Uberoi Foundation. They want to rename the Indus Valley Civilization “Sindh-Saraswati”, delete any mention of Guru Nanak’s challenging of caste, and further what SAHFA calls the “oppressor Muslims vs persecuted Hindus’ narrative of Hindu nationalism”. In one of their most controversial moves, they’ve tried to get the term ‘Dalit’ deleted from the South Asian history taught in school curriculum. One of the Uberoi Foundation’s comments among the edits says, “Dalit is not a term from Sanskrit, nor from Hindu social history but a contemporary political construct to gain leverage mostly in elections and for economic concessions.”

Now the officials in California has come to, it seems, a just and rational decision.

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Battle to re-write California history text books

What should history text books in California call the area of Asia, which includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka ? Should they call it India or South Asia ?  How should those text books portray caste system? Should they mention family of birth is the most important factor deciding caste or should it say professional excellence also play a big role in it ?

There is a raging battle going on in California on these questions.

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