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.


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

[Read more…]

Incredibly intolerant India

Most Indians are proud of their country. They believe it is a free, tolerant,liberal country, think the Constitution guarantees free speech and the law and order machinery keeps the citizens safe. Even many abroad feel the same.

But the truth is far removed from this imaginary liberal India.

Most often Indians elect parties with intolerant majoritarian and undemocratic ideologies to run the governments. There is a competition among political parties to use religion, caste, nationalistic icons and cultural myths to mobilise voters and to cultivate hate. Questioning any of these with reason become blasphemous. Such free speech invites attack not only from goons but also from law and order machinery.

See what happened to college professor when he questioned why Shivaji, a (Hindu) cultural icon in some parts of India and a former king , is having two birthday celebrations, one in February and other in March. He was physically attacked by his students and fellow professors and later arrested by the Police. He was denied bail because the court believed his life is at risk outside the jail. I am sure the Police will not be inclined to arrest those who assaulted the professor.

[Read more…]

Islamists kill ex Muslim in Southern India

Farooq was an Iron scrap dealer living in the South Indian city of Coimbatore. He was an outspoken ex Muslim atheist who regularly used to criticise all religions including Islam on Facebook and Whatsapp. He was an active member of an outfit called Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhakam, a break away group of Dravidar Kazhakam.

Not able to answer his criticisms, Islamists decided to punish him as per their holy book.

Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment,                     Quran 5 : 33


[Read more…]

Tragedy turned her into a fighter

My first post on this blog was about a horrific murder which exposed the casteist underbelly of India. It happened exactly a year ago near my town. Sanker, a Dalit youth was hacked to death in broad daylight for daring to love and marry a girl who was born to a higher caste. The girl had severe injuries too but survived. The attack was ordered by members of the girl’s family. Severely traumatized, the girl tried to kill herself by consuming poison but was saved.

Now the happy news. The girl in question is slowly turning over a new life.

Following her attempt to take her own life, she was counseled by her in-laws, several NGOs and volunteers. “They told me dying was not the solution. I was told to live through this caste violence to prove the point that I wanted to. I decided that I will make the dreams that my husband and I had, come true,” says Kowsalya. Now, a year later, that is what she has done.

After her suicide bid, she had moved back in with Sankar’s family, where she initially started taking tuitions for children from 1st standard to the 12th standard. “I wanted to do something to remove my mind from what happened. Plus, there was nobody to teach these children from the locality English. So I decided that I should do it,” says Kowsalya. But what she thought would be a favour to the students, turned out to be of great help to her, when it came to cracking the defence ministry exams.

[Read more…]

Victory for religious identity politics over caste politics

Results of elections conducted in India’s largest and most populous state is out.

The Hindutva party of Prime minister Modi won a massive number of seats in the Uttar Pradesh State assembly. BJP and its allies got 80% of the seats ( 324 out of 403)  with a vote share of around 40 % in the first-past-the-post voting system in a state with 200 million people (fifth most populous in the world if it was a separate country).

In a three cornered contest, the main rivals of BJP was an alliance  between Samajvadi Party with Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party. SP- Congress alliance got around 28 % of votes ( 54 seats) while BSP got around 22% of votes (19 seats).



[Read more…]

Rules to save girls from effects of hormonal outbursts

 Maneka Gandhi is the Indian cabinet minister in charge of the ministry of women and child welfare. When she was asked about hostel curfews which forces girl students to be in their rooms by around 6pm in government run college hostels, she had this to say.

At 16 or 17 you are hormonally very challenged. So to protect you from your own hormonal outbursts, perhaps a lakshman rekha (a line that should not be crossed) is drawn. It really is for your own safety,’

Now can there be any better example of victim blaming than this ????

Image credit : NDTV

Image credit : NDTV

[Read more…]