While a significant section of Hindus was outraged by the ‘Ekatvam’ commercial of jewellery brand Tanishq, with predictable tolerance of possible annihilation of the community betrayed by the deracinated, few expressed the real or ultimate reason of their reaction. No, it is not merely the disbelief that hits you when the on-screen drama defies the incessant news of Hindu girls getting waylaid under a ploy referred to as “love jihad”, after which they are told that the boys who had been courting them masquerading as Hindus were indeed Muslims. It is not merely that conversion would follow and, worse, that torture by way of domestic violence would ensue. No, it is not even the apprehension of the plight of a woman who might be subjected to the Islamic practice of halala in the event of a talaq, which reduces her status practically to that of a prostitute when, if the man wants her back, she needs to be in bed with another man who must divorce her to make her fit for marrying her first husband again. What makes love jihad scary is the creation of a ‘factory’ for the assembly-line production of fanatics. It is the Hindu fear of the outcome of such marriages, the scale of which is increasing dreadfully by the day.
The outcome is not restricted to the change in the religion of a stray girl. The acceptability of such match-making threatens to influence a hell lot of impressionable, gullible minds. That, in turn, engineers a demographic change whose implications are not limited to numbers. It is a well-thought-out attempt to propagate and perpetuate Islam in India not by the might of the sword directly but by the fear thereof most certainly. It’s not just one woman lost to another community. It is the fear that she is going to be a breeding ground for children indoctrinated to believe their faith is superior to that of the majority and, hence, they would hold that it’s unfair that Hindus must be in driving positions of governance. That would lead to entropies on various levels: peers in high schools would be told Hinduism is superstitious, polytheistic idolatry while ‘scientific’ Islam has answers to all questions. University students would insist government policies must appease Muslims, failing which they will hit the streets with demonstrations, arson and riots. When the society around turns wholly Muslim, as they ensured Kashmir would be in the purge of 1990-92, the brainwashing would be aimed at more extremism and the action would change from rioting to plain terrorism. Finally one day, the nation would become ― and the state would be proclaimed as ― Islamic. That day such Hindus, whom the hue and cry yesterday and the day before made uncomfortable, would see the end of the administrative philosophy they are so fond of — secularism.
Yet, if turning the nation Muslim was what they wanted, the campaign would not stop here. Shi’ah versus Sunni riots would be commonplace. An economic policy that has not done any good to any economy would follow, a mushrooming of seminaries to begin with. Men would compete with one another in both growing beard and developing a fundamentalist mindset. Women would be objects with the status of wallpaper if lucky or a doormat if unfortunate. The youth would mull over ‘career’ options between Lashkar-e-Taiba and ISIS. If the government is not a monarchy, a fickle form of democracy that elects the most jingoistic of people’s representatives would soon give way to military dictatorship. It’s not too late even now if happy-go-lucky Hindus just cared to look around and study the nature of states around the world once their population turned Muslim-majority and, invariably, the republic or monarchy declared Islam to be the sole official religion. Exceptions are few and far between. From Muhammad Ali Jinnah to Zia ul Haq of Pakistan is the natural progression of any place where Muslims are the majority. A Hosni Mubarak is bound to be toppled in Egypt. A Recep Tayyip Erdogan is destined to come to power even in a quasi-European Turkey. Farther east, a Mahathir bin Mohamad will offer asylum to fugitive Zakir Naik. Secularism cannot be the religion even in the Maldives. Some opportunistic statements apart, Islamic states leave no opportunity in forums of the United Nations to vote against Israel and India. It’s the foresight of such a dreadful scenario that makes the aware and enlightened section of Hindus wary of love jihad. It is this fear that the Tanishq commercial ignited with its insensitive portrayal of a make-believe union that they called Ekatvam.