Reality Check India

Love Jihad is about airgapping two different legal regimes

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on August 24, 2014

There is a commotion right now on Indian Social Media following a story in the Open Magazine on Love Jihad.  Some folks dismiss the whole thing as laughable and others consider it to be a criminal act. Here is my take on the matter.

First : What on Gods Green earth is “Love Jihad”  ?

Any random Muslim – non-Muslim love affair or marriage is not called a Love Jihad.

One or more of  following additional elements seem to be required for a Hindu Girl- Muslim Boy to be termed as Love Jihad  1) an element of deception 2)  the girl is usually not one who is a highly educated or urban type 3) there is alleged conversion to Islam

In addition to the above three, there is sometimes, but not always an alleged conspiracy angle. The charge is that a group of religious leaders sponsor young men with leisure, money, accessories, and training to fall in “love” with unsuspecting Hindu or Christian girls and get them to convert.

Two parallel legal systems & the contract of marriage

India has a unique system of personal law.  Muslims are allowed to “register” (in a sense) their union under the Shariah Law and Hindus under the Hindu Marriage Act. There is also a “Special Marriage Act”  popularly known as register marriage which couples from any religion can use.   For simplicity, I am omitting Christians/ Sikhs etc – even though Christians in Kerala have been complaining about Love Jihad.

Irrespective of the route used, the act of Marriage should be viewed as a legal contract to distinguish it from just cohabiting.  Furthermore as with any contract, a marriage contract bestows both husband and wife with rights and duties.

In the Hindu and Special Marriage Act the rights and duties of the husband and wife are more or less equivalent.  As per the Shariah Law they are not.  The rights of the wife are dramatically lower in the latter.  In a grand compromise our secular state has created two parallel systems. This was done to chicken out of a tough judicial and political situation like most of the Idea of India laws.  But nothing is free. 

Transiting legal systems

Given the two legal systems , one of which has dramatically reduced rights of the wife – the conflict moves to the interface between the two.  You may notice that instances of  Love Jihad always involves a non-Muslim girl crossing over. On paper, a  Hindu Male marrying a Muslim Girl can convert and acquire enhanced rights vis-a-vis the girl.  This appears to be not very common as the Muslim girl who is about to marry outside would seek parity and opt for the register marriage. 

A lot of people are pointing out the “forced conversion” angle. That is not the main point in my view.

See, under Shariah Law both the man and woman have to be Muslims. So the real issue is that in all cases of Love Jihad – the man is forcing the girl to get married under the Shariah Law instead of the Special Marriage Act.  The conversion is just a formal requirement – there just cant be a Nikah (i.e the Maulvi will refuse to conduct it) unless both the participants are Muslim. 

So you may rightfully ask. Whats the big deal ?  If the girl WILLINGLY marries – what difference does it make to anyone what law that is used to solemnize it ? 

 Here is the issue in my view:  

When a Hindu girl gets married under Shariah Law, she waives her existing rights .  So even if she consented – was it an informed consent in the sense that she voluntarily waived her rights ?

Matter of informed consent

The girls that usually show up in Love Jihad stories dont seem to be of the type that would know what rights they had to begin with.  I don’t have any proof but I guess a lot of these young girls  they would be just thinking that the marriage ceremony is done in Muslim style while they retain all their rights.  They agree to go through the marriage routine then discover that the guy is already married or is getting ready to marry another girl.  Pregnancy and childbirth complicates things further because simply walking out is easier said than done under these circumstances. This is a common thread to all these stories. Therefore, the “deception” part of Love Jihad seems to related to the loss of rights. 

Proposal

It would be ludicrous to ban cross religious marriages. I am not even remotely suggesting such a thing. But to work around this issue of rights, I propose the following.

  • Hindu girls marrying under Shariah (after converting of course) must be either required to sign or atleast informed about exactly the rights they are losing.  I prefer the waiver form to be direct so that these rural girls understand whats going on.  Something of the kind : Do you agree to waive your right that your husband does not need your consent if he wants to marry again ?  Do you agree to waive your right to divorce procedure ? etc

There are plenty of Hindu girls who marry Muslims and lead happy lives out of love and out of  their own informed choice.  This post isnt about them.

It is obvious that this is not a zero-sum game.  An act of Love Jihad does result in a net loss of rights.  Therefore we have to put up checks to ensure that information about the loss of rights are readily available to these women.  Before they make the biggest decision of their lives. 

 

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21 Responses

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  1. KSV SUBRAMANIAN (@KSVSUBRAMANIAN) said, on August 25, 2014 at 3:09 am

    Why not make all marriages between people of different religions be compulsorily be registered ones..

  2. An Unknown Man said, on August 25, 2014 at 3:31 am

    “One or more of following additional elements seem to be required for a Hindu Girl- Muslim Boy to be termed as Love Jihad 1) an element of deception 2) the girl is usually not one who is a highly educated or urban type 3) there is alleged conversion to Islam”

    Actually, many highly educated ‘liberated’ Hindu girls seem to think it’s ‘oh so cool’ to deride Hinduism and convert willingly to Christianity or Islam just to show the world how ‘progressive’ and ‘liberal’ they are. I’ve personally seen many such cases. If anything, uneducated, rustic girls from rural India are more ‘street smart’. They aren’t brainwashed by NCERT books and they don’t buy into the ‘girl power’ propaganda which prompts Hindu women to abhor the notion of arranged marriage and find a partner for themselves.

    So, it’s not strictly a case of uneducated rural girls walking into a trap without knowing what’s in store for them.

    • Rahul said, on August 26, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      I could not resist but say, how right you are? Fully concur with you. I feel that we have been highlighted too many times the weakness in our customs and religion but never the strengths. Actually I never read anything negative written about the Mughal rule in India in our NCERT books.We were only told that Hindus were so backward that they followed the caste system

      • An Unknown Man said, on August 26, 2014 at 5:15 pm

        Thank you. One more point can be added here.

        1. Middle class Hindu parents are the absolute worst at parenting. They enroll their children in convents where they are made to hate their own religion and they make sure their children’s only ambition in life is to get a lucrative job. The children learn about our culture and religion not from their parents, who are too busy with their careers, but from the government and mass media. So, the average Hindu is irreligious to the core and has absolutely no idea of his past, present, or future.

        Contrast this to our Abrahamic friends who make sure their children not only learn the values of their religion and culture, but also learn to hate the pagans and kaffirs. So, unless Hindu parents learn the importance of instilling dharmic values into their children’s minds, nothing will change.

  3. goodsammy said, on August 25, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    When was the last time somebody (lawyers exempt) read thru a legal document thoroughly before signing it? 🙂

  4. priop said, on August 26, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Good article. But the problem is that the Hindu/Sikh/Jain/Buddhist girls are so brainwashed during that stage, that their mind will not ‘register’ anything. The only way of tackling this is that there is a much greater and broader awareness of these issues and most girls are well aware of these aspects even before any such incidents happen. People talk of sex education, but to me these aspects must be known and people must become much more aware. Social studies classes with civic lessons should cover different aspects such as this – education’s purpose is to allow people to make more discerning and informed choices.

  5. A very good analysis of Love Jihad said, on August 26, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    […] decision of their lives. This is another gift from the team that got you the Idea of India. Love Jihad is about airgapping two different legal regimes | Reality Check India› See More: A very good analysis of Love Jihad Reply With […]

  6. Kaushik said, on August 26, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Waiver is just a hack to avoid solving the REAL problem. You are just pushing it under the carpet….Why should there even be a law in which there is no equality…. Culturally/ religiously there have been lot of regressive ideas….carrying them forward when we know better is stupid.

  7. Amit said, on August 26, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Ur note is more a ‘comparative study of inter religious marriages n their legal imperfections’!!! The word Love Jihad is a High Court coined term meaning ‘fooling to convert ones religion thru marriage’ Its v elementary, no complications so don’t confuse it with honest, respectful inter religious love marriages. A ‘Venketaswara’ can’t turn out to b a ‘Vasimanullah’ after fooling a Xrstian or Hindu girl n force his wife to convert by emotions or force!!! These things r happening, have been happening n only a Utopian dreamer would deny it as its fashionable to b blindly pseudo liberal!!!

  8. adil said, on September 12, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Hindu bhai logo hindu Ladkiya musalmano k paas apni marzi se aati hai. musalman mard jyada strong aur smart jo hote hai ye dekho proof http://interfaithlovers.blogspot.com/

  9. aasare said, on September 14, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Well researched.But I still feel ur absolving a crime in the name of religion. Condoning polygamy in the name of religion is heinous crime against women. Do u really xpect a girl blind enuf to marry someone who is already married will refuse to sign a waiver form? A person marrying an already married person has basically forsaked common sense and cant b expected to behave or think logically. Y not ask such guys to instead get married to hindu girls after divorcing their earlier wives and also give an undertaking that he will not resort to polygamy until he is part of this wedlock. Ur premise of uneducated women falling for this isnt completely true. Many educated women get carried away as well.any relationship to b successful has to be based on mutual respect…not subservience. Hindu liberals need to get out of the mindset of condoning stone age practices like polygamy in the name of religious freedom. 5-8yr old small children running around in burkhas is an assault on their innocence. If hinduism can stop stuff like sati y cant the secular religion of this country do so? Its apalling that cry for women’s rights dies the minute a issue relates to islam.

  10. […] Air-gaping different legal regimes: When non-Muslim girls marry into Islamic fold, are they making an informed choice? Do they always exactly understand what legal position they are in? One of many disastrous impacts of secularized “Idea of India” laws has been the creation of parallel (and totally different) legal systems for marriage. This has to change – by ensuring that girls are perfectly aware of the legal rights they have; before and after such marriages. […]

  11. […] Check (@realitycheckind on Twitter) in his blog “Love Jihad is air gapping two different legal regimes” argues that the biggest concern about Love Jihad is not religious conversion but that […]

  12. […] Air-gaping different legal regimes: When non-Muslim girls marry into the Islamic fold, are they making an informed choice? Do they always exactly understand what legal position they are in? One of the many disastrous impacts of the phony “Idea of India” laws has been the creation of parallel (and totally different) legal systems for marriage. This has to change – by ensuring that girls are perfectly aware of the legal rights they have before and after such marriages. […]

  13. Kuber Sharma said, on October 30, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Reblogged this on 99kuber.

  14. […] Check (@realitycheckind on Twitter) in his blog “Love Jihad is air gapping two different legal regimes” argues that the biggest concern about Love Jihad is not religious conversion but that […]

  15. […] Check (@realitycheckind on Twitter) in his blog “Love Jihad is air gapping two different legal regimes” argues that the biggest concern about Love Jihad is not religious conversion but that […]

  16. […] that men are less choosy – and actually make patriarchal gains if they marry Muslim women (as this blog in Reality Check India argues). This is because we know that women are more careful in picking male […]

  17. Orient Views said, on April 3, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    this is not about rights of women.. it is about ethnic incompatability.. for uprooted urban folks, marriage would be an individual affair.. for traditional bharath, it is marriage of two extended families..

    In traditional setup, a girl enjoys care and support of her parental relatives, and a legitimacy of her community which places here in a socially secured environment.. IF she moves out of it, she loses everything, that she derived from her relatives or community.. Laws (whether hindu or muslim) dont provide any real support in day to day life.. it comes in to picture only when the girl lands in to court for some issue..

    I oppose love jihad, whether it is b/w hindu muslim or upper caste and dalit..

    In my view, the law should NOT dictate how a community should marry.. HIndu marriage law is totally hostile to bharathiya society..

  18. Informed said, on May 19, 2017 at 3:33 am

    This article is very secular and unrealitycheck. You have to understand why the women are usually hindu. As long as there is this imbalance, any such random love must be regarded as love jihad. Because this is a pattern and not exception. Secondly, hindu women almost always produce muslim children, this is a strong reason to treat every love as love jihad. Thirdly, this consent clause is immature and meaningless. When the 18yr old girl is at the peak of her productive age and love feelings, she trusts the man so much she will do anything. So, you cannot assume that she will think straight, indian hindu women don’t understand contracts in case of marriage. So, asking consent to forego rights is just another procedure which will always be success. The only way to deal with this is that hindu women must be banned from marrying muslim men, except in cases where there is an exchange of girls between two families.


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