Now that the Ladakh stand-off is on its way to being resolved and the death of the pregnant elephant from Kerala has been demystified, India’s Right-wing has gone back to its favourite game — blame the Muslim.
The latest opportunity came with the announcement of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s daughter Veena T.’s engagement with Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) national president Muhammad Riyas. As soon as the reports came out, the Hindutva Right-wing went into a tizzy.
It was a double bonus because Veena is the daughter of a Leftist politician from Kerala, a state the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been eyeing for a long time.
In a deplorable replay of the Hadiya marriage episode that reached the Supreme Court, Veena, too, is being vilified for choosing the person she wants to marry. While Riyas is being targeted for his choice of food and his protest against the Narendra Modi government’s beef ban.
From conversion to the so-called ‘love jihad’ to beef eating, the mostly nameless and faceless members of the Hindutva gang on social media are using every tool they can against the couple. In the past, even Bollywood actors Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor were not spared the ‘love jihad’ nonsense. Now, the gang has found its new target in Veena and Riyas.
It seems the Right-wing was waiting for a high-profile inter-religious marriage to return to a game it is most comfortable playing — targeting Muslims over their religious beliefs and eating habits. The icing on the cake is the couple’s political background and beliefs.
Ultimate love jehad. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's daughter Veena to marry Muhammad Riyaz. Father and daughter setting the perfect example for secular Hindus to follow. Have you heard of a single Kerala Mappilah woman who married a Hindu man.https://t.co/bUh7LeCLKA
— Rakesh Krishnan Thiyya (@ByRakeshSimha) June 9, 2020
‘Love jihad in style with the lead of beef festival organiser’
The Right-wing either can’t understand or deliberately ignores the fact that unlike the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) goons forcing couples to marry on Valentine’s Day, Veena and Riyas’ wedding is consensual.
It’s not like the Hindutva Right is a big fan of logic, considering it finds a Muslim angle in almost every scenario, but is it too difficult for it to wake up to the idea that a marriage can even be consensual? Or do choice and freedom for women not exist in the Hindutva Right’s worldview at all?
Then there is Riyas, whose sole identity is now that of a ‘beefeater’, ‘beef fest organiser’, or ‘beef ban protester’ — even though beef is not only available all over India but is widely consumed in Kerala, too. And whatever happened to food being a matter of personal choice?
BJP’s Priti Gandhi took to Twitter to let those ‘unaware’ know that Riyas is nothing but the brain behind Kerala’s ‘beef fests.’
Meanwhile, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s Daughter Veena is marrying CPM Leader Muhammad Riyaz.
For those not aware, Riyaz is the brain behind 'beef fests' which had been organised across Kerala to protest against ban on sale of cattle for slaughter.
— Priti Gandhi – प्रीति गांधी (@MrsGandhi) June 9, 2020
News from the Communist world : Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s Daughter Veena is marrying CPM Leader Muhammad Riyaz. For those not aware, Riyaz is the brain behind 'beef fests' which had been organised across Kerala to protest against ban on sale of cattle for slaughter. pic.twitter.com/IanAg5wjUk
— Uday Mahurkar (@UdayMahurkar) June 10, 2020
‘She will be made to convert to Islam’
Soon after the wedding was announced, the Hindutva brigade showed its faux concern for Veena’s future and started asking if she will convert to Islam after her marriage.
Veena is an educated, powerful woman, who is also an IT entrepreneur. To assume that she has no agency over her decisions and will be forced to give up her religion and embrace her husband’s is a window to the Hindutva mindset, which can’t comprehend women making religious choices.
Ah! Let's see if they're really Communists or if she's made to convert to Islam. https://t.co/CA93wtd5ti
— Makarand R Paranjape (@MakrandParanspe) June 9, 2020
They didn’t even spare Veena’s son from her first marriage. One of the Twitter users said: “Curious to know whether they (Veena and her son) can continue to be practising Hindus after her 2nd marriage.”
Not only are these attacks Islamophobic but also sexist. Whether Veena decides to convert to Islam and/or adopt Riyas’ last name is entirely her choice, just like it’s Priyanka Chopra’s choice to wear sindoor, or Hadiya’s choice to leave her parents’ home and marry a Muslim man.
Even if Veena wants to convert to Islam, say due to her reservations against Hinduism, isn’t that ultimately her choice?
‘May be the creep already has three wives’
In New India, a Muslim man will always be portrayed as per the popular Hindu imagery of him — multiple wives and triple talaq.
I wish this girl well, but it would not suprise me if she is dumped after giving birth to Muslim progeny! May be the creep already has three wives! https://t.co/Moo2W6YSwb
— Usha Dravid🇮🇳 जय श्री राम (@UshaDravid) June 10, 2020
Even before the couple’s wedding, the Right-wing is already contemplating if Veena will be ‘dumped’ after giving birth to a ‘Muslim progeny’ — pandering to the ‘fear’ routinely fed to unsuspecting Hindus by bigoted propagandists that the number of Muslims in India will one day surpass that of Hindus. Journalist Dilip D’Souza, after looking into the decadal Census data on growth in population of the two communities, has reported that it would take Muslims nearly 220 years to equal Hindu population figures. But isn’t dangerous fear-mongering part of the Hindutva game?
India’s Hindu Right needs to chill sometimes. It’s just another Indian wedding between two consenting adults. Don’t understand the concept? Then leave it to the adults. One can understand the Hindu Right’s propensity to latch on to the heady mix of Kerala, Communist and Muslim, and that it must have started salivating from the word go. But really, the Right-wing can sit this one out.
Views are personal.