Please read this with open minds. I am sure most of you will be convinced that there is nothing like “Love Jihad”. I am trading into a controversial subject but I know what I am talking.
Mine is a very conservative Hindu (Gowda Saraswat Brahmin) family. My daughter was 4 years old when my father refused to take her out if she wore shorts and sleeveless tops. He wanted her to wear something ‘decent’. Daughter was crestfallen and I talked to my father. I told him, “She will continue to wear what she likes and there cannot be any restrictions.” I promised him, she would wear “appropriate costumes” for religious functions and temple festivals. But there will be no dress code on normal days. That was the end of that story. My father NEVER had any problems after that.
A decade later, I talked to my teenage daughter, who was already into movies. Apart from how to deal with predatory men and self-defense, I also told her something I thought was extremely important. Here’s the gist of what I told her.
Baby, you’re growing up. There will be boys and men who will find you attractive and will make amorous approach. There could be some who might interest you. If and when that happens, always remember these things.
* He should not complain about your dress
* He should not hesitate to be seen in public with you
* He should have no problems with your religion or identity or name
* He should not complain about the freedom you have from family
* He should not try to change ANYTHING about you. Not your name, not surname, not food habits, not your dress sense, not your behavior. Absolutely nothing.
In short, if a man says “I love you” but wants to change “certain” things about you, that is NOT Love.
Love is a beautiful feeling that happens in spite of imperfections innate to all of us. If the one who says he loves you but wants you to be perfect for HIS taste or HIS family or HIS religion, that is not love.
I continued, “YOU are the most beautiful gift of life for us, your family. Whatever you are, there is our blood, sweat, culture and love in it. Anyone who wants to change you isn’t loving YOU. That is LUST for your external appearance. And then he wants to change that too. That is not love.”
So the message was, “Stay away from those who want to change you !”
Now, EVERY SINGLE GIRL who falls in love must remember these things. There will be umpteen occasions when she can evaluate the boy or man. A single negative comment about her dress or appearance should be the end of the road. NEVER think he might get hurt. Hurting someone who wants to change you is better than ending up in a suitcase or getting raped or getting shot.
Girls must keep their parents and siblings in the loop. Parents too should strive to have the confidence of their kids, especially daughters. Love and marriage are a reality. Nonsensical things like caste and status should have no place there. But it is important to know the boy our girl is in love with. It cannot be a drug peddler, criminal or someone who changes identity to attract the girl. Always insist upon knowing HIS family. There are dozens of cases where men have faked their religion to marry Hindu, Sikh or Christian girls to come out with truth only after consummation of marriage. Most Important need is the family should be in touch with the daughters. It’s not to spy on them but to be in touch.
I already said, “If someone wants to change you, it’s not love.” When there is no love, how can we have Love Jihad ? It’s not love but pure Jihad. Deception, concealing or changing one’s identity, cheating, sexually exploiting, blackmail and murder are all permissible in that. Every single day, we’re witnessing gory news of young Hindu girls being slaughtered, burned, tucked inside suitcases and a lot more.
If someone approaches a girl with love and we see any of the features I have described, he is on a mission. He just needs a womb to multiply his ilk. One woman lesser in the Kafir world and one uterus more for furthering his cause. That’s all he wants. There’s no love. There’s no Love Jihad. It’s plain unadulterated Jihad.
So I repeat again. Girls, stay away from one who wants to change you. Family, stay closely connected to your daughters. Jihad is a war. We cannot win against it by love. We can conquer only by knowing it, knowing the dimensions, spreading awareness and educating our kids. Keep your eyes, ears and all senses open. Love is blind, Jihad isn’t !
PS: Love, as shown in Bollywood movies like “Kedarnath” is the biggest fake narrative. Reality is there in the newspapers, everyday, everywhere and in different ways. Introduce your girls to each and every such story to prevent your daughter from becoming one more story.