Tatas and the Tanishq ad: more serious than interfaith marraiges or love jihad !

Banning interfaith marriage is not enough… what about a Hindu with an Islamic beard, eh ? Even saffron might have originated in Iran, says Wikipedia, points out a nationalist Hindu

Tatas and the Tanishq ad: more serious than interfaith marraiges or love jihad !

Tabish Khair

An anxious letter from a nationalist Hindu raises uncomfortable questions for the Government, House of Tatas and society at large.

Dear Editor,

In response to the Tanishq controversy, I, like all sane Indians, wish to put on record my strong opposition to interfaith marriages, and my demand that the Indian Constitution be amended to prevent the same with immediate effect.

However, it strikes me that even such an amendment will not be sufficient. The rot is deeper than just love jihad.

You see, I have two neighbours, a married couple, both upper caste Hindus. Let us call the woman A and the man B. Now, A is a deeply religious woman, and observes all the prescribed fasts and pujas. B is also Hindu in dress and demeanour. But there is a problem. He sports a very Muslim beard.

I know that beards are worn by Hindus too, including our revered sages. But anyone who can tell his left hand from his right knows that Muslim beards differ from Hindu beards, as various issues of Amar Chitra Katha have indicated in the past.

There is no doubt that B’s beard is distinctively Islamic. And this brings us to the problem I want to highlight. A is married to B, but is she not hiding a secret desire for a Muslim man? Why did she choose to marry a Hindu man with an Islamic beard? It seems to me that this desire, unconscious or suppressed, is the thin edge of the knife of interfaith marriage, and one day, probably in the next generation, it will cut deep. I worry about the children of this couple. It needs to be nipped in the bud.

I see this problem all around me. Let’s take C, my school friend. He is a proud Hindu. He has a sticker on his motorcycle that says ‘Say with Pride you are a Hindu.’ He often wears saffron scarves. But his wife, also a Hindu from his caste, arranged marriage and all, loves to dress in green. Green, as you know, is the colour of Islam. I often wonder if my friend C does not harbour the hidden fantasy of inter-faith marriage. That must be why he encourages his wife to wear green. He must be enabling her to buy the stuff, after all! Similarly, my cousin X, as devout as me, is married to a Hindu, who nevertheless loves biryani. Vegetable biryani, but still!

The list is long. Hindus married to other Hindus who display shockingly Muslim traits, such as a love for ghazals, or an appreciation of Urdu poetry or the hobby of calligraphy. I am not even listing sickularist Hindus who research Mughal history or translate Asadullah Khan Ghalib! Their case is obvious enough.

But even if you look at small and innocuous matters, like, for instance, a craze of Shahrukh Khan films or a sweet tooth for sawai or firni, you can notice the rot: Hindus who have been contaminated with desire for Muslim-ness.

It is deeply insidious. I have a devout aunt in Delhi, married to just as religious a man from our caste, but both of them absolutely have to go for evening walks in the Lodhi Gardens. They cannot even go to bed without a walk in the Lodhi Gardens. And when I pointed this out to them, highlighting their slavish weakness for the Mughals, they denied that the Lodhi Gardens had anything to do with Mughals! What can one say to such perversity?

It is obvious to me, and to every sane Indian, that the problem of Tanishq is not limited to interfaith marriages. Many Hindus who are ostensibly married to Hindus are in grave danger too. The Hindu faith is in danger. Strong and immediate steps have to be taken to interrogate, discipline and reform Hindus married to Hindus who are, in effect, vicarious substitutes for Muslims.

This, I am convinced, is how the rot of inter-faith marriage creeps in. Hence, respected Sir, the Constitution should be amended not just to prevent interfaith marriages, but also to ban Hindus from marrying other Hindus who show Muslim-like traits.

In my next letter, I will send you a hundred and twenty-three page list of such traits, which I hope you will publish in instalments. I just need a bit more time to cover all the aspects, and there is a chance the list might go beyond 123 pages. It is, as you will concede, a complex matter: it has recently been brought to my notice, with reference to a Wikipedia entry, that even saffron might have originated in Iran.

This, I personally think, is a sickularist plant, but I need to research it – and similar matters – further on Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp, before I can finalise my list.

Yours etc.,

G. Sundar

(Tabish Khair is an author and academic based in Denmark)

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