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Friday, April 13, 2012

Harassment under Religious Disguise

Would harassment be an accurate description of this, or would it be better off classified as just another case of exploitation? Religious exploitation or the hands of very right wing religious people? Here is another thought, maybe exploitation and violation of human rights is being carried out under behind the wall of religious rhetoric. The recent case of forced conversion of Hindu girls from the Sind region of Pakistan has managed to attract significant media attention. And in the case of today's world of digital media which is accompanied by user generated input, comments of extensive diversity from readers have followed. Not surprisingly among the comments were comments suggesting that it is a religous obligation for practising muslims to invite and bring as many people as they can towards the path of Islam. Many see the forced conversion of these Hindu girls as a nobel deed that will lead those responsible on the path to paradise. Followers of Hinduism alongside other religious minorities in parts of Pakistan have been demonised for decades as governments of past and present have not only shed a blind eye to the ateocities of the radical right but have proactively encouraged and engaged them in order for political gain. It should not take much effort for our common senses to figure out that, what has been happening in the case of these abducted Sindhi Hindu girls is plain outright exploitation and abuse. Those associated with the very influential religious right are taking advantage of their contacts and ability to evade the law to exercise their perverted ill intentions. The clarity on their intentions is obvious from the common nature of these widespread abductions. Young Hindu girls of marriage worthy age are abducted from their homes in the middle of the night, are forcibly converted and a their abductor performs their nikkah immediately either with themselves or among their bretheren. These kidnappers are able to mask their activities through the argument that their only following their God given obligation by bringing more people to Islam, and then their secondary argument is the nikkah nama which they use to add weightage to the credibility of their relationiship with the women they abducted. The use of these technical hurdles puts the amilies of the victims in a position of powerlessness. Coming to a very important question here is, would such people be able to get away with such behaviour if historically the right line was clearly drawn between where one is communicating the message of Islam to where one is stepping the line and violating human rights. This stepping the line happens also on a very micro level, when those among our friends, family and community which have turned to religion become very intrusive and interfering. This intrusion comes in the form of day to day harassment for us not being as devoutly religious as them and engaging ourselves in religious talk and symbolic rituals with utter rigidity. When such aggression is directed towards us, we are usually told be silent because a message of religous content is being communicated to us and we risk committing blasphamy, this is a time when we should take initiative and break our silence, it is our silence and our inaction that sets a platform such things and wrong doings in our society.

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