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Dear Islamophobes, please do not fight your battle at the expense of gays

Islam, I often laugh to myself, has become the proverbial ‘Nanda Ghosh’ who is to blame for all ills. Not that the ‘religion of Peace’ is devoid of problems, but to play the same old tune of radical Islam being the root of all evils reached a crescendo after the Orlando shooting.

Like any other religion, Islam needs reforms. There is no doubt about that; those who wish to live in denial are fools themselves. A set of rules, developed in the Middle-East in the middle ages cannot and should not be applied in to-to in the 21st century.

But when it comes to homophobia, are other religions far behind? Isn’t hate for us who love differently ingrained in every faith? The false notion of morality comes into play the day a boy is stopped by his mother from playing with dolls. Effeminate men are ridiculed, manly women are mocked – none of this because Islam said so.

 

India

 

Most Islamophobes cite the example of Middle East. Well, those nations choose to live in the dark ages, that’s their problem. Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, world’s largest Muslim country. India, which houses second largest population of Muslims and is ruled by a Hindu right wing party, has criminalised “unnatural sex” since the British era. But Muslims here do not go about killing gays, because guns are not as easily available in India as they are in America.

Gun laws – the elephant in the room that many people refuse to acknowledge – were the primary reason for the Orlando massacre, as much as homophobia. Only three out of 133 shootings in US of A this year were by Muslims. So, how can Islam be blamed? Even if Omar had not carried out his devious plans, another Christian extremist was planning to attack a pride march the very next day (but was apprehended). A pastor took to Twitter to celebrate the death of gays.

Orlando massacre is as much a failure of the American administration. Despite being under FBI radar, Omar had access to those deadly arms. Many Republican politicians who are attacking Islam after the incident have vocally defended anti-gay laws in the past.

So, my earnest request to all my Islamophobe friends is please do not fight your battles by putting guns on our shoulders. Our fight is as much against the Omar Mateems as much is it against Hindu Ramdevs and the Christian Pastors.

The reality in my country is that MPs of ruling Hindu party blocked and jeered a Bill to decriminalise homosexuality. Reality of my country is that an upper caste Hindu judge of SC recriminalised homosexuality. Reality is that the main petitioner against Naz foundation is a Hindu group.

We are fighting against homophobia. We are fighting against Tamil Brahmin fathers who tie their effeminate sons to trees naked and release red ants on him. Our fight is against middle class families that force their sons to get electric shock to cure them. Our fight is against those where lesbian daughters are raped, our fight is against the society where transgenders cannot get jobs. And NONE of this is due to Islam alone.

So if you cannot help our cause, at least do not derail it by scoring goals against Islam at our cost. Because even as u do so, we face discrimination in workplaces, campuses… we live like criminals in our own country.

 

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyright

Tuktuki Mandal and the BJP’s polarisation campaign in Bengal

tuktuki

Image courtesy: Saddahaq.com

Tuktuki Mandal, a teenage girl from Magrahat in West Bengal has become the latest symbol of the right wing hypocrisy and the extent of shamelessness to which the BJP can go to for polarisation on religious lines before 2016 Assembly elections.

Anyone who is active on Twitter must have woken up surprised to see #JusticeForTuktuki in the trending topics, wondering who Tuktuki is and what justice are these people seeking? A closer look at the tweets would reveal that copy-pasted statements being circulated by several egg-head DPs or accounts with miniscule followers (one of the means of ascertaining how genuine the accounts are). Obviously, there were known bleeding-heart Sanghis like Saswati Sarkar (who is an expert on Bengal, sitting thousands of miles away in the US), Gaurav Swant, Mrs Gandhi (sic), Aditya Raj Kaul and many others.

Hindu Samhati, an ultra-right wing organisation, which even views household disputes through the prism of religion, led by Tapan Ghosh was accusing that Tuktuki Mondal, a teenage girl was kidnapped by ‘Islamists’ and sold into flesh trade. Not only they did not have any evidence to support their claims, but there were several inconsistencies in the allegations.

As Newslaundry reports:

“But as reporters studied the story, they began to discover obvious loopholes in the father’s version. The most glaring being the girl’s statement to the district Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), where she stated she had left home as a result of a tiff with her parents over her studies and was living in one of her maternal uncles’ place.  In fact, a reporter claims the mother, on cross-questioning, even admitted that their daughter was involved with Gazi and had eloped with him. The mother also stated that both Gazi and the girl studied in the same school. Gazi at the time of the girl’s disappearance was also a minor and turned 18 in June.

The story just wasn’t adding up. And most reporters chasing the story for major mainstream news channels stated that the story was not what Majhi and the girl’s father were trying to sell them.”

 

Right-wing news channels like NewsX did not want to be left behind. They started their own campaign to bring justice to Tuktuki and save West Bengal from the clutches of Jihadist misrule of Mamata Banerjee. Anyone who has ever watched NewsX knows they hardly ever report facts; hyperbole is the mainstay of their brand of “journalism”. Also, enter Kanchan Gupta with his “scathing” Op-Ed in The Pioneer calling upon people to save Hindu girls from “Muslim goons in the State.”

All this was happening as BJP state and central leadership sat on a dharna at Magrahat on the eve of Rath Yatra and Eid-Ul-Fitr. Whether there intentions were to seek justice for Tuktuki or to incite communal tension on the eve of religious festivals, I leave the reader to judge.

Meanwhile, Tuktumi Mandal was back in news on 20 July. She gave a statement to the Magistrate saying she ran away from home after tiffs with her parents regarding her studies. She said she was staying at her maternal uncle’s place. Tuktuki even refused to go back to her father’s house and the court has asked her to be sent to a juvenile home.

 

Video courtesy: NewsLaundry

 

The orchestrated campaign of the BJP to incite communal tension during festive season only shows their ideological bankruptcy. The Hindu right wing thrives on rumour-mongering. With the advent of technology like WhatsApp and Photoshop, their attempts at spreading communal poison have become even easier.

Last month when I had visited the Taj Mahal, our guide (who happened to be a Muslim) had remarked during a conversation that with elections approaching, many communal clashes were being staged by political parties with vested interests and they were helpless. With Bengal elections just around the corner, I ominously brood over what my guide at Taj Mahal told me in a casual remark.

And even as I write this post, I have information that the right wing is planning to stage another hoax campaign to shame Bengal next week.

It is incumbent on every self-righteous Bengali to save our motherland from the poison of communalism. We cannot let that happen to the land of Rabindranath and Nazrul.

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

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