Madhya Pradesh BJP vice president and MLA, Usha Thakur, seeks a ban on entry of Muslim youths in garba in MP, during Navratri

One swallow doesn’t make a summer” is the response given by BJP spokesperson Jay Narayan Vyas to the statement made by Madhya Pradesh BJP vice president and MLA, Usha Thakur, seeking a ban on entry of Muslim youths in ‘garba’ in MP, during the festive navratri.

She has come out with 11 point guidelines, which consist of checking the voter ids of the youth trying to enter the garba pandal . There are also guidelines on the ‘dress code’ for girls, decent to be precise, to defend themselves from the so called ‘love jihad’.

garba 2 Garba Mana Hain
Festivals in India seldom have been restricted to religion. They have always been a celebration of life, a reason to smile, enjoy, dance. Navratri is one such festival, where people gather around Goddess Durga, and dance to the beats of  ‘garba’ over nine nights. Nobody in the history of this festival has restricted entry to people on the basis of religion.

Nobody has paused and questioned  who is the music director of the song “Dholi taro..” (Ismail Durbar, film ‘Hum Dil De Cuke Sanam’) before dancing to its tunes.

Recently there have been limitations on the timings of the garba for security reasons. But nobody has sent out diktats on the clothes women should be wearing on this occasion, which in essence is a celebration of femininity, expressed in the form and spirit of Maa Durga.

What has changed?

Article 15 of the Indian Constitution gives the right to equality, irrespective of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. How can a sitting MLA then come out with such hokum?. Why is
the BJP looking the other way? Is it deliberate attempt, though not official, to divide people for vote dividends in the upcoming by-elections to be held in various parts of India.

hindutva world Garba Mana Hain
Where did this term ‘love jihad’ come from?

It is said that it originated in the state of Karnataka somewhere around 2009, coined by Kerala Catholic Bishops Council, furthered by the  Hindu Janajagruti Samiti and others. They made allegations of large scale conversions of girls to Islam, through wrongful means, which were later found baseless. Recently the term is being polished and shined mainly in the state of  UP, by various Hindutva fringe elements as well as some office bearers of BJP.

Is it not an insult to the intellect of the woman, that she will fall prey to intentional overtures by men of a ‘certain community’. And even if one assumes that women are vulnerable(beware, they are not), how is it the propriety of only women of a certain ‘other’ community. 

Besides, how does one check the authenticity of these claims in the current context. Definitely not on the basis of Tara Shahadeo case or the Meerut incident, which themselves are in question. Crimes against women happen in every community. One specific community cannot be singled out.

love jihad Garba Mana Hain

When one thinks only ‘love’ was overrated, on which scale can ‘love jihad’ be rated. Well they will invent a scale too, in no time, let us be assured.

Surprisingly a poll taken on one of the TV channels showed that 87% people agreed  with Usha Thakur in restricting Muslim youth from entering garba pandals. This is a dangerous trend, which has been evolving recently. Where are we going as a society with such mindsets.

Even if one brushes aside this scaremongering as a one off, something new crops up everyday. There have been one too many swallows, with the likes of Yogi Adityanath, Laxmikant Bajpai, Sangeet Singh Som and others. They are making clowns of themselves.

Let us make an humble request to our PM to stand by  the ten year moratorium on communalism he announced in his robust speech  from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Independence Day, and take action. And let us not lose our sense of humor!

By: Manasi Gandhi

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