Mihir Srivastava is a journalist and writer. Formerly with Open and Tehelka, he currently works with the Patriot as a senior associate editor. In this interview with Chitranshu Tiwari of Newslaundry, Mihir talks about his latest book, Love Jihadis, written with photojournalist Raul Irani, which breaks down the “love jihad” bogey in the context of western Uttar Pradesh.
What triggered Mihir and Raul to write the book? Mihir says, “‘Love jihad’ was an issue that I felt was funny...It’s a comment on Hinduism, where a Hindu girl is too juvenile or docile enough to make her own decisions, because sensuous Muslim men are gunning for them, to convert them to Islam.”
Underlining the role of Hindutva politics in making western Uttar Pradesh a hotbed of communal clashes, Mihir says, “We’re complex beings because we have multiple identities, sometimes conflicting identities. When the BJP came to power and prominence, what they did was that out of these complex identities, they targeted the religious identity.”
Over the last couple of decades, he adds, issues such as the Ram temple have been part of a concerted effort to reinforce people’s religious identities.
But does “love jihad” exist? Mihir says, “The whole narrative of ‘love jihad’ is based on an acute inferiority complex as far as the Sangh Parivar, or whoever supports this bogey, is concerned. Even if you agree with what they have to say, it will take about 1,500 years to convert all Hindu girls to Islam by marrying them.”
The conversation also spans the mainstream and vernacular media’s role in propping up the “love jihad” narrative, and a lot more.
Text by Diksha Munjal
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