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NL Interview: Mariyam Alavi, Sreenivasan Jain, Supriya Sharma on love jihad fiction, women’s rights

The journalists talk about the data-backed rebuttal of the narratives of love jihad, population jihad and Muslim appeasement.

WrittenBy:NL Team

The narratives of “love jihad”, forced conversion, and Muslim appeasement have been adding sordid twists to headlines, TV debates, and even crime in India. But is there truth to these claims, or are they fictions spun in service of those in power? 

Journalists Mariyam Alavi, Sreenivasan Jain, and Supriya Sharma probe these questions by analysing data and rhetoric in their book Love Jihad and Other Fictions.     

In a conversation with Newslaundry’s Manisha Pande, the three journalists throw light on their motivations to write the book, the process of putting it together, the need for data-backed rebuttals, and womens’ rights and agency.    

Supriya says the guilt of not doing enough as a journalist to “pushback against these falsehoods” got her involved in the book, while Mariyam says they wanted to provide “fact-based rebuttals of these claims”.

They also discuss how these narratives rob women of their agency. “Infantalisation of women is not only among the Hindu right but also in the courts,” says Supriya. 

On the “extraordinary cruelty” of the love jihad theory, Sreenivasan says as per data, interfaith marriages are “only two percent of all marriages”. “And yet you have this theory which is seeking to essentially turn it into a criminal act. And it is rupturing the lives of so many young couples.”    

What drives these narratives? And how does data counter them?


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