8 April, 2012
This, otherwise an act of sexual indiscretion, is often blown up to serious social conflict – often with the potential of full-fledged communal rioting between Hindus and Muslims. Hindutva forces exploit such sentiment to the hilt leading to serious conflagration. Let us, therefore, analyze this accusation dispassionately.
Of course, implicit in the accusation is the historic idea of male preserve that women are their property. Also implied is the accusation that Hindu girls are ever ready to be seduced by Muslims. How does it feel to reverse the sentence to say: Hindu girls elope with Muslim boys?
Then there is the long cherished complaint that Muslim rulers used to claim desirable Hindu women by force. Can there be any denying that rulers everywhere may have committed excesses against their subjects. If it was inter-faith it may have taken communal overtones.
Then there is also occasionally the actual occurrence of the crime of rape by Muslim boys as was reported from Viramgam in Gujarat last week, or the one reported from Surat a couple of years ago. This is doubly despicable. For one, any rape is indisputably a heinous crime. Then it was an inter-faith issue. Muslims, more than the Hindus, should demand the harshest punishment to such culprits.
However, about eloping my analysis suggests that the accusation has a rationale [an explanation, not justification] to it. I attempt an elucidation below. But first do we agree that :
* Muslims typically occupy 10-15 % of a city’s geographical area while the Hindus occupy most of the rest? Therefore, Muslim boys would be more likely to have to travel through the Hindu areas than Hindu boys would through the Muslim areas?
* Muslims girls are less likely to be moving out [studying, working, playing..] than Hindu girls. Therefore, Hindu girls are more likely to be coming in contact with boys [both Muslim and Hindu] than Muslim girls are?
* For such sexual adventures people are more likely to step out of their neighbourhood as far away as possible?
If these assumptions be true then it is plain logic that more Hindu girls are likely to meet Muslim boys than Muslim girls are likely to meet Hindu boys. Even assuming that both the girls and the boys of both the communities are perfectly equally romantic, and willing, the chances of Muslim-boy-Hindu-girl romance far exceed that of Hindu-boy-Muslim-girl romance. Now, what is love if not madness? Once such a romance blooms there would be little support from both the families and the lovers, therefore, usually take to eloping to another place, at least till the dust settles.
Under the above circumstances this would be a simple case of romantic indiscretion, and certainly not communal.
Now, the other accusation: Muslims also get such eloping Hindu girl to convert to Islam in due course. While I do not have evidence I cannot disagree on logical grounds. If a Muslim girl were to marry a Hindu boy after eloping her family, and the Hindu family accepts her, there would be no requirement for a formal conversion of the bride, as Hinduism is not a proselytizing religion. Additionally it believes in sarva dharma sambhava. Of course, the girl would most likely give up non-vegetarian food and occasionally violate Islam by participating in Hindu social and religious rituals, thus ceasing to be a Muslim, anyway.
On the other hand, in the case of a Hindu girl being brought into a Muslim house, the family would be reluctant to fully accept her due to strict enjoinment of the Islamic shariah. So, conversion – a hallmark of proselytizing religions – may happen more often in this case to integrate the bride in the family.
I firmly believe that the reverse would be the situation in a Muslim majority area like Kashmir valley or, say, Pakistan. Wish someone with data about such areas, can comment.