Saturday, 2 December 2017

The Hadiya case: Is it Human Rights v Conservative Hindu Parents?

By Girish Menon
Image result for conservative parents

The Hadiya case, currently pending in the Indian Supreme Court, has attracted a lot of debate between the conflicting ideas of an adult’s right to choose and the unreasonable expectations of conservative Hindu parents.

I have gathered from various media reports that Hadiya previously known as Akhila converted to Islam and then sought a husband via a matrimonial advertisement. Through this medium she met and subsequently married Shafin. Hadiya continues to love Shafin and wishes to live with him but is currently not permitted to do so by an interim Supreme Court order arising out of a campaign by her parents.

The Context

India has been an area of frenetic conversion activity by Islamist and Christian denominations.

The Islamists aided and funded by Saudi and Pakistani resources have been active in India subterraneously and have indulged in proselytisation as illustrated by this latest India Today video. India to them is a ‘dar-ul –harb’ (territory of war) and Ghazwa-e-Hind (conquest of India) is their religious duty.

Various Christian churches have also been actively saving heathen souls. Funded by American and European resources a state like Nagaland has become 100 % Christian post 1947.

The Hindus have responded, rather feebly, with their own organisations and programmes like ‘ghar wapasi’ (return home to your roots). Since 2014, under the current supportive government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi they have tried to check the growth and power of the Islamic and Christian organisations.

 Hadiya's embrace of Islam will not be complete without considering this bigger picture issue.

Don’t parents have any say after their child becomes an 18 year old adult?

In the absence of any welfare state provisions in India it is the bank of mum and dad that funds an adult till such time s/he is able to become independent.

In some cases when the 18 year old adult makes wrong decisions it is again the same parents who come to the rescue of such individuals.

Under these circumstances, don’t Hadiya's parents have any say in her life especially in her decision to convert to Islam and to marry a person of her choice?

In my view there is a deliberate attempt to convert the highly complex Hadiya case into a false dichotomy of an individual’s human rights versus her conservative Hindu parents. The case should also consider the data on proselytisation by various groups, how did Hadiya decide to convert to Islam and who will pick up the pieces for Hadiya if she ends up with the Islamic state?

(Inputs received from Gopa Joseph, Suhail Rizwy and Deniz Cris)

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