Legend has it that Kerala was the land of Maveli, equality prevailed in the society. No one told lies and no one was discriminated. Everything was absolutely humane during that time. Malayalees proudly flaunt their mythical past. The more leftists among them would claim that a form of Communism existed during Maveli’s time. Mallu’s nationalism among other things revolves around the myth of Maveli rule.
The ‘we are a class apart’ society attitude maintained by the many proud Mallu nationalists might have stemmed from this legend.
When Onam remembering Maveli rule is being celebrated, the life of Hadiya and the approach of the mainstream society towards her agony tells another story about present Kerala polity.
When the mainstream society is busy celebrating Onam, the story of 25-year-old Hadiya has the potential to puncture many of the claims that Kerala’s politicians and cultural leaders have been making about their land
Hadiya is now under ‘house arrest’ with her parents guarding her inside the house while the police outside ensure that no friend and well-wisher enter her house. All this because she opted Islam and then married a youth of her choice. Kerala High Court acting on her father’s petition annulled her marriage and directed her to go with her parents.
The Supreme Court ordered National Investigation Agency to inquire if there is any issues connected with national security behind Hadiya’s conversion and her subsequent marriage. The court did not bother to hear Hadiya before ordering NIA investigation but stated that it will hear what Hadiya has to tell before taking final decision.
For the last three months, the 25-year-old woman has been put literally on house arrest and ironically Kerala’s mainstream never bothered to consider this as an issue of human rights violation. Police are guarding her house, so also is the activists of Sangh Parivar. Even press persons are not allowed to talk to her. Only person allowed to enter into Hadiya’s house was Rahul Easwar, a known rightist. He entered the house, talked to her parents and took photos and posted on social media. Neither the police nor her parents blocked him.
Last week when a group of women when to Hadiya’s home police and parents did not allow them to see Hadiya. When they tried to give her some books and sweets, parents refused it too. Worse the Kerala police took these women into custody.
No major political party has expressed concern over the fact that a woman is put under tremendous pressure for opting a religion and life partner of her choice. Muslim League which is constituent of opposition United Democratic Front led by Congress has took up the issue very recently only. Now state Human Rights Commission has ordered an inquiry after Muslim League brought this issue to their notice.
The alleged involvement of Socialist Democratic Party of India(SDPI) in Hadiya’s conversion to Islam seems to be barring the mainstream leftists and other secularists from coming out in support of her. SDPI is the political front of the Popular Front of India, an organisation which has courted many controversies for the extremist positions it took vis- a- vis religious issues. Members of this organisation were found guilty in the case involving chopping off hands of college teacher T J Joseph for his alleged ‘blasphemous’ act. Members of this organisation said to have chopped hands of the professor as an act of retaliation for ridiculing prophet Muhammad in a question paper prepared by him.
Popular Front of India has alleged to have taken extreme and obscurantist positions in issues relating to Muslim society. CPI(M) and other left parties have been treating this organisation as the Muslim version of RSS.
There are also reports that the person Hadiya married is an activist of SDPI.
But how far a progressive society deny a 25-year-old woman her right to choose her life just because of the feeling that her decisions are influenced by a group which is considered extreme by the mainstream?
Under the grab fighting communalism, is the mainstream secular society denying a 25-year-old her freedom to religion and life? By assuming that she might have been influenced by the SDPI or other organisations, how the secular society can deny her right to practice the religion of her choice?
Is the religion- Islam to be precise – involved in this issue barring the secularists from voicing and expressing solidarity with the victim of a gross human rights violation? The comments made and not made by some of the secularists in Hadiya’s case, in a way, reflect Islamophobia prevailing among the secularists. Hadiya case brought to the fore the fact that secularism was a mere grab for some intellectuals to hide their Islamophobia. The more phobic they become the more it helps the Hindutva’s forces.