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What Has Shraddha Walkar Taught Us

Updated: Dec 22, 2022

Shraddha Walkar walked out of her parents’ home in 2019; little did she imagine the living hell of an abusive relationship that she had stepped into. Three years later, her boyfriend and live-in partner Aftab Poonawala strangled her to death, cut her body up into 35 pieces and disposed of the pieces in different areas of Delhi. The blood-curdling murder has left the country shocked.

Shraddha Walkar's is just one among many cases of entrapment of Hindu girls, by Muslim men, into abusive and exploitative relationships and often murdered mercilessly. Social media is full of accounts of such cases. Another tragedy, this time a newly married tribal girl Rabika Pahadin murdered by her husband Dildar Ansari in Jharkhand, came to light as this article was being written. There are recorded testimonies of Hindu girls who have faced horrific physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their Muslim partners/abusers/harassers. Are these some sporadic cases of relationships gone wrong or is there a systematic pattern behind it? All the 15-20 women that Aftab Poonawala dated were Hindu. When the police questioned him on his motive for dating only Hindu women, Aftab reportedly said, "Hindus are emotional." Are Hindu girls emotional or is it a lack of emotional, psychological, social and religious anchoring in the families and the Hindu society? Clearly there was a pattern of selective targeting of Hindu women by Aftab which has also been noticed in other similar cases of entrapment of Hindu girls.

Why despite so many cases of abuse, Hindu girls continue to fall prey to such manipulative men, who often try to trap them with fake Hindu identities. Shraddha’s and a spate of other cold-blooded murders is a wake-up call for Hindus to the rising dangers faced by their daughters. It becomes incumbent upon the Hindu society to sensitise its girls on the social, emotional, and legal consequences of their hasty, emotional decisions. Let us try to unpack the various facets of this menace.

When a girl enters into such toxic relationship, many times, it is an unhealthy coping mechanism. They struggle to navigate dysfunctional relationships at home. Later, when she chooses to stick with the man despite opposition at home, she burns quite a few bridges with friends and family, swayed away by the emotional highs of the new relationship. This leaves her with little or no social and emotional support to fall back on, when the relationship turns abusive or violent. Also, most of the young Hindu girls are oblivious to the legal implications of getting married to a Muslim man. They are completely unaware of the fact, that marrying a Muslim man, after converting to Islam, leaves them in a completely unequal, outdated and a regressive legal world, at the mercy of Muslim personal laws based on the Shariah. Such a marriage strips them of many of the rights they enjoyed as Hindus. This leaves them vulnerable to emotional and financial crises. An excellent article by Rajesh Gehani explains all this as answers to extensive questions on Marriage Laws in India. Know the law before you marry a Muslim

With the unfortunate collapse of the joint family system, Hindus are living in an increasingly atomised society, with children having little to no socio-emotional support other than from their parents. With two-income families having become the norm, a huge part of parenting has been outsourced to domestic helpers, day care centers, and digital devices. Even the rural population is not immune to the ruinous effects of the internet and digital media. Today, many middle-class Hindu families focus disproportionately on academic and economic success and consider observing religious traditions and rituals to be irrelevant or regressive. This deprives their children of a moral compass and an understanding of their Dharmic values.

Where does that leave our youth?

With no grounding in religious and cultural traditions, and with material prosperity being the sole goal, it’s not surprising that many of them are drawn towards hedonism - finding solace in drugs, alcohol, and sexual gratification. Perhaps our civilizational awareness is the biggest casualty of this deracination, resulting in a distorted view of our collective civilizational and dharmic identity.

The role of Bollywood, in aiding the slide into moral degeneracy, cannot be underestimated. The youth today are fed a steady diet of this depravity - that promotes promiscuity, sexualisation of women, live-in relationships, and falsely glorifies interfaith relationships most of which in reality turn out to be abusive, exploitative, and violent. The mainstream media is full of explicit sexual content that has a subliminal impact on young minds. We have here, the perfect recipe for a society that is fast spiraling into the abyss of decadence.

What can we do about it?

The Hindu society needs to act with immediacy, by first recognizing and acknowledging the real problem and shedding the distorted trope of pseudo-secularism. We have to teach our youth to be extremely wary about religiously sanctioned inducements, trickery, deceit and intimidatory tactics employed by other faiths to convert more and more Hindus into their fold.

It is our responsibility to instill a strong sense of civilizational pride among our children. Our educational system still peddles a distorted and white-washed history and does not allow teaching of tenets of Sanatan Dharm. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to educate our children about our true history. Both the stupendous contributions by our ancestors in diverse fields of knowledge, as well as the horrors of Islamic and British invasions in Bharat - the bloodshed, rape, loot, pillage, forced conversions and destruction of our centers of knowledge, art and culture, spirituality, economy and our very existence - needs to be discussed extensively. It may not be possible for parents to achieve all this alone, especially given the current realities of nuclear families, with both parents pursuing careers.

The Hindu society needs:

● to get back to creating a robust ecosystem comprising the elderly people within communities

● frequent engagement with grandparents/extended relatives

● introducing our scriptures to children and helping them realise the inherent depth of knowledge and values embedded in them, while exposing them from an early age to dharmic values and traditions.

Our temples can and should play a big role in shaping our young minds. Unfortunately, very large number of our temples are still under the clutches of the government, thus severely limiting their ability, while other temples serve a very narrow purpose of offering only ritual services and not rising up to become anchors of social, cultural, dharmic education, and cultivating youth leadership of Hindu society. Small steps can be taken by each temple to serve their communities. For instance, they may conduct weekend classes for children, teaching them dharmic texts, our rituals and practices and the science and significance behind those practices, our Itihasas and Puranas, the importance of Vedas, the spiritual knowledge and values in our entire way of life, and how deeply they are woven into every aspect of our life. Our temples can help provide a platform for such activities by co-opting members from the community to volunteer their time and effort to educate our children in Indic knowledge systems, traditional arts and sciences. While these may be happening in small pockets through the sheer dedication and commitment of certain individuals or spiritual institutions these alone may not suffice. Viewing temples as enablers also draws children into temples regularly, thus reconnecting them with our sense of divinity, bhakti, pride and our individual and collective responsibilities.

In addition to strengthening our core value systems, we also have to teach our girls some form of martial arts, self-defense training, and physical fitness which is as essential as spiritual and intellectual fitness. Temples should organize dharmic and physical fitness training for young girls. These groups of girls will also become mutual psychological support system during periods of emotional stress and dilemma these young girls face when charmed and trapped by devious boys pretending to be Hindus.

Hindu society is at an inflection point today, and the direction our civilization takes lies entirely in our hands. An individual who is well rooted in the four Purusharthas - Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha - carries a sense of pride and confidence in where he/she comes from, understands the importance of the collective good over individual choice or comfort, and has fully awakened to the predatory nature of exclusivist, monotheistic and dogmatic faith systems, is more likely to enjoy a fulfilling life while simultaneously safeguarding and furthering her civilizational interests.

This article is contributed by our volunteers Mrs. Sumathi Jagannathan, Mrs. Pavithra Jayraman and Mr. Shrikanth Iyer

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1 Comment

Unknown member
Dec 21, 2022

100% correct. Ban pornography. Censor all movies. When I was growing up, we were told to treat every woman as a sister or a mother. Now every woman is a potential rape target.

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