Ramazan is meant to be a month of modesty, empathy and quiet reflection; sadly, all being qualities that our media lacks. This year, television channels have heaped one indignity after the other on its viewers. The latest among these is the spectacle that is Maya Khan. This vigilante posing as a talk show host was able to land a cushy gig almost immediately after being fired from another TV channel and is now back to her old tricks. On her Ramazan programme, Ms Khan broadcast the conversion of a Hindu man to Islam live on television, an act that combined sensationalism with insensitivity.
Obviously, prima facie, there is nothing wrong with a Hindu converting to Islam. But in a country where Hindu girls have been known to be abducted, forcibly converted and married off to Muslim men, showing this conversion on television will serve only to embolden those who discriminate against minorities. Also, given that we live in a country where minorities can freely convert to Islam but Muslims are banned from converting to any other religion, television channels should show a bit more sensitivity to minority religions. The media should act as an agent of tolerance. Instead, it is pandering to the base instincts of the majority, all in the name of earning attention and notoriety and, most importantly, the advertising rupees that accompany them.
Easy as it is to heap all the blame on Ms Khan, her employers and advertisers, it is also important to look inwards. There is no way she would be able to get away with her antics if there wasn’t a public demand for this. The stark reality is that we have become a nation that is enamoured of all the rituals associated with religion but display none of the tolerance and humility that religion requires. If we want the likes of Ms Khan off the air, the way to do that is by switching the channel. It is impossible to demand a more responsible media when our remotes automatically turn to the bigots and sensationalists.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2012.
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it only shows an infiriority complex of some muslims who feel secure if more people are converted to their faith. if they realy have faith, it didn't matter if they are the only one following islam.
If this boy wants to convert then good for him but why do it on live TV? It was a conversion not a game show that Maya Khan turned it into. Seriously audience shouting name suggestion than Maya khan saying " Abdullah(or whatever his new name is) lock kiya jai". All that is too much for me. Conversion can be done infront of your local imam mosque.
Conversion is not a criminal offense in most of the religions except one. Would Ms Khan also show us a Muslim converting to another faith? Obviously not. For obvious reason.
I'm sure the upper class secularist minorityare seething with anger at this. Ansar Burney's response is hilarious! "How dare she convert my slave to Islam without my permission". As for "forcible conversion", how do you explain the continued survival of non-Muslim communities in the 1500 years of Muslim rule over Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and India. Fact is unlike Christianity or Hinduism, Islam actually allows non-Muslim communities to exist within the Islamic state. If Muslims believed in force conversion, India today would have a Muslim majority, just like Goa has a Catholic christian majority. Earlier this year the upper class secularist minority tried to tried to forcibly hand over adult women Faryal Shah and Dr Hafsa back to their Kafir families but were thwarted by the Supreme Court.
Is the furor about a hindu converting to Islam or a conversion taking place on live TV? Would the high court be summoned to look into the forced aspect of this conversion?
People converted to Islam when the Muslims were ruling India. It is easy to cast aspersion on those conversions and allege coercion and compulsion as its cause.
The Conversions to Islam continued during the British rule. Muslims were in decline then and the Christian rulers of India did not exactly have a pro-Muslim bias. The charge of forced conversion during that period does not stick. Many prominent people converted to Islam then, amongst them were Allama Iqbal’s parents and Mr. Jinnah’s parents. Mr. Gandhi’s son, Hira Lal Gandhi also converted to Islam in 1921.
Conversions to Islam continue even in India today. To explain and belittle that phenomenon, the term Love-Jihad is coined.
I like what you have written but the editorial seems too personal...yaa, i keep my TV off through the entire lenght of the transmission so that i can prepare iftaari in peace...however most people who watch, do it for the free gifts that are being doled out....ching chi rickshaws, mobile phones, TV sets etc...