Navratri Festival ban is to prevent incidents of “Love Jihad.”
The festival takes place October 13th and lasts for nine days. The literal translation of its name is actually nine nights. These nine days and nights represent the nine manifestations of one of the deities in Hindu religion: the benevolent Goddess Durga.
Durga is the main form of the Goddess in Hinduism,the one also known as Shakti. She is an origin figure, as well as a protector and creator within Hinduism. Other gods are actually considered different manifestations of Durga.
As with all religious festivities, this festival is both a passionate festival, and usually a demonstration of cultural aspects as well as beliefs to both tourists and general non-Hindus.
The problem this time is that media is reporting that non-Hindus are being banned from this year’s Navratri festivities. This is a special problem in India, since there is a wide number of Christians and Muslims living there.
The right-wing conservative Hindu organization, Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) issued the order to not allow those that don’t share the beliefs celebrated by Hinduism. It instructed its volunteers to be aware and look for non-Hindus among the crowds. If there are any, they will be offered the chance to embrace Hinduism.
May This Navratri be as bright as ever,brings joy health wealth & the festival of lights brighten up ur near & dear1’s lives HappyNavratri:D
— Arshi Anwar (@Arshi_Anwar) October 13, 2015
The reason VPH is giving for this is the interreligious marriages that are luring women out of Hinduism. According to their declarations, a lot of Muslims begin relationships with Hindu women and end up marrying them outside of their religion. The Navratri festivities are an important point for this to happen as there is usually a lot of contact between people of all three religions.
This is usually called the Love Jihad. Hindus say that non-Hindus do this with intention beyond romance, as a way to spread their own beliefs.
VPH also said that they will encourage the society to enforce this ban. They want to communicate that Hinduism festivities are sacred and encourage whoever wants to convert to Hinduism to do so and celebrate along their fellow believers.
— aparna sharma (@imaparnasharma) October 13, 2015
VPH also stated that they will make all arrangements that are needed in order to guarantee the right for Muslims that want to convert to Hinduism during these nine days of celebrations. Otherwise, they won’t be allowed at the places dedicated to Navratri.
No violence or aggression has been even hinted at. All the statements make clear the ban is just a way to keep the sanctity and respect of their religion in their worshiping places.
Navratri is one of the major Hindu festivities. So much that filmmaker Sooraj Barjatya will be releasing the track of his most recent film Prem Ratan Dhan Payo just prior to the official beginning of the festival. This is in order to give a “gift” to the audience.
One curious aspect of it is that there are actually four times during the year, through which Navratri is celebrated. Depending on the part of the country and some particular variations about its focus, they take place on January, March, June and October.