Freedom of Expression and Islam
Democracy, Secularism and Minorities

Democracy and secularism in India is about minorities getting away speaking anything about Hindus. But if a Hindu speaks anything about minorities, it becomes a big crime. It becomes a defamation against someone. Threats to life would follow.

Democracy and secularism in India is about minorities getting away speaking anything about Hindus. But if a Hindu speaks anything about minorities, it becomes a big crime. It becomes a defamation against someone. Threats to life would follow. They would not stop until an apology is tendered. But do they stop even after that? No! They continue to create even more ruckus.

Ajit Hanamakkanavar

Ajit Hanamakkanavar

Such an incident happened on Karnataka’s one of the top Kannada News channel Suvarna news 24/7. A particular community saw red against the TV Anchor & Editor Ajit Hanamakkanavar. A self-proclaimed author called Bhagwan had narrated a vulgar episode related to Lord Rama which was purely a figment of his imagination not finding even a remote mention in Ramayana. During a debate on why only one community is perpetually provoked, another leftist professor Mahesh Chadraguru states that no one including Lord Rama is beyond questioning. Concurring with this view, Ajit Hanamakkanavar responded that no one is beyond questioning because of provisions in our Constitution. Lord Rama was not beyond challenge even during his life time. Even a washer man questioned him. But when you assert that no one is beyond questioning, you always choose the least dangerous targets. You can question Lord Rama. But you will never question that 53 year old who married a 6 year old little girl, because of fear of retaliation. This statement has been at the root of the current controversy.

However, it is not clear whom Ajit Hanamakkanavar had meant when he said that. Under these circumstances why is it that a particular community is up in arms? Why have Mangaluru Muslims, a Facebook page of ISIS sympathisers uploaded a photo of Hanamakkanavar’s wife and threatened that she will be widowed soon? Is Prophet Mohammed the only person who married this way? There are numerous examples of such child marriages

St Augustine married a 10 year Old girl in 350 AD. King Richard II married a 7 year old girl in 1400 AD. Henry VIII married a 6 year old girl in 1500 AD. Ajit could have well referred to these, couldn’t he? Why are the Muslims considering it is as a statement against them?

Until 1983 Canon laws of Catholics legally permitted Padres to marry 12 year old girls. USA until 1880 had minimum legal marriage age for girls as 7 years in Delaware and 10 years in California.

But FIR lodged against Ajit in Pandeshwara, Mangaluru without considering which religion was referred to by Ajit, mentions that Mohammed has been insulted.

Let us consider their point of view. Facebook page of Mangaluru Muslims has posted that Prophet Mohammed had married young girl for good of the world. This endorses what Ajit said, doesn’t it?

Suppose we decide not to refer to such terrorist sympathizers page, and refer to Hadiths. Hadiths are accorded second most important position after Quran by Muslims. The child bride Aisha (Ra) who was married to Mohammed has written 2200 Hadiths. She herself has written that she was married when she was 6 year old.

This is the fact and doesn’t require Ajit or anyone to mention. History is the proof.

Before the next example is cited, it is being cautioned that is not my opinion but has direct reference in Hadiths. Sahih al-Bukhari Volume 5 Book 58 Hadith 234 Aisha says, “The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became alright, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and a good luck.” Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age.”

This fact spoken by Aisha herself is exactly what Ajit mentioned on Suvarna News. He spoke the truth. If speaking truth begets threats to one’s life in this country, what should be done to Bhagwan who wrote lies that Lord Rama used to give liquor to Sita. What legal process should be initiated?

Additionally, Sahih al-Bukhari Volume 5 Book 58 Hadith 236, Hisham’s father says, “Khadija died three years before the Prophet departed to Medina. He stayed there for two years or so and then he married ‘Aisha when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consumed that marriage when she was nine years old.”

Quran Surah An-Nisa 6thAyath or Quran 4:6 says “Wait until marriageable age before consummating the marriage” Prophet Mohammed did no wrong according to this. He has followed just what was prescribed in Islam.

Charlie Hebdo was attacked for publishing such truth. When Karnataka’s journalist Santhosh Thammaiah referred to Mohammed while talking about Tipu, Muslims took to streets. When Ajit Hanamakkanavar made a comment, not only did he receive threats to his life from all over the world, many cases were also registered against him.

If referring and speaking the truth exactly as it happened hurts religious sentiments of Muslims, shouldn’t a complaint be filed against Aisha in the first place? This little girl was the one who gave an official account of the incident to the world. Subsequently cases also have to be filed and protests carried out against Hisham’s father and then against Yakub Ibn Shaybah. He was supposedly the first most authoritative scholar of Islam. Believers of Islam revere and accept him. They consider and follow his preaching almost as words from Quran. Is it fair when you outrage against Ajit Hanamakkanavar when you actually should be opposing these people?

Mangaluru Muslims page, justified Mohammed’s marriage saying Prophet married Aisha for world’s good. 18 year Lord Rama married Sita when she was 12 years old, says Ramayana. This was said by Sita herself to Lord Hanuman. If Mohammed married, it is for world’s good, andd when Lord Rama marries, it is sin? It is a disgrace? Is this India or Pakistan?

Ajit has spoken the truth. The proof is available in the books available in all mosques and madrassas. It is available in every Muslim house. If it is intolerable, then the Muslim community who are against Ajit must decide to what to do about their scriptures. Ajit simply stated the truth! Better accept it.


The article originally appeared in Kannada newspaper Hosa Digantha and has been translated and published with author’s permission.

Featured Image: Mangaluru Muslims Facebook Page

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