India Love Project: The Instagram account telling tales of ‘forbidden’ love

Publishedduration5 days agoimage copyrightIndia Love Projectimage captionMartina Roy, a Christian, married Zain Anwar, a Muslim, in September after a seven-year wait for her family to accept him

In India, where love and marriage outside of caste and religion have long attracted censure, a new project on Instagram celebrates unions that break "the shackles of faith, caste, ethnicity and gender". The BBC's Geeta Pandey in Delhi reports.

Interfaith and inter-caste marriages have long been frowned upon in conservative Indian families, but in recent years, the conversation around such unions has become even more fractious. And most scorn is reserved for alliances involving Hindu women and Muslim men.

Just how deep the chasm is was brought into sharp focus last month when popular jewellery brand Tanishq withdrew an advertisement featuring an interfaith couple after a right-wing backlash on social media.

The ad showed a baby shower organised for a Hindu mum-to-be by her Muslim in-laws. Tanishq, owned by the Tatas, one of India's biggest companies, called its new range Ekatvam – which translates from Hindi as "unity".

It was meant to celebrate the concept of "unity in diversity", but it ended up doing the exact opposite – it laid bare the fissures that exist in Indian society.

Radical Hindu groups said the advert promoted "love jihad" – an Islamophobic term that implies Muslim men prey on Hindu women to seduce them and marry them with the sole purpose of converting them to Islam.

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