Close on the heels of the love jihad controversy thrown up by a commercial (advertisement) of Tanishq Jewelry called “Ekatvam”, the wife of a celebrity has exposed the truth of an inter-faith marriage where the husband is a Muslim. Late Wajid Khan’s wife Kamalrukh Khan has shared her first-hand account of life in what she calls an inter-caste (read “inter-faith”) marriage on Instagram. In what is an unusually long message for that medium, she says she was in a courtship with Wajid Khan for 10 years before they finally got married — only to see hell unfold before her.
Sharing the reason for going public with her private life, Kamalrukh writes, “I am Parsi and he was Muslim. We were what you would call “college sweethearts”. Eventually, when we did get married, we married for love under the Special Marriages Act (an act that upholds the right to practice one’s own religion post-marriage). And this is why this current debate surrounding the anti-conversion bill is so interesting for me.”
“I want to share my ordeal,” Kamalrukh says, “and my experience in an inter-caste (sic) marriage — that in this day and age, a woman can face such prejudice, suffering and discrimination in the name of religion is a complete shame…and an eyeopener.”
Further sharing details about her married life, Kamalrukh writes, “My simple Parsi upbringing was very democratic in its value system. Independence of thought was encouraged and healthy debates were the norm. Education on all levels was encouraged. However, post-marriage, this same independence, education and democratic value system was the biggest problem for my husband’s family.”
Even though this marriage, unlike most cases of love jihad, did not involve the Muslim man masquerading as a person from the faith of the targeted woman, Kamalrukh demonstrates the perils of such matches.
“An educated, thinking, independent woman with an opinion was just not acceptable” to her Muslim in-laws, according to Kamalrukh. “And resisting the pressures of conversion was sacrilege,” she says.
“I have always respected, participated and celebrated all faiths,” Kamalrukh says, “But my resistance to convert to Islam drastically widened the divide between me and my husband, making it toxic enough to destroy our relationship as husband and wife, and his ability to be a present father to our kids. My dignity and self-respect did not permit me to bend backwards for him and his family, by converting to Islam.”
Kamalrukh even expressed that since she fought the thinking, she was being outcast from Wajid Khan’s family, scare tactics to make her convert included taking her to court seeking divorce. She shared, “I was devastated, felt betrayed and was emotionally drained, but my children and I held on.”
Following Wajid Khan’s death, Kamalrukh revealed that the harassment from the late musician’s family continued. “Wajid was a super talented musician and composer who devoted his life to making melodies. My children and I miss him dearly and we wish he had dedicated more time to us as a family, devoid of religious prejudices, the way he did while creating his melodies.”
Kamalrukh continues, “We never got to be a family due to his and his family’s religious fanaticism. Today post (sic) his untimely death, the harassment from his family continues. I stand fighting for the rights and inheritance of my children which have been usurped by them.”
“All this because of their hatred against me for not converting to Islam. Such deep-rooted hatred that even (the) death of a loved one could not move,” she laments.
She finally concludes, saying that the anti-conversion law should be nationalised so as to reduce ‘the struggle for women like me who are fighting the toxicity of religion in inter caste marriages’. “Religion should be a cause for celebration of differences not separation of families. All religions are the path to the divine. Live and let live should be the only religion we all practice,” summed up Kamalrukh Khan.