As the topic of love Jihad or forced conversion has once again taken centre stage in politics, wife of late music composer Wajid Khan penned down her ordeal in an inter-faith marriage on her social media account.
In a wordy post on Instagram, Kamalrukh Khan gave a firsthand account of her inter-faith married life. She said, “The topic of conversion arises. Once again. This time with full gusto on a government level.
“I am a 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 interesting for me. I want to share my ordeal and my experience in an inter-caste 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 eye-opener.”
“My simple Parsi upbringing was very democratic in its value system. Independence of thought was encouraged and health 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. An educated thinking, independent woman with an opinion was just not acceptable. And resisting the pressures of conversion was sacrilege. I have always respected, participated and celebrated all faiths. 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.”
“Conversion was not a value system I believed in personally. It was also not the example of a deep set rotten patriarchy that I wanted to set for my beautifully evolved children- my 16-year-old daughter Arshi and my 9-year-old son Hrehaan.”
“I fought this terrible way of thinking tooth and nail throughout my marriage. The result-being outcast from my husband’s family, scare tactics to make me convert included taking me to court seeking a divorce. I was devastated, felt betrayed and was emotionally drained, but my children and I held on.”
“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. We never got to be a family due to his and his family’s religious fanaticism. Today post 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.”
“I truly wish this anti-conversion law is nationalised, reducing the struggle for women like me who are righting the toxicity of religion in inter-caste marriages. We are bad-mouthed and labelled as being manipulative and greedy for standing out ground. The real enemy in this conversion cycle commences right at the start- the hate campaign against “other religions.” To declare in public space that one’s own religion is “the only true god/prophet” is obnoxious. Religion should be a cause for the celebration of differences not separation of families.”
“This debate regarding the anti-conversion bill should also delve deeper into the patriarchal mindset- it is mostly always the women who are made to forcibly convert. The conversion campaign has to be recognized for what it is – spreading hatred against different religious ideologies, separating wives from husbands and children from their fathers.”
“All religions are the path to the divine. Live and let live should be the only religion we all practice.”