It has been thought that Love Jihad was a phenomenon that was restricted to small towns and villages in rural India, but it appears that the practice is thriving even in the most glamorous parts of Bollywood.
The wife of musician Wajid Khan, of Sajid-Wajid fame, has shared a heart-wrenching account of how her husband’s family had forced her to convert to Islam. Kamalrukh Khan was a Parsi when she’d married Wajid Khan, and the couple had married under the Special Marriages Act, which allows for both partners to retain their religions. But Kamalrukh Khan says that her marriage turned into an ordeal, with both her husbands and her in-laws forcing her to convert to Islam with a “hate campaign against “other religions””. She says that her in-laws hated her for refusing to convert. She has also come out strongly in favour of the Religious Conversion Law that has been brought out by the Yogi government. This is her post in full:
My name is Kamalrukh Khan, wife of the late music director Wajid Khan. My husband and I had a courtship spanning over 10 years before we finally got married. 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 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 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. 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 divorce. I was devastated, felt betrayed and was emotionally drained, but my children and I held on. All because of their hatred towards me for not converting to Islam. Such deep rooted hatred that even 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 fighting the toxicity of religion in inter caste marriages. We are bad mouthed, and labelled as being manipulative and greedy for standing our 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 religion" and that one's own god/prophet is "the only true god/prophet" is obnoxious. Religion should be a cause for 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 recognised 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.
Sajid-Wajid have given music for hit movies including Hello Brother, Partner, Welcome, the Dabangg series, and Kya Cool Hain Hum. Wajid Khan had passed away earlier this year.