Inter-faith marriages

By Zafar Anwar Shakarpuri

The curse of inter-religion marriages in society these days has assumed the form of an infectious disease. Some people consider it as a symbol of secularism, though such marriages are in no way compatible with India’s secularism. Even before Independence the practice of inter-religion marriages had started taking place in our society on a very limited scale which included in addition to the names of towering personalities of politics and journalism, many names of Mumbai’s film industry. Some myopic people took this as a good sign of national unity and harmony whereas many farsighted well-wishers of millat tried to discourage such marriages.

Delhi’s great son and freedom fighter, Barrister Asif Ali, married Aruna. She herself was a great freedom fighter and the leader of thousands of Congress freedom fighters. It was she who had first hoisted the Tricolour in Delhi’s Connaught Place. In united India, Muhammad Ali Jinnah had married a non-Muslim lady. His daughter also married a Parsee industrialist of Mumbai before Partition. Her son Nusli Wadia, the famous textile industrialist, is Jinnah’s grand-son. Famous poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz married a Christian lady Ellis and his marriage was solemnised by Jammu & Kashmir’s former Prime Minister Shaikh Abdullah.

Saharanpur’s famous journalist Khaleeq Siddiqi, who used to be the editor of Jamiatul Ulama’s newspaper Al-Jamiat before Independence and was also associated with Maulana Zafar Ali Khan’s newspaper Zamindar for a long time, had fallen in love with a Dalit woman of Haryana and married her. He not only changed his religion but his name also and was known as Satyawadi, which is the translation of Siddiqi. After 1957 Dr Satyawadi became a Rajya Sabha member and had been representing Dalits for a long time. He was a great well-wisher and champion of Urdu and very often used to raise his voice in favour of Urdu in Parliament.

An important political leader of Delhi, Sikandar Bakht, had married a Hindu girl. At that time Hindu Mahasabha gave this marriage a communal colour and riots had erupted in Delhi. In those days Sikandar Bakht used to be a secretary in the office of Delhi state Congress. During the Janta regime he joined BJP. For many years he was Oppositon leader in Rajya Sabha and in his last days he was appointed governor of Kerala.

Former Vice-President of India Justice Hidayatullah also married a Hindu lady. After his death, he was cremated in accordance with the Hindu custom. Former convener of the National Democrtic Alliance (NDA) and former minister George Fernandes had married Prof Humayun Kabir’s daughter Leila Kabir. It was Prof Humayun Kabir who had translated Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s famous book India Wins Freedom. After Maulana’s death he was made minister of education.

Progressive writer Sajjad Zaheer alias Banne Bhai’s daughter Nadira had married film star Raj Babbar, and general secretary of Anjuman Tarraqi-e-Urdu Hind and torch-bearer of the Urdu movement Dr Khaleeq Anjum also married a non-Muslim professor. Delhi’s former Mayor Mir Mushtaq Ahmad’s adopted son Har Narain Sharma, founder and manager of Janta Cooperative Bank, married a local lady Sabira Anjum while former President Zakir Husain’s grandson and union minister Salman Khurshid married a Christian girl who was associated with an important newspaper of Kolkata. Famous English journalist Seema Mustafa has now become Seema Mustafa Singh. BBC journalist Dr Firoz Mukherji belongs to Lucknow where she married Barrister Mukherji. Editor of daily Mashriqi Awaz Muhammad Zaki married Manju Gupta. Urdu’s famous journalist Shahid Siddiqi married a Bengali fellow lecturer of Delhi College. Famous journalist Nasira Sharma married a Hindu.

How could other big cities remain unaffected with this infectious disease of Delhi and Mumbai? Lucknow’s famous writer and journalist Salamat Ali Mehdi’s daughter married her non-Muslim class fellow. During the past 30 years, many Musim girls of Lucknow and Aligarh, because of non-availability of suitable match married to non-Muslim boys and this trend is now increasing gradually. This is a great tragedy about which people, who are truly well wishers and benefactors of Millat, should coolly think.

Kolkata’s former Miss India, who was a champion of swimming, Nafisa Ali’s mother was Christian. Her father Ahmad Ali was an expert photographer. Nafisa married famous Polo player Col. RS Sodhi. Late Sanjay Gandhi’s righthand man and UP’s important leader Akbar Ahmad Dumpy, BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Delhi’s former minister Parvez Hsahmi all married non-Muslim girls.

After UP, Bihar comes in this list. Rashtriya Janta Dal’s state president and former minister Abdul Bari Siddiqi’s marriage had taken place in a respectable Kayesth family. Some people say that this marriage had taken place in Lok Nayek Jay Prakash Narain’s extended family and that BJP leader and former Union Minister Shah Nawaz Husain’s marriage had taken place with a non-Muslim lady of Delhi with the support and patronage of Uma Bharti. The son of Hyderabad’s last Nizam got married to a Swiss lady and J&K’s former chief minister Dr Farooq Abdullah’s wife too is a foreigner who converted to Islam. His son Umar Abdullah married to a Hindu girl who was his class fellow. His sister Sarah made late Rajesh Pilot’s son Sachin Pilot her life partner. Founder-owner of Urdu’s famous magazine Shama Hafiz Yusuf Dehlvi’s grand-daughter also got married to a Hindu boy in a dramatic manner while a lady doctor of Darbhanga secretly married a non-Muslim doctor.

Some inter-religion marriages are easily accepted in society but such marriages frequently become not only victims of discord but also lead to disturbances and riots. Kolkata’s Razwanur Rahman married Priyanka Tody, daughter of the owner of Lux Cozy Banyan, Ashok Tody, a multi-millionaire. Ashok Tody and his family members did not accept this marriage. The result was that Rizwan had to pay the price of this marriage with his life.

In Mumbai’s film industry, inter-religion marriage is not considered objectionable. The great film actress Madhubala (Mumtaz Jahan Begum) married Kishore Kumar while she was on her death bed. Nargis married Sunil Dutt, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi married film actress Sharmila Tagore. Neelima Azim married to Pankaj Kapoor, story writer Saleem Khan married famous dancer Helen. Rukhsana Singh’s daughter and the niece of Khushwant Singh, Amrita Singh married Sharmila Tagore’s son Saif Ali Khan. Shah Rukh Khan married Gauri, while Arbaz Khan married Maliaka Arora, Sanjay Khan’s daughter married Ritik Roshan and Fardeen Khan married Mumtaz’s daughter. Firoz Khan’s wife too was a non-Muslim. Amir Khan married twice and both times with non-Muslims. Azharuddin married Sangeeta Bijlani, Farah married Dara Singh’s son Biddoo and Sanjay Dutt married Manyta (Shahnaz Khan). Naseeruddin Shah’s wife also is a non-Muslim. Film producer-director Mahesh Bhat’s mother was a Muslim. Imran Hashmi is said to be the nephew of Mahesh Bhat. Famous film actress Mumtaz married a non-Muslim businessman. This chain of inter-religious marriages is going on and now it is becoming more and more common and those who do not favour this are termed conservative, fanatic and what not.

Why after all, such inter-religious marriages take place and why Muslim boys and girls are willing to become apostates? Its basic reason is lack of training at home. Parents do provide good education to their children. They do not pay attention or forget to provide them good training. They also spend a large part of their income for the fulfilment of desirable and undesirable wishes of their children but do not spend even a fraction of their time on building of their character and morality. This flawed thinking has greatly harmed the Millat. This epidemic has now spread, through TV, from cities to villages and dozens and scores of girls of villages have eloped with their lovers, thereby putting their parents to shame, who were considered paragons of good moral character. (Translated from Urdu by NA Ansari)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 September 2010 on page no. 14

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