Singer and composer Wajid Khan’s untimely demise came as a shock to the film industry, as well as the nation. Wajid, who was one half of the popular composer duo Sajid-Wajid, passed away on June 1, 2020. He had suffered a heart attack while he was hospitalised due to Covid-19.
Now, his wife Kamalrukh Khan has taken to social media to share her first-hand account of life in an inter-faith marriage. In a lengthy post on Instagram captioned “Live and let live should be the only religion we all practice”, Kamalrukh alleged that the musician’s family tried to force her to convert to Islam. This comes during a time when an anti-conversion bill is being debated for inter-faith couples.
She wrote, “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.”
She added, “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.”
Kamalrukh went on to write that there were ‘scare tactics’ employed to scare her into converting. It included taking her to court for divorce and her being outcast from her husband’s family. “I was devastated, felt betrayed and was emotionally drained, but my children and I held on,” she wrote.
She added that post his death, his family is still harassing them. “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 death of a loved one could not move.”
She concluded the statement saying, “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.”
It remains to be seen whether Wajid’s family will respond to her statement or not.