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After the news of Tina Dabi and Akhtar Khan’s divorce became public, people obviously had things to say. Don’t they deserve any privacy?
Tina Dabi and Akhtar Khan, UPSC toppers from the 2015 batch, recently filed for a divorce. Dabi and Khan got married in April 2018. Their interfaith marriage received harsh criticisms from certain quarters (read, mostly right-wing sympathisers who tend to believe and propagate the narrative of the Hindu faith being under attack from ‘issues’ including interfaith marriages).
These critics claimed that their marriage was a symbol of love jihad. Since Khan is a Kashmiri Muslim, some people even went so far as to say that Kashmiri Muslims were ahead of other Muslim men, when it came to love jihad.
Now that the couple has filed for a divorce, Dabi and Khan’s interfaith marriage is once again receiving a lot of attention. And none of it is pleasant.
The theories on Twitter attributing the divorce to love jihad and questioning leaders who congratulated them on their wedding are honestly exhausting. Some are even contemplating how Tina Dabi has long suffered as a result of love jihad when there have been no such claims from the woman herself.
But the bigger issue is how both religions have simply taken the spotlight with a mass verdict being that this is surely the reason for the couple’s divorce.
Are we really that naïve to think that their divorce can only be attributed to them belonging to different religions? By that logic, there shouldn’t be any divorce between couples belonging to the same religion and caste, right? We all know how ridiculous that sounds, don’t we?
Secondly, how is it anybody’s business why the couple are divorcing? Their marriage was definitely a cause for celebration (as all marriages should be). But have we lost all decency so as to not allow the couple to attend to their personal matters in peace?
It seems like most people have indeed lost their sense of propriety and would rather make a spectacle of the failure of their interfaith marriage. Going by their logic, shouldn’t all interfaith couples end up in failure? But a look at pages on social media like India Love Project will tell us how interfaith marriages are thriving across the nation.
We are, unfortunately, becoming an increasingly intolerant country with each passing day. The recent furore against the Tanishq ad with a Muslim MIL and a Hindu DIL resulting in the company taking down the ad shows how the communal hatred and divisive sentiments are on the rise.
Recently five BJP ruled states (Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka and Assam) decided to bring about laws to combat the supposed love jihads committed within the states. It is noteworthy to mention that there has been no substantial legal basis to bring about such laws.
As a nation, we have so much more to worry about than interfaith marriages. The economic and social devastation caused by the pandemic, the loss of jobs, the rise in mental health issues, the preservation of the environment. Shouldn’t all or any of these take precedence in our leaders’ agendas?
And shouldn’t they be more accountable to us about how they’re managing the affairs that directly impact the wellbeing of their citizens? Shouldn’t we question them about the necessity of frivolous laws that might result in more hatred and divisiveness?
Perhaps, it is time to think why these non-issues are getting so much attention these days. Instead of lapping up the propaganda manufactured by the IT cells of the political parties, we should, as citizens, divert the narrative to more pressing issues. We also need to question the leaders and their policies.
In the meanwhile, please let us give individuals like Dabi and Khan space and privacy to attend to their own life decisions with dignity. Let us not drag them into the public limelight and censure them for all the wrong reasons.
Picture credits: Screenshot’s from Tina Dabi’s Instagram.
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