A day after the wife of late music director Wajid Khan took to Twitter to narrate her ordeal in an inter-faith marriage, she has now spoken in details about the ill-treatment meted out to her by her in-laws and husband for not converting to Islam. Kamalrukh Khan, a Parsi by faith, had married her college sweetheart Wajid Khan after 10 years of courtship.
In an exclusive interview with Times of India, Kamalrukh recounted her reluctance to convert to the religion of her husband. She has added that while Wajid was aware of her reluctance to convert and went ahead with the marriage nevertheless, his family was opposed to the marriage and has been vocal about it. “…Over a period of time, his family, especially his mother, started pressurising him to make me convert and over the years, especially after the birth of my kids, the endeavours to try and convert me reached epic proportions, to a level where the rift in my relationship with Wajid widened, “she narrated.
Her marriage with Wajid Khan eventually turned sour, owing to the consistent expectation to change her Faith. Although he was initially accepting of her decision, the pressure of his mother and family prevailed over him. Kamalrukh Khan stated, “Things got worse after marriage; almost everything that I did, including my motherhood, was linked to my religion; not being Muslim meant that my children were already estranged as Wajid wouldn’t be home. He was torn and confused- his family forced their orthodoxy on him and me and when I didn’t budge (about conversion), I was made an outcast of sorts. He became an absentee father and husband.”
Family of Wajid Khan labelled their children illegitimate, asked him to remarry
“Wajid’s family kept insisting that our children were illegitimate since we had not married as per Muslim law (Nikaah, which if I was to do, would mean me converting to Islam). For them, the Special Marriages Act didn’t mean anything,” she recounted. The family members of Wajid Khan were so intolerant of her decision that they made a hue and cry, every time she would celebrate any Parsi festivals. “They also stopped coming to any of our Parsi family functions and his mother would openly tell Wajid, in my presence, to re-marry, which he obviously did not agree to do,” she stated.
Wajid Khan had filed for divorce because she did not convert
Kamalrukh Khan recounted how Wajid Khan had filed for divorce in 2014, a move that left her devastated. She said, “The constant interference from his mother and other members of the family coupled with the constant pressure to convert took a toll on the health of our relationship. He moved out after a fight when Arshi was about 2.5 – 3 years. He came back again after three years. We had Hrehaan. And again due to the same pressure ensuing, he left again in 2014 and filed for divorce.”
Kamalrukh Khan reveals about her decision to go public
While speaking about her decision to go public about her ordeal, she narrated how Wajid’s family is hellbent on denying the right to inheritance to their children. Kamalrukh Khan lamented, “Life has brought me to a point where I need to fight for my children’s due inheritance as his family has usurped his assets post Wajid’s death. I am both father and mother to them, and in practical matters, always have been…I have to pay for their education and our upkeep.”
She added, “I work as a clinical hypnotherapist and our primary source of earning has been Wajid’s marital support. If that too is being snatched away (by those who haven’t bothered to keep in touch with me or my children for the past 7-8 years), on such unfair grounds, I need to fight back on every front.” She further stated, “My reasons for speaking out is tied to an inherent sense of justice. No woman should have to face what I have faced during these 17 years of marriage.”
Pointing towards the grim reality of forced conversions, Kamalrukh Khan emphasised, “If an educated, independent woman like me can go through this just because she married for love and did not convert, a lot worse can happen to others that are less empowered.”
Anti-conversion law should be nationalized, opined wife of late Wajid Khan
Earlier, she had opined that the anti-conversion law introduced by UP govt should be nationalized so as to reduce the “struggle for women like me who are fighting the toxicity of religion in inter-faith marriages”. She summed up her lengthy post by writing: “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”.
Wajid Khan, a Bollywood music composer from the successful duo Sajid-Wajid, had passed away in Mumbai this year in July. He had kidney issues and had contracted coronavirus infection.