New Delhi, February 7 (Hindustan Times): If an inter-faith marriage worried Shehzadi’s family, they did not have to go too far to find successful examples of Hindu-Muslim marriage.
There were two inter-faith couples living in close proximity to Ankits’s house in West Delhi’s Raghubir Nagar — one in their own society and another opposite their building.
However, Shehzadi’s parents reportedly chose to taunt one of these couples.
The two couples said they had their own share of troubles from their families initially, but are now leading normal lives, and have become parents too.
Jatin Gaba, who married Nigar Fatima in 2010, is a wedding photographer like Shehzadi’s boyfriend Ankit Saxena.
Shehzadi’s parents were arrested last week for murdering Ankit.
Gaba’s mother Poonam Rani said: “When my son eloped, the girl’s relatives landed at my home with iron rods and hockey sticks. The couple went into hiding for six months, but they are leading a happy life today. The two sets of parents never meet, but my daughter-in-law regularly visits me and her parents meet my son.”
Rani said she would have reached out to Shehzadi’s parents if she had any idea that she was in a relationship with a Hindu man.
“I would have told them that there is nothing wrong in such relationships. Every family opposes these relationships in the beginning. Even I had thrown away my son’s photos after his marriage, but now I have accepted them,” Rani said.
Farha Sheikh a Muslim woman who lives in the building opposite Shehzadi’s house, married disc jockey Vikas in 2009. Sheikh recounted that Shehzadi’s mother would taunt her for marrying outside her religion.
“Whenever Shehzadi’s parents would see me, they would say that I had wronged (my family) by marrying a Hindu. They would scold me for following my husband’s religious practices and would ask me to keep to my own religion. One day, I finally responded by saying that it was my life and I would do as I pleased. They never spoke to me after that,” Farha said.
Farah was orphaned early in her life. Though she had some initial hiccups after marriage, all was well within a month.
“We celebrate festivals of both religions. We have a temple and Islamic pictures at our home. Shehzadi’s parents should have seen the love in my family,” Farah said.
Meanwhile, Ankit Saxena’s parents have been reaching out to politicians and media not to communalize the their son’s murder.
“Three years ago, Shehzadi’s parents suspected another youth, Azhar, of eyeing her and thrashed him at his home,” said Saxena’s mother, Kamlesh.
She insisted that religion had little to do with their son’s killing.
On Sunday, two days after the murder, several police and BSF men continued to be deployed in Raghubir Nagar to thwart any attempt to ignite communal passions.
Ankit’s father visited Haridwar on Sunday to immerse his ashes in the Ganga, while his mother remained hospitalized for injuries she had suffered during the attack on her son.
(The featured image at the top shows Farah Sheikh and Vikas)