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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The curious case of Nushrat Jahan marriage affair


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June 2019: Heavily embellished in a crimson bridal dress, actress, and then newly-elected Trinamool Congress MP Nusrat Jahan ‘married’ businessman Nikhil Jain in an extravagant event in Turkey. The actress-turned-politician even went to the extent of missing her swearing-in ceremony in lieu of having to miss such a ‘crucial event’ of her life.

Later, the ‘wedding reception’ was attended by famed personalities from both the Bengali film industry and the TMC. Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee herself graced the ceremony to bless the ‘newlyweds’ Nusrat Jahan, who was sporting vermillion and traditional red bangles and Nikhil Jain.

Four months forth, Mufti Asad Kasmi, Vice President of the Itehaas Ulema-e-hind, lashed out at Nusrat Jahan saying that she should change her name and religion when she defamed Islam by engaging in Sindoor Khela, a traditional Hindu custom, on the occasion of Durga Puja. In her defence, the actress claimed she is God’s special child and it was her own way of portraying harmony towards all religions.

But on Wednesday, the actress entered into controversy again. And this time by ending speculations about her ‘marriage’ facing a rough patch by declaring that the ceremony stands legally invalid. Nusrat Jahan stated that the question of divorce does not arise as in the eyes of the law it was not a ‘marriage’ but rather a ‘live-in relationship’. She explained citing both Turkish and Indian laws, that since it was an inter-faith bond, it requires validation under the Special Marriage Act of India, something which never happened! The actress further described that their separation had taken place long back but she had not gone public about it since she wanted to keep her private affairs to herself.

Further on, the actress also accused her estranged ‘husband’ of mishandling her bank accounts and holding back her jewellery and other belongings. Convoluting the issue deeper on, Nusrat Jahan currently is alleged to be in a relationship with actor and BJP politician Yash Dasgupta and the duo are expecting.

On the other hand, Nikhil Jain, refuting all her allegations, has stated that not only did she time and again turn down his request of registering their marriage but also lied about her belongings being held back. He also added that they lived as a married couple and introduced themselves likewise in the society. Shri Jain also reported opposite to her claims that he had had Nusrat Jahan’s heavy interest of a home loan liquidated. He revealed that only after going through several media reports regarding her alleged relationship with Yash Dasgupta did he file a civil suit against her for the annulment of the marriage.

Amid all this, allegations of Nusrat Jahan’s temporary ‘Hindu-fication’ for the sake of political power play have begun to arise. The actress has been accused of staging a publicity stunt to garner popular votes from Hindu communities. A section of the public has even claimed that Nusrat Jahan’s celebration of Durga Puja and her engagement in traditional Hindu customs was a political gimmick on behalf of the TMC staged to portray CM Mamata Banerjee as ‘pro-Hindu’.

At the same time, her actions have also been described as contemptuous not only to Hindu traditions but also to the sanctity of the parliament as the announcement of her marriage being invalid came after she had wedded Nikhil Jain through all sacred rituals and had named him as her spouse in the floor of the House.

But all the same, the question remains that if Vedic rituals don’t make you married, what does? What kind of unprecedented live-in relationship is initiated through traditions of vermillion and Mangalsutra? And when does being in a live-in relationship let you claim your partner to be your husband in the parliament? Yeh rishta kya kehlata hai?

Was this ‘marriage’ really an act to attract a Hindu vote bank? Can the event actually be termed as an angle of Love Jihad or ‘Vote Jihad’ as remarked by many? Will Nusrat Jahan’s position in the parliament and the eyes of the public stand delegitimized owing to her disdainful act of lying in the House? The questions are many. But one answer that has been reiterated yet again is that even today Hindu traditions and customs have no value in the eyes of a certain section of the society.

[author title=”Megha Satapathy” image=”http://goachronicle.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/IMG_20210205_095950.jpg”]Journalist, Goa Chronicle

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Megha Satapathy
Megha Satapathy
"An orator, musician, bibliophile, and above all a nationalist. At 17, the author believes that anyone can make a difference in the universe, if they are daring enough!"

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