“I belong to a composite, multi-religious and secular family in true Indian tradition and I am proud of my heritage,” Sameer Wankhede, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) zonal director, said in a statement on Monday. He was responding to Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik’s tweets over Wankhede’s Muslim name, his Hindu father and his Muslim mother. Hours after his statement, Sameer Wankhede’s wife, Kranti Redkar Wankhede, tweeted, “Me n my Husband Sameer r born Hindus.We hv never converted to any other religion (sic).”
Meanwhile, Sameer Wankhede came under fire when the NCB ordered a vigilance probe against him after a witness accused him of asking for Rs 25 crore bribe through another witness in order to release Aryan Khan.
As debates rage on on social media, here’s looking at a couple who’re celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary today – Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri Chibber – another ‘multi-religious and secular family in true Indian tradition’.
Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri tied the knot on October 25, 1991, after years of dating each other. Now the couple had faced their fair share of struggles before they finally got hitched. Old interviews will tell you that SRK was shot down twice when he proposed marriage, and Gauri was apparently fed up with how ‘possessive’ he was. But one of the things that needed maximum work was convincing Gauri’s family, who were against this interfaith marriage. Gauri, a Hindu Brahmin and Shah Rukh Khan, a Pathan, kept at it, and finally, the family agreed, and the lovebirds Shah Rukh and Gauri tied the knot as per Hindu rituals.
When Gauri made an appearance on Koffee With Karan, she spoke about how the husband and wife practise different religions at home. “It’s me who takes charge be it Diwali or Holi or any festival. So that’s why influence of my kids would be a lot with the Hindu part…(sic),” Gauri had said.
When asked if she ever thought of converting to Islam, Gauri had said, “There is a balance, I respect Shah Rukh’s religion but that doesn’t mean that I would convert and become a Muslim. I don’t believe in that. I think everybody is an individual and follow their religion. But, obviously there should be no disrespect. Like Shah Rukh would not disrespect my religion as well.”
In yet another old interview with Farida Jalal, Shah Rukh shares an anecdote from his and Gauri’s wedding day. SRK starts off, “I remember, when their whole family, old-fashioned people, I respect them all and respect their beliefs but at that time, in that old-fashioned reception, all of them were sitting there when I came in at 1:15, whispering “Hmmm.. He’s a Muslim boy. Hmm.. Will he change the girl’s name? Will she (Gauri) become a Muslim?”
SRK, deciding to play a prank at that very moment, had said, “So, I looked at the time and said, ‘Okay Gauri, put on your burkha and let’s read the namaaz now’. The whole family stared at us wondering if I had changed her religion already. So I told them, ‘From now on she will wear a burkha all the time, she won’t ever leave the house and her name will be changed to Ayesha’.”
Shah Rukh goes on to say, “The lesson in all of this was that one should respect religion but it should not come in the way of love.”