‘Sanghi Gunde Khabardar’: Swara Bhaskar And Fahad Ahmad’s Ugly Performative Politics In Announcing Their Wedding

‘Sanghi Gunde Khabardar’: Swara Bhaskar And Fahad Ahmad’s Ugly Performative Politics In Announcing Their Wedding

by Swati Goel Sharma - Friday, February 17, 2023 04:21 PM IST
‘Sanghi Gunde Khabardar’: Swara Bhaskar And Fahad Ahmad’s Ugly Performative Politics In Announcing Their WeddingSamajwadi Party youth leader Fahad Zirar Ahmad and actress Swara Bhaskar announced thier wedding this week.
  • Ahmad and Bhaskar making a spectacle of their interfaith marriage for their petty politics is likely to have real life ramifications.

A youth leader from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) recently married a Muslim actress and posted this on his Twitter account, “Jamaati gunde khabardar” (Jamaati goons, be warned).

While announcing their wedding, the couple posted a video of their romantic journey that began during protests against ‘love jihad’, to tackle which, a number of states have since passed special laws. 

The couple is being celebrated in the national media as a shining example of interfaith harmony.

Of course the above story is a lie. Every strand of it. 

We cannot recall even one example of a Hindu man marrying a Muslim woman, who is a public figure, announcing their wedding while taking a dig at any Islamic organisation.

But Samajwadi Party youth leader Fahad Zirar Ahmad and actress Swara Bhaskar did exactly this while announcing their wedding this week. Ahmad retweeted a post from his Twitter account which said “Sanghi gunde khabardar” (Sanghi goons, be warned) while congratulating the couple.

Ahmad is Muslim while Bhaskar comes from a Hindu family.

Bhaskar posted a video from her account narrating how love blossomed between the two during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill in 2019-20.

The video posted by Bhaskar shows her addressing Muslims and calling the government “zulmi” (tormentors). 

We now know that ordinary Muslims were falsely led to believe that they would be driven out of India if the bill becomes an Act. 

Maligned as an “anti-Muslim law” by Left-liberals and Islamists, the bill, in reality, only offered to expedite citizenship for persecuted minorities in India’s neighbouring Islamic countries while making no exception to Muslims for opportunities to live in India as refugees or legal immigrants.

The video shows Ahmad inciting his co-religionists into an agitation by saying that “we” are those who perform ‘wudu’ using mud if water is not available. Wudu is an act of ritual cleansing of body before Islamic prayers. Ahmad’s reference to the protesters as his co-religionists, is specific.

In another tweet, Bhaskar announced that she married Ahmad under the Special Marriage Act. 

She said the Act “gives love a chance”. “The right to love, the right to choose your life partner, the right to marry, the right to agency these should not be a privilege,” she wrote.

The Act allows interfaith couples to register their marriage without conversion of any spouse to their partner’s religion.

Marriage — a personal emotion or performative politics?

The messaging from both Ahmad and Bhaskar is, least to say, distasteful. The couple seems to be reducing a profoundly personal emotion of marriage to performative politics. 

Ahmad is clearly using the Hindu identity of his wife to make a statement against Hindu male activists who fight the widespread pattern of forced conversion and sexual exploitation of Hindu women through romantic relationships, which are often formed through fraud, thereby dog-whistling his co-religionists into mocking their efforts. 

Bhaskar is clearly using the marriage to further her politics by selling the anti-CAA protest sites as breeding grounds for love, and her own participation in the protests as an act of great courage and social responsibility. 

In direct contradiction, the CAA protests, in fact, were a breeding ground for hate where protesters encroached public roads for months and called for ‘Jinnah Wali Azaadi’.

The encroachments and hate sloganeering led to communal violence in northeast Delhi in February 2020 where the first victims were Hindus Intelligence Bureau employee Ankit Sharma and police constable Ratan Lal.

Bhaskar heaping praises on the Special Marriage Act for her marriage with a Muslim man, is obscene.

She has time and again used her massive Twitter following and opportunities for public speaking, which were given to her for being part of that massive influencer that Bollywood is, to repeatedly dismiss ‘love jihad’ — the rampant pattern of crimes where non-Muslim women have suffered unimaginable horrors in their marriages under Muslim personal laws. 

In several other cases, women who entered court marriages with men from the Muslim community were found to be later pressured into marrying again under Islamic laws. The mindset that triggers such forced conversion-nikah, in fact, has been publicly displayed in the Ahmad-Bhaskar case.

An Islamic scholar posted on his verified Twitter account that their marriage under the Special Marriage Act is invalid as per Islam as Bhaskar has not converted to the religion of Ahmad.

Bhaskar is part of Bollywood, an industry that has already been on a spate producing films mocking ‘love jihad’ or those presenting Muslim men as ideal choices for Hindu women. 

The same industry has hardly produced any film on a Hindu man’s marriage with a Muslim woman despite many real cases where Muslim women have voluntarily registered marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act for greater liberties and rights as wives and daughters-in-law. 

Ahmad and Bhaskar making a spectacle of their interfaith marriage for their petty politics is likely to have real life ramifications. It might further lead gullible Hindu girls into believing that the Special Marriage Act has an in-built cushion against forced conversion, which it does not have, and that ‘love jihad’ is only a ‘Sanghi conspiracy’ and non-existent in reality. 

In the past, the marriage between UPSC topper Tina Dabi and fellow Indian Administrative Service officer Athar Khan in 2018 was hailed by Left-liberal commentators as a perfect symbol of communal harmony.

When some people called out the propaganda to push the relationship as ideal for Hindu women, a commentator accused them of “Hindutva hatred for Dalits” (Dabi comes from a scheduled caste).

The marriage ended within three years — a development that was met with appeals of silence by the same cabal. Dabi remarried last year with IAS officer Pradeep Gawande.

Swati Goel Sharma is a senior editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @swati_gs.

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