Not so long ago, as a first-time expectant mother, the thoughts, aspirations and fears that raced through my head would put a deathly cyclone to shame. Often my sisters and my mother used to tell me to calm down and not overthink everything. But of course, it was impossible.
I thought about everything. Which cot was the safest? Which stroller would I need? How should I baby proof the house? What tiffin would I make for my child when she starts going to pre-school? What music should I listen to? How much should I walk? How many times the baby should kick in an hour? What was the best technique to do her maalish? I read every page of “what to expect when you are expecting” thrice over.
And of course, her name.
In those 9 months, I shortlisted hundreds of names for boys and girls. Obsessed over what they meant and how the energy attached to the name might influence my child. Everything, was minutely planned. Everything was thought a million times over. I became a crazed over-obsessive overjoyed mess.
Which is why, I felt the need to comment on the entire controversy that surrounded Kareena, Saif and their newborn.
At the onset, before I even begin to comment on what the couple chose to name their child, it has to be said: when I saw some (limited) tweets wishing ill upon the new bundle of joy, I felt a chill run down my spine. I almost couldn’t believe what sort of monsters would even wish the slightest harm on an infant who has barely breathed his first in this world. And I prayed that someone would shield the new mother from reading the monstrosity of those tweets.
I myself went through this when I was an expectant mother. Someone on Twitter thought it was fair game to wish I bleed to death. Some desired I had an ectopic pregnancy, and wished the most atrocious things upon my unborn child, which I don’t even feel like repeating. For that alone, I empathise with the mother. I hope our collective good wishes can trump all the negative energy hurled upon the new life.
A mother, for 9 unending months nurtures a human being with her blood, sweat and tears. Every second of her existence is dedicated to the life she is creating. It is a joy, the sheer depth of which, is unparalleled and incontestable. And naming that creation is another personal and spiritual experience for every couple.
I would imagine, that every parent would want a name for their child, that would not only define the virtues that the parent holds dear, but also in a manner that would define the child when he grows up. The virtues that the parent chooses to highlight with the name, might not be agreeable to everyone. And it doesn’t have to be. It has to sit well with the parents.
And this is where I felt uneasy. It is indeed painful that a name that represents a mass murderer would be agreeable to a couple who might be idolised by many unsuspecting youngsters.
That Mrs. Kareena Kapoor Khan and Mr. Saif Ali Khan chose to name their child after a Turco-Mongol conqueror who left a trail of blood behind him, is their choice. That they named their son after a rapacious man who destroyed temples, killed millions of Hindus, destroyed India (where this happy couple are considered royal celebrities), and reportedly beheaded his mother, is their choice. That they chose to name their child after a man, who in his memoir said, “My object in the invasions of Hindustan is to lead a campaign against the infidels, to convert them to the true faith according to the command of Muhammad (on whom and his family be the blessing and peace of God), to purify the land from the defilement of misbelief and polytheism, and overthrow the temples and idols, whereby we shall be Ghazis and Mujahids, companions and soldiers of the faith before God.” is their choice.
Perhaps these are the virtues that the couple wish to pass on, and that again, is completely their choice. Though, what gives me the right to comment, is the fact that the couple has chosen the glorify a character who once destroyed the very land that today puts this couple and their respective families on a pedestal.
What perhaps scares me the most, is the influence such people wield on unsuspecting youngsters. I chuckle to myself when they say “this is our personal matter”. Yes, it is. But with great fame, comes great responsibility and greater scrutiny.
Scrutiny, because owing to their stature, it is our children who might get influenced by misplaced decisions taken by such celebrities. But, it is STILL their personal choice how they wish to conduct themselves. It is also the people’s choice to critique a decision that was taken by the very people THEY have put on a pedestal.
I understand how a part of the “perfumed elite” club is flabbergasted with this “unnecessary outrage”. Sure. It would be quite unnecessary if the elite cabal of our society didn’t pretend to be torch bearers of virtue and morality. The beacon of hope in the dark dingy era of intolerance that we seem to live in. The paragons of peace and harmony that stand against any sort of violence and discrimination.
It would certainly be unnecessary if they didn’t claim to be all of that, and simultaneously, glorify the very man who did everything that was diametrically opposite to the virtues they claim to hold dear.
It is, however, necessary, because these very people claim to fight for equality of women while glorifying a man who raped our women (“Many of the Rajputs placed their wives and children in their houses and burned them. Then they rushed to battle. Other men of the garrison fought and were slain and a great many were taken prisoners.” – Vol. III, Elliot & Dowson).
And this point of time, one of these perfumed elites will throw at me the argument that the Islamic invaders in those areas were fighting each other. That they killed Muslims too. That “it has nothing to do with religion”.
But I love books, and I love reading. I read this somewhere:
“They (Islamic invaders) were not a loving family cemented by the feeling of Islamic brotherhood. They were deadly rivals of one another and their wars were often wars of mutual extermination. What is, however, important to bear in mind is that with all their internecine conflicts they were all united by one common objective and that was to destroy the Hindu faith.”
Our liberals throw at us only half-truths, which is their trademark. They happily ignore the last bit – one common objective and that was to destroy the Hindu faith.
No. The text I quoted above wasn’t written by some “overzealous hateful Sanghi”. It was written by Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar. He specifically mentioned Taimur when he wrote that.
Understandably, the mention of Ambedkar might have made some perfumed elite a little uncomfortable since it doesn’t bode well for their narrative. So now, they might come up with another argument – most rulers were bigoted plunderer in those days, so why pick on Taimur only?
Firstly, no, not everyone was bigoted even though you’ve tried to twist history as much you can to whitewash Taimurs, Tipus and Aurangzebs. And secondly, go slow on that hypocrisy. You falsely accuse Lord Rama of being misogynist, apply on him modern synthetic standards of feminism and can’t stop screaming how these “regressive” figures have to be fought, but want me to surrender to your whims? It would be laughable if it weren’t so twistedly tragic.
While I completely respect Saif and Kareena’s freedom and privacy to do as they please with their family and while I have nothing but blessings and good wishes for the new bundle of joy, I say, it is necessary to talk about how it’s time for the torchbearers of humanity, to walk the talk.
If you are happy with glorification or even normalisation of Taimur, you’re nothing but merchants of hate.
And on that note, I must congratulate Saif and Kareena for one more thing other than them getting their bundle of joy – for their actions have exposed these “liberals”.
You can choose to cut off your nose to spite your face, but I humbly submit to you, dear “liberals”, don’t expect everyone to follow suit.
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017