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Tina Dabi and Athar Khan file for divorce: How media and politicians had turned their wedding into a spectacle to peddle their own propaganda

The purpose behind glorifying the inter-religious marriage between a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy was to brush aside the concerns of ‘love jihad’ raised by many and to discredit the plausibility that Hindu women were indeed subjugated by some radical Muslim men.

IAS Tina Dabi, topper of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination’s 2015 batch and her husband, IAS Athar Khan, have filed for divorce with mutual consent in a family court in Jaipur.

The duo had tied knots two years ago in 2018. Tina Dabi had topped the 2015 UPSC civil services examination while her husband Athar Khan, who hails from Kashmir, had secured the second position in the same examination.

It is said that they grew close to each other during their training period. The couple had gotten married amidst much fanfare and several politicians and ‘eminent’ journalists had touted their marriage as a totem of inter-faith harmony in the country.

However, the strain in their relationship came some time ago after which Tina Dabi removed ‘Khan’ from her social media accounts. On the other hand, Athar unfollowing Tina on Instagram around the same time strengthened the rumours of estrangement between the couple.

Athar-Tina wedding celebrated enthusiastically by prominent individuals and media organisations

Nevertheless, their marriage was amongst the most celebrated event on social media, with several prominent individuals putting out celebratory tweets, congratulating the duo for their wedding back in 2018.

Ordinarily, marriage is not as politicised as this one. And it should not be since it is a completely private affair between two consenting adults. However, the marriage of Tina and Athar was used by politicians and journalists to bolster the ‘communal harmony’ trope.

One of the people who made this wedding a politicised spectacle was former Congress President Rahul Gandhi. The Gandhi scion had posted a tweet congratulating the couple on their wedding which was laced with a subtle message aimed at understating the fears surrounding the inter-faith marriage between a Hindu girl with a Muslim boy, along with the criticism of the government for “growing intolerance” and “communal hatred”.

Congratulations Tina Dabi & Athar Amir-ul-Shafi, IAS toppers, a batch of 2015, on your wedding! May your love grow from strength to strength and may you be an inspiration to all Indians in this age of growing intolerance and communal hatred. God bless you,” Gandhi had tweeted.

Others too joined in peddling their sanctimonious sermons with regard to Tina and Athar’s marriage. Journalist Barkha Dutt congratulated the couple, stating that they both give hope and their individual achievements and love for each other is what India is all about.

Kavita Krishnan, an ultra-leftist and communist leader who doubles up as full-time protestor, had also commented on the marriage while minimising the concerns of love jihad raised by Tapan Ghosh, who had commented that Kashmiri students and youth had specialised in love jihad.

“Tina Dabi and her husband face hate again. This fascist of Hindu Sanhati, W Bengal who abducts Hindu women who are in interfaith relationships, terms their marriage ‘love jihad’. Don’t call him ‘fringe’ – like Ajay Singh Bisht he too may be a CM tomorrow, hate pays in BJP raj,” Krishnan tweeted.

Even media organisations did not shy away from making a spectacle of what should have been a deeply personal affair. India Today even shared the live video of Tina and Athar’s marriage.

The Financial Express also carried a report of the marriage of the couple, claiming that the wedding was going “massively viral”.

Another online rag known for shielding Islamists and diminishing cases of love jihad went gaga over hailing the marriage between Tina Dabi and Athar Khan. A host of articles were shared by Janta Ka Reporter, ranging from the marriage pictures of the duo to the plum IAS posting that the couple had secured.

It had also published a report after Tina Dabi had shared a picture of the two at Taj Mahal. “IAS Topper Tina Dabi Khan flaunt her love for husband and fellow civil services exam topper Athar Aamir Khan at Taj Mahal,” Janta Ka Reporter tweeted with the article.

In one other report, Tina-Athar were apparently giving “serious couple goals” to people on social media as per a report published by JKR.

Eminent individuals and media outfits accountable for public glare over Athar Khan-Tina Dabi divorce

The couple has now finally decided to call it quits and have approached the Jaipur court for legally parting ways. Though marriage and divorce are intensely personal events and the couple undergoing either of them deserve their right to privacy, this particular case attracted media glare owing to a certain set of individuals and media channels, who fell over themselves to hail the inter-faith marriage.

The purpose behind glorifying the inter-religious marriage between a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy was to brush aside the concerns of ‘love jihad’ raised by many and to discredit the plausibility that Hindu women were indeed subjugated by some radical Muslim men. These individuals and media organisations wanted to paint a rosy picture, claiming that everything was hunky-dory and that those who brought to notice cases of Hindu women being lured into ‘grooming jihad’ by Muslim men was just a figment of the imagination of Hindu nationalists.

Now that Athar and Tina are parting ways, their divorce would obviously be made into a public spectacle. But the blame of this unfortunate but imminent occurrence would squarely rest on these individuals and media organisations, who went out on a limb to extravagantly publicise and hail their marriage, in a bid to deny the existence of ‘grooming jihad’.

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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