Real Life Story
A Muslim Mother Learned To Accept Her Son’s Hindu Girlfriend
In a country that often opposes interfaith love, parental approval is usually unheard of. But sometimes, a change of heart can change everything.
Yusuf Ahmed and Radhika Bhatia grew up in the same locality in Kolkata. They went to school together, tuition classes, and even college. Though many friends thought that they were made for each other, Yusuf’s family disagreed. It wasn't easy for them to accept his Hindu girlfriend.
“What was really funny was the fact that both my mom and dad were okay with us being friends, but the minute they learned that we were in a relationship, they didn’t approve anymore,” Yusuf said.
Though they could have hidden the relationship, Yusuf chose not to. “When you fall in love with someone your family disapproves of, you are obviously scared to tell them. But when you have also been taught to be honest, you don’t want to hide your love. There’s nothing dishonest about falling in love,” he said.
In a country that often opposes interfaith love, parental approval is usually unheard of.
“We come from a fairly conservative Muslim family. And this was unheard of,” Zarina, Yusuf's mother, said. "I remember spending nights crying and praying for this nightmare to end when I found out about his girlfriend. I am glad that has changed now,” she added.
No one was more relieved than Yusuf. “Sometimes a change of heart can change your world,” he said.
It was while suffering that Zarina learned compassion.
“I was very sick during the first lockdown. With both Yusuf and his father stuck in different parts of the country, I was absolutely helpless alone,” Zarina said.
It was then that she decided to reach out to Radhika for help. “I was apprehensive when I called Radhika for help. I had behaved terribly with her in the past. I had even forbidden her to come to our place after I learned about their relationship.”
Thankfully, Radhika held no grudges against her. “It was then that I realised how unimportant someone’s religion is as long as they are kind, caring, and loving. I am ashamed of who I was and I was glad such a young girl could teach me these important lessons in love, acceptance and forgiveness. I couldn’t think of a better person for my son to be with,” Zarina said.
Thanks to Zarina’s support, both families now find it easier to accept the relationship. “My mother has stopped looking for a husband for me, and I get invited to have the best biryani every Eid,” Radhika shared.
Even though Zarina had a change of heart however, it wasn’t easy supporting her son openly. “In a country that teaches us that interfaith love is not acceptable, it is quite earth-shattering to finally realise how wrong that is,” she said.
But she kept trying for the sake of her son. “There is opposition to interfaith relationships and at times, it can be unsafe.”
While she understands that it will take longer to change societal mindset, as a mother, she couldn’t ignore the realities of the relationship. “I just wanted them to be safe,” she said.“The best way I could think of was accepting their love for each other and urging others to do the same.”
“It took me some time to realise that love has no religion, but I am glad I finally learned.”
Source: Sreejita Biswas, Vice author
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