Just recently, the crew of the Oscar-winning film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ celebrated 10 successful years of its worldwide release. The event was conducted in the very Dharavi where a major part of the movie was shot. Attended by celebrities like Anil Kapoor, lyricist Gulzar, singers Ila Arun, Mahalaxmi Iyer, and Sukhwinder Singh etc., the event was held with full zeal and gusto.
However, one of the most interesting points of this event was when Khatija Rahman, AR Rahman’s eldest daughter, turned up to interview him. She was full of praises for her father and thanked him for the values he imparted to his three children. To quote an excerpt from her interview,”….. Your humility matters the most for me. Not an atom of your character has changed ever since you won the Oscar; nothing has changed in you in the last 10 years except the time you spend with us has reduced. I think you are making it up now by taking us on short trips!”
This exchange was quite poignant, no? Not actually. There was a catch with this interview. What attracted the attention of the viewers, as well as the media, was not how AR Rahman has matured as a musician ever since his historic win at the Oscars in 2009, but the attire of his daughter. Khatija was wearing a saree with a niqab to cover her face, which is a rather oppressive custom practiced mostly by hardline Islamists. For all his accomplishments, AR Rahman fell short of being a broad-minded individual, with the attire of his daughter exposing the brazen bigotry that he practices.
Needless to say, AR Rahman was criticized by one and all for his tacit support to such oppressive customs. However, in an apparent response to such critics, Khatija wrote the following in her Facebook post:-
The recent conversation of myself on stage with my dad has been doing the rounds although I didn’t expect such an…
The post clearly reeked of the classic Stockholm Syndrome, and further exposing his hypocrisy, AR Rahman tried to justify the oppressive custom with the following tweet:-
— A.R.Rahman (@arrahman) February 6, 2019
How is living behind a niqab ‘Freedom to Choose’ Mr. Rahman? Isn’t this glorifying patriarchy? Interestingly, the very left liberals who wouldn’t hesitate to bash even the most harmless Sanatan customs at the drop of the hat are either mum on this issue or are supporting AR Rahman on his highly bigoted stance.
However, we forget that these are the very left liberals who won’t hesitate in shamelessly glorifying oppressive Islamic customs like wearing hijab, burqa, with entire articles devoted to them like that of Feminism in India. As such, celebrating the patriarchy practiced by AR Rahman’s family is just daily bread and butter for them. No wonder a wise person once said, ‘The only veil which resists to be lifted is the veil of hypocrisy.’