Naseeruddin Shah On Almost Being Accused Of Love Jihad By An Ex-Cabinet Minister's Spouse & Revealed His Mother's Reaction To Ratna Pathak Shah's Not Converting To Islam
Naseeruddin Shah Disapproves ‘Hindus & Muslims Cannot Live Together’ Rhetoric & Cites His Own Marriage(Photo Credit –Instagram)

Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah are not only two of the talented actors in Bollywood but are one of the few couples whose marriage stood the test of time. The two, who first met each other during the rehearsal of Satyadev Dubey’s play ‘Sambhog se Sanyas Tak’ in 1975, have been married for 41 years.

In a recent occurrence, Naseeruddin composed an open letter wherein he openly recounted the narrative of their interfaith marriage. He expressed his discontent with the prevailing political atmosphere, which has needlessly cast doubts upon his marital relationship.

Published in the National Herald, the open letter by Naseeruddin Shah delved into his profound connection with Ratna Pathak Shah, all the while conveying his disappointment at facing scrutiny after years of shared companionship. He wrote, “I had no compunctions or hesitation about marrying a Hindu, and vice-versa. I didn’t dream that some put-out-to-pasture spouse of an ex-cabinet minister would, 38 years after my marriage, threaten me with ‘no one said anything when you married outside your religion’, stopping short of accusing me of love jihad but clearly implying that my time was now up.”

Naseeruddin Shah also candidly discussed his wife’s faith and recounted how his mother supported Ratna’s decision not to convert to Islam. He wrote, “As it happened, the subject of my wife Ratna converting to Islam was brought up just once by my mother and that as enquiry, to which on receiving a reply in the negative, she concurred with a “Haan, mazhab kaise badla jaa sakta hai (Yes, how can faith be changed)”. Whether this statement of a woman weaned exclusively on a diet of the Quran makes more sense than the hate-filled rhetoric of ‘Hindus and Muslims cannot live together’, I will leave to the judgement of the reader.”

The Masoom actor also emphasised that his and Ratna’s union is the proof that Hindus and Muslims can live together. “All I can say is that my union (accepted unquestioningly by both families) with a Hindu woman for 40 years so far is proof— if proof were needed—that it is not only possible but desirable for Hindus and Muslims to live together. So, from where did this poison appear? Or were the seeds of hatred planted during Partition slowly germinating all that while?” he wrote.

In a previous interview, Naseeruddin Shah disclosed that Ratna Pathak Shah’s family initially opposed their union not due to his faith, but because they perceived him as an ‘ill-tempered drug addict.’ Describing his rapport with Ratna’s family, he shared that prior to their marriage, an elder family member reassured him that religious or political conflicts wouldn’t be an issue. Instead, the challenges that might arise would be more societal in nature. For example, questions like whether Diwali holds more importance than Eid, the permissibility of alcohol in the household, and decisions about the children’s religious upbringing.

Following their initial encounter in 1975, Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah embarked on a romantic journey, culminating in their marriage in 1982 after seven years of dating. Together, they are the proud parents of Vivaan Shah and Imaad Shah.

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