Inter-faith couples in Assam are keeping their faith in love despite changing and challenging situations where they sometimes face threats like ‘love jihad’ and others. These couples consider inter-faith marriages as a way to create an inclusive generation that will bring peace to the planet.
Here are the few couples who are celebrating their love and togetherness on Valentine’s Day.
For renowned young surgeon Dr. Walliul Islam and noted psychiatrist Dr. Sangeeta Dutta love is their only religion and it has been a fuel through thick and thin.
“We first met in 1995, when I joined MBBS course in Guwahati Medical College where Dr Walliul was doing house job before his M.S (Surgery) course. We performed for musical shows where both of us would either sing duets or I would sing and he accompanied me on the guitar. It was an attraction at first sight. Soon after, as a fresh Postgraduate student in Surgery, he took classes for our batch where love grew. We were hesitant in expressing our mutual feelings though we knew through each other's body language that it was love. My father was a strict disciplinarian who used to accompany me to my college. We neither had the courage (due to religious differences) nor the space to spend time together for the l feelings of love to grow into a relationship,” Dr Sangeeta tells Awaz-The Voice.
Dr. Walliul Islam and Dr. Sangeeta Dutta
Dr Sangeeta got into a serious romantic relationship with Dr Walliul after both of them started working in different private hospitals. After outgrowing all pre-existing fears and hesitation Dr Sangeeta and Dr Walliul decided to get married despite all odds.
“I consider us (Wallie and Me) to be a living example of love transcending everything and interfaith marriages surviving all odds. In our case, there was no support whatsoever and demotivating and demoralizing influences were many. We trusted each other completely and had deep faith in the Almighty. We laughed and cried together and all we have wanted is ' Togetherness '. Love is our religion and it has been our fuel through thick and thin,” Dr Sangeeta said.
Dr Walliul says love in interfaith marriages transcends everything. “It's a matter of mutual understanding and respect, conviction, patience, and resilience. The inability to live without each other, and seeing each other as our source of happiness in our own small world keeps us going despite challenges and obstacles. Life is very rewarding when love is our religion,” he says.
mime artist Moinul Haq with his wife Dr Anjana Moyee Saikia and their son
Internationally famed mime artist Moinul Haq met Odissi dancer Dr Anjana Moyee Saikia in between 1992 and 1994. Haq said it was love at first sight which eventually turned into a marriage.
“It has been years that we are happily married. We have a young son Roushan who is our lifeline. For us, religion never came as a hurdle in our relationship. For us love is made every day with understanding and sacrifices,” Haq said.
On his interfaith marriage with Subhalakshmi Borooah Khan, who hails from Assam, Sarod maestro Ustaad Amjad Ali Khan recently told Awaz-The Voice that he always believes that the relationship between a man and woman is decided by the Almighty.
“The Almighty God decides who will marry whom. When I first saw her performing in Kolkata, my insight said she was sent to the world by God only for me. We are very fortunate that we received blessings from all senior people. My father-in-law Parashuram Borooah, all of Subhalakshmi’s relatives, brothers, and sisters gave me a lot of love and good wishes. We both believe in humanism. Our communication is through art,” the Sarod maestro said.
Subhalakshmi said, rather candidly, that like any other normal family in India, questions were initially raised about uncertainties associated with interfaith marriage.
“But in my case, I had earned so much love from my parents that it was hard for them to say no to the proposal. Moreover, after meeting Khan sahib, my family was totally bowled over by his nature, humanitarian quality, art, and many other endearing qualities. Of course, initially, there were some worries that any parent face. As far as my approach to religion, we believe in humanism. When you are an artist, you go to a different level of togetherness. Issues of caste, creed & religion do not hamper our life,” Subhalakshmi said.