How people name their kids is nobody else’s business, but when the naming smacks of Islamism there would be outrage. As it is with the breaking of the news that Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor have decided to call their newly born son Taimur Ali Khan Pataudi.
Social media is abuzz. Canadian author of Pakistani origin Tarek Fatah hit the nail on the head with his message:
“I am astounded. How on earth would any Indian name their son ‘Timur’ or ‘Taimur’ the man who committed a genocide of Hindus and Muslims of India, who built pyramids of human skulls across India. And this is the supposed ‘Muslim royalty’ of Hindustan?
“For Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor to name their son ‘Taimur’ is evidence of utter ignorance or an arrogant embrace of the crimes committed by those who invaded and plundered Hindustan.
“What a fall, from Tagore to Timur.”
To be fair to the celebrity couple, they are not the first to honor a jihadist; the Muslims of India do commemorate Islamic invaders and mass-murderers like Ghouri, Aurangzeb, and Taimur; there a Taimur Nagar in Delhi. A post on www.news18.com mentioned that even though the name Taimur isn’t a common Indian name “there are at least 5,524 people named Taimur, listed on India’s electoral rolls.” And this does not include other “spelling variations of the name, such as Taimoor or Timur.”
As Fatah has pointed out, no Indian Muslim has ever named their son Dara Shikoh, the very personification of plurality and syncretism. Nor have Saif and Kareena done that, despite Saif’s mother being a Hindu, and that too from the extended family of Rabindranath Tagore. In other words, Shakespeare may not have been very accurate; there is a lot in the name.
The recent episode should be an eye-opener—but it won’t be—for those who swear by composite culture, syncretism, etc.
Saif studied at the Lawrence School, Sanawar (Himachal Pradesh), and Lockers Park School, Hertfordshire (UK). He even enrolled at Winchester College, though he didn’t complete studies. Thanks to his lineage, he also got great exposure. Evidently, he is not a dumb filmstar. Roshmila Bhattacharya wrote in The Telegraph, Calcutta (April 21, 2013), “Unlike most other actors, his interests are not limited to box office collections and workout routines. Khan can converse on anything, from philosophy to politics, from sports to books and music.”
Yet, he coaxed his first wife, Amrita Singh, into embracing Islam so that a proper niqah could be arranged. This is despite the fact that Amrita is older than he. It may be mentioned here that a niqah can be held only between two Muslims. His marriage with Kareena, however, was carried out under the Special Marriage Act, as she refused to convert to Islam. Since there was no niqah, Muslim clerics did not recognize Kareena as Saif’s wife. It is a fair guess to make that had there not been vehement Internet Hindus and raised a stink over love jihad, she might have become a Muslim.
The point I want to make is that for a large number of Muslims, modernity is just a veneer; beneath it lies a retrograde, if not Islamist, mindset. With its baggage of bigotry and misogyny.
In all likelihood, Taimur Ali Khan Pataudi will be brought up as a Muslim, thus confirming the worst fears about love jihad. Liberals would never recognize this truth, for they inhabit the postmodern, post-truth age.
Picture: Courtesy India Today