Actor Soha Ali Khan is an avid social media user and she often takes to Twitter to share about her films, new projects and of course candid moments.
Recently when the actor posted a picture of her seeking blessings at a Ganpati Pandal in Mumbai, she was attacked by social media bullies who hurled abuses at her, and posted nasty comments, questioning her religious beliefs and calling her non-Muslim. The same happened earlier this month, when she visited the Golden Temple to promote her upcoming film, 31st October.
Responding to these religion-based trolls, the actor says, “I feel what my religion is and how I practice it is not anybody’s business. I really don’t understand why it upsets them so much because it doesn’t affect them. It’s not like a particular religious community has any ownership over me. And I am not a torchbearer of Islam. I think these people use stars to promote their slightly more insidious agendas and we shouldn’t allow this.”
While many comments asked Soha if her Hindu husband (actor Kunal Kemmu) would celebrate Eid with her, the actor says since she doesn’t know these people, so there is no emotional reaction. “I’m sometimes surprised that somebody would be so passionate about some people they have never met and that they care so much about what I or my husband does. I don’t feel the need to tell anyone whether Kunal has been to a mosque or if he prays or celebrates Eid, or whether I celebrate Diwali or Holi with him and his family. It’s not something I should discuss with anyone because religion happens and how many Gods you believe in and how you choose to pray is something completely private,” says the 37-year-old, adding that she doesn’t get worked up about such comments.
We often see (non-muslim) Bollywood stars visiting Ajmer Sharif ahead of their film’s release but when a Muslim actor visits a Ganpati pandal, it causes outrage. Responding to this, Soha adds, “Strength of India has always been our diversity and the fact that we have respect for each other traditions. Islam also is a religion that respects other traditions and has lived and coexisted with other religions. So if someone judges me based on my religion, I feel there is no real solid education or exposure behind an opinion like that.”
Soha has had more encounters with social media trolls. In the past when the London School of Economics (LSE) graduate tweeted about RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan’s exit announcement, she was trolled on Twitter. Agreeing that there’s always a flipside to social media presence, Soha says, “I understand that social media platforms are what we voluntarily put ourselves on. So if the positive side is that I can put my pictures and direct comments out there to my followers, flipside is that you read what people say about you as well. And not all of it has to be flattering or even sensible. At times, it tends to be a lot more than personal. So I have an ability to completely take it in my stride without it upsetting me because these are not people I know and they certainly not going to affect me.”
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