Love knows no barriers – neither of age, caste or social status nor of religion. After all, love itself is a religion for true lovers.
The real love story of a Hindu young man and a Muslim woman from Rajkot is interesting enough to inspire some producers from Bollywood. In fact, there are shades of Anil Sharma’s blockbuster Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, starring Sunny Deol and Amisha Patel.
Zareen Shahmdar (31), a divorcee, and auto-rickshaw driver Vijay Gamara (26) fell in love with each other about three years ago. Vijay, an eligible bachelor who had already rejected many offers for marriage from better and more beautiful girls, was least bothered that Zareena wasn’t only a Muslim but also a divorce and five years older than him.
The two tied the knot on March 27, 2006, with Zareena converting to Hinduism and changing her name as Jaya. Touch to the quick by what they called an unprecedented event in their traditional family, Zareena’s parents and other relatives snapped all relations with her.
Of course, regardless of Zareena’s relatives’ attitude towards her, such inter-community marriages aren’t uncommon in India today. But the more interesting part of it all comes now.
The heroine of this love story became pregnant. This made the economically poor Vijay and Zareena worried when they thought of stark realities that awaited them and their child in near future in a hypocritical Indian society.
So they approached Zareena’s father Siddibhai Shahmdar and requested him to forget everything, forgive them and accept them. But, like the villainous Amrish Puri in Gadar, the fanatic Siddibhai laid several conditions for the hero of this tale and even told Vijay to forget all about Hinduism and covert to Islam to "mend" their relations and be "worthy" of his "affection" and "blessings".
Always ready to sacrifice anything for his beloved, Vijay readily and legally embraced Islam in front of many legal eagles and media persons in a Rajkot court on Thursday, much to the chagrin of his own family, who had not welcomed Zareena with open arms to begin with.
As for Jaya, she converted back to Islam and was rechristened Zareena.