The ISKCON rath yatra celebrations may have gone virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this did not stop Bengali film actor and TMC MP Nusrat Jahan and her husband Nikhil Jain from being part of the celebrations. The TMC MP who had married into a Hindu family, visited the ISKCON temple in the heart of Kolkata where the chariot has been kept.
ISKCON had decided to keep the rath yatra fixed at one place and had said that devotees can partake in live celebrations on virtual platforms and via social media. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the West Bengal administration had allowed only 25 people to gather at a spot for religious celebrations. This was increased to 50 people on Tuesday.
“I am a spiritual person more than being religious. I am attracted to inner peace — it is a part of my life now. It makes you feel stronger from inside. I have been celebrating all kinds of festivals, and I have been trolled the most for participating in un-Islamic festivities after becoming an MP. Festivals are about joy. I don’t have any regrets on being slammed for celebrating all festivities,” said Nusrat Jahan.
The TMC MP who also participated in the ISKCON celebrations last year after her wedding and after becoming an MP says she is unfazed by the social media trolls. “It doesn’t bother me. I know exactly what I am doing, I am used to it. I am expecting another fatwa maybe, but that won’t dampen my spirit of celebrating all festivals,” added the MP who has taken a bold stance.
Dar-ul-Uloom based in Deoband in Uttar Pradesh had issued a fatwa against Nusrat Jahan in 2019 for marrying a non-Muslim and wearing sindoor and bangles during the oath-taking ceremony in Parliament last June. Jahan, however, got support from several politicians who said it was her personal choice. Jahan’s reply to the hardliners was that she represented an inclusive India.
The TMC MP who has in the past been active on short video platform TikTok also weighed in on the recent ban of the app. While emphasising that she didn’t have any problem with the ban as it was for “national security”, she also posed questions for the government.
“TikTok is an entertainment app. It’s an impulsive decision. What’s the strategic plan? What about the people who will be unemployed? People will suffer like demonetisation,” she was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.