Newly elected Trinamool Congress MP Nusrat Jahan, who was under attack from Muslim clerics for wearing 'sindoor' and 'mangalsutra' when she took oath in Parliament after her wedding to businessman Nikhil Jain, on Thursday repeated her look as she stood with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the annual Rath Yatra in Kolkata.
The presence of Jahan, who was a special invitee to the event organised by ISKCON, seemed to a be a subtle yet powerful message to her critics. Speaking to reporters, Jahan said, “Mamata Banerjee comes for Eid and stands with all. There is no politics in this, it is about faith and belief. Let's keep politics and religion apart.”
Speaking about the fatwa issued against her, Jahan said: “Don’t pay heed to things which are baseless. I know my religion. I have been a Muslim by birth and I am still a Muslim. It's about faith. You have to feel it inside your heart and not in your head.”
ISKCON, meanwhile, had applauded Jahan for promoting inclusiveness of religious identities. “Thank you @nusratchirps for accepting the Rathyatra invitation. You are really showing the road forward. Respecting and caring for what others believe and participating in other festivities is a sure way to achieve that elusive social harmony,” ISKCON spokesperson Radharamn Das said in a Twitter post.
The other part of the tweet describes how ISKCON Kolkata Rathyatra is an example of social harmony where Lord’s dresses and the chariot have been built by craftsmen of the Muslim community for decades now.
The Trinamool MP has been in the limelight ever since she debuted in the political arena. She had earlier said in a tweet that she “represent an inclusive India, which is beyond the barriers of caste, creed and religion,” she said in a tweet. “As much as I respect all religions, I still remain a Muslim and no one should comment on what I choose to wear”.
TMC MP Mimi Chakraborty, who along with Jahan was also trolled earlier for her sartorial choices, extended support and said being an Indian would remain their only identification.
In May, Jahan and her friend Chakraborty had faced backlash on social media over their choice of clothes for their first day in Parliament.
In an interview with CNN-News18 earlier, Jahan said she has always followed her heart where life choices are concerned.
"I am glad that everybody is happy about my marriage, which was a personal decision. A lot of people asked me that I have 'sindoor' on my head, if I have converted because I married a Hindu. But I think we all have the right to choose our religion. I have chosen Islam by birth and will follow it but I respect all religions and their rituals. My husband and I follow our respective religions and I don’t think this is a bold step; it is natural," she had said.