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Chand-Fiza Love Story:MISUSE OF CONVERSION LAWS, by Syed Ali Mujtaba, 9 February 2009 Print E-mail

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New Delhi, 9 February 2009

Chand-Fiza Love Story


By Syed Ali Mujtaba

The story of former Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan alias Chand Mohammad and ex- Haryana Assistant Advocate General Anuradha Bali alias Fiza that hit the headlines recently undoubtedly has lent a romantic colour to the otherwise dull Indian political scene.

This however, has also opened up a debate on the complex human relationship that transcends into the domain of conversion and polygamy. Wherein, the Muslim clerics have called the idea of converting to Islam to get married a second time, “a deplorable act,” the Hindutva brigade maintaining a stoic silence over this case.

The two fundamental questions the Chand-Fiza marriage has thrown up are: One, why did Chander Mohan and Anuradha Bali have to become Chand Mohmmad and Fiza to legalize their love affair? Two, why couldn’t they find happiness within the boundaries of their own religion?

Clearly, in the process it exposes the hypocrisy of a nation that preaches one man-two women-type of relationship {Krishna-Radha and Mira} but when it comes to actual reality it disapproves such relationship. Leading the protagonists to resort to fair and foul means. In order to understand this human dilemma, one has to recall the full story of Chander Mohan, the eldest son of former Haryana Chief Minister, Bhajan Lal.

Chander Mohan is a sitting four-time Congress MLA from Haryana’s Kalka Assembly seat. He has two teenaged children from his first wife and one of his sons died last year after a prolonged illness. He befriended Anuradha Bali, a divorcee, and ex-Assistant Advocate General of Punjab.

After a courtship of nearly five years, the duo appeared at a TV station to announce to the world that they had converted to Islam and had subsequently married according to the Islamic law last December. Wherein Chander Mohan became Chand Muhammad and Anuradha turned into Fiza.  

Asserted a ‘love-struck’ Chand in his TV interview, “We are not teenagers to take an impulsive decision…. and after a lot of thought have made up our minds to convert to Islam and get married.”  No matter that his father Bhajan Lal denounced his son’s second marriage as a "shameless act."

Subsequently, thanks to their much-hyped marriage both lost their high-profile jobs. Chand for being absent and neglecting his Deputy Chief Ministerial work. Fiza too was sacked as the State’s Assistant Attorney General for the same reasons.

The romance began to sour after Fiza accused her husband’s brother and his first wife of abducting Chand since they had not approved of their marriage. Accusing Bhajan Lal’s family of double standards, Fiza said “When Chand’s younger brother was caught with a girl at a Delhi disco, no one disowned him.” Adding, “I can vouch that 95 per cent of the people in Haryana politics have a double life. My only crime is that I have come out and accepted it.”

The missing husband, Chand was traced in New Delhi and was reported to be safe. However, his prolonged stay in the national Capital led to speculation that every thing was not hunky dory between the ‘head over heels in love couple.’

This love story took a new turn when Fiza tried to commit suicide by consuming blood pressure tablets and was rushed to a hospital in an unconscious state. Later, however, she rubbished reports about her suicide attempt and even rejected reports of a rift with her husband.

The fate of this love story hangs in balance given that Chand now wants to return to his first wife as he is “missing her and his children.” Needless to say, this fairy tale is poised for a very interesting climax. 

Meanwhile, Fiza has claimed she has been betrayed in true love and a bad game has been played with her life. "I don't know what my status is today. I don't even know if I am his wife or not. He has not spoken to me directly. I don't even know whether he is now Chander Mohan or Chand Mohammed." Besides, as she had embraced Islam to get married she would remain a Muslim now even though “I respect all religions.”

Importantly, the Chand Mohmmad-Fiza story should not be sarcastically castigated as a union for satisfying the baser human instinct. Also, it should not be brushed under the carpet by moral policing on such cases. In fact, this romance provides enough food for thought as to how to get round this human problem.

As Indian society evolves from the feudal to the modern age, these are complex challenges thrown up in human relationships. Thus, it is imperative that our lawmakers should make the divorce process simpler and easier than it presently is.

Sadly, today it is impossible for Hindus and Christians to get out of one relationship and enter into another. Which has not only destroyed many homes but happiness is now being sought in other ways.

Not only that. The Chand-Fiza case has also brought out into the open the blatant misuse of the conversion laws for meeting one’s selfish ends. All forget that conversion to Islam is a long drawn out process that is based on the sound knowledge of the religion. The corner stone to this is the act of “Sahada” or the declaration of conversion to the new faith. Undoubtedly, anyone who takes a short cut to this should not be encouraged for conversion.

Two, there should be some designated authority who should issue a certificate for those who have converted to another faith. This task too should be made simpler and easier.  Such a formulation to some extent would mellow down the conversion debate.

Lastly, the case has brought out the practice of polygamy. Unquestionably, there is no place for such a feudal practice in the 21st Century. Those who are practicing such an archaic way of life should be given exemplary punishment.

True, everyone wants the Chand-Fiza love story to end in Dilwale dulanhiya le jayainge style. But in case that does not happen, one can only say, it’s Raab de merzi! ----- INFA

(Copyright, India News & Feature Alliance)




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