Bollywood star Kareena Kapoor has been abused online by extremists over the name of her new baby.
Kapoor has been attacked on social media for calling her second son Jehangir, the imperial name of the 17th-century Mughal emperor, which means “conqueror of the world.” Kapoor, a Hindu, and her husband, Saif Ali Khan, a Muslim and also a Bollywood star, have faced abuse because of their marriage.
Jehangir, the fourth Mughal emperor, ordered the torture and execution in 1606 of Sikh guru Arjan Dev, who opposed his rule. Many Hindus in India regard Sikhs as part of a larger Hindu family.
The couple’s first child, now four years old, was named Taimur, named after a 14th-century Turkish conqueror who violently sacked Delhi in 1398.
When that name became public, the abuse began on social media. The couple was accused of naming their son a “mass murderer”, a “monster”, a “genocidal maniac”. Some commentators compared the choice to naming a baby Hitler.
Kapoor said she’s been scarred by online abuse and Khan has said she wondered for a while if she should change Taimur’s name.
When the couple announced the birth of their second child, Jeh, in February, some online commenters wondered if it was short for Jehangir.
After the recent publication of Kapoor’s book, Pregnancy Bible, was found to have a photo of Jeh, with the caption “Jehangir Ali Khan,” the online abuse escalated.
One commenter tweeted: “First child – Taimur (who killed millions of Hindus) Second child – Jehangir (who killed Guru Arjan Dev) What will be the name of the next?”
Another tweet read: “After Taimur, the guy who killed 5% of the human population on earth, Jehangir, the Mughal who was an opium-addicted and libertine tyrant is following well. Going for Aurangzeb would have made even more sense. ”
The attacks have highlighted how, in India, for some, history is political and personal. Figures from the past and their actions are often viewed in the context of current political and religious disputes.
Among supporters of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Hindu extremist groups, there has been a desire to erase the Mughals rule from history.
This attitude led BJP leader Yogi Adityanath, prime minister of Uttar Pradesh, to rename Muslim cities in the state and replace them with Hindu names.
The Faizabad district has become Ayodhya. The Mughalsarai crossing railway station was changed to Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. The city of Allahabad was renamed Prayagraj.
Bollywood’s secular culture has allowed both Hindus and Muslims to flourish. Interreligious marriages have become common. The reigning star triumvirate, Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan, are Muslim, and two of them have married Hindu women.
These interfaith marriages have enraged Hindu extremists. Kapoor, for example, was attacked online for marrying Khan. The BJP’s “love jihad” campaign aimed to prevent interfaith marriages on the unfounded basis that Muslim men coerce innocent Hindu women to convert to Islam.
Some have come to Kapoor’s defense online. One commenter asked why people are still afraid of a Mughal emperor who died 400 years ago.
Khan’s sister Saba posted her endorsement on Instagram: “What’s in a name? Love… live and let it be. Children are the blessings of God. “
Social commentator Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr said that Muslim-hating extremists look for things to be offended by.
He said: “At the root of all this is one thing: anger and resentment towards Kapoor, a Hindu woman, who is marrying a Muslim. If Saif Ali Khan had been married to a Muslim and had chosen these names, they probably would not have bothered. But they get horny for a Hindu girl married to a Muslim who also chooses Muslim names for her children. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism