Oscar-winning musician AR Rahman’s daughter Khatija (23) was recently trolled for wearing a niqab (a veil worn by Muslim women in public) at a recent event celebrating 10 years of Slumdog Millionaire. At the event earlier this month, Khatija shared the stage with him in a niqab and soon after social media was abuzz and many felt that Rahman, as a father, was wrong in forcing his daughter to wear a niqab.
Read| AR Rahman reacts to daughter Khatija wearing a niqaab, says it’s ‘freedom to choose’
Rahman took to Twitter, where all the hate was coming from, with a photo showing his wife and other daughter, Raheema, without niqabs. He wrote, “The precious ladies of my family Khatija, Raheema and Sairaa with NitaAmbaniji #freedomtochoose”.
The Padma Bhushan-awardee understands where all these comments are coming from. “These people who said such [negative] things are good people. Sometimes, they are over-concerned. They feel AR Rahman is a part of their family, so why is he doing this or that, so such reactions come from a sense of over-protection,” he says.
The music maestro adds once the real reason is explained to them, they understand. “And then they are cool about it. That’s what happened when I told them that my wife and one girl, Raheema, do not wear [niqab] and Khatija wants to, so we are fine with it. It’s her freedom to decide,” adds Rahman, who will perform in the Capital tomorrow (February 9) at a music event, The Sufi Route.
The celebrated singer-composer says his daughter is a strong woman, who knows what she wants from life. “As long as my children are doing what they believe in and if there is nothing wrong about it, they’ll always have our support. Khatija reflects the purity I want to achieve. She reminds me of my growing-up years. She is very clear about what she wants to do with her life and has travelled across the world, but never faced anything for wearing a niqab. She’s quite cool about it. She wants to work for the betterment of the deprived. I am proud of her,” he adds.
Does Rahman feel his popularity puts the spotlight on his three kids (Raheema, Khatija and AR Ameen)? “I’ve let them be. They aren’t new to whatever happens around them because of whoever I am. Initially they’d get a little intimidated but now they’re used to it. I make sure they travel the world and learn things from everywhere. They understand everyone has their own journey. They are mature about what they post [on social media], how they talk and about what I think. [In that sense] They make their own choices,” he shares.