Late Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan’s son Babil Khan is upset with “people in power” because there is a Public Holiday on the Hindu festival Rakshabandhan, and not on the Muslim festival Bakra-Eid. He was disappointed that the mandatory holiday for Bakra-Eid, which was supposed to fall on Friday, was canceled. According to Babil Khan, this discrimination goes against the secular fabric of India, and in a series of Instagram posts, he has voiced his objection.
Babil Khan is scared as a Muslim to raise his voice, because that may prove detrimental to his career. He also states that many of his friends don’t communicate with him anymore because he is a Muslim. Khan then asserts that people will now victimize him, call him radical names and ask him to go to Pakistan. Though he tables his objection for the “holiday” given for Rakshabandhan, he claims that he doesn’t want to be judged for his religion.
However, his statements and Instagram posts stand quite amusing. While he sulks for no public holiday given on Friday for Eid, the festival itself falls on August 1st, which is a Saturday. The date has been declared by the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid himself. Does he expect the government to give an extra holiday on any of the weekdays to compensate for Eid falling on a weekend? We wonder.
In the past, we have had the Independence Day, Republic Day or Gandhi Jayanti fall on the weekend, and the citizens were not given an added leave the following or previous week to make-up for the lost holiday. As per the list of holidays published by the central and the state governments, there are 4 Muslim festivals, that include 3 Eids (Including Bakra-Eid), and one Muharram.
On the other hand, there is only one major Hindu festival that is treated as a government Holiday, and that is Diwali. Even in West Bengal, people don’t get a holiday throughout the days of Durga Puja. The festival of Rakshabandhan that Babil Khan fumes about is neither a holiday as per the Central Government’s list, nor as per Maharashtra government, where he stays. It is not even an optional holiday. Quite lost on his hue and cry, we assume, this is a plain case of misinformation on Babil Khan’s part. It would have been preferable, had the lad procured the right information before making an uninformed communally charged statement in public, given the difficult times we are going through.
Babil Khan comes from a family of inter-faith marriage. While his father, great actor Irrfan Khan was a Muslim, his mother, Sutapa Sikdar is a Hindu Bengali. Irrfan was a generous secular man who had invited the ire of Islamists a few years back for talking against the sacrifice of animals on Bakra-Eid. Livid Islamists were seen celebrating his unfortunate and untimely demise in April this year. The actor had succumbed to Neuroendocrine tumor after a long and brave battle.
We surmise from his post, Babil Khan is looking forward to a career in Bollywood. We wish him all the luck.