Bharatiya Janta Party Spokesman Khalid Jehangir is a Kashmiri Muslim who celebrates Christmas, every year. He has been religiously doing so, at least since 2003, when he got married to Susan, a Christian woman from Tamil Nadu, now settled in Kashmir.
Over the years, his family, including two daughters Sofia and Rania have grown up celebrating festivals of the twin faiths together.
“My wife is a catholic Christian while Jesus Peace Be Upon Him is a prophet of Muslims as well, so there’s no difference for me. Moreover, Kashmiris are traditionally secular so I have multiple reasons to celebrate Christmas,” Jehangir told InUth.
But isn’t rightwing BJP often accused of religious intolerance?
“I come across our party preaching any such thing. This is something that is planted by media and is its way of selling news to the audience. BJP propagates and preaches that all religions are the same,” he says.
On Christmas eve, the mother-daughters trio attend mass at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Srinagar. The next morning, the family head also accompanies them to church for mega celebrations.
“I go there to greet the priests in particular and to celebrate with others. I humbly feel that presence of Muslims like me is a must at such auspicious occasions as the population of Christians here is very less and they need the support of other communities,” says the journalist-turned-politician.
During harsh winters when political families prefer to spend time in warmer regions, Jehangir’s family ensures being in the Valley.
His wife and kids say the only thing which makes them celebrate Christmas in homeland Kashmir is hope for snowfall on the big day. “Hope there’s a snowfall as it adds natural charm to the celebrations,” the family prays.