Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Runaway Bride and Groom of Pakistan

A Bishop’s daughter, Nadia Malik, and a Muslim doctor, Danyaal, fall in love and bewitch all of Pakistan.

[Text by Mayank Austen Soofi; Picture (The runaway couple, with a friend in between) sourced from internet]

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingNadia was Pakistan's most glamorous model. Danyaal was an eminent doctor. They were young and attractive and belonged to two of the most prestigious families in the country. They fell in love. But there was a problem. He was a Muslim. She was a Christian. Nadia's father, Reverend Dr. Alexander John Malik, was the Moderator of the Church of Pakistan and the Bishop of Lahore. Danyaal was the scion of a prominent Muslim family.

Love in the Time of Warring Gods

It was inevitable that this match invited snags. It was made in a country where religion is a delicate point. According to CNN, Christians constitute less than three percent of the Pakistani population, where ninety-seven percent of the citizens recite verses from the Koran. The country is the only nation apart from Israel to have been founded on the basis of religion in the aftermath of World War II.

Nadia, a graduate in Social Sciences, had stepped into modeling only after confronting the reservations of her bishop father. She had met Danyaal during a theater production in Lahore. He was one of the actors and she helped backstage. Their meetings, friendly at first, blossomed into romance with time. Then life took an interesting turn – for them, their families, their religious communities, and ultimately their nation.

Predictably, such daring multi-religious affairs are never easy. The heart is stupid to not recoil from these kinds of heretical diversions. It surely didn't help that both the lovers were stubbornly loyal to their faiths. Obstructions were further compounded by the reality of living in a society that, like most, was conservative at best and intolerant at worst. And both the families concerned were devoted to their different faiths and had difficulty accepting the relationship of their black sheep.

God or Child – Double Dilemma for the Parents

The parents of the love birds had to carry their own burden of disappointment and distress. The boy's parents considered themselves true believers of Prophet Muhammad's words. They had a hard time overcoming their reluctance in accepting a daughter-in-law brought up with the Bible, Jesus and (Allah forbid) modeling. And the girl's father was one of Pakistan's most senior Christian leaders. His priestly profession was at stake in the event of his daughter settling down into a Muslim household.

Fortunately, both god-fearing families cared about their children, who had to wait for five full years to witness a happy conclusion to their romantic agonies. The model finally got to marry her doctor on August, 2006.

The finale of the wedding was a sweeping flourish in a function held at an imposing cathedral in Lahore. The ceremony was led by the proud Papa-Bishop. The curious guests, among whom were the who’s who of Pakistan's fashion and film circuit, noted with awe and appreciation the gracious presence of the groom's family who must have broken many emotional and social taboos to participate in the Christian rituals of their Muslim son's wedding.

The Clash of the Civilizations

Soon all hell broke loose. The wedding left many people agitated and offended. A section of Pakistani Christians wasted no time in accusing Bishop Malik of betraying the belief of his flock. They claimed his daughter had already converted to Islam and had a discreet Muslim wedding, and that the church show was merely a blessing to trick the Christians. Bishop Malik has 'deceived' his followers, they screamed, and they demanded nothing less than the man’s resignation.

Meanwhile, as usual Islamists were deeply upset. It bothered them that Nadia underwent a church ceremony after her alleged conversion to Islam. Scriptures were dutifully cited to prove the ceremony had made her an infidel. They were also outraged that a full-fledged Muslim boy like Danyaal actually agreed to attend a service in a non-Muslim place of worship! At least one of the heartbroken Muftis was moved enough to ask for Nadia's death.

To further complicate matters, Nadia addressed the mess by insisting she had never converted to Islam in the first place. The couple, it was understood, had entered into an inter-faith marriage. They would co-habit as husband and wife while not ditching either Christ or Muhammad - a convenient arrangement to them and their families, but perhaps not to the aggrieved outsiders!

Run, Nadia, Run

With pervasive death threats from the Mullahs and no respite in accusations of betrayal by numerous Reverend Fathers, the just-married couple wisely decided that the best way to avoid any danger would be to flee the holy hothouse that is Pakistan.

So the Muslim husband and his Christian wife moved out of the country. They are presently sewing up the fabric of their new lives in Glasgow, Scotland. Apparently, both are relieved. The runaway couple of Pakistan is safe at last. May they live happily ever after!

Times Online
Nadia's Interview


Usman said...

Mayank, I don't know how much of an oppressed runaway these guys are.

They are in Pakistan all the time at every social function especially in the fashion industry.

Mayank Austen Soofi said...

Is it so, Usman? This 'runaway' couple is back and attends all the Page-3 parties of Pakistan? In spite of the death threats? This shows the diminishing influence of the hyper-conservative clerics and a heartening evidence of tolerance in Pakistan's society.

Usman said...

Yes, mayank. I have seen these two. I remember them because of the guy's goofy smile. He is always showing all 32 teeth.

To all the mullahs that get all excited about inter-religious marriages... get a life! It does not concern you.

If you are worried about others to that extent, you clearly have NO life. Get a life. Please. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Mayank, you are of Indian origin: shouldn't you be worried about the millions of female foetuses that are aborted in your India every year?
Why are you so obssessed with Pakistan? Pakistan doesn't need an Indian-origin author like yourself...your country has done enough for Pakistan and we don't need another Indian govt. mouthpiece doing the cyberspace propaganda that you are and have been doing....
When will you Indians leave us alone? Go your way and let us go our way.
I hope you post this blog...lets see if you are able to tolerate reality!

Mayank Austen Soofi said...

Thanks for pointing out the shameful trend of aborting female fetuses in India. You may read my article that has addressed this tragedy- Killing Daughters in India.

Besides, it is amusing to note that you are so smart in correctly judging my Indian origin. But I do desire that my articles on Pakistan should not be judged by the accident of my being born in an Indian family.

When will I leave Pakistan alone?
I regret to say that your desire will never come true. I care about that beautiful country just too much!

Anonymous said...


As a Proud Pakistani I would like to apologize on behalf of the previous anonymous' comment.
Most of the people, in my generation at least (i'm 24), don't have such hatred towards indians, but rather express a friendly attitude. We are open to outside criticism and views, within certain respectable boundaries of course, as it is a healthy form of communication. It is always good to have an outside perspective (much better than looking in the mirror).

However, let's admit, there are people on both sides of the border who are against indo-pak harmony. BUT as long as people like you and I exist, we can look towards a more peaceful co-existence.

As far as the issue of a bishop's daughter marrying a muslim boy is concerned. I think each person is personally responsible to God (if they believe in one). If the two got married and the families eventually are at terms with this marriage then it shouldn't concern rest of the public.
I quote usman's comment to the public
" If you are worried about others to that extent, you clearly have NO life. Get a life".

It's always great to read articles by you.

Pakistan Paindabad.

Consider me anonymous2.

Sohaib said...

I wonder, it must be weird living in India writing a blog solely dedicated to Pakistan. I, as a Pakistani, feel honored at the attention :p

By the way I really like your city. I have visited it three times now in the past 2 years, and each time it has fascinated me more. I would like to spend more than a week there if I ever got a chance.

Interesting blog. Very nice.

Anonymous said...

i dont really understand why an indian would worry about matters or incidents happening in pakistan. you should worry about welfare and well being of your citizens and then worry about others across the border. i guess its a new way of defaming pakistan. please if you cant have good intentions for us, at least dont spread this non-sense. there are millions of people living in poverty in both countries who have no access to basic needs of this precious life. common, write what we all can do to improve their situation not worsen it. and lastly people in the family/house/country have the right to reject outside interference in their personal matters.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how he got his name Danyaal if he's muslim he should have muslim name he's trying to be western but same time lots of people from thses muslim countires hate west.I know Nadia very well is she know we had good time few years before she got married.

rizbaigs said...

Mr Danial i suggest u if u love her just for this world than u go on and if u love f0r the next world also than u must agree her to be a part of muslims coz she remain ever in the next world by the grace of almighty allah.