Manufactured holy people
Jemima Goldsmith was a sheer midget addition and nothing else
FREEZE FRAME BY SYEDA AFSHANA
When young daughter of British billionaire Sir James married Imran Khan some years ago, she embraced not only a hunky sportsman but also the Muslim faith. Taking the name Haiqa, Jemima Goldsmith traversed from the glitz and glam of London to the austere locales of Lahore.
The media at that time presented her “as a naïve and besotted, who made a hasty decision without really considering the consequences, thereby condemning herself to a life of interminable subservience, misery and isolation”.
While as her personal experiences as a convert might have been exquisite, her detractors dismissed her conversion as a mere pre-requisite for solemnizing a long-drawn courtship into marriage. She claimed to have studied in-depth both the Holy Quran and the works of various scholars (Gal Eaton, Muhammad Asad etc.). As per her, “what began as an intellectual curiosity, slowly ripened into a dawning realisation of the universal and eternal truth that is Islam”. Judging by some of her writings which appeared in the international press, it seems she had proven ‘all-too-aware’ of the enormous task of adapting to a new and radically different life. However, the speculations about her marital success have been proven absolutely erroneous. Today mother of two kids, she is carrying a separated life. For her, Imran Khan is no more ‘Mr. Right’ albeit he was no sacrosanct. Impulsive and easily distracted, he was the one whose name was linked to a bevy of beauties from actress Goldie Hawn, television presenter Kristiane Backer to portrait printer Emma Sergeant and nearer home, Zeenat Aman. Recalling how meticulously he ducked the dirty bouncers from Sita White just decades back, Jemima had all reasons to think of him as a ‘single-devoted and loyal’ hubby, apart from his being an All Rounder; scoring high in everything from sports to sex scandals. May be that’s why Jemima got hitched to him!
Jemima’s decent writings won her applause among Muslims while her detractors back home raised a hue and cry against her apparently anti-West and anti-Jew stand.
Her much talked about testimonial Why I Chose Islam (Sunday Telegraph, May- 1995) has often been referred as a food for thought. She wrote–‘Religiously speaking, there was absolutely no compulsion for me to convert prior to my marriage.’ This sounds quite incredulous. Jemima actually had significant inducement to convert to Islam. Imran Khan made his political aspirations public not long before his marriage in 1995. It would have been politically disastrous for him to return to Pakistan after his marriage if Jemima had retained the faith of her parents (her father was Jewish; her mother, Christian). It is very telling that Jemima qualifies that there was no compulsion to convert, with the words “religiously speaking”, when politically speaking, there appeared a substantial reason for her to do so. As it happened later, Imran’s political opponents successfully used Jemima’s Jewish heritage to tie him to ‘worldwide Zionist conspiracies’.
Ms Goldsmith was a prominent figure in elite socialite class of England owing to her origin and upbringing. Her conversion to Islam was of secondary importance in the primary game of securing her relation to a charismatic person who had a Muslim name and origin. Her interest in Islam as such has no past history unlike Pickthall, Maurice Bucaille, Hoffman, Muhammad Asad or Maryam Jameelah– who sweated and struggled in order to know and learn about Holy Quran and Sunnah before they finally declared their faith. Clearly, Ms Goldsmith sought something else and chanced upon Islam, whilst others mentioned above searched endlessly for truth and they were ultimately rewarded by Allah. They got exactly what they sought, for what matters is pious and loyal motivation as Allah knows best the secrets of our hearts.
On the death of Princess of Wales Diana, Jemima disclosed the long friendship with her, and even confessed of being a go-between Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed, the Harrods heir who died along with her in a Paris highway tunnel accident. Diana, despite wealth, charm, fame and worldwide adoration, was an emotionally weak woman– the perfect prey for the blandishments of emotionally wavering men. Even as her death revealed the spiritual and moral crisis the affluent West is confronted with, her association with Jemima was a tell-tale irony. Sharing the same crazy ideals, the former ended up as a bewildered loser and the later a betrothed disaster.
In spite of the limelight Jemima enjoyed for some time by kicking a live issue out of her concern for Muslims–as she made us believe– it was a ‘good idea’ a ‘great topic’ for discussion to be one up in the social and political circles of her new country. Jemima, of course, must have waited for this opportunity to introduce herself, to earn a little chink of popularity and get started: to dabble in politics. Failing to cash on mundane third-world problems like drinking water, hunger, illiteracy and disease, politics eventually has been the happy hunting ground for such elite socialites. But that Jemima’s this experiment too flopped after a few years, shows the sincerity of purpose such ‘elites’ claim publicly.
Painfully, Jemima Khan’s lionization started immediately after she pronounced ‘Jihad’ through her writings ala Saddam Hussain– the Sher-i-Arab of yore. This so-called paper tiger later shocked his fans all over the world by plunging a progressive, prosperous Muslim country into a hell hole of violence, poverty and condemnation for reasons trivial. Not so surprising that Muslims, all over the world, almost display the idiosyncrasy of hero-worshipping by being ludicrously credulous about various issues and individuals at various points of time.
History is replete with such examples of masquerades in the garb of saviours, hypocrites in holy attire and looters dressed as leaders. Haiqa Khan nee Jemima Goldsmith was a sheer midget addition and nothing else.
(The author teaches at Media Education Research Centre, MERC, Kashmir University.)
Lastupdate on : Sat, 7 May 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 7 May 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 8 May 2011 00:00:00 IST
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