Date: 11/22/2005

Comment /// Bal mama will surely bless them/// By: Resha Desai November 21, 2005 /// Dr Mohammed Nabi and Dr Neha Gupte /// “I haven’t had the courage to tell him (Thackeray) yet, but I’m sure Bal mama will bless the couple,” said Vilas Gupte, Bal Thackeray’s nephew, an anxious, but proud father, at the wedding reception of his daughter yesterday evening./// Gupte’s daughter had just got married to a doctor — a Muslim. And according to the bridegroom’s younger brother, Mohammad Qayoom, the bride had converted to Islam. “They had the nikaah ceremony three months ago in Bandra, which had been attended by Neha’s friends,” said Qayoom. /// However, Dr Neha Gupte (25) denied she had converted or for that matter had a nikaah. She just smiled and said, “I don’t need to convert, I have a very adjusting husband.” /// But Haji Afzal Hussain Khan, the bridegroom’s father, said, “They did have a nikaah. Frankly, it depends on the girl’s family when they want to tell him (Thackeray).” /// Girl converted to Islam: Groom’s kin/// Dr Neha and Dr Mohammad Nabi (27) had a registered marriage last morning, while the reception was held in the evening at Wadala. /// But Bal Thackeray (he and Gupte’s mother are second cousins) was conspicuous by his absence. Said a guest, “Their families are close and there was a 50:50 chance of Thackeray attending.” /// The marriage of Thackeray’s relative to a Muslim is significant because of the man’s past. Thackeray has always been an ardent supporter of the Saffron cause and would often denounce Muslims as ‘Pakade’ (supporting Pakistan). /// In 1999, the Supreme Court barred him from voting or contesting elections for inciting Hindu-Muslim riots. Since then he changed his stance and now claims that he opposes only those Muslims who have no love for India./// Given this, it is but natural that Gupte has not yet informed his uncle. “But I will tell him at the earliest,” he promises, adding that the news had been kept from the Thackeray family as he did not want to trouble them during the Malwan campaign. “But I’m sure when I do tell him, Bal mama will accept it like the rest of us have,” added Gupte. /// The couple revealed that they had met a year-and-a-half ago at a private clinic in Kurla. The two physiotherapists fell in love and decided to tie the knot. “But the family took some time to come around,” they admitted./// ........................000000000