Faith
Meenakshi has become Jameela in the memory of her murdered son.

56-year old Meenakshi had lived all her life as a devout Hindu, but not anymore. Since Monday, she has been faithfully doing ‘niskaaram’ (Muslim prayer) five times a day. She now responds to her new name: Jameela. 

Her son Faisal P alias Aneesh Kumar was hacked to death on 19 November this year in Malappuram. Faisal had converted to Islam a year ago. The police have arrested eight persons including Faisal’s brother-in-law Vinodh -affiliated to the RSS- in this regard. According to the police, these people had threatened Faisal for converting to Islam and had killed him out of anger.

Jameela who is mourning the death of her 32-year-old son told The News Minute that she converted to Islam to avenge her son’s killing. 

“My son lost his life for no fault of his. Faisal, his wife and their three children converted to Islam by their own volition. They never harmed anyone by doing so. Yet he was killed…brutally. This is my way of getting even with his killers. I too have converted to Islam exercising my own free will. I will now spend the rest of my life with my son’s wife and children,” Jameela avers. 

She goes on to explain that when Faisal was alive, he and his family lived at the family homestead along with his parents. He continued to do so even after converting to Islam. Both his father and mother had no issues with their only son’s conversion.

Jameela left the house home the day Faisal’s body was brought home. She now stays at a relative’s -who converted to Islam a few years ago- house a few kilometers away, along with Faisal’s wife and children. Though her husband Ananthan Nair chose to stay back, he did not object to her conversion.

“Though Faisal and his family used to do ‘niskaaram’ at home, it never bothered us. I found no reason to intrude into their lives. I now ask his kids to instruct me in their religious ways. When they pray, I observe and follow suit. I have started covering my head,” shares Jameela.

She is however yet to officially convert to Islam. Having lost her son hardly a couple of weeks ago, attending Islamic classes is not exactly priority for her as of now.

“All that can wait. For now, let this act of mine be taken as my reply to my son’s killers. They killed him for converting to Islam. I now choose to tread the same path,” she says.

According to Jameela, Aneesh was not religious at all in the earlier days, and preferred to identify himself as apolitical. She distinctly remembers the day when Aneesh expressed his desire to convert to Islam. With an alcoholic for a father, Jameela believes that the perpetually unhappy atmosphere at home had deeply affected Faisal. 

“When he told us, neither my husband nor I opposed his decision. But Vinodh -my daughter’s husband- was terribly upset. He would often tell my daughter about how he wished to hack my son to death,” recalls Jameela. 

All those memories now seem distant to her. Jameela reiterates that she harbours no anger towards any religious faith, for "religion is not what killed my son". 

She did not have to think twice before adopting the name: Jameela. 

“Faisal used to joke at times about me taking up Islam. He never ever tried to force me even once, but he would often joke about how the name Jameela suited me. I am not fair like Faisal. I am a little on the darker side,” she smiles at the memory.