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The Congress politician tells TNM that she changed her name on Twitter after right-wing trolls accused her of hiding her identity.

Actor-turned-politician Khushbu is not new to political or personal attacks. She was forced to wage a legal battle in 2005 for simply stating that when consenting adults have pre-marital sex, they must use contraception.

Recently, Khushbu’s name on Twitter has changed to “khushbusundar..and it's NAKHAT KHAN for the BJP..” While the Congress spokesperson is often seen giving it back to trolls who attack her on her political views, she has also been subject to harassment and trolling for being born into a Muslim family.

TNM caught up with the politician on why she chose to change her Twitter name. Khushbu says, “These guys act like it is an Einstein level discovery when they say my name is Nakhat Khan. I chose to do it because BJP went on bickering saying that I am trying to hide my identity, my name is Nakhat Khan and I have been trying to hide it saying that my name is Khushbu Sundar. Those fools do not realise that my name has been Khushbu right from the age of seven since I was a child actor. So I’ve clarified it for them.”

Khusbhu explains that right from her passport to identity documents, her name is Khushbu alias Nakhat Khan. “I added on Sundar after I got married. For 18 years, Sundar has been there (in my name). I love to add my husband’s name to mine because I’ve always had a single name. I’ve never carried a surname with me so it’s been Khushbu Sundar for the past 18 years and prior to that, since I was 7 or 8 years old, it has always been Khusbhu. My family calls me Nakhat, my school friends and teachers call me Nakhat.”

Just like how Malayali women came to take ownership of the word 'feminichi' originally used to diss their feminist views, Khusbhu too, hit back with her Twitter name. She says, “Now there is nothing for them. I said I am very proud to have my name as Nakhat Khan, I have never changed it.”

Letting us in on the reason behind the name change, she says, “Most people don’t understand what the word ‘Nakhat’ means. When I came to films, everyone asked what my name meant. Nakhat means Khusbu which is fragrance. Nakhat is a very Persian name. You will hardly find people with that name. I had to keep on explaining Nakhat means Khusbhu. Khusbhu is a very common name and it is simple for people to understand. So my parents changed my name to Khusbu when I was a child actor. I had no choice and that’s how it has always been, all my life.”

In a slap on the face of those who troll her on a regular basis, Khusbhu says, “They don’t have to waste time discovering my name. BJP need not waste my time or people’s time or my time trying to ask me to clear my identity. My identity is very simple. I am a human with red blood running in my veins. I have a sixth sense unlike the BJP that doesn’t.”

Alarmed at how the issue cropped up in the first place, Khusbhu says, “I have never had to face this before at all. Everyone knows my name is Nakhat. Not once has anyone raised this issue. It is only after BJP came into power that people have an issue of if you are a Hindu or you are a Muslim. Till date, nobody has ever asked are you a Hindu or a Muslim. None of my fans have ever asked me. I am a Muslim by birth. I haven’t changed my religion.” 

In fact, many on Twitter have patronisingly attacked Khushbu for “taking to atheism”, coming up with conspiracy theories about her husband’s family wanting to convert her to a Hindu.

Khusbhu laughs off these ridiculous messages and says, “You can’t counter with fools. You can never win an argument with fools. I am not going to waste my time explaining to every Tom, Dick and Harry. So it is very clear. My name is Khusbu Sundar. And yes, my name is Nakhat. What’s your problem?”

Also read: Years after uproar on Khushbu’s views on pre-marital sex, her lawyer revisits the case