BY KUNAL MAJUMDER for Tehelka’s Independence Day Special Issue on Love
IN1989, Lal Krishna Advani embarked on his infamous rath yatra to mobilise the kar sevaks. As his procession travelled through north India, communal violence spread, leaving hundreds dead and a country, long known for its secular values, divided on communal lines.
This is when Kajal Sikka, 21, a Punjabi Khatri girl studying economics at Jesus and Mary College, and Aijaz Ilmi, 28, a Muslim boy from Uttar Pradesh who had just come to Delhi after completing his medical studies in Bengaluru, fell in love. In October 1990, even as the communal temperature touched newer highs, they decided to get married. Their only challenge was to convince their deeply conservative parents to accept their marriage. “It was quite an uphill task,” says Kajal…by