Khatija Rahman: The Girl Redefining Feminism From Behind The Burqa

Khatija Rahman

When you’re a music maestro’s daughter, chances are, you’re going to be known as just that. And if you’re AR Rahman’s daughter, it takes that much more to step out of his shadows and come in to your own. Khatija Rahman makes it look like she does this with ease. She’s carved her own space, and she marches to the beat of her own drum. Actually, scratch that. Khatija Rahman has practically created her own drum.

She recently announced her engagement. In an Instagram post, one that reveals not much, she talks about her engagement to an audio engineer, Riyasdeen Shaik Mohamed. She mentions how the engagement was a small affair involving only close family.

While Khatija Rahman is in the news now because of her engagement, she’s always captured people’s imagination. And it’s because she resolutely refuses to play to the gallery. Among AR Rahman’s daughters, she’s the only one who wears the burqa and despite the subtle taunts and pointed remarks, steadfastly embraces her stance to wear what she deems fit. More power to her.

Of course, her refusal to buckle to society’s standards had some people women riled up. Women who have hitherto maintained their feminist stance. Consider this. In February 2020, Taslima Nasrin (Bangladeshi Swedish writer, feminist, her wiki bio reads) decided to randomly attack Khatija’s choice to wear a burqa, claiming this was a result of brainwashing.

Khatija keeps to herself on social media, using the platforms to announce her new music ventures, album releases etc. She’s reserved, not quiet. But when Taslima used her to propagate her stance, Khatija stood up in retaliation.

In an Instagram post, she expressed her displeasure and her disappointment that the conversation about what she wears is making the rounds again. Earlier also, the internet was abuzz with conversations about what she was wearing. Some blamed AR Rahman for forcing her to wear a burqa while others claimed that Khatija was being anything but a feminist by choosing to cover up. Her post may have been about Taslima but also addressed a larger audience, one that was fixated on making her realise the error of her ways in choosing to wear what she wants.

Khatija is vocal about her choices, but she’s rarely using this as a conversation starter. Her social media platforms offer up a range. She talks about music, her videos, and most importantly, she takes up space in a society that doggedly wants her to not do that. She has talked about her choice to wear a burqa multiple times but beyond that, she wants women to everywhere to know that they don’t need to look a certain way or dress by the diktats of society to make a name. She’s been pushing for conversations about women in arts and how they shouldn’t be bound by appearance-based judgement.

Besides, Khatija has been vocal about her support for women-owned businesses. In an interview, she mentions how she believes women encounter different challenges and are often held back from reaching their full potential. In the interview, Khatija says, “I am here because someone encouraged me, so I would like to do the same for other women.”

Khatija is a woman of today. Unencumbered, forging her own path, taking down age old notions with her. She won’t let feminism be defined by the limits set by others and we applaud women like her. May your tribe grow.

Images from: Instagram

You know what’s also worth a read? This article about Must-Read Fashion Books For The Style Connoisseur. 

- Director

More From

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content