Well, the life of a girl from an orthodox society is restrained. A girl writes on her twitter wall “Agar main bohat saare sketch pens khaalu toh kya meri zindagi rangeen hojayegi?”. Does it imply her life is now in ‘Black & White’ and she longs it to be a colourful one? You tell her she says ‘Black & White’ is beautiful. The yearning for happiness turns into defensive of even wanting to be happy! Why?
At the age of sixteen, after achieving national fame, if a girl is threatened for being irreligious, she apologises in an open confession, for her recent actions and for meeting the chief minister of the state. She claims she could not become role model for fellow youth. Even she was not proud of what she was doing.
Unless it was by the majority community, in India intolerance doesn’t exist.
Few days later, when Vijay Goel refers to a painting of a girl in cage and referred to the same girl who achieved national fame, she disagreed. She requested him not to connect to such a discourteous depiction. Well, she was fully correct and Vijay Goel was wrong to compare her with a caged girl. Here was a girl from a terror torn state, a Muslim girl, who sported small hair and wrestled with boys in a film. To say the truth, it was an insult for such a girl to be compared with a caged girl.
But, Goel was not totally wrong. And neither she was totally correct.
The girl is Zaira Wasim, from Kashmir and the above story is already known to all.
Where Vijay Goel was right? He was right, for he was not comparing the Zaira Wasim who came out of Kashmir and acted in the film winning accolades from entire nation.
He was comparing the Zaira, who had to publish an open confession. Who considered her actions a ‘disgrace’. The Zaira of Dangal is no more. What remained is – sadly, a caged girl. Maybe she physically not in a cage. But, her mind has been caged. For Zaira, whose spirit was already broken to the point she made an open confession, Vijay Goel’s statement only reminded the guilt of accepting her ‘guilt of being free’.
To be fair to her, as we all know nothing is going to change in her world now, Vijay Goel should never have made a statement on her. She would not be invited to make Bollywood her permanent residence. She cannot go away from Srinagar, leaving her family. She has to stay there and live with her family. In the society that faulted her actions of being ‘free’. Perhaps, we need to understand the situation and leave her alone.
Maybe not! She is afraid of the people, who forced her to issue the apology in the first instance. She is aware of their power. And she subdued. And in the submission, she started to defend something that is not characteristic of her! In her next tweets, she claims ‘Women in hijab are beautiful and free’. Maybe all prisoners should feel they are being provided security by the government, free of cost. So, caged birds are beautiful and free. Maybe it was Zaira Wasim who misunderstood the meaning of ‘free’. It was the same freedom she sacrificed on the altar of apology. Whether she should be disgraced for her earlier acts or for this apology, is a question that would torment the girl as long as she lives, for self-deceiving is not too easy. Either one should be stupid or too vicious. And she is neither.
She didn’t stop at commenting how free the hijab was. She explained to Goel that the story in the painting is not relevant to her. Frankly, till the day she issued the apology, the painting was really not relevant to her. Both hijab and cage are not needed to you Zaira. Is she the same Zaira now? Well, no. Here is a bird that loves to be caged.
I really pity Zaira Wasim and her family. I’ve seen parents distributing sweets when their daughter comes first in a dance competition. I’m sure even her parents did really celebrate Zaira’s achievements. Before these controversies, she tweeted “The day we started celebrating sin was the day we lost”. It is now time for introspection for Zaira Wasim. She has to critically analyse her actions and then decide whether her celebrations were sinful or not. Yes, she is only sixteen. But, she already seen a good amount of the world. Spending some months with an intelligent person like Aamir Khan would have increased her aptitude of understanding the world.
The point here is not only about Zaira Wasim. Not only about Kashmiri Muslim girls. About whoever is threatened by others. It is the silence and acceptance of the victims that encourages the abusers. Abusers feel they were correct! The acceptance of guilt in the face of threat only makes the abusers to be at a morally higher ground. Alas, it was not so!
A girl of sixteen, who was not afraid to take on a Union minister is afraid of her own actions like acting in a film. And, her family knew she was acting. Still, she and her family were under threat. Aamir Khan might even forget her once he gets busy in his next project. Anupam Kher cannot do anything. He himself a refugee, in what way he could help Zaira?
Only one person who can help Zaira Wasim is Zaira, herself. She shall realize that self-denigration is the first step of accepting the dominance of others. Once you allow others to dominate, you’d never have the courage to stand up again, for you take being submissive is normal. In any discrimination, it is the lack of self respect that affects the section of people who are discriminated against. It is often the victims who thinks the abusers are morally correct or physically powerful and let them to exploit. No matter how much the external world supports them, till they don’t have the will in their hearts to think they can do, they cannot do!