Shabana Azmi is often regarded as being a vocal social activist, along with being one of the finest actresses in India. However, there have been instances in the past wherein her ‘social activism’ has taken a biased and hypocritical turn. In the latest move, she has insulted the religious sentiments of the majority in India.
There is a viral image on the internet, purportedly illustrating Shabana Azmi’s quote “Mein iss navartari par allah se dua karti hun ki lakshmi ko bheek na maangna padhe, durga ki bhroon hatya na ho, parvati ko dahej na dena padhe, saraswati bina school ke anpadh na rahe aur kaali ko fair and lovely ki zaroorat na padhe. Inshah allah.”
Shabana Azmi has expressed outrage over this particular picture, claiming, “I have NEVER said this. It is DISGUSTING what trolls will stoop to polarise and communalize an already charged atmosphere. I work for all women irrespective of their religion.”
I have NEVER said this . It is DISGUSTING what trolls will stoop to polarise and communalise an already charged atmosphere. I work for all women irrespective of their religion. pic.twitter.com/ACqn5vx3dU
— Azmi Shabana (@AzmiShabana) April 9, 2019
However, rebutting Shabana Azmi’s present stand is her own tweet. Back in 2017, during the auspicious Hindu festival of Durga Pooja, Shabana Azmi had tweeted, “This Durga Ashthami lets pray that no Durga is aborted, no Saraswati is stopped from going to school, no Lakshmi has to beg for money from husband, no Parvati is sacrificed for dowry and no Kali is given a tube of fairness cream.”
— Azmi Shabana (@AzmiShabana) September 29, 2017
The viral image that is now being shared on the social networks is nothing but a Hindi translated version of what Shabana Azmi had quoted earlier. Hypocritically, now she is attempting to go back on her words by claiming innocence and pretending to be a victim of Hindu outrage.
She is receiving backlash on the social networks with people stating things such as:
With utmost love and respect to you mam. pic.twitter.com/q3mD6NM7KZ
— Ujjwal Chauhan (@beingujjwal) October 1, 2017
Shabana Azmi claims herself to be a humanitarian, and a social activist against all evils. However, her words and her stance convey intent to insult the sentiments of a certain religion by attributing societal evils to one particular religion. If she wants to curb the society of atrocities against women, focusing on one religion and insulting the goddesses is a highly outraging and imbecile way to go about it.
Hinduism as a religion regards women as pure souls, putting them on the highest pedestals. Goddesses are portrayed as being strong and independent, being showcased as role models for millions of women to follow. Hindus, irrespective of the gender, worship Goddesses with utmost sincerity. While it is true that the evils that Azmi mentioned are prevalent in the country, these are however not restricted to a particular religion.
The discrimination against women that Azmi is ascribing to “Hinduism” is far from the truth. It is a widely known fact that the condition of women if have to be criticized, on a religious basis, points towards one religion all over the globe. Islam as a religion is the most discriminatory towards its women.
Shabana Azmi, it seems, needs to be made aware of certain facts. If seen from a global perspective, most Islamist counties have their sex ratio stacked in favor of the males. With the United Arab Emirates topping the list with 2.18 males per 1 female. The unfortunate state of women education in Islamist countries is well known to all, with women so much as getting shot for propagating education; Malala Yousafzai’s story is well known. As far as monetary relations in a marriage go, women are severely undervalued by their husbands. Women have the right to get monetary maintenance from her husband in her marriage only if she remains faithful and obeys all her husband’s reasonable demands. A man meanwhile has no compulsion to be ‘faithful’ to his wife. Moreover, upon divorce, the woman does not have the right to seek maintenance beyond the expiry of her iddat period.
Apart from the above, Islamic laws are highly regressive towards their women, due to the existence of concepts including Hijab, Nikah Halala, polygamy, and triple talaq. Moreover, legally a woman is not considered equal to men as 1 male witness is equal to 2 female ones.
The above analysis conclusively proves that if at all Shabana Azmi had to centre in on a particular religion being discriminatory to its women; her own religion should have been the obvious choice. By equating the respected and worshipped goddesses to the worst evils in the society without valid cause, she has been derogated the religious sentiments of the majority of Indian citizens.