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Dangal actor Zaira Wasim is facing an outpouring of hate on social media, showing yet again, that we simply cannot bear girls enjoying the limelight.
And yet again. The so-called ‘weaker’ sex gets gripped by fear.
The latest news is that Dangal actor Zaira Wasim, the girl who played the young Geeta Phogat so brilliantly, posted a public apology on her Facebook page. She recently met Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti which led to people trolling her on social media. This talented girl who hails from the beautiful city of Srinagar was ‘forced’ it seems, to apologise for her point of view.
This rattles me as it feels confusing as well as extremely disturbing. The young girl with dreams in her eyes met CM Mufti and discussed the importance of the safety of women, and the importance of educating the girl child among various things. Turn on the television and there are debates by those who claim to be God’s spokespersons that it is against their religion to do so.
Threats by radical bigots cursed the girl and her parents which led the girl to claim in the letter which she later deleted – “I am not proud of what I have done’’. The girl spent months training for a role at such a young age; despite being from a different background adopted the verbal style, body language and mannerisms of her character effortlessly and shone through the screen while we all sat and watched her wrestle with absolute admiration. Now, fear has led her to not feel proud of what she accomplished? Threats to her life and that of her family are making her safeguard her words and actions now rather than feel good about it? Barely three weeks into the New Year, I have to ask – what has really changed?
Cyber bullying and extremist attitudes have scared a young girl into not being able to stand tall and proud for what she has done. The talent that comes from the Valley, especially that of women, seems to find no place in the heart of individuals who do not know how to bring joy to people’s lives but surely know how to dim the light of happiness and pride of a 16 year old girl. Instead of being proud of the girl and where she comes from, she is stripped of her achievements and dignity by name calling and hateful messages. Those who do so in the name of their God, do tell us which God preaches hate to women and children? Traditions, rituals and ceremonies may vary across each village, city or state but there is no higher power that would teach its children hate or fear.
‘’I am not proud of what I am doing. I do not want anyone to follow in my footsteps or consider me a role model.’’ I wonder what went through the girl’s mind when she wrote this. My heart aches for the child who put her blood, sweat and tears into this project – literally, and then barely had time to enjoy the success of her labour before all hell broke loose. Is this the price a girl must pay for living her dreams? Her parents’ support throughout her journey is indeed commendable. The outpouring of their love and resilience is a testament to the girl’s spirit. But she is after all, a child.
She claims that she wrote the post of her own accord but what one wonders, is why call it a confession then. To associate the word ‘disgrace’ if considered a role model calls attention to this fact – why would someone carry out such a tedious project with extreme dedication and hard work, only to call their contribution/effort disgraceful, or the attention showered on her as unnecessary? Why can’t we let the girl enjoy her success?
This is the ideology that most people follow even today. Vile comments to just a 16 year old girl. And the questions that need to be thrown at the people with holes in their hearts is this: Who has any right to comment on the life of another individual? How is her fulfilment of her own dreams ruining yours? What are you so proud of that she brought ‘shame’ onto? What have you possibly done in your life that has brought joy to another human being? How has your work or craft created happiness for someone?
It’s not surprising that to protect herself she said and did what she had to. And thankfully there has been immense support coming from people both within and outside the industry for Zaira Wasim.
But sadly we seem witness to this cycle till date – the vicious cycle of hate and thus fear that our girls still have to deal with.
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Top image of Zaira Wasim via Youtube