Veena to the bone

The ghairat-led mindset needs to be shrugged aside as a tool which produces religious and cultural repression.

Taha Kerar December 03, 2011
At the risk of allowing this piece to become a shrewd and predictable critique of the ghairat brigade, I must admit that the response shown towards Veena Malik’s nude photographs for FHM India is preposterous.

Much to our consternation, issues of this nature continue to plague Pakistan and accentuate the differences between the fairly open-minded and the overtly strict right-wing. Only last year, Veena was made an object of scrutiny when her conduct on the Indian reality TV show Bigg Boss, was criticized. The fact that the issue has generated a comparable response serves to highlight two critical facts.

1) We, as a nation have not matured over the last year

2) The idea of natural justice has fallen out of favor

Whether we can entirely blame the ghairat brigade for this mess continues to be a debatable matter. However, the media hype and mixed response shows that no Imran Khan can trigger a positive change unless we, the people, alter our mindsets.

Before we presume that Veena Malik is to blame, we must understand that she is associated with the glamour business. She has the right to work with with any company to enhance her career prospects. It is absurd that people should disapprove of her strong preoccupation with Indian projects and opportunities. Clearly, a country which has a dreadful history of mistreating its artistes and poets do not have the right to criticize her decision.

In addition, the bigoted majority who have been quick to judge Veena for posing nude for an Indian magazine should appreciate the validity of her defence. More importantly, they must realise that she may be a victim and not a culprit. The statement made by Kajal Agarwal suggests the dubious nature of the activities carried out at FHM India magazine. Unscrupulous elements exist in various forms in every profession. They could appear as stealthy magazine editors who ‘morph’ cover photographs to add more masala and oomph to raise circulation. In some cases, they may take the form of a malicious rival actor who uses bitterness to tarnish people’s reputations.

This leads us to infer that the general public still needs a crude awakening before any positive change can occur in the political realm. The following observations could serve as useful guidelines for obtaining greater awareness:

Before the public demands a positive socio-political change, it must develop a strong perception of the difference between right and wrong and fact and fiction. No political party can promulgate change unless the people have the mental capacity to be receptive to it.

Moreover, the ghairat-led mindset needs to be shrugged aside as a tool which produces religious and cultural repression. It must be substituted with a positive and realistic outlook on life.

While some may argue that such changes are inherently idealistic, I suppose they won’t be difficult to implement.
Taha Kerar A blogger on social events and has previously worked as Assistant Editor for a media magazine. He is currently pursuing Law Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He tweets @TahaKehar.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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