Nasir Khanjan: The rise of a social media sensation

Published: December 6, 2016
Nasir Khanjan. PHOTO:

Nasir Khanjan. PHOTO:

PESHAWAR: “I fear people will kill me,” says Nasir Khanjan, a rising social media sensation who thinks he is being targeted by the society for exercising his right to freedom of expression.

Khanjan, who hails from the largely conservative mountainous region of Lower Dir in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), has been ridiculed and even abused for posting ‘funny’ videos which he believes are “not against the cultural norms and traditions of the Pashtun society”.

The 30-year-old, a university graduate, said his inability to land a job forced him to turn to social media to eke out a living. “I tried at various places. I was even called for interviews but ended up being rejected every single time,” Khanjan told The Express Tribune in an exclusive interview.

“I created a Facebook page last year and made videos based on funny content, health tips and information about my native region to entertain over 48,000 followers,” he revealed. However, using social media to make a living in a conservative society comes with a heavy cost, he lamented.

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Khanjan said he keeps receiving threats and abusive comments from local people who think the social media ‘star’ “is bringing shame to their area”. The aspiring actor was reportedly attacked by some local villagers averse to his social media presence recently. “I was hospitalised and treated for head injuries while an FIR was lodged at a nearby police station,” he said.

However, the attack has not left Khanjan dejected, who said he was only worried about the sufferings of his family. His father, a doctor by profession, died years ago while his mother and an elder brother are retired government servants.

“All my family members have at least completed matriculation. All my sisters are graduates and happily married,” he said. Khanjan added he had always wanted to earn a living for himself. The youngest of twelve siblings, including eight sisters and four brothers, he is about to complete a master’s programme from a government-run college in international relations, he disclosed.

His followers tend to be divided among those who unashamedly ridicule him and those who unflinchingly support him. Of them, some even “shoot videos” to express their support.

“People abuse me in comments but still there are many who come up in my support,” he says. “They are available on my timeline.”

Earning process

Divulging the details of his earnings through social media, Khanjan said he made videos for various Facebook pages which brought them a lot of followers.

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Besides this, Khanjan claimed some of his followers also have him make videos on special occasions. “I earn over Rs20,000 from the videos I make,” he said. “It is enough to lead a normal life and meet my expenses.”

Response to haters

Despite receiving numerous offensive comments on his posts, the ambitious actor remains unnerved by hostility. “I receive a positive response from those who get entertained by my videos and always ask for such stuff,” he said.

“Girls are more supportive than boys,” he said, adding that many considered him transgender. “But I am not.” Khanjan said he respected the community, positing that it was often abused by the society.

Future plans

Talking about his family, Khanjan said his family had initially supported him but had warned him against posting stuff on social media in the wake of the attack. “My family did not stop me from using social media to earn money. It is the society that neither gives me a job nor allows me to run my business, he bemoaned.

An indomitable Khanjan plans to continue working till he lands his “dream job” of an anchor.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Chouette
    Dec 6, 2016 - 6:58PM

    You are a brave soul. It must be very very hard to bear all this bigotry on daily basis. Wish you all the bestRecommend

  • Aamir -Toronto
    Dec 6, 2016 - 7:58PM

    Please don’t be intimidated, continue with your struggle, one day you will succeed in achieving your goal… is tough but we have to face the harsh reality !!!!! Recommend

  • PakPower
    Dec 7, 2016 - 2:43AM

    Wow. I just went to his Facebook page and the comments there were caustic. Shows how intolerant we have become as a society.Recommend

  • Ravian
    Dec 7, 2016 - 10:05AM

    We need rebels in this society. If you cant be one, support people like Khanjan, for just being different. Recommend

  • ali
    Dec 7, 2016 - 11:53AM

    if you don’t like him, don’t watch him,,
    simple as that..
    you have no right to abuse anyone.. he is free to make videos and entertain people on social media..
    live and let live others.. please..Recommend

  • Nilofar Abbasi
    Dec 8, 2016 - 11:56AM

    @ali: and people have a right to respond…abusing might bad, but it’s not against the law. It’s a form of free speech. Threatening someone is something else, but being critical of someone or openly questioning somebody is not against any law I’m aware of.

    People also need to respect free speech. Recommend

  • xin
    Dec 17, 2016 - 10:01AM

    Sometimes, we dont want to understand the pain n greif behind those stupid videos n words we watch for fun, all we want to do is, abuse n hate. Recommend

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