Leave Veena Malik Alone
Veena Malik was one of the participants of India’s popular reality TV show ‘Big Boss 4’. In that show, according to her, she was given certain tasks to perform and one of those tasks involved a degree of intimacy with an Indian actor Ashmit Patel and that is where the twist in the tale occurred. The people of Pakistan took offence to her cuddling in the arms of an Indian, Hindu man. All of a sudden people came up with conclusion that she was specking the name of Pakistan because as the cliché goes she was representing Pakistan. The question is that was she really representing Pakistan?
The nationality is the foremost criteria of an individual’s identity while travelling abroad. When an entertainment or sport celebrity travel to another country under the management of a government organization; it can be said that the entertainer, a player or a team was representing Pakistan. On the other hand, if a sport player or a member of an entertainment industry visits a foreign country in personal capacity albeit to perform publicly does not necessarily mean that individual was representing the country. How many knew Aisam-ul-Haq was representing Pakistan in Tennis tournaments abroad for ten years or so before he made it to the doubles finals of the US Open 2010 and came into limelight? Veena being an adult and an independent citizen took decision to be part of an Indian show and she was the one responsible for her acts.
If we assume that she was representing Pakistan because everyone on the show knew her as an actor from Pakistan even then what’s the logic of the entire nation feeling ashamed of her intimacy with Ashmit? Would it have made any difference if a male actor from Pakistan had become intimate with an Indian woman instead of Veena?
Did Pakistan react the same way when the test cricketer of yesteryears Mohsin Khan not only acted in Indian movies but also got married to an Indian, half-Muslim actor Reena Roy?
The way Veena defended herself on Kamran Shahid’s show was awe-inspiring. She was pitted against Mufti Abdul Qavi and his main contention was that Veena trampled the honor of the nation. I’ve explained already as to why it shouldn’t matter to us whatever she did and the matter would die down if people stop thinking about it anyway. Veena raised certain genuine points such as that why the people were singling her out when there is whole lot of filth being produced in Pakistan in the name of stage plays and movies.
I appreciate her courage for admitting that she was the sole bread earner for her family and no one ever mentioned positives aspects of her life. The Mufti when left with no arguments gave an example of Sania Mirza – don’t know in what context though. So since today Sania is the wife of a Pakistani cricketer, she’s become the nation’s darling. Does Mufti sahib realize that as many as three fatwas have been issued against Sania in the past six years for wearing shorts on court, for promoting safe pre-marital sex and for allegedly living together with Shoaib before marriage?
For me the most solid argument of the show was when Veena asked Mufti sahib to pay attention to the issue of maulvis sodomizing young boys instead of attacking her. True, the Pakistani nation never feels ashamed when a woman is ganged raped and paraded naked in the streets. At that time the ‘honor’ vanishes in thin air – hypocrisy much!
Kudos to Veena for standing up for herself; for giving words to the feelings of those countless people who fear to speak out in public even on real issues faced by our society.
Edited version on: The Express Tribune