In an age where a tweet reply by a celeb can become, “This celeb gave the perfect response to a troll” and at the same time whatever happens in rural India doesn’t even make the front page. Zaira Waseem trending all-day on Twitter and other social media timelines do not surprise me a bit.
But let’s go back a little. Shall, we?
I can add ten different “Did you know” news items from rural India, and it’ll perfectly fit the title. We only like news, that’s trendy. And of course, we’re supplied the same by the media as well. You and I might think that those “noisy” TV debates can be avoided, but a sizable audience loves to watch just that. The News Channels won’t go by our opinion which will get branded as “elitist” for some reason, but will go by a more tangible (of sorts) metric called TRP!
As far as the digital medium is concerned, Buzzfeed-like headlines are a hit. It gets them the clicks. And “You won’t believe what these guys use as headlines,” but it works! Touche.
Now, lets come back to Zaira Waseem. The poor 16-year old who was bullied and is now the talk of social media and eventually the newsrooms. Yes, that’s how the flowchart works. If it gets attention on social media, it finds a place in the prime-time News debates.
Last evening when I read the apology issued by her, I was baffled! I mean what did this kid do? Did any Mufti issue another useless fatwa? Did anyone threaten her for acting in films? What happened?
I dug deeper and found out; she got trolled for meeting the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir.
She had every right to meet whomsoever she desires, and if someone has an issue with that, it is their own. There’s just no argument on that. It is sad that she had to pen down an “apology letter”!
But the problem doesn’t end there!
The problem comes when people want others to toe the same line that they think is right. In this case, it may be not to be friendly with the Chief Minister whom they believe didn’t do anything for the people of Kashmir!
You can turn the table and place any issue, and the reaction of the “troll” brigade will be the same. Take Beef Ban for instance. People want to govern food choices. People want to dictate what one should wear or when one should stand up. Do you think, they’ll let this one get away?
Even though this incident is nowhere compared to what happened to other Bollywood actors who decided to open their mouth, yet this being done to a 16-year old is wrong.
And to the sympathizers, who seem to have woken up now, to add this to the list of, “But what about Malda”. Everyone can see through that.
For Zaira Waseem, more power to you. Never think that you are not a role model. Women in India, need more role models like you. We have a history of not letting them being born in the first place.