Why people of Jammu and Kashmir need to apologise to Dangal girl Zaira Wasim

Zaira Wasim's sudden rise to fame hasn’t been taken well in by some sections in her Muslim dominated state

When famous Pakistani singer and actor Noor Jehan aka Malika-e-Tarannum died on December 23, 2000, the day coincided with the 27th Ramazan, considered as one of the most auspicious days in the Islamic calendar. Many of her adversaries in Pakistan subsequently called on noted Islamic scholar Maulana Tariq Jameel to inquire how a woman belonging to the “sinful glamour world” die on an auspicious day. Maulana then had a witty reply: “How do I know. If you have any objections, you better file a case against Allah!”

It is the same Maulana, who in 2012 met actor Aamir Khan when the duo was on Hajj pilgrimage. Knowing that Aamir is a Bollywood star, Maulana didn’t pronounce a fatwa against him but ensured to meet him, through common celebrity contacts like cricketer Shahid Afridi and singer late Junaid Jamshed.

The two men with ideologies poles apart, met harmoniously. Maulana says his aim was to convey the message of god to the Bollywood actor. And he did it without hurting Aamir’s sentiments or labeling him as “sinner from the glamour world.” It is believed that they still continue to be in contact. As per Maulana, Aamir once even asked him to pray for the success of his upcoming movie.

Call it fate or coincidence, Zaira Wasim, a Kashmiri girl who played Aamir’s daughter in his blockbuster Dangal is facing a similar situation in Kashmir like what Noor Jehan faced years ago, except that there were no online trollers then. Aamir and Maulana Tariq Jameel somehow get linked to the story, again.

Zaira’s sudden rise to fame hasn’t been taken well in by some sections in her Muslim dominated state. However, police assure that there was no threat from militants.

For the last few days, she was being trolled to the extent that her emotional outburst converted into a public apology. The girl “confessed” that it would be disgraceful for anyone to consider her a role model and that nobody should follow her footsteps.

It all started mainly in the last two days since she landed in the summer capital of Jammu in connection with some events particularly her meeting with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

Interestingly, from government to trollers, everyone reacted hypocritically to her achievement. Presumably apprehending trouble, the government handout issued by Information Department about Zaira’s meeting with Mehbooba was so cautiously written that there was not even a word of appreciation for the Dangal girl. The handout conveyed as if Zaira was desirous to meet Mehbbooba.

“Zaira Wasim Khan, the native girl from the state, who plays the role of wrestler Geeta Phogat in superstar Aamir Khan movie ‘Dangal’ today called on the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti. The Chief Minister enquired from Zaira about her education and interest in other creative fields like acting. The young actor briefed the Chief Minister about the film and the rigorous schedules she had to follow while performing her role. Parents of Zaira and Secretary, J&K Sports Council, Waheed-ur- Rehman Parra were present on the occasion,” the handout said.

Why didn’t government utter even a word of appreciation for the girl? Did it apprehend that some trouble would arise? Well, for that matter Zaira has been lucky to have escaped hate campaign for all these months. Otherwise, in 2013, Pragaash – a rock band of Kashmiri girls had faced choicest of abuses till the girls disbanded their group.

There is no denying the fact that in J&K is a Muslim dominated society with a conservative outlook. It’s equally a conflict zone. But does it give any one of us a license to abuse anyone in the name of religion or conflict?

We may have issues, but Islam or quest for aazadi never teaches bringing down the other person in any form. Let the online gang of trollers mind that Prophet Muhammad was never a troller.

Let’s not be gods. Zaira has rightly concluded her apology saying: May Allah bless us and guide us!