Posted by Manaal
Zaira Wasim’s public post on her decision to quit acting went viral really quick. People stand divided with their opinions whether she should quit the Hindi film industry or not. Once hailed as a Secret Superstar, Zaira Wasim is now at the receiving end of some hard hitting and harsh criticism.
The usage of social media has evolved drastically and at a very quick pace. Everything is possible via social media; micro blogging to gaming to sharing visual and graphical content. Social media is like a double edged sword. While people use it for the good and betterment, there are also those who choose to add fuel. The psyche behind using social media differs from person to person. We have a new generation of users posting pictures, publishing blogs, fetching a new job, checking into new places, spreading their wings and making the world their own nest.
Had Zaira Wasim not been a public figure to announce the disassociation from the film fraternity and it would have been just a common person quitting his or her job and making an exit, it would not have grabbed any eyeballs. While some believe it is a well played move to publicise her next movie with Priyanka Chopra, some think that it is just not right to be ungrateful to the industry that gave her work, name, fame and welcomed her with lots of warmth and openness. To some playing the religion card and citing reasons like hindrance with religious beliefs is equivalent to living under a rock or maybe living in the ancient time.
Once hailed as a Secret Superstar, she is now at the receiving end of some hard hitting and harsh criticism.
The press, known socialites, certain famous personalities and almost everyone with the power of internet and a mouth to talk, exercised their right to freedom of speech and conveyed their varied, and somewhat unwelcoming and harsh opinions in the public domain. Fairly large number of people supported Zaira Wasim and sided with her decision. Also, a larger number of people questioned her values, personal beliefs, choices and regarded her being too weak to stand against up for herself.
It is noteworthy how a few weeks ago, a young girl about twelve years of age had gone on record and announced to become a monk. Leaving behind all the comforts of life and embarking on the journey of monk-hood. The girl’s courage was praised and her choice to become a monk at such a tender age was applauded. Similarly, as her parents and the community backed her decision, a lot of people questioned her choice to. She excelled in her academics, was a class topper. Receiving flak for her choice to renounce the worldly pleasures while children of her age enjoyed their growing up years can be attributed to her being a minor. At her age, she may not be able to choose wisely what is in the best of her interests. While people are feeling proud of her treading the path to monk-hood, it raises a very important question whether minors be allowed to make such choices.
Back in the day, Indian film industry’s superstar Vinod Khanna who was at the peak of his career, sought out on the path of spirituality and in search of enlightenment. The reactions to his decisions were not so far-fetched or so polarized. The absence of social media back then and the pressmen doing their job while respecting the privacy and maintaining their credence would not have created as much drama as it has done now. Or is it still a man’s world where to make your feminine opinions count and choices respected, you have to make your voices a bit louder to be heard clearly.
For a grown up superstar seeking enlightenment, eighteen year old’s choice to quit working in the glitzy and glamorous world of cinema or for a twelve year old heading towards the spiritual life, the choice should be their’s.
We have grown up believing that religion binds, the good takes over the bad, there is nothing greater than humanity and we shall stand undefeated if we stay united. There’s a fine line between religious views binding us and religious views blinding us. Dragged into this debate was feminism, women of repute peddling mud at the young film star, questioning her existence, and missing out on the very basic intent of feminism- support to fellow female in difficult and trying times.
Irrespective of the religion, gender or social status, a person’s choices, preferences, orientations and opinions are their own. For a grown up superstar seeking enlightenment, eighteen year old’s choice to quit working in the glitzy and glamorous world of cinema or for a twelve year old heading towards the spiritual life, the choice should be their’s.
As the power of high speed internet creeps into our daily lives, and the highly exclusive opinion generators make their voices heard, it is going to be a long and tough fight for logic to prevail and for the logical to make others understand that personal choices or decisions need to be respected, not questioned.
Manaal Parvaiz is an IIM Lucknow and Amity University alumni. She is a thinker, reader and a marketing professional with international work experience. She enjoys food, good conversations and likes to be in the company of genuine people. You can follow her on Twitter.
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