Mapping Out Zaira Wasim’s Life, for All Concerned
Zaira Wasim’s decision to quit Bollywood has kickstarted a fierce debate online.  
Zaira Wasim’s decision to quit Bollywood has kickstarted a fierce debate online.  (Photo: Instagram)

Mapping Out Zaira Wasim’s Life, for All Concerned

Will Zaira Wasim not lead a full life now that she’s chosen ‘imaan’ over all else?

Quite a meddlesome query, unless you’re placing the onus on her to be a model woman. Anyway, there’s no sure-fire way of knowing. But let’s map out a possible trajectory, if only for want of an ill-advised precedent.

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What Happens If She Does...

If she does, we can hail her as an example of a woman who led a full life despite having chosen ‘religion’ over ‘tarakki’. We can then also shake our heads, scratch our chins, and  opine that it was wrong to single her out and admonish her; it was wrong to view organised religion as wholly destructive. One – among us – can then interject with much indignation that it is all hogwash because despite her having led her life to the (conceivably) fullest extent, we must not forget that she had privileges a lot of  other women don't. (All this, presuming that Wasim wasn't coerced into taking this decision.)

Say, Wasim were to change her line of work and go for something else tomorrow, something that sits well with her sense of calm, but something that ensures her financial and social independence - what then? She would have – given certain objective benchmarks of the women’s rights movements – led a full life.

But this would depend on, say, people around her who support her decision and bolster her sense of self-fulfilment.

Now, another woman, without the same ‘allowances’ as Zaira, might take a similar decision but not get to live a ‘full life’ because of lack of familial/societal support. (In such a case, can Zaira – a public figure – be held responsible for setting a wrong precedent?)

And if She Doesn’t?

Now, if she doesn't get to live a full life – dare I hypothesize – we can reiterate that her ‘choice’ was based on vile power structures that have made women internalize misogyny. We can  sympathize, shake our heads, and find affirmation in what we had already predicted.

Now what? We move on.

Us, on the periphery.

Us, on the sidelines of lived experiences.

Us, here and there, the heedless bystanders.

Here’s the Deal Though...

What happens to the lone woman who was singled out by us? Did she deserve the bashing? Beyond social responsibilities, we're a bunch trying hard to cope. Including her.

Yes, Zaira is a public figure. Yes, she bears a certain responsibility as a public figure.

But let’s dial it down, shall we?

There are no easy answers.

We have every right to get into this for the sake of posterity, but women’s choices have been questioned far too many times and by far too many people, quite harshly at that,  to be considered healthy dialectics.

To worn-out ears, Zaira has already made the much contentious ‘choice’. Now, it is up to you. Either you tread softly and make way for constructive debate or you go nuclear on her and make life harder for the woman.

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