Not just our country Pakistan but the whole muslim population is polarised between radicals and the liberals. Between the blacks ( radicals) and the whites ( we the liberals) –sorry if I sound racist here–there lie various shades of grey who keep’ rolling’ between the two ends depending upon the tilt. We the whites and they the blacks, are colorfast. No matter how much bleach you may use the blacks wont fade and stay ‘stubbornly’ black. Similarly no matter how much stain the blacks pour on us the liberals, we stay ‘sparkling’ ( Sorry if I sound conceited here). The vulnerable( for blacks) or malleable ( for whites) are the ‘rolling’ grey of all shades. They aren’t even sure what color they are–sometimes they see themselves dark grey some times just a tint. It is this ‘rolling’ grey shades which can be dyed through manipulation into either black or white . Whether the black or the white succeeds in pulling them towards it’s side is up to their skills and ability.
Enough of playing with black, white and grey, let me come to the point. The two ends of the polarised group are hard to budge, no matter what. It is the vast majority of our undecided minds ( who I really find hard to give a name so call them the ‘rolling’ grey) which needs to be pulled towards our side.
Our mistake is we target the radicals and desperately want to them have a change of hearts. The heart transplantation or to put it straight the change in mindset is a lot more easy, thought still not so easy, in the unstable unsure group who’s leanings keep going seesaw.
When situations like Salman Taseer’s ghastly murder or Benazir’s assassination arise, the emotions and passions that burst out are well understood and justified. And such situations do merit strong condemnation and reaction so that the black radicals don’t get away with the crime scot-free.
But unfortunately when the current situations of Veena Malik or any thing similar arises our passions go boom out of a proportion. Two minutes of her cry and screams and the statuses erupt and the tweeters start tweeting veena tunes. We start Mullah bashing. Glorify the lady in news who is neither liberal nor moderate but a pure opportunist struggling to stay in news.
Have we ever given a tickle to our grey matter as to who are we harming with this knee jerk reaction–our own cause, of course..
Every society has their value system. For instance if in Japan touching is considered a taboo, then we do not go to Japan and hug them tight because we think that is right. We respect their cultural value and bow at right angle instead or giving them a jhappi or even shaking hands with them. And we see nothing wrong in this.
When we go in such immature proVeena frenzy, beyond proportions, it is this undecided grey class who we lose. It is important to realise that we too, like in Japan, live in a society which has certain value system, rightly or wrongly.
We may not be on board with them but their sentiments do get hurt when they realise that we are hitting hard on their values. Okay we needn’t appease the blasphemous values–even if many have it. But yes if majority of the grey class thinks that hugging and smooching in public and whatever she did in the reality show does not comply to the common perception of decency, we can’t go on praising her for being brave. If she doesn’t deserve moral policing she does not deserve glorification either. I wonder but this is common sense to me. Or maybe because Japan is Japan the respect for culture holds up there, but when in Pakistan–‘culture ki aisi taisi’ attitude prevails like we have for every other ‘real’ issue.
It is then that this grey ‘rolling’ class finds us the liberals as threatening and deviated from the normal moral values. And they start seeing more sense at the other end. I realised this for the first time when I myself felt really disgusted with the way the lady was glorified from being a’ Warrior princess’ to a ‘symbol of oppression’ or ‘stunningly sexy’ to a ’embodiment of grace’. I found all the enlightenment gone dark then .
We accuse the radicals of exaggerating –yes they do but then we do no less. With the ‘fatwa factory’ rhetoric going all over I actually googled to look for where is the fatwa for her. But neither was there any real fatwa nor even the mention by the mullah of any fatwa during his firey discourse with the drama queen.
What is the purpose of our being a liberal intellectual –just to do mullah bashing? Okay then no need to even wait for Veena Malik incident–just stand in your balcony and shout four letter words on every bearded passerby. You will feel far more satiated. But if our purpose is to lure the undecided group lean towards us and bring a real transformation in the society’s MINDSET then we need to act responsible, more rational and a lot less emotional.
Why was it that the TTP or Fazlullah was able to gain ground in Swat, because he kept his hand on the pulse of the ‘greys’–they used to go door to door telling women that they too have property rights and hence easily getting at least 50% of the population on board. Whether they stuck to their words is another story but their luring tactics was flawless. Similarly the radicals reap on the poverty and their plight by providing real solutions to them through financial aid or key to the Jannah. It is hard to recruit volunteers for door to door flier distribution and they recruit suicide bombers. We need to look into their modus operandi to learn how to succeed.
Compare this to the leftist ideology. There can be nothing more people friendly than Socialism but the moment they talk of religion being the ‘ opium’ the mediocre mind backs out. Abandoning God is the last thing even a half believer would want. Well this is my calculated common sensible opinion. One may not agree.
And what do we do instead –just mock at the mullah or anyone who follows them. Have you ever seen anyone being your well-wisher if you mock at him. Just give it a try.
If Veena was to be labelled warrior princess then why was Taseer till now not been beatified into a Saint ?
He stood defending a cause which was not his and he needed no publicity stunt to boost his ratings. Does it make same sense as it does to me?
We call ourselves intellectuals–should we also not use our top floor to sense the pulse of the public in order to win them over. Let this be for the tactic sake, if not for principle.
My personal opinion is that we should reserve our extreme reactions to ‘real issues’ and not ‘non issues’.
By being unduly emotional on trivial issues like the Veena stint and using rhetoric like ‘fatwas’ when there was no fatwa and ‘ warrior princess’ when she was just doing her publicity stunt, we lose the few of genuine sympathisers who we were able to gain after Taseer’s death or Aasia’s blasphemy verdict or after the Ahmedi blasts. I too lost myself on this incident.
I was left wondering since past few days as to why is it that the fantastic titles the lady could gather in two minutes Asma Jehangir, Sherry Rehman, Beena Sarwar couldn’t in so many years. Again I think it is common sense, these are serious women for whom fighting for against moral policing is a ‘serious business’ and work steadily albeit slowly towards their cause and change of mindsets. But those naive pens for whom liberal values are more of a fashion trend than conviction don’t get this.
Are we ready to open the windows of our enlightened mind to get some ventilation with fresh air ?