A few days ago, like many other people, I too went to watch the Aamir Khan film “Dangal”. Immediately, I shared my thoughts and review of the film – not just the film, each and every artist in it was awesome. Among all four lovely ladies, there was this artist – she spoke in fluent Haryanvi, loved golgappa, danced in conventional ‘men’s costumes’, was rebellious and defeated guys who misbehaved as well as those she confronted in wrestling bouts. That was Zaira.
I declared myself a fan of this little one.
Then one fine day, when I was back from office, I switched on to news channels and saw her name in the breaking news. That day, I came to know she is from Kashmir (not Haryana). I saw Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti praising Zaira and felt even happier inside. The fan in me upscaled.
The next day when I was back from office, it was the same sequence. But what I saw let me down. I read an article by Zaira about not making her a role model, of asking others to not follow her. I knew and everyone knew where this came from, what situation may have enforced this.
But what made me feel more dejected was that this ‘Haryanavi fighter’ was suppressed by chauvinism. She did not stand like one of our sisters across the other side of border – Malala. She made the faith of many girls, especially Kashmiri ones, drop by a level. But then I realized not to be so judgemental. She is just 16 and we must understand what extremes she must have gone through. Also, there are many ways to inspire. She inspired us with great academic scores (she comes from Kashmir were schools were burned and shut down for most of the year), she a non-actor, a non-wrestler coming from a conflict-ridden area of the nation with less amenities to polish one’s skills. But not only was she a part of a record-breaking film, she also inspired everyone with her phenomenal performance.
Zaira, yes you inspired me and millions others.
I would love to see her to achieve bigger heights in life, so that she automatically shuts mouths of the extremists. I wish to see posters of her in every corner of the nation, not only Kashmir. I want to see many Zairas rising.
“Zaira Kashmir hai, Kashmir Zaira hai.”