National Award winner and former actor Zaira Wasim announced her “disassociation” from the field of acting, stating she was not happy with the line of work as it interfered with her faith and religion. She captured details on her Facebook page about the quitting the film industry.
The 18-year-old actor said as she completed five years in the profession, she wanted to “confess that I am not truly happy with this identity, i.e. my line of work.”
“For a very long time now it has felt like I have struggled to become someone else. As I had just started to explore and make sense of the things to which I dedicated my time, efforts and emotions and tried to grab hold of a new lifestyle, it was only for me to realize that though I may fit here perfectly, I do not belong here.”
It is difficult for us to judge her decision. Moreover, the reasons she has given for the same are also disturbing for our society, particularly for girls and women of the Muslim community. There is nothing wrong in quitting the work one has opted to do in just the beginning of their lives. She achieved huge success through her talent in the film industry – one of the most secular platforms in the country, where one can achieve new heights based on their abilities, even though the place is highly competitive and nepotistic.
The growth of any society of the world is the same as ours. One has to pass through different kinds of transitions to evolve. Largely, people who believe in God or are specifically religious, find ways of leading their lives without any fuss and there is no conflict with their profession. There are sufficient examples in our country itself and across the globe. Muslim women are also part of this group.
Our society is largely patriarchal, one of the main causes of which is the persistent religious bias against women. The people of India have fought and continue to fight against these norms and practices, but we are yet to attain our goal of annihilating patriarchy.
I am more worried about the effect this will have on young girls who want to pursue their dreams. Zaira pursued her talent, but I believe the way she announced her exit will have a counter effect on girls from the Muslim community.
Young Muslim girls are already under immense pressure, due to omnipresent social and religious norms, which often have nothing to do with their faith in the first place! The bigots of society will find something to crib about anyway, whether it is profession or unemployment.
In the current global atmosphere, where Islamophobia is increasing, where there is an overload of information, where people accept biased and morphed sources, it is only giving way to more hatred and misconceptions. In this situation, how will lay people take Zaira’s message?
This action will contribute to building a certain perception of Zaira’s fellow believers of Islam. There is nothing new about moving from one profession to another, but I believe, she could have done it differently.