Padmavati: The myth or legend?

With the release of the trailer of this high budget, much awaited movie, Padmavati, has come the flood of comments praising how wonderful and grand the whole trailer looks.

Now I don’t have any issues with it being told as a folklore, or for entertainment purposes of the majority hindu audience, just as the intended poem written by Malik Muhammad Jayasi (a muslim poet, some 200 years after khilji’s death). But this must be made clear to the audience just as the poet himself did at the end of his poem. It must be made clear that its based on the poem and its not supported by any historical facts.

It must also be noted that while Ranveer Singh looks just as savage as a ruthless villain should look like, Alauddin Khilji was not at all like that. He certainly did not have a waxed chest or six abs like Ranveer and certainly did not eat raw meat. He can easily be defined as one of the most successful Muslim rulers in India and he expanded his sultanate in all directions from Delhi in a very short span of time, defeating on Hindu Raja after the other. Yes, the Hindus might say that he plundered and looted (and Muslims might argue that he was not unkind with slaves and was just with spoils of war), but thats what happens in wars: the winner gets all; women included.

Attacking Chittor was probably just part of the expansion plan. It seems rather unrealistic and unreasonable that someone like Alauddin would have attacked Chittor for a woman he had never even seen. Rani Padmi might have become an important part of spoils of war for him if she stayed alive but a woman, no matter how beautiful she might be, would not have been the reason for siege for an ambitious ruler like Alauddin who didn’t even spare his own uncle.

Probably I won’t be watching this movie (just like last 5 movies by Sanjay Leela Bhansali) but I would urge everyone to please read a little about Alauddin Khilji as a ruler from History books and not just judge him from a movie based on a poem written only for entertainment purposes.

PS: Ranveer looks hot tbh, but there is shahid kapoor as well in the movie 😉

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The sad saga of Nauman Ali Khan

Around 12 years ago, I went through a time when I was unsure of my emaan. I had questions in my mind which if articulated could be considered blasphemy. I felt guilt. I thought I’m a failure. And then I started to read the Quran and hadith books ony own trying to make sense of my being. With that came the process of listening and reading to various preachers from various sects. It seemed I was not satisfied with the interpretations of a lot of them (without intending to be disrespectful to any of them).

Then finally in 2012, I stumbled upon a lecture by Nauman Ali Khan and I just loved it. I kept listening to his lectures and soon realised that he is my favourite teacher/preacher. It’s easy to relate to him as well. He was brought up just like any of us without a religious background. His struggle that he went through in learning Arabic and Quran was inspirational. He knows what people living in non Muslim countries go through, how hard it is bring up kids in today’s era. He has this ability to make the wisdom in the text easy for us to understand. He is eloquent and speak the language that is easy for us to understand.

And thus, became my hero.

With that, I, like many other of his followers forgot that he is just a human too.

And to err is human.

So, over the weekend, I found out through a friend about the accusations that were hurled at him through someone called Omar Muzaffar who claimed to be Nauman Ali khan’s friend. Nauman Ali Khan disagrees here. Anyway, he accused khan for inappropriate behaviour with multiple women. I could not really understand what it exactly means coz that inappropriate behaviour can be anything from flirtation to rape. It also claimed that khan had confessed to several of these accusations. I read on with disbelief, my eyes were literally popping out.

On further reading, it became apparent that there was no sexual assault. That was a relief. But he was being accused of sending inappropriate pictures, messages, flirting and then bribing and threatening too! Some of them are not illegal but bribing and threatening definitely are.

Nauman Ali Khan himself has denied those allegations. He is saying that he only approached those ladies with the intent of marrying one of them with their and their family’s consent and his behaviour was never inappropriate. He only spoke with the intent of finding the right person for himself. Sounds harmless.

But now the problem is that I have read the leaked whatsapp chats. They could have easily been faked. But they might be true as well. Who knows?

One more thing that has come out of this whole scenario is that the victims have spoken up. It’s not easy to speak up about abuse. Be it by the husband, father, teacher or their boss.  Women are scared of speaking up because they are scared of being slut shamed.

I just think if nauman Ali Khan wants to prove his innocence and get back respect, he must prove in court that those pictures are photoshopped, those whatsapp messages are fake, he has never bribed anyone or threatened the team of imams on the case. He must file a case for defamation and prove it all in court. Defamation is a serious crime. But of course he will only do that if he is innocent. Otherwise we all know our society always blames women and forgives men for whatever they have done. I’m glad that he has asked for a ‘theatre free environment to investigate allegations against him.’ Let’s hope that he can clarify all the misconceptions and prove that he is innocent. I’m praying for that.

I’m very sad and disappointed but if it’s true it won’t be something new. Men in power have always abused it and women have always been the soft target. Interestingly, even if proven to be correct, most people will continue slut shaming the women rather than praising them for their bravery. It takes a lot to speak against crimes and injustice done against yourself and our society doesn’t make it any easier. Even now when we don’t even know who those women are, there are thousands of messages slut shaming them. I know it’s possible that they might not be victims and just be opportunists…..but what if it’s the other way round? They will not be given justice just because we thought that a celebrity might be victimised instead?

I have decided not to listen to his lectures for the time being… Till it all clears out. Not because I hate him or can’t stand his face anymore or don’t think he is not knowledgeable enough. I just feel I don’t respect him the way I did before. I’m not taking away all his contributions towards islam. His lectures have helped millions across the globe to come closer Islam, clear lots of their misconceptions. I’m not discouraging anyone else from listening to his lectures.

I’m neither in defence or prosecution. I don’t have any first hand knowledge but I want all this mess to be cleared up in an honourable way. Of course I don’t want to read all his messages or study his pictures if they are photoshopped or not. But I would want to know if nauman Ali Khan also abused his power or became a victim of mud slinging in a power struggle among preachers.

Religion, culture and item songs

A few days ago I saw a very interesting post by Hamza Ali Abbasi regarding item songs in pakistani movies and since then I have been thinking of doing this post.

For those who don’t know what I am talking about, have a look

Now, I respect hamza Ali Abbasi a lot for certain things. And speaking his mind on social media and creating awareness over issues he thinks are important for the nation definitely tops the list. I’m also really glad that although he did Jawani Phir Nahi Aani due to his close friendship with Humayon Saeed, he opted out of the second installment as he does not like how commercial cinema is objectifying women.

So as i mentioned above, I’ve been thinking about all this quite a lot lately and I’m not sure what the correct answer is.

As soon as a new Bollywood item song comes out, it becomes all the rage. We see girls dancing on Shiela ki Jawani and Baby Doll Main Soney  Ki in front of their parents St weddings and their parents smiling at them with pride.

Then comes out an item song from a pakistani movie which is like 1000 times tamer than songs like Chikni Chameli and the whole platoon of disco mullahs, keyboard warriors and Internet muftis is suddenly worried about culture and religion. And their main concern becomes the dehumanising and objectification of women in these songs.

While I have failed to understand this hypocrisy, I have failed to understand many other things too which revolve around the dehumanising and objectification of women.

I personally feel that in patriarchal societies like ours, women are objectified in every day lives a lot. Don’t believe me? Then please Google the news where man raped a woman, he was punished by making another man rape his sister.

And this is definitely not the only case of this sort. Vani is a common practice in a lot of different regions in pakistan and no one even gives a second thought about it after reading such news as women are considered unworthy creatures (read objects) who are only there to satisfy needs of men (be it in the form of a sister, mother or wife). So what if a man murders someone as long as he has a virgin sister who he can offer as Vani.

Now, do these in any way fit in our religious values? No, a straight no. So do they fit in our cultural values? Perhaps yes.

Women are not only objectified in rural areas. It’s common practice in our urban setting as well. Oh, you don’t believe me? Then, perhaps you have never heard of cases where men throw acid on women’s faces because they rejected their proposal? I mean, how could they dare reject someone? They are mere objects with no emotions or feelings. If a guy has stalked them, has made attempts at molesting them, they should just somehow fall in love and get married.

I can’t find any Islamic reference to support this, so I am thinking this sort of objectification somehow stems out from our culture as well.

Finally, these worthless objects seem to be carrying the burden of whole family’s honour on their shoulders (or I should say in between their legs) as well. So a chaste woman is not supposed to have any sexual desires at all. She should only be able to satisfy her husband’s desires. She is after all just an object to be used as and when desired by its rightful owner.

Digging deep into our culture, we have also have mujras and bacha bazi in different parts of the country…practiced in the name of culture.

With this patriarchal mentality rampant in our society, we sit down to watch an item song and enjoy it on our own but get embarrassed if our family is sitting with us. Why? Because we can’t see a woman displaying her sensuality? Because we think we should cover and protect a woman’s sexuality? Or because we are really concerned about how women are being compared to  supari to be chewed?

I personally believe that item songs (or dance numbers or whatever you may want to call them) should be added in movies but the lyrics and the performance on the song should be tasteful and classy. Of course people go to the cinema to be entertained and not to be preached but this entertainment does not necessarily has to come by comparing women with cats. The women don’t have to been seen dancing surrounded by 100s of lewd men trying to grope them.

If you don’t know what a classy item song is, please watch this video and remind yourself of one of the best item song in history.

Also, more stories need to be written with women as strong characters rather than just eye candy. There will be no need for item songs then as a lot of women are agreeing to these item songs as it’s lucrative for them in terms of money. If there are enough good stories with strong female characters, chances are that women will be busy playing those roles rather than thrusting their chests in our faces.

*the second image has been taken from a Facebook page called ‘Comics by Saeeda’