Krishna Priya Pallavi
Zaira Wasim and Ruhani Syed
Wasim announced that she was going to quit the Hindi film industry, first there
was confusion, then came her statement "my relationship with my religion
was threatened," which was then followed by a debate - Is Zaira's decision
really her own?
detailed post on Saturday, the Kashmir-born Dangal fame actress announced that
she did not belong in the industry and that she was "not truly
influenced her decision is still not clear. But when a star with such a
background, hailing from The Valley and becoming a superstar, who was able to
influence so many girls to fight for their own rights, announced such a
decision, it was disheartening to say the least.
And this is
a feeling that is shared by many Kashmiri girls. One of them is Mumbai-based
artist Ruhani Syed. Ruhani, whose story in some ways mirrors Zaira's, recently
posted about Wasim on Facebook, "Another one bites the dust."
about that, Ruhani told IndiaToday.in in an interview, "I empathised with
her. I have walked that path (leaving her art because of religion). Everybody
is not gifted, but she is. Once that gift is there in you, it is always there.
Zaira left (the industry) because she started to feel guilty perhaps. The
society influences and affects you in such a way that you believe you are going
away from God. I have walked that path, I did (something similar), by burning
my four years of work."
"If she made her decision and she is walking that path, maybe her path has
changed, but for me it was not my path. For me, it felt extreme to leave what I
was gifted with. I lost my own self because of that."
announced her decision, many argued it was her choice, but Ruhani thinks
otherwise, "I think her decision is very much influenced by society. I
have felt it. Even my decision was affected over a period of years, by hearing
things from people."
significant part of her life in Kashmir, Ruhani is aware of the influence and
has felt it up close. An artist, poet and model, Ruhani said, "I have been
threatened because of my work. Some people have told me you will be dead
because of the work that you do. That's why I have always played it
a conflict zone, Ruhani's community too didn't let her career and her love for
her profession prosper. The influence of society and radical ideas once almost
robbed her of her passion.
"When I started modelling, I saw how people were treating me, I felt good.
And at the other place(madrasa) I was getting beaten up, I was getting abused,
I was getting mistreated and I was being held like a hostage, just to learn
is run by the ideology that what society says matters a lot. It is so important
to each household. Things were going bad at home, which is when I stopped doing
that kind of work (modelling and painting). I was not happy about it because
what I was doing brought me joy. Islam says vulgarity is Haram, it's not beauty
that is Haram. Whatever I have done has fallen in the category of beauty."
people gave me hell, they used to say, 'your painting is Haram, you are
painting faces, this is not Islam and this is not Muslim.' You know that build-up;
it was not one person saying that to me. If I was going to the shop, my
neighbours would just move away to show that they were not talking to me."
wasn't just the society; she had to face problems during her school years too.
Ruhani was sent to a madrasa. Syed narrates, "I had a near-death
experience there, because they traumatised me physically. They fed me worms and
I had to be in ICU, I was that unwell. And on the deathbed, I promised myself I
will never go back to this kind of a system again."
she decided to get rid of the burqa. "I didn't believe in the dogmatic
system. These dogmatic preachers - they don't even know what is the essence of
wearing a burqa."
story may be one of struggle, but her learning from the tough times has been
inspiring. "(For a long time) I was in a very vulnerable state because of
which the society got to me, they convinced me that my love was never enough
for God, my parents. I had worked on 10 canvases for 4 years, but because of
this, I burnt them all. My hard work, I burnt it. And this is what is happening
to Zaira, I can tell, because you know she will hear so much of that rejection,
the Haram and Islam and Khuda."
Zaira, Ruhani had a different lesson from it all, "I think something
broke. It taught me that you should recognise your gift and protect your gift.
Now, I just want liberation so that my soul can be at peace."
Ruhani managed to find her way back to her art, she believes that even Zaira
will, if her decision of quitting the industry was influenced. Because
"once an artist, always an artist."
Source: India Today