Sunday, July 22, 2012

Why Venna Malik was abused the most?

The fuss, the melodrama, the climax and then the sudden anti-climax, all these events were visible as Venna Malik was ousted from doing a Ramazan show on a Pakistani private channel.

Some think, Venna's ousting was a result of public pressure, other consider it a wrath on Venna. Many on social media network are of the opinion that if the masses can eliminate a single ‘vice’, i.e Venna Malik, then they can eliminate all our problems through public protests and activism.

There is some truth in all of these reasons. For sure, if there isn't any public viewer ship, private channel owners would be forced to close down the program. All media shows runs on advertisements, and advertisements come from industries and corporations. Capitalists only invest money from where they could extract the most juice. People in Pakistan were very dejected by seeing Venna doing a Ramazan show. Capitalist read the national feeling and closed the program just hours before the first fast in Pakistan.

Another group considers Venna's program a wrath on the Pakistani society. I don't know whether Venna qualifies to symbolise as a 'wrath'. In a country where 12 people died on the first day of Ramazan, where the life of quarter million children is at risk due to the Taliban polio ban, where acid is thrown on women, where girls are buried alive, where the heads on human being are beheaded, where suicide bombs and terrorism wreak havoc the whole society, how can Venna really be called a 'wrath'. Maybe for the fundamentalist consider not wearing a veil to be a greater sin than beheading human beings.

Public pressure and activism is the only peaceful way to bring a change. Gandhi's non-cooperative movement is the greatest symbol of bringing a peaceful revolution. But the question is was their any activism for ousting Venna? Was there a mass protest at Karachi Press Club, where millions were chanting "We Don't Want Venaa! We Don't Want Venaa!” Were there advertisements in newspapers against Venna's show? Were there television debates against her program like we had against on the media gate issue?

The answer is a simple 'No!'

There was no activism on this issue. Apart from some sections on facebook and twitter, people weren't much interested in bringing out mass protest rallies against Mademoiselle Veena.

The uproar against Dr. Liaquat was as great as it was against Ms. Veena. Why isn't Amir Liaquat ousted from his job? How is Maya Khan — the women who put the life of two innocent teenagers at stake when she immorally interfered in their private space — doing a Ramazan Show? How is a political anchor, Shahid Masood doing an Islamic show, moreover what has a cricketer to do with religious scholarship!

Ousting Veena from Pakistani private media wasn't a sole manoeuvre by the media capitalist enterprise; there's more to this issue.

In Pakistan, we don't have a laissez-faire free market. Like many third world capital markets, state intervention is a day to day affair. The problem comes when we try to decipher what 'state organs' means. As democracy hasn't totally taken roots in our society, the army and intelligence still has a major role to play in state functioning.

The intelligence (called ISI) has a huge fan base in Pakistan. I don't know how many love Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) in Germany. Meanwhile in Pakistan, there is a feeling that, even talking about ISI is a sin. Pakistanis freely abuse their president, prime minister, ministers, teachers, doctors, labourers, actors, artists, etc. But when it comes to ISI, there is an invisible halo around this institution.

I guess Veena's ousting from the Islamic program has something to do with this invisible halo. Year ago, Veena denigrated ISI in a picture which was vehemently criticised in Pakistan. The real reason of criticism against Vspeakeena was the tattooing of ISI on her shoulder. This was something really unacceptable by the ruling establishment. Even Mr. Rehman Malik, former interior minister of Pakistan, spoke against the tattoo. I don’t think tattooing comes in the domain of the interior ministry!

The ISI is the only point of difference between Venna and the others (i.e. Shahid Masood, Afridi, Maya, and Liaquat). The guest that are commonly visible on Dr. Masood’s program represent the religio-politcal status quo of the country. Hammeed Gul, DPC figure like Sheikh Rasheed, Imran Khan, etc. are given major a portion of talk time. Maya, Afridi, and Liaquat have nothing to do with the ISI.

I guess it is the state's play which expedited Venna’s removal. Pakistanis have a similar dislike for other anchors too, but they go on with their programs as freely as Dr. Shahid Masood.

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