“Celebration of a woman’s beauty is healthy, but commodification is not. Display of hidden organs and sexual acts and public presentation of body shapes with crass lyrics and secret and voyeuristic cameras rob women of autonomy. So much easier to blame than to reflect and share part of the blame.” (The Pioneer, 29 December). This is not the statement of any narrow-minded or tasteless person or that of any outmoded preacher of society; but of Shabana Azmi, a famous lady belonging to the film industry. Shabana has been associated with the cine world for forty years; family background is also cinematic. But she is an educated lady, and expresses her views on social and political issues. She is also a civil and women rights activist. Therefore this voice would be heard with due attention amidst the voices being raised in favour of the rights of women and against the atrocities done to them; but it can be a butt of criticism too.
These people are somewhat different
There are many groups active in the country against evils like the violation of human, civil and women rights besides bribery and corruption. Many among them are also against communalism and religious bias. These people are considered far-sighted and progressive. Among them are also people having Muslim family background in large numbers. They are of two kinds. One, those who openly declare their indifference to the Islamic Shari’ah and Islamic values; and the other, those who do not do so and are to a great extent civilized and noble in their expression. Shabana Azmi and her husband Javed Akhtar belong to this latter group. When there was a lot of hue and cry in the whole country on the atrocities meted out to a 23-year old girl student in Delhi, Javed Akhtar, who is a famous poet and film story and dialogue writer, said something very good while participating in a discussion on a TV channel. The gist of what he said is that he supports this protest but our behaviour with women within the house and in the general society should also be seen. Do we fulfil their rights? Is there any participation of theirs in family issues and decisions?
On the basis of experiences and observations
It wouldn’t be wrong if an opinion is formed that even those, whose lives are spent in the glorification of modern civilization and the cine world, are trying to search for the causes and roots of moral degradation and social evils. No one can level the charge of narrow-mindedness and backwardness against Shabana and Javed. These views of theirs are in the light of personal experiences and observations. The Pioneer of 29 December has also published this statement of film singer Lata Mangeshkar: “I have been observing the film industry since 1942 (for 70 years). There is a great difference between that time and now. Girls wear ever scantier dresses and this is what is sold in market.…” During the last one hundred years films have left extraordinary influence on the general Indian society; this process is still continuing. Now TV serials have also come to the fore. The new generation will listen to their sayings with fairly more attention if sincere persons belonging to this world come forward against moral and social evils. Recently famous actor Aamir Khan made such an effort in his Satyameva Jayate serial.