Ramazan with Veena Malik: Lord forgive us all

Published: July 18, 2012
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A heavy voice, amid fire raging on the screen (illustrating hell fire) alerts us that it’s that time of the year when we all have to seek forgiveness from God– and just when I was about to recite Astaghfar in my heart, Veena Malik appeared and disrupted my connection with the Divine.

I shook my head in disbelief and continued to watch Veena Malik address me in a cobalt-blue kameez shalwar.

“Main hoon Veena Malik, is Ramazan main keroongi aapke saath … apne aur aapke gunaaho’n ka astaghfar.”

(I am Veena Malik, and this Ramazan I, along with you, will be seeking forgiveness for the sins you and I have committed).

This was the promotional video of the upcoming Ramazan transmission on Hero TV, owned by Express Media Group.

As the video ended, the images of Veena Malik I had recently witnessed sprung to my mind. Wait a second; is this the same Veena who was seen parading in skimpy clothes in some Bollywood item number twirling and shaking her rear with multiple men surrounding her?

I chuckled in the newsroom because I could not absorb the radical transition of the scantily-dressed Veena to the shareef-pretending, dupatta-adorned, glycerine-teary-eyed Veena.

Peals of laughter escaped me because I could not digest the fact that Veena could host a Ramazan transmission on national TV.

Veena, who is otherwise known in the news for her boldness and everyday controversies, which she never gets tired of, is now going to ask God to spare us all from his wrath during the Holy month of Ramazan.

Imagine!

After learning about her Bigg Boss brouhaha and later how the limelight had struck her for all the wrong reasons in the neighbouring country we love to hate so much, we all, in a way, disowned Veena.

We called her names – beghayrat, behaya, besharam (dishonourable, immodest and shameless). We accused her of bringing shame to the country and of ripping Pakistan’s ghayrat (respect) to shreds with her frequent “vulgar” stunts.

Then came a day when she was summoned to confront the masses in the court of the public– the television. The entire country sat in front of their television screens, glued to their seats to watch Veena explain why she had committed such ‘shameless acts’ and brought disgrace and infamy to the country’s name.

Veena, dressed in a black silk evening gown, gave details of why and how she had ‘humiliated the country on a foreign channel’ in an interview with Kamran Shahid. The interview was aired on Express News in 2011 and instantaneously went viral on the social media.

Why is that?

The answer is simple. Veena, contrary to the mass expectation, had refused to apologise over her ‘shameless acts’ and was blatantly unapologetic. Combating against a mufti sahib (religious scholar), Veena explained that all she did was part of the tasks given to the residents in the house of Bigg Boss.

Mufti sahib, while complimenting Veena on the “husn o jamal” (beauty and charm) God blessed her with, hurled fiery allegations at her. The headstrong Veena braved it all out and explained how she had never worn a “two piece” and had “only worn shorts” during the reality TV show’s shoot.

Denying all his allegations, Veena defended herself by saying that she ‘does not have a heavy conscience’ because she had not done something cruder that what has already been done in the Pakistani media before.

In turn, Veena objected and asked the scholar,

Mufti sahib yeh kya baat hui?

If Veena really was that bold and unapologetic in her encounter with fellow Pakistanis, then my question is– what is the point in coming on a show that is solely meant for repentance and seeking pardon?

I, for once, have to say this:

“Veena, I don’t need you to pray for me. I can pray for myself”.

In Islam, there is a belief that a worshipper becomes the closest to Allah when he is prostrating before Him while offering namaz. So, if I really want to repent, I would not want Veena Malik or anyone else to pray for me. I  am fully capable of praying for myself, and of all people, I do not need Veena’s help!

Along with Veena trending in Pakistan, the local Twitterati also found the move distasteful and were openly critical about it. Some of the Tweets I found really interesting were:

Mansoor Ali Khan ‏@MansoorGeoNews

Malik Riaz after watching the #Veena Malik promo on Hero TV – Meray rozay to “SAKROO” ho gayee :P

Adeel Ahmed Ansari ‏@aaansari

#Veena Malik on #HeroTV for ramadan transmission, hope other channels’ll not approach #Mathira in competition.#NightWithMathiraTillSehri

Ali Raza ‏@Hawai_firing

Ramzan 2012: Jannat itni commercial pehlay kabhi na thi.….#Liaqat#Maya #Masood #Afridi #Veena….

Maheen ‏@MaheenAsif1

Ya ALLAH, is Defa Shetaan ko chor dey, #Veena ko Jakarr Lay :/

Praying and repentance is a personal affair; it’s solely between God and a worshipper.

However, TV channels seem to not understand this notion. As the rating war continues like it does every year, this year, too, the media storm has swept away celebrities and personalities that can garner the most eyeballs. They should not use such contemptible tactics to increase their channel’s ratings, at least not for Ramazan – it is appalling.

It should be understood that Ramazan – the most sacred month of the Islamic year – should not be capitalised and used for a means for minting money. This month is meant for begging pardon from God and staying away from ill-doings. Instead these channels go on to making a mockery out of this Holy month.

Also, in turn, the masses should also give up their hypocrisy, because we all know in our hearts that no matter how much Veena or Aamir Liaquat or Maya Khan are hated, people will tune into their shows, wasting the time that could otherwise be used for worshipping or doing something productive, at least.

Lastly, my message to Veena:

“Veena jee, yeh kya baat hui?”

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Sidrah.Moiz.Khan

Sidrah Moiz Khan

The author is a sub-editor at The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.