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Priyanka Chopra vs Mehwish Hayat et al.

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Rajani Choudhary
Software Developer, avid reader.

Someone tweeted on twitter – ‘Thanks to Priyanka Chopra. Mehwish Hayat made it to CNN.’
Truer words were never spoken. Piggybanking on Priyanka Chopra’s popularity and stature, Mehwish Hayat made into the same frame as her; till the news died down.

I heard the name for the first time in connection with her opinion piece on Priyanka Chopra – ‘The Problem with Priyanka Chopra’, in CNN. I browsed through it.

It could as well have been titled ‘The Problem with India’ and the author could have been anyone from Pakistan. However, as I learnt Mehwish is a famous actress and activist from Pakistan. She indulged in disapproving Priyanka’s support for Indian army in her opinion piece.

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Her naivete is heart-breaking as she attempts to give credibility to her opinions, to readers of the world, by stating whatever the Office of Prime Minister of Pakistan and Pakistan’s Human Rights minister believe and communicate. She whines- ‘India has revoked Jammu and Kashmir states’ autonomy.’ She talks of impoverished Kashmir.

‘Mehwish. None of your or your country’s business.’
Everyone in the world has responded washing their hands off this matter citing it as a bilateral issue. And, as a part of the bilateral dialogue between two nations, it has been time and again declared by India that Kashmir is an integral part of India.

She takes bullshitting to the next level as she goes on to talk about the regime which in indulging in activities against the principles of UN which incidentally her nation respects so much. She mentions ‘Speaking as an artist in Pakistan is not easy’. Wonder why? Why does someone with so much influence as her has to be so careful in Pakistani regime?

She accuses Priyanka of lending her name to racism and the Indian regime of being unfair to minorities. In contrast, Mehwish’s intention is to unite people. She has the utmost concern about the minorities in India. If she has contributed to the cause of Hindus, Ahmedis, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Buddhists and other minorities of Pakistan in anyway, she needs to update and publish her resume for the perusal of her fans and some readers. A single message about the abduction and conversion of girls from minority religions to Islam in Pakistan, which is a regular occurrence, would be welcome. There is just silence. However, she is very vocal about the well being of the hockey team of Sindh.

Mehwish believes that there are negative stereotypes for Pakistan in Bollywood and even Hollywood. Priyanka, who played to a script which depicted Hindus as terrorists in her show Quantico would be bewildered. ‘What did I do wrong? That should have won every Pakistani, every Islamist heart’, Priyanka should studiously contemplate and possibly restrategize.

CNN seems to be too invested in criticism of Priyanka Chopra for her support to Indian army and by extension her support to India. Another Pakistani writer ‘Rafia Zakaria’ has already bashed Priyanka Chopra for the same reason. This esteemed citizen of Islamic state of Pakistan was very concerned about India becoming a Hindu state. Is there a need to explicitly state the irony here?

There is another petty theory. Pakistan is trying to induct their ladies into some of these aesthetically appealing UN roles for visibility and perceived leverage on the world stage. What better than a harmless pretty face attempting to pull a Princess Diana to further Pakistan’s agenda? The lady otherwise hardly known outside the Pakistani community used the opportunity, of Priyanka’s perceived slip, to give herself some traction which might get her Priyanka’s job of UN Goodwill ambassador, or something similar.

It might not work. Malala Yousafzai has already outlived her usefulness in that regard. There are no new messages and no diverse optics to bring to the table which have not already been milked to the hilt by Malala. Besides, one needs to be a Priyanka Chopra or an Arundhati Roy or an Amartya Sen to articulate a credible criticism on India about its multi-fold issues. Pakistan discrediting India and Indians would always be a wee bit too predictable for the international community. As a country, it is most unqualified to address universal human issues. In that light, her attempts seem totally injudicious and a tad desperate.

However, stranger things have happened. Malala has visited Japan to lecture a japanese audience on women empowerment. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a member of United Nations Human Right Council. It might happen that Mehwish Hayat is declared the sole authority on India and Kashmir; and be appointed as a UN goodwill ambassador for whatever excuse UN could cook up.

Note to Priyanka: Na ghar ki na ghaat ki. Is ambition bigger than your country and your people who have loved and supported you through everything? What makes you take them for granted? The Islamists hate your success; and your guts, when you show pride in your country and culture.

Subsequently, Pakistan Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari took to writing a letter to UN to have Priyanka Chopra immediately denotified from her role as a UN goodwill ambassador for Peace. The request was rejected, and Pakistan was denied even this miniscule gratification.

This letter, however, written by Pakistan Human Rights Minister to get an actress fired from the role of UN Goodwill Ambassador for Peace should be framed and displayed prominently in the Hall of Fame for International Embarrassment.

Afternote: Mehwish Hayat recently accused Bollywood of plagiarism in wake of Alia Bhatt’s recent music video with Punjabi song Prada. It bears resemblance to the Pakistani song ‘Gore Rang ka Zamana’. Since I was a little girl, many many many years ago, I have listened to this song and multiple versions of it. Is plagiarism even relevant now? Maybe for Mehwish, Alia Bhatt and the prospect of piggybanking makes it relevant. Maybe Pakistan’s ministry of Arts and Culture would write a letter to UNESCO.

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Rajani Choudhary
Software Developer, avid reader.

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