Veena, the Mufti and Berlusconi

This is not about Pakistan, yet the Pakistani media is going into overdrive about a starlet and creating a scene far worse than the reality show Bigg Boss. As is the pattern now, Veena Malik was pitted against a cleric on a TV discussion. Aren’t there other kinds of people in that country?

Mufti Abdul Kawi called her immoral. What did anyone expect? Forget the maulvi, most people here in India thought she was going a bit out of line, and we are not talking about just Muslims. She was the only one who engaged in this sort of behaviour. On the show with the Mufti, she cast aspersions on the Indian contestants and how they abused her, and this included the women. “Where was the Pakistani media then?” she asked. Indeed. They were watching from the sidelines, enjoying the show, cackling away, so that when she finally came out and was, as expected, pulled up by the fundamentalists, they could then rush to rescue her for ‘taking on the maulvi’. Wah, wah.

This is the country where even the liberals question the classical dancer, actress and activist Sheema Kermani and think she is a bit of a drama queen when she mentions the law against her performances, but they will lend their support to Veena Malik. Why was she on the show? She says she was asked to contest because of her bravery. What gallantry award has she received? Had she done anything that might be considered courageous?

She says she was representing herself as an entertainer and whatever she did were tasks as per the show’s format. One would like to question the producers of the programme that if these were tasks, then why was there a huge ruckus in India to change the timings and since they wanted it to be on prime time they decided not to carry certain footage?

The maulvi was, of course, a strange creature and was probably selected precisely because of that. He kept addressing her as ‘sister’ and mentioning her ‘husn’ (physical charms). According to her, in Islam a man cannot cast a second glance at a woman and he ought to be punished. Taaliyaan from the gallery of front-bench liberals. Little do they realise that this is buffering the image of a country that would then need to stop all entertainment activity and this might involve keeping the madrassas away from regular education and access to the internet and the outside world. Her constant use of ‘alhamdollilah’ and her fibs just did not work. In fact, the emphasis should have been on her single relevant poser to the cleric that he should first look into how the maulvis behave and the prevalence of rape within the religious bodies. This was the most important point.

It is stupid to tell us that she offered the namaaz and even Ashmit Patel did so. Honestly, it is a fact that such namaaz by a non-Muslim has no currency and when Ashmit spoke he said that it is similar to yoga asanas and he respects all religions and wanted to know what it feels like and that night he slept peacefully. What does all this mean? I am sorry but a lot of other things can have the same effect.

And, please, she should just shut up before telling people that Salman Khan said it was because of her that people in India had started talking in Urdu. Get over it. He might have made a passing comment because she kept using the term ‘meri zaat’ which her co-participants mistook to be ‘religion’ when it meant ‘identity’. What Urdu was she speaking, anyway? She was practising her English.

One of the points that came up was regarding her drinking champagne at a post show party. Without as much as blinking, she said it was sparkling water!

If she could stand up for the ‘tasks’ at Bigg Boss, then why did she not stand up for this? After all, while she was happily giving examples of other Pakistani women who walk the ramp in fashion shows and actresses who kiss – things that she would never do, effectively making them seem less honourable – this too is what many Pakistanis enjoy. And just by the way, since she kept alluding to chauvinism: “Kyon ki main ladki hoon” (because I am a girl), did it not strike her that the others are women too? It isn’t that they have never faced problems. Why, even people in other professions face these questions.

It is time for Pakistan to have its own version of the show because Veena Malik’s ‘taking on the cleric’ has made Pakistan look like a country that badly needs a veil over such asinine antics.

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Silvio Berlusconi may be booted out of power because of the sex scandal regarding his township of women on call, but some of the stuff that is seeping out is pretty much unbelievable.

Nadia Macri, a prostitute who went to a police station in Milan to give a statement, in which she revealed that after sharing a swimming pool with an allegedly nude prime minister and five or six other girls, she watched as he headed for a room used for massages.

“After a bit, he said: ‘Next one. Next one’. And every five minutes we opened the door and had sexual relations. One at a time,” the Guardian quoted her as saying.

I am not sure what she means by ‘sexual relations’ here. Every five minutes? Are the Guinness guys listening? Imagine the pressure on men the world over who roll over and wait for thawing time.

Not to worry. I suspect he’d call the girls in and say, “La Dolce Vita”, pat them on the bottom like good Italians do and send them off to spin a yarn.