Zaira Wasim, the young star of the hit movie Dangal, was recently the target of a maelstrom of hatred, simply because she dared to accept an invitation to meet with the Chief Minister of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti. Critics (of whom 99 percent are apparently male) piled on her with glee, calling her ‘unIslamic’ for both the meeting, and daring to act in the film. She tried to diffuse the situation by apologising for her actions – twice – at which point she was once again the target of trolls for a series of tweets with sports minister Vijay Goel, and once again for an old social media post her mother made in 2014, which has a pro-Pakistan message (relations between the two neighbouring countries are almost always strained).
I am tired of the double standards that exist in India between men and women, and that are constantly reinforced time and time again, so I decided to write Zaira Wasim an open letter.
Read it here.