Mohammad Shami, Mohammad Kaif, Barkha Dutt, and political correctness

Mohammed Shami may have troubled many batsmen in his career through his swing and speed, but on 23rd December, Shami himself became a victim of religious bigotry and pseudo-liberal swing. The ace-pacer posted a photo on his Facebook page in which his wife was wearing a sleeveless gown.

This was enough for religious fanatics to abuse Shami, demean his wife, and remind him morality of Islam which he must have followed being a Muslim:

Snapshot of comments from Shami’s facebook wall

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Shami is not the first victim of religious bigotry. In 2005, a cleric issued a fatwa against Sania Mirza for wearing short skirts and revealing tops on the international tennis circuit. He said that Islam does not allow women to wear skirts, shorts, and sleeveless tops in public.

The comments on Shami’s Facebook page made similar arguments, but political correctness of media made sure that the ensuing outrage, which took place only after another cricketer Mohammad Kaif joined the debate, steered clear of mentioning this aspect.

Just like it was a “Truck” that killed 9 people in Berlin, this time, it was “social media” which trolled Shami. It was not religious fanaticism, but internet trolling; it was not extremism or bigotry, but some stupid people intruding personal life of a celebrity.

Controversial NDTV journalist Barkha Dutt had this to say:

We have seen how Barkha was all over the place when a robbery attempt in a Delhi School was converted into an “attack on Christians”. We have seen how Barkha takes no time to lump any abrasive behaviour with “Right Wing” or “Hindutva Extremists”, but this time she was quite restrained.

The same Barkha, who discusses patriarchy during Karwa-Chauth, couldn’t smell patriarchy or misogyny in those Facebook replies to Shami’s picture. Take a look at her earlier reactions:

This double standard and hypocrisy is the reason why many people across the globe have started disliking the term “liberal”, even though this should have been an aspiration. Selective shielding and selective shaming not only abet crime, but it also creates discontent.

In the middle of all this, Twitter user Raju Das poked Barkha in NDTV style. An agitated Barkha couldn’t tolerate the spin; the same spin which NDTV tries with others:

Amidst all these interactions, the reply of Kaif to Barkha came as a googly. The question here is did Kaif write this ‘awareness and acceptance’ thing for Barkha or did he write it for those who abused Shami? It actually fits both the cases:

But Barkha Dutt wasn’t done yet. A random social media account tweeted a news story about a diktat issued by Hindu group Bajrang Dal, coming up with a dress code for women. The account tried to draw an equivalence between Shami’s case and this story. Barkha Dutt wasted no time in sharing this tweet and asked all those who stood up against the bigotry shown towards Shami, to take up this issue too:

But there was a hitch. For people to take up this issue, they would have travel back in time to May 2010, because the Bajrang Dal story was from 2010!!

A random account posts an old news to juxtapose it with a current news, just to soften the impact of the current news, and Barkha Dutt plays along! Why did a random account pick up a random story which was 6 and a half years old? Why was this story picked up exactly when religious bigots (from another religion) attacked Shami? Why did Barkha Dutt share this tweet and try to draw a false equivalence? Perhaps, to shield radical Islamic bigots.


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