It’s amazing how we have all reached a point where no news is “breaking” enough. News about people dying, trains colliding, snowstorms and hailstorms doesn’t bring us out of our comfort zones. Maya Khan and Veena Malik do. We want to protest, we want to make comics, we want to write blogs in the hope that somebody would hear us and do something about such “glaring” issues. Some of the issues are actually even real. What Maya Khan and her troop of “vigil aunties” did was real. It was wrong. And we (as we’d like to believe) made sure that it won’t happen again, at least via Maya Khan, at least via the morning show of the respective channel. However, the problem isn’t just she and much has been said about that too. The problem is that the number of people who go about holding the banner of moral policing in the country are numerous and not everybody has a job they can be fired from in order to be taught a lesson.
Here are 10 things that I just can’t stand about the said vigil-aunties (and now we have a term for them too, great.)
1- The hasty judgements: If a person is standing close to an empty handi, he without a doubt must have gobbled the entire haleem down. He is selfish, has no respects for other hungry mortal beings and most definitely did not inform his parents about his intentions of eating to his heart’s content. The “innocent until proven guilty” is too tedious a maxim to be taken seriously.
2- The “holy” motives: True, whatever they are doing with their scrutiny and follow ups is unsavoury and unpleasant but rest assured, it’s all for the greater good of the ignorant mankind who do not have the strength to deal with people who are “morally corrupt”. Heck, catching people hang out and chat in public places is nothing less than a matter of national interest.
3- Self-asserted leadership: How they would always appear to be at the forefront of any and all kinds of mud slinging and scandalous affairs while the rest of their troop would blindly follow them like starstruck minions. Going against them without evidence is akin to poking a dragon in the eye.
4- The double standards: What they, in their own private time choose to do with their life is nobody’s concerns except for theirs but God forbid, if people around them should come to expect the same kind of respect for privacy and life.
5- Empty apologies: When and if they do get cornered and told off for being downright nosy and improper, they would immediately acquire an expression of immense helplessness as if they had no idea that their actions would hurt the feelings of people concerned. Moreover, the apologies would usually just center on meaningless words and would entirely lack an indication of their understanding of where they went wrong.
6- The scandalized air: “Do you even know what Mr. XYZ’s daughter do last Friday night with Mr. ABC’s son?” and then “Uffo, you have no idea what you missed!” And amidst the loud sighs and extended hand gestures the only thing that will go missing would be the truth – “Nothing”.
7- The dramatic accusations: “Your actions are reflective of the *insert derogatory word here* kind of person you are!” “Your family did so much for you and this is what you’re giving them in return?”
8- The casualties: How in order to undo the damage caused by the meddling of the vigil-aunties, a number of innocent people will have to come under attack in the form of being asked to lose their jobs and questions about their reputation and credibility will arise.
9- YouTube hits/ Popularity: How, from primary school going children to tasbeeh attired elders (who would sometimes even mix up the names of their own children) and from dads who never watch TV until a cricket match comes on to teenagers who only watch TV when the internet bandwidth seems to have reached a limit, are well aware of who the poster person of vigil-aunties is.
10- Prevalence: You can think of at least one and she is not Maya Khan.
Published in The News on 15th February, 2012.