Hi Zaira,

Before I begin, I want to state that I hope your decision to quit Bollywood is your own and under no one’s pressure because then my words ahead won’t matter. But for now, since you have come out again and clarified the decision is all yours, here it goes.

Watching how you lit up my movie screen with Dangal as a young girl was such a treat to the eyes. I had almost right then zeroed in that you would be a fabulous actor. That you went ahead and worked in Secret Superstar, the most important movie in current times, was of no surprise to me. The spark, the rage and the sheer injustice of the culture and religion was so well woven in it.

I thought of the countless young girls out there who would be inspired to follow your steps, showing your movies to their parents to break free from the shackles of culture, religion and of course misogyny.

Also Read: Kabir Singh And The Romanticisation Of Misogyny On And Off Screen

But your best performance was the five page letter you wrote on Instagram. Announcing your departure from the world of movies because it conflicted with your religious beliefs.

I thought of the countless young girls out there who would be inspired to follow your steps, showing your movies to their parents to break free from the shackles of culture, religion and of course misogyny.

Because right there you undid the years worth of body of work through your movies. You didn’t just quit your Bollywood career you bloody well cancelled it.

You revoked agency of countless girls who perhaps setup their dreams through your vicarious roles.

But vicarious they were alright because inside, you are as regressive as the villagers in Dangal and the father in Secret Superstar.

The social media is divided on your news – while some say you are an adult and allowed agency, others have called out your eighteen-year-old innocence and asked to forgive the stupidity.

When I was eighteen, I was shifting from home to college. I was balancing my studies with countless phone calls, taking care of my sister’s education at home. When my Dad was eighteen, his father had asked him to leave the house and support his education as he liked. When Bhagat Singh was eighteen he had already become involved with the freedom struggle. When Malala was seventeen she had already been shot at by terrorists and won a Nobel Peace Prize.

You revoked agency of countless girls who perhaps setup their dreams through your vicarious roles.

Your agency, Zaira is not your stupidity or innocence. Your public figure status impacted countless girls everywhere and if you weren’t a public figure important enough, you wouldn’t have felt the need for that letter as well. You could have quietly walked off.

We wish you well in whatever you do and hope the future Zairas in the public platforms become better role models for young girls everywhere.

Love

Also Read: Zaira Wasim Has Quit Bollywood, But Why Are We Offended?

Richa Singh is a TEDx Speaker and the founder of BlogChatter. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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