“Masoomiyat” Is Outdated, This World Needs Bold Girls, Not Masooms

old girls, Vidya Balan transformation in Sherni
Bold girls: Are women free? Women can be free when they would become independent, bold, strong, and break away  from discrimination, orthodox conventions, and patriarchy. How could it be possible? Of course, when women will come forward, fight with every conservative idea and be the changemakers. And this cannot be achieved if people portray them as “Masoom” and women accept it as an affirmation of their beauty. 

In the legal world, “masoom” denotes a person who did not commit a crime and is not involved in any type of wrongful act. You would have also listened to the tag “Masoom log” in the very popular show “CID”.

In its literal sense, “masoom” is an Urdu word and denotes a person who is sinless, and did not do any wrong in his/her life. The closest English word is “innocent”. People also refer to this word to those people who are “simple”, and do not know the complicated world outside.

Also, those girls who look beautiful, do not wear makeup are also referred to as “masoom”. Society showers praise on them and some girls also take it positively as a mark of appreciation.

Bollywood also encourages this feeling of “masoomiyat” and many writers and lyricists have used this word. We have come across many Bollywood songs which use the words “masoom chehra”, “masoomiyat”, and also “bholi si soorat” etc. Without any doubt, Urdu Shayari which have this word “masoom” and “masoomiyat’ also used these words to appreciate the beauty of girls.

I recall a song by famous Punjabi Sufi singer Satinder Sartaj. This song, named “masoomiyat” was released last year. The concept of this song is actually interesting. As we see in the song, Satinder enters in New York film academy, he just completed his project which got appreciation and planned to work on his new project which is on “masoomiyat” and for this, he decided to go to the upper northern parts of India, where people have mostly fair skin compared to other regions of India. And there he sees a girl who looks too innocent (masoom). To show her “masoomiyat” (innocence), the song presents her as a girl who is not intelligent and does not know the harsh world outside and just try to imitate what she sees before her. And this song tries to appreciate these facets of her personality. But is such a celebration of Masoomiyat right? Is it empowering the women in any way?

After this legal, literal, lyrical discussion on “masoomiyat” the question arises, should “masoomiyat’ be a parameter for beauty today? Answer is “no” in very clear terms. We are living in an age where women are neck and neck with men in every field and fighting for equal rights and respect. We also know the struggle they undertaking when when they are first-generation learners or making a place for themselves in sports, or the corporate world. Women do not have it easy, they not only have to prove their qualification but also prove their worth just to stay in the race.

Even today girls in smaller towns and villages of this country have to struggle just to pursue education after intermediate level, no matter how good they are in academics. Just to get higher education, they have to challenge conventions and stereotypes which comes in their way. After marriage, they fight to stay in their jobs especially once they embrace motherhood.

Thus, from their birth, they do struggle every time to achieve success. So, how can she fight and achieve her legitimate rights if she is “masoom”? She is lucky if her wishes are fulfilled at her home, but how can she face the world if she is masoom? If she does not know the hard ways of the world how can she achieve her dreams?

“Masoomiyat’ therefore is outdated. Masoomiyat is not beauty. Today girls need to be bold, independent, strong and intelligent. Parents and elders should teach girls to be strong, not to “masoom”or ‘bholi”. Today girls need to speak their minds, follow their passion and resist violence and discrimination at any cost. Bold women can change the world. So let girls be the changemakers

Arshi Hayat Gangohi is a lawyer and a blogger. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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