Of Nargis and Other Demons

By Sonya Rehman

As if we don’t have enough issues to kick up a storm about in Pakistan, a Mobilink print advertisement published in a local Pakistani daily publication featuring Bollywood actress, Nargis Fakhri, was denounced by members of the moral brigade for corrupting an unadulterated (!) society and spreading vulgarity in the country.

After a staff member at The News tweeted the image, the rest was history and all hell broke loose across (mainly) Twitter and Facebook.


Photo: Twitter [screen shot]
Photo: Twitter [screen shot]
While many angrily stated that the ad was grossly objectifying women, others lambasted the company for encouraging indecency. The comments on my Twitter and Facebook timeline made my head spin. Frankly, I couldn’t care less if the model was Nargis or XYZ, what made my blood boil was how a ridiculous non-issue was raked up into such an earth-shattering topic of discussion. What a waste of energy and time; and to think well-known public figures from the Pakistani community, too, were participating in the ‘topic’ at hand.

If the moral brigade’s argument is over the fahashi nature of Ms. Fakhri’s flat-as-a-pancake bottom, then the buck shouldn’t just stop at one, sole print ad.

Where’s the angst over local billboards, fashion weeks, television commercials, fashion shoots and item numbers? If you want to talk vulgarity, please recall that ridiculous Magnum ad featuring the model, Neha, stroking and tugging on a fat, chocolate brown Magnum stick with her big, juicy lips:

Misdirected anger, misdirected rage.

From a creative, aesthetic point of view, if you deem the Nargis ad shoddy and average, well, that’s your own personal take. Art is subjective.

To think we top the most porn-searching country list, I’m honestly baffled at the hullabaloo over this rather ordinary Mobilink print ad.

With the biggest child sex abuse scandal in Pakistan being unearthed barely a few months ago in which as many as three hundred children in the Punjab were tortured and raped mercilessly by a paedophile ring in Kasur, the rising angst and animosity against the minorities in the country, and the numerous hate crimes that continue to churn out on a regular basis against the Ahmadiyya and Christian communities, we are a nation on the brink of complete self-annihilation and collapse.

But perhaps we’re already there. It’s time we wrench those blinkers off and focus on the far more critical issues at hand…print ads be damned.



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