If there was anything like intolerance, it was starkly evident again in the country, as social media trolls targeted Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan for posting a photo of his wife on Facebook and Instagram, which apparently defiled the traditions of Islam.
Irfan uploaded the selfie of his wife, Safa Baig, and himself on social media with the caption, “This girl is trouble ?? #love #wifey”. The India all-rounder had married Safa - a model from Jeddah - in a low-key ceremony in February last year and the couple have a child.
Safa is seen to be covering her face with her hands in the photo while peeping out from behind her fingers adorned with nail-polish. It was a plain and simple instance of a couple posting a photo taken together. Hundreds and thousands of couples must be doing it everyday, nor was the photo 'obscene'. It was perfectly normal, you would think. But think again, as religious fanatics thought otherwise.
No sooner than Irfan had posted the photo, he was buffeted with brutal verbal attacks, and rebuked for "letting her show her arms and part of face". Irfan was castigated for not being a "good Muslim" and a comment read, "WTF Tell her to cover her arms. Being a muslim and being a Pathan its your duty to do so." He was also asked to pull down the photo from social media.
If the readers remember, Irfan's fellow India pacer and fellow Muslim Mohammed Shami had faced the flak of irate, fanatic social media users when he had posted a photo of his wife in a sleveless dress and without the hijab. He was lambasted for apparently "forgetting his religion". Interestingly, Shami was offered the example of the Pathan brothers (Irfan and Yusuf) on best to follow the 'tenets' of his religion, by keeping the wife under the veil.
Shami got support from many quarters too, most notably from former India batsman Mohammad Kaif, who said the comments againsty Shami were "really, really shameful" and hoped that sense prevailed as there were much bigger issues in the country.
Shami hit back at the trolls, by posting a photo of his wife in the same dress, cradling their daughter, with the caption... "Ye dono meri zindage or life partner hai me acha trha janta hu kiya karna hai kiya nahi. hame apne andar dekhna chahiye ham kitne acche hai." (These two [referring to wife and daughter] are my life and my life partner. I very well know what I am supposed to do and what not. We should introspect on how we are as human beings.)
If you thought the fanatics would have appreciated the point, they clearly have not. When would good sense prevail?