The sanctimonious outrage in India against ''those Pakistanis" for killing Qandeel Baloch and then rejoicing over her corpse is amusing. For, we have killed our very own Baloch many times with equal nonchalance.
Look around, our own graveyards and crematoriums are lined with Balochs. Face a mirror, there is a lot of Pakistan in in all of us. Introspect, in every Indian there is a Waseem Azeem waiting to kill for honour, religion or misogyny.
Baloch may have been strangled by her brother Waseem. But, she is a victim of a lynch mob mentality that commits and justifies crimes in the name of gairath, culture and religion. Of the mindset that imposes on others what they should eat, drink, wear, speak; who they should idolise and marry. Of those who think they have the right to decide who deserves to die for not conforming to their mindset. Of those who want to be arbiters of individual and collective freedoms, those who despise others for seeking azaadi from orthodoxy, hypocrisy, bigotry and stifling patriarchy.
Baloch is in every woman we kill for honour because she married against her wishes. She is in every Babli who gets slain for marrying a sagotriya (from the same clan) Manoj, every Neeraj Kumari that gets burnt for ignoring the family's diktat.
When it comes to honour killing, India is neck and neck with Pakistan, literally. According to experts, every years at least a 1000 women get killed in the name of honour in India, almost the same as in Pakistan. Every fifth woman that is killed in the name of honour in the world is Indian.
'Qandeel Baloch should have come to India, she would have been safe here,' someone tweeted in a bid to compare Islamic Pakistan with Hindu India.
Safe in India, really? Safe in a country with a sex ratio of 940?
If not for honour, it is quite likely that Baloch could have been killed before birth just because of her gender. In western India, states like Haryana (879), Punjab (895), Rajasthan (928) and Gujarat (919) that lie on the India-Pakistan border, the sex ratio is a damning condemnation of how girls are considered a perishable commodity, just as Baloch was. (Incidentally, Pakistan's sex ratio — 1:1.05 — is better than India's.)
Qandeel Baloch is in every Akhlaq Mohammed we kill for their personal choices, in the name of religion and then come up with shameless explanations to justify the murder and hound the victim. She is a victim of every person who rejoiced Akhlaq's death saying he deserved to die for the choices he (may have) made for lunch.
Qandeel Baloch is in every Indian whose freedom of expression is sought to be repressed in the name of ideology and deshbhakti; in every Indian who wants to speak his mind without fear or favour but gets threatened by faceless, nameless patriots out there to save India's sanskriti.
Just a few days before she was killed, the Pakistani media disclosed Baloch's identity, something she had taken lots of precautions to conceal. Had the media pondered consequences of invading her personal space, revealing her familial ties, perhaps her brother would not have been enraged enough to kill her for 'bringing shame' upon the family.
So, Qandeel Baloch is in every Indian whose lives get ruined by an insensitive media that loves to pry into personal lives, turn them into The Truman Show we can consume in the night and rail against in the day; in every victim of its lies, canards and concoctions (remember the doctored video against Kanhaiya Kumar?).
Cry for Baloch if you want. But, don't laugh at her murderers. They are just like us.
A counterview to this was published on Firstpost. Read it here
Published Date: Jul 18, 2016 12:44 PM | Updated Date: Jul 18, 2016 19:08 PM