By Theertha Raj
Indian cricketer Mohammed Shami never expected this mess when he posted a nice little married-couple photo on his Facebook page. On December 23rd, the cricketer posted a photo of him and wife Hasin Jahan, in which Hasin wore a sleeveless gown. Apparently, this was dynamite enough for Muslim fanatics to take over the comments section (the photo had more than 2000 comments the last time we saw it), abusing Shami and berating him for not telling his wife to cover up properly.
In a variation on the usual abuse, unsolicited commentary and joblessness exhibited towards women online, the comments were all addressed to Shami (because who would hold an inferior woman responsible for her decisions?). They included asking him to tell his wife to wear a hijab, questioning whether he was a real Muslim, asking whether Hasin was ‘’another religion girl”, and fearing about what Allah would do to him for this blasphemy. The fun doesn’t end here. As a response to this backlash, an army of Shami’s proclaimed defenders rose up on Facebook and Twitter, shaming the trolls, assuring him that his wife looks beautiful (gee, thanks), and calling the trolls “Islamic pigs”. Faster than a Zara season, the defence changed tacks. They eventually resorted to bleating about Bharat mata, patriotism, the liberalism in India that these “Middle-East Muslims wouldn’t know of”, and capping it all off with the ultimate threat (aka Raj Thackeray’s suggestion) of “Go back to Pakistan where you belong.”
The lady in question has remained silent and completely out of this furore. We’re not sure what she’s thinking but we wish her help in practising saying aloud: Whatevs, bhai log, whatevs.