Mainly Bold, Incidentally Beautiful: Why Nusrat Jahan should inspire the young women of India
She has held her own, calmly and quietly, through both the trolling and celebration of her attire in Parliament. There is a lot more to TMC MP Nusrat Jahan than meets the eye.
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In Kolkata, from Ballygunge Circular Road to Rajarhat, all the way through Midnapore to the Doars, Nusrat Jahan is a star.
There is a special attraction to her — the pizzazz and confidence that was much in evidence throughout her campaign, and certainly in the carefully-constructed careless look when she first came to Parliament.
What an uproar!
Luckily, there was another glowing lady with her — Mimi Chakraborty, who thankfully is Hindu, or Nusrat would have been asked to leave for Pakistan (or in this case, Bangladesh) — immediately. Only anti-nationals visit a temple like Parliament in western clothes after all! That women all over India go to work in trousers seemed to have escaped the social media intimidators whose only claim to fame is that they can abuse everyone anonymously.
Yo, backward-minded boys! Working women wear pants too. Every day. Look around you. (Photo: Twitter)
On the other hand, did that not look like an outpouring of suppressed male frustration? And hasn’t it emboldened a whole range of patriarchal, never-ever-been-on-a-date kind of suffering Indian male who, on the one hand, pretends to be the bhakt of the celestial Lord Rama, while on the other, oozes the turpitude of a man who has been denied for too long? So, using his fake social media ID, he goes out shaming women who are, frankly, so far out of his league that he can only satisfy himself by displaying his bitterness in the most public way.
This brings us back to the beautiful Nusrat Jahan, whose name itself embodies the world.
She is confident, sassy, smart and knows her way about the world too. She has ambition and she has realised it. The Tollywood industry is not an easy place to make a mark in — think of Satyajit Ray to Aparna Sen. Pulchritude alone will not suffice. Ms Jahan, however, has shown a winner’s attitude — and she had done well. That her charms and guts were not lost on the voting public, male and female, was fairly evident by the fact that she was chosen at the last moment to take on a ferociously aggressive national party — and she won with a more than fair margin.
On top of that, she has a love life, a boyfriend she has now married — a Hindu and a Jain at that. Can you just see the ghost of 'Love Jihad' and its faceless warriors twirling their tridents? The irony is not lost on the watchers of our great nation where, on the one hand there is this meta-Hindu/Hindi image we must all wear on our sleeves — and then, there is Nusrat who does us proud with her balanced statements and refusal to be drawn to talk about her marriage, thereby making the biggest point of all. After her trouser-suit episode in Parliament came the outrage she attracted from assorted hirsute maulvis, apparently furious at the married MP taking her oath wearing sindoor.
Nusrat's response — I am an inclusive Indian.
Bravo. Yes, she is an Indian first and foremost (and, fan moment this, a gorgeous one at that).
Truly, a love marriage. And a lovely one. (Photo: Nusrat Jahan/Twitter)
So, guys, mind your own business, please. She is her own person and has made it amply clear that there is no chance of sticking any stereotypes to her personality. Is she a Muslim actress or a Muslim MP or that neo-nationalist term — an Indian Muslim? Is she modern or conservative? Has she converted? So, if she is not a churidaar-wearing, shayari-spouting, pan-chewing damsel with kohl-rimmed eyes, is she not Muslim enough? And if she hasn’t converted to her husband’s religion, is she not a good Hindu wife?
Lo and behold, she spoke with Urdu — and Hindi salutations in her ‘shapath’-taking in Parliament? What does that make her?!
Duh! It makes her normal.
Do we use our religion to define us as working professionals? Be it in IT or in the movies? When we write our CVs for that high-profile job, do we start it by saying, I am a God-fearing person and I can be trusted to uphold my religion to the best of my abilities?
What a load of rubbish.
That the lady in question looked so sassy in her ‘normal’ attire on the first day of Parliament speaks tons about her confidence — and girls everywhere should take a cue from her. A saree does not make you a 'sati savitri' — jeans do not make you 'charitraheen'. (Incidentally, both are the names of two movies. Rather appropriate).
Would it be so hard to wish more power to such women? With a popular TV actress and a powerful cabinet minister no less, walking down the hallowed halls, wearing the crown of a 'giant slayer', we should wish such success on young Nusrat too. That lady had her own bitter detractors just a few years ago and she has also made people notice her steely mettle, even if they still reserve their wholehearted support.
Therefore, may Nusrat and her ilk grow. She is what young women should aspire to be — clear about their goals and how to get there, win hearts and minds and maybe, just maybe, not be talked about only in the context of their looks or their attire.