Raising the Bar…

Particular days designated to celebrating days, moments in time and occasions…often unheard of till fairly recently, seem more like Hallmark days to me rather than anything else…but celebrating a special day for women internationally…this I feel for…not only to celebrate with my own but because, across the board globally, a huge number of women have and continue to, make their mark slowly but surely at great personal cost often to establish and have themselves acknowledged in areas of life that should not need this sort of validation! A great number of them are ¬†unsung heros, their contribution irreplaceable in the magnitude of work they have done and inspired…some of them excel publicly and reach the very apex of success…raising the bar continuously for those who will follow…against all odds , obstacles and oppression..and who continue in this struggle on a daily basis. To celebrate such strength…courage…commitment…conviction…sung or unsung…globally, to acknowledge and celebrate such achievements in the face of regular uphill struggles…makes this day, dedicated to women , a celebratory matrix…

In our part of the world, primarily due to a confusion about religious and liberal thought and a huge lack of educational processes in the true sense of the word, this disconnect sometimes translates into horrifying aspects in a ¬†woman’s life! One such horrifying aspect was documented by our very own…Sharmeen-Obaid-Chinoy , our first Oscar winner for her bold, honest, heartbreaking and inspiring documentary…Saving Face ! Women across the social strata in Pakistan have been rejoicing and basking in the glory, prestige and awareness she has brought us and the beautifully dignified and controlled manner in which she accepted this award…particularly in the way in which she dedicated her Oscar to…”all the women in Pakistan who are working for change. Do not give up for your dream!”

The quiet dignity…confidence…compassion…shown by Sharmeen at the glittering Oscars ceremony, with her grace , glamour and articulate acceptance speech was a treat to behold and brought a spontaneous burst of euphoria across our land, manifesting itself instantaneously and hugely in all the social medias! It does however leave one wondering if this may have interfered with the image of Pakistan in many minds across the world…for this she has our respect and gratitude! Sharmeen also chose to showcase working women of Pakistan in all aspects of her appearance and presence at the Oscars…from the resilience and bravery of the the women in her winning documentary to her quintessentially Pakistani attire given appropriate emphasis and fusion whilst retaining the essence of Pakistani couture…presenting a prefect picture of a sophisticated and contemporary Pakistani woman…a face often unknown to the rest of the world…

More than anything else that Sharmeen has managed to highlight with this one high profile appearance is, as a very wise and much admired columnist wrote, quoting the last line of her speech…Do not give up your dream…”This, finally is the heart of the matter. We must hold on to our dreams even when reality hits us in the face…like acid thrown on the faces of wronged women…