A Baloch girl who faced hatred for sharing her dance videos on Twitter has said she will not bow before trolls and will keep sharing such videos.
“I don’t care about the trolls,” Minahil, 20, told The Balochistan Times on Wednesday. “What they find ugly in my videos is what they are insecure about. The ugliness is in their heart.”
Minahil is a film student based in Karachi. She had uploaded a video of her dancing on a Bollywood song on Twitter that triggered the online trolls. She was subjected to so much misogynistic bullying that she later deleted the video. But then invoking her rebellious spirit, she decided surrender was not an option.
Wearing a red Balochi dress, she uploaded another video of her dancing on Akhtar Chanal’s ‘Daana Pa Daana’ and captioned it “Taking up on my culture like”. After this all hell broke loose.
“You are defaming the Baloch nation”, wrote a random male tweeter, representing the section of Baloch society that thinks women who share their videos on social media dishonour an entire people. Minahil didn’t budge: “Oh No. If you really care for your honour, then speak up against the abductions and rapes taking place in Balochistan,” she replied.
This angered the man so much that he threatened her. “Wish you were Qandeel Baloch and I was your brother,” he tweeted. Qandeel Baloch was a Pakistani artist who was killed in the name of honour by her brother in 2016.
A storm of hateful tweeters turned their attention to her, dropping abusive comments, ridiculing her dancing skills and even questioning her gender. They hoped to silence her but all this hate actually strengthened her resolve. “I’m gonna put more dance videos. I’ll do what I want, b*tches,” a defiant Minahil tweeted.
However, her videos received much appreciation as well. More and more people retweeted the dance videos, admiring her courage as well as the beauty of her steps. “Glimpses of liberty,” said Hamdan Baloch. “Those who talk about Baloch pride and honour have lost it.”
Blogger Hazaran Baloch felt that the said men are in need of education. “A woman never comments when you do cultural dance. Who gives (men the right to criticise Minahil),” she wrote.
Talking to Balochistan Times, Minahil said that it gives her immense pleasure to see people inspired by her. “I want Baloch girls to know that they’ve so much potential in them. All they need to do is say no to these norms and resist.” She said that although she comes from a place of privilege growing up in Karachi, she has had a fair share of these norms being forced on her and she has resisted.
Meanwhile, she has clear words for her trolls. “As for the Ghairat brigade, just because I don’t follow (some) norms of Baloch society doesn’t mean I’m any less of a Baloch. I question these norms because they are oppressive and need to be changed,” she said. “It’s time for Baloch women to get out there and do what they want to do.”
Minahil wows to continue the fight. “It won’t be easy but it’s worth the effort,” she said. For her, the determination to attain liberty for herself and other women is uncompromisable. As her twitter handle @SurkhMinahil and the red colour of her Balochi attire suggest, she is a revolutionary. So, she is likely to take this fight to the very end and eventually succeed.
The writer is a vlogger
Ehsan Haydar Baloch hails from Turbat, Balochistan. He studies Economics at Brunel University London.