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HomeOpinionLetter From PakistanPakistani women are ruling memes, from Aunty Gormint to Aunty Hakoomat Mar...

Pakistani women are ruling memes, from Aunty Gormint to Aunty Hakoomat Mar Gayi Hai

Who doesn’t want to listen to an angry woman in a society that tells ‘nice women don’t get angry’.

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You think women are powerful? Now multiply this power by 100 and imagine it translate into messages, social or otherwise, and become memes. In Pakistan, these women in memes are resonating the voice of the powerless and challenging those sitting in power corridors.

Sometimes, these memes have a social, political, and cultural take. Sometimes they are just-for-fun. But, at times, a tryst with luck makes such fiery women break the internet. After all, who doesn’t want to listen to an angry woman in a society that tells you ‘nice women don’t get angry’. In Pakistan, a plethora of memes featuring women have become the symbol of a new resistance.

Also read: ‘Go Niazi go’ to ‘Go Nawaz go’ – Pakistan protests are like a rock concert with songs, DJs

Gormint of the people, for the people

The ‘aunty’ who spoke the gospel truth with her “bik gayi hai gormint (government is sold out)” rant is an icon for political commentators, be it in Pakistan, India or the US. “Yeh sare mil ki humko pagal bana rahe hain (together they are making a fool out of us)” and then aunty’s version of “son of a gun” followed, full of expletives, and rest as they say, is history. People say Aunty Gormint was ahead of her times, I say she came just at the right time — in the age of internet. Aunty is now an international icon and has featured in political rallies against US President Donald Trump, she is also a close confidant of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

At home, she was an inspiration for Imran Khan to dismantle the Nawaz Sharif government. But she had also warned us — “Aap ne ghabrana hai in Khan’s Naya Pakistan. Aunty is fodder for resistance, even for Nawaz Sharif now. She upholds Abraham Lincoln’s values and believes in gormint of the people, for the people.

Also read: Not just TikTok, even a biscuit ad and a woman in yoga pants corrupt Pakistani minds

Wow, that’s grape

This one features an overzealous principal and her students at a Pakistani school in Jeddah. Sehar Kamran, former principal, who is also a Pakistan Peoples’ Party leader, chose the Independence Day celebrations to tell how “grape” her students were. This is how this ‘class’ of patriotism went viral. The students lined up to tell the world what they could do for Pakistan, but it was the principal’s shouting that broke the internet. When a student said, “my pledge is to become a pilot”, the principal shouted back, “Yeah he is a pilot, grape”. Great!

When a student said how he wanted ‘to become an army man, save Pakistan and destroy India’, the principal was elated — “Oh wow, strong army wow, grape”. She is just not bothered by the young students’ expression of hate towards another country. Everything is fair in patriotism. A shouting student barges to announce “I will sacrifice my life for Pakistan”, principal Kamran: “That’s a great grape.”

Now this meme has a global fan base, and it is widely known as ‘Pakistan in the bag’. Consider this our contribution to the world in 2020, a year that brought no joy. That’s just “grape”.

Also read: In Pakistan, ‘Modi ka jo yaar hai, woh ghaddar hai’ mood is on

Game show and ‘performance anxiety’

It was nothing to begin with, but ended dirty on social media. In a live TV gameshow, one Ijaz sahib was trying his best to put the ball in the basket, for he was aiming to win prizes. But when the wife started giving instructions to sahib on how to basket the ball, memers were quick to see the potential of a double-meaning content that would make the couple go viral. “Ijaz sahib aram se… Ijaz sahib jaldi dalay…Ijaz sahib darmyan mein dalay, aram se… Ijaz sahib…”— that was enough for awam’s imagination to run wild and take a sexual turn to the point of no return. The game then became all about Ijaz sahib’s performance anxiety. He was now racing against time and the wife was relentless.

Also read: Imran Khan has a new job — to teach Pakistan history and science. Except he gets it all wrong

Aunty gormint 2.0

After Aunty Gormint, came Aunty Hakoomat Mar Gayi hai. Aunty Hakoomat is upset with the bijili crisis — inflated power bills, but no bijli. Using expletives, she goes on a rant, and when confronted with a “gaali na de” request, she retorts “main tu dogi gaali”. She deserves a ‘thuglife’ filter.

On the waterfront, another aunty shares how there is no water in the city and she doesn’t even get enough of it to wash up her grandson.

Also read: Is she 18? How Pakistan’s forced conversion of minors gets legal cover

Bright karay isko, bright

This one happened behind the scenes of a TV show and the leaked video made a brighter meme.  On a PTV morning show, host Ayesha Sana found that someone was messing up with her stage lighting. Now what is a television appearance without proper lighting? She got angry and smelled a conspiracy in there. This conspiracy might have been bigger than those of Indian and Israeli varieties. She shouted at the staff “bright karay isko, bright”. But when the desired results were not achieved, she told “yeh bohat bright hai, dark karay”. In that moment, when she heard the ‘conspirators’ whispering on the set, she confronted them: “mujhe sab pata hai kya chal raha hai”. Lights, don’t take them lightly. The video clip ends with a popular desi gaali from the host.

She became a meme, and many felt she left even Donald Trump behind when it came to “bright karay isko”. Trump, during a 2016 election rally in Atlanta, had chanted “turn off the lights” after a power outage left the campaign stage in darkness. But when the power was restored, Trump found the lighting a little too bright. It seems someone has been conspiring on the brightness front.

Also read: Mocking Pakistan army can land you in jail for 2 yrs. What about Imran Khan’s old speeches?

Banda who became billi

How many male politicians do we know of who will proudly wear a cat filter? Pakistan has two, at least, even if that was a mistake. Khyber Pakhtunkwa minister for culture Shaukat Yousafzai, during a live Facebook presser, turned on the cat filters and became a meme for the ages. A live blooper has instant results. The minister realised his mistake when messages like “Filter hata lu, banda billi bana hua” and “Khuda PTI walo ko hidayat de” started flooding the page. But Yousafzai gained fame  beyond Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the ‘cat kingdom’ bestowed him with honorary citizenship of its tribe.

The author is a freelance journalist from Pakistan. Her Twitter handle is @nailainayat. Views are personal.

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