Is there a checklist to be a good daughter-in-law? Apparently.
Meera recently appeared as a guest on Aamir Liaquat's Ramazan TV show Game Show Aisay Chalay Ga and the two had a short exchange on whether Meera would make a "good gharaylu daughter-in-law" or not. Meera, up for the challenge, replied, "Certainly."
Watch the video here.
The actor then went on to explain what constitutes a good daughter-in-law.
"I can become a good daughter-in-law by cooking food and by ironing clothes, and washing clothes, praying five times a day, and sending good wishes to people, having babies."
At which point Amir Liaquat cuts off Meera and asks, "Will you sweep the floors?"
And Meera continued with the checklist, "Yes, sweeping floors, keeping the room clean, massaging my husband's feet, looking after the mother-in-law, giving her tea and breakfast in the morning, waking up the father-in-law on time for prayers,,,"
The point of this conversation, as Amir explained, was to find Meera a good husband.
People have often made Meera the butt of their jokes, and Meera often plays along. While this itself is disturbing, we also need to take a step back and evaluate how damaging their joke is in a Pakistani context.
Let's start with the obvious. Meera's answers reinforce the belief many hold in this patriarchal society: that women are here to serve men, more importantly their in-laws. They are bound to look after and carry out duties in order to fulfill the wishes of their husbands — something many in Pakistan are fighting hard to overcome.
While some TV programming is going a long way to deviate from idolising the 'perfect bahu', albeit at snail's pace, these conversations on Ramazan transmissions are taking away from the effort of countless men and women who are still struggling to find equal footing for all genders in our society. The portrayal of a good daughter-in-law as serving only to cater to other people's needs, especially coming from influential individuals like Meera and Aamir Liaquat, undoes a lot of that effort.
Instead of focusing on how to become a 'good daughter-in-law', perhaps, the conversation should be geared towards how to be a good human being.
This year's Ramazan transmissions have left a sour taste in our mouths. We sincerely hope no one is trying to up this one.