Anoushey Ashraf starts a discussion on 'sastay liberals' and why we need to think before we judge others

Anoushey Ashraf starts a discussion on 'sastay liberals' and why we need to think before we judge others

You can be liberal, conservative or somewhere in between but it's important to respect those with different beliefs.
04 Aug, 2021

Whether you identity as a liberal or conservative, both terms carry loaded preconceptions in Pakistan. RJ and actor Anoushey Ashraf recently started an interesting conversation on these labels on social media. She asked her followers what they identified as and what exactly they think being liberal — or rather a "sasta liberal" — actually means.

Ashraf posted a recent conversation she had on her Instagram Stories. When she asked her conversation partner about whether she comes across as a liberal or a conservative, they replied, "You're neither. You are just you on any given day."

The RJ then addressed her followers and asked, "Do you think people can be in the middle? Because I'm too conservative for many liberals and too liberal for conservatives."

Ashraf also attached a poll to her story, asking people to choose whether they identify as being liberal or conservative. The results show that 41% of the people who took the poll identify themselves as conservative and 59% identify themselves as liberal.

The RJ went on to post another message on her story, asking her followers to understand that "the world is full of people wanting to be who they think is 'right'".

"You think think your religion is right, they think theirs is right. You think dupatta is okay, they think skirts are okay. I've travelled and seen enough of the world to know that if you want to co-exist, stand up for your values sure, but always have room for others and their choices," she wrote.

"Lead by example, character and grace. Not by insults, force and comparisons," she added. "For someone like me who doesn't fit into either categories (liberals or conservatives) everyone just looks frustrated, unhappy and sad."

On a firmer note, Ashraf went on to address how some people are insulted and called "sastay liberals" in Pakistan. "I often hear people call members of my fraternity 'sastay liberals'. Can you explain in detail what you mean? Please inbox me, I want to know. I also want to know why you dislike these people so much. And if you're thinking wearing less clothes means liberalism, you need to enrol into a good school ASAP. It's never too late."

The RJ's followers certainly came through with answers to the questions she posed on Instagram Stories. She posted a reply from a follower who said that the word liberal has "just been twisted to encompass all that a person finds displeasing".

The RJ posted another reply from a follower who said they are also in the middle — they identify themselves as neither too liberal nor too conservative. "I don't believe in limiting myself in any category so why subscribe to any sort of ism?"

The follower continued and said no matter how people identify themselves, it is definitely important to respect each other's beliefs and co-exist with understanding.

Ashraf's thoughts and questions definitely triggered an interesting conversation on the ideological beliefs of identifying as either liberal, conservative or anything else on that spectrum. It's also true that in Pakistan people use the terms as insults, which is quite baffling because your ideological beliefs shouldn't be an insult.

What are your beliefs when it comes to such ideological labels?


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Farhan Aug 04, 2021 06:53pm
There’s always grey between black and white
Zunaira Aug 04, 2021 07:14pm
Just that Would Anoushey also highlight and denounce how conservatives are constantly judged and thought of as some obnoxious, uneducated, lesser humans by "members of her liberal fraternity" in this country? I for one would like to answer her question, Liberal by definition means someone who respects others choices and opinions (be it conservative) but so-called liberals in this country are not seen practicing that. They are seen ridiculing and dehumanizing anyone having different opinions other than theirs. I hope you convey it to Anoushey with all due respects Dawn.
Fawaz Aug 04, 2021 07:20pm
I am definitely and proud a LIBERAL
SS Aug 04, 2021 07:56pm
A liberal, in the pakistani context, is someone who rejects all or some part of the prevailing culture. A conservative is, as the name implies, someone who wants things to remain the same, or change slowly. What makes Pakistani liberalism infuriating is that the liberalism is almost wholesale imported, and not a genuine expression emanating from a Pakistani subculture. So liberalism is just a native-informant variant of colonialism.
Ansari Aug 04, 2021 08:13pm
Why should so called liberals be respected when conservatives are not.
Saleem Aug 04, 2021 08:57pm
Economically socialist and socially conservative is the Pakistani way.
Saleem Aug 04, 2021 08:59pm
@SS Nail on the head!
ST Aug 04, 2021 09:38pm
My queation is .who will define liberal and conservative. Mera jism meri merzi people? If so, we better stay ignorant. :(
Fastrack Aug 04, 2021 10:47pm
@Zunaira Very well said.
Fastrack Aug 04, 2021 10:48pm
@SS Agreed.
Sid Aug 04, 2021 11:28pm
Sastay liberal means cheap liberal?
ENGR Hamid Shafiq Aug 04, 2021 11:56pm
I am not liberal not conservative just simple Muslim
Ibrahim S Aug 05, 2021 04:44am
@Farhan - Not quite , there are more than 50 shades of grey .
M. Saeed Aug 05, 2021 01:02pm
Who is she? Does it matter for any genuine person?
Saleem Aug 05, 2021 04:25pm
Sasta liberal to me is someone who buys into the liberal life style but fails to grasp the liberal ideology.
Albert Ross Aug 06, 2021 01:43pm
@Ansari ;Wrong question! Liberals or Conservatives are rejected or not according to their worldview. IN democracies, they are judged by how they budget for the masses, how they deal with immigration , education matters, Health matters, Justice matters. Generally --who deserves and who does not!
Albert Ross Aug 06, 2021 01:48pm
@Saleem; Check your Economy 101. Pakisytan is a capitalist country. Whether v[pk is prepared to spread the money for the masses counts as Liberal. Will Pk run a deficit budget when needed? Should Pk have public health for all? Or is it Private health insurance Public free schools--or Paid private education?