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Maria B slammed for misconstruing Sar-e-Rah's intersex-empowering scene

01:54 PM | 2 Mar, 2023
Maria B slammed for misconstruing Sar-e-Rah's intersex-empowering scene

Pakistani fashion designer Maria B is a household name for her eccentric and chic clothing line, but the fashion creator is also known among the masses for her unfiltered and controversial statements.

Projecting harsh opinions regarding a range of topics, Maria has been involved in numerous public spats due to her problematic point-of-views; with the Pakistani Oscar-shortlisted film Joyland being the recent topic where she even demanded a ban and the alleged that social media figures are promoting LGBTQ+ values in Pakistan. 

A few weeks ago, Maria lambasted the ScrapFest and now she’s keeping an eye on the recently aired episode of the drama serial Sar e Rah where actor Muneeb Butt is shown as an intersex child, Sarang, and his father [played by Nabeel Zafar] is being gentle and sensitive to the situations to help his child get through life. The sweet interaction between a father and his intersex son on a beach and their conversation in the latest episode became the center of attention for its tear-jerker and eye-opener scene.

The “progressive” step towards tolerance was lauded by millions of people online, however, Maria B decided to pick the scene apart for highlighting its allegedly “USAID funded” themes to push the agenda of endorsing the LGBTQ+ narrative in Pakistani youth. 

Though the series is quite popular among the audience, Maria misconstrued and took meaning out of context assuming that the Bulbulay star taught the child transgender values. Social media users are quite disgruntled with the fashion designer and her homophobic meltdowns which she labels as propaganda.

Taking to Instagram, she posted a screenshot of Nabeel and Muneeb and wrote, “This is how you sell your soul… Well done, Pakistan. So, this kid is intersex? And instead of following sharia and getting corrective help to become male or female, his dad is telling him to be gender fluid, like transgenders. Now, will you wake up Pakistan? Is the agenda still not clear? Laanat on all the people who sold their souls and will contribute to the destruction of our kids.”

Though Maria is critical, netizens have called Sar e Rah a “breath of fresh air” for doing justice to taboo subjects with such thoughtfulness and educating people to accept intersex people and their choices. Pakistani drama industry – although progressive and far more insightful than its competitors – did not previously shed much light on the acceptance of intersex people on-screen especially coming from fathers-figures in their typically patriarchal and misogynistic dynamics.  

"I wasn’t expecting this but what an INCREDIBLE message by Nabeel Zafar! He beautifully talked about gender differences to his son, something which should’ve been taught WAY before but we couldn’t, all because of extremist elements in the society," one Twitter user excitedly shared.

"Loved this conversation between Nabeel and his son on his gender identity," a user shared.

"Episode 4 of #SareRah was engrossing. A very empowering story of a third-gender individual whose father relentlessly supports, strengthens and accepts his child completely, thus creating a path of independence and opportunities for them #SareRah #thirdgender" exclaimed one social media user.

"Bravo to the writer and actors in #ARYDigital drama #sarerah for showing how fathers need to connect with their children no matter their sex and #gender. Lack of love and support pushes gender-variant children towards #suicide, mental health issues, and substance abuse!" another netizen shared.

"The show is so amazing. The way they are touching on trans and advocating how they can be something. How they are advocating fathers support can enable any kid to be anything. This is beyond remarkable. Hats off to this show," remarked one user.

"#SareRah Loved the father's support on how he's asking his kid to be true to what kid identifies itself with. This is a very bold message even for India. The trans/third gender community needs it so much," another Twitter user stated.

"There’s no way sar-e-rah was written by a men like Mr. Adeel Razzaq who are you and where have you been my whole life???" an overwhelmed user wrote.

Galaxy Lollywood founder, Momin Ali Munshi, also shared his two cents on the current Sar-e-Rah discussion suggesting that "not even an iota of this scene or this episode was un-Islamic. It was a story about an intersex boy who displayed both male and female tendencies, and the father explained it to the child beautifully. I think this was one of the more progressive moments on our television and captured the essence beautifully, keeping in mind the sensitivity of the issue."


 

One of the hundreds and thousands of people criticizing Maria, wrote, "Haters must not get to set the agenda for art and culture in Pakistan. I am convinced that #MariaB is using bots to spread hate and should be investigated. @arydigitalasia #SarERah is a courageous and outstanding depiction of a young man’s struggle for respect and dignity!"

"And why do you feel you have a right to tell people what they should do with their bodies? Was corrective surgery even an option years ago when intersex people were still born btw? Let the person who belongs to the body decide! #MariaB #SareRah," a social media user asked.
 

"There is nothing I enjoy more than seeing a transphobe like Maria B getting trigerred. May our TV shows and films provide opportunities to see her meltdown more often," a user tweeted.  

Another Twitter user stated, "Funny how Maria B ke sarne se ab full on dil ko thand parhti he [Funny how triggering Maria B is releiving] A message of general kindness, empathy and acceptance …so of course she’s deeply offended by it."



While Sar e Rah started airing last month with only four episodes released so far, the mini-series has cemented itself among the most-talked-about projects currently. The television series revolves around the troubled lives of marginalized people. The fourth episode has pushed boundaries and single-handedly changed many viewers’ perceptions, though Maria remains an exception. The drama features Saba Qamar, Muneeb Butt, Hareem Farooq, Sunita Marshall, Saboor Ali, and others. The first episode aired on February 4, 2023.

The writer is a staff member.

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Pakistani rupee exchange rate against US dollar, Euro, Pound and Riyal - 29 Feb 2024

Pakistani rupee remains stable against US dollar in the open market on February 29, 2024 (Thursday).

US Dollar rate in Pakistan

In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.1 for buying and 282.35 for selling.

Euro currently stands at 303 for buying and 306 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 352 for buying, and 355.5 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.3.

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 29 Feb 2024

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)
Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 279.1 282.35
Euro EUR 303 306
UK Pound Sterling GBP 352 355.5
U.A.E Dirham AED 76 76.7
Saudi Riyal SAR 74.3 75.1
Australian Dollar AUD 181 183
Bahrain Dinar BHD 743.11 751.11
Canadian Dollar CAD 207 209.2
China Yuan CNY 38.82 39.22
Danish Krone DKK 40.69 41.09
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.7 36.05
Indian Rupee INR 3.37 3.48
Japanese Yen JPY 2.1 2.18
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 907.32 916.32
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.49 59.09
New Zealand Dollar NZD 173.05 175.05
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.36 26.66
Omani Riyal OMR 725.68 733.68
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.74 77.44
Singapore Dollar SGD 207 209
Swedish Korona SEK 27.04 27.34
Swiss Franc CHF 317.76 320.26
Thai Bhat THB 7.76 7.91

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