Alaya F posts passionate note on not staying silent about injustice anymore: ‘I will speak, I will act, I will respond’
Actor Alaya F, who made her film debut earlier this year with Jawaani Jaaneman, has written an impassioned note about not staying silent when seeing injustice anymore. Alaya wrote in her note that she will ‘speak, act and respond’ to unfairness when she sees it.
She captioned her post, “A lot of thoughts were running through my mind this morning.. so I decided to write them down. I was unsure if I should post it because I thought it might be ‘too much’ but then I realised just how ironic that is. Bottom line is, let’s be kinder, more compassionate and more understanding. It doesn’t take much!”
In her message, Alaya wrote that she will no longer brush off casual racism, she will no longer ignore cruelty towards animals, disrespect towards those who are less fortunate and minorities.
You can read her full message here:
I’m an eternal optimist, or at least I try to be. I like believing in the good in people, I like believing that people are always inherently good, even though they might make bad choices sometimes. But sometimes being an optimist is so exhausting. I don’t post much about all the terrible things happening in the world on my social media because it always makes me feel so trapped and so useless; how can I post about one issue when I’m not posting about so many others? All of them are equally important and each of them deserve to be heard loud and clear. I can’t possibly post about every issue I hear and see, that’s unfeasible. And then most importantly, what will an instagram story or post even do? I’m not out there protesting, I’m not in a place right now where I can donate a sizeable sum of money, my ability to help or do anything is so restricted. And within that, I feel trapped.
I read posts, see horrific videos and visuals of injustice and cruelty every single day. And I feel so useless. It pains me to know that there are so many people out there suffering, and there’s really nothing I can do. Yes, a post helps. Yes, no donation is too small. Yes, I should be more vocal. And yes, I will try and do better. But most importantly, I will speak up when I see intolerance or injustice in it’s seed form, because once those seeds are sown, they grow even when you’re not looking.
When my friends casually say the N word, it makes me feel very uneasy. But when I interrupt by saying “Don’t say that word,” it’s often met with, “arrey yaarl don’t be so politically correct! we’re not against black people, it’s just a word. If they can say it, so can we” Usually, I’d shrug and let them go on because it’s “not worth the argument.” But you know what, it is worth the argument and next time I will tell my friend that it isn’t his/her culture to appropriate, and when his/her ancestors too have gone through decades and decades of oppression, torture, inhumanity and slavery, then we can talk. If you’re posting #BlackLivesMatter, and still use the N word because “yaar, it’s just a word,” then you need to introspect.
When I’m privileged enough to be sitting in my car travelling, from one place to another and I see people on the road harassing an animal, I won’t sit in the car and stay silent anymore. I will get out and make sure it is stopped. I will DO something. I will speak, I will act, I will respond. I won’t just shake my head and look back into my phone.
When I see someone treating their household staff with disrespect, I will remind them how their lives halt without their maids and drivers. When they cut their salaries during this pandemic, and refuse to help them, I will ask them why they’re even posting about #MigrantLivesMatter.
When I hear casual homophobic remarks, or hear people casually throwing around the word “gay” to refer to someone’s weakness, I will remind them that the LGBTQIA+ community is stronger than they could ever be. They fight every day, and face adversity every day. They have fought, and persevered and they will continue to fight and persevere. If you post a rainbow flag to celebrate pro LGBTQIA+ laws being passed but still say “f*****t” and throw around the word “gay” as a casual insult, you aren’t as woke as you’d like to believe you are. If you’re posting about the inhuman shootings that happen around the world, but can’t correct a few words in your vocabulary, what are you really posting for? What are you fighting for?
When you’re outraged about rapes happening in this country and all over the world, but you run away from the word “feminism” like its a dirty word, what are you trying to say? Why are you so afraid to be loud about the fact that women have been treated unequally. Why does the conversation always steer back to “if women can hit men, men can hit women too” what about pay disparities, a woman’s right to her body and harassment and fear that I can promise you, every woman you know has faced at some point in their life. Is being a loud, vocal feminist worse than all that?
When we are privileged enough to have access to education and information, it is our duty to spread that awareness. When we can be politically correct in our vocabulary and be sensitive to others by minding what we say, why don’t we?
You can post all you want and use all the right hashtags, but if you’re not able to introspect and challenge beliefs within yourself, we will go nowhere. We must all assume personal responsibility and do our part. I will no longer stay silent because I “don’t want to create an issue,” instead, I will fight for a much larger issue by making an issue when it is necessary. Because with education and information, comes responsibility. And we all need to be responsible for each other. If we all fight together, we will no longer fight each other.
Several actors such as Kareena Kapoor Khan, Priyanka Chopra and others have faced flak for posting about Black Lives Matter movement, but failing to highlight similar injustices in India. Kangana Ranaut and Abhay Deol have called out their colleagues on their failure to use their platforms to talk about domestic issues.
Alaya made her film debut opposite Saif Ali Khan in Jawaani Jaaneman, which released earlier this year to positive reviews. The actor has already signed a three-film deal with producer Jay Shewakramani of Northern Lights Films. Speaking about the deal, he said in a statement, “I just followed my instinct. After working with Alaia in Jawaani Jaaneman and seeing her evolve as an actor, I knew she has what it takes in this field. I had this in mind since the very beginning. But working with her extensively on the film was a reassurance that yes, I want to do this.”