This has happened twice in the span of six months; are we simply waiting for a third?AALIYA WAZIRIPublished: 04 Jan 2022, 12:28 PM IST

My mother is a writer and a literary historian. She bakes the best sourdough bread and loves going for walks in the rain. She is called “Apa” by almost everyone and is obsessed with red shoes.

Yesterday, she was supposedly ‘sold on an auction’ of Muslim women hosted on a GitHub app. No daughter thinks she may have to write these lines someday, and yet here I am.

In her seminal essay titled “I Choose Elena”, legal researcher Lucia Osborne-Crowley says anyone who has moved through this world in the body of a woman knows what it feels like to wish to be invisible.

Looking at the screenshot attached below all I could think was that the process of “othering” is now no longer visceral. It exists in the form of documented proof – staring at you like an abyss of hatred, bearing a picture of my mother.

The rot has set in deep and it leaves sorrow in its wake. The “otherness” is diabolical. It has moved beyond the realm of deep-seated sexualisation and entered the fray of vocal, blatant, in-your-face, unperturbed terrorising.

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The Commodified Transaction of Perverse Pleasure

Reading about this app that allowed sale of Muslim women as household help (bai) made me think of all the stereotypes constructed around the fetishisation of us – the disfavoured and the condemned; the overlooked and underrepresented; the object and the subject; the villain and the witch, and equally the exotic and the secluded.

Having said that, reading an abstract piece of vile news may fill you with disgust but how does one react when it hits so close to home?

More specifically, when it hits right where your heart is, your inner sanatorium preserved for only good things in the world. It is in that moment of lucidity you realise the precision of the attack.

My mother has been supposedly “auctioned off”. My mother is a self-made woman in the field of literary history with a voice that belongs to an educated Muslim woman of modern-day India.

For anyone unable to make the glaring connection between my two previous sentence — you have a privilege, a privilege of not being hounded, of being and staying ignorant, essentially the luxury of not living in fear.

Think for one second what fear does to people, how it cripples them. Fear of being persecuted, fear of being bought and sold like cattle — even if it is, for now, in the virtual realm.

courtesy The Quint