Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan found himself amidst a serious controversy following the release of a video featuring the qawwali maestro beating his house help and hurling abuse at him, inquiring about a lost ‘bottle’.
Following the video’s release, the news spread like wildfire on social media, with public outrage calling out Rahat Fateh Ali for his actions and the severity of his actions, demanding accountability for the actions of public figures.
The initial video, seemingly shot secretly, depicted various instances in which Rahat Fateh Ali Khan hurled abuse at his house help, named Naveed Hasnain. Rahat Fateh Ali threw a shoe and slapped him on his face. At one point, he even tossed him to the ground and yanked him by his hair as Naveed apologized and pleaded with him to stop, while some people attempted to intervene and save him.
Following the criticism directed at him, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan issued an apology on his Instagram account on Saturday. The apology featured Naveed Hasnain alongside his father in the frame. Rahat Fateh claimed that “this is a personal matter between a teacher and the student,” and the bottle he was inquiring about was water “dum wala pani” [blessed by a pir (spiritual leader)].
Rahat Fateh stated that he had apologized to Naveed after that incident. He emphasized that he shares a relationship of being Naveed’s Ustaad [teacher], and when Naveed performs well, they are praised, but when they make mistakes, they also face consequences.
Naveed also spoke in the video, stating, “He is my teacher. He loves us a lot too. Whoever has done this act [leaking the video] is plainly blackmailing to defame my teacher.”
Rahat also featured Naveed’s father, who said this was perfectly fine considering their relationship. Rahat also featured his driver of 40 years at the end of the video, saying that, let alone physically abusing him, Rahat has never even hurled any abuse at him.
Following the release of this video and other posts on Instagram, public outrage intensified as they witnessed the charade. The public expressed their opinions on what was said.
The series of videos feature deeper issues of classism
The apology video appeared even more troubling than the original one. It seemed like a charade and a drama that showcased the entrenched issues of slavery and classism in our society. The apology video showed no sign of remorse from Rahat Fateh; instead, it was an attempt to justify how physical violation is acceptable within the bounds of a certain relationship.
Furthermore, parading your employees to speak for you seemed more about how the qawwali singer wanted to save his reputation instead of actually realizing his mistake. What made matters worse was the fact that the water in that ‘bottle’ was presented as blessed by a pir. Even if the audience is naive enough to believe that it is no excuse to hit someone.
It’s crucial to recognize that this isn’t just about public opinion or a celebrity’s faux pas; it’s an ethical, moral, and legal concern. The act of brutally beating someone demands action from higher authorities and is something that cannot be let go as a simple error of judgment.
Alcohol or blessed water? The hilarious debate takes over social media
In the midst of all the criticism, netizens found a moment of laughter as they poked fun at the idea of the bottle containing ‘daru or dam wala pani’ (alcohol or water blessed by spiritual water). The online platform X, formerly known as Twitter, was flooded with hilarious memes. While these memes provided entertainment, it’s crucial to emphasize, especially at this critical juncture, that regardless of what was in the bottle, the act itself is unequivocally wrong, and nothing justifies it.
The heart of this discussion is a sombre realization that when we elevate public figures to high pedestals, their disappointing actions resonate on various levels. It’s disheartening, particularly in the case of someone like Rahat Ali, adorned with the Sitara-i-Imtiaz and an honorary degree from Oxford University. This situation calls for both swift action and introspection from the public i.e. a reminder to choose our ideals more discerningly. Simultaneously, it’s an earnest plea for celebrities to recognize the weight of their responsibility and strive for actions that align with the position they hold.