By Guest Contributor
Women. Half of humanity, half of civilization, the nerve in any family, mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, teachers, nurses, politicians, doctors, dancers, singers, artists, soldiers, leaders, victims, beggars, prostitutes, namoos, commodity, at times natures most precious creation, at times the only resilient half of the human race. Where women have risen to the heights of social leadership, others have been reduced to the dark corners of the harem of horny men, padded and wrapped inside the cover of male insecurities.
Growing up in a marketplace of outdated ideas, we are all for the most part of our upbringing oblivious to the artificial and superficial barriers of cast, gender, race, tribe, religion, sect, region, ideology, political affiliation, place of origin, profession; oblivious to the point that many of cherish these divisions. After all, people seldom care to care for affairs unless they are personally affected. Who cares if a non-Hazara is being whipped up by kids on the streets in Hazara Town, who cares if a mob of momineen kills a murtad kafir, why should someone worry if a women next door has hung herself to death, why bother questioning the stories coming out of the local mosque, why should someone care if a women in burqa with a very young kid are out on the street begging for food and money in the dead of the winter, why care if a joowan is yelling abuse at some women for not covering up, why concern yourself with the guy who, despite having 3 wives, went away to wed a young girl less than half his age, what’s wrong with men deciding how and why women should live while asking the women to zip it up when they open up to share their concerns, why worry about the area ‘maatameen‘ who spend half their free time calling names and lies after girls passing the street? why but why care for stories of the victimisation of others?
I remember her exuberant face, the confidence with which she would walk up to the front of the class and express herself. I remember like it was yesterday. While the rest of us plagiarised content or came up with the laziest commentary for a class topic, she would tell the class of her genuine aspirations, her dreams, dreams about the great things she wanted to do with her life. Then. Then her life was cut short. She went home one day, tied the one end of a rope around the off-white ceiling fan and tearfully put on the noose of disappointment. She died and took to grave her aspirations, her dreams. dreams about the great things she had wanted to do with her life.
As a 10 year old kid, I cared more for the afternoon football match in the maidani than for the death of a classmate from the Language center where I learned English, as per the wishes of my parents. Friends told me that she had been sold of to someone fat-cat rich guy living in Saudi Arabia. They told that she had refused to be wed off to some fat-cat rich guy living in Saudi Arabia. They told me that she had been subject to torture and unspeakable physical punishment at the hands of her dear brother and her respectable father. They told me that there wasn’t going to be a police inquiry. And they told me that since she had committed suicide she didn’t qualify for a proper fatiha and proper burial. She was a woman, a daughter, a sister, a friend and she was dead.
We all know bits and pieces about stories so sad, lives so tearful and deaths so similar. We all know girls, young girls who have been sold off to some stranger, we all know of girls forced to leave schools and studies to become wives and mothers to ten kids, we all know of girls forced to go around in peacock shuttle burqas and saddist black veils against their wishes, we all know of girls instructed to kill their dreams and murder their enthusiasm, we all know of women being respected but given no dignity, we all know of a corner of our world where people take pride in “respecting” women but dead set refuse to give them any space, any power, any say and any authority. Yes, we all do and we all know that we did and said nothing about any of it.
We can watch, appreciate and endure while men dance, sing, clap, play, swim, walk, run, speak, laugh, cry, yell and kill but our collective consciousness is too insecure, too sick to watch a girl do any of it and once a barrier is crossed, perpetrators suffer and die at the hands of their honourable fathers, brave brothers, loving husbands and caring relatives.
We are a society of sick hypocrites, we all are. We are raised to model our lives on ideals created and practiced over a thousand years back and my goodness, we do it really well and with great efficiency. We refuse to let the wheel of history roll forward in time. Our elders, our books, our stories, our leaders, our mullahs, our society; they are all rotten, they smell and the smell is about to pollute the world.
Happy International Women’s Day!
مردوں کے لۓ ہر ظلم روا، عورت کے لۓ رونا بھی خطا
مردوں کے لۓ ہر عیش کا حق، عورت کے لۓ جینا بھی سزا
مردوں کے لۓ لاکھوں سیجیں، عورت کے لۓ بس ایک چتا
عورت نے جنم دیا مردوں کو، مردوں نے اسے بازار دیا