Author: Sehrish Usman
I was recently asked to write about the “Aurat March”, the Women day parade, for a while I felt like saying “write it yourself” but i did not say it because we are supposedly rational beings who rarely express what we actually feel.
Anyways, it’s the women parade everywhere. Some say it’s their right, just give it to them. Others say the society will gradually change for the better. Some argue that these are not the real problems of women while others claim that majority of women do not require such rights.
Nowadays my mind gets so tired that there is little space left for arguing. If someone comes up to me and say you are not Sehrish, I might agree and say you guessed right. This is someone else masquerading in my guise. But then few people called me out and said, “Oh dear, lo are these the rights you have been championing for your gender all this time?” Then, I decided to write for myself, to put forward my views. Although it does not really make much of a difference what I have to say but here goes. My dear feminist aunties and right wing moralists, yes I am mainly talking to you too.
First, let me state it clearly that many women including me have no issue warming the dinner. Yes, we do not believe in defined gender roles, but if our husband, father or brother comes home tired from work, simply preparing the dinner or making a cup of tea for them doesn’t hurt our ego therefore do not claim to represent us in this issue.
Secondly, the obnoxious issue of nude pictures on social media created a hullabaloo. So, my dear women in social media as in real life good and bad people live side by side. What are your red lines that others dare not cross; you and only you will have to determine them at the end of the day. Do not indulge in trying to reason with the bad ones. Your behavior and way of dealing with people should be crystal clear when it comes to your personal space and dignity so that everyone knows if they cross that limit they will get a slap or get blocked. These are real issues many women face on social media, and for now the best solution is to block and report such villains. Merely putting up a placard will not cure these blackhearts. You have to jostle for your space no one will offer it to you on a platter. Be gutsy so that no one dares go below the belt with you.
There was another proclamation, that since you can change your vehicle’s tire, do not expect it from us to do it (referring to the slogan at the parade that woman can change tire herself hence equal capability). Look its simple, even if I do learn how to fix my car, I will not ruin my manicure just to prove my equality. If my credential of equality was my ability to change a tire then I am better off without it.
Rest is the issue of vulgar placards; I will not lower my womanly dignity by even mentioning them.
And now my dear Right wing moral Czars, who make a lot of hue and cry just to conceal their moral culpability. Who keep the woman captive of their ego and then in the same breath give example of Khadija, the most exalted wife of Prophet PBUH. Those who misuse the concept of Qiwama; those who consider the ‘marriage contract’ nothing more than a mere certificate of slavery. They frame their desires as the commands of Almighty. They present their frivolous ravings as honest arguments.
I would like to ask them if those women did not discuss real issues, how much they have contributed in solving the real issues.
Who will solve the real problems? Hurling accusations will turn our dystopia into a paradise? All of you who have been crying hoarse over the real problems, who stopped you from campaigning against them? How many of you used any platform to raise your voice for women? How many of you stood up for the rights of your mother, wife, sister, daughters and niece? How many stopped your mothers and wives from the mental torture of your daughters and nieces in the name of preparing them for the ‘future homes’, from treating them as commodities or asking them to become better humans to be able to please the future in laws? How many of you consider the demand of a separate home, the right of a woman instead of a frivolity? How many of you think family planning to be the choice of the woman instead of a luxury? How many of you ask your sister and daughter about how much Haqq I Meher (the Islamic right of dowry that the woman must be paid at the time of her marriage) she desires at the signing ceremony? Which clause of marriage contract they desire to be included or annulled? How many of you gave the women of your family the confidence to study the marriage contract to be able to properly discuss it? How many of you pray for the good fortunes of your daughters but never assure them of your unabashed moral and material support in case of a misfortune? How many of you don’t think that your daughters and sisters should attend college and university only for a better marriage prospect? How many of you seriously consider giving them their share in inheritance? How many of you do not make them let go of their Haqq I Meher?
If you have not done any of the things mentioned above, then let me offer you congratulations, for it were your silence that paved the way for those placards. When according to you, these placards will be presented on the Day of Judgment as witnesses of black deeds, on that day rest assured your silence will also be a witness for your culpability. And no doubt our Creator does not allow the injustice of the magnitude of a date-seed to go unpunished. He, who dislikes keeping bad intentions towards His creatures, let alone acting on those intentions to provide harm. If you believe yourself to be apart from those black hearts, then begin doing the things mentioned above. It will be a long and arduous journey at the end of which you will not need Photo-edited righteousness. But the end of it will be something better and wholesome.
So, come forward and let us start a campaign, build pressure on the government to find a solution of this issue. Let’s enforce true morality on this nation and society, because our society is completely bereft of learning and adopting true moral standards on its own. Come let us raise our voice for the right of a woman and protest against the system of injustice. Let’s talk of equal right to education, health, financial security, dignity, and protection from violence, the right to Haqq Meher and inheritance.
Let’s campaign for including marriage contract a part of marriage certification course, for the registration of Marriage notaries and legislation to prevent unfair amendments to the marriage contracts. If the government doesn’t stand beside the rape victims, have some moral courage to denounce it for this. Campaign for the cancellation of medical license of those doctors, who tell the gender of the fetus for money. Those parents who refuse to educate their daughters must be censured. Those men who put false accusations in the divorce papers must be prosecuted if they fail to deliver proofs for them. Let us campaign for a system in which those passing judgments on others’ characters fear the backlash. Come lets campaign that the interpretation of the powerful does not equate with the true commands of Allah. Let us fight against those whose faces darken when they hear that a daughter is born to them, their darkened faces tell the corruption of their hearts. Let us fight to destroy the concept of dowry from our society, for the freedom of choice in marriage. Come let us fight against the misuse of concept of Wila’yah, the state should educate the masses that no relationship can be lawfully built without the consent of the woman, that forcing her invalidates Wila’yah.
If you cannot do any of these things, then let us pray… that may God remove corruption from our hearts and grant us the minimum amount of faith against the evil.
As for the posters on women parade…… so my dear readers, if she gets a shower of abuse every time the husband cannot find his socks, who is not allowed to go see her ailing parents because someone will be deprived of his timely dinner, who is not allowed a sigh of disapproval against what the Quwaam has decreed; then, such placards will always keep coming up and your generations will be brought up in this environment of hate.
Remember this, the daughter who hears her mother get abused, for her all the men of the world are vicious and the son who sees his mother get disrespected never learns to truly respect any other person. If you are happy living this way then it’s your choice, I have fulfilled my obligation.
Neither shall she be inferior, nor superior,
May the woman have equal rights.