AN OPEN LETTER TO THE SOCIETY
If all men are born free, how is it that all women are born slaves?
I hope this letter will not find your status quo in the best of health and prosperity. If you survive the way you have been surviving centuries after centuries my daughter will be perished for good. They will continue losing their lives and right to life in the name of honor, love, lust, patriarchy and female infanticide. If your hypocrisy emanating from incongruity between tribal culture and propagation of new ideas, continue my daughters will be derogated and demeaned by your diabolic members.
Dear Society, despite your incessant attempts to judge my daughters through the lens of your patriarchal system they survive. They survive and have been surviving even if they have been penalized for their sin of being born. You never want a daughter. A daughter can never be a breadwinner. She will always be dependent upon your whims and caprices, she is a mere daughter, the one brainless child who is not empowered to think and act. I know the stories of acid attacks and stove burnings, of your ousting the “disloyal, unruly and disrespectful women” merely to prove your misogamy.
Your double standards reflect your misery and pathos, The visible and invisible pressure lurking at the fore and background, engulfs the entire existence of a woman. She is coerced into giving birth to a male child even if medically she is least responsible for sex determination. A woman should keep on giving birth to unwanted daughters until a male child graces her womb. Ironically, most of your members are the followers of Islam that lays so much emphasis on the respect of individuals regardless of their gender. This politics of gender has eaten into your structure, dear society, that now you are nothing more than a moth eaten truncated body.
Regardless of your hollow claims of gender equality and elimination of patriarchal system your hypocrisy does not subside anywhere. The binary division of human beings into males and females leave many as “others”. This gruesome social injustice should lay heavily on your chest. The female infanticide, because of your obnoxious and condemnable pressure is simply agonizing. The real breadwinners are always the sons, to be protected and cherished, to be that pampered and taken care of. This desire for a boy is so shamelessly and blatantly visible that it is apparent everywhere, in the loud and mute prayers, in the curtsies extended by the relatives, in the critical glances exchanged during social tete-a-tete, and in the family gatherings. You, dear society, the birth of a girl is an explicit and unpardonable sin. The punishment of this crime ranges from gender selective abortions to husbands actually going for second and third marriage.
Stereotypical labeling is yet another thing you are incessantly involved in. Dear society I have witnessed you ranting about the docile roles that should be ascribed to the women. They can be teachers, yes, reluctantly, doctors, possibly, nurses, definitely, house makers, should be, but after that the roles are eliminated. They are the best when they are submissive, meek and mellow. These stereotypes are now to be discarded away. The social fabric that assigns such roles to the women is, however, tattered apart. But I wonder despite being challenged and defied, defiled and questioned how partial you are to favor patriarchy. The equilibrium of sensibility is disturbed because of your apathy. The shift of power and dynamics of power politics have been tilted in favor of your male members but to my surprise you still refuse to cow down in fear.
The effects of gender desensitization, apathy to female rape victims, callousness towards sexual harassment and arrogant presumptuousness towards gender politics may play havoc with the harmony between the two genders. Dear Society, this letter is a reminder of all the injustices rendered out to the female members. You decide to treat women not only indifferently, but I have to suggest rather sadly, that to you they don’t exist. Though a ray of hope arose with the promulgation of Protection of Women Rights Bill 2010, in the tenure of the prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, yet the lack of willingness ,on the part of my daughters, to report injustice, manhandling, rape, acid throwing incidents and the cases of sexual assault may cause this bill to recede into relegation of oblivion.
This open letter is a reminder to you, dear society, to open your eyes and analyze for yourself what you have done to my daughters. They feel unwanted since the time of their birth, this wanton feeling of neglect refuse to leave them till the end. The parents of girls are scoffed at, ridiculed, pitied and single out. They are taunted and satirized. You never let them walk with head held high. This is the culmination of antipathy and apathy. But I hope you would let yourself be inspired by reason, sanity and rationality. You would be convinced to believe that to put brackets or labels of sex, gender, race, color and socio-economic strata to mark humanity is to judge it. Human beings cannot be bracketed into binary divisions. They are human beings first and prime most. The respect for humanity should take the first priority in your list of priorities. It is high time that the nations and civilizations who do not take into account the achievements of their Arfa Kareems and Malala yousafzais, Benazir Bhuttos , Samina Chugtais and Naseem Hameeds, they die a slow painful demise. You are going to be become a stagnant society, decaying slowly, gradually, internally at heart, where it matters. Dear Society I hope you learn to kindle the fire of restraint when you treat my daughters. They will thrive and prosper, they will stand erect and question, they will be career oriented and house makers but I will tell them never to settle for anything less than their own internal contentment, the satisfaction of their hearts and souls and then obviously there would be no looking back for them.
An Empowered Mother
Contributed by Fareeha Khan
The writer is an Associate Professor of English with a specialization in Gender Studies. She is a also a freelance writer.
An Open Letter to the Society
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE SOCIETY