By: Anna Kazmi
An Utter Curse
Islam is a religion of peace and tranquility, justness and egalitarianism. Islam teaches us to be fair and equitable in all sorts of dealings in our daily life. Islam enlightens us as to the rights of men and women, and how every woman deserves everything that a man does. For example, right to education, right to free will, right to justice and right to having self-confidence that makes them believe that they can achieve what they want in life. In our country there is encouragingly only minimum discrimination between men and women. A few decades ago, it was like a norm but the women, today, have an elevated status in our society. Their views and opinions about a certain topic are listened to and pondered over. Now, there are schools established for the sole purpose of providing education to girls. However, it is also true that this sort of discrimination is still found among the poor and illiterate people.
One example I would cite here is of a family of servants that we hired quite a while ago. The family was a small, typical one, consisting of the father, a son who was about six years old, a daughter of about four years, and the mother. The daughter was a victim of serious prejudice from her father, who despised her for the sole reason that she was a girl. He favoured his son over her, and was used to making a show of it so as to leave the daughter disconsolate and insecure. He gave his son the best of everything, sent him to school, loved him dearly – or at least that’s what he wanted his daughter to believe. He kept his son clean with a regular bathing routine, but let his daughter roam about, dirty, with her greasy hair tied into a huge knot, giving it the look of a shrub. He forced his wife to encourage and follow him in his cruelty to the girl. The mother too started ignoring her daughter. This bred hatred in the heart of her brother, who started to superiorize himself over her. You know what this resulted in? A mentally-disabled child! The disability of a girl to make her life probably doesn’t mean anything to anyone. But it did to me. It affected me. It made me resent her father, it made me loathe him for his illiteracy. The girl had been destroyed. She had no confidence in what she was.
All day and every day, I used to see her in the playground in front of my house, running from one swing to the next, without having any idea of what she was doing. It killed me on the inside, to know that some people could be so pointless and blind so as to drive their own daughter, their own blood, completely insane, and to seek entertainment in doing so. I remember once I was in the lawn when I saw her pass by. When she saw me, she probably panicked and tried to hide by giving me a really sheepish smile, as if to tell me that she herself was really embarrassed of who she was. She wouldn’t meet my gaze, and continued to look down at the ground, as if she were in punishment. I tried to say hello to her, tried to get her to talk, but she wouldn’t. And it crushed me. So, I reached into my pocket, and luckily found a candy that had somehow miraculously survived. I pulled it out and gave it to her, and she saw the candy in my hand, and she stood still for a minute. Then she looked at me, still with that smile plastered on her face, and then back at the candy, then at me, and then back again. I extended the hand a little further, and she stepped back. She wasn’t going to take it, I knew. She thought she didn’t deserve it. I told her gently to take it, but she just looked at me, still smiling and shook her head. Slowly she took a few small steps back and then turned and sped off to her home.
Read More: The challenge of gender inequality
To this day, I hate myself for not having talked to her, about how beautiful she was, and how there was no wrong in taking what I was giving her, because she was a child, just like thousands of other children. I often wonder: where is she right now? What is she doing? Is her dad still a retard as he was so many years back? I just wish I could meet her once. This is just one of the many stories; just one of the many other girls who are being treated the same way, and even worse, in their homes.
There are people who love their daughters too. My father prayed to Allah that his firstborn be a girl. He has three daughters now, including myself, and he loves us with every shred of his heart. Without a doubt, I can say if he had a son, he would still adore us more.
With the new Prime Minister at the helm of affairs in Pakistan, one of the many, many changes I would like to see is that females be given the rights they are entitled to in Islam and in country’s constitution.
What is so wrong about being a girl? Are females not as strong as males? No. They are stronger, MUCH STRONGER. And, they are capable of doing things men cannot even dream of doing. I am not, in any way whatsoever, degrading the males nor do I mean to offense them. But they have received quite enough love and affection and favours from everyone in the world. Is it not so? How about things take a turn in the favour of the females this time?