Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Voice of a Woman

Rape is not just an assault, an abuse and an insult of the skin and flesh, but it seeps way beyond and much deeper into the woman’s soul. This brutal act of “pleasure” shatters the woman’s confidence and tramples upon her identity and ego - a state that she must live with all her life, while the man can escape repenting all of this because he is ‘to be hanged unto death.’

I just finished reading the book Blasphemy, another one of Tehmina Durrani’s works. While in My Feudal Lord, she unveiled the reality of a Muslim politician’s wife’s life, in this book she has thrown open the personal life of a pir - an Islamic religious head. On the face, the man speaks of nobility, humility and the will of Allah, but behind close doors all his acts defeat the essence and purity of the versus in the Quran. Let alone exercising the ‘man superior to woman’ formula, but he indulges in pornography where the most easily accessible woman - his wife - is forced to commit the sins of sleeping with young adolescent boys for the sake of his mental satisfaction. When tired of this he turns towards younger girls, who haven’t even understood the true meaning of their existence, their body and their nature, and forces them to bleed to maturity over a period of few hours. It is in such cases when the difference between ‘sex’ and ‘love’ dawns upon you. Truly animalistic, the former ceases your thought process and you become the victim of your own body.

The worst of these acts is probably the rape of young girls. When a girl touches puberty, she senses a change. As the hormones of the body play havoc, her mind develops a distinct relationship with her body. Her personality begins to identify with her shape, her tenderness and her sensitivity. Well this doesn’t mean that a delicate profile implies an innocent woman, but the identification is on a very personal level. And this is exactly what I would term as ‘on the brink of womanhood.’ Discovering one’s womanhood is one of the most beautiful experiences of a girl - it must be handled gently, lovingly and carefully. And a rape at this stage in a girl’s life can be nothing worse than a living nightmare, one that ensures that her sleepless nights last a lifetime.

I sometimes wonder how the system of devdasi was encouraged. It is quite similar to the mention of the abuse of young girls by the pir in this book. Of course, while in our system it is considered a matter of pride when the girl is given up to the god (read his representatives), in case of the pir, the matter is extremely hushed and is probably in the knowledge of only the victim and perhaps her mother. One exploits so many creations of nature in the name of religion…that sometimes I tend to wonder if being an atheist is in itself a solution to this exploitation. On one hand man respects and fears the superpower, but at the same time defies the core of His very principles.

Man was always considered superior to the woman. But they are interdependent and so why can’t they be treated equally. Why do we fail to understand that one can’t be created without the other. If there were no women there would be no question of man or woman and if there were no men, then too there would be no question of man or woman. An interaction between the two on an equal level is necessary to create and procreate. Unfortunately the whole act has been converted into a power game - a game that weakens one of the creators… it is unfair, yet true. Women need to rise out of this illusion, more a threat and believe that they are equal…because unless we believe, we cannot take a stand and unless we take a stand there can be no consequence.