Often we get confused with the idea of freedom. Freedom to us means what our country attained in 1947, but have we ever wondered about those people who are still waiting for their 1947.
A day of pomp and show, a holiday on 15th of August, some cribbing about a dry day and whoop ! All gone next day.
And why just our country. Many people in progressive countries like Britain and United states are not free to breathe, free to choose, free to live. What’s coming next in this piece of writing might come across as fiction, and how much I hope it actually was. But this is the world of today.
Rabya was born in an Indian household in 1990 in Britain, though her birth was celebrated, being born after 3 brothers yet she was never given the power to lead her own life. Dressing up Modestly, not talking to boys, never attending a school party, no makeup before marriage were some of the codes applied on her. She sheepishly called them codes because they were just applied on her. With a heavy prelude that she is their beloved and the weight of protecting the honour of her family laid on her. Honour which she didn’t understand when she was young and one that she couldn’t question when she grew up. What was this honour or izzat ? Somethins which the community always preached. It was not in her religious texts, was it just a communal facade.
She wanted to teach. Kids were her weakness. She was exactly 18 years old when she revealed this to her parents. The next thing she knows is she was sitting in a house in Punjab, India. In Front of a boy she was committed to marry and her parents justifying, that she was becoming a Westerner. And it was in everyone’s best interest that she gets married. They promised to tame her well.
Rabya swallowed half a bottle of bleach that night. She didn’t know anyway out. I wonder what was going on in her mind that very moment. Was she expecting to be saved. Or did she want to end her life. Was she expecting her parents to take her back home and apologise. Or had she lost all hope.
She was indeed saved. And back home after being completely cured, the services sent her back home, that was rightful, indeed.
But she still wanted to study, and teach. Alas! They couldn’t take her rebellious nature. She was dishonouring them. They consulted the advocates of Izzat and her fate was decided. She was choked to death by making her swallow a big ball of playdough from her niece’s playset. And her cousin sisters were made to watch, if ever they had such thoughts of going against the code.
I was not amazed at the audacity of Rabya’s fate. I was shocked by how the women of the house were ally to this. I was shaken by how women in our Society and many more alike don’t raise a voice for their kin. I am surprised at the advice mothers give to their daughters ranging from
This is your fate.
Our society doesn’t accept this kind of a behavior.
Have a child and all will be sorted.
Your family and husband matter more than your career.
You are born a girl, don’t try to imitate boys.
Wear decent clothes, are you trying to invite molesters and rapists?
And the list is endless.
Why expect men to understand us, when our own sister’s and mother’s don’t. Rabya can be anyone around us. Just look keenly. Find her, talk to her, tell her you are there.
Only then can forced marriages and household abuse be checked upon. Even if you save one soul in your lifetime, it’s worth the effort.