The Facets Of The Women Of Pakistan

An account of the status of the women in the pseudo Islamic society of Pakistan. The privilege she enjoys of being protected is a blessing or is it just an ignorance of her desires and wishes?

The Pakistani society is one of a kind. Where on one side it places women as the center of attention and life, it then on the other considers them no more than secondary citizens.

For years the role that a woman played as a citizen, a member of the family, or a homemaker has been highly undermined and today it has turned into a tradition to degrade a woman's ability. However, over the years this scenario has changed, and the awareness of her abilities, her rights and her status has reached almost all parts of Pakistan, which is an underdeveloped third world country. Pakistan was formed on the basis of the Two-Nation theory, which emphasised Islamic teachings and values, and is therefore called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Islam gives the best and the most balanced code of life, but pseudo-fundamentalists converted the teachings of Islam to read in the best interests of men and highly unjust towards women. Despite this the woman of Pakistan has come a long way in proving herself.

There are many faces of the woman of Pakistan. In the rural areas of Frontier or the villages of Sindh, she lives with the identity of either the mother of the future feudal lord, wife, daughter or sister of the feudal.

Since the day she is born, she is to live with the individuality of another individual, which has to be a man related to her. In fact, it maybe considered quite uncomely for a woman to live with her own individuality. This then leads to situations where the woman has to kill all her feelings, desires and even her own thoughts to survive, as they put it, "˜with honour'.

The rural areas of the country witness instances where feudal lords have numerous wives, incorrectly using the logic of Islam that a man is allowed four marriages. What they tend to ignore is that the marriages are allowed under specific circumstances: to widows, divorcees etc.

Religion has been exploited at the hands of the men for years now, and the women have learned to submit to their whims and decisions. But the past did see cites like "˜Marvi' in the rural Sindh, who fought all feudal laws to get education in a University. The feudals are actually scared of their women getting education and outsmarting them one day, standing up to their rights as wives, sisters and above all, as women.

There is no escape for the women still in many parts of the country from this unspoken imprisonment they face, in which all decisions about them and their lives are made by their custodians, who may be their fathers, brothers or their husbands. No one cares to find out what they want in life, or about their ideas or thoughts.

There may be another aspect to this also: that is the protection that the woman enjoys being the one who is never thought of to go out to handle trade or business. It is implied that the men of her house will always be responsible to provide for her, and give her every luxury in life. They are such queens that even imagining work is not allowed. But is this protection that keeps them unaware of their own identities and strength a blessing or is it a curse?

The real women are not these princesses, but the women in the form of the wife of the indigent farmer, or the daughter of the old man who is still working so hard to provide for his huge family. She is born with three sisters and is never expected to study, but just prepared since childhood that she just has to learn to cook and clean to take care of her future husband, who may be the age of her father. It is implied that her parents may not have a choice, as they are in a state of destitution and she is a burden on them who has to be taken in by another man.

It shouldn't matter if she is his third or fourth wife, if she likes him or not, what to talk of love! And like this many girls are born and raised as the fairer sex in Pakistan. The day of a woman in the village of this country may involve raising her kids, cooking food, and in many places where no electricity and gas is still not there she walks miles to cut wood from jungles, fetch water from rivers and wells, submit to the needs of her husband as he wishes, manage the home and be happy in whatever meager amount of money she is given. What she learns is to be happy as what she is and not ever exploring her own wishes.

It is the rural areas that make up the real strength of Pakistan in the form of the female population. The tradition of keeping women as the protected ones has traveled to the cities too, but there has been significant change over the years in thoughts and attitudes of parents, men and young girls.

Youthful women are more aware of their identities, their capabilities and are definitely more ambitious. The inflation and exposure through media has open minds in the Pakistani society, where parents feel confident that their daughters can also be successful in lives. Similarly, young men want to choose sanguine women as wives who can be more of a partner than just glorified maids who would cook and look after kids. Time has also come to an extent when women, in some instances, themselves choose to be housewives. And one thing the Pakistani woman will always enjoy is the respect and acceptance of her decision to be a housewife. She can make the choice to work in case of need too.

There is a vast difference in attitudes of women, and their behaviour, in urban and rural areas. She has been fighting the battle of life and society since years, and will keep fighting always. And when ever you will see her, she will be found thanking her Lord for whatever she has proving the fact that endurance and patience is what a woman posesses most strongly.

© High Speed Ventures 2011