Picture of the Day: How We View Young Women?

Posted on November 30, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, Photo of the Day, Society, Women
58 Comments
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Adil Najam

Sepoy, of Chapati Mystery fame, sent me this picture before. It is a crude sheyr (verse) crudely written at the back of a bus.

Roughly translated, it says:

Girls these days are so proud of their beauty
They don’t know the first
kalma, but speak in English

Sepoy said it made him chuckle. It makes me chuckle too. But it also makes me shudder a bit. And not just for the (lack of) poetic skills displayed here. The verse and its display probably says more about the way we view women – especially young women – than it does about the state of poetry in the country.


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Notwithstanding the fact that not just rhyme but reason is also missing here and the first and second misras have little connection, the verse does suggest what is viewed good (knowing the pehla kalma) and what is not (speaking in English).

All too often people will presume that a certain behavior correlates to certain moral positions. I remember how we wrote on ATP about an Ad in Dawn’s classified section for

an executive secretary for (a) the MD of a large educational network, who is (b) female with cute personality (c) willing to work on “anything & everything” (d) for “long hours”, and (e) “be able to keep MD pleased and relaxed.”

Thinking about the ad and all the societal assumptions imbedded in it still makes me mad. As did this interesting post from ATP friend Mansoor on Metroblog Karachi, where he writes about a new way of stealing cellphones that as practiced in Karachi.

A girl is standing at a bus stop, waiting to catch a bus to go home and talking on her cellphone. There are quite many people around and its daytime.

Two guys on a bike pull up in front of her, the guy on the back gets off the bike, comes in front of her, and without warning, plants a loud slap right on her face! The girl is stunned, cant even utter a word. He then shouts (for the benefit of whoever is listening) “kitney dafa bola hai! Abba ka cellphone nahi lay kar nikla karo” (how many times have i told you, not to take dads cellphone out), grabs her cell, gets back on the bike, and they both drive away.

The girl is too shocked to say anything and just stands there, her hand holding an imaginary cellphone to her ear. People around ignore the situation thinking its just some family tiff or the other…. till she screams out “ye mera bhai nahi tha!!!!!!!” (he was not my brother!!!!!)

What I found notable is that even though the post generated intense discussion it was mostly focused on crime prevention and law enforcement and very little about what – to me – was the most shocking line of all:

People around ignore the situtation thinking its just some family tiff or the other…

Wait, wait, wait. Please. It is OK if someone comes and slap their sister or wife or daughter in public? Or even in private? And the rest of us will say, ‘OK, its a family tiff.’

I must confess that I am shocked most because in my heart of heart I know that many people will, in fact, do exactly that. And, that, is the tragedy of it all.

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58 responses to “Picture of the Day: How We View Young Women?”

  1. Bilal says:

    PAKISATN WOMEN CAN NEVER DO ANYTHING,
    YOU MUST BE THINKING WHY????????????????
    BECOZ PAKISTANI RULES FOR WOMEN ARE SO TUF
    AND THE WADDERS’S AND FEW MORE COST’S ARE
    SO UNLOWFULL ABOUT WOMENS……
    SO WHAT IF THE BILL HASE BEN PASSED LOW IS STILL IN WADDERAS HANDS…………………………………

  2. Nouman Ahmed Siddiqui says:

    I think we have pushed women in our society to create a division for themselves. Pakistan experienced a tolerant society if we go back 20 years from now. And women were still very active, whether it be Politics, film industry or commercially. I think we have given rise to a substantially moderate women and that against a very nation that does not allow transparency into the very veins of women. The women hides and yet we call them disturbances of time.

  3. Nadia Dxb says:

    Hmmm! its nice joke!

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