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.

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

  1. SYED ABID HUSSAIN SHAH says:

    i think girls must be given more opportunity….they must be selected for higher post at all managerial levels….if JAPAN,USA,GERMANY….are counted amongst great eight its just because they have given sufficient opportunities to women…i think our GOVT needs to take initiatives in order to overcome this burning issue..may be KABUL lies next to us..must be a slogan there but certainly not here

  2. wbalushi says:

    RESPECT

    we, means every one are repecting women or girls.
    raped or murder this all thing are doing by satan.
    A good person will not do this..

    raped in public its impossible.
    in germany a girl raped no one came to help ?
    Germany is a non muslim country. a women came and help girl. men are there so…
    I Thing they means germany is satan……….

  3. mohd toshif says:

    asslamualekum i love pakistan

  4. mazhar butt says:

    Wikipedia’s figures about domestic abuse are ‘phantomous’ …I cannot agree with them due to the reason that I couldnt find any abuse of the sort as far as 40 houses away from my house in all directions ! I have no reason to believe that Pakistani men ( or women) are as sadistic as their western counter parts. The percentage of domestic abuse in the west is kept to a minimum by the stringent rule of law there. Just try and relax the laws and you will find Western or American folks committing horrendous ‘feats’ of domestic abuse which prevailed during the slavery period.

    I also do not agree that women enjoy comparatively more respect in the Western Culture. A Western woman is a ”toothless’ creature as long as she doesnt get married. Premarital relations reduce the dignity of a western woman
    to a mere chattel which is placed for approval . Let us be honest about the shortcomings of our country but not derogate its people on flimsy and sketchy stats.

  5. Tina says:

    *sigh* here we go again with the moral equivocation argument “the West if just as bad”. No, it’s not.

    United Nations study recently concluded that domestic abuse occurs in 80% of Pakistani households (this study is referenced by Wikipedia, where you can find it). Personally I was shocked by this figure. But, however this number was arrived at, try finding a similar statistic for a Western country.

    You won’t be able to do it.

    Otherwise drpak, I would agree with you, there are many decent Pakistani men. But there is a lot of work to be done.

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