Love is a Painful Thing: Bol, kay labb azad haiN tairay

Posted on January 3, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, Society
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Adil Najam

If this was not so horrific and heart wrenching as it is, one could go on and on about the pangs of love and all the poetry about how lovers have to be ready to bear the pain that society would inflict upon them. But because this is as sad a story as it is, all I can think of is “cheeti doRReiN way tabeeba…” (come fast, my doctor).

This is a painful story. So, if you are weak of stomach, stop reading. This is not a story about religion or about custom or about culture. It is a story about jahaalat… nirri jahalat. The roots of this are exactly the same as the roots of our earlier post about how Shagufta got killed.

According to the Daily Times (4 January, 2006):

Armed men cut off the ears and nose of a man who married a woman from their tribe against their will, after he and his family refused to hand her over, police said on Wednesday. The attackers also chopped off the ears of the man’s brother, while severing his mother’s hand in the latest reported “honour⠢‚¬Â? crime in the country’s conservative rural areas.

Mohammad Iqbal’s wife, Shehnaz, was not at home when about 15-armed members of her clan carried out the attack in Multan on Tuesday, demanding that she be returned to them. “The assailants, who were armed with small arms, daggers and axes, tortured Iqbal and cut off his ears and nose when he refused to produce Shenhaz,� Naeem-ul-Hassan, a deputy superintendent of police, told Reuters, adding that five suspects had so far been arrested. “They dragged us on the floor and thrashed us before cutting our limbs,� Mohammad Yasin, Iqbal’s brother, told Reuters from Nishtar hospital, where he was being treated along with his brother and mother. Shehnaz married Iqbal out of choice last year and the couple left Multan along with Iqbal’s family apparently for fear of reprisals from Shehnaz’s relatives. The family returned to Multan recently to celebrate Eidul Azha.

This is not something that happens every day. But it is something that happens far more often than it should. It is a story that needs to be told and needs to be condemned. The untold part of this story is that all too often we just keep quiet about such stories. We tell ourselves: “well its just an aberration; this is not the norm,” or that “such things happen everywhere, its not just us,” or “if we repeat this story to others it will give all of us a bad name and our ‘enemies’ will make it look as if all of us are like this,” and, ultimately, the hope is that “if we just keep quiet, the story will just go away.”

Well, I have news for you. It does NOT go away. It keeps on happening. Our silence only fuels it, because the criminals confuse the silence for consent.

It is not without reason that Faiz Sahib said:

Bol, keh labb aazad haiN tairay
Bol, zabaan abb tak tairi hai

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