Diary of a Feminist: Woman as Witness

What do you feel when you wake up one fine morning, pick up the news­paper and find a photo on the front page of burqa-clad women picketing in favour of discriminatory, dis­torted, so-called Islamic laws?

Your first reaction is to bang your head against the wall (in case you’re really worked up on the issue). As you don’t intend to do literally anything of the kind, you let the moment pass.

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Diary of a Feminist: The Future Bodes Well for Women

Stars scribble in our eyes the frosty sagas

The gleaming cantos of unvanquished space   —   Hull Crane

If you believe in stars (even if your belief is like a faint sensation), if you believe that the wanderers of the cosmos influence your destiny on Earth then it’s time to rejoice. The year 1985 Juts been termed by astrologers as opportune for women.

The New Year began on a happy note when I came to know of the findings of a Pakistani astrologer. He says women are going to make re­markable headway in 1985. The progress will be made in the realm of education; knowledge will expand. The chart he has calculated, indi­cates that on March 20, 1985, Mercury will enter the Heaven’s at 9:17 PM and thence of will be the ruling Planet.

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Diary of a Feminist: A Fatal Marriage

When something goes wrong with a marriage, it’s generally the woman wh­ose life is wrecked. I know quite a few women whom miseries have befallen af­ter marriage and I often think had they not been married they wouldn’t have suffered. But if they had remained unmarried, their lives might have been empty. And I wonder if a feeling of emptiness is better than a life of pain. Or is it choosing bet­ween the devil and the deep blue sea? I don’t re­ally know.

Anyway. There is one mar­riage I have seen which de­stroyed the man and not the woman. Marriage killed him. I mean literally.

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Diary of a Feminist: When Women are Both Victims and Culprits

Most social customs revolve around the institu­tion of the family. And the family, or home, is the wo­man’s domain. So let’s face the fact that women play a significant role in perpetuating decadent so­cial customs.

Women dominate family af­fairs no matter how much sub­jugated they are in other mat­ters of life. But their domi­nance is pathetic. Because the dominance is over petty, superfluous things masked by the disproportionate importance attached to them. By women themselves. Who else?

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Diary of a Feminist: The Senseless Customs in Our Society

Social change is a comp­licated phenomenon. It is weird. Because it brings in its wake an erosion of val­ues you’d have liked to preserve. It is frightening. Because it doesn’t move an inch the system you wish to wipe out.

Why does a society cling so stubbornly to cumbersome, decadent customs while los­ing grip on norms tangible and functional? Does this show a deep malaise, a tendency towards self-destruction?

Perhaps it does. I see no other explanation of the almost pathological perseverance and archaic glorification of the customs that go with marriage.

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Diary of a Feminist: Trials of Adolescence

During my early youth I believed that adolescence was the most wonderful period in a person’s life. And I thought every teen­ager in the world was in a blissful state. It made me feel miserable. Because I wasn’t having ‘the most wonderful time’ in the least!

I think it was Urdu poetry that played mischief and fil­led my head with romanticised notions of youth. I am sure fiction didn’t do any harm because for one thing, it was ‘taraqqi pasand afsanay’ I was reading since class five; for another, they must be going above my head at that time anyway.

Whatever poets said about ‘sweet sixteen’, to me it was nothing but sour. All my com­plexes (inferiority comp­lexes) intense ambivalence (particularly toward my mother), fights and frictions (with siblings), dreams, aspi­rations, frustrations, etc, made my mind a confused jumble of thoughts and feel­ings, and my ‘stream of con­sciousness’ a torrential, fro­thing mass. But mercifully all that was behind a placid facade: I was quite a quiet person.

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Diary of a Feminist: The Schism in the Soul

Two weeks back when I read about the Council of Is­lamic Ideology’s question­naire on women’s status I couldn’t but utter ‘Oh God, these people! They speak a dead language and they live in a cocoon.’

And 1 thought: In their fanaticism they have be­come blind as a bat. But no. Not as a bat. Bats have a remarkable facility of echo location. And these people seem to locate neither objects nor con­cepts. Least of all, the change, the reality. They sound so oblivious of it all.

Thus CII states in the questionnaire it has sent to elicit people’s opinions: “To satisfy their own lust, westernised individuals in Pakistan want to bring women out of their homes and make them the centre of attraction in society in negation of Is­lamic instructions. They wish to thrust on the woman, economic responsibilities in addition to her family re­sponsibilities. In your opi­nion, what weaknesses will re­sult in an Islamic society be­cause of this unnatural approach?”

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