We celebrate 8th of March as Women's Day all around the globe to get an insight into the global matters related to women. But the question arises that, is a day enough a year to introspect into the agony that at present the women folk faces.
No doubt, a laudable speech, a praiseworthy paper, a seminar or an art workshop would add something to it, but something is still missing. Growing crime rates against women is a concern.
This so called modern society is still lagging behind in giving due respect to women. Celebrating one day and keeping it at bay for rest of the year is pathetic. The egalitarian society demands respect, dignity and honor. A woman is most precious gift blessed to someone in the form of mother, sister, wife or daughter. Iqbal says:
Wajood zan say hai tasveer qayinnat ma rang
Isi kay saoz say hai zindigay ka soz o zun
The women are the most sensitive creation of God. The beloved Prophet of God (SAW) said that paradise lies beneath the feet of mother. A sister is most precious thing to a brother. As the saying goes 'sister is sister till she dies, but on the contrary a brother is brother till he marries'. I don't question on the exceptionality.
But there are more cases when a sister is married; she is an alien to the home for which she had given her sweat and labor. As a wife, she leaves her home, her parents, and her kith and kin for someone who is all strange to her. She deserves respect, love and honor.
On the contrary, in most of the families she is hardly treated as a member. We decide to stand determined and firm one moment but another moment we forget it, as if the day was not celebrated at all.
Come next year, we again start preparations to mark the day but then like other days it comes and passes. Among many issues one is 'dowry' which has become one of the most challenges in this society which needs to be eradicated. Similarly people spend a lot of money at marriages.
A marriage is a sacred relation made in heavens. Now it has only become all about pomp and show. Its essence is now day by day losing. Man, the crown of creation, has altogether forgotten his significance and has gone away from human values, love and fellow feeling. He is just a skeleton of man, indeed one for whom an Urdu poet Akbar said:
What has new civilization to do with humanity?
Where Adam were, there now monkeys leap
Had we ever realized the impact of expensive marriages and dowry on others? These show-off marriages have resulted in hundreds of divorces and suicides.
If we do our marriages with simplicity, we feel ourselves inferior. We all are well aware about how Prophet married her daughters, certainly with great simplicity, and now the simplicity is only of heard in sermons.
Islam has strictly prohibited such actions which become a nuisance for others. But alas! This so called modern man has lost the real purpose of life. Famous romantic poet William Wordsworth strongly lamented the activities of this modern man in one of his poems, 'What Man has Made of Man':
To her fair works did nature link
The human soul that though me ran
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man?
We need to close our eyes for a while, and start questioning ourselves. Why our sweet daughters kill themselves. How many young daughters have crossed the marital age bar? Why relations collapse. The answers will lead us the nuisance of dowry and expensive marriages. We never take a lesson from all this. Although, we know that dowry and expensive marriage is a nuisance in our society but still we watch the show of this marriage system as mute spectators. The nightingale of India Sarojini Naidu seems aware a long ago of these curses. She beautifully remarks in one of her Poems "Village Song"
The bridal songs and cradle songs have cadences of sorrow,
The laughter of the sun today, the wind of death tomorrow
Far sweeter sounds the forest-notes where forest streams are falling
O mother mine I cannot stay, the fairy- folk are calling.
How many delicate daughters are tortured on daily basis by in-laws for dowry and other unnecessary demands? Justice, equality, love, care and respect are scarcely a practical thing in today's society. Getting a daughter married has became now a herculean task. Money is spent in millions on jewelry, wazwan, invitation cards, decoration, music and other such things. Instead of eradication of this evil from our societies, with every passing day it deepens its roots. And if the practice of dowry and expensive marriage continued with same way then the day is not far when all of us will find it difficult to come out from the quagmire.
We celebrate Women's Day with great fervor and enthusiasm, simultaneously we watch our sweet daughters die, get divorced, face humiliations. The misfortune is that we are hardly bothered. If dowry isn't given to daughters, they are humiliated and tortured. Especially the responsibility lies on the youth; they can play an outstanding role in eradicating these social evils. They can save poor daughters from all types of suffering, agony, harassments and trauma if they pledge to get married with great simplicity.
Ahsan ul Haq is pursuing PhD from department of English, University of Kashmir.