(Titled “Khotta Sikka”, written by my father (Late) Muzaffar Khadim, this article appeared in Kashmir Uzma on 10, Oct 2008 and is compiled in his book, “Falah Ke Moti”. From its original text in Urdu, I take the privilege to translate it into English. Unless we identify this parasite in our society and try to eradicate this evil that consumes lives together, we cannot expect the benignity from Allah.)
That scream from the dark room of my sister! With all the heights of restlessness I ran to her room. I was yet to enter in, the other members of the family also rushed. The view inside was terribly horrible and unconceivable to one’s mind. Dearer than my life, my sister was lying in the pool of blood in her bed. A dagger had pierced deep her bosom. “What happened, who did it?” we all shouted. She gave a little shake to her right hand and I saw a long piece of paper stuck in it. The moment I tried to take that piece of paper out of her hand; her body bade goodbye to her soul.
Under the mountains of grief and sorrow, we could not understand what was going on.
Trembling, I opened the letter. It was written in her elegantly beautiful handwriting. I had no courage to read it. But it was necessary to know why my angel like sister had to take such a tragic step.
Here is what she had written:
“My dear brother,
I know you will be the first person to read this letter of mine. I also know what you all are going through right now. From long I have been thinking if I should take this dreadful step or not. At last this was all I could think of. By spilling my blood over this floor, I felt I will be able to save the honor and prestige of a thousand girls like me.
How do I tell you what I have been going through from past a year or two? I have never been unaware of the fact that you too have been going through the same condition, but I was feeling that without any fault of mine, it was only me who was the reason for such condition of yours.
From the day I stepped into adulthood, you all wanted to get a good match for me so that your shoulders rest at peace from such an enceinte responsibility. I too had a few dreams and wishes of my own, but unfortunately we had some cocooned wrong conception of our society about their likings, way of thinking, customs and culture. We thought that modesty, chastity, qualification, religious upbringing and beauty were the only scales for acceptance; but in this market, we saw that people are hungry of some other artifacts.
After long, this secret unveiled to us that in our society the wealth and caste weighs more. This experience taught us that no matter how qualified a girl is; if she doesn’t earn herself, her qualification is of no count and that the modesty of a girl is not an ornament but a reason to look down on. This bitter truth came in front of us only when we stepped into this field. Otherwise everyone by LIPS says, “We believe in only what Islam and humanity professes!”
Around two years back, for the first time a family came to see me, after excavating all my bio-data, they almost said yes. The happiness touched the heights like of Eid in our family. It felt as if the two families got what they have been looking for. But alas, it was only an illusion. I didn’t know what kind of an interview it was for me. The eldest lady among them unbraided my hair. Doubting my long hair, they left with an everlasting silence.
Then another family came, three ladies and two males. It looked as if the ladies had directly come from a bridal salon. So much of makeup soured one’s eyes. Again the eldest lady among them started doing postmortem of my nails. When they saw them unpolished, they clearly said, “this much of simplicity doesn’t work now.” With miraculous courage I replied, my simplicity is my asset, my ornament!
My words sounded too outdated to them and without a word they left. I wonder had they never heard that if the water fails to reach nails, neither your Wadhu (ablution) nor Ghusl is valid? How come can one afford to remain impure?
I pondered to all my levels after all what is it that is missing in us. Finally I landed on three points:
First and foremost thing is that we belong to lower caste. Our truthfulness, our qualification is all in vain for our forefathers were never custodians of neither any shrine nor its sermonizers.
Bilal (RA) and Abu Bakr (RA) could enjoy the equal rights. Salman i Farsi from Iran could earn the height of honor and respect in the court of our Beloved Prophet (SAW). A blind primitive, Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Ummi Maktoom (RA) was of more importance against the mighty Qureshs to the extent that a whole Surah was revealed in The Holy Quran in his favor! These are the teachings of Islam we claim we believe in.
Unfortunately in our society, the preachers of these teachings themselves have become such Mehmoods that no Ayaz dares to sit in their company. The reproach and curse of Inequality of social status and the caste system was long heard from Hindus, but encountering my own people, I came to know that we have much excelled them in this field. How come that a daughter of any carpenter can becomes a daughter in law of Syeds’; more to that, how come that a girl from the family of “”ی caste becomes the bride of any potter; unless it be the matter of infatuation between the boy and a girl?
The second reason was my simplicity. I tried all my best to come in sync with their appearance, but to bid goodbye to Islamic way of life and that makeup or dressing which shattered the holy teachings of my beloved Prophet (PBUH) was impossible for me.
And the third reason is that we were not financially so rich that could veil all our shortcomings. We had never learnt to pileup the heaps of wealth and had no mansion raised from the filthy interest money. Later enough we came to know that in this society, there are no buyers of the teachings, nobility, simplicity, and God consciousness that we believed in.
The cure to incurable disease is death, and that is what I am hugging today. The grafting dagger that you see in my heart has indeed my hand on it, but its endowment is from this rotten society. On the trembling Day of Judgment, the question to this society will be asked, “For what sin she was killed? (Al-Quran 81:10)”
I am sacrificing my life with this hope that no sister ever again is kicked off only because she was not born in any higher caste family…”
I was yet to complete this letter of my sister that someone’s wailing elbow hit my bosom. All of a sudden I woke up. My younger brother shook my benumbed body, “brother, why is your body shaking?”
Sweating, I rushed to the room of my sister. I saw this epitome sculpture of faith and nobility in prostration on her prayer rug. After long when she raised her head, the numberless tears from her eyes were twinkling on it.
This “Khota Sikka” (bad penny) may not be acceptable in our society, but indeed in the Eye of Almighty, she has attains an everlasting success and prosperity!