The recent bone-chilling episodes of girl-child abuse that occurred in Pakistan and Kashmir have ripped off the clothes of humanity. Girls are a true blessing of God, the coolness of the eyes of Baaba and Ami. In the context of the abuse of girl children, I have a reminisce to share. Last night, while scrolling down my Facebook screen, I came across an interesting post. The particular stuff described an extra-ordinary fact that is often brushed aside. I would like to reproduce the core fact here, with necessary illustrations:
“A father-son duo was playing in a lawn. The father was deliberately losing to make his son win. Again and again! Each time the small victory would illuminate the face of his young son, bubbling with joy over every win. The father would find a unique source of solace and contentment in every loss. His daughter, whom he had brought along too, was seated over a nearby bench. She was watching the entire scene with her eyes locked on the duo. While the face of her father would brighten with every loss, the same would make hers grim. She could easily read the solace on the face of her father though, who was losing deliberately and laughing over every smile and win of his son. Suddenly the girl child got up, tears rolling down her rosy cheeks. In a broken voice she cried to his father, “Baäba!… Please….. let me play now and make you win..again and again”.
That is the nature of the girl child who grows but not without the distinction of sacrifice. Seven year old Zainab was not dissimilar for her parents, who were on a holy pilgrimage to perform Umrah. Princess Zainab was abducted, brutally molested, killed and thrown into a heap of garbage like a mutilated rose. The images of her devastated father that appeared on TV screens were heart-breaking.
Heart-rending images of the ill-fated Zainab were shared on social media as a mark of solidarity and sympathy. The wound was still fresh and bleeding, when similar spine-chilling news broke out. An eight year old girl, belonging to a poor nomadic community (Bakerwal) of Kathua district of Jammu province met the same fate. Asifa Bano was forcibly abducted, molested and killed, leaving her parents in the same shock and trauma as that of Zainab of Pakistan. The girl belonged to a marginalized community of not more than 40 households, with least privileges. To borrow a line from Arundhati Roy, “She was perhaps one of the children of a lesser God”. And, perhaps for the same reason, the selective condemnation brigade was almost invisible, which had created the storm nearly a month before. When the Bollywood sensation of Kashmir, Zaira Waseem suffered on account of inappropriate advances in a plane, her story hogged the TV screens and the social media. But, the tragedy of the ill-fated Bakerwal girl was brushed aside with criminal ease.
Zainab and Asifa were borders apart but both were conjoined by the union of a brutal tragedy. The bubbling eyes of both the girls had harbored colorful dreams. All of whom were shattered. All I can do is pray to God that these goriest crimes be the last of its kind. The conscience of an average human cannot afford to see such heart-rending incidents to develop as a disturbing trend.
As of now, both Zainab and Asifa are nestled safe in the lap of God. Their bruised souls flying over our heads must be mocking at the plastic democracies and our paralyzed justice institutions. We have failed them at all the three levels, which are debatable in the context of problem-diagnosis and the subsequent solution finding.
Late last night a video surfaced on face book, wherein the devastated parents of Asifa were interviewed. An upset mother made a shocking revelation in the footage, that none of the so called leaders had visited the family so far , for mourning or expressing solidarity. There was neither a rich vote bank nor a political event and so the political classes did not bother to pay even a ceremonial visit. At this level, the highest one, justice is a beautiful word imprisoned within the politically victimized books of law.
Schools, colleges, universities and Masjids and madrasas are the pillars of learning and character building in any Muslim territory. Our contemporary educational scenario displays a grim picture. The business-centric educational set-up that we have allowed to groom over our heads stands reduced to the factories of making robots. Our Masjids and madrasas share the brightest history of being the centers of moral education, love, peace, progress , prosperity, welfare and solutions. Most unfortunately we have ourselves victimized such collective avenues of inspiration to our blind penchant for sects and tanzeems. Such a deliberate misadventure is not reduced to Mohalla level Masjids only but it has contributed largely to the plight of entire Muslim world, which displays a grim picture.
The heart-breaking failure at multiple levels does not free us from our individual responsibilities. We need to introspect. We are the best judges of ourselves and no one can judge our moral and human credentials better than us. We need to re-look and contemplate at our own conduct towards the gender community, who are with us at schools, tuition centers, colleges, work places and even in our homes. A society is born out of individuals. It is we who decide and contribute towards the formation of a particular world around us.
Twin innocent souls of Zainab and Asifa, flying through the vast chest of heaven are mocking at our failure too. A Revolution is born out of an idea, backed by internal energy, which arises only from internal purity and sincerity. Let’s make the planet a better place. Let’s start a revolution. Let’s be better human beings.
—The author is a Sopore based freelancer from Kashmir. He has pursued Post Graduation in Computer Sciences from Kashmir University and can be reached at: [email protected]