Behind the Veil.

   sub·ju·gate tr.v. To bring under control (someone or something).

 To make subordinate or subject to the dominion.

Today, I write these words with shame. Shame because my country’s ignorance, shame because of the things I am aware but helpless to do anything about them. Staying in India, it doesn’t give me the feel of freedom but rather a down cast repression. this is not about rape even though it sends chills up my spine whenever I come across the gruesome incidents. We rather tend to forget the main issue here, Gender discrimination. It saddens me to tell you that, every hour of every day I am constantly reminded that men are more superior dashing us out with their invisible crowns. May it be on the road side where the daughter is brutally beaten up by her father because she didn’t serve right or a drunken husband pulling his wife’s hair cause she talked back to him. The thing that bothers me most is absence of development on such situations.

This morning my friend from sewing class had called. She had magically disappeared into thin air few days ago. My tutor and I were worried sick as she had brought all joy and fun to the long hours we spent. Afra was just running nineteen, already married three years past and has a baby girl. Oh my. I still remember, the day she entered our class, wearing full black abhaya, veil covered only letting her huge eyes popped out. My tutor was so shocked, she literally asked if she ran away from home. Apparently, in India, it seems so that its rare for any Muslim girl, even to step out of her house. This hurt me more when I came to know how bad she was treated at home. During the first year of marriage, she was stalked by the husband’s aunt. Moreover, the house guard was informed not to let he out of the house and not to allow anyone to enter without his permission. While my emotions were aghast, my tutor was not a bit worried. She in fact just crossed her legs and asked “aren’t you taking a risk? I dint expect you to come longer than a week.” The sudden disappearance however made us both worried sick as she always would call or at least leave a voice note. Today morning an anonymous call came. usually I never attend these but my instincts just lead me to answer. From the other end came Afra’s whimper. She had been locked in the house more than a week by her husband has a man-superior complex. He is a rickshaw driver and felt threatened after her sewing, she might start earning better than him. He also convinced himself and her family that the world outside her home will expose her with “bad influences“. He also felt she had an affair, which she didn’t. Talk about faith, till death do us apart. *snorts*

During the house arrest Afra found out that her husband’s ex had contacted him and is working her way to get back to him. It scared her most was when he dissolved pills to her coffee and threatened to kill her if she didn’t give him a divorce. Apparently, he wanted to put up a good husband face in front of the society and she being the mean bitch who gave him the divorce. Guantanamo bay, please take him away. My tutor smiled at me and said, “it happened, finally“. So here my tutor was anticipating for this to happen. This is what is the mind-set of people living here. They don’t feel shocked. Rather, it becomes just another gossip in town. And the culture we uphold to with so much pride is nothing but a mere myth. A divorce is just another event in a Muslim family, a secret gathering among Hindus and a celebration for fellow Christians. My tutor is herself a victim of family torture. She is the one among the women who shut up and bare it all inside. She told me what happens inside mostly all homes of India the four walls built to torture than protect, the egotistic men and their ideology of women – perfect home maker, sex toy with no opinionated mouth and ready to show her cheeks when his hands twitch. Fifty shades of grey without mutual agreement is more like it. The very thought sickens but reality can do that to you.

We can’t bring about changes in one day. We cannot expect everyone’s mentality to change. We cannot force someone to give up on their believes all at once. But we can spread the word. Thousands may hear and forget but there’s still hope that One among will listen and start treating his wife equal and give freedom his sister to pursue her dreams.

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