By Shabana Wali
“Why you people vend your daughters far away from their motherland, isn’t it a sin?”
A question asked by a friend of mine pinched into my heart like the sharp edge of the sparkling sword. I got goose bumps finding no way to escape myself from her fretting query. “I had better leave,” I excused in order getting away from that place. “You hail from Chitral if I am not wrong”, she antagonized once again. “Yes I am aboriginal Chitrali,” I ventured to gather words to be uttered in order to answer her. “Can you tell me isn’t it pitiful to let your daughters be the prey of tyranny? I ask you because I have seen a Chitrali woman bearing lifelong jeopardy, peril and antipathy in my neighbor. I have been hearing about her abnegation from my childhood, I don’t know for what crime she has been awarded everlasting castigation… My mother says that she had been sold by her parents for the sake of few thousand rupees that’s why she is being treated just like a slave. Is this so that the people of your valley themselves lead their daughters like a flock of lambs to the slaughterhouse? Why to let them crawl like the insects if they need to fly in the heights of reverence? Why they do not look back in which plight their daughters pass through all alone among the bizarre people?” A series of questions uttered from her lips leaving me in perplexity.
I gathered some courage and a few words to defend my people… “Look, have you ever heard of a father who prefers his own pleasure over his child’s prosperity? Obviously, your answer will be NO. I will present you some reasons which lead to such situations. Firstly, every culture possesses some customs, standards and norms which distinguish them from others. The lap of Hindu Kush Range had coddled a novel culture detached from the rest of the Country and bestowed it with some sort of customs too which are being practiced without any hesitation. Receiving money from the bridegroom is one of the norms of the valley which may be unusual for you, for you it may be the price of the girl but for us it is the part of our custom not more than that. This misunderstanding may lead to master/slave issue.”
“Secondly, third person who acts as an envoy may play role in the initiation of such problems. He may receive huge amount of money secretly without letting the father know about. This is known to all that the so-called human beings of today think only of their own profits.”
“Thirdly, being bounded within the stupendous mountains we think of the cities as a habitation free from any sort of tribulation, suffering and distress. Therefore, most of our daughters themselves choose their fortune in order to get rid of the rural life. Sometimes, the parents become the prey of delusion by relying blindly on the false appearance of the bridegroom whose fallacious act leads to such carnage. But after the tempest has sunk the ship of their daughter’s happiness they are left with no options except letting the tempest take away the plucked flower of their garden.”
Though, I endeavored a lot to satisfy her but eternally my own self was not satisfied because what she told me was not untrue. Recently, while travelling down towards a city I came across a young lady, who seemed lost somewhere in the world of nothingness, unaware of anything, sighting outside with empty eyes, searching for something which her own self does not know. Unintentionally, I asked her about her destination and received a deep breath in response. “Kabul”, uttered in a soothing tone by her pale lips. Tears coursed down her bothered cheeks and she closed her watery eyes for a while. “We were told that he lives in Peshawar and belongs to a wealthy and reputable family, my family relied blindly and I was wed. After spending two days in the new place I came to know that I was brought to Kabul far away from my motherland having yolk of responsibilities on my little shoulders. Not only I became the prey of their plan, my family was also told on the day of my Nikah, unintentionally my family sent me with them in order to protect me from the verbal attack of the people. Though, I am silent but there lies an everlasting pain and never ending complains behind my sealed lips, but to whom I do complain, my parents, my fortune, or the one whose hypocrisy lead to this situation.” Sadness came upon me but I could not say anything, I departed from that dejected spirit with eyes flooded with tears.
The only request to the parents of my valley is, “Please do not let the flowers of your garden be disrobed because without their aroma your autumns will never ever turn into springs”. For God sake without revealing intimate details do not hand over your daughters to such strange people otherwise their jubilant shouts will snatch away the songs of ecstasy which you ever enjoy.
By Shabana Wali