Taboo results from generations of rejecting behaviors, acts and talks which they seem unacceptable. And are a major concern in the world, especially in a country like Pakistan where cultural, religious, ethical and moral values are questioned upon.
However, some taboos are considered a curse while others as a blessing which depends on either they are on the way of Islam or not.
Being a girl is a constant struggle if you belong to a patriarchal society like Pakistan.
Dowry is one of the major forms of the struggle woman’s face.
This practice is so into the Pakistani culture that even knowing that it is nonreligious; bride’s parents are forced to do that.
Islam has allowed dowry but not as an obligation. Newlywed brides are burned with acids and abused (Victim Sabira sultan burned by gasoline on not providing enough dowry) if they don’t come up with the demands of the groom’s family which I find depressing. The main purpose of dowry is to gift the daughter rather than giving gold, property and money to please her husband. It was only a matter of choice, not a compulsion. Individual efforts can change it.
The best dowry given by parents to their daughter is education, which makes her financially strong and stable and not her in-laws.
‘It is not the dowry which is bad but the demand which makes the society to suffer’
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is what it is named as. But still, some groups have less knowledge of Islam. Surprisingly, it is considered ill and bad if anyone raises a question about Islam. People are even treated oddly if they have some query. In fact, it is good to ask instead of believing in biased suppositions, as clearing one’s mind will make a stronger faith in Islam.
Mental health has become a stigma between people. Neither anyone wants to talk about it nor take it seriously but consider it as attention-seeking behavior.
How one can even think that he/she describes her self having panic attacks, anxiety, depression and crying out loud just to catch attention?
If your brain is healthy you are healthy, we must understand it instead of ignoring it and terming the person as ‘Pagal’.
Most survivors are asked if they have failed in a relationship; this thinking should also be changed. One can be depressed due to academics, family or financial issues. People who are fighting mental illnesses should stay strong and the society who finds them unfit or psycho needs a broader perspective.
Imagine yourself living in a country where a chunk of people doesn’t even consider you human?
Transgenders and the LGBT community is still begging for their rights and recognition in Pakistan.
However, media has associated them with prostitution and it’s no more than a hidden thing that they go through discrimination. We need to accept them as citizens and of course as human beings.
God has made them the way they are, we have no right to judge them.
Can’t agree that menstruation is natural? And is neither a thing to be ashamed of, nor to be hidden?
We’re usually forced not to talk about it publicly. Why?
Men know, women know, kids are taught about that, so from whom we are hiding it? Considering women dirty and embarrassing her on having it is so ridiculous. I see parents hiding it from their grown-up sons, they need to be informed so they can make a change and instead of laughing on a girl having cramps and cravings. He should be kind to her.
There are still 40% of girls having no education about it in tribal areas of Baluchistan which make the situation even worse. Let’s make it a normal thing to talk about which almost half of the population goes through every month.
I hear harassment incidents of young girls, even boys are harassed physically by their maulvis, teachers and drivers. Later their parents ask them to stay quiet and expect them to heal by themselves out of magic. We never report such cases because our society is always waiting to gossip on it.
These issues are real and even if physical wounds heal, mental don’t; we need to support the victims and survivors and report these incidents so that they don’t get repeated.
We live in a harsh society where the rape victim is considered the real cause.
How can we as a society think that a victim wants herself to be raped?
If she really wanted it then it won’t be considered rape. I see people asking which clothes did the victim wore? Should we need to ask the parents of an 8-year-old child that what was she wearing? Or to a father of 4-year-old that why he let her go to buy candies with his uncle?
This is unbelievable. There are hundreds of cases in Pakistan where own family members are involved in such activities. There are several cases of sexual abuse to a child and later many of this victims are murdered. When adult girls are raped, instead of reporting it the victim is always asked to stay silent because ‘log Kya kahenge’ (What will People say?)
We see abuse everywhere, either in marriage or parents beating their child or shopkeeper scolding his child worker. It is wrong no matter who does it, and what the reason is.
This is often ignored by saying ‘Andar ka mamla’ (Personal business).
These are never taken up in order and if does, they are never reported.
Couples in abusive marriages are told to compromise and not to get divorced which is considered a shameful act. A divorced woman is usually criticized and degraded. Being a virgin in Pakistan is so important as the women from the first marriage are considered impure for second marriage and that’s the reason parents don’t want their daughters to get divorced and consider them as ‘bhoj’.
It needs to be acceptable even God doesn’t like an unhappy marriage where the couple lives a miserable life.
‘A divorced daughter is better than a dead one’
We see daughters and wives killed just because they did something on their will. How does even killing your own blood considered honour?
Girls marrying on their wish or not tolerating distressed lives with their husband is often considered disrespect and shame.
Islam gives equal rights to women to take their life decisions by themselves and it’s also legal in Pakistan. Who are we to change it?
Many groups in Pakistan still prioritize beta over beti (Son over daughter) and women pregnant with a daughter is not even congratulated but is asked to abort.
Aborting for such reasons is a sin. On the other side, aborting a fetus is often considered murder, a baby having no heartbeat can be aborted as per Islam says. As per the law, baby having any anomaly can be aborted even after 12 weeks so it is our society who creates issues out of this too. People need to learn about it and not repeat the same mistakes which were done in past by people of Madinah who used to kill a girl child every time she was born.
In the western world, it is often said not to check a woman’s purse or her CNIC to see how aged she is. This is why women lie about their age. There is nothing to hide about just a number, as 40 is a new 20!
To conclude, social taboos are just the mentality of a large group of people whom others follow to get appreciation and not criticism.
To bring the change, we need to stand up for the right and fight for the wrong.
Remember, RIGHT IS RIGHT EVEN IF NO ONE DOES IT AND WRONG IS WRONG EVEN IF EVERYONE DOES IT.
I hope people would get the motive behind this and would follow the same.
‘Change always starts with one, be that!’
Uswah Shaikh is a medical student in her late teens. She continues to write along with her chaotic studies. Her write-ups would be on the harsh realities of society, a soft slap of truth to the world.