We’re fair or dark. We’re tall or short. We’re skinny or plump. We’re rich or poor. We’re nice or evil. We’re pretty or ugly. We’re too young or too old. We wear niqaabs or we adorn the skinnies. We are only allowed to become doctors or we choose our own careers. We have men in our lives or we only know our husbands. We’re bold or we’re scared. We sit at dhabas or we are only allowed to go to school. We’re jailed in custom/tradition/values or we’re free to do whatever. We work all day or we sit at home. We marry the men our families select or we choose our own partner. We sheepishly struggle everyday or we embrace the challenges head-on. We succumb to societal pressures or we stand tall on our own pair of feet. We’re ‘sughar’ or we’re ‘bigri hui’. We spend the dad’s money or we’re earning for our families. We’re shopping for ourselves or seeing others shop right before our eyes. We’re driving past red signals or we’re waiting there to beg for alms. We’re smiling or we’re weeping. We’re partying all night long with friends or waiting for boring family dawats for the sake of recreation.
We are all in the same boat. Nothing is ever changing for any of us.
If one Zeenat can get beaten up and burnt to ashes for marrying her boyfriend without the parents’ consent, so can we be beaten up and so will we be beaten up.
If one Maria can be set ablaze for refusing a (marriage) proposal, so can we be set ablaze and so will we be set ablaze.
If one Memoona’s entire life is as handy as a little bottle of acid, so can our lives be attacked with acid and so will our lives be attacked with acid.
If one woman can be filmed in her own house when she changes her clothing, so can we be filmed inappropriately in our own houses and so will we be filmed inappropriately in our own houses.
If one activist gets abused on national TV by a politician, so can we be abused anywhere and everywhere and so will we be abused anywhere and everywhere.
And so we should be.
If raising a voice against such appalling acts of the society is considered digital media feminism and hiding behind screens, we all need to go through all this to realize what it actually feels like. If we’ve sadly become this insensitive to these crimes, we need to experience them personally. And that needs to happen Now. If there’s absolutely nothing done to save the Zeenats and the Marias and the Memoonas on the state level, if the ever-so-convenient dharna rule does not apply to these issues, if the Islamic councils and political parties do not believe they need to bring in religion to these matters instead of the ‘halka phulka’ beating part, if there’s no law enforcement for these crimes, we will all continue to witness these crimes.
We should and we would.