Every year 8th march is observed to celebrate women’s achievements on one hand; raising voice against gender violence, gender inequality and on women’s reproductive rights on the other hand. It’s the day when women all around the globe join their hands to speak against the toxic patriarchal norms. Women of our country have also been observing this day to highlight issues pertaining to women; Aurat March is the extension of that ritual. When and how 8 March was come to be in Pakistan is beyond my knowledge but 2019 is considered to be the foundation stone of this movement. Even for me, it was a window to an enlightening journey. However, the purpose of this blog is not to dig the history but to highlight the recent trends and backlash against Aurat March.
What is Aurat March and its purpose will be left for another time to discuss but since its inception, 3-year-ago, Aurat march has been under persistent fire for various alleged reasons. For some it’s an anti-culture, for others it’s a western agenda to poison Pakistani society. To be honest, both of the allegations have some real basis. If we talk about culture ( men-made) it’s not difficult to see why this march is being considered against our culture. Chadar Aor Chardiwari, although is associated with Zia and his era, the term has somehow been the life of every Pakistani woman (for Pashtoon woman, it’s a sine qua non).
Women are encouraged to practice the life of a deaf and dumb even at the cost of their lives. NO OBJECTION, NO COMPLAIN. Now obviously, a movement that encourages women to speak up against the violation of their rights is definitely going to be labelled anti-culture warranting vicious backlash. For the west-origin, again the allegation is not totally unfounded. Aurat March has the basis of feminism whose genesis could be traced back to the USA, a mainstay of the west. But, wait! Is it only feminism that has the roots of the west? Do not we know that our whole being is besieged by the West and west-conceived aspects? From phones to social media to the loans that our survival depends on have been the favours of the west, then why Feminism is singled out for this origin? Or because it’s about women? You could have differences with Aurat March and feminism but dismissing its validity would be a reckless move.
Since its inception, 3-year-ago, Aurat march has been under persistent fire for various alleged reasons. For some it’s an anti-culture, for others it’s a western agenda to pollute Pakistani society.
In 2019, there were few slogans, in 2020, it was Mera Jisam Mere Marzi and now is the latest weapon, BLASPHEMY. It’s a well-known fact, that Blasphemy has been used as an effective tool to silent dissents and opponents. When every counterassault appears to fail, Pakistanis know, the penalty of blasphemy would not go unnoticed. It’s the only offence that doesn’t need any evidence, any defence to be acquitted of. Once you are accused of blasphemy, nothing could save you from the wrath of our nation. Our history is replete with such examples.
In recent March, however, the indictment was concocted, based on a doctored video. The video was forged by the detractors of Aurat March, altering some of the words to objectionable terms. The purpose was to incite violence against Aurat March and IT WAS ACCOMPLISHED. Anchors who were already notorious for their misogyny grabbed the opportunity and started sharing it to stir the public. Ansar Abbasi, Orya Maqbool and Ovais Mangwala to name a few. They purposely propagated against the organizers of Aurat March. A nation that feeds on hatred was quick to believe a forged video.
Realising the gravity of the issue Aurat March came up with their clarification, posting the real video and explaining how it was wrongly doctored to malign Aurat March but the damage was already done. Even though, those phoney journalists somehow retracted from their original statement calling it their mistake, the public doesn’t seem to. Women are so much despised that someone actually simulated (committed blasphemy) the video to get slain the organizers of the march. As I said, once you are accused of blasphemy, nothing could vindicate you. Once again, the bloodthirsty were electrified to indict women for the crime they never committed in the first place, But who cares? If someone can commit blasphemy (by forging a video)just to accuse someone of blasphemy could be expected of any evil reaction. The video was made by a man, shared by men but the wrath inflicted on women, not those men (the hypocrisy and selective use of religion) Not to forget, those so-called journalists are still adamant to insist on the government banning Aurat March.
If someone can commit blasphemy (by forging a video) just to accuse someone of blasphemy could be expected of any evil reaction. The video was made by a man, shared by men but the wrath inflicted on women, not those men.
Just three days ago a child was raped on the roof of the mosque but there was next to nothing reaction. NO OUTRAGE. Although, the issue was bigger than a forged video, RAPE and on the roof of the MOSQUE by a CLERGYMAN? Besides, no one seemed enough attentive to the person who certainly committed blasphemy by forging and uploading the video, the motives were never to condemn blasphemy but to malign the movement. The dilemma of our society could be gauged better by this issue. The disdain, the resentment, the aggression that is being produced on the slogan of a movement, on the forged video, on a flag; was demonstrated on Gender violence, gender inequality, and rape incidents against children, I believe women would never have required to take to the roads.
Priorities of our nation are obvious.