This is not a criticism, but a serious concern for women overseas. Those women who, I believe, are determinedly oppressed and have limited ‘rights’, if no rights. You must be thinking I am about to talk about Saudi women or Pakistani women. Well maybe you are wrong. I am about to bring people’s attention to Hindu women.

For long Islam has been criticized for mistreating women. I would simply say, ‘get your facts straight’!

I watched the movie ‘water. This Indian movie (Relax! I am not about to publicize my sins…I don’t watch Indian movies but this one was for a purpose. I would actually recommend all Muslims to watch it, especially sisters, and thank Allah for Islam!) is based upon the treatment of widows in Hinduism.. This movie will make you cry even if you are a man and especially if you have daughters.

And then I wonder why and how people have the nerve to criticize Islam for mistreating women. Why all the attention towards Islamic misogyny (my pet peeve these days—an oxymoron) while thousands of Hindu women suffer in the hands of men in the same part of the world?

Hindu women suffering is not only limited to widows but even married women have serious issues. Apparently there is no ‘marriage registration’ is Hinduism. It is a ‘bond’ that need no paper-work! This has caused some serious problems for the women because men has used it for their ‘advantage’.

At least Islam doesn’t recognize a marriage without two witnesses, walhamdullilah.

Moreover, there is no divorce in Hinduism either. It is a famous statement that parents tell their daughters at the time of her marriage, ‘Now your husband’s house is your house, only death can separate you from there!’ According to the Dharmashastras, a widow is supposed to be immolated with the corpse of her husband, also known as the act of ‘suti’. What happens to the widows who do not get ‘suti’ is well shown in Deepa Mehta’s Water. I suppose getting ‘suti’ is the better of the two options!

Hindu women also don’t have any inheritance rights, perhaps that is why they have the tradition of dowry. This however has become a problem.

When I was small, we were visiting Pakistan once. One day I woke up to find everyone in my grandma’s house discussing the issue of dowry (Islam calls for dower-mahr– and not dowry, there is a big difference between the two) because the headline of the newspaper that day was about 5 Hindu sisters who had committed suicide in India. I still remember seeing their picture hanging from the ceiling using their own ‘dupattas’. They belonged to a poor family and their father could not afford to pay off their dowry. They felt a burden upon their parents and were criticized by their society for not being married. I suppose the emotional pain must have been unbearable that’s why accepting the pain of suicide was rather easier for them!

FIVE sisters of the same family collectively in the same night had hung themselves in their own room. I wonder now, how painfully they must have planned it, which one of them had suggested it to the others…the youngest one or maybe the oldest one who had lived longer to see the reality of poverty and trauma of her parents not being able to afford her dowry…suitors that came and left just because she couldn’t bring a fortune with her. Which one hung herself first? The oldest one or the youngest one? Did the last one mourn her sisters’ death first before hanging her ownself? Didn’t the horror of seeing her sisters dead bodies stop her from committing suicide or was the horror of living a life with not enough money for dowry was stronger?

By Allah, till this day I remember their picture, I remember their closed eyes and their tilted necks around which were tightly tied their yellowish green dupattas…unfortunately this problem still persists:

 

Where are all the ‘humanitarians’ and where is the Western cry of misogyny now? Why is there a special interest in ‘sympathizing’ with Saudi women just because they cannot drive to the mall everyday? What about these Hindu women who cannot even drive their own lives??!!

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