Originally written in Urdu by Zahid Mughal.
Imagine a woman whose husband, father, brother, son, or any other close relative has taken full responsibility of supporting her financially. He considers it his responsibility to accompany her while going anywhere for the sake of her protection. He brings everything she needs to her door step, he spends his lifelong earnings on her happily, he provides good food and clothes for her, he is willing to die to protect her dignity. And eventually, albeit unwillingly, he even places the household matters in the hands of the same woman.
The concept that, in our society, a woman living in a joint family system is not capable of making decisions is a myth. Every husband knows how empowered a woman usually becomes in a family system when the kids become a little older. The woman who has been described here is not a fictional woman. In fact, even today, the majority of the women in our society are more or less enjoying these exact privileges. Indeed some women face injustice and cruelty due to the defeat and demise of the family system and due to these women becoming members of the market system. However, the structure of the family system has nothing to do with these atrocities despite what the liberals would have you believe. If that was the case, the rest of the majority would have become a victim of these atrocities too.
Now compare the above with a woman who herself is responsible for her economic support, the burden of household duties and the kids is also on her shoulders. She has to prepare breakfast in the morning, she has to prepare kids (for school), she has to arrange the lunch for the kids, she has to face the hardships in the office, she has to lend an ear to the ramblings of her boss, she has to prepare dinner for everyone in the evening, she has to do the laundry. If she gets lucky, she might get her hands on a husband who is willing to commit and spend the rest of his life with her. Otherwise she has to carry all these burdens by herself. This is the description of the life of the majority of women of the modern and progressive society. For her survival and protection, this woman needs these processes, items and services which she has to ‘buy’ from the market. Hence, in this system, a woman has no choice but to maintain her purchasing power and remain a member of the market. This is oppression against women by this system.
Same is the case with Human Rights, the markets based on them and the democratic system; as they have reduced the unit of a society to an individual and in doing so they have placed the burden of economic support of a woman on her own shoulders. Of all the atrocities inflicted on women throughout human history, this is the greatest. Because, for one, this places a burden on this gender which contradicts the very purpose she was created for. Secondly, the modern system disguises this injustice and evil under the covers of equality and good and makes it an acceptable behavior for human beings. From this aspect, this is an even bigger cruelty than hitting a woman for no reason; as this act has more or less been considered bad by all societies and ideologies. But the promotion of professionalism in women and the act of their marketization is being presented under the seemingly good slogans of freedom and independence. In the market system, men and women are individuals; here both of them are dependent on impersonal and procedural state institutions for their protection. In areas that are out of the reach of the state, (obviously the state can’t be present everywhere) the powerful ‘individual’ dominates the weak ‘individual’. This is why the potential for rape crimes increases a lot with the spread of the market system. On the other hand, in the traditional community system, the ‘mehram’ relatives (and sometimes the close and reliable ‘na mehram’ relatives in the family) form a protective ring around the woman. This is why rape crimes are very rare in a traditional society as it becomes extremely difficult for a person (or some persons) to find a woman alone and make her the target of his fantasies without anyone finding out.
Out of both women, who is more secure and enjoying a more comfortable life? Why is there such a stark difference between the living conditions of the two? The basic reason for this is that one woman is a member of a system which is based on a lifestyle of natural disposition in a God-conscious culture, one which is built on love and brotherhood. The second woman has been made the piece of a culture which is built on materialism for the purpose of Capital growth and satisfaction of worldly pleasures, and the system is not willing to provide her with a way out of this culture. This is why the first woman is secure whereas the second woman is vulnerable. Those ‘intellectuals’ and ‘scholars’ who think that there is no need to try to bring the current system down because it does not treat anyone with cruelty are completely devoid of wisdom. Their meaningless analyses stop them from fighting this system because they think that this system does not cause trials, cruelty and corruption in the land. Whereas the truth is that no society or state in human history has ever destroyed and ruined civilization to the extent this so-called progressive and modern culture has.
But why is this modern human being hell-bent on snatching the protection of a secure woman by making her a victim (just like man) of the cruelty and injustices of the market? Why does he think that this is the most sensible and reasonable thing to do? The reason is that the modern human being aims for freedom, i.e. Capital growth itself; and everything in this universe (including other human beings) is a means to achieve this goal. Hence, a woman is no exception to this principle. The desire of catalytic increase in the reproduction process is the actual perversion of his core.
The blog was first published on The Defiance on 31 October, 2013.