Latest posts by Huda Bhurgri (see all)
- How It Feels To Be A Talaq Yafta (Divorced) Woman In Pakistan - July 27, 2016
In Hindu tradition a few decades back, women were burnt alive along with their deceased husbands. It was a ritual, aiming to save their honor and giving the most dignified end to their lives. However, without such religious obligations or cultural restraints, we have been doing something similar with Divorced Women in Pakistan.Burning them Alive.
The very word ‘Talaq Yafta’ is a stigma attached to women who are divorced by their husbands.This word/term is always used to refer a divorced woman, not man. What could be rationale about this term and its linkage to women? A majority of women are divorced by their husbands. Their husbands become their masters, they decide singlehandedly when to abandon them and throw them out of the house which she made herself with so much love and passion. It is mainly their decision and their will but they have no baggage, no tag and no stigma attached, only women have. Even women who choose to leave their abusive, drunk and violent husbands do not deserve tags like it – if their spouse is not tagged and stigmatized, as well.
This stigma is not limited to categorization but being divorced means to quit from all worldly pleasures. If you look around, divorced women are bullied for wearing makeup and jewelry. If lipstick is too dark, she is termed ‘vulgar’. If a dress is bit fancy, she is termed ‘slut’. It seems like that people carry a handbook of insults and derogatory remarks to blurt out as they have all rights to do so.
The second dilemma is that marrying for the second time is considered a must for men after the divorce but for women it is nothing more than a lustful wish. All liberal and feminist ideologies set aside, psychologically women born in conservative families are brainwashed to depend on men for social security. After divorce they become vulnerable and it becomes a necessity to remarry. But marriage after divorce is not OKAY with present cultural norms in primitive societies of Pakistan. A woman wishing to re-marry is always subjected to defamation and character assassination.
Moreover, after divorce, women are traumatized by their families. In sociological perspective, a family is the most strong unit of society. When an individual is not given love, care, and respect at his/her home, the chances of social deviance are greater. Likewise after divorce, women look forward to psychological assurance and acceptance from her blood relatives. But sadly, instead of giving her support, boosting her confidence and standing beside her in a tough time, she is treated like a burden. She is blamed for not ‘handling’ her husband wisely. She is alleged for not being ‘patient’ wife. Many women keep their abusive marital relations intact in order to save themselves from such questions and acquisitions.
These divorced women are human but society has been harsh towards them.A gossip, a mockery, and scandals follow divorced women like a dark shadow. They are put in hell fire because they were abandoned or choose to escape life of miseries. The society collectively end lives of many such women and it goes totally unnoticed. Very few might challenge it, but it is the silence of majority which keeps this collective discrimination going.
Next time when you come across a Divorced woman, try to imagine yourself in her shoes before passing a judgment about her. Maybe for an instance, you would realize how it feels to be burnt alive.
Feature Picture Attribution: Huma Qureshi, The Gangs of Waseypur