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COMMENT: Disowning intent -Reem Wasay.

Pakistan, June 28 -- ?

My mind is in disarray and my womb is in question. Welcome to the ravages of a particularly foul morning. I am a mother and as such the last few days have watched me suffer a mental mastectomy where the laws of the Almighty have become only a perception in the face of a reality too miserable to labour. A few days ago a woman - a wife, a daughter, a mother - murdered her four children and herself in a scurry of poisonous proliferation. Aged from three to nine, more innocence was bloodied in our land of the dogmatic and destitute. Cut to Sunday and another woman has emerged as the victor in this waltz of the wasted. In Rahimyar Khan a woman threw herself and her minor children onto the railway tracks in utter vulnerability to the approaches of a contestable society. Before ejecting a child from my own biological fray, such snippets would have enlisted a slight pause for presumption but now rapid disgust calls for a deeper deliberation into what it means to be a parent in a society ruled by the ethos of hypocrisy.

I am beside myself with grief - a mother will protect her brood with a feral like ferocity - yet I am in doubt of the morals of my traditions. We live in a society where our ministers of moral manipulation eulogise that ours is a culture guided by a divinity louder - and harsher - than most, and a certain degree of veneration for these symbols of sanctimony. Yet we see a cultish abstinence from practicing what we preach. How can our society be pushed to such a degree of moral and spiritual abandon that entire families are starting to prefer an unseen afterlife to purgatory in this world? Women may be many things but, more often than not, they are predatory parents. If push comes to shove and if doubt turns to threat, a mother will, perhaps, exhibit strengths and raptorial-like determination unknown to even herself. So how does a society push a specimen like that into the abyss of despondency?

It is this land that has cultivated the problem, fusing flawed religious reverence with hypocritical assertions, where a tradition of misguided interpretations has gestated to form the crescent on the green. We cite Islam and the Muslim culture to amplify our restraint from hosting the demons of the West. We uphold our Islamic values to encourage the joint family structure where all live together in a diversified unity yet we fail to address the system when it calls for understanding the needs of the multifarious. The women stated above all pledged to a quick exit from this world because of their inability to sustain cultural connections to the domestic condition most households uphold today. They trampled over their maternal mosaic to rid themselves of the traditions we have upheld in the name of a Muslim culture.

If women enact the unthinkable by killing their children, the legal system in the country, although tutored in the structure of shariat, allows many mothers and fathers a social exercise that justifies ill intentions. Open any paper on any given day and find yourself face to letter with disclaimers announcing the "disownment" of a child for intentions unknown. A typical aak nama will jostle random discontent in the following: "I disown my son/daughter due to their 'disobedience'" - a commonly misemployed excuse. Usually a daughter is disowned in Pakistan if she marries of her own choice, (she could be killed in the name of honour also) and a son is cast off if malice begets motive. It is a matter of record that, in Pakistan, if one decides to follow up on a disclaimer of disownment, they will usually find the sullied spectre of disinheritance looming in the background.

And that, my friends, is what it all boils down to: inheritance. A few bricks and stone housing rapacious resentment, muddy foundations crumbling under the weight of dysfunctional families and shaky vaults storing money freeze-dried in the stormy waters of insecure relationships.

How can parents disown their children? Better put, how can any from within the screaming factions of the myopic pure in the land of chest thumping Islam disown their children? How can the legal system in a land that sleeps with dogma instead of decency advocate one of the most unethical and sacrilegious social stampedes aimed at obliterating the Islamic value of the complete family?

In my mind, disownments are really just the proud rants of impulse-driven parents sitting on their pedestals of misguided propriety to socially justify the step they are about to take. It is funny how the system of the law prefers a vouch of disavowal before proceedings (although the court does not require it) to make the quest of usurping the disowned child's rights easier. What sort of law is this? What sort of an Islamic utopia is this?

It is puzzling. We live in a society where we flout Islam on our sleeve and act defensively and self-righteously when confronted with reformist opinion and revisionary grey lines. ? Islam, under no circumstance, allows for such a meaningless display of petty power. It is sealed in scripture that even if a parent loves one child more than another, that even if a child has ascended the craggily hills of revolt and waywardness, it is a sin to disown them. A child gifted by God can only be judged by Him alone, not the vessels through which He wishes to see his creations flourish.

With death, misery and rejection almost like a perverse birth right, heaven seems nowhere near a mother's feet.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Daily Times. For more information on news feed please contact Sarabjit Jagirdar at

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Publication:Daily Times (Lahore, Pakistan)
Date:Jun 28, 2010
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