Thought of P. R. Sarkar
Although men have publicly declared that women should be respected as the mothers of society, they have actually relegated them to the status of domestic cattle and sheep.
In every sphere of life men have either substantially limited the rights of women, or made the ability of women to exercise their rights subject to the whims and caprices of men. Such an attitude never existed among the primitive human beings who lived at the dawn of human history. Nor had primitive men conceived of the deceitful practice of establishing their supremacy by keeping women in bondage in the name of social purity. Even today among primitive races we do not find significant lack of magnanimity concerning the freedom of women.
Everyone should realize that to construct or preserve anything, there must be close cooperative action among the constituent parts. Human beings are not lifeless matter, so not only should all of their collective structures be based on cooperation, but that cooperation must be of a special type. It should not be based on the relation of master and servant, but on mutual cordiality. It should be a coordinated cooperation and not a subordinated one.
What sort of treatment have women received so far?
It is very true that women have gradually lost their rights or freedom in certain cases due to lack of competence. There are those who think that, because of this, special abilities are the only criteria for having rights. Such people, however, actually want women to be wageless slaves under the strict supervision of men. But is it merely due to their lack of competence that women have lost their rights?
Have not the overflowing sentiments of their hearts also been partly responsible?
Have not women, swayed by their emotions, ignored their own petty interests and gradually given everything – even the high social status that fascinates them – to their husbands, sons and brothers?
Is it not reasonable to expect human beings (certainly human beings are not animals) to pay proper respect to such humility and large-heartedness?
If a guest arrives unexpectedly, who volunteers to forgo a meal to feed the guest?
Who deprives herself first when a delicious dish is prepared?
Who leaves home to keep house for others, giving up her paternal property rights (regardless of what the law says)?
Are not these observations applicable throughout most of the world?
I do not say that men are ordinary human beings and that women are angels; I have only focused on women as human beings and mentioned their special qualities. Does a husband, when his wife is ill, nurse her with as much care as she nurses him when he is ill?
Freedom is attained through struggle. No one offers it on a platter, because freedom is not a gift; it is one’s birthright. But as far as the rights which women have lost today, at least so it seems in most countries of the world, a proper socio-psycho-analysis shows, I should say, that women have not really lost their freedom; rather, they have trustingly placed their destiny in the hands of men. This is the plain truth. That is why I cannot but laugh when I see a certain type of snobbish lady, who pretends to be learned, entrust her children to the care of a maidservant or nurse, travel about in a car purchased by her husband, attend meetings, and make lengthy speeches on the freedom of women.
It must always be remembered that freedom, or liberty, and license are not the same thing. The concept of women’s freedom is good, but license should not be encouraged in the name of liberty. Giving license to either men or women could destroy the social structure in a short time. Hence those who are the most vocal in proposing the freedom of women must carefully consider the form this proposed freedom shall take.
When we pay recognition to any simple truth, we should not be carried away by sentimentality. Only rationality based on humanism is acceptable. As children of nature, women should have the same access as men to light, air, earth and water. In fact, it is not a matter of granting rights to women, but rather a case of recognizing their rights. If, however, the recognition of women’s rights is treated sentimentally,(1) it may result in great social disaster.
— P. R. Sarkar
How the group is rationalizing its attack on Malala Yousufzai.
Yousufzai, the 14-year-old schoolgirl, who was wounded in a gun attack in northwest Pakistan’s Swat Valley. (Reuters)
The Pakistani Taliban has provided its justification for the shooting of a 14-year-old schoolgirl who made a name for herself by challenging the Islamist group’s crackdown on girls’ education. In a letter issued following international condemnation of the shooting of Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat Valley, the Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan (TTP) states its case for the attack and threatens anyone who challenges its strict interpretation of Shari’a law. Signed by TTP spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan, the letter was sent to RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal as well as other Pakistani and international media organizations early on October 10.
The letter, written in English, says a Taliban gunman “successfully targeted” Yousafzai “although she was young and a girl and the TTP does not believe in attacking women.” It says Yousafzai, who gained global recognition at the age of 11 through an online diary she wrote for the BBC about TTP influence in her hometown of Mingora, was shot because “whom so ever leads a campaign against Islam and Shariah is ordered to be killed by Shariah.”
The letter accuses Yousafzai of being “pro-West,” promoting Western culture, and speaking out against Taliban militants — charging that Yousafzai’s “personality became a symbol of an anti-Shariah campaign.” Using the term for Islamic holy warriors to refer to Taliban militants, the letter says that “Yousafzai was playing a vital role in bucking up the emotions” of Pakistan’s military and government “and was inviting Muslims to hate mujahideen.”
The letter goes on to argue that “[i]t is a clear command of Shariah that any female who, by any means, plays a role in the war against mujahideen should be killed.” It then seeks to justify the shooting of the schoolgirl by citing passages from the Koran in which a child or woman was killed.
“If anyone argues about [Yousafzai’s] young age, then [consult] the story of Hazrat Khizar in the Koran relating that Hazrat Khizar — while traveling with the Prophet Musa — killed a child,” the letter reads. “Arguing about the reason for his killing, he said that the parents of this child are pious and in future [the child] will cause a bad name for them.”
For those who argue against Yousafzai’s shooting was not justifiable because she was female, the letter says, “then we can see the incident [in the Koran] of the killing of a wife by a blind companion of the Prophet Muhammad because she spoke insulting words about the Prophet. And the Prophet praised this act.”
The letter also addresses criticisms of the TTP’s stance against girls’ education. “The Tehrik Taliban’s crime wasn’t that they banned education for girls. Instead our crime is that we tried to bring the education system for both boys and girls under Shariah,” the letter reads. “We are deadly against coeducation and a secular education system, and Shariah orders us to be against it.”
The Taliban’s justification concludes with a threat, saying: “If anyone thinks that Malala is targeted because of education, that’s absolutely wrong and is propaganda by media. Malala is targeted because of her pioneer role in preaching secularism and so-called enlightened moderation. And whom so ever will commit so in the future too will be targeted again by the TTP.”
Analyst: Shailendra Kumar Lal