Samar Khan and Jemima Afridi belong to remote areas of Pakhtunkhwa Watan. The sphere of life for women in these areas is as narrow as it is now, never before.
They also know how to pave the way for the girls who are left behind in the circle. He has chosen a bicycle to walk on this path. This cycle has been carefully developed in the factories of consciousness. A lantern is hanging on one side of the bicycle handle and a bag full of books is hanging on the other side. It is equipped with wheels of evolution, which have a gradient in speed and order.
This cycle is moving noiselessly through the trails of time and leaves few questions where it passes. These questions give a slight hint towards independence. This gesture creates a crack in the worn-out walls of tradition, which gradually turns into a fissure. Through this crack, Roshni descends inside the house and secretly shows a way to a girl bound by customs. A path, leading to life.
You must have read the Japanese novel Twenty-four Eyes. In this novel, there is a fisherman’s village, with Goodbye on the exit and Welcome on the entrance. From here the youths are sent to the holy war to the echo of war hymns and the dead bodies are received to the echo of the hymns.
There is a school by the lake, in which twelve children study. For teachers, these children are just twelve brains, but for a young year-old, they are twenty-four eyes. The teachers want to enlighten the twelve minds with the spirit of martyrdom, but Istani wants to light the lamp of life in the twenty-four bowls of the eyes.
Astani comes to teach by bicycle from two miles away. For the first time, his bicycle whizzed through the town, and the air of surprise was blown. It was a new thing even for the students when they reached the school. The boys laughed and exchanged sexist phrases. It is modern, westernized, shameless, wicked. Girls’ sentences were completely different. Some of the phrases were what they had learned at home. Like, “Look at her hair, look at her clothes.” Some of the sentences were those that were coming out of his heart. Like “I wish I could ride a bicycle too. How much fun it would be to go so fast on the road.
The bicycle did not have the language to say anything, but the bicycle had an impression, which it left on the minds of the girls. It was an expression of freedom, equality and self-reliance. They realized that these roads, which are only for men, we can claim our share by cycling. In the fight for rights, a man is afraid of losing a lot. A woman is sure to get a lot back. The sense of both is not the same, so how can the comments be the same?
Pakistan is the fisherman’s town in the Japanese novel. Its entry and exit routes originate from Pakhtunkhwa. By passing through these routes, young men are thrown into wars, and their dead bodies are collected through these routes. Here it is the responsibility of mothers to give birth to children to nurture martyrdom. They can only receive the body, read the funeral and cannot go to the cemetery. In the schools here, recruitment teachers are teaching the virtues of death and some girls are trying to advance the times by spinning the bicycle pedals.
As the cycle passes through Lindi Kotal, the old people who are afraid of the new, hold up banners saying, “A woman’s real place is her home.” A little further, the same people have taken away the right of women to go to a park, which has “Family Park” written on its entrance. There is an incident in the same area, when a religious leader was asked, “Why are there no women in your sit-in?” “We are enough to represent our women,” he said with a laugh.
Until the 18th century, Western law held that a husband’s vote was sufficient to represent his wife. To put the finishing touches on this outdated idea, when women went out around the world, some of the girls even appeared in front of the British Parliament. “Your rightful place is your home,” said a member of Parliament. He said mockingly, you guys can only do the work of washing the dishes properly, what should you do. A rebel girl stepped forward and said, “Of course, we have to wash the dishes. We left the house just to wash the dishes. We will leave each pot properly cooked, even those pots that are lying inside this Parliament”.
The next century saw the outmoded intellectual content of the roadblocks consigned to the dustbin of history and the girls on bicycles arriving in Parliament to clean up all the mail that had accumulated on the vessels of constitution and law for centuries. We are drawn back into the past centuries, but the inscription of the next century is also emerging on the surrounding walls. Cycles have descended on the unpaved paths of evolution. When these cycles complete their cycles in the orbit of perseverance and courage, they will look back.
The children will sweep the dust off the bicycles with the banners that determine the “original location” of the woman and the daughters of the road blockers will leave their homes and write the constitution of new mornings and new evenings.
Note: Opinions expressed in any DW Urdu blog, comment or column are the personal opinions of the author, with which DW does not necessarily agree.
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