I’m sure you all have heard the phrase “loug kya kahein ge” once in your lifetime, regardless of your gender or class, perhaps by an aunty in your neighborhood or by your most ‘tradition-abiding’ paternal aunt. We, as children, are taught that the most insignificant of people can have the most significant of effects on our lives and can wreak havoc just by simply passing the most impetuous of statements. We are taught to fear being judged, yet are also taught to judge others based on what they wear, how they talk, who they talk to and certain other things which are subjective to each and every individual and what they want.
We tell ourselves that we have the liberty and freedom to do whatever pleases us, and on the 14th of August, we graciously celebrate our so-called ‘freedom’. But do we really possess any freedom? The truth is that we do not, and the worst part of this is that we choose to turn a blind eye to this.
The reality is that we still teach our boys to enshroud their true feelings behind a veil of masculinity and we still teach our girls to fly high, but not higher than the man with the magnificent excuse “loug kya kahein ge.”
We live in a society where we are taught to be our own diverse and unique individual, yet on every mistake we make, we are continuously criticized for not being more like Aisha, the perfect paternal cousin, ‘taya ki beti.’
This is a society where we want our kids to dream big, yet when they say that they want to be an astronaut, artist, singer or actor, we rush to tell them about the evils of going into such fields, bottom line being that “loug kya kahein ge” and then we back our argument up by showing them the safer and more respectable fields like medical or engineering.
The Pakistani society finds it extremely difficult a task to label a boy a ‘harasser’, yet would take this opportunity to easily label the girl a ‘slut’, because surely it is she who entices a man to look her way, even while she walks down the street, minding her own business wearing a black colored Abaya which fully covers her body and has a modest fitting, but, this severely prompts the imagination of our righteous men who have no other job to do than to wonder what treasure lays beneath the Abaya. Honestly, if even wearing an Abaya is not appropriate enough for this society then God knows how women should dress up.
The reality about this society is that the pride of the entire 70-people family rests amidst the opinions the so-called, unknown “people” hold about a fifteen-year-old child, and the moment any one person decides to comment on the “people” heading this society, you will find them brutally murdered.
So basically, we live in a society where the words ‘diversity’ and ‘choice’ are only found in fairy tales, where it becomes justified to kill people in the name of honor and pride and where true freedom is just a dream. It is sad to see how little progress we have achieved as a nation in the 71 years of our Independence, or actually we might have even taken a couple of steps back, because the Pakistan our Quaid had established was to be a free, Pak-land, where every individual from every religion and caste could live freely without the fear that “loug kya kahein ge.”