The culture practice of Vani/Swara

(Abid Ali, )

In every culture there are norms, values customs and taboos and every culture is amalgamation of these things. These norms and customs represent the local population mindset and their position in social change and development. Everyone being representing their concern culture always busy in supporting and promoting of their customs and traditions because everyone wants that their culture should be promoted. But in every culture there are so many customs and traditions which are being practiced but not promoted and supported by the local population. They do practice the concern customs and traditions but behind the walls and just confined to family or kinship. The other people most of the time called it social issue, the international community called it violation of human rights and the local population called it their secret Customs and tradition and talks on these issues are prohibited because they considered it against their honour.

Vani or swara is a custom practiced in Pakistan rural areas especially in Punjab and Khyber pakhtunkhwa. The local media called it Social issue, the international community called it Violation of human rights and the practicing people called it solution for resolving the enmity between two groups. Vani is a Pashto word derived from "Vanay" which stands for blood. Vani is culture practice which is very common in Pashtoon families.

This cruel custom also practices in Punjab especially in Mianwali and neighboring areas, which becomes there social norm. Mianwali is a region in the north-west of Punjab province, in Pakistan. According to this custom an enmity based on murder or Zina should be resolved by giving a minor girl in the marriage of opposite group. In phaktoon family, girls are given Vani marriage for as compensation of murder, adultery, abduction and kidnapping which is
Committed by the men of the family. Further more in the tribes vani is practice, which has no written rules and regulation. In vani, if one family or tribe of a village kills member of other

Family or tribe, then the criminal family or tribe offer a girl or woman to the aggrieved family to settle the enmity. Vani Tradition is an old age tradition. This tradition started almost 400 years ago when two 'Pathan' tribes of Mianwali fought a bloody war. During the war approximately 800 people were killed. At that time Nawab of Tank tried to solve the problem. He called the "Girga" (local court) who decided that girls are given as Qisas. Later on this decision became a custom which passed over generation to generation. This tradition is practiced in different areas of Sindh, Punjab and NWFP. These marriages are known as Vani, Sakh, Sawara, Sharam, Khoon Baha, and Sang Chatti with the difference of languages in different areas. The girls who are being given in marriage to the opposite party ages are among 8 to 14 years and the men who receive the girls ages are from 25 to 60 years.

This tradition is deep rooted in the Pashto culture and in pashti it is known as Swara. Even in today’s modern time the custom is being practice in rural kpk and in all tribal areas. This is an old tradition and the tradition of that time when girls were not being considered as human and at the time of birth they were burnt. But the question is this that in the time of modern courts and law, human rights organization, NGOs and influence of media why this humiliating practice is still common in areas of Pakistan. The local elder people gives their argument in the favor of this customs and says that if the whole family life can be saved by one girl so there in no harm in it. The custom is so deep rooted that the victims girls most of the time their self for Swara willingly. But the behavior which is done with that girl after marriage is always humiliating.

According to vani custom the any girl and women of criminal party accept as vani but in community the custom are not like this. There are some proffered girls or women for compensation purpose. These are sister, daughter, daughter of brother; etc if girl of that criminal party is not available then they can buy the girl and give effected family. But mostly it is preferred that the girl and women are kid of that criminal person or group. In the effected family male member are also required for marriage purpose. There is no specification for male or bride groom. On effected side male can be brother, son, father etc. Mostly that person is chosen who are older, abnormal and those by whom marriage is not possible.

The vani practice is also violates the constitutional law. Like in vani women liberty and mobility are restricted but in Article 9 of the Constitution are guarantees that any person whether men and women has freedom of liberty. It also violates Article 4 of the Constitution that guarantees that every citizen has full right to enjoy the protection of the law but in vani practice law don't support her. It has declared in Supreme Court that vani custom un-Islamic and unconstitutional under the Constitution of 1973.

Government takes initiative against vani, Like Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and different NGOs are working against the custom of vani. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has also taken action of forced marriages in different areas of parts of Sindh, Punjab and N.W.F.P.

National Judicial Policy making Committee in a meeting announced that vani is unislamic practice and it must be punished. In 2004 Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's ex- president, passed law against vani during visit by the US president, George Bush. But it didn't implement because of laws limited influence in rural areas. In rural area feudal system is so strong so only 15 vani cases have been tried under the new law in Mianwali.

In spite of that it is also the duty of local people and specially educated people that they should come forward and try to eradicate the issue at the gross root level. In this regard firstly the women should be given the equal status as the men enjoys in society and for this importance of women education should be promoted. Secondly the agent of social change e.g education, economy development, Media etc should be allowed to the rural areas. And lst but not the least the government should take measure to eradicate the local Jirga or punchait which is the basic eritint in the way of social change. Let’s perform our individual and collective duty for eradicating social issues from our society one by one.

The writer is the student of social science at government college Mansehra.

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09 Jul, 2018 Views: 1416


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Wow, very profound work my sir , 100% work whatever struggle u need to extirpate and decimate this social evil from society i (ur friend) will do utmost struggle in your favour......
And expect more from u to delivere for society...
By: Tufail ahmad, battagram on Jul, 14 2018
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