Fuedalism is centuries old in
the area that today we call Pakistan. This feudalism has many aspect, one of
these is the act of Vani. Vani includes giving away one or multiple girls of the
family in lieu of freedom from the punishment of some crime committed by the men
of that family/tribe. What usually happens is if there is a dispute between two
clans, the elders of that particular area call upon a public meeting referred to
as the ‘jirga’. In that meeting, the elders try to settle the issue between the
disputing tribes. One of the ways to settle any such issue is to ask one of the
families to give their female member(s) to the opposite clan as a retaliatory
punishment. The age of these female members usually range from 4-14 years.
The act of vani ensues marrying young girls to older men of the opposing party.
If the case is so, that the girls are too young to get them married, the
agreement is made, their proposals are accepted, and the wedding day arrives
yearslater when they are just mature enough.
According to me and most of the educated community of Pakistan, vani is one of
the cruelest things that can ever be done to a girl. Since it does not include
the girl being married and living happily ever after, but it involves multiple
rape scenarios, and various kinds of torture. In most cases where the girls are
forced to go up this brutal ladder, the men that they are being married to are
more than twice the age of the girls. Money is involved too in many cases along
with the girls.
As mentioned earlier, this is the most brutal act prevailing in this state.
Since poor innocent souls have to bear the punishment of the transgression that
they had not even commited and had no part in.
Why is the issue of girls being married being refferd to as a punishment again
and again? All the parents wish to marry their daughters in good families.To a
good man. No? Yes. But being ‘vani-ed’ is nothing short of a nightmare for the
girls, since the girl usually goes to her husband’s home as a second or third
wife and is forced to live a life of slavery. Or even worse, I would say,
because the husbands use them as dirty rags which are thrown to the corners
after people are done with them. And what’s even disgusting? The fact that the
girl’s family, after giving there daughters/sisters away, don’t even look at
what state their girls are being kept in. their ‘in laws’ might be treating them
like street dogs, but the family? They would look away saying it’s their
personel issue now. Its her life and her fate, she should learn to accept it.
What these people fail to understand is that they had forced this fate on her.
That girl deserved a fairy-tale wedding like every other girl. But her
illiterate family snatched away her chances at happiness and then they label it
as doing of fate? Pathetic!
Now, why is the issue still prevalent? after all these years? It’s because the
elders of the feudal/tribal areas defend the act of vani by labeling it as a
peaceful way of solving a dispute. a bloodless resolution.
Another factor that stands in the way of diminishing this abominable act is that
the girls being victimized are not strong enough they are not strong enough to
take a stand for themselves to save their own lives. My heart aches as I say,
they are nothing better than a herd of sheeps which love the hand that feeds
them every day only to slaughter them when the time comes, which trust their
keeper blindly and bow their heads to whatever is decided for them.
Now, let me come to another very important part of this article, to the foreign
eye, vani seems a part of our culture and culture usually stems from religion,
so outsiders usually associate this disgusting act with the religion so we must
know what the religion actually says.
Islam is the religion which secures women rights more than any other religion of
the world, according to Islam, forcing a girl to marry any man is not allowed
and such nikkah holds no value, forcing means blackmailing girl, emotionally or
physically. Islam gives women complete freedom to marry anyone they like, and no
one can force anything on them, so where does the concept of vani come from?
It’s nothing but the dirt of some selfish brains, it is nothing but a way of
using women as cleaning wipes to clean the filth created by men.
Now let us discuss how this social norm affects the life of the victim, chances
are that they men that those young girls are being married to are nice and
caring, but those chances are very slim, as mentioned before, these victims have
to face, not one but many different kinds of torture in which rape and physical
abuse top the list. After being exposed to such atrocities at such a young age,
they get into a very unstable state of mind. Their chances of getting education
are slim to none. They bear children at such young ages, and how can a mentally
disturbed mother nurture and nourish a child? All in all, the result is a ruined
generation, and an ongoing, never ending system of cruelty.
After discussing all about this norm, we should also talk about how to stop the
slaughter of women in the name of ‘QISSAS’ . I think the best way is to educate
the women of our society, to widen their horizons, and strengthen their
character. Women should not only be taught the worldly, formal course. They
should be, made aware of all the rights that are given to them by the shriah and
the state and they should be taught to speak up. To take a stand for themselves
since this is the most suitable and powerful way to eradicate this disgusting
norm that is, sadly, a part of our society.