We have exposed our filths as a society by passing unsolicited comments over Malala Yousufzai’s recent interview. Here ‘we’ means the Muslim society. Yes, Muslims, because most of the reactions have come from the Muslims, especially on the issue of marriage. We took the whole interview as it was addressed to us. This whole cry over Malala’s interview has taught us that we have created a huge army of ignorant minds.
All over the internet, it was said that Malala is advocating abolishing the family system. Without reading her interview, the internet went all preachy about Islam. While in the interview she mentioned that she is currently living with her parents and they love her. She also says “Parents especially living in the continent of Asia want their children to stay with them forever”. The question she raised is whether one should be independent or continue to live with their parents? But that is too itchy for us to think about.
The second thing which is bothering folks over the internet is her comment on the scarf. Malala in the interview says she wears a scarf whenever she goes outside. She talked about how Muslim women are judged and considered as exploited because of their attire but she wants to tell the world that these women can voice themselves within their own culture/society and live with equality.
The third thing is about marriage. Malala says she will surely find someone one day who will understand, respect, love and care for her. She expresses concern about girls who get married to much older men. Malala calls her parents’ marriage “Arranged-Love Marriage.” After that, there is this statement that has created a fuss. She says she’s not sure if she’ll get married yet! She questions, why do people need marriage? If you want someone in your life why can’t it be a partnership?
She later also says that her mother disapproves of this. “Mom says marriage is beautiful”. She also mentions that her father is receiving marriage proposals from Pakistan for her. She also says that until the second year of university she thought she would never get married but she also mentions that a person is not always the same, though a person changes as they grow older in age.
The whole interview is interesting and there is so much more to it. But unfortunately, the conversation reduced to the issues of veil, family and marriages and that too with poor arguments. The education of girls has never been a topic of discussion among us, even today, we should be aware of the enrollment and dropout rate of Muslim girls in schools. But of course, we are good at choosing a topic for discussion of our convenience.
Malala, in the same interview, said that she has decided to read 84 books this year. How many books do we see the women in our homes reading? Or how much have we taught them? How much do we spend on their education? And why isn’t this a topic of discussion?
What are our thoughts on family? Our beliefs and thoughts are no doubt appealing but what about practices? Many examples we see everyday in our lives. The treatment parents receive in their old age. Parents dying alone without their kids. You may comfort yourself with examples of old-age homes. But how many can widen your chest as much as you can by giving an example of old-age home, but how many of us remember our old parents we left behind in villages?
On the internet, we are surfing with the sticks and preaching about the veil? But tell me how clear we are on the idea of the veil? Tell me about any four clerics sitting and agreeing on the same thing?
If the issue is about marriage, don’t you know how many innocent lives we have turned into hell due to our economic and educational insecurities? You get yourself an education, you earn money but when it comes to marriage you bring a girl half of your age. Isn’t this the truth?
And if Malala or any other girl raises questions about the ill practices, culture or society then we become offensive. Really? When have we believed or shown faith in girls of our society? Why should a girl read until ‘you’ want her to? Why not till she wants to? Why should a girl ruin her life because of ‘your’ insecurities? Why would a girl make herself a slave to ‘your’ desires? Try applying all this farce on boys, you will die starving in your old age I’m telling you!
Author is Talha Mannan Khan, Editor of Chatra Vimarsh