Am I a liability?
The starting of this emotional yet very realistic piece of writing should start rather by a question that needs to be answered by everyone today. Why a mother is either made to wish or she intentionally wishes for the boy for a whole year when a vulnerable and innocent flash is being nurtured in her belly? Why that flash has to go through all this when her own mother and the society is already refusing her existence. After hundreds of years burying live girls and then condemning this act with full consciousness, we still prefer sons over daughters. Now, being one of those daughters who are living a life as liability but disguised as if we are be valued.
Unfortunately, closed culture societies have conservative cultural ideologies and practices which are havoc for some factions of the society and source of pleasure for dominant factions. Similarly in Pakistan, certain traditions being followed which make the women folk vulnerable. A girl has become the liability on the parents because they have the responsibility to make arrangements for her marriage as she grown up. Dowry is the major requirement for marrying a girl. The practice of dowry is as old as human civilization where parents gift their daughter money, gold and home accessories as gesture of affection. However, over the years, this gesture of affection has turned into a state where most of the families are in vulnerable conditions. They are being forced to follow unnecessarily cultural practices. Moreover, dowry has become a stigma for a daughter as they are being considered as liability to their parents from the moment they are born. The whole scenario has multiple aspects. The parents who can easily afford to provide their daughters those luxuries for the sake of ensuring their worth and felicity and believed that the weight of the luxuries provided as dowry is a guarantee of happiness for her daughter. Such families with no exaggeration are unintentionally raising the air of expectations by other families when they start expecting their son to receive massive dowry as well. In contrast, majority of families do not afford to provide such luxuries to their daughters as dowry. What makes the bride’s family exploited is their adherence to honor and respect that cause them to surrender at every illicit demand by the groom’s family. When a boy is born parents are congratulated for having a supporting hand for the rest of their lives. On contrary when a girl is born her parents are made to realize the every moment that they should be worrying about her fortune, her integrity, her appearance, complexion, physical and mental stability and what not for what?? It is unfortunate that along with hundreds of thousands of dowry it is necessary that a girl must be pretty and beautiful ignoring the beauty of the soul. So how much is it pathetic to reject a girl because of her dark complexion and demanding dowry bluntly as she is a commodity. Thinking of all the girls out there who cannot afford dowry or having average looks should do what? This question! Should be of a serious concern. Parents who still value boys over daughters are not the once to be blamed. This is the society as a whole and specifically the parents who contribute for the polishing the toxic and evil practices knowingly or unknowingly.
The Writer is a Research Intern at Ministry of Human Rights, Islamabad. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org