Author Topic: Balochistan’s ‘Sammi’ can be any woman  (Read 4482 times)

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Offline Zahida Raees Raji

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Balochistan’s ‘Sammi’ can be any woman
« on: March 01, 2013, 10:55:27 PM »
Saba Dashtyari ay Azmaank ay sara Fazal Baloch e  nbeshtank k a chaap bootag, pa baaskan nadr int.

Balochistan’s ‘Sammi’ can be any woman
Fazal Baloch

Tribal hierarchy has often been attributed to as the major factor contributing to the maladies of the Baloch society. Though there is a variance in opinions over what causes the backwardness of the  Baloch society, a section of the people believes that tribalism has plagued some certain parts of, if not the whole, Baloch society.

Similarly, the tribalism of the province is frequently lashed out at for its anti-women approach. No denying the fact that societies driven by a feudal or tribal mindset have always been misogynist at large. Patriarchy has never been found on conciliatory terms with the womenfolk. In other words, it has always been scared of women empowerment what is assumed as a threat against its authority over women.

Prof. Saba Dashtiari is one of the few Balochi fiction writers who has penned short stories depicting the plight of women living in the tribal areas of Balochistan.

Jeeg bund ay Ars (And overflowed the tears), included in the second collection his short stories Tranagani Bonzih ( In-depth Memories), is one such story that narrates the sorry tale of a dejected widow, Sammi, hailing from the tribal belt of Balochistan.

Tragically shunned by her relatives soon after the death of her husband, the ill-fated widow lands in Karachi in search of food and shelter but fails to find any means of subsistence. Finding no way out, she opts for the worst profession she would haven't even thought of for a moment during her not-too-good old days: street begging. Later on she comes across another woman who took her to a factory where along with some other women she began working to eke out an earning.

The short story ranks among Saba's good works of fiction which on one side brings to fore one of the bleakest aspects of tribal customs still in vogue in our Baloch society. Women are blatantly denied the right to inherit their fair share from the property of their deceased husbands, parents and brothers. Even worst, to pre-empt the possibility of any claim for the same right, at times women are shamefully married with the Divine Book. No doubt women over the years have been the worst victim of male chauvinism in the feudally dominated society of Pakistan which mainly believes in power dynamics to perpetuate its hegemony over women. They are treated worse than cattle. Their plight is lamentably voiced by Sammi the protagonist of this story:

“For a piece of bread I was disgraced and humiliated and treated like animals".

The women are denied their basic social rights ranging from access to basic education to contracting marriage on their own consent. They are regarded as bargaining chips and given in force marriages to settle family feuds or deemed as sex toys to fulfill the carnal desires of their perverted and frustrated male partners.

On the other side the story highlights the issue of lack of social security which is faced by scores of women not only in Balochistan but also in other urban, sub-urban and rural areas of the country. Despite the existence of a number of pro-women laws, every now and then women are mentally and physically assaulted at homes and work places to say the least.

Abandoned by her family, Sammi had two obvious choices: begging or prostitution. She was lucky to ‘escape’ the latter in the fictional world at least.

Although the story is written in the backdrop of the Baloch society but forced marriages, marriages with the Holy Qur'an and absence of law of inheritance are not the characteristics one can exclusively attribute to certain parts of Balochistan. These practice are almost equally common in Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa. In other words, hide the identity of the protagonist; story can be the tale of any woman in Pakistan abandoned by her near ones.
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