Is it propaganda or politics? What it is, I’ve never understood, but this I know: whenever I mention I was raised in a western UP Jat family, people are shocked. “You are not like a Jat!”, “How can you be from western UP?” they say. I tell them, you really don’t know how liberal the Muzaffarnagar we grew up in was.
And what can I say of people whom I met after I married a Saiyyad Muslim? On the one hand were those for whom my birth identity did not fit their stereotype. It wasn’t the caste they had issues with. It is what they associated with the region—of Jats being ‘rough’ and ‘quick-tempered’. I should add that they also considered Jats ‘honest’.
My manner, my education, my interests were a shock for most Muslims. They could not believe there could be a Jat who was dignified, who could read, write and think. There were even some Muslims I met along the way who believed I had been “rescued” from Hindus. What can I say about them? Truth is, the environment of my hometown those days was without petty restrictions or conservatism. It was one of learning, engaging and seeing, then believing.
Truth is, I have seen a reality most don’t, having lived on both sides. And much of what I saw would equally shatter a Hindu. Don’t get me wrong: the family I married into are Shia, Saiyyads. They had no issue with any caste or religion. In fact, they would tell me they like everything about Jats; their cleanliness, their habits, their way. What they had an issue with is something else: the way Hindus treated their women.
You see, being Muslim, they could not comprehend why Hindu families feed their women last. “We don’t like this habit of Hindus giving women leftover and cold food,” they would say. “Shouldn’t educated, wealthy, Hindu elite also lead by example and give their women a share in property?” they would ask.
Once, my husband and I went to Pakistan for seven eye-opening months. The way the men treated women there was so different. They were not demanding at all. There were no constant commands like “Bring me hot tea! Get me fresh rotis!” No restrictions on visits, no imposition on planning the future, no dictation on which social circle to develop or how to run the household. All this was left to the woman. And this did not depend upon the ‘kind’ of woman one married. Women, I saw with my own eyes, were all waited upon hand and foot. I distinctly remember thinking to myself: what on earth have we (Indians) done to women? And that’s on both sides.
Then I realised: We must stop focusing just on the Khalapar and Abbu Puras (Muslim neighbourhoods of Muzaffarnagar). We must lift ourselves out of conservatism, stereotypes.
Baja kahe jisse alam baja samjho
Zuban-e-khalq ko naqara-e-khuda samjho.
Born into a Jat family in Muzaffarnagar in 1952, Hina Khan married a Muslim in 1976
From where do you find people to write columns such as the one Hina Khan has written (Jat, Muslim by Marriage, Sep 23)? She claims that in Pakistan men don’t demand coffee of their wives. With many of them having more than one wife, perhaps they really don’t need to demand coffee on coming home—one or the other of them is bound to serve it anyway.
Shankar Bala, Singapore
Ms Khan’s evidence won’t be held valid in a court of Shariat law. So her grand claims may be held invalid.
R. Narasimhan, Chennai
“My manner, my education, my interests were a shock for most Muslims. They could not believe there could be a Jat who was dignified, who could read, write and think,” says the lady, implying the Jat family in which she was born did, even if as an exception, raise and educate her well. She then adds: “What they (Muslims) had an issue with is something else: the way Hindus treat their women.” No wonder the Pakistani Muslim family she visited had an issue with it and were shocked with her overall bearing and demeanour. Educated women? A sure no-no. Obviously they had an issue with women being educated.
Women indeed face inequalities, both in Muslim and Hindu homes. But Ms Khan is giving an account of her experiences which run contrary to stereotypes. It’s just a matter of the sort of Jat family into which she was born and the sort of Muslim family into which she married.
Outlook’s lack of objectivity and fairness has for long been well-established. Ms Khan’s article is a new low—even by your standards.
Senthil M., Bangalore
Perhaps this piece should have been accompanied by the sort of disclaimer films and works of fiction bear.
Mohan R., Gandhidham
The week before last, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Rahul Gandhi was prime minister material. We had a good, week-long laugh. Now, this article by Ms Khan betrays a crude sense of humour.
Pankaj Hedaoo, Kuala Lumpur
I believe Ms Khan’s story, but it’s obviously not the story of the average Muslim woman.
R.J. Chandra, Phoenix
Surely you must be joking, Ms Khan! Admit it.
Ras, on e-mail
Ms Khan speaks as if the biggest achievement of her life was marrying a Muslim.
Vaibhav Srivastava, Calcutta
I’d earlier suggested that Outlook must declare itself a comic magazine instead of a news magazine. Reading Ms Khan, I feel it should be characterised as exaggerated comic fiction.
Abhijit Kane, Mumbai
Is this piece a spoof?
Srinivasan R.J., on e-mail
Your mushy and confused treatise does no honour to you or the religion you have adopted or the community you are holding up as examples of virtuous behaviour.
Do you really know and understand the religion you have converted to?
Islam was a revolution againt inequality, injustice and attempt of certain people to aggrandise "GOD' to themselves and be the sole guardian and conduit to heavenly blessings.
It therefore sought to lay down 'laws' 'rules' and 'regulations' which would prevent any such occurence at any time.
However,it also recognised specifically that paternalism was the 'ordained' way, so that "Order" is maintained. As such in the laws, rules and regulations coming out of this "Order' it sought to 'concretise' the position of women 'precisely' vis a vis men.
An unfortunate development which has been the cause of one of the two major infirmities this revolution has faced.
The impuse of justice and equality got cought in the concreteness of the laws upholding Order
It has led to women becoming frivolous chattels and faceless, nameless ground on which men can stand and pirouette to their hearts desire. the ground moves, but under the nudging and pushing of the heel of man standing on it and as per the dictates of the nudge and push.
Subba Rao 109-D49
Your reference highlights the negatives. But elsewhere Manu suggests that gods will be happy only if women are honoured and worshiped. There are similar positive and negative references to women in Ramayana and Mahabharata. There are contradictions in the scriptures. I'll say that I overstated my point.
I tend to focus more on the spiritual aspects of my faith rather than the literal and the ritual. It is not my intent to defend or denigrate any faith. My point in the previous comment was that it is not difficult to show that religion X or Y treats women badly (by picking convenient examples from ancient text). Given what is happening in India, UP in particular, such a discussion at this time does little to bring the two communities together.
So Isaai fundalists quote what was written in 'Manusmriti' / Ramayan/ Mahabharat which were scripted pior to 4 fold of their religion's age. What was the condition of women in west 2000 years before. Men were pirates and one can think how they had treated their women.
" but in Hinduism the scriptures do not suggest a second class status to women"
Really ?? Please read Manusmriti, the original "Dharma Shastra".
>> I am not sure why only Indians are engaged in this medieval bestiality.
I agree. The Indian Express story that you posted about the senseless honor killings of Nidhi and Dharmender in Haryana is blood chilling. Indians are not the only ones practicing honor killings. They have been reported from Pakistan and Afghanistan also.
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT