Shahed Iqbal(Translated by Shanjida Nahar Priya):
Two buses are parked along with each other. Both of them are for a picnic. Colorful banners are hanged in front and back. A high volume song has been heard from one bus:
“Mayer ekdhar dudher dam; Katiye gayer cham…..”
As soon as the song has finished, another song has been started from another bus; “Ammajaan, Ammajaan…”
The winter season in Bangladesh means a season of the picnic. City streets become lively with microphone campaigns.
Along with other songs, an adequate number of songs about the mother will be played in the picnic’s mic. The assembled crowd will say ‘Ah, Oh’ by hearing those songs. Some will take a long breath by remembering their mother,” Oh! My mom.”
The bitter truth is, multiple mothers are gang-raped in Subornachor in Noakhali or anywhere in Bangladesh at the exact time when this praising of mothers happened in picnics. Exactly that time in Sadarghat in Dhaka or anywhere in Bangladesh some are using nasty slangs about mother while fighting with each other.
It will be the eighth wonder after the seventh wonder in the world if two Bengalis are fighting and not using any slangs of a mother.
There are many more self-contradictions like this among the Bengalis about women. For example-
They will search for girls for marriage from house to house but will never want a baby girl in their own home.
They will search for a female doctor for delivering babies but will never allow their daughters to become a doctor.
They will talk about the Prophet (PBUH)’s clan by His daughter but will never talk about their clan by their daughters.
What’s the reason behind this?
Though a large share of the Bengali songs, series, movies, poems are about praising their mother, how could these Bengali gang rape a mother? How could they use abusive language about mothers?
However, is there anything wrong with the social values of Bengalis?
By noticing correctly, you will hardly find social values in Bengali. What they have is social distortion. This distortion is created within the families. Elders smoke but do not let youngers do so. Elders use abusive language but do not let youngers do so. Elders watch movies but do not let youngers do so. Babies grow up watching this contradiction. They also start practicing these after they grow up. They also think religions support these. Though religions do not support these things at all, but all forms of cruelty, discrimination, torture, and violence are justified through these distortions.
Boys are more valuable than girls; who teaches this? Family.
Boys will talk loudly, girls will talk softly; who teaches this? Family.
Boys will eat more than girls; who teaches this? Family.
Boys will go to school and girls will cook; who teaches this? Family.
Eve teasing is a dishonor for girls but not for boys; who teaches this? Family.
Rape is a disgrace for the girl, not for the boy(rapist); who teaches this? Family.
It needs to be noticed that the scenario is often the opposite in the world outside. Instead of defaming the victim, they defame the rapist. Rapists burrow and escape. There is no escape even if he is a president. Rapists even commit suicide in Japan. But in Bangladesh, victims of rape commit suicide.
Previously said, all these lessons of distortion has been given in the name of religion. But there is no connection of this with religion. In the Holy Quran, at first, the veil was made compulsory for men (Surah Noor: verse 30). But only women in the family are internalized, only women are being told to be restrained. In the case of sons, family, religion teacher and even the education system become silent. Textbooks only discuss women’s safety, women’s clothing and restraint (N.B: a textbook of class 6 and 9-10), there are no restrictions on how a male student should behave with women.
Religious congregations give the example of the birth of all the prophets, but the example of the birth of Prophet Isa (A.S) is not given. Because He was born miraculously, without the touch of a man. If they accept this fact, then they have to admit that women are capable of giving birth to a child without any help from men which men can never do. In this way, the ruling classes of the society in every generation, for the sake of being men distort the laws, rules, and theology for their interest.
Rabindranath said religion and theology are not the same. When religion is underestimated to theology, the sand of the river begins to bend over the river water. Then the stream does not go, the desert smokes. On top of that, when people swallow their chest by taking this stagnation, then religion reads the mantra of liberation and theology reads the mantra of slavery. (KORTAR ICCHAY KORMO)
Just like religion and theology are not the same, man and masculinity are also not the same. Just like bad people and good people, there are also gentlemen and coward men. Man who is an ideal father, ideal husband, an ideal son in the house, who is constantly fighting against the forces of evil with the sign of truth in his hand, he is a gentleman. On the contrary, those who oppress the weaker ones under the influence of evil forces, they are spineless men. Gentlemen walk in the path of light, cowards are in the dark. The evil force that is corrupting the social values in a mind-set of bullying women is called masculinity. This corrupted ‘social values’ has created millions and trillions of monsters. These monsters have spread everywhere in society- homes, outdoors, roads, cities, lanes.
They exist in the front-back, left-right, up-down. They are everywhere.
They look like humans but are not. They look rational but are not. They look gentle but are not.
They have no rationale for logic, intelligence, ethics, and morality. Honesty has no value to such people, only power has value. Whether it is the power of weapon, muscles, relatives or the power of any godfather.
Not even fifty years old women, but also a two and a half months baby is not safe with them.
On 25th August 2019, Rupa from Sirajganj had been raped and murdered into a bus of Chhowa Poribohon. The body was dumped in a jungle located in Madhupur. The bus driver and helper were involved in this incident. The murderers are Akram and Safar Ali and the relationship between them was that of uncle and nephew. They didn’t stop each other, instead joined hands in committing this heinous crime.
On 5th January 2019, in a place named Gendariya located in Dhaka, baby Ayesha (2) had been raped and then murdered. On 7th, at Demra located in Dhaka, baby Nusrat Jahan and Fariya Akter were killed by choking. The killers Golam Mostafa and Azizul Bawyani were cousins in relation but still didn’t stop each other.
Two siblings who killed Nusrat and Faria, Beauty’s father from Habiganj, uncle and nephew who raped and murdered Rupa and father of rapist Shohag. Aren’t they relatable? Aren’t they an example of a destroyed family? Do you need any other examples of distorted family values?
The death penalty will reduce their number. But the number will increase again. Because the factory is still on. If the factory is set up, the production of monsters will not stop. If the production of monsters continues, raping, murdering and torturing women will not stop.
Then what’s the way?
Notice that there is a surprising resemblance to all the recommendations that have come up so far to prevent violence against women! What is that similarity?
All recommendations are on what to do after the incident. There are no recommendations on what to do before the incident!
With the recommendation of after incident, maybe the criminal will be punished or maybe not. But the rape can not b stopped in this way. The murder can not be stopped. Then what’s the solution? What is the way to prevent violence? What is the way to prevent rape?
There is only one way. The factory has to be stopped.
Factory means family. The factory where the rapist, the killer, the monster is made.
This factory should be closed.
The family that makes the monsters must be brought under surveillance. Family values need to change. The outlook has to change.
We have to create respect for women. We should teach to think women in the dignity of humans.
Break the chain of women. Let women be free. Let women be the explorers of light.
[This is part of the speech given at the inauguration of the Trust Project (Strengthening Access to Multi-Sectorial Public Services for GBV survivors in Bangladesh) under the Law and Arbitration Centre at CIRDAP Auditorium on January 5, 2018.]