Rahul Roy

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Recent posts by Rahul Roy

The price of love
By Imdad Soomro
Balkh Sher Mahar and Shaista Almani's love story has ended in divorce, but as history shows their fate is similar to others who dared to fall in love, writes Imdad Soomro.
Balkh Sher Mahar walked into court with his head bowed and declared: "I've divorced her in order to stop the bloody feud between the two tribes." Those present immediately commented that Mahar cared for tribal values but not for Shaista Almani, the woman he had married for love but was now divorcing. She, they said, had nothing to look forward except death. "This would also be the death of imagination for her," someone in the courtroom was heard saying.
With divorce, has the love the couple felt for each other ended? and is this the conclusion of their love story? Many see their tale as a repetition of other love stories in the Indus Valley, where, when a woman falls in love, she signs her own death warrant. Love is a "crime" which has been committed for centuries.
Soon after Mahar divorced Almani, a discussion opened in the Sindhi press. Mahar reportedly bade farewell to his wife onone foggy morning in Lahore and handed her the papers of divorce. "Mahar is accountable before Shaista and the conscience of Sindh," wrotecolumnist Omer Qazi. "What he did is a lesson for others who want to rebel but it is a lesson of great dismay."
A section of columnists and writers urge that his decision to divorce is a grave defeat of civil society which failed to protect Almani. But Aijaz Mangi glorified Mahar in Ibrat when he wrote, "Mahar would've never done what he did to Almani if the crowd had been sympathetic with him." He criticized feminists accusing them of not knowing the real dangersthat loom in upper Sindh.
To contradict Mangi another columnist, Javed Qazi, came to Almani's defence and said, "Almani proves what Bhittai's heroines had said. The real lover is a woman who is always trapped by a man." He calls Mahar her only enemy. Numeorous editorials and poems have been dedicated to Almani; judges and lawyers recite Romeo and Juliet in the courtrooms. But can she be saved by poems and sympathetic gestures?
It seems that women in this part of the world suffer when they fall in love.
Two-and-a-half centuries ago, the great mystic poet Shah Abdul Lateef Bhittai sang about a woman, named Suhni, who gave her life for her beloved, Mehaar. She had been married but disliked her husband, and had then fallen in love with Mehaar.
According to this folk tale, Suhnicrossed the mighty river Indus to meet Mehaar but she drowned. The dark and bleak nights did not frighten her. On the other hand, Mehaar did not try to contact her and nor did he even cross the river once.
Some people of Sindh consider Suhni to be a kari who deceived her husband but Bhittai wrote verses about her in which he highlighted his deep affection for her. He praised Suhni as she suffered a lot and dared to cross the river. Bhittai had written about the river that, "Darya tu tey danhnn dendias denhn qayam ji" (O, the merciless river, I will stand against you in the hour of judgment).
Bhittai's heroes in his poetry were women. The story of Sassi and Pannu is another folk tale and is a symbol of struggle and darkness. Sassi is said to have climbed the mountains, thirsty and hungry in search of Pannu. Bhittai saw her as the symbol of struggle and sorrows. Sindhi revolutionaries and patriots of the past get courage from Bhittai's poems aboutSassi.
Momal, another character of his poems, burnt herself to prove that she was innocent in her love for Raano who had left her in seclusion.
Bhittai, thus, proves that a woman in the subcontinent is more sincere and sacrificing than a man. "Men are flying-birds", says Abdul Qadir Junejo, a well-known playwright and novelist. "But a woman makes a nest when she falls in love."
In his story Watoon, ratiyoon aien roll (Narrow paths, nights and wanderers) he narrates a tale of a woman's love. "While having no way out, she asked her beloved if he would shoot her if there was no chance of survival."
Junejo has great know how ofsuch cases in upper Sindh, as when he was a child he spent many years with his father who was in the police force. Women are more sincere in love than men, he says.
Fatah Malik, poet and advocate, is of the view that women have greater natural resistance than men, especially in a primitive agriculture society like ours. "A woman has no option, so what you call love is breathing for them," he says.
Although the industrial revolution brought a change in values in the rest of the world, the same did not happen in this part of the world. In Shaista Almani's case Fatah Malik seems inclined to give an opportunity to Mahar. "He's not a deceiver but he's helpless. Perhaps he still deserves a chance."
A year ago, Sonaheri, an 18-year-old girl in Tangvani, left her home at midnight to meet a man, Hakim from the Chachar tribe, in a nearby field. The next day farmers found the girl'sbody. That was the price she paid for daring to love.
Journalist Zahid Noon from Shikarpur narrates the story of a 24-year-old married woman from the Bhutta tribe who, last month, fled to the thick forest to meet a man from the Punhwar tribe, near Rahimabad. "While she was gunned down, her beloved fled and left her at the mercy of murderers," the journalist reported.
Ishaque Mangario, an anthropologist and journalist, wrote on this same phenomenon. "When he was frightened, or unable to meet her, she managed to send a message to him, saying: 'If you are frightened, then give me your kulhari and take my jewelry'."
These forbidden lovers operate in a separate system, using secret signs to communicate messages to one another, be it their feelings or where they are supposed to meet.For example, cardamom indicates fragrance of bliss, kajal means their beloved's eyes are black and beautiful, misri-sweet symbolizes that you are as sweet as a misri flower which shows that one's beloved is so beautiful.
In this way some useblack threads which used to be a sign that one's beloved should be cautious ofa dangerousmove and happening and red threads suggest an uneasy atmosphere which is mostly bad for the loved ones.
Such are the traditions surrounding love.Although such occurrances are slowly changing but these things still exist in remote areas. However, the worst examples of barbarism over minor things have been reported.
This past Eid, four women, two young sisters, a relative and a 10-year-old girl were killed on a charge that one of the two sisters, Anaytaan, received a packet of sweetmeat. As a result, Eid turned into a bloody day in the Ghotki district.
In a tiny village in Aalo Goth in Rahim Yar Khan district, a girl, Shahnaz, spent some hours with a young Hindu boy. As a result she was poisoned along with her relative Basheeran. Unconfirmed reports suggest that they survived but they would now live under great humiliation.
Throughout the ages, the Indus river has received the bodies of numerous women who were unrecognizable. If a passerby saw abody in the canal he would rarely cover her with a chadar. Then, if time allowed him, he would tell irrigation officials or informthe police. This attitude is still there.
Writers and poets have written a lot on the tragedies which occur here every day. Shaikh Ayaz's poetry chronicles "amaan wo moonkhey kari karey marenda /toon ta mookhey bandheni paranee par who moonkhey kari karey marenda" (Mother, they will kill me attributing me a kari, may you clad me up in bandheni [a thari traditional dress] but they'll kill me). Such tragedies, documented by the likes of Noorul Huda Shah, continue today but is this province destined to have tragic love stories for the rest of its life? Who will come along and change the destinies for those who dare to love?
20 years ago
Newsline (Karachi), November 2003
In the Name of Love
Shaista Almani faces possible death under jirga
law for marrying of her own free will.
By Zulfiqar Shah
Shaista Almani and Balakh Sher Mahar, a young
couple from Ghotki in Sindh, who dared to marry
against their families' wishes and reportedly
fled the country fearing for their lives, have
now been forcibly brought back to Ghotki to face
a tribal jirga.
The couple was apparently brought back
to Ghotki on October 25 after Ali Gohar Khan
Mahar, brother of Chief Minister Ali Mohammad
Mahar and sardar of the Mahar tribe, promised the
sardar of the Almani tribe that Shaista would be
brought back to her family at any cost.
According to reports, Shaista has
been handed over to a local sardar, while Balakh
Sher Mahar has returned to his village in Ghotki.
Following tribal traditions and the jirga justice
system, Shaista will remain in the haveli of an
impartial sardar, till a grand jirga decides a
fitting punishment for marrying without the
consent of her family and tribe. In this
particular region of upper Sindh, most matters
are decided by sardars and tribal lords, rather
than the law of the land. The sardars operate
with complete impunity and their authority is
unquestionable; often even court decisions are
Shaista and Balakh Sher got married
and a court in Karachi ratified their marriage
documents, but the Almani sardar was not willing
to accept this marriage. "Religion and the courts
have their own place, but we have to hand the
girl over to her family," says one sardar from
Ghotki. Even Chief Minister Ali Mohammad Mahar
declared Shaista's and Balakh's marriage against
tribal traditions and values. When questioned by
a journalist in Sukkur, Mahar said, "The couple
did wrong, but the sardars are trying to resolve
the matter amicably."
When they appeared in court in the
last week of September, Shaista and Balakh Sher
openly declared that their lives were under
threat. "I have committed no crime. I just got
married according to Islamic injunctions, but my
life is in danger," said Shaista to reporters.
"God will help us, we have done nothing wrong."
The couple reportedly left for the UAE in the
first week of October after several human rights
organisations held demonstrations demanding that
the government provide protection to the couple.
Though the furore settled down
somewhat after newsreports that the couple had
left the country, Shaista's family continued to
pressure the Mahar tribe. According to sources,
Sardar Ali Gohar Mahar, nazim of district Ghotki,
had promised the Almani sardar that Shaista would
be brought back in one month. True to his word,
Mahar tracked down and brought Shaista back in
the stipulated time.
Sources say, Mahar had decided to
return Shaista to her tribe from day one, but
since the marriage took place in Karachi, where
many human rights and women organisations had
taken up the cause and since his brother is chief
minister, allegedly he himself sent the couple to
either Dubai or Islamabad till matters cooled
down. Now Sardar Ali Gohar Mahar has fulfilled
his promise. The case is a prime example of the
ruthless and brutal feudal tradition.
The grand jirga is due to convene in
couple of days to decide Shaista's fate.
According to reports, Balakh's family has offered
two women from the Mahar tribe and 500,000 rupees
to the Almani tribe as compensation for allowing
Shaista and Balakh to stay married. However, it
seems unlikely that this offer will be
entertained. According to sources, if the state
does not intervene, Shaista will be handed back
to the Almani tribe where initially, her safety
might be guaranteed. But going by past incidents,
Shaista's life will be in jeopardy. Meanwhile, as
far as Balakh is concerned, he can be pardoned
against compensation paid to the Almanis.
In a few days, Shaista will face the
jirga and perhaps yet another innocent life will
be snuffed out.
SUKKUR, Nov 28: Balkhsher Mahar has said that he had divorced Shaista Almani on his own will, foreseeing life threats to her and problems for their families if they continued to remain married.
He said this in a statement before the police here on Tuesday on the eve of Eid.
The police claimed that Shaista was residing in Rahim Yar Khan and the police parties were dispatched to Punjab to recover her.
She is to be produced before the Sukkur bench of the Sindh High Court where the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan's petition, seeking safe recovery of the couple, is being heard.
If Shaista comes up with a statement confirming Mahar's version, the petition may be declared null and void.
The couple had married against the will of the parents of Shaista and left the Ghotki area from where they hail.
Later they were brought back in a mysterious way and Shaista was said to be handed over to a tribal personality. Since then her whereabouts are not known.
Mr Mahar's statement about the divorce is generally seen here as another victory of the tribal forces which, with the help of police and the people in power, manage to undo a marriage solemnized against the tribal tradition.

[ December 19, 2003: Message edited by: Rahul Roy ]
20 years ago
I don't know if that is the right place to post that question , but I need an urgent reply so posting here .
How Can I see the correct answers in the Core XML exam ?
[ August 09, 2003: Message edited by: Rahul Roy ]
Urdu Poetry in the voice of Poets
For the ones who can understand Urdu but can not read urdu alphabete.

[ July 03, 2003: Message edited by: Rahul Roy ]
20 years ago
Urdu Ghazal , Parveen Shakir
[ July 03, 2003: Message edited by: Rahul Roy ]
20 years ago
I have to write a Tutorial on Object oriented Programming for Non-programmers , first I have to make sure that they understand the concepts of OOP and then I have to explian about the VB.Net language .Any suggestions , any helpful URLs ?
20 years ago
Nurse , Doctor ,School Teacher ,Pharmacist , Salesperson etc .
21 years ago
I think Partition of India was totally wrong . India would have been a very strong country if Pakistan and Bangladesh were part of India .
What you guys think ?

[ June 09, 2003: Message edited by: Rahul Roy ]
21 years ago

Originally posted by Srini Madgula:
1.India never invaded any country in her last 1000 years of

Who invaded on Pakistan in 1971???
[ June 01, 2003: Message edited by: Rahul Roy ]
21 years ago
I need a voice recorder for my school to record the lectures of the professor .I would appreciate if you guys can give me any suggestion .

21 years ago
I am starting a course in GIS ,Introduction to GIS. Any one knows any good introductory book for GIS , we will using ArcView .

21 years ago

Originally posted by sunitha raghu:
There are a lot of woman who are good enough take care of job , kids and family. Prev all families have four to 10 kids so the mother has to stay home. now that scene changed. a family means wat husband and wife has equal responsibilities. Inidan guys think that after the marriage the girl should stay home( some exceptional cases) and husband is always the ceo. indian girls never thought that staying at home is an inferior task. Then regarding the divorces do u think this is the reason....it can be several reasons rt?
Prev girls have to bear all the torture frm the husband also frm the inlaws, now the its changing, if she working she can at least say why the heck i should bear all these.
In fact im the child of a working mother.I didn�t find any problem at all. That only helped me.

read one the reviews of ur good book
All of the stay at home moms in this book are very affluent, and either had very successful careers high on the corporate ladder or in acting or modeling, or their husbands are very wealthy (ceos, doctors, sports stars, actors). While it would be interesting to read a few stories of women who formerly had great careers and decided to interrupt them to stay home with their children, most stay at home moms are not like that. This book made me feel like I have never done anything with my life. Just not very useful to the normal mom, although if you are a millionaire CEO you might get something out of it.

My Mother is a highly educated woman who left her job to take care of her kids , so it depends on personal experience also .
21 years ago

Originally posted by Ravish Kumar:
Originally posted by Rahul Roy:
..atleast until they grow up.
What is the age, do you think, that child is suppose to be grown up ?
I don't understand why a lot of women (specially in India) think that staying at home and taking care of kids is kind of an inferior task and if a woman is educated she must work as she would be wasting her talent by staying at home .
Here I have to be agree, that if any woman is house wife then it does not mean that she is inferior than working woman.
I know some house wives who are much better than so called office going woman in all respects.
I think it more depends on individual. Some people never respect what they are doing
she is infact the CEO of her home and as much respectable and admirable as any woman who has excelled in any career path.
Very true.
But here question is, Is that the only job women are good ?
I mean there is nothing wrong if a woman is working and let me clear now that in today's scenario the post's heading is crap. It might have been true when in 20s when ther were no birth control methods were available.
But you see, Jason misses Cindy, because she does household works too...
And I thought that only indian men are old minded.
But till now no man has come to say that its a crap

No I am not saying that women are only good for that .I am saying that women are much better in taking care of home than men .
21 years ago

Originally posted by <Capablanca Kepler>:

I still don't understand why a lot of people(especially from Canada)think that driving the cab is inferior task than programming/doing MBA and if a man is educated he must do an IT job as he would be wasting his talent in driving the cab.I think the man who drives the cab and takes care of the passengers is doing the most beautiful job in the world.He is infact the CTO of his cab and as much respectable and admirable as any man who has excelled in any career path .

Good joke , but there is a lot of difference in being a cab driver and a stay home mom .
21 years ago