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Analysis Gender

The pitfalls of patriarchy – a real life story

Marriage is a sacred and important relationship in life of any man or woman. When married, both the partners become a shield for each other against immorality. But here I want to share a real story that might tell you how linking the sacred relationship of marriage with financial status can ruin lives of people.

Sharim, a 24-year-old son of a businessman in Lahore, wanted to marry Alia, a girl of about 20. He asked his parents to meet Alia’s family, and offer an engagement proposal. But due to the economic disparity between the two families, Sharim’s parents were reluctant to allow his son to marry the love of his life. Alia was a daughter of poor parents. Her father was a labourer in a factory and was barely managing his household.

One day, Alia was on the way home from school when she was harassed by some buffoon on the street. Her parents became so frightened, they decided to marry her off immediately. On the other hand, Sharim, despite insisting vigorously, failed to convince his family.

The fated day came, and Alia was forced to marry to a man of about 35, who had already divorced his first wife. Alia became his second.

But the man was impotent and their martial life also failed due to a huge age difference between the two. So, just after 5 years, Alia got divorced and returned to her parents’ home. Despite the fact that her parents were the ones providing food and shelter to her, it was the neighbourhood that was more interested in her life. The society started playing the poisonous role that it plays in such matters. Rumors were spread across the village about her divorce and affairs with other men.

With her image marred by such scandalous talk about her in the neighbourhood, no proposal came for Alia even after ten years. And then her father passed away. The entire responsibility of running the house fell on Alia’s shoulders, who now was living with her mother.

Forced by the circumstances, she became a prostitute. One day, on the way home, Alia suddenly bumped into Sharim. On his inquiry, she told him the story of her life. Sharim, who once could die for her, shunned her and refused to marry her despite her insistence.

This hypocrisy stems out of the patriarchal mindset which judges a woman not from the perspective of her material conditions but from the moral scales defined by the society. If we men can’t respect women, do not provide them with education and equal economic opportunities in a society that refuses to accept women’s role in the economy, we have to rethink our attitudes and improve as humans.

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