In a country like ours, where we come across so many cases of honor killing, I was compelled to write these stories.
Case 1: Bano earns her living from washing clothes and dishes at different people’s homes. Her husband is a cook at a hotel. The couple has four daughters and one son. One day, she came to my mother and said, “Baji, I have got my daughter engaged to a very rich boy.” My mother congratulated her. Though, the girl was hardly twelve years old while the boy was eighteen. Bano continued her routine work even after the engagement.
One day, Bano came and asked for a day leave since she was going to attend a family function. She didn’t come for four days. She came on the fifth day with lost looks and swollen eyes.nn“Baji, my daughter has run away from the house with her husband. Her Rukhsati was due in two months. Couldn’t she wait for two months? Now our neighbors are laughing at us. I have tried to call her from my old Baji’s landline number, but she is not responding. My old Baji gave me her old cell that our family uses. My daughter has taken away the cell and some jewelry too.”
Case 2: Another case is of an educated lady doing her bachelors and belonging to a rich family. The only issue with her is being ordinary looking and not attracting people who came to her house to see her. She was rejected many times. One day, a family (mother and son) came to see her through a reference person. They didn’t tell the reference that they were Hindus. They liked the girl. Upon knowing their religion, the girls’ refused to give them his daughter. The girl wrote a letter to the boy and planned to elope with him. The letter was caught by a family relative. On knowing her intentions, parents asked the boy to change his religion and got both of them married. The boy changed his religion to Islam. They are married now with four children.
Case 3: Another lady, who was doing her bachelors and belonged to very rich family, did the same. She eloped and got married to a sales boy in her father’s shop. She was very ordinary looking and no one ever asked for her proposal. Her family is still in deep shock. She came back to her parents, gave birth to a daughter. She later got divorced from the boy, married another boy and now lives abroad. The second husband doesn’t want to keep her daughter, so her daughter lives with her grandparents now. The girl is having a great time. Her younger sisters didn’t get any proposals, after this eloping case. People never asked for them after knowing this.
Case 4: This one is of a lower middle class family, where a thirteen year old daughter was given a lot of independence. She would go out to her friends’ homes and come late. One day, she didn’t return. Upon asking a friend of hers, she told that she had started liking a boy in her Mohalla and eloped with him. She got married at a friend’s home. All this, she shared only after coming back after marriage with some months of pregnancy.
Now in a country like Pakistan, where we hear so much about “honor killing”, these are some cases where parents didn’t perform any. All these five women are alive and living their life. It was very hard for me to point out the exact reasons for eloping. First of all, it’s the inability to control emotions. Mostly girls elope when they are sick of arranged marriages, or not marrying men of their choice. Fear of getting rejected again and again by people and when someone makes a “yes” to them, they elope. It happens due to lack of proper ethical training from parents, especially from mothers. They must keep a check on their children. With the current technology of mobile phones and internet, planning for eloping is easier than ever, and that is why there usage should be watched out by the parents and guardians, especially mothers. Thanks to films, and some channels that project “eloping” as a very romantic and recreational thing, and easily attack young minds.
All these cases are different from each other: Two ladies are from rich and educated families, while two are middle class girls. If they eloped, enjoyed and had fun, why coming back to parents after some months then? There isn’t any case of honor killing reported, but something must be done in order to educate young minds.
The act of “eloping” serves as a social taboo. It doesn’t only leave a deep negative impact on the girl and her family, but to other siblings too. Firstly, the younger siblings may think that it is something good to perform. Our elder sister did this, so we can too. Secondly, people point out other girls of the same family as eloper’s sisters and may find a good justification to reject them. Thirdly, the sense of security of an eloper is lower. Their comeback reflects that little sense of security. The punishment they got through and less social acceptability becomes a problem for them.