Sound of Silence

Faryal Makdoom’s recent outburst aimed at her in-laws has caused much furore amongst people and has seen a somewhat mixed reaction.  The usual mutterings ofcourse that private family matters should stay private whilst others applaud her for actions that very much go against Pakistani culture.

If true, I can’t say it causes me to raise eyebrows and if true then yes, I applaud her for being brave enough to break the silence that surrounds this issue.  For many of us who married into traditional Pakistani families, to be treated like a second rate citizen is very much part of the package.  When many think of abuse, we don’t particularly associate it with in-laws.  The reality is that there is a sinister control element which exists within our culture that trickles down from generations above.

I’ve had my fair share to say about my ex-inlaws in my blog.  My MIL is probably one of the most difficult people I’ve encountered in my life to date.  I suffered plenty of humiliation at their hands; from my MIL insinuating to people I was upto no good when I was coming home late from the mosque during Ramadan, my father in law telling my ex to kick me out and they would find him another to the magic moment when my MIL walked out of my brother’s wedding, telling everyone she could on the way out that I had shamed her by walking past her.

Yet despite all this, I can now also acknowledge my own failings.  Their actions caused me to become bitter and my bitterness prevented me from interacting with them on a level I should have.  My heart closed to them with each hurt I felt which in turn caused them to hurt me more.  If I could do it all over again, I would change plenty of things.  I can’t but I can learn from it.  Parents are a package deal in marriage (on both sides) so if they don’t want me in their family, I don’t intend to fight to be in it.  I’d rather wait it out for the family that will welcome me with love.

I hid all the difficulties like the good Pakistani daughter in-law I was trying to be.  Despite my MIL not having spoken to me properly for years, when asked how she was, I would give a polite reply to people and feign some benign story about my in-laws.  I was brought up not to air dirty laundry in public.  There were plenty times I would have loved to blast them on facebook and let the world know what God awful people they were but even back then, it seemed to lack class so I sucked it up and got on with it.  Maybe there was a better way Faryal could have spoken about it, maybe she shouldn’t have spoken at all.  Whatever side you’re on, the stark reality is that we do have a problem and there aren’t many people willing to speak up about it.  That in itself is the problem.

5 thoughts on “Sound of Silence

    • It’s a difficult one. Say something and risk ruining family relationships, stay quiet and hope that your man will support you in speaking out in closed quarters. There’s no real right way in dealing with it. Either way, you’re made out to be a bitch.

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      • Don’t I know it… I’m an expert at biting my tongue but as I get older I’ve started to voice my opinions. If I don’t now, how will things change for my own kids?

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  1. It is not the cultures that are screwed up because all cultures bring enrichment to our great human family like as many flowers bring enrichment to the world…food art etc…beautiful enriching inter-changeable…no what is screwed up is us human beings , for ever trying to dominate and shrink others instead of supporting them to grow and develop to their potential…I can in this platform talk about faith as I feel I am amongst friends who understand where I come from despitereligious differences we may have. In Genesis it said that God created us in His image…and I always felt it to mean that because of this special aspect of our creation we were able to love support nurture one another, be creative etc……but many of us choose to dominate take power over our fellow human beings thus screwing them up and ourselves in the process…the way females are treated in certain communities/families is akin to the way colonised people were treated by its colonisers: it is purely and simply wrong . Any time human beings are diminished,abused,dominated by others whether supported by a family a community or a government it is in my view an ugly expression of sin and annihilation from God…it’s not culture it’s evil…it starts in families and continues in Aleppo, Irak, Ivory Coast and in thousands of countries that were destabilised across the world by the powers that be and who continue to pay the price…culture is something that is shared that enriches the other thing the beast, separates and destroys. And that thing exist in every human being we need to be aware of it and not to let it take over. I think it takes courage to speak out against injustice whether it is in the family or outside of it. .

    Ò

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  2. Yes you are right, when the in laws think that their sons are the holy grail attitude is still very much a thing of the present. It doesn’t matter to the in laws if you are a working woman or a home maker they believe you are a “Bahu” to be used for their personal satisfaction and especially if you want to remain in their good graces. And they will use all sorts of tactics to make sure you don’t deter from their plans. I believe that this is because of fear of their son leaving them and moving on with his new family and forgetting their needs and duties to them. I’m not saying that some daughter in laws aren’t evil but I don’t believe that any woman willingly marries into a Pakistani family thinking that they will be mistreated by them. In Faryals case I believe that she is a woman of this generation just trying to find a balance between her western and Pakistani roots and does the best she can being under the limelight. She is young and beautiful and being a high profile celebrities wife I think she gets the attention she does. If her husband supports her desires and methods (which is obvious he does) everyone else should back off. Not to mention that if he doesn’t, that she should not but that’s her choice if she wants to escalate the feud to him. But if she speaks out about her in laws issues with her or the name calling by Amir’s siblings she has the right to defend herself. I believe it takes two to tango therefore Amir’s voicing his last statement should come as no surprise because he’s stuck in the middle of it all. This is a very common household story where the mans family thinks no one is or ever will be good enough for their son, and subject the daughter in laws into mental torment through their words. I’m sorry to say but words can be brutal and harder to forget then actual bruises. Therefore I do believe she has been through some rough times but because Amir has a celebrity reputation and Faryal has only been putting up the glamorous part of her life for the world to see, its hard for people to notice her struggle. I’m not saying that everything she has done was done in good taste (Harry’s pic) but when a woman has scorned nothing matters. Yes she’s in the limelight and yes people follow her and she should have used better judgment but so should have Amir’s siblings before they called her names. And let’s not forget about all the negative attention the Khan boys have been on the news before for (womanizing, drinking, ect). This matter could have never seen daylight if it wasn’t for his cropping Faryal out of family pictures, calling her Michael Jackson on social media, and making fun of her for her catwalk debut, when she is trying to make a name for herself so she isn’t called a worthless gold digger ought to get Amir’s money. Which as a wife and mother of his child she has every right to, after all he brought her home with a nikah. I’m no Faryal super fan to say the least but I don’t think she should be succumbed to his family’s needs and desires for her. She is her own person and the decisions she makes will be hers and only time will tell their results.

    I understand that his family values are old school and I don’t think that is a bad thing but it doesn’t work for everyone. Maybe Amir’s siblings can associate with them but not Faryal now is it fair to ask her to change herself for the sake of his family? Especially being a young, bold woman with celebrity wife status! She can do a lot with that fame and build with Amir together but sadly our culture degrades this way of thinking and always blames the woman. All I have to say to Faryal is that she has to use her name for better but if she uses it for stupidity she will be the laughing stock of Pakistan. Good luck girl!

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