Letter to editor: A Pink Rikshaw plea to Khawaja Asif

Dear Mr. Khawaja Asif,

The unnecessary brouhaha on your innocent remarks in the National Assembly and the aspersions cast on your honorable character have forced me to come to your defense even though I realize this may attract flak from many of my fellow women friends. But I shall try to explain.

I once attended a human rights meeting (I admit I had once been one of those led astray by liberal hogwash) and the speakers were condemning the misogyny in our society, the rampant violence against women and the insensitivity of the state institutions to this violence. One of the speakers was especially aghast at the incident where two women had been buried alive in Balochistan. An honorable member of the Senate had tried to explain that it was merely part of our culture and not something to make a fuss about, but our human rights activist, influenced by the west and secular forces, was having none of it. In truth, a voice of reason explained, the way our women are treated simply reflects our rich culture and diversity. So if in Balochistan they are buried alive, in Punjab burning alive (just three in the past week) or cutting the nose off, is more the norm. In Sindh and KPK they have their own wonderful customs. Throwing acid, honor killing, vani, swara, marrying to the Quran, are all cultural traditions that reflect our rich heritage.

Add the particular sense of humour of Punjabis and the honed to an art-form skill of ‘jugat bazi’ and you have a veritable heaven for women. You all must have heard the story of the pehelwan who got married. His friends kept teasing him about how he had to be gentle with his wife and he too, bless him, was conscious of the great strength God had bestowed upon him. So on the wedding night he approached the fragile bundle with ginger trepidation. He lifted her ghoonghat and softly whispered ‘panja laraye gi?’ Now that’s our Punjabi man! Gentle, playful and loving to the core. His occasional ‘light beating’, his colorful language, are merely expressions of deep affection. So this fuss about your calling someone a tractor trolley is truly beyond my understanding. Do they not get that you simply meant it as a term of endearment? I do. I totally get it. And I’m so in awe! #punjabijugat #khawajaasifhumour #ourrolemodel

Which is why I want to send my respects to your mom, for raising such a humorous, well-mannered, humble man. I would love to affectionately call her an old bus because you’d totally find it funny but I cant. First because I cant carry it off with your aplomb and secondly because I was schooled in a convent and have a messed up sense of propriety. But anyways, kudos also to your leader, the stand-in Prime Minister (imagine the silly Americans going berserk over their first woman nomination for the Presidency, when even our spare wheel is a woman…haha…your humour is infectious)…. sorry I am losing direction… they say it’s a common affliction of women drivers. I was saying, kudos to your Dear Leader for supervising her team so ably, despite being a woman. She is a fantastic…(here let me give it another go but I’ll keep it light, in deference to the nuns) ……‘re-conditioned, assembled in Panama, luxury model’ of a car,……(that rolled off the tongue quite smoothly actually).

Anyways, in conclusion, I humbly request, don’t let all these people dishearten you. Carry on with your gentle, funny ways. You have the support and gratitude of all daughters of this soil, be they tractors or trolleys.

With best regards,
A Pink Rickshaw

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