Recently, social media noticed that a certain textbook in the University of Sargodha is found discussing a woman’s body in quite ‘some’ detail and Pakistanis are somewhat troubled.
The textbook in question is the university’s very own Urdu guide. Part 1 of this series has an excerpt from Manto’s writing. And we know that Pakistanis are not yet ready for Manto given the ban 2 years ago. But was it for good reason?
Let’s first understand the scenario and the context it is set in.
Urdu Guide Part 1 Content and Context
The textbook contains Saadat Hasan Manto’s Randhir Pehelvan. The writing in question explores in detail the physical relationship between a man and a woman. To be clear, the writer talks about the foreplay that happens in an intimate relationship. And that foreplay focuses entirely on the body of the naked woman; freely talking about her private parts.
The university is under fire for having such explicit content in the textbook, content which clearly belongs to the genre of erotica. Have a look at it:
This textbook is at the University of Sargodha which, as the name suggests, is located in the city of Sargodha, neighbour to Gujranwala. And we all remember the incident that happened near Gujranwala at the Lahore Motorway, where some men gang-raped a woman in front of her kids.
Is the textbook to blame?
And hence, we find social media wondering if having such a book in the course is a good idea. Because obviously if the students are exposed to the content, they may waver and one would see an increase in horrible cases similar to Lahore Motorway gangrape.
But is the fabric of ethics in our Islamic society as we so like to call it really that fragile? Is our rearing that weak? It definitely is. But is a mere textbook responsible for that? Not so much. It is how we have raised our kids! The rearing is to blame.
We have raised our kids with the idea that boys will be boys and that because boys will be boys, they need to protect their family members from other boys. We have taught them that because their sisters may be subjected to such treatment, they should not rape other women. And we have taught them that because it is in their wiring if they attack a girl, it is because of something she must have done.
In short, we do not raise them in a way that they are responsible for their own actions. We told them that whatever they do, they wouldn’t be held accountable, rather the women in the family will be.
So are we not ready for Manto’s writing? Yes. Is Manto’s writing to blame? No.
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