By Taneem Ahmar
Having long contained within me the anger and rage, I feel unable to do so anymore. I can’t help but be vocal and express myself in no uncertain terms. I wish to yell and shout that I am not going to tolerate or be a passive sufferer when men use swear words, specially the ‘maa-behan’ ki gaalian (swear words invloving ‘mother-sister’). This goes for all men. But even more for some men I know – family, friends and colleagues, who unashamedly use their foul mouths. What to talk of embarrassment, they seem to take some warped pride in their show of utterly-outdated masculinity.
I’ve always wondered why, when, where and how did these men pick up such language? Was it in their childhood, at home, in school or college, at their workplace, or from the movies? There has to be a trajectory that needs to be followed to understand the psyche behind men who swear, specially dragging in (abusing) women in the process.
The other, and more important and disturbing, issue is how these men use the swear words in the presence of their family women – mothers, sisters and daughters (and wives) and are not mindful of their language. The worst is that women relatives or friends of these men do not protest against this behavior and try and stop it. Is it conditioning because of living a lifetime in a patriarchal society where a man can do no wrong or is it that perhaps they don’t realize the severity of the swear words? If they did, they’d surely not tolerate men who humiliate or infuriate other men by suggesting the latter have sexual relationships with their mother or sister.
So, this Mothers’ Day, I am hoping, and it may be a forlorn hope, that those men who are in the habit of hurling verbal abuses that dishonor and humiliate women’s relationship with their loved ones, will think twice, or think about their own mothers, before abusing someone else’s. Equally, I am hoping that mothers (in fact, all women) would adopt a zero tolerance towards any male in their presence swearing and abusing, especially using women, or supposed relations with them, as a weapon to target other men.
This Mothers Day lets honor all women by making a pledge to not use swear words in general and the ones start with Maa (and Behan) in particular.
Happy Mothers Day!!!
Taneem Ahmar is Director of Uks – A Research, Resource and Publication Center/Uks Radio Project