The Irony of 'Izzat'
ALLAHABAD: Kankar, a show which is getting broadcasted on the channel ‘Zindagi’ these days has brilliantly raised the issue of domestic violence. It is the story of a girl named Kiran who comes from a middle class background and gets married to Sikandar, who is the only son of a wealthy couple. This show has conveyed many strong messages regarding marriage. One which I would like to talk about here is Izzat. Izzat is an urdu word which means respect.
The usage of this term has taken place in various aspects in this show. One when the male protagonist asks Kiran to respect him and second when Kiran demands for the same respect from her husband. The most confusing has been for me though, the third one when Kiran’s mother asks her to go back to the same people who disrespect and abuse her in order to protect ‘ghar ki izzat’.
This is an aspect of the issue of domestic violence which in my opinion needs to be addressed the most. It is appalling how the South-Asian community at large feels that the honor of their family gets protected when they let their daughters suffer at the hands of their in-laws. To let their daughters get beaten and abused is a way for such families to protect their hollow pride. A female who is willing to put up a fight is blamed of bringing dishonor to the family. It seems ironical that when someone refuses to go through the torture then they are made to feel ashamed for that and on the other hand a woman who suffers domestic violence and remains in a bad marriage is regarded as the righteous one.
In the show Kankar, Kiran made a decision to divorce her husband. She refused to take his disrespectful behavior towards her but we can very easily see how her mother who is a woman herself, does not approve her decision.
It is a reflection of our society that believes in suffering and adjusting rather than fighting back. A very powerful dialog by Kiran goes like this “ talaq ke baad agar main pareshaan hu to sabko takleef hogi, lekin shadi ka phanda gale mein daalke main roz maru, kisi ko koi masla nhi hoga” which roughly means that if she suffers after the divorce then people would feel miserable for her, but the same people do not bother if she remains in a bad marriage and suffers every day .
This shows the real face of the society which is not at all concerned about the sufferings of a person in a bad marriage. It is because as a society our concern is not to eliminate the cause of an individual’s sufferings but to ensure that he/she remains married.
This problem is due to the mentality that believes that marriage should be the ultimate aim of a person’s life. Also, because of the patriarchal set-up of this society, women are targeted more. They are expected to adjust more to the situations, to compromise with their esteem and remain in a miserable marriage.
In the show, both Kiran’s mother and mother-in law suffered domestic abuse in the initial years of their respective marriage. One can see them at various occasions telling Kiran that she should accept her situation and getting beaten by the husband is not a big deal. Her mother-in-law in fact very tauntingly asked her if Kiran considers that the former had no respect as she lived with an abusive husband to which she brilliantly replied, “ Ammi, Aapki bhi izzat thi, aapne karwai nahi.”
It is very important for us as a society to shed the hypocrisy and this notion of pride. Suffering should not be associated with family honor. The honor of the family stays intact when one refuses to suffer and raise a voice against oppression.