EMANCIPATION OF WOMAN
THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN PAKISTAN
Of the several factors that justify the greatness of Pakistan’s culture and have survived the test of time is the pride of place ascribed to women in Pakistan society. Since the dawns of the civilization women have been respected and worshipped in our land as angles and goddesses. They have been adored from time to time as virtues incarnate. Testimonies to this effect can be gathered from various legends and traditions that centers around the race of women and that have been handed down from generation to generation in our country.
THE POSITION OF WOMEN IN THE PAST:-
In the ancient times, women occupied an exalted position in society and excelled in various spheres of life. They were compelled to put on veils and confine themselves within the four walls of their houses. Benefits of liberal education and social accomplishments were denied to them and not unoften they were looked upon as possessions rather them persons. They had to play the role of household drudges and live as beasts of burden as drawers of water and hew of wood. They lost all initiative and drive and became slaves to tradition. Till the beginning of the Nineteenth Century they were considered merely s food to man’s passions and lust, and classed with fashionable things accumulated for the decoration of our drawing-rooms, clubs, theatres and coffee-houses. Their minds were dark, their souls were dead, and their life was but a purposeless existence.
THEIR POSITION IN PAKISTAN:-
But in the wake of the political emancipation of Pakistan has followed a great change in life and destiny of Pakistani women. The women of Pakistan are no longer frail passive and indolent. Under the firm and enlinghtened leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah they reasserted their superiority and proved their worth conclusively. In response to the call of the Muhammad Ali Jinnah the gave up their absured veil and came out of the four walls of their houses in millions to fight the battle of freedom, shoulder to shoulder with their fathers, husbands, and brothers. Never before in the history of our country had women participated in a nation movement with such a burning Zeal and in such a large number. The combined efforts of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and other social reformers the impact of western ideas, the transformation of social outlook of people, in the interest of the government in the cause of women’s uplift and the general reawakening of social and political consciousness in the country, all these have gone a long way in liberation the women of Pakistan from the shackles of age-long slavery and in giving them an individual status of their own.
Today, women are no longer regarded as slaves or drudges. Our Constitution grants them equality of status and of opportunity with men. As a result of their newly gained freedom, they have distinguished themselves in various spheres of life as politicians, judges, diplomats, administrators and ambassadors. There is today hardly any sphere of life in which our women have not taken part at shown their worth to the curious gaze of the orthodox. They exercise right to vote , fight for election, seek appointment to public office, and in verity of interests fight together with men for the right of both and for good government, but more often alone for the protection of their rights as women in shaping the social and political destiny of their nation. The acquisition by women of the right to vote, to be elected, to hold public office, as distinct from the personal rights or economic rights, is part of the trend towards more liberty and more equality. They are no longer an object of this fight but a subject. They now have a say in public affairs and they are called upon to express themselves on all the questions that arise. They have acquired more liberty to participate in the affairs of their country. They have been accorded equality with men in fulfilling the task of shaping the future. They have assumed more responsibilities for themselves, their family and their country than before. In many respects their position today bears comparison with the one they had in ancient times.
THEIR ROLE AS MOTHERS AND HOUSEWIVES:-
A woman is the mistress of her household and her domain over things that enter the threshold is absolute. As a mother, she is the first teacher of the child, as an old lady, hers is the last word on many a problem. Her main sphere of action is, therefore, essentially a happy home, which is her Kingdom, where by her sweet manners, constant ministering and advice as wife, mother, sister or daughter; she sweetens the ways of life. Where she works as a laborer, she does not claim exclusive right to use her wages. There, too, she brings in income to make the both ends meet. For some time past a very erroneous conception has developed that motherhood is a lowly and humiliating task imposed upon women by man. This conception is as baseless as unnatural. The progress of a nation depends upon the care and skill with which mothers rear up their children. “Give me good mothers,” said Napoleon, “and I will give you a good nation.” “Maids must be wives and mothers” writes F.A. Kemble, “to fulfill the entire and the holiest end of women’s being.” The first and noblest duty of mothers should, therefore, be to bring forth noble generations of patriots, warriors, scholars, politicians and statesmen. Since a child’s education starts even in the womb and the impressions formed in the mind of a child in the mother’s arms are indelible, our mothers in independence have to play a role of vital importance. They have to feel the realize at every step to their life that they are the builders of the fate of their nation for “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”
THEIR ROLE AS TEACHERS AND PROFESSORS:-
The second task for which nature has best endowed women is that of teaching. In our illiterate country where masses are groping in the dark, the services of efficient teachers are urgently needed. Because of their natural gifts of intelligent, persuasion, sympathy and love, women can prove the best teachers, especially in the primary stages of education. They can understand better than men the psychology of a child and direct his energies to flow in their right direction. The highest virtue of a teacher is, as we know, to teach while he pleases. Who can be better fitted than women in this art of teaching and amusing simultaneously? It is but gratifying that in our country educated women have cast off their prudish and have proceeded abroad for higher studies in humanities and sciences.
THEIR ROLE AS DOCTORS AND NURSES:-
As doctors and nurses, again, women can serve the country very admirable. They can serve as nurses, midwives and surgeons especially in the maternity hospitals, “that a women’s voice is a cure and she touches a balm” has not been idly said. It has been found out that the women because of here naturally delicate and soft hands are very often the best surgeon. Florence Nightingale has shown the way to women kind how nobly they can serve humanity in moments of grave gangers and epidemics. Lady Doctors can render especially efficient services in the war hospitals because they have virtues of temperance and cool-headedness even in the face of grave dangers. “There is in every true woman’s heart of spark of heavenly fire which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity but which kindles up and beams, and beams, and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.”
THEIR ROLE AS SOCIAL WORKERS:-
There is yet one more sphere to which women are better fitted than men. It is the sphere of social service, canvassing and propaganda. Women can do multifarious activities especially in villages. Rapid growth of population in the rural areas specially is a great curse to our country. Women’s volunteers can more easily take the difficult task of canvassing the canons of family planning and child welfare among the rural womenfolk. They can easily carry out from kitchen to kitchen a propaganda against unhygienic conditions under which the villager dwell. In the urban areas they can efficiently take up the task of visiting and teaching orphans and helpless widow welfare centers. They can train them in serving, knitting, embroidery, drawing and painting in which women by nature excel. They can train them in the arts of music and dancing. In our country where floods, famines, earthquakes and epidemics have been appearing in quick succession, services of enthusiastic women’s volunteers have already proved a boon.
THEIR ROLE IN OTHER SPHERES:-
Women has to prove their worth not only in professions and occupations like nursing, teaching, kindergarten work, dress-making, social welfare work, house decoration and furnishing, painting, dancing singing, dairy-farming and others, but also distinguish themselves as legislators, parliamentarians, politicians and ambassadors. Their influence on politics is bound to produce healthy effects. They are gentle and generous, cool-headed and kind-hearted, temperate and political. Hence if they enter the field of politics, they are sure to humanize the violent and masculine charcter of modern Western civilization, establish a region of peace and happiness, and substitute hatreds with love, revenge with forgiveness, and death with life. The creator of the human race may also prove to be its savior. In Pakistan there are many social economic and political problems in which women may have better knowledge than men, and their intervention would lead to better in far-reaching results. Their views on child welfare, maternity, prudish system, widow remarriage, co-education, female education and the like, are likely to be more valuable than those of men.
In short, then, women have to play a vital role in Pakistan’s national reconstruction and rural uplift. They have shown there worth as leaders and administrators, and that time is not far off when Pakistan will have at the helm of affairs, women who will lead the country from strength to strength. At one time, they may not formally shape the destinies of the nation as men do but nowhere is the saying—the hands that rock the cradle rule the world—more applicable than in Pakistan because in Pakistan this hand is not off an aya but that of mothers. To prove themselves equal to the dignity of this status given to them and accomplish the great tasks that confront their country, women have to shake off the age-old shackles of slavery, fight unhealthy superstitions, broaden their outlook develop their mental caliber and come out into the open field to share the social, economic and political responsibilities with man’s shoulder to shoulder. At the same time, men on their side have to dispel the vain and futile arm our of superiority and think of women as persons and not as possessions.