This topic has been irritating me for a while now, and it’s quite cathartic to just write (technically type) it all out. This will be quite “ranty”(that’s not even a word oh well) but I hope that you’ll understand what I’m getting at.
There are so many things that I love about Pakistani culture. The food, the clothes, the language. But, like everything, this culture has it’s problems. And the problem with these problems (lol) is that they don’t seem to be going away. Why? Because some Pakistanis tend to sweep their problems under the rug. Also, I need to make a point about the line between culture and Islam that seems to be getting thinner and thinner ie. people are so focused on culture and what their community will think of them that they tend to forget about religion, which actually brings people peace. Approximately 96% of Pakistanis are Muslim, yet it seems a lot of the time that Islam is thrown out of the window and people let their culture and pride get the best of them.
Around the UK, there are obviously towns which have a higher percentage of British Pakistanis in them (London, Manchester Bradford, Birmingham). This means that in these towns there are many Pakistani communities, some nice, some ‘not so nice’. What do I mean by ‘not so nice’? Basically, its a bit like gossip girl, expect instead of teenagers causing drama its the old aunties. In certain communities you are judged on everything you do, which can lead to paranoia in families as doing something that will bring the family shame may lead to you and/or your family being ostracized from the community. Ruzwana Bashir wrote an amazing article for the guardian about her experience with abuse and the impacts of living in a British-Pakistani community.
A well-known global issue is forced marriage. It has absolutely nothing to do with religion yet it is so common in Pakistan (and Afghanistan, India, Latin America). Why? Because people allow their actions to be driven by culture, not religion. Culture becomes the new religion. For some families it is just expected that their daughter after getting married will move in to her husbands family home to live with his parents and siblings. 90% of the time this causes problems, for example verbal/ physical abuse between the daughter and her parents’ in law. In these cases, the daughter is treated like a servant and you may think- why doesn’t she just leave? In Pakistan, leaving would be unacceptable, and even if she was brave enough to do it, a lot of women have no financial support that they can use to start a new life. Their husbands are their financial support, ie. they are trapped. And in some sad cases, the girl would not be able to return home as that would just bring shame on her and her family, meaning she, and possibly her family, would be ostracized from her community. It is worth mentioning that this doesn’t just happen to girls ie. a man can be forced by his parents into a marriage, but in many ways it is easier on him as he usually remains in his family home (unlike his wife who has to leave her family), and he is more often than not ever expected to help with the housework etc., as that is seen as the “woman’s job”. It’s so sad that in 2017 this antiquated ideology of the daughter moving in is still so apparent.
This wasn’t the most eloquent post, but there is so much to say on this topic so its hard to organize the thoughts running through my brain. Comment down below any experiences you’ve had, and your opinions on this issue.
tired minty xoxo