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‘The Real Aurat March’

The following has been reproduced from a widely-shared Facebook post authored by Maria Umair Rana.

I will march because it is the least I can do.

To the sister who is not allowed to touch her favourite boti in the saalan because it was for bhai: I will march for you.

To the wife who was beaten to death for failing to make a gol roti: I will march for you.

To the daughters trained to clean up after the sons because “yeh larkion ka kaam hai” (this is a girl’s job):

To the wife who’s asked to stay quiet after the husband slaps her “kyunke mard ko to ghussa aa hee jata hai kabhi” (because men get angry sometimes):

To each and every girl who’s wrapped her chaddar around herself a little tighter, locked the car or gripped her keys tightly between her fingers while walking alone at night, knowing no matter how bold she is, her body and honour are at risk because the men around her have not been taught better:

I will march for you.

To the sisters who are made to feel worthless when their mother is asked “beta nahin hai?”(you have no sons?):

To the mother who was abandoned with her daughters for not producing a male child:

To the girls in who were buried alive because they brought “dishonour” to their tribe:

To the sister who was asked to leave school because bhai’s (the waaris’s) education was much more important:

I will march for you.

To all those young women who have been condemned, shamed, beaten and tortured; burnt and buried alive for having the courage to ask for their basic right; to marry the man of their own choice:

To the sister who is slapped by the younger brother for coming home late at night from work, while he’s leaving with his friends for dinner:

I will march for you.

To the daughter who let herself be abused silently by the mamu, chacha, bhai, behnoi, Qari sahab, driver, cook, her own father and brother, because no one, including her own mother, believed her story:

To the newly wed bride who died in the gas cylinder explosion for not bringing with her enough jahez:

I will march for you.

To the countless girls raped in small towns, disowned by their families and left with no choice but to jump off roofs or in rivers near their homes, because they brought “dishonour” by being raped:

To so many of our girls who weren’t allowed to pursue higher education because the brothers’ university was more important and they were asked “kiya karo gee itna parh likh kar?” (what will you do with an education?):

To the little girl who washes away her childhood and her innocence with her “chilla shower” 40 days after giving birth to her firstborn. Knowing she will be pregnant soon because her first born is a girl:

I will march for you.

To the little beggar girl I saw being beaten on the roadside by her mother for not wearing her dupatta properly, because log kiya kahain ge? (what will people say):

To all the girls who’ve been groped and touched in public areas, because these men were raised to believe that our bodies are available for free pleasure:

To all my female custodian staff, who are told to wake up at 3am. Cook, clean, iron and do laundry before leaving home at 6am, while the men sleep peacefully. Who provide for the men’s drugs and still get beaten up. Who deserve so much better:

I will march for you.

To all the girls who have been made to feel like a burden on their parents because no one will marry them without dowry:

To the sisters who were sweet-talked into surrendering their inheritance for their brothers because “they have a husband to support them”:

To the working women who’ve stayed quiet when harassed at work because reporting it will not only cost them their job, but their respect as well:

I will march for you.

To the young girls sent to work in other people’s’ homes because “tum kamao gee to bhai school jaye ga” (if you earn, your brother can go to school). Who are abused, assaulted and overworked. Who send the rich kids to school while burying their own dreams of a school bag and a lunch box:

To the wife who was beaten up and starved for not bringing back cash from her poor parents so the husband could start a business:

To the mothers who’ve cried themselves to sleep knowing their daughters are surviving in abusive marriages but forced into silence by their “dominant” husbands in the name of family honour:

I will march for you.

Maria Umair Rana is a school teacher, a daughter, a wife, a mother and a sister.

To the young girls who have been scarred and body shamed, sold whitening creams and wrinkle free creams in the name of good rishtas.

To the eldest Appa of 6 siblings expected to grow up overnight when the young mother dies at childbirth and take charge of everything including a newborn…

I will march for you.

To all the girls who have suffered at the hands of the society, which includes men AND women, parents AND strangers, relatives AND friends, when it comes to basic rights of education, movement, expression, choice, inheritance, career, food, health.

To the numerous women who’ve survived years of physical and emotional abuse because their parents refused to accept a divorcee.

I will march for you. For each one of you.

I will march for my daughter so she knows her worth, her rights and her duties.

I will march with my son so he knows better.

I will march against any injustice. Against anyone.

I will march because I believe in the basic principle of life: All human beings are born equal and deserve to be treated so.

I will march because it’s the least I can do.

Maria Umair Rana is a school teacher, a daughter, a wife, a mother and a sister.

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