I wonder what is it that makes a Girl lesser human than her Brother? Being thrown away in the name of marriage, and then advised to survive every suffering inflicted on her, is still the fate of many Pakistani girls even today. Seeking to have a male heir to a family estate (especially among the landowning families) sometimes ends up in bringing numerous girls into this world. This stands as no less than a dilemma for the parents who are then bound by religion and law to divide the property among all their children, something giving girls certain share in the inheritance. Never had I thought that this right of mine could become a threat for those who I belong to — my parents and my brother! A Girl, in my society, holds a number of subject positions — she is a daughter, a sister, a wife, and a mother. She is all these but a human being. From her early childhood, she is made to feel scared of her womanhood. On growing up, her body becomes a site where the battles of family honour are fought, and izzat is preserved. On getting married, she is sent away — not only physically but mentally too — with advice on never to turn around or come back. The Girl keeps receiving all this no matter how mentally and spiritually challenging all this becomes! After marriage, she is no more welcomed into the father’s house; something usually said loud and clear by her brothers. She does not afford any crisis in her relationship with the husband only because she has no place of her own! Today, I raise the Woman Question — a question generally raised in the backdrop of marriage, societal pressures, public and domestic violence, and at many other planes. I, however, raise this question in relation to my blood ties. The quintessentially male-centred order that surrounds us favours Brothers more than their Sisters. For a Boy’s parents, he is the one to be possessed, to be valued, to be taken care of, to be looked up to, and what not. But what about a Girl? Being a Muslim, I own my space that Islam has given me — I Look up to Chapter 4 (Surah Nisa’) of the Qur’an that specifies daughters’ share in the inheritance; I look up to the life of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) who gave utmost love and reverence to his daughter, Fatima; and I look up to the Prophet’s sermon on his farewell pilgrimage where he warned Men against rendering injustice to their Women. As a woman, I had the only little realisation that marriage means giving up on my rights — right to visit my parents’ house, right to share my happiness and sorrow with them, and especially the right to inheritance and property. Today nevertheless, I stand fully conscious to this dispossession of mine materialised by my parents, whose last and only hope is their son. Since they have spent on my upbringing, education and marriage, they now owe me nothing — no love, no care and no share in the inheritance. Is there any law that can procure equity between daughters and sons? Especially when it comes to the treatment given respectively to them by the parents? They have conveniently given up on my sisters and me after marrying us off to our husbands. My father’s house is not mine anymore because it belongs more to my brother and his wife now! My mother envisions a future with her son — a future which has absolutely no space for her daughters. My marriage has conveniently rescued my blood ties from all the liabilities — emotional, moral or financial. Can I invoke law at this point? Will the law of my country favour me or any other woman with a similar fate? Is there a law which can restore my status in the father’s house after my marriage? Will any law rescue me from this forsakenness? Are there any legislative procedures there to address people’s morals and intentions which are based on injustice? Is there any law that can procure equity between daughters and sons, especially when it comes to the treatment given respectively to them by the parents? I want restoration of my place as a daughter! I say ‘no’ to this encroachment of my rights and space! Indeed there are gaps — gaps in the legal system, gaps in our social conditioning, gaps created by the feudal and bourgeoisie mindset. So far, the lawmakers haven’t thought about daughters. They agree on this abandonment of ours. As long as the male child is safe, all is well; who cares for the female one? Theoretically, I can achieve self-validation through religion; practically I have no weapon to fight the battle; neither law nor society supports me. I fear the moment something bad happens to my marriage — where shall I go? Do I have any space? Will I be left with any relations except my children in this case? I have intentionally used a capital ‘G’, ‘W’, ‘M’, ‘S’ and ‘B’ respectively for girls, women, men, sisters, boys and brothers. And I maintain, these all are various subject positions that have been ascribed to males and females of our society. With this capitalisation, I see my personal dilemma expanding into a political matter — a matter which features the misfortune of many women, while simultaneously privileging many men of my society. I thus speak for the Daughter, the Sister, the Woman — or more precisely, the supposedly lesser human. The writer can be reached at [email protected] Published in Daily Times, April 9th 2018.