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Woman fed to dogs: Taslim Solangi and an end to civility

Taslim Solangi, an 8 months pregnant Pakistani teen from Khairpur, was forced to give birth prematurely and then was thrown in front of a pack of dogs, all of this because her father-in-law claimed that the child she was expecting was out of wedlock.

Purported allegations of infidelity and adultery against her were enough for the in-laws, in cohorts with the local populace, to mete out this depraved form of tribal justice. Perpetrators of this barbaric act are yet to be captured by the local police even though the accused, while labeled as absconded, has openly made threats about killing the lynched teen’s mother. The baby, meanwhile, was disposed off in a canal.

News reports indicate that her father-in-law, Zamir Solangi, who is responsible for this gruesome act, took the pregnant girl from her mother’s and subsequently swore of the Holy Quran that he wouldn’t harm her. Religion and patriarchy make a fairly toxic cocktail in the Indian sub-continent and the ignorant masses are only too pleased to gulp it down by the gallon.

My earliest images of Pakistan’s women were shaped by the slightly asymmetrical and exaggerated (as duly pointed out by a lit-crit professor) accounts of gender based bias and discrimination in Tehemina Durrani’s Blasphemy. Today though, I don’t quite think the book as exaggerated as Dr D’Souza thought.

To be honest, I was quite scared of ever stepping foot anywhere beyond the LOC (“Line of Control” between India and Pakisran) and it had nothing to do with the perennial under-currents of violence and hatred, assumed or otherwise, between the two neighbors.

India and Pakistan share a murky history and a superior culinary culture plus a million other things. Yet despite celebrity proclamations of how it’s the “same” country both sides of the border, I know for a fact that’s not entirely true. We are different entities and the umbilical cord was severed quite a few decades ago.

Even so, you can relate to the urban Pakistani ecosystem a lot better if you come from the Northern part of India and I have been repeatedly informed by friends and mutants alike that much of Karachi will remind me of some of Delhi. I haven’t travelled the length and breadth of our Northern neighbor to validate that statement so I’ll make room for reasonable doubts than take it at face value.

My interest lies in a comparison of parities in the lives of an average Indian woman vis-à-vis one in Pakistan. There are differences galore, but quite a few similarities too. I do confess to very little information about rural Pakistani women in particular.

I am grown up enough now to believe that not every Pakistani household has its own feudal lord – though a significant amount of them are at the mercy of some lameass patriarchal messiah of sorts -and I am also firmly aware of the bitter truth that a very stringent sort of sexism prevalent in a large part of that country (as in mine) means a daily, almost ritualistic, persecution and defilement of women – emotionally, mentally, physically – as well as a thorough disregard for women’s rights.

Despite my usual preparedness for the abnormally grim, stories like Solangi’s still manage to scare me insane and fuel unbridled rage within me. Wrath is what I can feel right now, rising from the absolute pit of my stomach. Unadulterated and unmitigated anger. And I want to use this anger in a way that pulverizes the very core of our enforced patriarchal inheritance. I want my anger to be as brutal and as devoid of mercy as these murdering charlatans are.

I need revenge. We need revenge.

I could have chosen to satirize in my usual blasé manner because I find in humor – especially dark humor – a rock-hard and unshakable crutch. But this is not the time to seek crutches, it’s the time to demolish.

I beseech those academically fortified women amongst us, who love to deliberate about ethnocentric feminism’s strides in the warm comfort of their Ikea-decorated living rooms, to stand up and address this. Now. Without politeness and political correctness corrupting their ire. Because when young girls are left for dogs to feed on, very little room is left for civility.

What kind of monsters would force a teen to prematurely birth her child (who was subsequently thrown into a canal since he/she was deemed illegitimate by a killer father-in-law) and then based on some asinine rodent’s “wisdom” would throw her to a pack of rabid canines?

While this epic torture drama ensued, hitmen were sent after Taslim’s absconding mother to snuff out her life too. However, if all of this doesn’t inspire serious fear and fury in you, then take heart in the knowledge that a government official – a top level assistant commissioner, no less – was at the helm of these vile proceedings. Yes, officially signed, sealed and delivered, et al.

How many more women in the sub-continent have to bleed and scream before their voices can reach the world outside?

For every Mukhtaran Mai, a million Taslims are silently buried and disappear without a trace. But not this time. Definitely,

This time the water has reached our necks and it is lashing at its nape. It’s gurgling in our ears. It’s dirty and infected and it threatens to wash us away. It’s a hurricane of pain and disillusionment. It all boils down to one thing: Women are a long way from being ranked or even considered as human beings amidst some of the largest populations on the planet.

Who will speak about it? Who needs to speak about it?

We. We need to speak. No, actually, we need to do more than just speak about it, we need to scream, yell, shout, screech, holler, and tear apart the foundations of the universe if the need arises. This is not injustice to one, it’s injustice to all.

We all get torn apart when militant fangs dig into a pleading Taslim’s skin and heart. We can’t reduce ourselves to willing and mute witnesses to this century’s crimes against ourselves. We can’t afford to watch it till it simply “dies down” or “dissipates”. We can’t afford to be so static and unaffected. We must do something. We must seek justice.

We should, ideally, seek an eye for an eye because it just doesn’t work any other way – all due to respect to the Gandhian dogma and Bollywood movies inspired by it. For all that chest beating/bra burning in the name of the Sisterhood, it eventually boils down to this. This is the reality for brown women in our world.

It’s a large and fairly violent world but someone has to change it. Evolution needs catalysts. Theorizing and rationalizing will only take us so far. The rest of the journey is on foot. Without crutches. My crutches included.

24 thoughts on “Woman fed to dogs: Taslim Solangi and an end to civility

  1. Have you a single reference for this that isn’t a blog? because the whole thing smacks of bullshit and racist hate speech. So easy and handy to accuse those sub human coloured others of atrocities.

    And just how does a poverty stricken third world man force a woman to give birth prematurely?

  2. Pingback: Taslim Solangi: Links « Off Our Pedestals
  3. Huh? …

    Blackpaw, have you tried searching for this through the Google News search? 6 men are presently in custody because of this crime.

    And what is this talk about racism? A brown woman is speaking about another brown woman in a neighboring society (and she is even admitting a certain amount of ignorance on her own part), because she can relate to this outrage. Did you read her essay? Or was it just so “easy” and “handy” to accuse the writer of racism and you couldn’t pass up the opportunity?

    Do I need to explain to you how people force women to give birth? They’ve been doing it for centuries, where have you been? A sharp kick to the stomach was enough to send my friend into premature labor, other methods exist too.

    I hope that maybe you will come back here and apologize, but I’m not going to wait holdng my breath.

  4. @Captain Janeway – Thanks for that response. Greatly appreciate that.

    @Blackpaw – I am amazed by your ignorance and probably pity you on some level too. I have referenced those sites which dared to speak about this crime because in this non-Starbucks infested part of the world, even media would do a double take before following stories such as this. Btw, this was covered by news channel in India but then you wouldn’t know bout it. So, thats that.
    Hate speech? Aimed at whom? Other brown folks like myself. Are you that dense?
    Please avoid commenting on issues that you evidently have very little comprehension of.
    You are either plainly pathetic and I refuse to entertain nonsense.

    p.s.: How bout you visit the “poverty stricken third world” to actually get an idea of forced labour?

  5. @ Scherezade – proud of you for not deleting that disgracful comment by Blackpaw as it lets the readers see how much ignorance their is in this World.

    Personally I find, having visited both Indian and Pakistan, that very few, shall I say “Westerners”, really understand the vast gulf between the urban and rural parts of the countries. The difference is vast and yet atrocities against women (and men) occur in both. The two countries really really are a mix of advanced technology on one hand and coarse babarism on the other.

    Some might say that is what makes the country so vibrant and that you cannot apply western ideology to another nation that has such a rich and often glorious heritage. Maybe us British (colonials) made a bad (or good?) situation worse.

    However the World has moved on and some things that might have been acceptable 100 years ago no longer are no matter where a person comes from.

    I liked the article, well written and intelligent.

  6. Captain Janeway – apologise for what? I’m not denying that honour killings and abuse take place, nor was I directly accusing the blog poster of racism, rather people in general for disseminating it uncritically, so my apologies to Scherezade for not making that clearer.

    Though are you seriously saying that brown people can’t be racist to other brown people? are you unaware of the past and current history between India and Pakistan? or do you just think they’re just all “brown” people.

    The details of the story bothered me – stray dogs will not chase and eat humans, and later reports are denying that now. When I posted there was only one (english) online only paper reporting it that looked like a tabloid with sensationalised details. It seemed tailor made to appeal to western prejudices.

    A brutal honour killing appears to have taken place, it doesn’t need to be dramatised.

  7. Also “Forced to give birth prematurely” is quite different form “Forced to abort”.

    That detail also seems to be now missing from current news reports.

  8. Blackpaw – Writing about a particular incident is NOT sensationalizing it. Also, there is a particularly brutal process by which someone CAN be forced to birth prematurely. The reason why there is just one english “tabloid” reporting it because people like yourself don’t think such incidents are worthy of newsprint.
    You reek of ignorance and the so called “western prejudice” anyway.
    I’d recommend some serious research before you commence commenting on things you have NO comprehension of.
    Apologies are redundant.

  9. “apologize for what?”

    Apologize for accusing the author of racism and then pretending that your real beef is with me.

    “Though are you seriously saying that brown people can’t be racist to other brown people? are you unaware of the past and current history between India and Pakistan? or do you just think they’re just all “brown” people.”

    No, you idiot, which is why I pointed out that Ms. Sanchita was writing about a neighboring society and had spoken about her own ignorance on certain matters.

    She has the humility that you obviously lack.

    “The details of the story bothered me – stray dogs will not chase and eat humans, and later reports are denying that now. When I posted there was only one (english) online only paper reporting it that looked like a tabloid with sensationalised details. It seemed tailor made to appeal to western prejudices.”

    That’s not true. When this story first went up here I searched for details of Taslim Solangi online, and I got different reports on this situation.

    I guess you obviously don’t realize that people have been watching this on their local news as well? And that details between those reports and reports you may have seen may vary for many reasons?

    For a person who’s desperate to stick the racist label on anyone you get within your sights, you only seem to trust the AP which is an American organization (yes, I read Renegade Evolution’s blog but can’t respond there because Blogger is giving me the finger).

    Go impress someone else with your credentials.

  10. @ Blackpaw – Also, I wanted to let you know that not every Indian is gunning for a Pakistani’s neck just because of our chequered past. This is assumption is really funny since you obviously assume that all of us Indians and Pakistanis are really ignorant Angry Brown People who are not in position of even an iota of emotional intelligence to differentiate between our past and our present. Or capable of commiserating over issues like these since we are sworn enemies or sommin!
    Smacks of racism. It does.
    Yes ideological differences between people exist. Cultural, too. But, on some level, yes, we are ALL brown folk. Drama Obsessed Third world urchins perhaps? Hah!
    Listen, armchair critics are passe. Really.
    What room exists of “drama” here?
    I am sorry that you are unable to wrap your brain around the fact that indeed it’s the unhinged brutality of this incident that renders the so called “dramatic effect”. As bad as that sounds.
    Go find yourself a few books by Tehemina Durrani, some of those clouds over your head will clear.

  11. I will side with Blackpaw who seems to be the only voice of reason here.
    Its one of the incidents that produces a strong emotional reaction. And a strong emotional reaction in us “desi log” has peculiar manifestations. Fact becomes kind of mixed up with fiction. Anger takes over and feeds the fiction which feeds the anger and so on and so forth.
    Although its a well known fact that desi log are amongst the most racist anywhere. I think thats not the word Blackpaw intended to use. He/she was refering, perhaps to the validity of an appraisal of a barbaric (and barbaric it is) act in Pakistan thats profered by an Indian author. I would question it myself. And what is more, I would note that exaggeration does not make for a stronger case, it actually weakens it. Once I am not sure about the facts presented here, I am not sure how far to go with my faith in the writer’s impartiality. I did some research and came up with the fact for example that she wasnt “fed” to the dogs. She was mauled by stray dogs and she was shot to death. I am not sure what led to what but I am sure it was a brutal honour killing. Now what we need is to think clearly and present clear information so that clear actions may result. Raves and rants are easy to dismiss because their exaggerated nature offer built in excuses for dismissal.

  12. In the initial reports I read, it was said that it was hoped that the dogs would tear her to pieces, and when that wasn’t enough, she was shot. The word “fed” is very subjective here, but it’s interpretive, not an exaggeration. I knew of a ghastly case in Soviet Russia when a baby was thrown to pigs, for example – it wasn’t technically “fed” to anyone, but it was bitten and trampled to death like a piece of prey – hence the word “fed” was used to describe what happened.

    I wouldn’t have a problem with amending the headline if that’s what Sanchita wants.

    But I do not see Blackpaw’s comments here, or elsewhere, are reasonable.

    First it was “racist lie.” Then it became “you’re twisting facts so you can get off on it.” With an extra dash of “I don’t like reporters” thrown in.

    I don’t consider that reasonable discourse in the least.

  13. Unlike one of my stumbling friends who refuses to accept that these murdering thugs are members of our species, whether we care to admit it or not, these animals ARE “fellow” human beings; which raises the question of whether, given that fact, we are responsible for intervening to prevent such outrages against other members of our species and, if so, how.

    The author’s natural desire for revenge in the “eye for an eye” mode is the fuel which has fed thousands of years of bloodlust driven vendettas. I also disagree with the author in one other vital respect: her focus on this being an issue for brown women.

    The justification which men (almost exclusively) in authority feel entitles them to behave this brutally to other men, women and children throughout the world is the factor which should unite us. They are the enemy.

    We should feel equally outraged by the bullies kicking in the doors of an 88 Year old woman in the Police State of America http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathryn_Johnston or the ethnic cleansing being carried out in Sudan by the Janajaweed vermin http://www.janjaweed.com/ or Samir Kuntar’s smashing a little girl’s skull with his rifle butt http://www.anorak.co.uk/twitterings/185856.html or the Israeli soldiers who shoot children in the back http://www.revisionisthistory.org/palestine46.html. And on and on…

    All of these actions are carried out by humans against other humans. None are remotely excusable. What are we going to do about it? My own answer is that we cannot and should not attempt to beat them at their own game. As Ghandi said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”. What we need to do is make it impossible for them to act without being seen. There is always sufficient public momentum to counter the criminals once their actions are exposed, unequivocally, to the public gaze.

    This applies whether the relevant criminal is the managing director of Enron, a Burmese policeman or a wife-beating politician. This is why the criminals tend to hide what they do and to deny that they did it. The major exception is terrorism – where public visibility is “useful” to amplify the terror.

    The bullies who control the world are frantically covering the planet with surveillance systems designed to make it even easier for them to control us. In every case they are keen to learn more and more about what we are doing and equally keen to hide what they get up to. I say it’s time we turned that logic and the technology against them.


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