Saturday Apr 21, 2018
The murder of a Pakistani singer Samina Sindhu, 24, in Larkana isn’t just a murder. It is more than that. It is a reflection of our society. The same society that regards Sheema Kirmani’s dhamal at a Sufi shrine, damaged by a suicide bombing, not as a fiery symbol of protest but as a shameful mark of vulgarity.
A Pashto singer Sumbal Khan was shot dead outside her own home, for refusing to attend a private gathering. She dared to say ‘no’ to a man. Baraikhta, another singer, was killed by a suitor after her father refused his marriage proposal. In 2016, a theatre actress, Kismat Baig, was gunned down in Lahore. Later, the killer confessed that he was offended after Baig refused to perform at his stage production in Faisalabad.
This is a society that loves music, but despises singers, is disgusted by dancers and relegates artists to the lowest rung of the social ladder. How dare a lowly singer, and that too a woman, refuse a man?
The killer could have any name, Shahrukh Jatoi or Tariq Jatoi, who murdered Sindhu, and yet the story is the same. The motive is the same. Men, intoxicated with the power of their guns, drunk on the might of their own influence and high on their superiority, can easily take a life.
Sindhu was pregnant at the time of her killing. That makes it two murders, not one. Had she not been with a child in her womb, would we have shown her the same sympathy? Soon after the shooting, a news channel spoke to a young Sindhi boy about the heinous crime. He said, staring straight at the camera, “So, why did she choose to be a singer in the first place?” It is perhaps not possible to express cruelty, barbarity and hatred, all in one, short sentence. But he did it.
The ones worthiest of praise in this whole sordid tale, are the men who keep on insisting that their religion and culture teaches them to respect women. Yes, it does. But then again, which women are you talking about? The ones who fall within the boundaries that you have proscribed? The ones who dress as per your wishes and who live by your rules?
How brave was Sindhu’s killer that he had to take refuge behind the “it was a stray bullet” excuse?
The use of traditions, culture and norms as the reason for murdering a woman is not new either.
When we hear them sing, we get lost in their melodious voice, in their soulful words. But we refuse to give them the voice to say, ‘No’.
Samina Sindhu was the victim of a feudal lord’s superiority complex. Now she is gone. We will never know what she dreamed for her herself, her family or her unborn child. We will never know her story in her own words. If we want to punish the murderer, then we, as a society, should also be on trial. Is our collective conscience finally ready to appreciate art and artists for what they are? They are not lowly creatures worthy of scorn, but a gift from the heavens deserving of veneration.
- Fatima is a doctor. She tweets @Ramish28
Note: The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Geo News, The News or the Jang Group