“Death is better than divorce”

Published: July 20, 2011

Nariman accepted that she was the new Rafia Phupo and nothing would change that; she had no choice but to drink this poison every day.

When I heard that Nariman*, my bubbly childhood friend, was back in town, I was overjoyed beyond belief. I looked forward to a time full of fun and laughter and doing every thing under the sun.

When we were younger, I actually believed that sitting still caused Nariman physical pain, because she was always so excited. But three years after her wedding, she sits old and haggard, her eyes devoid of all laughter, her gait lacking spirit, and her voice like a mere rustle of dead leaves on parched mud. What led to the transition is not the fact that she got divorced and all the monstrosities that led to it, but what ensued after.

Sure, she lost her self respect in an abusive household.

Yes, she also lost her unborn child and any chance of ever having one.

Sure, she was tortured every day.

But in our society, she could still walk with her head held high, because she was a ‘married woman’.

The day her husband beat her to a pulp – enough for her to have a miscarriage in the sixth month – the only day she retaliated, he said the three words and instead of feeling liberated, her weak body sank further into the ground.

Bleeding half to death, she screamed and tried to stop Waqqas* from uttering the final and binding words, but he didn’t pay any heed. He pushed her out of his house – a neighbour called for an ambulance.

Nariman recalls waking up after what seemed like an eternity – the nurse said it was only two days. A little voice in her heart told her it was good riddance, but that voice grew silent as she overheard the nurses behind the curtain, discussing the patient on bed 32 – how a man brought a bleeding woman to the hospital, she was pregnant and her husband beat the kid out of her.

The older voice from across the curtain said:

“He must have realised the kid wasn’t his. Which father would kill his own child and endanger the life of his wife so heavily pregnant?”

So it began.

Nariman thought her family would understand; she rang the bell beside her bed in the hospital and asked if someone had contacted her parents. She was told a man had dumped her on the emergency stretcher and left; they had no details.

Nariman gave them her family’s contact and her mother came.

The first words uttered by her mother were:

“Why did he divorce you? What did you do now?”

No sympathy for the lost child; no love for the woman lying on the hospital bed, her daughter.

“Ammi, he got drunk again and started hitting me…”

Nariman wanted to say more, but her mother interrupted:

“Oh my God! What will I tell the family? How will I face society? Oh Nariman, how will I get suitors for your younger sisters?”

“Ammi, I am in pain. Please call the nurse to put me back to sleep…”

Nariman faked tiredness and closed her eyes, tears rolling down her cheeks as she realised that she had now become Razia* Phuppo.

Her aunt, Razia Phuppo was ridiculed all her life for being a divorcee. Every one blamed her for the failed marriage in spite of the third degree burns she bore on her hands.

Nariman could remember when Kaneez Khala would not let Razia Phuppo put henna on Tayyaba’s hands at her mehndi ceremony, because Razia Phuppo may rub off her misfortune and bad luck on the new bride. Razia Phuppo was presumably “nahusat” personified.

Divorced at 26, and extremely beautiful, Razia Phuppo couldn’t find a decent life partner, and had to settle for a man 15 years older than her who was also a good two inches shorter than her and suffered from polio.

For the eight years that Razia Phuppo’s second husband lived, he ridiculed and tortured her.

People conveniently forgot to invite her to happy occasions like birthdays, weddings, baby showers etcetera.

Women would speculate about the reasons for Razia Phuppo’s early dismissal from married life:

Was she a virgin when she got married?

Was she having extra marital affairs?

Was she a good home maker?

All these questions had only incriminating answers; nobody ever saw merit in her explanations.

Now, Nariman saw Razia Phuppo’s face morphing into hers.

She decided not to be another victimised divorcee, so she moved to another country. Men always saw her as an easy piece of flesh because they only saw her as a deprived woman. Women were scarcely different from back home; after spending six months abroad she came back.

She had accepted that she was the new Razia Phuppo and nothing would change that; she had no choice but to drink this poison every day.

People label her current state as a time to repent because of her misdeeds, not their gross injustices.

*Name has been changed.

Maryiam Sheikh

Maryiam Sheikh

A woman who would not shut up and will always side with the underdogs.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://www.facebook.com/noman.ansari Noman Ansari

    My god, that was just heartbreaking to read. What the hell is wrong with our society? We are in serious need of a feminist movement. Recommend

  • Uzair

    Don’t worry folks, this is all part and parcel of being a brainwashed, misogynistic, sick, twisted, hate filled, superstitious, woman-hating, caste-riddled, mulla-fearing (not God-fearing) society ;)Recommend

  • Maryiam

    @ Noman,

    I hope such compassion is shared by all. however, I do not think that a feminist movement is the call of the day. Education and religious awareness may very well help people fix their ugly behaviour. Recommend

  • Tanzil Tahir

    An eye opener but we are all ignorant of what is happening around us. We listen to like a zillion news in the papers every day but we don’t do any thing except for feeling sorry. We should take steps to bring these culprits to justice and change the mentality of people who always blame the daughters of eve.

    Its so sad to realize that it will take another generation or more to do so. I feel sorry really sorry to see where we all are going. If we don’t do anything about it, we are equally responsible for such atrocities.

    Hope Allah gives us the strength to change what is necessary.Recommend

  • Furheen

    :( i hope and pray your friend find happiness in this life soon until then she has to hold her head high, cuz Allah knows who is right and who is wrong! people can ridicule her now, but karma is nasty ! what goes up comes down its its gonna come down smashing on these people giving your friend a hard time!Recommend

  • Sabih

    Now we may see a lot of men who would scowl and be apparently outraged at this story (in real life and in the comments section), yet none of them ever would even think of marrying a divorcee themselves.

    People need not blame the society for all these ills when they themselves form a part of this society – they just need to do some introspection and consider what they have done to change the society.

    Just having views against such horrendous behavior does not do much, unless you act like that in real life too. Too man men just condemn, but when it comes to their own marriage – they would never marry such women. They would never go against the society they call evil. Recommend

  • http://www.6la8.com Confused

    I hope her life gets better, I really do.
    …I can’t think of anything else to say, this is sad.Recommend

  • Syed Qalb-e-Abbas

    @ Uzair,
    you said it all out, and still you say that we don’t worry.. :(
    seriously we need a magic wand for our country…Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/#!/ PakCricFanatic

    yes women hating women more than the men.Recommend

  • ALi

    when male domination and inequality is embedded in a society like ours, we can see all sorts of in humane acts carried out without any fear of law or allah(who is just assumed as a tyrrant for kafirs:) ).Unfortunately the weaker sex is most of the times unheard and blamed for all wrong.


  • http://shueyb.wordpress.com Shueyb Gandapur

    This is our great, superior culture that we are so proud of, and which makes us believe that the west lacks morals. Recommend

  • Javeria Mahmood

    its really heart throbbing… same cased happened to my first cousin… her husband used to beat her daily while he got drunk…. her in laws did not give her food and all the necessary things like soap, shampoo and surf for washing cloths…. and even her mother in law used to give her “basi/kharab khana” and used to force her to eat…. this is really inhuman….. somehow my cousin escaped from their in-laws and filed a divorce petition in court…. on the day of hearing her husband ridiculed her in from of the court room, beaten her, snatched her dupatta in front of many people…. so that made her case easy to get divorced…… Recommend

  • Ambreen Taqvi

    soooooo saddd and yet true (in our parhi likhi jahil society)!!!:( @javeria …Allah has a special place for such people…may they burn in hell!!!Recommend

  • The Critique

    it looks more like a story of a new drama serial of ARY or HUM TV…Recommend

  • Javeria Mahmood

    @The Critique:
    I wish non of your family female would be a character of that drama… Recommend

  • abubakar

    terrible! The thing is we have NO laws in our country, its so f***ing sad! In this case a woman should have a trusted organisation with powers that can screw the life of the drunken man! What is the use of all the tv shows and high level rich people meetings for women-rights around the country going on since as long as i can remember? If anyone wants to do anything, make that organisation happen, so these poor women can feel a bit secure.

    Education or no education, if a person knows that if he breaks some particular law, his life will be made a living hell, he is NOT going to do it, educated or not educated. But no, the curse to our country, we just cant implement the laws. So if we cant educate the whole country, cant we atleast make sure that the law enforcement should be comprised of honest ppl? No we cant, cuz look at our president and the PM and look at what their children do. Its like they have no belief in the life after death what so ever.Recommend

  • Ali

    @Mariyam Shaikh: This is a sad story and i strongly lament on this curse but i need to know that why should not most of the girls compromise as much as they start after separation, they did not give as much respect to BHABI before but start after, most of the time involve in others affairs before but not after.

    i like to know if they can change attitude why not try before separation,my question is for author but apprciate if anyone give answer.Recommend

  • http://sheikhusman.blogspot.com Sheikh Usman Nadeem

    And the name of section if truly ‘Welcome To Pakistan’ !Recommend

  • Maryiam Sheikh

    Dear All,

    Thank you so much for praying and hoping for a better future for my friend, She is currently in rehab.

    @sabih: Great point, my next article was going to be about just that, another true story equally heart wrenching

    @ Javeria: your cousin is in our prayers

    @ the critique: Dramas are inspired from daily life, sometimes they are romanticised and made more sensational, In this case i think the channel would have to remove a little sensation to make the serial sell. Life is indeed that hard on some people, As with all dramas/films if the audience gets the moral thats money well spent, I do hope you have learnt something out of this story too

    @ ali: Please rephrase your question, I dont understand the relevance with respect to the story above. Recommend

  • SKJ

    This is sad but is very common in our society. Its lack of education and mostly lack of understanding of our religion. Being educated and being religious doesnt mean that you understand it as well.Recommend

  • abdul moiz

    this sick attitude of our society towards divorce and our women’s cowardice in not taking divorces from abusive husbands is most distressing.why did this girl keep on sticking to the abusive man like a leech,she should have left him a long time ago.our women love playing the victim and a lot of commentators will go out all against me but it’s time our women faced the truth: it’s not blame the victim when the victim acts as an enabler.

    our women give the men in their lives the power to abuse them as the men know ‘kay mai kuch bhi karlun ,yeh kahin nahi janay wali”. this gives them immense power over their wives/girlfriends.
    it’s time the girls of our society started taking divorces from husbands who don’t respect them.this sticking like leeches to abusive partners deosn’t make you a ‘good’ girl ,it just makes you a weak,desperate and needy woman.
    stop expecting your majazi khudas to become angels and start leaving them for your own sakes.Recommend

  • yousaf

    will please some Aalim or religious scholar tell me what is the gender of God?and, is it better to preach, or to practice Islam.I dare ask this because I see and hear Islam being preached all around but practicing islam in its true spirit I see nowhere.for example if this had happened in a non muslim country like Canada the man would have been booked for manslaughter and the woman would get full justice.why this is not done in our country? Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    These are the side effects of living in a feudal male dominated society. Those questioning why the country rates low on the Human Development Index may now know why. The culture that believes that Women are created for the pleasure of men to be dominated and subjugated, will suffer till it is destroyed. That is Gods way of bringing a closure when Man loses his senses and reason. Recommend

  • Hira

    Nariman deserves to be honoured. She survived circumstances that would have broken many. I personally know 3 divorced women who have lived through similar circumstances.
    Their ex husbands got remarried. They remain alone.Recommend

  • sharay hameed

    this shows the true face of people in our ‘islamic republic of pakistan’.

    i have experienced this first hand.my sister’s husband was an abusive alcoholic who tortured my sister psychologically and physically.yet my mother always blamed my sister for not being able to keep her husband happy.when my sister got admitted to the hospital with broken bones my pyari ammi jaan announced that ‘sacrifice’ is the other name for a ‘woman’. i felt sick to my stomach but since at that time i was still studying and not financially independent my voice had no importance at home.

    later on when i got a job,i got in touch with a ngo who informed me of the laws prevailing in our country and i worked very hard in convincing my sister to get a divorce.for this i was called ‘aasteen ka samp’ by mommy dearest and my dad told me ‘tum ney khandaan may naak katwa de meri,ab iss se kaun shaadi karay ga’.

    anyways i got an apartment on rent and convinced my sister to do CFA which she did and now last year she managed to get a job in canada,it’s not a high paying job but still she’s in a civilised society where not only the laws protect women but more importantly the canadian people respect women and don’t treat them like a burden to be gotten rid off.Recommend

  • http://riqkhan.wordpress.com Tariq

    A truly sad story which unfortunately is a reality on our society. as i write this comment, 18 other people have already commented to this and there will probably be more people commenting after me. My request to all is to do two things; reject the negative stereotypes associated with divorcees and not let such stereotypes exist within their family and/or social circle.
    There was an online movement a while back whose theme was “I am responsible for my 2×2” the gist is that I, as an individual am responsible for what happens around me and how i contribute to it. By around me i mean immediate surroundings. Home, family, etc. If i don’t like something, then i should make sure that first, i myself don’t do it and then the second step is to discourage other people around me to not do it either. If even a handful of people did that, the ripple effect alone would ensure that society improves. Recommend

  • DEsi Attitude

    An eye opener but we are all ignorant of what is happening around usRecommend

  • Khawar

    Education for Pakistan is a far fetched dream that’s probably not gonna work because we don’t want to get educated;neither education seems to make any difference in this so called society.
    The way i see it; capital punishments and hanging such men on the road seems to be the only solution.
    We should also blame our parents for always restricting girls from any moments of enjoyment and letting boys go out and do anything till late nights resulting in a middle class with a lot more educated girls then boys and hence making finding a good match for a woman too hard.
    The society is dead and so is the country.Recommend

  • Sabeen Ghani

    Instead of dwelling in a self-limiting place of negativity, the parents should try to understand these harsh realities rather than pushing someome to start an unwanted journey only for the sake of society and rishtaydars which eventually leads to transform a life of a human being where one does not wants to live anymore…..Recommend

  • horrified

    Absolutely despicable incident! Nicely written blog, Maryiam.Recommend

  • Pakistanian.

    Mariyam you are a star! good work. These things should be discussed openly and not to worry about aht ‘society’ might think. Great effort!Recommend

  • naima

    fine you are talking of extreme circumstances but NOW women ridicule men and consider them good for nothing and in the name of a child they pressurize and emotionally torture nice decent men still left in this society i guess this is the sin then is it ? you all are advocating for extreme atrocities but what about NOW so called modern illiterate women who asked for khula from a married life and husband who provides everything and is at such a strong financial position are you then dumb or is it hard luck ? in the name of torturing the husbands especially through now a child just because man wanted a family they think they own men from the very outset and try ot now exploit their humble background and position where is the so called sharam ? i am a woman and i ask all the literate and so called educated woman not all men are the same TRUE but we women are to blame.Recommend

  • Athenian

    Pakistanis should understand that divorced women are human beings just like the rest of us, married or single. They deserve respect. Usually they have gone through a lot and therefore, they should be supported and urged to move on, laugh, enjoy life, be happy, self-sufficient, and happily remarry if they wish. This is another heart-breaking story… I’m afraid that a lot of years, a lot of effort and education are required for the mentality to change in Pakistan. I hope one day Pakistanis will enjoy a society free of violence of any kind where respect for everyone will be the norm and not the exception. Recommend

  • Iram

    How Arundhati Roy in her novel said that word “divorce” is usually pronounce in south asian society as “die-vorce”…..our society is stinking because flowers like Niriman are in agony ……this bitter and bucther male dominent society is going towards falling….and continue to falling till dont recover childern,seniors and female respect…..no rest will come till beauty of humanism will remain in pain…a mother, sister, doughter and wives need respect and can start only from each home ….each mother must give this education to her male child from start. if others feels good, also you feel good” Recommend

  • http://ayeshahoda.wordpress.com Ayesha Hoda

    a) Seriously re-consider the headline.
    b) This is all very believable and I am sure Nariman must be going through a very hard time. I am not sure about the abroad bit… depends on which country she was in. It is good that you chose to highlight the problem but somehow I feel overall the message you are giving (apart from social critique) to people going through bad marriages is that they should not even think of a divorce. I know it must be really difficult for her, especially since her family is not supporting her emotionally, but there is still hope and life ahead. She doesn’t have to be a victim if she doesn’t want to. May be she does not feel liberated now but things can change.

    In an abusive marriage especially, divorce is the only solution generally and I think we should encourage people to take that step as religion has allowed it, and not wait for the abusive partners to throw them out. Recommend

  • http://sheikhusman.blogspot.com Sheikh Usman Nadeem

    @Iram, excuse me! When you say

    this bitter and bucther male dominent society is going towards falling

    I’d suggest all women in this society to never get married and form your own society. If you didn’t notice, according to the blog, the victim was on bed in hospital and her mother was worried about every other thing on planet earth other than her daughter. My question, was her mother a male? I believe women themselves are responsible for these incidents. If they give courage to each other, and stand up and be supportive, this cannot continue. Stop playing victim, females!Recommend

  • pardesi

    What a sad story. I am happy women in India are not as unlucky.

    I am seeing so many instances of muslim men being drunk. Is not drinking against Islam. Can it not be termed blasphemy. If just calling mohammed/allah names is blasphemy, getting drunk also should be How can a normal women even come near a stinking drunk (even though he is the husband).

    All said and done, these ladies are better off being single than being married to such trash.Recommend

  • Kinzah

    @sharay hameed: its great what you did for your sister..it really helps to have siblings like you…

    Indeed life as a single woman in this world is extremely difficult be it any corner of the world. its immaterial where you are from and your roots. It becomes twice or rather thrice as hard for all these women who are divorced. Merely awareness is not a solution, its the acceptability that women cannot be treated with disrespect by their own husbands. the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world..so how do we intend to move forward as a society if we refuse make women the focal point of our lives not just feeding them infinite amt of food or giving them “kharcha” so they can satisfy their fetish for shopping or putting them in “parda” by only ‘calling them “izzat” all the while such women are tortured and beaten..Here is a story that ended of a sad note but not tragic….how many women die at such husband’s hands and how many even get reported and how many husbands actually end up in jail? they usually re-marry after the “idat” period is over to wife number umpteenth…Recommend

  • Syed Qalb-e-Abbas

    someone rightly said above that the problem is not only with the men, somehow other women contribute to it, but its definitely not an excuse to the men, as every man/women is responsible for what he does…

    unfortunately we have made a habit of critizing men because of such cases, but we fail to analyze such instances deeper… I am sure there was more to it.. It has to start somewhere to end like this .. may be even marrying that guy was wrong in the first place.. and btw i am just leaving the door of possibilities open here.. not passing a judgement… we have to think openly and find the faults with in our ourselves.. we blame a society in which we ourselves live ! and yet we do nothing to change ourselves…Recommend

  • from india

    we too have atrocities on females in our society but not to this inhuman extent !! here in india special laws to safeguard women which i think pakistan lacks… i think bigotry related to islam has led to such terrible situation in pakistan ….

    and for the cruel husbands – they should be suitably chastised not in jails but in femdom chambers …lol !! Recommend

  • Maryiam Sheikh

    Thank you all for your feedback, It is encouraging to know that the youth of this country feels differently towards unfortunate divorcees.

    If you look closely at no point have I demonized men or women alone, Both sides contribute and more often than not its women that aggravate the post divorce suffering for women.

    I agree with all of the comments where people have suggested that Nariman was weak, but she wasnt so at her own accord, she was brought up in a household where she saw all of these social injustices against her aunt. She did try to fight it out, she went to stay with family friends in UAE. But then again she was stronger than most women I know.

    InshAllah with the passage of time she will see her self as liberated as she felt for that brief moment, but that will require a lot of social advocacy.

    Next time our parents forget to invite or entertain such women in our extended families, please be kind to them, invite them your self, serve them yourself, help them feel connected, we owe them these small favors or dare i say rights.

    As far as the comments from our Indian friends are concerned, I will share tales of hardships my Indian colleagues in UAE have faced. I dont think it is nice to criticize especially when your own dirty linen is in public view. Infact i would strongly reiterate that these social injustices are a parasite that stuck to us from our Hindu origins, back when we weren’t muslims and the true muslim ideology couldnt shake these off.Recommend

  • diablo

    This is the story narrated from the woman’s best friend’s point of view who wasn’t in touch with her for the last 3 years. Do I even need to say that this story would be highly biased and prejudiced. I would also love to read what nariman’s husband has to say on this matter. For sure, beating a woman like this and then kicking her out of the house is an inhumane act. BUT, before I generalize and declare the whole Pakistani society as misogynist and the male community as sadists, I would like to know both aspects of the story. Still, my tears for Nariman and the ordeal she is going through. I hope she finds a decent man soon.Recommend

  • JT

    Its a really sad state of affairs in our country. I think all is happening because we have gone astray and have been following customs and practices of the relgion practiced in our neighboring country. A marriage is an institution where the responsibility to keep it going lies in the hands of the husband and the wife and also the in-laws of the girl. However in events where there is physical voilence, it’s the end of the story and Islam gives due respect to women who want to quit a relationship which is harmful to them or their children. a lot of customs and traditions in our society are not close to what our Islam teaches. I am not mentioning the Islam preached by the Mullahs, I am talking about the true essense of our religion and that is equality.

    I think we must take account of ourselves. Read and get ourselves informed on correct practices. Thats all i can say and prayers for the victims and suvivors. Recommend

  • Manoj

    Yes this is a reality of south Asian divorced woman. But solution lies in better education, financial independence and social and political empowerment of women.

    A woman in every form be it mother, sister, daughter brings happiness to the life, she is the back bone of family system and hence she desreves the best. All those who believs in equality or special rights of women needs to start this from his own home.

    Oh, I have so much to say but I know even my “so Much” will be very little in the praise of my mother, daughter and sister.

    Those who discriminate against the girl Child or those who ill treat the woman will only go to hell.

    There is a shlok in Sanskrit.which Says.

    Yatra Pujayante Narih, Ramante Tatra Devta.

    Where there women are worshipped, god makes that place his abode.

    But we unfortunately worship women god in the form of Durga, Kali, Saraswati and Lakshmi and at the same time ill treat the woman of our society and still proudly say we are civilaized. How shameless we are.Recommend

  • Maryiam Sheikh

    @ Ayesha Hoda,

    a. the title has been edited by the editorial team at tribune
    b. as far as your second comment is concerned the first paragraph saysWhat led to the transition is not the fact that she got divorced and all the monstrosities that led to it, but what ensued after. .. I am an strong supporter/advocate of divorce if there is domestic discord, no man or woman should endure abuse or live a life they are not happy in. However I am against what suffering follows for women mostly.

    Agreed men suffer, and that women aren’t always totally innocent and there have been cases where men have been manipulated. but that ratio is very little and lets address their issues too later, but right now we need to address the bigger issues. Stop treating divorced women as Pariah dogs. Allah has given them a right to take khula if things dont work out, The prophet PBUH married divorced women, the religion doesn’t restrict divorced women from leading their lives in a normal fashion, why must society, people and norms dictate their fate.

    and when i say society, i mean you, me and us.. we make the society. sometimes we oppress directly and at other times by staying silentRecommend

  • Sahrish

    Even after her husband has beaten her senseless, she felt really disappointed when he ended the marriage. If this does not highlight the compromising nature of the victim in particular and women general, I don’t know what will.
    I strongly suggest you to read the piece again or better still, have someone explain to you as I seriously doubt your language comprehension abilities. Recommend

  • Sahrish

    @abdul moiz:
    Let me bring to your notice the problems a normal divorced woman face. Therefore, she tries her best to make a marriage work.

    However, I am going to leave the topic. My question to you will be a simple one. Please be honest. Will you marry a divorced woman???Recommend

  • Disco Molvi

    @Maryiam Sheikh:
    This is an exact mirroring account of an aunt of mine, minus the part of miscarriage.
    A truth so bitter it’ll be either denied by some or ignored by the rest.
    May I ask as to which country your friend went abroad? My aunt went off to Illinois where no one gives a damn about her personal family tragedy.
    Your friend should do as this woman did in Sukkur.Recommend

  • Maya

    @Sharay Hameed
    God bless you for looking after your sister and taking a stand on her behalf. My brothers and cousins would never have done this for me.
    @Mariyam Very well written indeed. I do think, however, that women are not blameless either for the kind of sick society we live in. There are very few mothers who would allow their sons to marry a divorcee. As for ostracising divorced women, don’t other women take the lead in alienating and looking down on them? Men make the rules in our society, but we nurture and protect their disgusting behaviour by abiding by their strictures. Oftentimes, women are each other’s worst enemies. Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ashraf-Chaudhry/128204737215336 Ashraf Chaudhry

    Ms. Musharraf Hai, a graduate of London School of Economics, got divorced soon after her marriage and she decided to prove her worth. Joined Unilever as Management Trainee and within 20 years rose to the position of Chairman (She used to call herself Chairman). She was the first female CEO of any MNC in Pakistan. Being Head of Unilever means something! And this happened in this ‘brutal, man-dominated’ society.

    Now she is CEO of Loreal Pakistan. Depends how you take the misfortunes of life. Despite challenges and misfortunes, life must continue.

    If a girl is divorced by a brutal man, why she weeps and whines. She must celebrate that at least she was liberated of cruelty. What is the fun to stay wife of cruel husband? Celebrate your liberation and restart life. It’s never too late.

    Next time, don’t give weight to the suitors height, weight, looks, grace or if he has polio or his family is small or big or he has home or job. Go for the character and values of the man. Formula is very simple. If a man is unfaithful, disloyal and irresponsible for his mother and father and siblings, he cannot be loyal and responsible for any girl. Try to check how he treats his mother and sisters. Girl, move on and take revenge by proving your worth. Reveling in misery is no worthy option. Recommend

  • Mariyah

    May Allah give hadayat to all men in our society…and may all those who are suffering through divorce find a better life partners who accept them as friends and give them due respect..Recommend

  • Arsalan

    Bull. I’ve seen enough ‘educated’ people behave exactly the same way. It’s our culture and society that are responsible for this sort of thing. We are, quite simply, defective and deficient as a nation, as an economy, as a race, as a society, as a culture, as human beings. We have no one else to blame, but ourselves. Recommend

  • Fazal (Moscow)

    @sharay hameed… bro i’m going thru exactly the same thing u’ve gone thru… which ngo u contacted?Recommend

  • http://www.tribune.com.pk zahid

    well, its good to sympathise and comfort Nariman as she needs it badly but the most important thing is this: what is the main cause of this attitude of men? why man becomes so heartless? if this divorce rate is terribly increasing what are possible reasons? how can we change attitudes? if so many men go to such an extent who is responsible?

    we, being educated members of society, should play a significant role in developing positive attitudes. we must think collectively how can we bring a healthy society in living form. lets be positive and contribute positivity.Recommend

  • pardesi

    @ Maya

    your thoughts are right – men make the rules to control women, no doubt. But the issue is divorce laws in your country are governed by Sharia. NOT a uniform civil code like in India. Here too muslim bigots are fighting for Sahria laws for muslims- like elsewhere in the world where there enough of them to create nuiscence. They want to treat women like a commodity, not a human.

    Sharia laws are loaded against women- men marrying four wives. Muslims use this law generously (shamelessly?) in India too.

    This is generally not allowed in India for others like Hindus. If the wife puts a case,husband could go to jail. Rules are tough. They cannot say talaq and wash off their hands. Divorce is through court. The husband has to pay half his salary/earnings as alimony.

    So as long as people are slaves to religion, the lot of women cannot improve anywhere in the muslim world. I am not saying all muslim men are worms,Recommend

  • arjun sharma

    The woes of a divorced woman show the apathy of the cruel society where no one comes forwrd to help so that being a citizen of the country could lead a secured and morally boasted life.In India do such divorces occur but social and legal protection is definitely much more praiseworthy in comparision to Pakistan.There are NGOS who come forward and provide all types of assistance and sometimes such types of male are at times even beaten up by the women of the locality. Very hell like situation prevails in Pakistan for women.Recommend

  • Iram

    @Sheikh Usman Nadeem:

    Female are victoms of society, because they are very easy target…each day we can see in newspapers (no need to prove)…not always a female responsible for other female victom…Major cause is our basic home education which give this message from birth that males are important (in general not your and my family), in this case females too give it importance…her mother ask about her fault …if u think a little there is a reason, her mother’s fear from her husband that she didnt give right “female servent education” to her doughter. We all part of society need to be aware not only females …males too… dont u think? how a mother can educate her males sons about respect of females a father can give good example. In home all important dicision r taken place by men (how many homes u think in pakistan took opinion from females of family?) . How many fathers husbands and brothers allows family women to organize there own lives…i m talking of society where general concept of women is entirely different…this is not a time to creat isolated male or female society its time of unification to go farward… Recommend

  • Abdur Rehman

    Men who beat their wives are biggest cowards.Recommend

  • Brumby

    “Education and religious awareness……” There we go again telling people if you are more religious (read muslim) you could not be a misogynist…. WRONG. I am sick of people bringing god and religion into this. Pakistan’s new found Religious awareness is the real problem here. What needed is the enforcement of laws that are already on the books. There could be dozens of charges brought against Nariman’s husband including murder of an unborn child and Assault on Nirman. This will put him away in jail for a few years. But no we will wait till the divine intervention comes directly. Recommend

  • Imran Ahmed

    I am agree with you i think youth is come to the field and solve these problem spicily studentsRecommend

  • Kamal

    Ouch..you can’t help but cringe in disbelief after hearing something like that. No one…no one believed her – thats sick.

    I’d like to comment on something else (I know that, as the author said, she didn’t demonize either of the genders, however I’m far from being that civil) : The onus is on the women to show some solidarity with a victim like her instead of wrongfully chastising here the way her mother (and possibly others in her family) did. Do we live in a male chauvinistic society – Indeed, and for that us men are in need of an honest to god beating to drive home some basic humane values in us..but many women deserve a hard slap in the face as well for being party to something despicable like this – the proverbial ‘ Gossip Queens ‘ are women after all, to quote one example.

    As for the husband, he should have been publicly flogged for what he did…how is not beating a women up severely emasculating for a man, never mind the inhumanity of the action ?
    However, lets not kid ourselves, thats never going to happen; even if guilt had been proven against him he’d be sent home with a considerably lighter sentence. We (yes..you and I)..we continue to stoop even lower as each year passes into the next and you know what..you and I, we’re not even going to remember this in a weeks time. This incident is going to get stacked up in the ‘ Ohh..thats sad, I feel for them ‘ cupboard in our minds and never revisited again…never mind, actually worked upon.

    And yes…there are quite a few men out there who’d marry a divorcee, a rape victim or someone with deformity because they are men enough to know that if shes a kind, caring and loving person – you’ve just found one hell of a companion. Recommend

  • Mariam

    she should enhance her education..find a job and leave all these people behind and make a living for herself. Allah is very kind and he will help her out. other than that, if she is creative enough or proactive enough…that is if she recieves love andd affection from friends like you (the writer), then you can help bring her confidence back and she can start her own little business with the help of SMEDA and work on that.

    the society is bad..but there are still a few good people and a few opportunities left.

    all the best. Recommend

  • Maryiam Sheikh

    Thank you once again for everybody’s concern. I saw my friend smile after a long time today. She smiled cause she believes that if that many men and women believe that there was injustice done unto her, they would refrain from subjecting their spouses to such misery.

    Two weeks of rehab didn’t give her the hope all your prayers and positive comments/stories have given her.

    A message from Nariman,

    I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for empathisizing, i hope you will be kinder to people in similar situations and in future and continue to spread positiveness. This is the same thing i was looking for from my immediate circle and didn’t get, Please know that divorced men and women alike do not need pity, but they need your positive energy and acceptance to get over the traumas they have faced on their own accord of cowardice or scenarios they have been subjected to face and live. I thank my friend for taking the initiative to let my plight be known and help me recuperate with your assistance and support.
    It is encouraging to know that there are people that nice people do exist that listen to the voice of reason. Furthermore, I hope, my story has shown people how much hurt and anguish their small intentional/unintentional gestures cause and that they will refrain from repeating it in future. I thank you all once again, May Allah guide us all in the right path.Recommend

  • Anthony Permal

    Brilliant though heart wrenching article, Maryiam.

    And I don’t know about other men, but I would personally not mind marrying a divorced woman. I don’t believe in these false ‘izzat’ facades put up in our chaste and whitewashed Pakistani society.

    It is truly tragic that such men – if i can call them that, as they are an insult to manhood – actually believe that they are real men if they behave this way. God has reserved a special place in hell for them.

    Praying for your friend.Recommend

  • Anjali

    Shameful episode indeed…another blot on the subcontinental womens fate..well done Sharay Hameed…may every woman have a brother like you..Recommend

  • Mastishhk

    @sharay hameed….I salute you..You are an inspiration..Pat urself on ur back dear….You are a true brother !!!Recommend

  • KolachiMom

    It is not surprising to see some people on here, actually blaming the victim. “Why didn’t she leave? ‘Why did she tolerate the abuse for so long?” – How very ignorant they are, as they don’t know the first thing about domestic violence, or how this state lacks any kind of protection for women as a whole. Recommend

  • Ali

    @Sahrish:Sorry if I offended you but I presented my observation, women are not as compromising as they become after separation. I am not talking about this particular case but in general.If you want to change society you need to gather different prospective and then address softly so that people convinced by you or your point of view.

    About language and comprehension deficiency, I’ll be highly indebted to you, I f you please supervise me.Recommend

  • amer nadeem advocate

    yes it happens in our society bt once in seldom moon ..in the courts we come across such kind of agonies…..well written wrticle Recommend

  • http://riqkhan.wordpress.com Tariq

    @ Kamal
    Yes we might forget about this incident until we hear about the next one and then we will start talking about the next one, but let’s not do that. it is in our control to never forget about this incident. to make this an example for change. Change in ourselves, change in our family and friends and eventually change in society.

    @ Nariman
    Be brave and know that there are several people who support you. We need to bring about the change ourselves and not wait for an NGO or the government to step in. The need is to stigmatize the abuser and bring shame to him and make him realize that he has done is wrong. Lastly have belief in Allah because He knows all and He does not burden us with more than we can bear. He eases the path of those who believe. Recommend

  • sara

    Nariman’s story is heartbreaking. I pray that she finds the strength to get on with her life and make something of herself. Above all I pray she finds someone who can love and honour her like every girl deserves to be. I also hope her family will see her situation and stop victimizing her. I am always amazed at how absurd girls families can be when dealing with situations like these. Here is wishing her all the happiness in the world. Recommend

  • Sajjad

    Speechless, I can only say Respect for Humanity and Women is also human.Recommend

  • salman atif

    Ask me and I stood against all customs to marry one and all the issues that were facing me at that stage of life…unfortunately the divorcee was just fooling around and dropped it to try her chances with someone else. Its true I am sorry but I will never go for a divorcee there are many single good girls who I can at least trust on what they share as their storiesRecommend

  • Adnan


    Very Sad Story.. My Prayers and Good Wishes for your friend.. May ALLAH Help her in recovering from this tragedy soon… I think Mulla and religious leaders are equally responsible for the present state of our social fabric.. Unless we give due respect to the weaker sections of our society including women,children,minorities and seniors, we can’t make any progress in the comity of nations.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    @Mariyam Shaikh
    Your article sent shivers up my spine. The article has surely given a voice to women who go through this horrific ordeal. My prayers are with your friend and for her speedy recovery.Recommend

  • Hira.Z

    Sad :(Recommend

  • http://komalali10.blogspot.com/ Komal Ali

    That broke my heart. Recommend

  • Pradeep

    Why don’t you go and talk to Nariman’s ex-husband instead of reading the article? Better still you can ask him to beat you up and throw you on the streets as well so that you can understand exactly what happened.

    Dude… if he was indeed unhappy with her, why not just the three words and throw her out? Whats with the violenceRecommend

  • Sahrish

    ” i need to know that why should not most of the girls compromise as much as they start after separation”

    With all due respect, you are generalizing about woman big time. What makes you think that girls do not compromise within a marriage, and they only get in touch with their softer side once the ax of divorce has fallen upon them.

    You can’t be more right when you say that we need to gather perspectives and value opinions of others. However, those perspectives should have some solid footings. They should not based on gross assumptions!Recommend

  • Larki Desi

    I am so angry after reading this story. But I blame the women as much as i blame the men. I blame the women because they do not take the pwer into their own hands and kick them to the curb asap. The just cry and lament and bich about this and that.
    I blame the men because they r cowards and use brutal strength to force their will upon the poor women they marry.
    I also blame the Mothers for not teaching respect and equality to the sons. And finally I blame society for not doing anything to improve the conditions.
    I quote “Nariman could remember when Kaneez Khala would not let Razia Phuppo put henna on Tayyaba’s hands at her mehndi ceremony, because Razia Phuppo may rub off her misfortune and bad luck on the new bride. Razia Phuppo was presumably “nahusat” personified.”

    Best regards
    Larki DesiRecommend

  • http://tradersutra.com hariharmani

    @sharay hameed:
    It is nice to here happy tiding for your sister who is now earning her living in a country where law treats woman fairly and she lives a life of dignity.The world in general it is a misgomantic society they can not live without woman and when they get one,they abuse them.No matter how the exaulted the religion is or what the scripture say,if the the the land where we live,does not abide by the law,then it is pointless to repeat like parrot how great my religfion is,a religion is judged by the the society not by high sounding words.I’m very sorry to point out,south east asia,south asia and middle east ,it has to go long way before woman find equality,justice,dignity and even safety for their limbs and teeth,I have seen and known beautiful woman made disfigured by their husband,and the parents telling the victim they are at fault for making their husband mad.Even grown up adult(men)telling their mom to behave well so that their father does not need to beat!Very sad state of affair,thank god,I some how escaped being a tyrant and an exicutnor in my personnel life,I cherish my wife and she takes care of me since I retired 8 years ago,life is a gift,we make life worth while by being kind,considerate and caring,love makes froasting on the cake.Well done!Recommend

  • Mahindar Kumar

    Women have the power to change the society, They can teach their sons how to respect other women, They can empower their daughters and make them confident enough to face the society, they can do that by stop giving preferential treatment to their sons.
    unfortunately in our society a women is the women’s biggest enemy!!Recommend

  • Babar

    What goes around comes around…Recommend


    very well written and thoughtful blog .. we need jouranlist like you to identify the major issues rather than others to sit on TV, call up deaf and blind politians to wste time of PPL of pakistan…. thumbs up……Recommend

  • http://www.maria-yousuf.tumblr.com Maria Yousuf

    To begin with, the girl should have filed for divorce when she got to know the guy was an alcoholic! Drinking is Haraam in Islam, people should expect wrong doers to keep on doing wrong. if they don’t have power to stop themselves form the unlawful nothing will ever matter.

    Other than that, those man who are sane and abuse their wives, damn them! They think Islam gives them power to mistreat women because they are mentioned as “mazaji khudas!” Yes women have responsibilities to their husbands BUT HUSBANDS HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES TOO! Remember, a man is there to protect and support a woman! THEY carry a woman’s responsibility NOT the other way around. Men of such mentalities should be EDUCATED what Islam says about Muslim husbands. Abusing is condemned, they way a man should treat his wife is with respect and care. Search in Hadiths and you will find how a husbands attitude should be.
    And true! as i read up above, men who condemn other men for such actions, why don’t u take an action against it and marry those innocent women?
    I am literally in tears. There is so much I can say regarding this. About how men belittle women and think them insignificant.

    I feel very sad for the girl and all those who have been through it. I hope and pray to Allah that she and they all finds happiness. Allah will reward them for their patience and pain. In Sha Allah their reward on The Day of Judgement and their afterlife will be great. In Sha Allah Subhana wa Ta’alaRecommend

  • http://riqkhan.wordpress.com Tariq

    @Maria Yousuf:
    I condemn other men’s actions because i feel those actions are wrong. why don’t i do something other than just talking about it? Even talking about it is doing something and if you read my earlier posts you will understand what other things i have talked about. Moreover don’t judge people, i am a happily married man and don’t want another wife. Recommend

  • Sarfraz Salik

    Again, its all about systems and their implementation, i dont hesitate to call it a “Banana Republice”….. May Allah help her and all those who are not highlighted..AmenRecommend

  • Asma Shah

    I agree with the writer that as per our society norms and heartless attitude divorce in many families is nothing but a form of death however I must say that no one comes to wipe any one’s stress or discomfort. Only one herself/himself can do it for themselves. She has been mistreated and treated with ill behavior because she may be depending on her family or relatives for support. However the truth of live is that if you start working and start bringing back home some bucks then you are no more an criminal in any ones eye instead you get a better or good treatment coz u r a source of some extra bucks in the house.

    Belive me ! when you start working on your own and don’t have to look upto anyone for your needs then the whole panorama changes . ok fine if u don’t have any big degree ,u cant be a doctor ,lawyer etc but one always has mean to scape if he/she feels to open the door of fate for oneself. It would be tiring and hard to face the world but would be a better way to live up live. There are many factories, mills, saloons, household jobs etc where less educated girls even earn their livelihood with respect and dignity plus at the end of the day the perk on it is the life for you do not end due to your past misfortunes.

    The above way of live is not easier so then nothing in life is bed of roses however I know many people who adopted the above said option and living a very happy and satisfieying life as earlier.Recommend

  • http://www.maria-yousuf.tumblr.com Maria

    Don’t take it personally then. You are happily married Maa Shaa Allah. I didn’t get to read all the comments though so your perspective is still unknown to me. Other than that I still stand for what I said. You may not judge someone or may wish not to but you cannot be ignorant of it either. You will have a perspective. If that perspective is what you call judging then so be it. You can’t veil truth and you can’t overlook it either.Recommend

  • rC

    That.. is just sad :) i remember when my family was looking for a RISHTA for me, and i expressed my feelings that i wanted to marry a girl who was divorced and going through a similar situation and whom i knew to be of very nice character, the responses i got, were of some what similar nature, its been 4 years, still trying to marry her, lets see.Recommend

  • Someone

    I believe a feminist movement is the need of the day. Men are otherwise too arrogant of their so-called manhood. Unless women stand up for their rights, no one is going to accept them as an equal part of society.Recommend