Women — Relentless Contribution, Selfless Services, Deprived of Appreciation
Men are considered superior to women owing to their strong physical, emotional and psychological makeup. Their profound Social and economic role in society enhanced their superiority further. Since the beginning of time Man was believed to hold a higher pedestal merely on the basis of physical strength as he toiled hard labour to earn livelihood for the family which was a feather in his cap whereas the women confined themselves to domestic household chores against no material remuneration. It was beyond imagination that women could operate heavy machinery, perform hard labour in the fields, transport heavy material, fight wars, fly jets, drive cars or perform hazardous or perilous tasks. Social recognition is only granted to labour that yields quantifiable compensation. Today, use of technology, modern machinery and intelligence has abridged the impact of physical strength and women can now perform all the tasks that were considered impossible for them. It is needless to mention that women were always involved in prudently planning the expenses of the house without any recognition or appreciation. Although women are now being recognized for their capabilities and contributions but still it is long before their pivotal role is duly appreciated.
Women have been unable to achieve their rightful place in society. They have not been appreciated for their irreplaceable role in the household, spirit of sacrifice, loyalty and devotion to family. Most women sacrifice their lives for their household and fail to engage in any economic or social activity which painfully diminishes the acknowledgement of their contribution. Even modern western liberal societies have miserably failed to recognize the rightful status and respect for women that they truly deserve. Women are extremely emotional by nature and sometimes these overwhelming emotions hinder them from achieving worldly success. This is the reason why it is an observed fact that unsuccessful women are exhibiting enormous leadership and management skills yet not achieving the desired results. Women living in villages and outskirts of large cities are toiling hard in the fields, looking after households as well as taking care of livestock yet they receive no recognition or wage for their efforts.
It is a sad fact that women who outshine in a particular tangible field are able to get recognition whereas their irreplaceable intangible contribution in maintaining households, family building, educating and upbringing of children and supporting men in achieving worldly feats remains unrewarded and uncompensated. It is astonishing to note that even the uneducated women are remarkable managers, resourceful in budget making, visionary and extremely tactful in planning the future of their children. Napoleon rightfully said “Give me good mothers and I shall give you a great nation”
The relationship of husband and wife is extremely complicated. It is extremely sad that women are judged on the basis of their conduct, understanding and behaviour as a spouse alone. Against general perception women are extremely sensitive, loyal and hardworking. They transform homes into heavens, cater to the needs of everyone in the house, support and encourage men in difficult times, explore the best avenues for spending with austerity, bear the hardships of child birth and their upbringing are few of the most arduous tasks they perform.
My mother Zaitoon Begum was also like that. I was only two months old when my father Mr. Rafi Butt passed away in an air crash in 1948 at the age of 39 years. This catastrophe changed our lives over-night. We were two siblings a brother and sister. Our mother refused to marry in spite of tremendous pressure from the whole family. She was extremely insecure. I was not allowed to play outside however my friends were allowed to come and play with me. On school days my mother or aunt would wait outside till the school ended. My mother who was not highly educated or skilled and never wanted me to be out of her sight took the difficult decision of sending me to Lawrence College Ghora Gali only for my better future. In order to safeguard me from the emotional trauma of being an orphan, my mother always reassured me that my father was a successful businessman who was residing in United States for work. It dawned upon me at the age of 14 that my father had martyred long time ago. She always told me about the personality, services, accomplishments, connections, relationships and feelings for the nation of Mr. Rafi Butt and consciously inspired me to develop these characteristics in my personality. She never mentioned that Mr. Rafi Butt was a wealthy man rather always reiterated that he was a noble and respectable man. She always said that she had learnt a lot from Mr. Rafi Butt in her seven years of blissful marriage. Quaid e Azam and renowned politicians, statesmen, bureaucrats, businessman, poets, writers and journalist were his personal friends. I was unsure of my future at the time and would sometimes ignore her discourse but now I realize that my mother instilled the benchmarks of prominence and success in my mind otherwise I am afraid I would be living an ordinary life with trivial goals. Although my mother never achieved any astonishing social, economic or political feats yet she was definitely a super woman as she ensured that her son had a broad vision and sets a high benchmark with challenging goals for himself.
It was my mother who made me fall in love with my father and his idol Quaid e Azam. She instilled in me a sense of belonging and nationalism. She transformed me into a true humanitarian and Pakistani. When I look back I can conclude that all my success and achievements are due to the wishes and prayers of my mother and I know that she is smiling at me from the heavens. In spite of being a housewife she was truly a Superwoman.
(The writer is Chairman of Jinnah Rafi Foundation)