By Justice Markandey Katju
I have read Junaid Jahangir’s article ‘Mera Jism Meri Marzi should not be a controversial slogan in Pakistan’ published in nayadaur.tv. With respect to him, I find his argument and views fatuous and superficial.
I am a strong supporter of women’s emancipation ( see my article ‘On Women’s Emancipation‘ on my blog Satyam Bruyat ). Nevertheless, I regard the slogan ‘Mera Jism Meri Marzi’ as wrong, and in fact harmful to women..
I need not go into the tiff between playwright Khalil ur Rahman and Marvi Sirmed or Ailia Zehra, whom I saw on YouTube participating in the Aurat March.. Nor do I need to comment on Junaid Jahangir’s inane and reactionary comment that ‘ Mera Jism Meri Marzi affirms the hallowed values of the cultural and religious heritage of Pakistan ‘.That same cultural and religious heritage ordains stoning a woman to death for adultery and nikah halala.
That same heritage says in Sura An Nisa 34 that women should be obedient to their husbands, and husbands can beat their wives :
“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) strike them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all).”
That same heritage was responsible for the murder of Qandeel Baloch and many other women in Pakistan
So let us not talk of cultural and religious heritage.
Junaid writes “Women rights activists are not asking for mob justice, or mob lynching of cat callers, harrassers, or rapists. They are asking to change the system that produces such behaviour.”
But how is the system to be changed ? And what kind of change ?
I submit that it is only a genuine people’s revolution, led by modern minded leaders, that can create a political and social order in which women can get true emancipation and equality with men. When men stop exploiting men, they will also stop exploiting and oppressing women.
Such a people’s revolution requires a united struggle, but the slogan ‘Mera Jism Meri Marzi‘ divides the people, as it shocks the conservative sections of society ( who are in the vast majority ).
I am reminded of the ‘Glass of Water Theory’ attributed to the Russian revolutionary Alexandra Kollontai ( 1872-1952 ) who said that sex is like thirst, just a natural need. So just as when she is thirsty she drinks a glass of water, so also when she feels the urge she has sex with some man.
Lenin strongly condemned this theory, and said that sex among humans is not like that among animals, as it has a cultural aspect to it too.
So while I strongly support women’s emancipation, I strongly oppose the slogan ‘Mera Jism Meri Marzi’, which is disgraceful and harms women, like the ‘Glass of Water Theory’, instead of benefiting them.
— NayaDaur Media (@nayadaurpk) February 24, 2021