Updated on
9 Mar 2015

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Please proofread this story.

Chapter of Injustice 2
Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon

Robbi was only fourteen, studying in a hope to be a doctor, when her father married her off. She was married to Zaman who worked in the fields. Robbi’s all dreams were shattered before they came true. Her husband treated her as if she was any servant or slave. He punished her, abused her, and harassed her. He commanded her to look after the buffaloes and cows. She milked them, and grazed them near the bank of the river, which was at a little distance from the fields where her husband worked.

Robbi gave birth to Rabia at the age of fifteen. Robbi and her daughter were so week due to Robbi’s pregnancy at a very young age. Early marriage brought many bad effects on Robbi’s health. It has been more than a year since Robbi has not seen her mother. Robbi’s father never allowed Robbi’s mother to visit Robbi, neither Robbi’s husband did.

Days kept going and Robbi kept bearing all the injustices from her husband. In Sindh province of Pakistan, mostly women are treated by men this way. Only few women raise their voice against the oppression. Robbi could never go against, but she had decided that she will not let her daughter be victim of all this.

One day at night, Robbi said to Zaman, “Saeen, Rabia is now five. We need to send our daughter to any school.” In Sindhi the word ‘Saeen’ is used for someone who is admired or respected.

“School? Don’t you know in our village girls are not allowed to attend the school? She will never go to school,” her husband replied.

“But Saeen, she must get the primary education at least. So that she could read and write our native language Sindhi.”

“I don’t like explanations and answering back. I said she will never go. Now get out of my sight”, he angrily shouted.

Young Rabia was watching and listening her parents talking about her from the window. Rabia in her heart hated her father because she had seen many times beating her mother. The next day, Robbi, as usual, went to graze the cattle. Rabia used to stay at home with her grandparents. They never cared much for Robbi and Rabia. They had wanted Robbi to give birth to a boy. That day, Robbi decided that she will take her daughter out for grazing the cattle. This way she will have a chance to teach Rabia their native language on her own. Robbi knew reading and writing in Sindhi, and she also knew little bit English. So she decided to teach her daughter herself.

At night, Robbi called he daughter, “Rabia? Rabia? Where are you?”
“Ami, I am here with grandpa.”
“Won’t you hear a new story tonight?”
“Oh, yes.”

That night Robbi made Rabia understand the whole plan. Robbi thought that Zaman would do the same with the daughter as Robbi’s father had done with Robbi. “At least I had got my primary education. I have to do something for my daughter, otherwise in this male-dominated society my daughter would be deprived of even basic education.” she whispered to herself.

The next day, as usual, Robbi woke up early, milked the buffaloes, churned the Lassi, and fed the cattle. When she gave breakfast to her husband, she told him, “Saeen, I want to take Rabia with me. She will learn grazing the cattle and cutting the grass. She is not going to school, so she better learn the household works.”

“All right. Keep close eye on her,” he agreed.

After Zaman had gone, Robbi with her daughter left to graze the cattle. In the way, she gave Rabia two hundred rupees, which she had earned by selling the milk, to buy: two pens red and blue, a notebook, and a text book of first class from the village general store. Robbi gave her a palm straw bag, in which she took her lunch. Rabia purchased and put all the things in the bag. When they reached the river, the cattle started grazing, and they both started studying. On their first day, the mother taught her daughter some letters of the alphabet of their native language.

For five years they studied in this way. Hiding their books from everyone. Children do their homework at their homes, but Rabia did her at the river bank. Rabia became able to read and write the Sindhi language, and a little bit English.

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