Kankar (English: Pebbles) is a Pakistani Drama based on Umera Ahmed's short novel 'Wohi Dil ke theher Janay ka mausam'.
'Shadi Karte waqt koi aurat se ye thodi kehta hai ki apni bhi izzat ka khyal rakhna. Bas yahi kaha jaata hai ki shauhar ki izzat ka khayal rakhna'.
(While getting married, nobody tells a woman to protect her own dignity too, She is only advised to uphold the respect and dignity of her husband)
Kankar more or less revolves around the above theme.
It raises a very poignant yet a rampant issue of our society, 'Domestic Violence'. While Domestic Violence is only regarded as physical abuse by most of us, Kankar manages to carve out not just the physical but emotional and societal impact of this harrowing problem.
Domestic violence is not a new problem in our society and many movies, plays and other forms of electronic and print media have been addressing the issue time and again.
But for some odd reasons, Kankar has been different.
For one, Umera Ahmed has flawlessly chalked out the female protagonist 'Kiran'. She isn't a weak, dependant, easily pleasable kind of a woman that usually suffer domestic violence in the hands of illiterate, alcoholic males.
Kankar depicts a strong, independent woman facing emotional as well as physical abuse from a well-educated, rich guy belonging to an affluent class.
Secondly, it was extremely sad and agonising to see the reaction and opinions of fellow women on a issue as sensitive and traumatising as abuse.
I was badly astonished to see how people around me not just openly supported the male protagonist but also blamed the girl for being 'too loud', 'too independent'. Hurling remarks like 'of course she deserved a slap, how dare she back answer her majaz-e-khuda (husband)'
Really? Is this supposed to be all the progress we have made in terms of women empowerment?
To be beaten down or tormented upon in the hands of your better half just because you decided to answer him back or negate his orders?
Does showing anger in front of your husband gave him the right to slap you and in addition took away your rights of being a victim of his abuse too?
Moreover, you are labelled as a culprit, a female worthless of any respect.
The females of the same society blame you for raising the voice while they choose to suffer and glorify similar issues back home in silence.
I am totally ashamed and astonished at the same time about what level of hypocrisy runs in our blood.
On one hand we talk of husband and wife being each other's support and entwined in a relation where understanding and tolerance comes foremost and in the same breath we vehemently teach our daughters to sacrifice their dignity and rights after marriage while the sons are never taught to uphold and guard their wife's dignity.
If a man has a right to be angry or shout while the wife listens in silence, why can't a woman do the same and expect her husband to understand that she too is made of same blood and bones and can get upset or mad at times?
'Shauhar ki izzat aur biwi ki izzat, do alag cheezein to nahin hain'.
(Husband's dignity and Wife's dignity are not two different things)
If I look at it all deeply, I happen to realise that this problem like many others, crops up from various levels. But most importantly, from the way we, as women raise our children. Hypocrisy is infused so strongly in all of us that its almost impossible not to transfer the same to younger generations.
Domestic violence is not an issue of whose right and whose the culprit. It is an issue of courage, of equality, of respect which should be mutual between a husband and a wife.
Never should any one of them stoop as low as to hamper their spouse's dignity.
If a man thinks he deserves to be treated a certain way because he is the bread earner of the family or responsible for taking care of his wife, he should also understand that this does not give him the right to own her or treat her like a door mat, no matter what!
Also, we as women should try to be each other's strength and sympathisers instead of criticising one of us who manages to fight against oppression or brutality of any kind.
It does stir your conscience too, but if you decided to give fire to your insecurities and weakness, learn to at least appreciate someone who stood up with courage.
As Kankar's last episode ended onZee Zindagi in India yesterday, I can't help but applaud Umera Ahmed's skills as a writer.
I did not like the ending much, the protagonist could have treated her life in a better way rather than getting married again and somehow deciding to live as per the pitiful 'norms' of our society.
Apart from that, Kankar has given us some thought provoking scenes and dialogues worthy of remembrance.
My favourite being this:
'Jab main apni beti biyahungi na, to usse ye keh kar biyahungi, ki beta tum bahut izzat wali ho aur sasural mein iss izzat ka khayal rakhna. Aur mujhe poora yakeen hai ki usse kabhi bhi mushkil nahi hogi kisi bhi rishte mein tawazun rakhne mein.'
(When I will marry my daughter, I will marry telling her that, my child, you are a very respectable girl and take care of this respect in your in-laws home. And I have complete faith that she will never face any problem in keeping a balance amidst any of her relations)