One day, I’d really like to see a mob of women going ballistic on the streets. It’s so tiresome how protest after protest we see men running amok, throwing rocks at shop windows, terrorising young men with banana carts, setting private property on fire—all with great self-justified abandon and admirable commitment to anarchy. How lovely to be a self-righteous man, or a man with a sense of violated principles, or just a man with ghoonda-tendencies! One can just sally forth and destroy whatever one pleases with nary a punishment in sight! It’s a glorious day to be a thug, honestly. The original Thuggee chiefs must be doing a jig in their graves with pride. What a day, honestly. One can terrorise and pillage and not be fined a single rupee or spend even two minutes in jail. Your mother doesn’t even have to know what exactly you were up to all day! Amazing.

Imagine what a mob of ladies could do, spreading anarchy in the land. It would be magnificent. There would certainly be fairy lights everywhere, because everyone likes a nice strand of mirchi lights. There would probably also be really good snacks, because someone’s mother would bring shami kababs and Shezan lemon tarts and there will most certainly be thermoses of tea, and someone else’s mother (me, most probably) will have a huge plastic bag for all the trash because nobody is going to let you leave a massive protest without helping to tidy up. Then, I think, one could go around looting shops—that’s where the hell could well break loose, with everyone trashing clothing stores—Khaadi would definitely be wrecked, and Sapphire (although serve them right for taking the Hsin Kuang building away from us in Lahore, bah humbug). I don’t foresee too many rocks being thrown, because that would be really rude and what if one landed on someone’s head? One would also not be allowed to curse anyone’s siri or block ambulances from going anywhere because Allah khair karay and bad manners.

Imagine women trashing the city. Even if one were to not adhere to the nice aspects of being a “ladiss”, and go down the dark path that lurks in all women (those leather-clad biker girls, the terrifying ones that kick doors down in films and graphic novels—all of us have one of those inside us. That trope didn’t come out of someone’s imagination). This is a perverse idea, admittedly, but this past week has been a real circus of men doing insane things. I’d really like to let my hair down and ruin some public property too. I’d like to hold up traffic because I was angry and several hundred people felt angry too, or were just emboldened by my anger to go and burn some stolen rubber tubing. I’d like to have access to that kind of scale if I wanted it. Historically, angry women have done some significant things—unleash hell on the Romans, like Boudicca, for example. We tend to care about things that don’t incite us to senseless violence, so instead of bashing people’s cars with sticks we want to put kids in school, like the RS Foundation does, and CARE. We want to help babies be born safely, and look after their mothers, like the Baby Mama Fund does. We want to talk to other women about their legal rights and help them get jobs, like Shirkat Gah and Aurat Foundation does. We want to give orphans a home, like SOS does. All these organisations were set up and run by women. There are scores more that continue to do excellent, dedicated, real work to help others, all over the country.

But wouldn’t it be great, just for once, to be able to wield power so enormous that one could bring a city to a standstill for a few days? Perhaps. But ultimately, it would be rubbish and pathetic and we all know it. It would be the biggest display of childish lunacy possible. What good does it do to anyone by burning a P.A’s motorcycle, or holding up ambulances with the elderly inside or forcing women to give birth on the side of a motorway? Since when did it become all right to keep kids out of school and businesses closed because some people were, of all the reasons in the world, baying for blood? Wanting to kill someone in the name of the gentlest man possible, causing wanton destruction of property and harm to the innocent in the name of religion…that has got to be the biggest display of male entitlement I’ve ever seen. Never a dull moment.

 

The writer is a feminist based in Lahore.

 m.malikhussain@gmail.com