'I was fourteen years old and he was thirty-two. My aunts and cousins told me that his nose had been eaten away by smallpox, but he was taking me for three thousand rupees and, ugly as I was, I couldn't expect anything better. They exchanged sweets and gifts, they signed the agreement and he took me to his house. He assigned a boy of thirteen to keep watch on me, but he always shut himself in the room with the boy and paid no attention to me. In the end he took me, but when the time came for me to give birth I was taken ill. My aunts and cousins looked for a lady doctor, but the lady doctor wasn't to be found. There was only a man doctor, but he didn't want me to take off my clothes in front of the doctor and my baby son died: I became the Mother of the Departed and he was kind because he didn't cast me out. However he took another wife, younger than me, and when her time came it was I who had to help her. He continued to keep me in the same manner as her and he used to give me the same jewels, exactly the same, but he used to beat me. The lady doctor came and she said I ought to have asked for a divorce. I said, "All right, but I haven't got any money for a lawsuit and anyway, what can a divorced woman do?" Then he saw another girl. She cost thirty thousand rupees because she's a beautiful girl so he wants to get back my three thousand rupees, but my aunts and cousins haven't got them any more. He also says he hasn't got enough money to keep three wives and then I'm old. So he said, "Talak, Talak, Talak", and repudiated me. The lady doctor told me to come here. I have come. But now where shal! I go, what shall I do?'
lunes, 21 de febrero de 2011
La esposa en el Islamismo
So there I was, talking with Tazeen Faridi in this little office full of useless manifestos, when this Mother of the Departed arrived. She came in looking suspiciously over her shoulder, as if she were afraid she was followed by a horde of religious fanatics intent on shaving her head, and her black burka didn't even have the little holes at eye level- how she managed to walk without tripping I do not know.
'Down with that rag,' said Tazeen Faridi. And because the woman drew back, hesitating, she snatched it off. I caught my breath at the dreadful stench that was released and stared. Be¬neath there was a woman of about forty, black and sweating, covered with jewels and bruises. The worst bruise was over her left eye, and one lip was swollen. She dabbed at her lip with a handkerchief and didn't dare to speak. Then, somehow, she managed to find her voice. And here, word for word, is what she said. I haven't altered so much as a comma in what Tazeen ,Faridi slowly told me, in English. And Tazeen is too honest to have invented anything.
In the same way that doctors don't get upset about their patients' stomach aches, Tazeen Faridi showed no emotion at this tale and promised the woman that she would try to find a place for her in some institution or with some family that needed servants. Naturally the best thing would have been a widows' home, but then she wasn't a widow so there was no good hoping for that. Then she told her to leave, to come back if she was in need, and to me she explained that she had sent the woman away because in the Moslem world a woman cannot live alone, not even if she is working. If she does live alone it means she is a lost woman. 'This is the reason why there are no spinsters and why repudiation is the equivalent of civil death. According to the new law a woman can ask for a divorce, But, this means facing a lawsuit and along with the lawsuit the scandal. A man, on the other hand, can say 'Talak, Talak, Talak', without any lawsuit, and he becomes free as a chaffinch again. It isn't even necessary to give alimony. You understand?'
'No. I don't understand,' I answered. 'Is it really possible that these people never get fond of each other?'
'Sometimes,' said Tazeen Faridi, 'but they're ashamed to admit it,' rather as if it was a fault.