The Role of Women in Baloch National Struggle
Date 2012-07-22 | Topic: Articles
|By Mahdem Baloch|
Men and Women have physical and psychological difference between them. My intensions are not to devalue men, but to show the equality of women and men. It is true men are physically stronger than women by nature; they are usually more aggressive and externally oriented. In contrast a woman usually embodies the ideal of inner dignity. Some people confuse such subtlety with weakness; in truth it is stronger than the most aggressive physical force imaginable. True human dignity does not shouts it is stronger, steady voice that speaks from within. The nature of a man while aggressive is not brutish, for man and woman to be complete them each possess both energies.
Women have participated in every aspect of life, their achievements are magnificent in the history, but I would like to concentrate how they played a brilliant role in the history of wars and revolution. They have proved that women are the essential life force of revolutions and National struggle.
In Islamic history, women joined their men in the battlefields of different wars. Abu Nayeem says that in the battle of Khyber, half a dozen women followed the marching army. The prophet didn’t know of this and when he was informed, concerned about the security of women, he angrily asked them why they had come at all. They reverently answered that they had medicines with them, that they would nurse and dress the wounded, take out arrows from the bodies of the soldiers and arrange for their rations, the prophet allowed them to accompany the army and when Khyber was conquered he gave a share of the war booty to the women also.
In the battle of Uhud, Nusaybah bint kab al Maziniyyah, known as Um Umarah, was involved in nursing and administrating like other women but when she saw prophet (PBUH) in danger, she went forward with her bow in her hand to join small group of archers as they were standing firm with prophet (PBUH) acting as a human shield. Every time danger approached prophet (PBUH) she was there to protect him. Prophet (PBUH) later said wherever I turned, left or right, I saw Um Umarah fighting for me.
In the political field there are many activities where women can participate. In French revolution, women were especially prominent in food riots in French market places, although men dominated those in countryside, the most momentous French food riot was the women march on the Versailles, this occurred in October 1789 when market women of Paris began calling the men “cowards” and declaring “we will take over”. These women proceeded to march to Versailles with soldiers following them. This crowd then forced the king to return to Paris.
If we focus on Cuban revolution, women also took part in the armed struggle. The brutality of Batista regime propelled many women to join the revolutionary struggle. Their initial roles, in non-combatant underground work and caring for the male soldiers, did not satisfy many of the women and they demanded equality in the armed struggle, against the opposition of many of the men. Fidel Castro spent a seven-hour meeting, persuading leading opponents that women had the discipline (infect more of it), and also the right to fulfil this role. Later on the women’s platoon of the rebel army became known for its discipline and courage, sometimes leading ahead where men feared to go. Thus it was early in the revolution that many men were forced to change their opinion of women capabilities.
Similarly in the Nicaragua revolution, one of the remarkable aspects of the revolutionary process was the emergence of women as active participants and leaders. Many women often, despite objection from their family members, joined the ranks of the Sandinistas as women and the armed struggle in Nicaragua starting in 1967. Women made up approximately 30 percent of the revolutionary Army and were further involved in activities like organizing, supporting, protecting their female comrades and persuading their husband to join the revolution. Women were important to the success of the revolution in Nicaragua.
Baloch women are not less than the others. A prominent Baloch guerrilla commander remembers, how in the war for independence during Butto era, women used to fetch water from far distances for freedom fighters in the mountains. Water was the basic requirement for the guerrilla fighters in Kohistan Marri where the weather was extremely hot. He says whenever we drank water we used to feel like our mothers, sisters and daughters are firing bullets in the battlefield alongside the men. Baloch women also used to take rations to the freedom fighters in the rugged mountains.
In Baloch history we can see there were many women who fought the enemies and drove them out of their land. Banadi Baloch even led an army to fight alongside her Baloch brothers. Dadshah’s sister always fought beside her brother.
Once there was a protest in front of FC Camp in Turbat, which was led by women, but the men, instead of joining this protest, chose to stay away. The women took out there bangles and threw them on men who were just staring, to make them feel their mothers and sisters are alone standing in front of the enemy and the men are not there to participate with them.
These are the evidences from the history, which confirm that Baloch traditions are not against the women participating in armed struggle. There have been written poems about the women who joined the men to defend their motherland. Traditions had never been obstacles on their way. Unfortunately there are some ignorant and narrow-minded men who try to impose artificial traditions, which are the blessings of the occupier (Pakistan) that only confine women to the kitchens.
If you read the history of Punjab you can realize that they always welcomed the occupiers and conquerors, they not only submitted to them but also pleased them very well from their services. They never resisted them, like Baloch. Occupier state Pakistan is trying to impose its traditions on Baloch since the occupation, like their traditions they want us to submit to the colonial powers.
There are some agents of Pakistan who are trying to keep the Baloch women bounded to the self-created traditions of these agents, few popular faces of the agents are: Aslam raisani, Zulfiqar magsi, Shafeeq mengal, Siraj raisani, Israr zehri, Sanaullah zehri, Dr.Malik, Hasil Bezinjo and all the parliamentarians of BNP (A), BNP (M) and NP. Their intentions are obvious if we see how they threw acids on Baloch sisters. It seems the enemy is fully determined to prevent Baloch women from participating in the National struggle. Pakistan fears Baloch women because they are aware of our history. In Baloch society women have been an integral part of uprisings.
Someone can ask these men who try to prevent the women from participating in political activities, “How can you talk about honour and dignity when you have forgotten Zarina Marri?”
What traditions they are talking about?
Since Balochistan is occupied, there are no traditions left for us. From 27th march 1948 Baloch nation has been enslaved. Slave nations are not considered as human beings and alive. Then what traditions we are talking about? Currently Pakistan and her agents (parliamentarians) are spreading their dirty thoughts in Baloch society, like participating in elections; when it comes on elections these parliamentarians feel nothing bad in using the women as their tools to accumulate votes and let them roam in cities all day to fulfil their unjust cause. Participating in elections mean submitting to the occupier, which is an absolute reflection of Punjabi traditions.
Baloch true traditions are related to their National struggle for freedom. Once we are freed we can practice our own and true traditions of Baloch. Only the Baloch freedom strugglers, who, since the occupation, are continuously resisting the occupier Pakistan, reflect the true Baloch traditions.
For a free and independent Balochistan, where we can preserve our traditions, we have to participate in Baloch national struggle like Banok Karima Baloch and other brave Baloch women. Baloch men and women should break all these false artificial traditions like Banok Karima and many others have done. I truly and from the bottom of my heart appreciate pro-independence organizations and parties like BSO-AZAD where Banok Karima as a woman has been given this opportunity to work and struggle alongside her brothers; she is the first women who is the vice chairperson of a revolutionary organization. Recently BRP has taken a good step by establishing a women wing of its revolutionary party.
Baloch women should join the national struggle for liberation. We hope BRP, BNM, BNV and all the other pro- independence parties will provide more opportunities for women in the national struggle, as soon as possible.
Baloch Nation is going through very intense and critical circumstances; we have to do whatever we are capable of. Women can go from one house to another and organize the women, they can give study circles, and lectures, few of these activities are even possible in Arabian Gulf states either. Social networking is possible for anyone no matter where she is living, writers should write, readers should read and share their knowledge with other sisters to help them to understand their rights.
Back home in Balochistan women can participate in protests, demonstrations join pro-independence parties; they can work as informers for their Baloch activists. Civil disobedience, distributing pamphlets, and wall chalking are also effective methods to boost the morale of activists. Our Baloch brothers should make an effort and provide useful books to their sisters, and encourage them to read these books.
These are all possible if the pro-independence parties and Baloch defence forces start mobilizing women regarding these purposes. All the revolutionary parties should start communicating with the women everywhere.
‘A people whose women fight alongside men - that people are invincible’ Fidel Castro
Mahdem Baloch is a Baloch student residing in gulf. This article was first published in BSO-Azad's official webpage, sagaar.org