Purpose of Narijibon Blog

Nari Jibon Project seeks to increase our students’ and staffs’ abilities through different ways: classes, practice, computers, internet, and now the Narijibon Blog. Readers and writers (our students & staff) of the Blog will both learn about our lives, culture, Nature, activities of people in Bangladesh and the Nari Jibon Project.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Problem is—‘I am a woman’

By Golam Rabbany Sujon

I am Afroza, age 16, when I used to read in the school my mummy used to give me company to go and returned from my school everyday. Now I read in a girls’ college but still now my mummy gives me company almost everyday when I go out side of our house. My elder brother is only three years senior than me but he goes to the school and college alone. How independent my brother is!

I am Rifat (17), I used to read in a school where we lived and I used to go to school alone but I returned with my classmates. One day I was going to school alone, in the street a young man said indicating me such a sentence which struck me and I cried out. That guy said that I am ripe, juicy and heavy goods etc. I became angry too and that’s why some people crowded. Then I was asked many questions by the people so that I was struck more and I cried out more.

My parents and brother did not allow me to go to the school for several weeks and later I started to go to the school by another way with my guardian. I started to use veil by the advice of my guardians and I walked in the street without looking all around. I just keep my head down when I remain at outside. Almost all the time my mother stayed with me when I used to go outside from our house. Still now I can not move independently or alone.

Now I read in a college my brother also reads in same college. My elder brother participates in various programs besides his study and he also participates in students’ agitation. He can come to the house anytime but my parents don’t scold him but if I don’t wear veil any day they scold me whether it may be very hot day. How independent my elder brother is!!

I am Meghla, age 15. I was reading in a high school and there was a college for higher education where male and female students study. It was before SSC examination a local naughty boy sent a love proposal and I refused his proposal and later he sent marriage proposal to my guardians by his guardians. But my guardians refused to give marriage with him and as a result being angry they threatened to kidnap me and made unexpected problem. It is mentioned that the family was more powerful financially and politically than our family. Then I had to stop going to school and I started to study at our home. I participated in the SSC examination under the control of my guardians. After finishing my examination I was sent to my maternal uncle’s house. I passed SSC examination successfully. Being happy with my SSC result my guardians made me admitted in a college in Dhaka. I am interested to go to the village but I can not go to the village. Now I come to know that my guardians are searching a suitable boy to give me marriage soon. My parents want to be free from danger by giving me marriage soon.

I am Surovi, age 17, is reading in a private Dental Medical College. My parents are also educated and they live out of Dhaka. Few months ago my parents bought a cell phone for me for better communication. I was introduced with a Dhaka University student by one of my classmates. Almost every late night he used to phone me and we talked for long time. Day by day we have become intimate friend but we used to communicate through mobile phone only. But soon one of my relatives knew about it and it became a rumor. Last month my guardians called me and seized my mobile phone. They also stopped my study and they did not allow me to come to Dhaka for study. But I would not get married that boy without my guardians’ permission or before completing my study. Now I am informed that my guardians are trying to give me marriage soon.

I am Sumi; age 22. I am the first of three sisters and one younger brother. My father maintains our family by his small earning with much difficulty. We (sisters and brother) could not continue our study properly due to financial crisis. I am passing time at my birth family and helping my mother doing some household works. Few months ago I took skill on tailoring from a NGO. I was very interested to earn money and to help my father financially. After learning tailoring skill I joined in a tailoring shop by the help of one of my relatives. Then my parents were not fully agreed. But I felt happy as I was able to earn some money though it was not good amount. But disturbance started when I had to work after evening (up to 9.00 pm) before EID ceremony. Then the shop owner took more emergency orders from the customers. At that time my parents prohibited going to the workplace and I had to stop to work. My mother said to me that women should not work outside of house after evening. Later I tried to make my mother understand by discussing our financial problem. But my mother said that, outside people would think bad and talk bad words if I work after evening. That can be affected on me and my younger sisters’ and brother’s marriage. After hearing that I became speechless and couldn’t understand what I should say. Still now I am keeping my silence.

I am Fency Rahman (30) joined last week in a private company. There are found few Rickshaws and one or two CNG scoters in the street near our office gate. But bus-stand is few minutes walking distance from our office. Seeing me some rickshaw pullers demand high fare and CNG drivers say his meter is damaged and demand high charge than the real charge. I am to use rickshaw or CNG as there is no alternative way and they don’t reduce their demand as they know I can not walk long time and I am a woman.

Last week in last month, one day I had no money in my hand and after office I went to the bus-stand on foot like other male staff of my office. But alas! I did not get permission to get up in the bus though every 15-20 minutes later bus was coming in the bus-stand. Before stopping bus, helper shouted “Empty seats available for Rampura-Badda-Uttora-Tongi but women seats fill up, please don’t get any women”. But male passengers got up in the bus forcefully but I failed to get up in the bus. I have heard this slogan everywhere in every bus-stand though there were no empty seats in the bus and male passengers were seated in the women fixed seat in very congested.
So, what can I do! Later I came at home by a Rickshaw as there was no way. I also had to think that I can not stay for long time in the bus-stop alone as known person could see me and criticize me.

I am Kulsum Banu, (25) got married six years ago with daily laborer (mason) who lived near our village. In the meantime I have given birth to two sons. Elder one is 4 years and younger one is one year old. My husband used to maintain the family by his daily income and he had no property except his small homestead and a cottage. Five months ago I took TK 5000 loan from a local NGO to earn some extra money by doing a small business. But one month later my husband came to Dhaka to work as a mason. Four months already passed but my husband did not contact with me. I was just informed that my husband was working at middle Badda in Dhaka. Every week NGO workers come to take installment and but I can not give. Other money lenders and NGO workers insult me. I have started to work in other families as a temporary housemaid and I am passing time with my children with extreme difficulties. I can not collect work in the village. My husband does not come and I don’t know his address. I want to go to him but my relatives don’t support me to go to Dhaka as I am a woman. Now what will I do? Suicide!!! I don’t know—I can not think.

These kinds of incidents happen often around us to the women. These are common incidents to the women’s lives and these kinds of problems don’t broadcast. Women bear these harassments silently. But how many days will they tolerate???


Andywhere said...

Why not save money from textbook purchasing? I get 2 textbooks from a online bookstore and save me more than $200. All the textbooks are BRAND NEW. That’s great. You may visit the web to see any help.


Zeenat said...

Great post! These type of incidents are not only limited to lower income families in Bangladesh, women in educated families face similar problems. Women in Bangladesh are still way behind. I know this is something that will not change overnight, but I do hope and pray that it will change soon.

Lin the Finn said...

My heart goes out to you, especially Kulsum Banu.I hope your husband returns soon. Maybe he has had trouble in the city and he's worried about coming back home without lots of money. It happens a lot.
How terrible that NGOs, that are supposed to help people, are causing you this worry about the loan repayment. I wish you good luck getting out of the problem.

For Fency Rahman - can you get on the bus and demand that a man sitting in a woman's seat gets up for you? You could say, 'so, you are a woman, are you? Not a very pretty one.'