“It was best of the times; it was worst of the times." (A tale of two cities – Charles Dickens)
It was best of the times on March 11, 1990, when I cried for the first time after coming out of the womb of my mother; it was also the worst of the times, as I was born in a developing country and thereto in a highly conservative Muslim family.
I am a young Muslim girl of 22, living in a small town known as Bhopal in Madhiya Pardesh State, India. I was named Shazia at birth. Muslims in India are merely 22% of the population; and though India is a secular state, Muslims always try to be exclusive and protective. They try to adhere to their past glory, to the days when they used to rule over India. Maybe, that’s why Muslim women in India continue to wear a hijab (head covering) and a burqa (a long covering of the body and dress including face and hands too).
Before India's independence, my grandfather served at the Court of Nawab Hamidullah Khan and Abida Sultana. They were the rulers of the Bhopal Princely State. My grandfather was a courtier of the Nawab and Begum Sahiba and was allotted a piece of agricultural land for subsistence, which was tilled by others for the benefit of our family. But at independence, India abolished rulers of all of the 565 princely states of India and the Jagirs (allotted lands by nawabs) were abolished too. My grandfather, as a result, lost all his means of subsistence. From Jagirdars and courtiers of yesterday, our ancestors became paupers the very next day. All lands allotted by Nawab were confiscated by the Indian State after freedom and those lands were distributed to the actual tillers. Our grandfather and his family were left to live on the little savings they had.
My father and my aunt (my father’s sister) who were born after the freedom of India, saw a large house that was in shambles, fancy clothes in tatters and little to feed the stomachs. My grandfather made the best decision of his life; he sent my dad to a government school for western schooling. However my aunt (Phoopo) was made to stay at home, just learning the Koran and doing household chores, since Muslim girls could not go to school. When she attained marriageable age, there was no match within the family, as all other members of our family had migrated to Pakistan.
My grandfather, the erstwhile courtier of Nawab, could not give his daughter to a man of lesser family status. Muslim girls in India by and large are given into a marriage by the family elders and a girl’s own choice hardly matters. My aunt Phoopo remained unmarried, turned lunatic and drowned herself in a Lake near Bhopal city. My grandfather, a man of high family prestige, lost his mental balance and soon committed suicide. But all that happened much before my birth.
I was born in a small rented house in a Muslim majority area of Bhopal. My father had disposed of the large ancestral Havelli house and worked at the booking office of the All India Railways. My mother, although a staunch conservative Muslim lady, observing the hijab and wearing a burqa, was educated enough to be a teacher at a primary girls’ school of the area. She had to go out of our home completely covered, and only with my dad as her guardian.
I was their first child. My family taught me the Koran, which is the Muslim Holy Book. I learned the Koran at home and then my parents sent me to the primary school where my mother was the teacher. My younger brother was born when I was about 10 but I knew nothing about the birth of a child. All I was told was that children are sent from heaven by God. Looking at him I first realized that boys are sexually different than girls; but why, I had no clue.
At the age of 10, my mother taught me to take a hijab and at the age of 11, when I attained puberty, she taught me about sanitary matters; she also strictly told the do's and don'ts of being a Muslim girl.
These were, as follows:
1. Always keep my pussy area shaved after every 7 days, as otherwise the wrath of God befalls upon those women who do not shave their pussies.
2. Always wash pussy with water after peeing.
3. Never touch my pussy, neither outer area nor anything inside, as only whores do that and God send his special wrath over whores.
4. Never let my pussy area be touched by any one, a boy, man or a girl, except when married and then by my husband only.
5. Never expose either my breasts (which had started developing) or my pussy to any one, as these are very private parts of a Muslim female and whose privacy has to be preserved by a girl, even at the cost of her own life.
6. Never go out of the house without either my father or brother as they are my guardians (Mahrams). They will watch over me until marriage, whereon this guardianship is transferred to my husband.
7. Never let my hijab slide from my head as God’s angels hit girl’s heads that is exposed.
8. Never eat prior to my father, husband, brother or other male members of the family, since God had ordained men as rulers over females.
9. My father, husband or brother were to lead the prayers.
10. Never expose your hijab even before your father or brother.
11. Never open your mouth to argue with you father or your brother.
The list of do's and don’ts were inculcated as part of my culture from the time of attaining puberty. It surely was way too long a list but these were the few I saw my mother abiding by and I too was made to abide by these values. I also saw my mother being physically beaten by my father even on 'mistakes', like excessive salt in food she used when she cooked at home. And when I was a little girl I used to console my mother, but she would tell me it’s the fate ordained by God for Muslim women to be beaten by their husbands. My immature mind could not understand why God had ordained beatings only for the fate of Muslim girls and not Muslim men? After all, males too committed mistakes and that included my brother.
Our house comprised of two rooms; one was the bedroom while the other was a sitting/drawing room. I used to share my mother’s bedroom until the age of 9; but once I was given a hijab, I was sent to the other room on the pretext of late night reading. One night, my mother was given hard cane beatings from my father, and I got up during the night to go to the washroom; I saw my mother’s bedroom with creaking sounds of the bed and with the small bedside lamp on. Curiosity led me to the slightly ajar door as it was a summer night. I peeped into the room and saw my mother lying naked on the bed while my father was lying over the top of her. What they were doing, I could not make out. But my dad was moving over my mother. The next day at school I asked a friend, who laughed and told me they were fucking. I did not understand what fucking was; but I did not want to expose my ignorance to my friend.
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<a href="http://www.lushstories.com/stories/novels/shazia-a-tale-of-transformation-from.aspx">Shazia; A Tale of Transformation From Conservative Muslim Girl to a Cock Addict Slut, Part 1.</a>