The Untouchables

There are around 320 million people in India which are known as the untouchables. They have 2 eyes, one nose and virtually everything that makes them human like everyone else. They work hard, they feel emotions, they eat, sleep and pray; yet they are deprived of a normal human status because of their caste. They’ve been branded by their society as “Untouchables”. They’re denied good jobs, good education and in fact no one from other castes would marry their children to them no matter how good they might be, they’re nothing but frowned upon. Based on reasons which they do not have control over and based on things they cannot change!

Reading the above paragraph, you might be thinking that how can someone be this cruel to treat someone this innocent with so much discrimination? What gave a certain group of people the right to over-power and oppress another group of people? Basing our perceptions and being judgemental about people just because of the circumstances other people are subjected to or born into. What if I tell you that we’ve been doing some-what a similar thing, not just with a particular group of people but with a whole gender?

The world is celebrating “World women’s day” on 8th of March including Pakistan. With thousands of events planned all across the globe to celebrate this day. Though it might seem a bit overwhelming and appear like a ray of hope for the women in Pakistan, the actual picture is much worse!


I won’t be wrong if I say that being a woman itself is nothing more than a sin in our society. She cant make her own decisions, she can’t do anything without being labelled as a rebel or a shame for the family. If that same woman is subjected to rape or has her husband taken away by a terrorist attack or a disease, or any other circumstance she has no control over, she becomes the “untouchable” in our society. She’s considered a burden for her family, or in some cases, she is considered a bad omen which caused the death of her husband. It appears that due to a fault within our social structure, even urban women not only tend to have a high tolerance for domestic violence, but also are often at the forefront of inflicting pain on other women.

So many cases of rape and sexual harassment go unreported as the victim is further victimized by the society. They are labelled and treated even worse than the culprit.It is so easy for a young girl to lose her dignity and to stain her reputation because of some uncontrollable circumstances. Women who lose their husbands are treated unfairly by their families, their rights not granted and they are left to suffer as if it all happened due to them. While our religion asks us to treat women with respect and even encourages widowed women to re-marry and live their lives, our superstitious society and its rotting traditions, on the other hand, prevent them from doing so. Even if it does happen, they’d have to compromise on their own standards, just to ensure that they are no longer a burden on their family.

The following picture was taken from a survey report from UNESCO  about the state of education in Pakistan, the graph shows the Gender Partial Index for primary education:

The GPI is defined as the ratio of females to males. A GPI of 1 generally indicates parity between the sexes.
The GPI is defined as the ratio of females to males. A GPI of 1 generally indicates parity between the sexes. Most countries have GPIs around 0.9 – still a disparity in favour of boys – but to a lesser degree than in Pakistan. Iran, for example, has a disparity in favour of females with a GPI of 1.15. As you can see, even Nigeria has less disparity than Pakistan!



The following image was taken from Pakistan Council for Science and Technology:

 (Source: PCST SURVEY 2010-2011)
(Source: PCST SURVEY 2010-2011)

The above statistics show the overall condition of women with respect to education. It has been widely established that educating the masses and empowering them is the way forward for any nation. So, I won’t be wrong if I say that the success of Pakistan depends on equality among the genders and encouraging female education. The international women’s day is not for those women living pleasurable lives in their mansions-like homes, it should be used as an eye-opener for all those ignorant people among us to stop treating women worse than animals.

Recently, a nationwide survey of India by the World Bank found that over 80 percent of children of historically discriminated castes were attending schools. Indian authorities are making efforts to end this discrimination in their society. The question is, when will we start accepting this as a problem and start working to reduce gender discrimination and increase equality among all. This year, try and help those “untouchables” in your society who need our help.




One response to “The Untouchables

  1. In his final khutbah, the Prophet made it clear that no man is superior to another unless in terms of piety. This ‘Untouchable’ business has no place in Islam. I wish all Muslims will recognise that!

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