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Bread is bread and women are women

Dr Maqsood Jafri

If we hand over political power to women worldwide, I assure you all that there would be no bloody wars in the world; we will have wars of words, not of swords and guns

The room was brimming with the echo of laughter from my friends after a Christian friend gave me a piece of bread to eat and said, “Dr Jafri, you are a Muslim, and this is Jewish bread.” I retorted by saying, “I would love to eat it as bread is bread. It is neither Jewish, Christian or Muslim. Bread is like women. You can enjoy them without any discrimination.”

On this savoury response, everyone present in the room laughed heartily and asked me why I had said this. I explained to them that food and fruit are for everyone to eat. They have no religion. God created many things to satiate human beings. Fruits are known by the territories they are grown in but not by religions. We say the apples of Kashmir are very tasty – the best in the world. We praise the dates of Saudi Arabia. We have special words of admiration for the coconuts of Bangladesh. So, we can praise the different produce of different countries. Similarly, the African elephant, the Arabian camel, the American swine and the Indian nightingale are special breeds to be praised. But they all are known with reference to their countries. They cannot be named Christian horses or Hindu birds or Muslim camels.

How about women? A naughty friend with a nasty design wanted me to explain my statement. I explained that, as food is universal, women are also universal. He said, “What do you mean by the universality of women?”

“Women have a special passion for all humans, which men lack,” I responded. While further explaining my viewpoint about women, I opined, “If we hand over political power to women worldwide, I assure you all that there would be no bloody wars in the world; we will have wars of words, not of swords and guns.” I reminded my friends about the humourous epic poem by Alexander Pope titled ‘The Rape of the Lock’. In this poem, the battle between nymphs has been described. It is a very interesting poem replete with satire and irony. Pope is famous for his satire, and in this poem we find a vicarious satire on sectarian feuds. The sylphs are the guardian spirits of virgins. Belinda suffers as a lock of her hair has been cut and insulted. The ladies create a storm in the teacup. It is my considered opinion that, by nature, a woman is compassionate, kind and decent. I have seen many women converting to other faiths only for their lovers or husbands. Woman is all love. Whenever war breaks out in any part of the world, men in outbursts of rage, rancour, vengeance and wrath announce the total destruction of the enemy. The famous British writer Aldous Huxley, in his book titled The Olive Tree, writes that bosomed friends become archenemies on matters of country, race and religion. The word ‘enemy’ is sufficient enough to destroy each other. The killer does not know whom his cartridge has killed. He only knows that someone from the enemy camp has been killed. This psychology has bifurcated the natural taste, trends, tendencies, traits, proclivities, inclinations and requirements of men and women. As there are differences in their physique, there are differences in their psyche. When I say that all ladies are like relishing sweet fruits, I praise their specie and nature of adaptability.

I may be permitted to say that some racial and religious hardliners have made human life miserable. They promote a culture of hate. In the US, we find that, until a few years ago, whites and blacks were polls apart. They did not believe in intermarriages. Black people were mistreated. They were the objects of sloth. The book by Mr Barack Obama, titled Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, sheds ample light on the plight of blacks in the US. We must thank the founding fathers who laid down the permanent foundations of equality, democracy and justice in the constitution of the US. They rejected all discrimination in the name of country, cult, colour, and race. We must pay homage to Abraham Lincoln who fought for the rights of the slaves and freed them from the yoke of indignation. We must salute Martin Luther King Junior for his selfless sacrifices for the equality of all the citizens of the US. Today, we see Barack Obama as an elected president of the US, having a black African Muslim as his father and a white American Christian lady as his mother. It is the beauty of the American culture that it absorbs multi-lingual, multi-cultural, multi-racial and multi-religious groups into its fold. Though, I still see some remnants of racial and religious discrimination in some circles, I am convinced that, with the passage of time, we will achieve our target of having a state free from all indiscriminating vestiges. In India, we see a class-based society because Hinduism is based on just such a society, divided into four classes. This social division is part of their religion. But all enlightened Hindu reformers, politicians, poets and intellectuals have discarded Indian classist society and have rejected racial discrimination. In this regard, the services of Mahatma Gandhi must be praised. I again repeat my stance that food, fruit and women are universal and must not be attached to any discriminatory or discriminating taboos.

The writer is an author, poet, scholar and politician based in New York. He can be reached at [email protected]

Source: Daily Times

Date:11/23/2011

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