On consent

March 19, 2023

An episode from a drama series drives home the concept of consent

On consent


itni Girhain Baqi Hain was an anthology of short stories telecast from 2011 to 2015. The first season, with a total of 88 stories, was produced by Angeline Malik. These were thought provoking stories generally with a twist at the end that lent an air of unpredictability to each episode. While the plotlines appeared a bit surreal, many borrowed from the truth and circumstances of women around us.

Wida na Karna Maa was one such episode starring Samina Peerzada, Mohammad Ahmad, Tooba Siddiqi and Gohar Rasheed. In it, Ainee (Tooba) goes to meet her husband, Zain (Gohar Rasheed) at his insistence. What transpires afterwards is enough to give her mother sleepless nights.

Zain forces himself on Tooba and molests her. Since the wedding is yet to take place, Ainee’s mother, played by veteran actress Samina Peerzada, wants to arrange it as soon as possible out of fear of social stigma.

That is when the daughter puts her foot down and refuses to marry her abuser. In the end, Ainee’s father, the more supportive of her two parents, comes to her aid after learning the truth and promises his daughter that he will take her to file for khula the next day.

Portrayed simply with top-notch acting by all the leads, this episode is quite jarring. The husband is unrepentant and feels that his wife does not have the option to say no to him. And if she does, she has to deal with the consequences.

This anthology of short stories was appreciated for its thought-provoking and offbeat content. This episode of Kitni Girhain Baqi Hain is relevant because it explores the typical mindset of entitled men who do not value the consent of their partners and dehumanise them.

This episode of Kitni Girhain Baqi Hain is relevant because it explores the typical mindset of entitled men who do not value the consent of their partners and continue to dehumanise them.

Wida na Karna Maa raises awareness about consent. Does a woman have a right to refuse? Is she there merely for the gratification of a male’s sexual desire? The question of consent has never been given due importance. As a result many women face dire consequences when they exercise the right.

Meray Ban Jao, airing currently, explores how social media is used as a tool to harass and stalk women, as well as blackmail them. It shows how vulnerable girls are pressured into sharing private content over the internet and then blackmailed using it.

Sar-i-Rah, a play which recently ended, also spoke of women empowerment. The protagonist decides to drive a taxi to meet household expenses when her father falls critically ill.This masterpiece produced by Angeline Malik highlighted many social evils in the society that are
frequently brushed under the carpet.

Makafat-i-Amal aired on Geo during Ramadzn, portraying how life comes full circle and divine retribution is a reality, had a similar theme. Some of the episodes were quite interesting. Writers like Amna Mufti and Bee Gul are doing an admirable job. As a result they are getting more opportunities to showcase their talent.

I encourage all readers to watch this anthology of short stories for education and entertainment in equal measure. Kitni Girhain Baqi Hain is one of the rare productions that attempt to capture the multi-faceted stories of women negotiating their way in a patriarchal society.

The writer is an educationist and can be reached at gaiteeara@hotmail.com.

On consent