Faith and forgiveness: Mukhtaran Mai braves it on

Mukhtaran Mai was on TV last night, and I could not but admire the host-who-shall-not-be-named’s choice of guests.

Delicately but sure-footedly, the host-who-shall-not-be-named explored the life and the current concerns of Mukhtaran. Mukhtaran, the famous survivor of a brutal jirga decision which ordered her gang-rape, seems to have come a long way. With a brave smile and a twinkle in her eyes, Mai re-instated her faith in God and justice while she awaits an appropriate punishment for the criminals.

Mukhtaran admitted that in the initial days after the incident, she often grew hopeless and contemplated ending her life.

“This happens. And in these situations, one thinks of killing themselves. But then Allah gives one courage to handle their problems, and I got courage from my supporters. When I used to come out of court hearings – all worried – the faces of those who supported me gave me hope. Allah gives one courage.

Then, she decided…

…she will live and move on. She not only got over the incident while it still remains undecided whether the rapists and the village court will be brought to justice, she also started a girls’ school. This was no small feat as she met with criticism and rejection from her community which had, until then, no girls’ school.

“The mothers told their girls, ‘You will start marrying by your choice if you go to Mukhtaran’s school’,” said Mukhtaran. “I told the girls, ‘You come to the school and study first, and then we shall see!'”

On the issue of her once ban on traveling abroad, Mukhtaran took a balanced view: she said that bad name to Pakistan can only be prevented if we prevent such incidents and bring justice ourselves rather than be reminded by other nations. Shahzad Roy, the other guest, was of the view that though Pakistan’s internal social matters are not a concern of any other nation, as long as we fail to ‘let justice prevail’ we will be susceptible to exploitation of our issues. Mukhtaran agreed.

I felt it was a sensible discussion on the delicate issue of Pakistan’s sensitivity of the exploitation of Pakistan’s domestic social incidents. The host-who-shall-not-be-named wins my admiration for presenting a balanced view of the Mukhtaran issue.

The outlook of this simple woman with little education was an education in itself. She does the best she can, and makes no assumptions about the future. I found her a living example of the four agreements one must make to live a happier life. She also confirms with this definition of forgiveness that I caught on Oprah: “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.”

Note: Entry edited to ensure it is focused on Mukhtaran Mai.

17 Comments so far

  1. Sarwar (unregistered) on December 23rd, 2005 @ 8:58 pm

    Do you think the character Begum Nawazish Ali a copy of Dame Edna?

  2. Ramla A. (unregistered) on December 23rd, 2005 @ 9:01 pm

    Ah. I do not know Dame Edna. AND, this post is about Mukhtaran Mai.

  3. faisal (unregistered) on December 23rd, 2005 @ 10:00 pm

    Dame Edna is exactly the character
    that Ali is trying to emulate.
    He is a talented actor and has
    the ability to make people laugh
    which is a great talent in and of

  4. hafsa (unregistered) on December 23rd, 2005 @ 11:57 pm

    i personally feel this mukhtaraan mai issue has been blown out of proportion.

  5. Ramla A. (unregistered) on December 24th, 2005 @ 12:15 am

    Well, not blown out of proportion, as much as the wrong proportion of the story blown over. We should be glad that there is something that our people haven’t just forgotten and moved over. Though personally, each of us who can’t do a thing abt such incidents feels frustrated… what exactly is heartening about the story is how Mukhtaran has not victimized herself and moved on. THIS is what I want to bring attention to – not the host-who-shall-not-be-named as, it seems, is happening.

    This issue is better off being dealt by cool-headed mature persons rather than emotional commentators who gain or lose nothing by just piping in. The host-who-shall-not-be-named actually rose this point: he asked Mukhtaran if it wsa true that some NGO’s actually exploit such issues and just latch on to the popularity bandwagon. This interview was really worth a watch.

  6. Sarwar (unregistered) on December 24th, 2005 @ 4:11 am

    Calm down Ramla. No need to get excited like the “emotional people who like to pipe in.”

    The beauty of a blog is that anyone can join in. If you don’t like it, sign off.


  7. FAISAL (unregistered) on December 24th, 2005 @ 8:38 am


  8. Ramla A. (unregistered) on December 24th, 2005 @ 4:51 pm

    Dear Sarwar: Assalam-o-Alaikum!

    A quick conclusion! I was responding to Hafsa’s rather valid comment, not refering to you at all. You had been answered by me and the very supportive Faisal. (Faisal bhai, poora paragraph toh parh letay. Aap bohot jaldi bol paray!)

    In my reference to emotional persons vs. mature people, I meant the usual uproar surrounding Mukhtaran’s issue vs. Ali Saleem’s very mature handling of the delicate issue of Mukhtaran’s exploitation by begum-NGO’s (not all, some). He also quizzed Mai on whether she thought her case was exploited. For the record, Mukhtaran said it was a trend to latch on to popular cases – most cases do not even get as far as an FIR. Though she wouldn’t say everyone exploited her, people often helped her. I left that comment out for the sake of brevity, but God has other plans! :)

    I hope, Sarwar, you understand now that I am refering to my delight at Ali Saleem’s maturity vis-a-vis those who comment on Mukhtaran without thinking. I believe this latter phenomenon is what Hafsa is referring to, and I find it tiring too! Which is exactly why I am delighted to see Mukhtaran in a new light in this interview – and perhaps this is why I was unreasonably intense in diverting the attention back to Mai earlier. I apologize for the strong remark earlier.

    Ali has already meritied quite a few posts on the blog; and it was my mistake to name him in the article. His show is controversial. And it’d be unfortunate if the rather fine struggle of Mukhtaran pales in comparison to a glamorous transvestite.

    While Ali Saleem did gain my respect, his effort is rendered worthless if the attention is diverted from his guests to him. That would make his show twice-controversial, and it’s an area that I do not wish me or my articles to get into. That remains my prerogative as a writer.

    Now: a handshake?

    Thank you.

  9. Sinner (unregistered) on December 24th, 2005 @ 5:56 pm

    Yeah Mukhtaran Mai went through hell, and everyone who put her through that shit should be hanged. But man, WTH was she doin on that fag’s show Begum Nawazish Ali. It all seemed in bad taste. It was as if the program was promoting the point that the only safe man is a gay man…I mean of all the programs, she had to come on that one…besides in my opinion I think the character Begum is an insult to all the women folk in the country and they should be weary of the hidden agenda behind that program…with his waxed arms, manicured hands, and not to forget the gaudy gaudy make-up he actually looks better than most of the women here in Pak, and might have the aim to promote more gays here in pk…dont get me wrong I’m not against homosexuality in any way, I just love the ladies of my ‘beloved’ country more ….anyways,Mukhtaran is a head strong woman, and I hope things become better in her life now…the story that has been pushed under the carpet and which still continues is that of Sonia Naz. In the last The News report that I read she’s been forced into hiding and is allegedly living near some railway station…and Ramla,of all the people u had to quote a definition of forgiveness and that too from the very commercial Oprah …i think we all know what that friggin word means; what many don’t understand is that the bloody word needs implementation…khair that’s another debate….

  10. faisal (unregistered) on December 24th, 2005 @ 7:46 pm


    I was indeed too quick to comment.
    I stand humbled and corrected.
    You make some very valid and mature points.

  11. Sarwar (unregistered) on December 24th, 2005 @ 9:22 pm

    Handshake accepted and extended to both Ramla and Faisal:)

    The reason I asked about Begum Nawazish is that I have read plenty about Mukhtara in the Washington Post (living in Amreeka) but know nothing about Begum Nawazish.


  12. yo yo (unregistered) on December 25th, 2005 @ 10:42 am

    Wow look at all the weight she has been putting on.

    Anyways I hope her case serves as a wakep up call for our Law enforcement agencies.

  13. tanveer (unregistered) on December 25th, 2005 @ 11:33 am

    Dont forget, Mukhtaran, is one of the thousand women, who go through the misrey of rape every year arround the world, its not a Pakistani issue, its a global issue.

    With all due respect, to people who get emotional very fast, Women are not only subject to voilence in this world, I have seen many many men being slapped by their wives or girlfriends (or boy friends), But how come I never came across of one single instance where a man came forward with his head strong up and high against the voilence.

    I know, I know, tha now you will say men are not gang raped like Mukhtaran mai, then my friend try to read histry of Congo and Pap New Guinea, where men are kidnapped and rapped by women.

  14. Kamran (unregistered) on December 25th, 2005 @ 12:08 pm

    Wait, there’s a transvestite with its own TV show??? WTF?!?!? :|

  15. Kamran (unregistered) on December 26th, 2005 @ 12:15 pm

    Wait, there’s a transvestite with it’s own tv show??? WTF?!?!

  16. Ramla A. (unregistered) on December 26th, 2005 @ 11:44 pm

    Ji Kamran. Ji. Ji. Aisa hi hai.

    Faisal: Thanks.

    Sarwar: Oh, I have been too quick. For those naturally curious about what’s up with this Nawazish Ali show, here’s a previous post:

    Here and


  17. Sarwar (unregistered) on December 27th, 2005 @ 12:12 am

    Lets send Begum Nawazish Ali to Peshawar for a week on an assignment. Next thing you know, Mukhtara Mai will be conducting his/her interview.


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