Encaged in our minds

Paperback Storyteller - Encaged in our minds:
Paperback Storyteller - Encaged in our minds
Paperback Storyteller - Encaged in our minds

As we age, traversing through the shallow and uncertain trail of adolescence, we are instilled with values, instilled with knowledge attained from the different parameters of the world. However, the most important aspect of growing up is when, our minds often make us ask questions, swaying us on the unruffled surface of our experience. My visit to Bangladesh back in last May, made me a subject of those implications.

It was beautiful! Swift hiccups, and the currents of nerve-wrecking excitement had already circulated my veins twenty times when I set a foot on the land of my culture, my roots, and my heritage. I was properly welcomed as a guest, caressed by my relatives, by the society around me in parallel to how swords are caressed by a blacksmith. Yes! I absorbed certain remarks of the mindsets that were quite STRIKING to my demeanor, remarks of the way life exists there. My cousins mocked me to be foolish, perhaps because my westerner mind, and ideologies rather differed the very norms of Bangladesh, which had now inhibited from its deep roots of narrow mindedness.

A quarter of a mile, yea that was about the distance my cousin wanted to travel. "Your brother is not home yet, wait on it. If he comes late, you can go to Nipa's house another day," I looked at the face of my dejected cousin with a blank expression. Those words from her parents had marched their ways into my ears, leaving their mark on my brain with the signature of a dagger. I almost wished I had not heard those, but it was too late. I was still figuring out a reason for those words promoting an illogical fallacy. My grown cousin left the room, swallowing her temporary sadness as an acceptance of her fate, as if it is her usual experience. Sometime later, Figuring out the answer was quite unchallenging to me, because apparently she is not completely safe by herself as there are "dangerous hoodlums" lurking on the busy streets. I was honestly pissed, not at those hoodlums, but at the idea of awarding some good for nothing eve-teasers with fear, and intimidation, they don't deserve. I realized the limitations, existing in a Bangladeshi woman's life due to some goons that happen to have penises. I was struck by the indirect oppression of women generated by an INDIRECT PATRIARCHY!

Few days passed, but the strikes of patriarchy appeared to further educate me of its flexibility in the society. I was at the roof, observing the scenery of the passive sky, shimmering with a lucid light. My eyes stopped at a young woman, who was conducting her daily ritual of hanging clothes on the balcony to dry. However, the violent clamors of a man made its entry to the balcony before he did. I saw him poking at her breast with aggression, while she looked around in embarrassment, to access that her humiliation isn't being captured by anyone else. Nonetheless, From his unending shoutings, I was able to realize that he did not like her going out in the open without an "ORNA." I figured the man had a point, although his manner was not practical, however that thought slid off the track when I took notice of the very appearance of the man himself. The man was shirtless, his dark chest hairs were exerting a sense of "Machoism" with a pride, as if they were struck by the magnitude of goosebumps, and the constant contraction of his arms eventually flexed his noticeable biceps. Just like the other day, I was once again riddled. Is this dude really treating his wife in that matter, simply for forgetting to wear an orna during her busy chores? Was she shouted at despite having her bare body fully covered with Salwar kameez, while he is fully exploiting his built bare body, which can potentially attract other women surveying the scene. It made me wonder if the load of preserving "honor," and "chastity" begun and ended with women, and women only. And once again, I witnessed the very existence of patriarchy, which raised the fingers of a man at a woman, while exerting a silence filled with ignorance in the man's case.

Diminishment of patriarchy, be it direct or indirect is extremely imperative in societies of developing countries, such as Bangladesh. We are all a prisoners of our own mind, what we can be and will do tomorrow can be shaped by a similar beliefs of an "ideal truth." The aspects of patriarchy needs to be uprooted as soon as possible, in order to prevent the continuity of such mindsets of degrading women among the upcoming generations.

- Minhazul Islam, a man attempting to project a very little chunk of the overall oppression of women all over the world.

Photography by Tommy Ingberg.


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