The question of honor is ineluctable in our society, especially because it always gets associated with a woman, forming another example of our patriarchal notions. Without reflecting on their own activities, many brothers, fathers, and husbands perpetrate various kinds of brutalities on women related to them only in the name of honor. One such act is that of acid-throwing, which is performed mostly on the faces of pretty women because their beauty is considered a viral germ for the society, for it attracts a lot of men.
It is not investigated whether the woman is really coquettish or not, but an unknown stranger hurling remarks on her beauty is considered to be an enticed lover, and as a result, the woman is held culpable, or shockingly, her beauty which is not in her hands is held culpable. ARY drama serial “Lashkara” written by Zafar Mairaj and directed by Kashif Nisar presents such a case. In the latest episode, the perpetrator of the acid-attack turns out to be Babli’s (Ushna Shah) own brother, Baala (Umer Darr).
We owe the revelation to the genuine lover, Sunny (Imran Ashraf) – who leaves no stone unturned to find out the culprit. Baala is a character we know from the very first episode for being greedy and in search of money without caring where it comes from. For that, he has often been seen gambling as well. But neither his greed nor his inappropriate activities make his honor stained. What hurts his honor is his sister’s beauty, which without her knowledge at times, attracts men. However, her love and loyalty for her husband are not given any importance, but her beauty is held reprehensible and is thus destroyed by an acid-attack.
While Balaa’s own character had already evoked questions regarding honor, his statement in the latest episode makes it even more questionable. It is for money given by Naureen (Mehr Bano) and her husband that he does it. Along with the money, he is blackmailed in the name of his honor which is so fragile and weak that it can only be evoked on seeing a hefty amount of money. So, a characterless Baala and some money taken for performing the act put a big question mark on our society’s definition of honor.
In order to present a contrasting idea and give an example of what real honor can be, we are given the character of Feeqa (Mohsin Abbas Haider), to whom it comes as a shock that his own sister was the real planner of the acid-attack. But Feeqa, usually called Bonga by everyone, comes up as a foresighted person with a knowledge of what happens to women in our police-stations, and in order to save his sister from verbal and sexual harassment, presents himself as the culprit before the police.
Although we are made to see it as a punishment inflicted by Feeqa on his family deliberately by himself, the hidden idea behind it turns out to be of real honor, the epitome of which Feeqa becomes. Despite having an option to throw acid on his sister and send her to jail, he chooses not to do so and takes all the blame on himself, saving Nikki from the lusty eyes of policemen.
This may incline some people to think why it is still a man always who has to save a woman, but the point is that if the idea of honor being linked with a woman has been so strongly inculcated in our minds somehow, then what kind of men are they who understand the real meaning of honor and treat their wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters accordingly?
Are they men like Baala who save honor by burning their sisters’ faces, or are they men like Feeqa who present themselves for mental and physical torture but do not let creepy patriarchs come near their sisters? Are they men who receive money for saving honor or are they men who in order to keep the woman’s honor intact, keep her away from insulting behaviors and promise to live with them in even poor conditions? Are they men who ask strangers for helping them with their honor or are they men who have the courage to leave their own family for providing support and strength to a woman?