It’s been a routine here at my Facebook page. The moment something random about secularism or liberal ideas is posted, a mullah comes out raging about the bikinis that I want women to wear and the sex we want to have at some public place. Then follows a rant about how we ‘liberals’ are conspiring against Pakistan and Islam by calling out the hypocrisy of mullahs. And finally, there’s the prophecy: It will never happen in Pakistan, you libtard.
I don’t know why I’m writing about it for the umpteenth time here but I think I have to do it. Maybe it just has to be said, time and again, that liberalism isn’t about sex and bikinis. It’s about the right to wear bikinis and burginis and hijab and shorts and jeans and shalwar and cotton trousers and socks and shoes and caps and bras and plus size bras and stuffed bras and no bras at all and t-shirts and gloves and earrings and bangles and applying mehndi and offering prayer and playing piano and listening to rock and dancing on the beats of dhol and everything that a person may or may not want to do.
Liberalism doesn’t have a problem if a girl doesn’t want to play cricket. But if she wants to play cricket and someone is stopping her from doing it, a liberal would speak up for her right to play. A liberal may or may not be heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual or asexual. He/she wouldn’t bother you about it and wouldn’t want you to prefer the kind of sexual behavior that they prefer. But if you are a homophobe, a liberal would speak up against your bigotry, not because he/she is homosexual but because he/she wants the people to have sex with whoever they want to have it.
Liberals don’t care where and how and with whom someone is having sex. But it has to be consensual. If it isn’t, it’s the breach of someone’s body; it’s called rape. And even if the two are married, if it doesn’t involve consent, it is rape. The reason why mullahs don’t have a problem with it is that they don’t really know what exactly rape is. They probably believe that nikaah is the only prerequisite for having sex. They fail to understand that even nikaah is an agreement between two people to live together. Sex also has to have an agreement involved. And if that agreement is there between those two people, why would I care where they’re having sex. If I don’t want them to have sex before my eyes, I can look away.
And it is going to happen in Pakistan too. It’s a rule of thumb. Societies evolve. They have to evolve. Ideas exchange hands. They travel. And the kind of world that we’re living in today, they travel faster than they ever did before. It’s a war of ideas; and the better ideas will win. The better ideas are not the ones adhered to by the majority of people. The strength of an argument is not based on how many people agree with it. It’s all about the base of the argument. For example, when an Islamist says that Islam gives its followers the freedom, they are basically agreeing with the idea of having freedom. It’s the extent of freedom that now needs to be discussed, not whether freedom should exist or not since we both agree to the idea that freedom is a fundamental right of every human.
Pakistan is also changing. You might resist this change but it’ll be futile. Your medieval concepts about life will be trampled on by the modern ideas and you wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. Your children will be on our side. Because our argument is stronger. And yours is weak. Not talking about the guns and bombs of course because that’s your forte but if it’s a battle of ideas, there’s no way you’re escaping the fall of religious bigotry and the ultimate triumph of liberalism. Deal with it!