In The Beginning : Soniah Kamal (Soniah Kamal is a widely published writer from Pakistan. She has been a regular freelance writer for The Friday Times, Lahore Pakistan, and has also published a social satire column named "My Foot" for a weekly magazine supplement of The Daily Times, Pakistan. Her short stories have been extensively published in various magazines across South Asia and USA. Her debut novel, An Isolated Incident, published by Penguin USA, is
scheduled to release in fall 2005.)

All Jamal did was look at the girl, but the girl reported him as giving her the wicked eye and so it was, in a land pledged to safe guard virtue, that Jamal was led away to the operation.

His mother Alliya wept a bucket. She ran back and forth between authorities.
"My son is not a future threat," she cried. But no one listened to her. They reminded her that once upon a time rape was rampant, that indeed it had been rabid. Handing her brochures on 'The Mind of a Rapist' they told her to quit fussing and go home.

It was while nursing Jamal's dismembered body that Alliya decided something had to be done. The subdued Jamal encouraged her.
"Mom," he said, "There are many like us with mothers like you."

Indeed many a likeminded mother Alliya contacted. The formed the group ‘Dismemberment Be Barred’. They began to write to the authorities, sign petitions, hold rallies, raise awareness through speaking at public corners.
"Not every son," they said, "who looks at a woman has got the wretched one thing on his mind."

A few of the officials, especially those who had dismembered males in their homes, began to take the DBB seriously. But where, it was debated, could be found a remedy which could still safeguard virtue? A contest was held. The entire nation entered. A woman had the honor of winning.
"Cover us up," said her entry, "from head to toe."
"Indeed," murmured authorities. "What cannot be seen cannot entice

When the winning entry was deemed a rule, many a mother rejoiced and all men threw a party. Women began to shop for new attire. Cloaks and headscarves, shapeless slippers and veils too. At first it was a novelty watching the world through a shutter of cloth: sunlight was pockmarked.
Once vibrant colors cloaked in shadows. Conversations harder to hear, for lips could no longer be read. However soon female outings grew infrequent for the new dress code was cumbersome and left one feeling buried and therefore dead.

Men, on the other hand, began to strut around with newfound confidence. It was the beginning of a new dawn and there came a day when no one alive remembered a time when women went unveiled or male dismemberment loomed large.

One day there was born a woman who did not like covering up. "It's hot in this attire," Leela said. "And worst of all I can't see properly through the eye holes."

Indeed on the day she was raped Leela was unable to identify her perpetrator because he used her veil to cover her eyes. Deciding to do something about it, Leela approached her Dad.
"Nothing doing," said Dad. He'd seen pictures of the now defunct dismemberment and could not in good conscience risk bringing back such a barbarian ritual.

Leela tried to raise public awareness. She spoke at public corners, wrote to the authorities, went door to door with petitions, tried to hold a rally. She tried to form a group, but she was not very successful even though many women agreed with her- they would like to see the decree of covering oneself from head to foot overturned. However they were helpless for the males in each family had sworn that they would silence the women rather than watch the overturning of the decree.
"Furthermore," the men all agreed, "the women lived in excellent times," and here they would quote with official proclamation: Rape, though rampant, is no longer rabid. Verily it is safe to walk the streets.

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