7000 YEARS OF WOMAN’S SLAVERY-I

 

By

 

M.H. PANHWAR

 

 

 

Printer Friendly Format Printer-Friendly Format

 

Preface

            In 1945 when I was 19 years old, I wrote a book in Sindhi entitled as “Muslim Aurat”, which in its 250 pages described position of woman in various social, cultural laws and civilizations. I had touched upon Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, pre-and post-Islamic Arabs, Sassanians, European and Northern American woman, central Asian woman under Russians and the position of woman in Sindh’s history. A chapter was written on the present status of the woman in Sind’s history. In this book I had made compromise as regards position of women under Islam was concerned. Based on I.I. Qazi’s lectures and writings of 20th Century westernized Muslims I had insisted that Islam had given equal status to the woman in all spheres of life and that Islam had given equal status to the woman in all spheres of life and that Parda was un-Islamic, although I had never believed myself that Islam had given equal status to the women. This has now been proved by various amendments in the Law of Pakistan, making two women equal to one man as regards property rights and their evidence in the court as witnesses.  Today I am three times as old as I was when this book was published. During the period I have travelled extensively over all the continents, read considerably on position of women in history, made analysis of anthropological works on the primitive tribes of the present and the  past and have strongly felt that my book of 1945 was a very mild protest for rights of woman, who has suffered under subjugation for past seven millennia.

 

            With this background I thought of recasting, what I had written years ago, but also make it more scientific and systematic. I had blamed all religions with exception of Islam for imposing unjust laws on women. Today I believe that religions have subordinated themselves to the economic and social needs of the times and even if religions by decrees and promulgations some times have given some rights to the woman, this has not been executed by the various cultural groups in larger interest of those societies. They have also interpreted religion as it situated them. There is very little scope for change in the three major Western religions, namely, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but the Eastern religions have continuously developed ideas suiting he times. Such religions have been adopted and propagated by the State at various times; enforcing suitable laws which are given religious sanctity; for example, Hinduism as practiced by the Indians upto 500 B.C. is altogether different from writings of Manu written 4th century A.D., under Guptas. The Buddhist Councils sponsored by Buddhist monarchs every hundred years after Budha’s  death were simply meant to promulgate religious laws  suiting he economic and political requirements of the period.

 

            The present book describes the position of the woman over the past ten thousand years, her slavery as created by the Neolithic Revolution and her struggle to regain independence due to economic conditions created by 19th century Industrial Revolution in the West. Reformers all over the world have periodically tried to reinterpret religious doctrines, so as to give better status to he woman in society  of the times. Hazrat Bahaullah of Iran and Sir Agha Khan like many  other reformers have issued religious injunctions or interpretation about granting equal status to the woman. The injunctions of the above two are accepted by their followers with all earnest and sincerity, but yet are omen equal to men in all the respects in these communities? A close examination would prove that they are not! The most important factor is economics. In any community as long as the man earns and thereby  controls the household economics or contributes more to the finances of the house, he automatically is the boss. This situation is little realized and the present book would describe in detail what happened in history.

 

Are Men and Women Physiologically Different Beings?

 

            The elementary study of human physiology invariably has described man and woman as physically similar. Even when it comes to sexual organs the physiologists have justifiably proved that the various organs although dissimilar apparently in a man and a woman, have similar functions and small differences are trifling. These statements have invariably been used as an argument by femininity in favour of equal rights. A detailed examination of he human physical functions and their mechanics have revealed to me some distinct differences, which are astonishing and are reproduced below:

 

1.      Chemically the male and female brains are slightly different. It is now proved that the wary man and woman think and react is programmed by respective types of hormones acting on human brain before birth of a child, and thus the two sexes behave differently from the very birth.

 

2.      Upper thigh joint with pelvis has a different angle in a woman than that of a man. Due to this major difference a woman can squat on her feet and move for some time without feeling tired, whereas it would exhaust a man and even produce pain in his knees, hip joints and pelvis area. The same joint is responsible for graceful way in which the body of a woman moves while walking..

 

3.      When a man sitting on a chair relaxes, he keeps his legs crossed, i.e., one of his thighs above the other; whereas the woman keeps her  thighs and feet wide apart to relax.

 

4.      The trunk of woman as compared to her legs is proportionately longer than the trunk of a male as compared to hid legs i.e., for the same height the man has longer legs and shorter trunk, whereas the woman has shorter legs and longer trunk.

 

5.      Woman’s fingers are longer as compared to her palm and shorter in case of man. The male palm is also wider than female palm. Knowing this fact some women try to keep long nails to give more length to their fingers as a symbol of femininity.

 

6.      Women have thick lips and men thin. To put more emphasis on their lips, women therefore, apply lipstick, which makes them more prominent and thereby more women thinner eye brows than men and they pluck eye-brow hair, making them still thinner and thereby emphasis on this feminine difference.

 

7.      Man’s body in general is slender, but the woman has developed mammary glands or breasts. This is an additional weight, women have to carry on their front. This will make them walk with their trunk moved backwards fro balance, but nature has provided them a balance weight in the form of heavier buttocks and thus they are able to walk straight. The size of breasts would, therefore, control the size of buttocks and vice versa.

 

8.      While waking a man must balance his body in walking one of the legs moves forward and the other is left behind. To balance them, one of his arms on opposite side of the leg has to move forward and the other backward. Faster a man walks longer is the oscillation of the arm. The leverage has to be properly balanced.

 

9.      Woman’s body having been balanced by her breasts and buttocks, she does not need movement of the arms for balance while walking. A woman can be seen carrying a small load in her arms pressed against her breasts, and walking long distances.  A man can not do this and walk without getting tired.

 

10. In case of a pregnant woman there is an extra weight on her stomach in the front. Fore balance she walks with her trunk moved slightly backwards. Nature also helps her in adding weight to her buttocks in form of fats during pregnancy.

11. A girl starts speaking at an age of eighteen months and a boy after 24 months. A girl picks up two hundred words by age of two whereas a boy can catch up with this number at age of three. A woman on an average speaks twice as many words as a man, in their life time.

 

These physiological differences have played a decisive role in determining the position of the woman versus the man in economic sphere and her slavery which began with the Neolithic Revolution.

 

 

CHAPTER 1

 

Women in Hunting-food Gathering Communities

                 

            The man evolved some 14 million years back, when Ramapethaecus, the ape-like-man came on the scene for the first time. He went through various evolutionary stages, distinguishing himself gradually from the other animals by use of his brain. There is evidence of the man using tools since 5 million years ago. During the past 3 to 4 million years he made pebble tools and bone implements, hunted pigs and antelopes. He scavenged on larger game since one million years to one hundred thousand years ago, made hand axes and chopping and other small pebble tools. He developed power of speech, intellectual ability for concepts and in time developed hand axes with the help of which, he was able to kill large animals. During the period fire was known to him most probably by accident and he carried it from place to place for roasting his prey. He was now able to kill larger animals like mammoths, elephants, etc., which were driven into either deep mud or pits by setting fire around them.

 

            It is at this stage that definite division of work between man and woman started. Hunting needed more physical strength, long hours or days of following the prey, a task which a pregnant woman cannot perform and the woman also had to look after children. Women’s activities in general therefore did not involve hunting but they contributed equally to the comfort of the tribe by roasting meat, gathering vegetable food, plant roots and fruits. They sewed animals’ skins together, for tents and costumes. Man had learnt to work wood with the help of hand axes. He made props  for tents, built homes and also occupied caves. Women had considerable role to  play as food gatherers and house-keepers, primarily because the carbohydrate rich, plant roots can be stored for a short  while and some  of the wild fruits could also be dried and stored for use at the time of dearth. They lived in bands of 30 to 40 people and when their numbers exceeded this limit, they divided the band into two and moved to adjoining areas. In terms of total calories production, to meet the family food needs, women as  food gatherers were able to produce more than men, the animal hunters. This raised the status of women.

            Life expectancy in these tribes was approximately 32 years. They produced a maximum of four children at an interval of four to five years. Since the parents would die young, the upbringing of the child becomes the responsibility of the community, and additional task for the living women. The bands kept moving and although they worked hardly three to four hours a day women did not collect adequate fat on their body. A woman can get pregnant only if she had 25% of her total body weight as fat. Thus the birth of a child was automatically adjusted to every 4th or 5th years, when after a long period of child lactation, she gained the required weight.

 

            Life with the early man went on without too much change, i.e., hunting wild game, gathering seeds, fruits and roots of some vegetation and collecting honey.

 

            Around ten thousand years back came another revolution, which automatically was to lead to further developments like Mesolithic, Neolithic and 19th century industrial revolutions. It was the development of Microlithic tools. This helped man in further development of tools from materials other than stone, i.e., bones and wood. Finally it was to lead to harnessing of energy other than that of his own body. This was a great improvement on tools, used between 100,000 to 35,000 years ago, when he had developed hand-axes, flake tools, pointed scrappers, triangular knife blades, hammer-stones and small hand axes. He had also mastered the art of hunting. In this period called the upper Paleolithic, manufacture of tools reached a very high stage of development. Bone and wood were used to part-blades from flint. Pressure flaking became very common. A variety of engraving tools came into use. Spearhead harpoons and other tools were also manufactured from bones of antlers and ivory. With process of pressure flaking, tools with increased sharpness were also produced.

 

            An important cultural development of the period was painting and sculpture, at first of the animals of prey and then human, particularly the female. The human female was elevated to become mother goddess or the goddess of fertility for continuation of human race. This high status of the woman, evolved during 35,000 to 10,000 years ago, was so maintained by subsequent cultures until the Neolithic Revolution. In some of the hunting tribes the female as goddess, has continued to exist up to the present day, but only in agricultural societies evolved out of Neolithic, has the position of women in the societies been totally destroyed.

 

Microlithic tools are recognised from their micro-size, sharpness and utility for various purposes. Large number of tools were produced for different uses and some of the tools were as efficient as modern steel hand tools like knives, arrows and beaked double concaved scrappers. The also developed polished stone tools of all kinds for various uses. With this started Mesolithic stage which was transitory between Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic. There was a gradual beginning of agriculture.  Hunters used the same type of tools as in the earlier stages but use of bone and horn increased. Bow and arrow were fully developed. Use of fishing hooks, harpoons, canoes and paddles made fishing a way of life in some areas.

 

            Agriculture owes its origin to the woman. Women who were gatherers of seeds, roots, fruits and wild vegetative products had observed that seeds scattered over the ground after maturity of the plant, germinated in the following season, if moisture to sustain the plant was available during the coming growing season. They, therefore, planted seed, which was raised to maturity on suitable soil. Subsequently, a hoe was developed. This was a basic tool for seed-bed preparation. As already stated a woman could squat on the ground and keep moving over the field due to peculiar mechanical angle of their hip bone joint. She used hand-hoe to cultivate up to tow acres of land in a season. In addition to this she could also gather wild food. Man still was a hunter. In the terms of calories produced, man produced less than a woman did. This gave the woman a much higher social status.

 

            All this stage the man started domesticating some wild animals. Animals surrendered their freedom to him and by his intelligence he led them to rich pasture lands and suitable watering points. He thus could regulate the supply of meat for his requirements. He also resorted to occasional hunting, to gather extra food and sometimes purely as sport. Because the woman could definitely produce more food than man, the position of female goddess reached its peak during this period. An outcome of this was what is known as matriarchal society, in which a woman is considered the head of family and the family or the tribe was named after her. A remnant of this system has survived among the pastoral Mangols. To the Mughal rulers of India consultation with the mother and her consent and official seal although in name only, was essential to give any decision an officially legality. In absence of mother or after her death, these powers were inherited by the eldest sister and not eh wife. Even Aurangzeb had to entrust these powers to his sisters Jehan Ara and Roashan Ara.

 

 

CHAPTER-II

 

Women losses Position due to Neolithic Revolution

            The gradual invention of agriculture by women spread over some two thousand years, since its beginning in the seventh millennia B.C. By mid of fifth millennia B.C., there came another great revolution the harnessing of bullocks in a yoke for ploughing. Man who reared cattle and thus had monopoly over oxen, after castrating bullocks in a yoke. With a  crude stone-plough, he could prepare seed-bed and plant four times the area a woman could by plough hand hoe, and yet have leisure hours as compared to woman who could plant only two acres, while toiling her muscles throughout the season. Apparently one man could produce enough grain in a year to support a family six eight people. He needed occasional help from his family members for transplanting, harvesting and transporting grain and agricultural produce. He also learnt to feed agricultural wastes like straw, oil-cake, green vegetative material left after harvest and etc., to domestic animals. He became the main food earner of his family. He had inherited bullocks from his monopoly  of domestication of cattle and grazing them. Since bullock ploughing needed lot of strength, he was more suited for this job than the woman. With this revolution the woman was relieved of the drudgery of agriculture, which at first appeared fine, but it made an important difference of far-reaching consequences in the day to day life of the woman. She no longer was the sole food earner and sole master of he house. She was made to surrender her freedom to eh man, who now controlled the means of production and was a capitalist in the true sense, whereas the woman was reduced to the status of an ordinary worker and her status reduced in proportion to calories she contributed to the family requirements of food by way of food-gathering, feeding domestic animals agricultural wastes, brought into the house from the farm, milking of animals and extracting butter and other products from it. Since man was away from the house most of the working hours of the day, the woman was charged with up-keep of the house raising of children, cooking and carrying food to the man in the field during his working house. This situation gave rise to what is known as patriarchal society in  which the family or the tribe is known after man. The status of man versus woman under Neolithic society varied from situation to situation, i.e., how hard a man had to work to produce food for the family and how many calories did he actually contribute.

 

            In rain-fed area the status of the man vis-à-vis women was different than in the arid zones. In the rain-fed area land had more humus and the draft on the plough was ¼ and much as on arid zones. Seed bed preparation was comparatively easy, as one or two ploughings would suffice. In case of arid zones situation was altogether different. Soil was hard having been baked by heat of he sun, humus was absent, there was lack of moisture and a number of ploughing had  to be done before seed bed was ready for planting. Irrigation has to be resorted to. It meant additional task of maintenance of irrigational works and silt clearance had to be periodically done. This increased daily and seasonal working hour for man, who could under circumstances plant less area, produce less food than his counter part in the rain-fed area. This affected the status of woman in the two societies, being the worse, in case man had to work more, to produce same number of calories fro every member of house-hold.

 

            The food calories produced by a farmer in an arid zone like Sind, were not even adequate to support his family. We have some records of the past and know that under the irrigated system of agriculture as in Sind, there were 1.6 persons per acre of land irrigated. A family of eight, i.e., father, mother, 3 daughters and 3 sons could irrigate and cultivate only 5 acres. Assuming that the six children took food equivalent to four grown-ups, as will be the case in average family, and considering a maximum yield of 8 maunds of clean grain per acre, as was the case up to end of 19th century, the food available from above 5 acres was ½ Kg per person per day i.e., only 2000 calories per person or 12,000 calories for the family. The farmer toiling with spade and plough consumers 4000 calories per day leaving 8000 calories for rest of family equivalent to five grown-ups or 1600 calories per person. To make up for the rest of calories as well as clothing and  house-hold requirements, the family had to work extra. Farmers  usually resorted to animal husbandry as additional occupation. Young  children took cattle to pasture lands, women milked  cows and converted milk into various food products. Meat was also another source of food for the farmer and his source of food  for the farmer and his family. They also resorted to gathering wild food. Wild fruits, and plant roots like Bih, Lorah and etc. Many times food, added this way, contributed to more than 50% of the calories shortages and surplus food found its way to urban centres. Occasional hunting too contributed to food requirements.

 

 

CHAPTER-III

 

Despotism – The Natural Result of Irrigation and conversion of Women into child Producing Machines.

            In the mid-fourth millennia B.C. started the age of irrigated agriculture  in Sind. This had already started  in Mesopotamia and Egypt. It was responsible for the rise of four great civilizations of the old world, namely, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, the Indus and the Hwang HO. All these river civilizations had one thing in common, the irrigated agriculture. The Indus civilization on its fringe zones had some benefit from rain fed agriculture but the urban centres of the cultures in such areas were not very prominent, showing comparative lack of prosperity. Irrigation requires execution and maintenance of canals, taking off from a river or source of water adjoining major rivers. Such canals have by necessity to be large and have to cover many thousand acres of land. These canals cannot be executed by individual farmers, who initially have to work co-operatively to excavate a canal. This co-operatively leads to voluntary appointment of some one as a leader. Later on this leader is also accepted to be responsible for maintenance of the canal through the labour provided by individual farmers. He is also made responsible for distribution of water. Irrigated Agriculture would need large scale co-operation and more of it is needed if canals become longer in length, greater in their water carrying capacity and larger areas they are command. Annual clearance of water courses alone would take wary most of the free days of the farmer. Even voluntary operations would need a leader or an authority to work under. Such authority was easily developed by co-operating farmers on a canal. Initially the leader assumed the role of water maintenance ad distribution authority and soon became a despot, using forced labour at will and taking part of produce as a compensation for full time execution of the functions, he was required to perform. It was then easy for him to become maker of laws and giver of justice. Although many times he assumed role of a benevolent leader but essentially he acted as a despot. No cultivator within the command of the canal could get water and thereby cultivate his land, without accepting the full sub-ordination to eh regulations laid by this despot. Larger the canal more authority Arian was the despot. At times he assumed his jurisdiction over a number of canals. Even the most civilized governments in Sind in  past 5000 years had to accept him as a co-coordinator at canal or water course level. Many  injunctions were formulated to up, hold his authority. The central authority in an irrigational society then, had to be despotic in nature. This is true of all irrigational societies  not only in the irrigated Sind and the Punjab, but also in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Hwang Ho Valley and Mesoamerica.

 

            Once powers of distribution of water are invested voluntarily to a chief, by the nature of the duties he becomes chief of the area. He immediately exercises control on means of production i.e., water and land. This gives him unlimited power over all the cultivators on the canal. In the river valleys mentioned above there always was move water than can be utilised on the land. The tendency, therefore, was to increase the area under cultivation. Once governments and Empires were established, they taxed people, maintained canals and administrated through these despots and had to protect the status and rights of chief of these canals, who in Sind came to be known as Waderas or elders. The Waderas wanted to extend their canals, to command more area. The state also wanted to do the same. Some surplus grain invariably was produced, which was used  by surplus population engaged in trades other than agriculture and thus developed various trades, arts administrators and priests who centered in large settlements and thus arose towns.

 

            The population had to be increased to extend the orbit of influence of the society both geographically and culturally. This meant every adult boy and girl had to be married. Marriage had to take place at an early age. Producing of children was to be considered a virtue. Gods and goddesses of fertility had to be created. Abortion had to be declared  a sin and legally punishable. Unfertile women  had to be shunned. Virility in man had to be honoured. A woman bearing  a male child had to be respected in society, which was  already male dominant, as a result of Neolithic Revolution. The most important function was not necessary of the woman to have choice of the mat. It was also not necessary for  the woman to enjoy sexual intercourse. From the observation  of domesticated animals, full knowledge had been acquired that the deposit of male sperm in the female womb could cause pregnancy, irrespective of a female becoming full participant to he sexual enjoyment. It was important that a male member coming out of age would not leave his house to work elsewhere. It was also realised that young men in late teens and twenties are physically more strong, whereas men in their mid-thirties lose physical strength considerably to perform all the agricultural field  operations efficiently as younger men. A young man, therefore, should continue to stay with elders. In fact, three generations of grandparents and children were required to live in a joint family to perform various agricultural operations together. This would provide young healthy men for heavy work like ploughing, canal silt clearance and etc., whenever needed. It was felt  that if young man’s sexual needs are catered for, he in large number of cases would stick to the joint family system. A girl of young age was, therefore, provided to him and rest was left to he social pressures..

 

            The farmer had by  experience learnt that he needed the best bull in the area for mating his cow. This policy was not applied in case of selection of husband for his daughter. Many factors were considered. A female  member in a family contributed to the economy of the household. If she was given away in marriage, a useful member of household was lost to the family. The family had to be compensated, which was in two forms; either by bringing in  of another female helping-hand or outright compensation in terms of money or goods. This was not  sale  of a girl in slavery but it was for making alternate arrangements in place of helping hand so lost. From  this evolved the system of exchanging girls in marriage between two families, again irrespective of partners involved. A man would give away his young daughter and in return get a young wife for his son, or brother, or other member of marriageable age available in the family. He could also choose to pick up another bride for himself, the primary purpose being to get a  helping-hand and also more children.

 

            Some religions frowned upon polygamy and others tolerated it. In spite of the fact that Hinduism outright disallowed polygamy, it was common among the Rajputs, who theoretically were the warriors and therefore ruling class, but invariably had a large groups of farming community among them. Some times a young boy was married to an adult woman, ten to fifteen years his senior, but  this was not condemned as she was the helping-hand. In this case when coming out of age, the boy was allowed to pick up a   young second wife, so as to produce children. Elderly man with only  a few years to live, also married young girls, which in view of need was not condemned. The whole society worked on the principle of increasing population, irrespective of inconvenience to its female members. However, adequate steps were always taken at all stages to satisfy the male sexual requirements.

 

            Since the society wanted male sexual requirements to be catered for, advances made by man on a woman were tolerated within certain limits of society, specially if such advances were made on females not belonging to agricultural community.

 

            This pattern made females a property of the parents, before the marriage, and of the husband and his family after the marriage. The family had every right to dispose of her life in case of any adulteration. Sexual act with a girl outside marriage was considered an infringement on somebody else’s property to which he had no right. Out of this developed the doctrine of Karo-Kari, i.e., adulterer-adulteress. They both had to be punished or killed. Such rights were invested in the family of the girl i.e., the parents and brothers, if she was not married and husband and her family members, in case she was married. This exemplary punishment for Karo-Kari was enforced, so that there was no future infringement on the property of some one else, i.e., the woman. In a society of this type the love affairs, love-stories and romantic acts were privileges only of princes, princesses, kings and in exceptional cases of the feudal chiefs like big Waderas.

 

            In order to make sure that women were not allured  into romantic affairs by other men they had to be desexized. This was easily done by brain washing of the girls from the very birth. Sexual act was considered as unclean and dirty. Sexual response was considered as unclean and dirty. Sexual response was considered horror-some and for whores and prostitutes and not for decent girls. It was considered highly punishable in life after death. Utterance of four-letter words before women by women was considered bad and mean. Women  were not supposed to utter or hear these words. For sexual act itself words were coined which meant dirty job. To discourage women from getting any sexual excitement, removal of clitoris during adolescence was practiced in certain societies. Sexual act was to take place in the  in the dark of the night and finished. As quickly as possible with very little  undressing, without any preliminaries and foreplay. Female fertility had to be maintained and for this purpose fertility gods in their various forms were worshipped. Lignum worship was common in all religions of Neolithic societies. Mother goddess faired badly. At   the best joint worship of Lingum-yuni was allowed. Male fertility gods like Shiva replaced female deities, at various agricultural centres. It has now been proved that Shiva like gods introduced in the Upanishads have their roots in the Indus Culture. Women were encouraged to go to these gods to have more children. Barren women had no place in society. Through these aids and  sacrifices of the women developed the great civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley and Hwang Ho (yellow) rivers. 

 

 

 

CHAPTER-IV

 

Fixed Social Laws of Neolithic Societies and Position of Women

 

            1.         Joint family system was the basis of family. Prior to this the hunting-food gathering tribes were living in a commune.

 

            2.         A separate house for a family was probably developed during he Mesolithic period and taken over to Neolithic.

 

            3.         Marriage as an institution seems to be a development of Mesolithic and early Neolithic period. Chinese records show the introduction of marriage by a Chinese king seven thousand years back. This was done to give stop to the earlier method of fighting on woman between the contestant lovers, leading to murders.

 

            4.         Three generations of a family form grand-parents to grand-children lived together under the same of roof.

 

            5.         A female had no right to select a marriage partner.

 

            6.         The purpose of marriage was to produce children and cater for male sexual requirements.

 

            7.         The elements of female sexual enjoyment was discouraged in marriage partnership and was considered unnatural. The woman was not to show any outward sign of having enjoyed sexual act.

 

            8.         In selecting a husband for a girl it was not necessary either to consult her or to take her consent. It was the parents who had to decide it.

 

            9.         The marriage partners were not given any chance to meet or mingle, before the actual marriage ceremony.

 

            10.       Early marriage of girls before they reached puberty was also practiced with the sole purpose of taking a girl during her adolescence to her future in-laws, so that she is able to pick up the domestic work and perform other house-hold duties, in a manner suiting the in – laws. This was considered training for a girl.

 

            11.       A woman was a property of the parents’ family after the marriage and the respective families had all the rights on her, including  death penalty in case she was found or even suspected of infidelity.

 

            12.       In case a girl eloped with a lover, she being the property like domestic cattle had to be returned to the owners at all costs. There was an unwritten agreement between all the feudal chiefs or landlords that the girl would be returned to the respective family. The girl who eloped and was recovered and restored to the owners, was insulted and made to live a degraded life, if she was not killed.

 

            13.       Hunting-food gathering tribes wanted to restrict their band to 30-40 persons and therefore they killed the baby girls by various methods, including killing them by neglect, feeding them less and thus leading them to death, by disease and starvation. In a Neolithic society, the population had to be increased to take care of agricultural demand. Girls, therefore, were not killed but certainly they were not treated as well as boys. The birth of a daughter was not considered an occasion for rejoicing but virtually of condolence. The parents therefore, were not congratulated. No festival followed such birth.

 

            14.       Even in the cases of death of a wife, a sister or nearest female relative, the type of condolence made was different than in case of death of a male. A reminiscence of which is depicted by the present Sindhi phrase of condolence.

 

            15.       Polygamy was allowed, specially to those who could afford it.

 

            16.       Exchange of girls between two families was a normal marriage practice, better than any other type of arrangement, as both of the families were equally  compensated by replacement of a helping-hand.

 

            17.       Marriage between close relatives, i.e., cousins and others became a common feature of such an exchange. Some times a girl was given away in exchange for a girl born in future out of this wedlock. Such outstanding agreements were executed years later.

 

            18.       Since the girl was  the property of the parents’ family, she could be exchanged for another girl of sold outright.

 

            19.       In case of a girl refusing to marry the man selected for her, force was used which sometimes exceeded the limits of a threat. Occasional beating was resorted to. Intoxicating the girl so that she showed no resistance was also practiced.

 

            20        There was a substantial number of deaths in case of very young girls getting pregnant out of early wedlocks but this aspect was totally ignored.

 

            21.       Neolithic farming communities converted their savings in forms of silver and bullion ornaments. Since thefts were common, they were worn by women all the time. The ornaments were designed  to look as symbols of slavery. The shape of some lower arm and lower leg ornaments was similar to hand-and foot-cuffs.

 

            22.       It has been proved that females live longer than men but in the Neolithic societies women were so neglected through out their lives that their life expectancy was less than the man and because of this the number of females fell short by 10 to 30 percent. There was a number of men who therefore remained unmarried all their lives, in general farmers with a girl to exchange or by were able to have a wife but  people in other trades who produced less than the farmers were forced to remain unmarried and could not  find a suitable mate for themselves.

 

            23.       Abortion was considered bad, i.e., a woman prone to abortions was looked down upon, and in some societies abortion was legally punishable.

 

            24.       In Neolithic societies in general no marriages took place without formal concurrence of the feudals chief or despot. Many times this formality was forcefully imposed by the chief.

 

            25.       The feudal chiefs invariably were polygamous.

 

            26.       Marriage of a couple, having an age disparity, was not looked sown upon. The old man were allowed to marry young girls, but vice versa was ridiculed, as in the latter case chances of producing issues were less. It also showed that the man involved had disrespected his virility.

 

            27.       Women folk responsible for cooking and house-keeping, would serve food to he men first and would eat at the end.

 

Neolithic Social Laws of the Urban Society

            Surplus food produced as a result of he Neolithic Revolution brought about development of cities, where State administrators collected around themselves artistes, traders and people of various professions which evolved with urban centres. To keep the administrative records some king of writing system was also developed. The people who evolved writing system and scripts achieved higher status due to nature of very profession. In order to regulate working of society these literary people turned themselves into a class of priests and imposed a religious system upon the community based on divine authority. These religions were invariably based on fear of the Creator, obedience to the laws which were considered divine, and respect for the priest. In certain societies where sexual act was considered immoral except for reproduction, the priests were disallowed the unholy act of marrying and producing children, but they were human and needed sexual outlets. To cater for these requirements, they started a system of the temple nuns.

            People were encouraged to give their daughters to the service of church and thereby not only the girls but the parents were supposed to go to heaven after death. The nuns assigned to the church for lifetime were meant to meet the sexual demands of the priests. This system has continued in its different forms over a period of five to six thousand years. In different societies girls were given away to the temple, church or holy-man’s tomb, as nuns, birds or slaves. Until very recently a virgin girl was selected and under ceremony married to Kalander Shahbaz at Sehwan. Some ignorant men also marry girls to Holy Quran to this day and by such marriages a woman is supposed to remain chaste all her life.

 

PAGES: 33  -   55

BOOK:   SINDHOLOGICAL STUDIES  1979-1986

                                                SUMMER 1984

 

           

 Top of Page