Friday, March 13, 2009


Traditions, rituals, customs.

No don't show you're hair to any man he will be tempted. You know if he is tempted it is your fault right?

No don't walk anywhere without another male to protect you because you know if someone attacks you it'll be your fault right?

Oh and please if you get beat up while dating well how can someone feel bad for you, you weren't supposed to date in the first place.

old world customs do not make us prosper

Now I don't mean that we shouldn't maintain our traditions and culture because in fact that is an important facet to identifying and differentiating between vast amounts of cultures. However, do not accept all customs and rituals without asking yourself first is it holding me back or it is driving my progress further?

The South Asian culture has so many old folktales, and traditions that often are observed and practiced and go unquestioned. We hear about them sparingly, and sometimes we feel upset about whats going on but grab our newspaper and coffee and go on about our day.

One tradition I want to address today is marriage.

Marriage is perhaps one of the most desirable contracts to sign. Western world has raised marriage into a romantic, enchanted, affection filled concept and has created a multi-billion dollar industry of it. Yes marriage can be filled with those things but what else can it be filled with? Violence, torture, oppression, domesticate slavery, loss of self. These are the marriages that all too often exist in the South Asian culture.

Children are sold as child brides, daughters are married off before they become a burden or have chance to become "impure." Why, why must marriage be such an important goal to achieve? Why must marriage be a form of liberation for father and families who have daughters in their homes? Why don't we question those traditions that have stolen the happiness and childhood of so many girls all around the South Asian world?

Marriage should happen when a girl is ready to commit herself to such a commitment, when she finds a man (love or arrange) with whom she feels that she could spend the rest of her life with. Yes, nothing is ever guaranteed but should she not have a say with whom she plans to live with, procreate with, fall in love with, or even simply spend her whole life with? Yes, of course she should. If you agree with me then do something about that

Why are children and young girls being married off against their will? Because of financial oppression. If a father cannot even afford to clothe and feed his daughters and he knows another man is willing to do that then he will not see the problem in marrying his daughter off. We shouldn't necessarily judge families who do this to their children because we are not in their situation to even understand their turmoil. What we need to do is educate and liberate. Educating families in South Asian countries and helping them find resources that will help their daughters not only become independent and confident but as employed and educated women. We need to provide resources for these families, create policies in junction with the government and make them understand how economically and socially significant these girls can be in progressing their country.

Change never happens over night, nor does it happen when we are inanimate. We need to take charge, make progress and do whatever we can wherever we are. Go out and look for resources that help you make a contribution to those who are actively participating in providing girls with an education and job so they don't have to be forced to marry. Instead they become resourceful, happy, and make themselves and their families proud.

I always feel honored and blessed to be my father's daughter. The man who made me know and believe that I am the planter of my own garden and the captain of my own ship. I feel I have a civil duty to make other fathers be as proud, if not more, of their daughters.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tolerance is not Acceptance


India's Gay Prince

I got a comment saying we should get married to suppress our desires, and that is an understandable idea to have but this man did that and it ruined a girls life, and who knows how many others lives are ruined because people are trying to suppress their desires. View the article :-) It's quite intriguing.

Again thank you for reading!

End Edit
In my last post I asked everyone what their view of homosexuality was and I got the response I expected to get.

Most people have just embraced homosexuality in context of the American culture, and might not accept it but they tend to tolerate it

Well tolerance and acceptance are not the same things, and I cannot make anyone accept any principle/ideology/cause they do not support. I do understand that homosexuality is a very touchy topic, especially for those of us who are religious. Almost all religions I know of do not approve of homosexuality and therefore we grew up thinking it was wrong and so today we tolerate it but cannot wholeheartedly accept it.

I really will not even dip my hands into the religious aspect of homosexuality because it will just be a cyclical argument and no one will have the answer.

So in order to avoid arguments I will just say that we are NOT born gay, because if God condones it he won't make his people gay. But how can we control a persons desire? Just like God did not make war, aids, crime humans have socially constructed many different things and perhaps homosexuality and the desires that go along with were socially (most likely) constructed.

South Asians have a much harder time accepting homosexuality because often we think this is an "American problem" and people in our culture seldom experience it. Well there are two flaws with that thinking
One is that it is in fact NOT an American problem but homosexuality is experience in the world over, and second of all even labelling it as a problem shows our attitudes towards it.

Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, you can name it and do your research and you will find a gay community. Now why do I even care if people accept or understand homosexuality? Well because the lens I see it through is as such, homosexual desires do not always translate to a person BEING a homosexual (doing is not same as being) and even if a person did identify their urges and claim to be gay, why should I have a problem with that?

Does anyone tell me my heterosexual urges are not right, that I should suppress my thoughts and desires. Most often people do not have problem with people being homosexual but they have problem accepting the homosexual desires people experience. We see them as perverse experiences and attitudes.

If we allow ourselves to weed out and segregate people based on desires we think are perverse then slowly the government, and society will start segregating people based on other criteria as well, for example if you wear a turban or hijab you cannot work in any government jobs. The connection might seem bizarre but with rational think it really is not very bizarre

I encourage you all to do more research and find out more and see why it is that you can only tolerate the homosexual community but not accept it

Thursday, January 29, 2009

oh my god you're so gay!

The term "gay" has officially turned into a substitute for stupid/funny/girly/sissy/dumb/and whatever else a person wants to use it for. It is slowly become an everyday word in the American lexicon and most of the time we say the word gay and don't ever stop to think what it really means.

Perhaps it is easier to give that word a different meaning and turn it into something funny and people can see the humor in it, for example like the word "whore" as many of us may refer to our friends as regardless of how promiscuous they may or may not be.

So this week the focus will the gay/lesbian/queer community in the South Asian community and in order to start off the week addressing this issue I think it's really important to know what that word "gay" means to you, and the word "lesbian" and queer. Does it provoke certain images? Certain thoughts? What context do you use it? Do you think those words can be important to the South Asian community?

Before I start writing about this issue I would like you to explore within yourself and try and help me so that I can understand what some of you may think and better be able to understand it in a different context and give you facts and statistics that might challenge or reinforce your thoughts. So please comment :-)

Mission Statement

Hello everyone

My name is Farzana Rahman and I am currently a sophomore at the University of Michigan. I am a psychology and sociology major and have a profound interest in social justice issue and social justice reform. Before I go on and talk about why I am starting this blog I would like to take a moment to give a background on myself

I am 19 years old, born in Bangladesh and moved to the US with my family at the tender age of 11 months. I lived in NY for about 11 years (Queens :]) and then moved to Michigan and attended high school here. I have always been very involved in my school academically and socially, I have been vice president of my class student council, homecoming committe. All those things are great and I am proud of because it has given me a sense of leadership early on and the importance of organization. I am also a certified peer mediator an that training and that activity has helped me in solving conflicts within groups I have worked with

But now as I am getting older I want to do more, I want to be involved in things that involve change and this year I have taken steps forward to do that. I will be introducing my upcoming projects through this blog but not quite yet

I want this blog to address vast amounts of social issues and human rights violation that we face in our world today. It will not geared towards any one specific community but it will introduce many of the adversities our South Asian communities face because I think that is a community that has problem but very few to address it. I also want this blog to provide inspiration and resources to help those who want to help others. Every two weeks I will be focusing on an issue and taking suggestions on what issues to address. I will also be providing information as to how people coud contact organizations that are helping in those issues as well.

I hope this project and blog will be useful to those who visit it and will also help me bring change to my community and help me better my enviroment and myself

With great love