Drawing inspiration from news headlines, Dar Si Jati Hai Sila is a story of depravity, reprehensible behavior, deplorable moral values, lack of compunction, and no fear of retribution among those that you would less suspect of such behaviour – yes the much touted middle class, the upholders of ashraf vlaues.
A lot has happened in Noor Manzil since we last visited 7 weeks ago, but not in a happy way. After a broken engagement with her cousin, Sila is now all set to marry Joi Mama, with the full blessings of her father. Saleem’s arrival did little to change things for Sadia and Sila or indeed for Hatim. And how could it? For change to happen, Saleem had to be interested beyond a superficial level. A few close interactions with his family and it was evident that he was in Pakistan only to maintain appearances and fulfill obligations. His palpable relief at Sadia’s refusal to go to Canada was the last nail in the coffin – he was happily settled there with a life and possibly a family of his own choice and needed no reminders of this other life of his.
Also revealed is the fact that Hatim is Joi’s son and the reason why for Sadia’s very complicated relationship with her son. Infact it is not just her son, it is entirely possible that her daughter too is an unhappy reminder of an unfortunate union with her legally wedded husband, hence the strained relationship there too. This complicated relationship, between the mother and her children, is beautifully etched out by the writer, subtle and nuanced, a painful potrait of a mother torn between her natural maternal instinct to love and protect her children but at the same rejecting them for what they represent – constant reminders of pain and humiliation. Reminds me of Amrita Pritam’s very powerful characterization of Puro’s complicatedfeelings towards her child in Pinjar.
After all these years Sadia recognizes Salim’s disinterest. Her few attempts to open up a line of communication are rudely and at times violently shut down, and I strongly suspect this has been an ongoing pattern in their relationship, hence her very foolhardy and ill-advised, and to say nothing of downright dangerous, attempts to handle Joi’s sexual abuse, as per the limited means at her disposal and her lack of trustworthy confidants.
By continuing to offer herself up like a sacrificial lamb to an experienced predator like Joi she might have thought she was buying his silence, but his odious salivating and lip smacking joy at the prospect of marrying Sila has put paid to any and all of those thoughts. But here’s the thing. Instead of using this as an opportunity to open up to her daughter and confide in her, she chooses to do the complete opposite. She goes back to Joi and begs him to refuse the marriage proposal. This mind-boggling scene is enough to set Sila off who in turn accepts Joi’s proposal publicly. In doing so Sila, in her mind, is protecting Sadia’s reputation and her affair with Joi. Had Sadia opened up to Sila this would’ve never happened.
Initially it was Sadia who was suffering, but now Sila too is caught up – both mother and daughter have been dragged into a maelström which could have been avoided had the mother been able to understand what protecting a daughter really meant.
Daughters can only be protected when mothers climb down from the pedestals that society and they themselves place themselves on – when they open themselves as women and talk one on one with their daughters, as equals. When come clean about their mistakes, their times of weaknesses and those human moments. When they put aside the fear of being judged. When they are just themselves, not somebody’s daughters, wives, and mothers. It is only then that real dialogue can began and only then will a Sila truly be free to stop being afraid. This to me is what I take away from Dar Si Jati Hai Sila – bravo Bee Gul!
Written by SZ~