Co-education vs. gender-based education? Mistakes, Muslim parents make while deciding schools for their children.

PUBLISHED IN THE MILLI GAZETTE JANUARY ISSUE 2014

We already are well aware of the thin literacy rates among Indian Muslims. A large majority of this thin population is sent only to same gender schools. I remember, while I studied in Lucknow (a city with dense Muslim population), I never had more than four Muslims in my classroom. The conventional Islamic wisdom of men and women gatherings in separate areas is well lived until today. Sadly, it makes Indian Muslims look like a bunch of double standard, non secular hobbits who cannot be loyal friends with anyone. Non Muslims also send their children to same gender schools, not just Muslims, but they have different reasons. Most importantly, is it worth it?
As far as imagination can possibly think, the main reason for choosing same gender school for their kids is because these parents are afraid that their children might get attracted to the opposite gender and do un-Islamic things which bring shame upon the family. They might elope or get into wrong company. Their hearts might close to Islam and they may adopt non Islamic habits and rituals etc. think about it honestly, cant they do all this stuff in the same gender schools?
For a moment, let us consider what happens when you send your child to a same sex school. Since, this axe befalls on the female gender largely, think about an all girls school. When your kid see only girls around, the first impression she gets as a child, is that a boy is forbidden. As human psychology dictates, this creates an extra curiosity and interest in your girls mind about the opposite gender. What did curiosity do to the cat, remember? The same happens with the growing young woman and she finds it more and more rebellious to just speak with a man, which incites her curiosity furthermore. In a co education school system, this barely happens because gender disparity is negligible and young boys and girls interact with each other WITHOUT considering the gender in the weird way.
Another important element missing in a same gender school is the gender related etiquette. In a girl’s college, for example, girls gossip and talk about issues and the opposite gender in the rudest manner possible. If a girl student’s brother is lost alone in the corridors of a girl’s school, he is most certainly going to be bullied, if not harassed. While in a co education school system, both the girls and boys learn to behave and interact with each other respectfully and un- offensively. By separating our girls and boys at the very young age, we are creating an unnecessary sexual tension between our kids and killing their opportunity to learn how to behave with the opposite gender.
 India is a multi cultural nation and you cannot guarantee that the next place your daughter will visit will be an all women kind of a place, professionally or personally. NO, you cannot guarantee that. But what is guaranteed to happen is that when a young woman who has never interacted with the opposite gender has to speak with him for any reason, she either gets nervous (then suffers from gender inferiority complex) or she feels she has met the man of her life (as she does not know any other men at all). This same gender ideology works in Saudi Arabia because the nation is accustomed to it BY DESIGN, India is NOT! India is a secular nation and this makes an Indian Muslim truly unique and commendable, because of the challenges they face and the cultural dilemma they solve in everyday life. I remember a friend who got so frustrated with her parents, isolating her from the opposite gender (not letting her work or study), saying “why don’t they even marry me to a woman, if the thought of any man even speaking with me bugs them so badly”.
Moving with age, a young woman who has been sent to a same gender school always, will most certainly be married in the conventional “arranged” manner, (if she has not already eloped with the milk man or the newspaper guy or the plumber). Arranged marriages have been running in India for centuries and most people take pride in this tradition, basing it on the statistics of success rates of such marriages. This is why Social Sciences and qualitative research is a thriving profession now because numbers DON’T tell you the whole story. The reason for the success rates of arranged marriages is because most of these girls have been educated in same gender schools, if at all educated. They suffer from gender inferiority complex and personality disorders. Their development and growth only includes the vague notions of old cultures placing women under the feet of men. I remember the words of a close friend, struggling to make her marriage work, “I cannot enter Paradise, unless my husband agrees to it”. Women are made to think that their deen, dunya and akhira are dependent completely on their husband, no matter how big of a jerk he is. Arranged marriages are not necessarily happy marriages, in fact not marriages at all in many cases. They are only deals and compromises where women are forced to stay with their jerk-of-a-husband because they are aware that they will be blamed if the marriage snaps. They will also be looked down upon if they go back and live with their parents and if they have children, their life becomes all the more hell.
In a way, we have closed all doors for Indian Muslim women. You did not educate them enough so that they can go out and earn a decent living for their sake. The result is that they have to slave themselves for their entire lives for a man who does not deserve them, to run a marriage which is more of a money vs woman’s beauty deal and to win the approval of a society which blames women and makes her pay the price of even just being a woman. On the other hand, women who study in co education school systems may be out going and career oriented. And yes, they may consider their options and bring a man home to introduce to their family. Doesn’t it actually solve the whole “searching process” for the family and makes their life much easier? And yes, the divorce rates for arranged turned love marriages may be higher. But the only reality that indicates is that these women were strong enough to come out of relationships in which they were not appreciated and are now enjoying freedom. This is why Allah (s.w.t) said that divorce is NOT forbidden. It is least preferred by Him, but yet not forbidden.
Thus, it all starts from an early age when your kids barely understand what gender means. As parents you chose for them and Allah (s.w.t) has ordained you to choose the best for your children. Sending your girl to an all girl’s school will NOT necessarily make her a pious girl and sending your son to an all boy’s school will neither make him a women-respecting, non violent, sensitive gentleman. It is YOUR upbringing that will make your daughter a pious woman and your son a gentleman. Small minds work that way- considering that an all girl’s school will solve all the problems of your life. India is a country where gender disparity shows its ugly face in the form of barbaric incidents. If you want to keep your daughters safe, teach your sons to respect and protect women. And start it from the school.

Shahla Khan
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Echoes of Saddam’s regime-review of Devil’s Double and thoughts on WAR

Hi my Beautiful Readers,

I have a guilty confession to make. Instead of working on my PhD thesis, I have been watching a movie last night and before the year ended, I wanted to share my thoughts with you beautiful readers.Thankfully, my supervisors dont know about my blog, or else I would be given a hard time, I am sure.

Anyway, beginning with the movie, I saw, I will share my thoughts on it from different perspectives. 

THE MOVIE ITSELF

The Devil’s Double is a 2011 allegedly biographical film directed by Lee Tamahori and starring Dominic Cooper in the dual role of Uday Hussein and Latif Yahia. It was released on January 22, 2011 at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and was released in limited theaters on July 29, 2011 by Lionsgate and Herrick Entertainment. Latif Yahia‘s story behind the events depicted in the film has been questioned and there appears to be no proof that he had been Hussein’s double or even that he had had any connection to Uday Hussein or the highest levels of Saddam Hussein’s regime.


The movie was released long ago but I happened to watch it just last night, so I apologize for the delay in review. I would have written it earlier, only if I had known about it (OOPSIE)

PREVIOUS REVIEWS
Considering the controversial and erractic nature of the movie, it was obvious that people would have different reactions to it. While most reviews only praised Dominic Cooper, LA TIMES gave the movie a negative review quoting it as “relentlessly violent and lurid”. 

MY THOUGHTS

  1. On the Movie
  2. On Dominic Cooper
  3. On Latif Yahia
  4. On Uday Hussein






On the Movie

Latif Yahiya, the real life protagonist of the story emphasizes that “truth really is stranger than fiction”. I absolutely agree with his argument and anyone who has seen the movie will agree too. Despite the negativity and controversy, I would rate 5/5 to this movie, including the directors and actors, specially Dominic Cooper.

LA TIMES REVIEWERS inferred it was lurid and violent but that it what Uday Hussein was! The director cannot show Uday as the guy next door, helping Papa Jones cross the street, can they? When you make a movie based on real life, it is supposed to be the replica of reality and the reality of Uday was brutal, so is the movie. 

When I say I love the movie, I DONT mean I love the psychotic monster that Uday was, I mean I love the way scenes have been directed and acted. I don’t understand that when people review a movie, why they do not see the line between the script and the reality. The movie is not good because it was violent and full of torture. The movie was good because it showed the real face of a famous person in the history of Middle East. 

I am a big fan of romance and comedies and at the most, family movies. I barely ever watch a blood related violent movie because
1. It’s not my cup of tea!
2. I get scared in the night.
3. I adore peace and HATE war and crime.

But I really liked this movie, for many reasons. Although I must admit, I did shut my eyes with my hands on some scenes and widened my eyes, jaw dropped on others. I did not cry but I did feel the horror until late after I ended watching. The reasons for liking was Dominic Cooper’s acting, a glimpse of the life of Arab leaders and to see what they do with so much power, oil and money. Yes, there was suspense for me because I did not know a lot about either Uday or Latif Yahia, so it was all new to me.

Since the movie has three important men involved, I would like to share my thoughts on each one of them individually. 

On Dominic Cooper
The character of Uday has been played by British Actor Dominic Cooper. I had absolutely NO IDEA, this is the guy from MAMA MIA- MY FAV MOVIE, where he played Amanda Seyfried’s boy friend. I just could not recognize him in this absolutely different accent and look. 


Dominic has adapted the character beautifully, both as the psychotic monster and as the good guy Latif. The art of and excellence of his acting is gripping because the same person will be hated to bits and loved at the same time by the audience. Dominic has portrayed the best of twin role I have even seen including all the Hollywood and Bollywood movies. Kudos boy!


On Latif Yahia
The actual person who went through all this horror and lost his family and friends to Uday’s madness is a gentleman called Latif Yahia. Following the movie, I was curious to know more about him and I learned that he lives in Ireland and is an author of few books. I also viewed his interviews on BBC where he is being grilled for NOT hating Saddam Hussein and regarding his allegations with CIA. 


People’s reaction towards Latif is mixed. I personally saw truth in his eyes. I may not be the best judge of character and I may be wrong, but I agreed with everything he said and could empathize with his story completely. Someone who has lived through that horror and has the guts to tell the world about it, must be a brave soul, which Latif Yahia is. 

No one can bring back his dead family or the years of youth taken away from him, but as human being, we can offer him respect and applaud for the bravery he has shown. I can only wish him happiness and peace in his life. 
You can read more about him on his website.


On Uday Hussein

The actual person, the son of Saddam Hussein was Uday Hussein whose body double was Latif Yahia for four years. After seeing his torture and craziness, I can only wonder if he was mentally disturbed by birth or if he got crazy because of the money and power he had. In either case, history speaks for itself. What goes around, comes around and for what he did to Iraqi people, he certainly died a horrible death, which is exactly what he deserved. 






Personally, I have not been a part of any war ever and may be I cannot relate much to the movie in that way. I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia but we were send to India when the Saddam attack took place in the 90s and even in India, I live in Lucknow, which is pretty much peaceful, except for occassional Shia Sunni riots. 

But when I see spoils of war of TV or newspapers, it breaks my heart to bits. How is any damn piece of land or drop of oil worth more than human blood and flesh? These days I read about millions of little children being killed in Syria and the same blood shed over and over again. When will we realize that one bullet does not kill one human, it kills 36 weeks of a mothers labor, the uncountable moments of care spent on that person, the infinite dreams in the eyes and the infinite desires of the heart. I don’t completely believe media on the whole terror and war issue but I don’t care who is doing it and why. I just want it to END. 

Let’s wish and pray that this new year, we join hands in prayer and action to do whatever we can, to spread only love and peace. If we disagree with someone or something, just go someplace,do some bitching, roll some eyes, look sideways and leave it the hell alone! We can’t be all angels but let’s hope we don’t turn into DEVILS!

Love and Peace
Happy 2014
Ciao!