Balochi literature witnesses very few female writers, but with beautiful works. “Pàde Chère Zameen” of Zahida Raees Raji is one of the best novellettes of Balochi which mainly focuses on family dilemmas in the Baloch society. One can picturize the Baloch society perfectly when they read Zahida Raees Raji.
Notwithstanding, Zahida Raees Raji is a prominent Baloch writer who has, in a span of time, made a great name for her with her everlasting works for the Balochi language. Her works include novels, short stories, poetries etcetera. She is also leading a Facebook page and website named “Baask.com” which intends to promote Balochi language by publishing various posts of Balochi literature, publishing online books in Balochi and, above all, giving a glorious platform to new and emerging Baloch writers in going far with Balochi.
The novellette “Pàda Chère Zameen” is based on a general Baloch family set-up. However, there arose clashes in the family due to dual marriage. Despite the fact that Islam bears a man to marry four times maximum, the Baloch society relies on one marriage at a normal scenerio. In case a man marries twice, there are like chances of conflicts in the family.
Similarly, when Haan Alhan decides to marry Zaratoon as his second wife, his first wife who obeyed him a lot, entered into conflict with him. In order to avoid fighting, Haan Alhan bought another house for his second wife far from his town and settled there. He, very less, visited his first wife after that. It enhanced the hatred of her first wife towards him and his second wife.
On a like note, Mulla Sohrab was married to the daughter of Haan Alhan from his second wife. When on his last days, Alhan took promise from Mulla Sohrab to solve the dispute between his both wives and their children. He promised to do his best to play his part. For this core purpose, Mulla Sohrab wanted to wed off his only son, Salaar to Alhan’s first wife’s daughter Sohaila. But, Salaar was already in love with Mahnoor, his cousin. Mahnoor also loved Salaar and almost everyone in their family was aware as to how Mahnoor and Salaar were. But the strong chains of society had ceased Salaar and Mahnoor to go ahead with their love.
The other character which is quite often seen in the Baloch society in different shapes is of Izbotk, the wife of Hamdan [the son of Haan Alhan from his first wife]. Because Hamdan was not interested towards his wife, he had given full authority to choose separation and marry anyone she wanted to; and that he would help her in divorce and other stuff. But Izbotk chose to remain with him despite the fact that they both did not enter into any physical interaction. It is because Izbotk was greedy of the wealth and facilities that he received there which she never got.
Later on, when Salaar and Sohaila marry, Izbotk gets to have bad intention for Salaar and tries a lot to attract him with her beauty and seduce him sexually, but Salaar ignores her every time so that the family relations should not go worse out there and he was afraid of a bigger conflict between the two families.
Another very important factor which the short novellette discussed was black magic which is very common in our society. We turn to clerics and try to attract the opposite gender towards us with black magic. Islamically and as the customs of Baloch, black magic symbolizes a fragile image in the society. Despite being declared morally very wrong, we practice black magic for personal gains and losses over others.
As Izbotk practices black magic, Salaar entirely gets into the control of Izbotk. She physically interacts with him, and enjoys considering it as her luck for having Salaar [who is 10 years smaller than her]. There appears a time when Salaar wholly gets under her control and leaves all his good deeds, speaks vigorously with everyone, gets so thin, and sleeps a lot. He also quits his prayers and recitation of holy Quran.
Looking at the sudden change of behavior in Salaar, his father takes him to his best friend where he comes to known that black magic is applied through a ghost to Salaar. After spiritual treatment for consecutive 21 days, Salaar gets to his normality. He even does not remember what he had done in the past time. He also accepts Sohaila as his wife and behaves the same gently and lovingly with everyone.
When he turns back to Hamdan’s home, he gets to know of the pregnancy of Izbotk. They all were celebrating the first baby-boy-birth of Izbotk after ten years of her marriage with Hamdan. He also goes there and helps them in household works but everyone notices his old behavior which in itself was a happiness.
Mahnoor looks at him but tries to control her emotions and thus turns back. When everyone goes, Salaar goes to his room where he prepares for leaving. Suddenly, Izbotk enters and tells him that she has given birth to his child instead of Hamdan’s. He does not believe and slaps her for her ridiculous behavior and leaves. Mahnoor, from a corner out there, listens to everything between them. In one side it is Mahnoor, the other side Izbotk, and Salaar.
The short novellette tells its readers how in our own family we get to interact with people very close to us having evil eyes on us. Not totally blaming the family, Zahida Raees Raji also tells us that it is the family who stands by you in your hard times. All we need to do is recognize before time who are our well-wishers and who are not.
I appreciate how Banuk Zahida Raees conveys her message to her Baloch brothers and sisters with her notable skill of art of writing. Her other novel “Tou ke Zinde darware” is a similar one on family and the conflicts that arise within the family, majorly due to misunderstandings. In final words, Banuk Zahida Raees deserves to be read.