‘Meri Guriya’ finally drew to a close last night with its final episode. The show tackled child abuse, rape and murder, but also tackled the issue of justice. The main storyline of the show followed Dabeer, a man who everyone knew, actually, they thought they knew him. He was actually the true reason behind all the rape and murder cases in the area but no one suspected him, till after the brutal murder of Abida.
The show extensively covered how the demand of justice from Abida’s mother, Shehnaz, was put down by those in her very own house, and her neighborhood.
In fact, the society they lived in, didn’t help her, rather they burned her house down for simply asking for her right; getting justice for her 8-year-old daughter.
After an extensive fight for justice, Dabeer was finally brought to court.
Despite all the pressure to get him released, Dabeer was sentenced to hang, in public, for his crimes. I’ve been following the show for quite a while, and even though I knew the show was going to end with him being hanged, the moment the judge announces the verdict; I still got chills. The show’s end credits leave a message; Dabeer is one man, Dabeer is one case, there are hundreds all across Pakistan. What do we have to change? How do we change so that people like Dabeer aren’t just roaming around in public?
‘Meri Guriya’ is severely important for us as a country because it held up a mirror for us all.
Yes, a lot of the show was dramatized, but there were dark shades of reality in there too. The show put emphasis on our society and our willingness to let certain things go in the name of ‘honor’, ‘haya’, and ‘pride’. In the show, when Shehnaz and Safina initially raise their voices, the community ‘elder’, Sheikh Sahab, is the first to ask them to quiet it down. He cannot stand the ‘behayai’ they spread by openly talking about an 8-year-old girl’s murder.
There comes a point in the show where Shehnaz and Safina are fighting on their own; the families have let go and would rather have the case just blow over.
They turn to social media and this is where people like Sheikh Sahab become extremely vindictive and corrupt. They go to any extreme to shut them down, and well, that’s when Shehnaz’s home is burned down. There are many cases that don’t make it to national television, those families don’t get the support they need to get justice, therefore they remain silent, especially when society around them is so quick to turn down such voices. We all saw in the Zainab murder case how the demand for justice was a contested issue, there were people in that community and in the police out to protect criminals, and that pressure can really get to a family. Imagine if the Zainab case wasn’t nationally publicized; her family wouldn’t have been able to get past the politics involved in protecting the criminal; they would have just accepted their fate, thereby depriving Zainab of justice entirely.
The basic lesson to take out of this is that, in many cases, it’s too easy for the criminal to get out without punishment.
There is a support system for these men, for multiple reasons, may it be politics or a general lack of interest. For many people, talking openly about rape and murder is a cause of embarrassment and dishonor and that really shouldn’t be the case. This gives real-life versions of Sheikh Sahab the power to use honor and pride against you, thereby shutting down entire cases. The issue of child rape and murder, especially girls, is a multi-layered issue; it has to do with honor, it has to do with how we treat women in this society, and it has to do with power. The bottom line is that these criminals do not need to be protected, they need to have their day in court. ‘Meri Guriya’ does a phenomenal job of telling this story and covering the many facets of these cases.
This show will open your eyes to just how bad it can get for families and victims of child rape and murder. It will make you extremely frustrated and angry, and maybe that’s just the emotion we need to use to create any sort of change. Enough is enough now, we cannot have more children feel unsafe and unprotected.