Aasia: You Are Not Alone

Maskwaith Ahsan
Art & Literature
Aasia: You Are Not Alone

Even Aasia Bibi can’t believe she got justice, that she can actually live again.

She can’t forget the day her own people disowned her, when Mafia Bibi and Asma Bibi refused to drink the water she brought because she was a Christian. It was difficult to accept such refusal; when they played together as children they were all friends and neighbors, there was no problem in collecting berries together. But Aasia’s world of innocence was shattered by age and experience, when she learnt that as a Christian her Muslim friends can’t take water from her. As a person she felt lonely, helpless and a stranger in her own village.


An undated photo made available by the family shows Aasia Bibi, a mother of four, who was accused in 2009.

Over a dispute she can’t even remember now, she was summoned for a rural trial where Mafia and Asma alleged that she had passed insulting remarks about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It wasn’t the first time that a Muslim majority community came up with fabricated complaints in a remote village of Pakistan; this tactic has been used in almost all the villages of South Asian countries by the majority religious group to uproot the minority and grab their wealth & land. The same scheme is practiced by political and religious leaders to alter voter demography in their favor.

And Aasia Bibi is not the first minority in South Asia to experience hell on earth at the hands of a majority demi-god who passes life and death verdicts on the innocent, just like the village trial sentenced Aasia Bibi to death. The police saved her, but her family had to face the wrath of that majority. Lower and Higher courts accepted the death verdict of the village trial. Aasia appealed to the Supreme Court but remained in jail on death row for almost a decade.

Surprise and relief are words without the depth to explain what Aasia must have felt when the Supreme Court found the case against her bogus and declared her not guilty. Justice alone can regain paradise, so Aasia Bibi can now breathe, can now hear the music of winds, the songs of birds, can now smell flowers, can see another dawn and experience another life.

In the lonely cell where she was kept for so long, the sighs, the tears and the pathos of all the minorities of the Indian Subcontinent came together to wail for justice. Day and night, all the victims of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India tried to reconcile Aasia: you are not alone, we all had to leave our motherland, our homes, we escaped, floated as refugees and lost the address of our life. We are all Aasia Bibis, crying for justice.

Aasia Bibi, a Christian accused of blasphemy, had her death sentence annulled by the Supreme Court.

Radicals are in the habit of becoming sole agents of religion and the deciders of the fate of minorities. They refuse to accept Aasia Bibi as not guilty. Instead of being happy that no blasphemy against the Holy Prophet Muhammad took place, these radicals want blasphemy to have taken place.

They fail to feel the winds of change, fail to notice when a young boy asks his father if he’s ashamed that his inactivity gives these thugs the freedom of religious cleansing of minorities, like in the case of Aasia Bibi.

Corrupt politicians and their religious stooges have long since ganged up to divide and rule South Asia. All of them carry the blood of minorities on their hands. For them people are mere vote banks, so they remain unmoved at the vandalism and anarchy of religious traders. Instead they try to ignite religious sentiments whenever they can to harvest the fruits of radicalism, be they Muslims in Pakistan and Bangladesh or Hindus in India.

Our societies too have pampered this kind of religiosity for so long that radicals have come to believe that this is a jungle where they can decide who lives or who dies. For minorities such a primitive society is a bigger and more frightening jail than the one where Aasia Bibi wrongfully spent half her life.


Maskwaith Ahsan. Maskwaith Ahsan is an international journalist, educator and the author of over 14 books. His columns appear in several Bengali newspapers, magazines and websites across the globe. He also hosts his web TV show E-SouthAsia. With socio-political satire...

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