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The guide stops. This is the grave of the man who wouldn’t beat his wife, he says. He spent a year in one of those places near the sea, where the men are scared of their wives, and he said only barbarians beat their women. What nonsense!
You ask him if everyone in his tribe beat their wives. Of course, he exclaims. What good are women for, if you can’t beat them? It makes a man feel so good, he beams.
Then why didn’t this man do it, you ask. The guide shrugs. Perhaps the girl had cast a spell over him, or maybe he’d caught one of those dreadful diseases that are common in that city by the sea. He did tell a couple of people that a strange feeling came over him whenever he was told to beat her, although he had seen women being soundly thrashed all his life.
How did he die? Well, he says, everyone began to taunt him. Some called him his wife’s slave; others told him he wasn’t a man. Nothing seemed to move him. But he was heart-broken when his wife herself gave him a stick to beat her with. She couldn’t bear her husband being jeered at and called all those names. So he simply decided life wasn’t worth living, and he walked up to that mountain over there and jumped into the swirling river below.
And the woman? Oh, she died during childbirth a few days later, and a good thing too, says the guide, for no one would’ve married her.

Shakir Lakhani
DAWN Magazine(November 23, 1997)

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