Just like Safiya, Ehtesham’s wife in ‘Aakhir Kab Tak’, do you also have a hard time differentiating between living and surviving and wondering what your life would be if your self-esteem didn’t take a hit when called ‘pagal’, ‘lachaar’, ‘andhi’ by your husband for spilling tea?
‘Aakhir Kab Tak’ mimics the reality of our patriarchal society where the life of Safiya was dictated by the men in her life and gives us the reality check that, in order for her to survive, all she needed was Ehtisham’s support to help break the chains of the toxic household’s traditions she had endured.
Ehtisham – The Classic Textbook Misogynist
But what if that Ehtisham is the one? The one who puts you down and berates you? The one who keeps channelling his aggressiveness towards you? ‘Aakhir Kab Tak’ echoes the struggles of having a husband just like Ehtisham. Ehtisham, played on point by Shahood Alvi, a man who is hell-bent on demeaning his wife, with a misogynist mindset too deeply embedded in him, who expects to be worshipped while sitting on his pedestal. Safiya does all the household chores and is still beaten up by him if his mother’s paratha is a bit burnt or a bit cold because perfection is the key every wife should possess and lastly, she behaves a robot void of any kind of emotion and voice.
The Balancing Act
Safiya’s life takes a backseat when her mother-in-law exaggerates her forthcomings and does everything in her power to control her. She says to Ehtisham ‘ache sai samjhana’ which was a code word to bruise her lips and he goes to the bedroom just to dance on her mother’s diabolical advice and lectures her how she and her daughters are a disgrace and turn a deaf ear to Safiya’s side of the story. There are several scenes where his mother is often seen encouraging him to ‘tighten the leash’ on Safiya and even supporting him in the roller coaster of abuse.
The relationship of Safiya and Ehtesham seems to be the one where taking care of his mother and household equals the contract of marriage while respect and communication hold little to no meaning. Following in the footsteps of his mother, he fails to draw the line between both the women in his life.
The Moment Of Truth
Later as the drama unfolds, Ehtisham’s paralysis takes his voice away which becomes a huge shift in Safiya’s life as now her fear of her husband is eased away. She musters up the courage to open up to him and make him realize the havoc he created in her life. This, together with his brother’s attitude towards him when he was at his weakest was an eye-opening moment for him. He realized he was too blindsided to understand that his daughters and wife are his only well-wishers. Paralysis was a huge blow to his masculinity – the one who used to lift his hand to beat his wife can’t even lift a muscle now. All it took was a knife in the back to regret the damage he caused which is evident from the scene in which he showed his vulnerability when Safiya, Noor and Fajar are seen hugging him on his bed.
Aakhir Kab Tak Has Repeatedly Stressed That Communication Is Key In A Relationship
All those men stuck in the dichotomy of their roles as a son and as a husband – this one is for you.
As a result, perpetrators of the abuse are also impacted. Therefore, it is crucial for men to address this issue by understanding that there is nothing completely wrong or right in relationships. In case of conflicts, talk it out and analyze situations from both ends. Remember, communication is key. Moreover, discourage any conversation that ignites conflict. If you feel the pulse of any matter that will lead to a dispute or argument, do not discuss it at all and avoid it as much as possible.
Last but not the least, ‘Aakhir Kab Tak’ gives us a glimpse of how the issue intensifies threefold when the husband starts to take sides in an argument adding fuel to the fire.
Husbands Listen Up!
Here is a lesson for you all that in order to make peace, do not interfere and blame either the wife or mother in front of one another. Keep a neutral stance and talk to them separately and understand their point of view.
In a society where many Ehtishams exist, this drama is a lesson to take off the blindfold before their internalized sexism and misogyny whips back – as what goes around comes around, and understand that women too are humans with feelings just like them and if given a platform, are a force to be reckoned with.
Aakhir Kab Tak tackles various taboo topics including rape and harassment but also initiates the conversation of understanding the severity and need of realizing the importance of striking the right balance between wife and mother because had there been an honest and understanding exchange between Ehtisaam and Safiya without his mother’s interference, she wouldn’t have to deal with thorns and knives just to get the bare minimum.
*Please Note: The article has been written by Amna Sattar, who is pursuing Bachelors in Psychology from Karachi University, as part of a collaborative effort between FUCHSIA Magazine & Project Yaqeen.