Why I made the sign 'Khud khana garam karlo'

Why I made the sign 'Khud khana garam karlo'

Khud khana garam karlo is a call to change the very nature of male-female relationship in our society
05 Apr, 2018

Too many a times, I have heard the defenders of the patriarchy argue, “Wo chai kyun banaega? Wo larka hai!” (Why would he make tea? He is a boy!) and “Uski khair hai? Wo larka hai!” (He’s fine, he’s a boy!).

When I got sick and tired of being told this and demanded Khud khana garam karlo (Warm your food yourself) at the recent Aurat March in Karachi, our entire community burst out in anger.

“Wait. WHAT? How dare she say that? These feminazis are just crazy! Look at them right now fighting for kitchen rights? Man! Feminists used to have real platforms before. What happened to it?”

Such sentences are uttered by all ranks of our society — but of course, mostly by men. They will argue that there are better issues for women to focus on. They will say that most women love their domestic roles of service. They will contend that this is what a woman’s job is, and that ‘Islam said so.’

They will remind women that they can’t do the conventionally ‘masculine’ tasks, such as earning a hard-earned income and paying the bills, among others.

These men forget that while they brandish claims of male prowess, their wives, mothers, and sisters are in the background ironing their clothes and making them food to help them get ready for office and life outside home.

The idea behind my poster was about men being self-sufficient.

Women nurture sperm in their uteruses and give birth to men, feed men from their own chests, raise them, and teach them basic human functions. However, women, bound by societal roles, are not allowed to impart — and get no help in imparting — to their sons one crucial aspect of life: self-sufficiency.

How to make your own bed, clean up after yourself, wash your own underwear, iron your own clothes, and, of course, the most contentious of issues: heat up your own food.

Patriarchy perpetuates the lie that women, by ‘nature,’ are bound to nurture the men around them, that satisfying men is what women are born for, that the life cycle of a woman starts with taking care of her brothers and fathers and ends with serving her husband and sons.

If men take up more and more domestic responsibility, children will learn that these tasks are not naturally gendered.

The idea behind my poster Khud khana garam karlo was not that we should reverse the social order and that men should become domestic slaves to women; it was rather about men being self-sufficient.

When we teach boys how to brush their teeth and take a shower, why can’t we also teach them how to clean their room and cook?

Just like how young girls are told to join their mothers in kitchen to prepare food and wash dishes, and help in other chores of the house, boys should also be made to do the same.

If men take up more and more domestic responsibility, children will learn that these tasks are not naturally gendered. When children see only women do housework, they internalise domestic work as being fundamentally feminine — and this is how the cycle repeats and gendering reproduced.

And for those women who fail to understand this, who think that these roles are a form of women loving men: Is depriving men from learning basic self-sufficiency really doing the men we love a service?

Khud khana garam karlo is a demand encompassing many realms beyond just men heating up their own food. It’s a call to change the very nature of male-female relationship in our society


ahamed Apr 05, 2018 07:11pm
Brilliant! Makes total sense and brings men to be fair and co-operative in running a household. About time people accept fairness.
M. Siddique Apr 05, 2018 07:18pm
Pakistani are good for nothing when it comes to domestic chores. They want everything served to them. They need to get up and at least warm the food.
javed qamer Washington DC Apr 05, 2018 07:44pm
I heat my own food and I make tea for my wife. I also make the bed. However there is no delienation of work in our family. sometimes my wife does these things other times I do. It is very important to understand women are equal to men in everything. So to try to pigeonhole women in one category is wrong. However I totally agree with the poster khud khana garam karo. It teaches men to depend on themselves.
Komal Apr 05, 2018 08:08pm
Go girl!
Janib Apr 05, 2018 08:09pm
Instead of "khud khana garm karo", it should have been "khud khana bi pakav". When women can have a job and earn as much as men or more than men, then why can't men take up kitchen chorus
RozH Apr 05, 2018 08:47pm
Interesting to watch the sign about 'warming' the food not 'cooking' it!
Faisal Apr 05, 2018 10:05pm
All Pakistani men warm and even cook when they go abroad and there is no one to pamper them. Of course they are not going to become self-sufficient when the society is going to make it convenient for them to continue to be not self-sufficient, by making excuses.
Usman Apr 05, 2018 10:52pm
Do not go down this path, the West has gone down this path with disastrous results for the family, we should not empower women, by punishing and denigrating men. The answer is to empower women by ensuring their rights as equal citizens to education, healthcare, employment and justice are protected and enforced. This is not a "zero-sum" game we can empower women without subduing men!!
SQ Apr 05, 2018 11:04pm
Superb! Thank you!
Moazzam Apr 06, 2018 12:19am
Totally agreed
Ali Apr 06, 2018 12:54am
Makes a lot of sense. Contrary to social norms, I felt more 'manly' when I start helping my wife in things that are typically attributed to be done by women, in addition to what I am supposed to do as man of the house. 'If I consider myself stronger than I should be doing more' is my simple philosophy.
NOOR Apr 06, 2018 03:34am
I agree to have a healthy discussion on the subject of sharing household chores between men and women. before we go into discussion keep centuries old tradition and socioeconomic culture of our society. We heard, read and saw what women did and what men did all these years in the past. Now let us go to gather and see the events from beginning of the 20 century. The socioeconomic landscape started change in the west on a faster pace then in the east. The world saw working mothers and fathers and the children were alone in the house hold to look after themselves till late in the day/evening. West adapted itself quickly but the east is dragging itself but I am sure it will catch up. In case if a man is working to put the food on the table and the woman is at home then it is different scenario, but still if you help it will be great. In the east one can afford to have helping hand/hands but naturally it is different in the west. So to change under the circumstances is welcome.
ivehadit Apr 06, 2018 04:44am
well said, and the sign showed a wit that charmed everyone.
Omair Apr 06, 2018 05:16am
Any man who believes in equality will not be offended by this poster.
Vijay Apr 06, 2018 06:40am
@javed qamer Washington DC so do I bro but we live in the US. Our bros back home won't do it.
fika77 Apr 06, 2018 06:46am
Totally agreed that men should be self-sufficient and so do women and as one commenter rightly said, Pakistani men living abroad are doing all sort of household chores. However, the sign is contradicted to what is suggested in the article. The sign from the simple readout reflects it is for Men Only. It should be along the lines of mothers teaching their sons about self-sufficiency. But then it wouldn't have gardened such publicity. Men bashing sells! And if in Aurat march, you don't do it where else you'll have a chance. :)
Dr. Talha Vaqar Apr 06, 2018 07:23am
Relationships are better based on love, respect and the desire to give (ehsaan) rather than maintaining a constant war front to demand rights. This is more true, I think, in the relationship of husband and wife than any other. Feminism is an ideology that is an offshoot of capitalism which strives to maximize work force by unshackling and dragging (figuratively speaking) the woman into the workplace. Islam on the contrary encourages the woman to be the queen of her home (wa qarna fi buyutikuna - AlQuran) yet not placing the burden of household work on her. So there is nothing wrong with men warming their food or doing other household chores for the matter - it is actually laudable. But to make it a war cry and a source of rebellion amongst womenfolk in society is, I think, an immense disservice.
Bably Apr 06, 2018 08:38am
There is nothing wrong with women caring for their husbands, brothers and sons. No more than there is anything wrong with men taking financial responsiblity for their mothers, sisters, and daughters. These are roles to be honoured and celebrated but it has become fashionable to question them. These roles have been the balance of society for centuries and they have worked. It is a beautiful balance where women are honoured and respected as caregivers and the soul of the family. You must be very sure of yourself to think that you know better than the centuries of generations before you and our religious traditionsas well. Suddenly breaking down those social norms will not lead to the happiness you think it will. Rather it will sow social discord and result in increasing rates of failed marriages and family disputes. It will lead to the women being respected less and finding themselves alone in the end. This is precisely the state of affairs in the West since they embarked on this so called liberation movement. Good luck with yours.
Salman Apr 06, 2018 10:08am
@Dr. Talha Vaqar agreed with you Sir.
ABC Apr 06, 2018 10:34am
"Khud Khana garam karlo" while I can spend a luxury life on your hard earned money
Afzal Apr 06, 2018 11:21am
@Janib kitchen "chorus" is good!
Baig Apr 06, 2018 11:30am
Hard to believe that such slogans (rather battle cries) serve to do anything other than create more divisions in the society.To think that men do not take responsibility of the house is absurd.Fact is a man who breaks bed all day long has no respect in our society.How many women are responsible for making sure the geezer is working or the water motor is working or for getting yogurt for every meal?These are also small time house chores but equally important to ensure the household keeps running fluently.It is absolutely wrong to say that our culture encourages men to rest and women to work it is just that we have become so impressed and influenced by the cultural and social norms that we want to imitate them.Our social system was always based around women running the house internally and men supplementing them for all external work (whether doing work and bringing money home or doing external house chores) and that co-operative spirit was what kept harmony in the house.
Dr. Talha Vaqar Apr 06, 2018 12:55pm
Dear Asna, My mother is the queen of our house. She is the light which you can't see but which I can see vanish when she walks out of the room. This position was not a given for her. She earned it! Earned it with hard work, day in, night out. She even was a working woman (teacher) for a while in between but not because her feet itched to get out of the house but because the family's financial health was shaky. Now had she instead of being a team player, constantly challenged my father in the home, firstly the marriage would not have lasted very long and secondly, had it even survived, the home environment would have been living hell. Many in the West despite hordes of wealth are lonely and craving companionship. A paycheck at the end of the month is not the entire recipe for a contented, complete life.
Naseer Ahmed Apr 06, 2018 05:48pm
Sorry but I certainly don't agree to this as that's how nature is. Men to work outside & women looking for necessary house chores. Women here are more inspired by the western culture I guess demanding for equal rights where as this is not possible due to gender diversity. Talk about equity and not equality.
sajid Rafique Apr 06, 2018 08:17pm
It is all EVOLUTION to blame or not to blame.
shan Apr 07, 2018 01:13am
my father usually don't but i wash my clothes, prepare food and help doing the house chores, because my mother taught me so. So when men refuse to do house chores the responsibility to some extent falls on the mother too who has brought him up.
Faisal Apr 07, 2018 12:20pm
The problem with a lot of these so called women's rights activists is that they quote Islam when it comes to bearing financial responsibility. 'Men are the breadwinners of the family', is a common assumed role of the man. What is the point of asking a guy to work outside, bring food to the family kitchen, and serve it as well? BTW to the lady who invented this slogan: khana garam kerna is no big deal. Just pop it in the microwave...
Cyz Apr 07, 2018 01:25pm
@Usman letting men cook or warm up food for themselves is not "oppression". By the same logic then why are you content with women being oppressed.
Iffi Apr 07, 2018 01:38pm
If men has to do everything from job to house chores then whats the point of marrying a Queen?. What will be her contribution.
Arsha Apr 07, 2018 01:44pm
@ABC how many households can afford luxury, how many men earn enough to provide a life of luxury, do tell.
Arsha Apr 07, 2018 01:45pm
@Naseer Ahmed well the same nature has lionesses going for the hunt and lion eating what they bring back!!!!
Abrar Ali Apr 07, 2018 02:23pm
khud pase kama lo, khud collage n university jao, khud lambi line me lago , khud bus me khara ho, khud gari theek kerwao, khud ata peswa kie lao, let's be fair in every thing you can not have and eat your cake too
Yaqub Apr 07, 2018 02:34pm
Men ought to be self-sufficient. Women rights ought to be established, accepted and observed. No debate on that. Assumptions, broad-brushing about all men being oppressive do not help. Within the same society accused as patriarchal and oppressive as a whole, all kinds of people exist: great women, good women bad women, great men, good men, bad men, great transgenders, good transgenders, and bad transgenders. Let's us all accept that fact first. Then start working according. Starting from our own dwellings. Keyboard-warriors, with hollow, generalized and borrowed understanding do no good.
deendayallulla Apr 07, 2018 04:13pm
Khud khana garam kar lo. it should also be - khud khana banana seek lo. When one gets divorced,he has to do cooking. Hotels food is unaffprdable.,and is also not quality stuff. Honestly how many husbands know how to run house,you should have knowledge of food items,kitchen utensils. Do mothers train their sons in cooking. When one gets divorced,all such things come to one's mind. Give credit to your wife,wherever it is due. Khud khana banana seek lo that should be the spirit. Learn how to go to a flour mill,and give wheat for grinding. A mother should not say,"Mera beta aata pisane jayega?
Bakht Zada Danish Apr 07, 2018 05:01pm
Not agree
Zunaira Abbas Apr 07, 2018 06:39pm
I totally support your banner of resistance and the context behind it. Feminism starts from this.
Tariq Gulzar Apr 08, 2018 01:26am
As a male I do not disagree totally with what has been written here but to be very honest after a tiring day at work going to kitchen again would be a challenge :)
Sajid Apr 08, 2018 06:58am
Correct, man should help women in domestic things. But do not forget to look other side. When a father request for of water, ironing his clothes, etc. it enoys daughter but the boss who pay no more than 10-20k shouts and treat as personal servant, it is not humiliating. If you follow the Europe,follow completely. It is not father's duty to provide shelter, food and education after 18. Please be fare when you have the power to write.
manzer Apr 08, 2018 08:39pm
I think these ladies have no idea of the kind of real problems Pakistani women face. 'Khana garam karna' is nowhere near the top of the list.
Abcd Apr 08, 2018 10:48pm
I believe everyone should work according to their abilities and as much as they can according to their unique situation. There is really no set of rules as to who should do what. You have to do what best fits your needs. Both spouses should help each other out as much as they can.
Andy Apr 09, 2018 11:43am
I got shock of my life when I went abroad for the first time.My foreigner colleagues were astonished to learn that I am useless at cooking and I had to spend fortune on eating outside.We indian males are spoilt by mothers and sisters.We are useless when it comes to cooking and doing household chores.Thanks to kaam wali baai(Housemaid) who is available at cheap rates,we are left with little basic skills.Time to change this vicious cycle.
Fatima Niazi Apr 09, 2018 03:39pm
You were too nice with your poster. I would have written "Apna khana khud banao"
RAJ Apr 09, 2018 10:08pm
Inspiring move. Great . Well Done Pakistan. Hope the movement have impact in our society.
Desh bandhu Chopra Apr 10, 2018 07:33am
Yes, why not. Men can even cook.
Bupi Apr 10, 2018 09:49am
It makes sense to give respect to women folk. One who says that women belongs to to weaker saction are in fools paradise. Some how women are more stronger then it's male that's by they help to raise Strong males. Even no religion teaches about women to be weak but male domination preaches for ones own interest by declaring women folk being weaker. It's always women who makes her male partner strong as its all in history.
Omar Naeem Apr 10, 2018 10:30am
Dear Asna, The very statement "Khud Khana Garam Karlo" negates self sufficiency, although i agree with your views represented in this article. I do not believe the slogan carries same intent. As the saying goes "Respect begets respect."