Murder of Rachel Ã¢â‚¬Å“A case of Beauty and the BeastÃ¢â‚¬Â by Asher Bhatti
23 Apr 2006
My sister Rachel was burned by her husband at her marital home in Karachi in the February of this year. Her death by fire has alarmed many concerned of freedom and understanding in society. The Pakistan government is certainly making efforts to prevent violence against women and suppression of their rights. However, the Pakistani society that applauds this relief is not willing to practice what it preaches. The authorities that are supposed to uphold the law still try to minimize the violence and look the other way. Women that are continuously subjected to emotional and physical abuse cannot find the authority, clergy or religion to help them. These women are expected to tolerate and told that only their dead body should leave their husband`s home even when the most basic assumptions and principles of a marriage union are woefully violated. The women who do leave their marital home are stigmatized and scandalized.
My sister Rachel was also subjected to heavy requirements of culture and religion in the face of terrible mental and physical abuse. She indeed represented the beauty, romance and family values of our culture. Our culture teaches women to marry one person and live with him happily ever after, have children and leave a good legacy behind. Rachel was brought up in a Christian home where the husband was fully dedicated to the welfare of his wife and children. She was taught to respect the elderly and serve her marital family. In addition, she was taught to always be faithful and dedicate her life to her children. She wished to live a peaceful life with her family as she had seen at her parent`s home. Her integrity and Christian witness was always very important to her. She earned an M.A in Education and lot of respect from the community and her students. In addition, her parents and siblings adored her and were willing to make any sacrifice to help her lead a happy life. However, we were not able to give her the happiness that she could only get from a dedicated marital relationship. She was now an emblum of faithfulness and beauty in the face of unfaithfulness of her husband.
While she represented beauty of our culture and religion, her husband McMillan Das represented the Beast of our society that had no appreciation for her faithfulness and dedication. He committed the worst act of unfaithfulness by actually illegally marrying another woman and then appealing to Rachel`s decency to accept his illegal wife in her life. Coming from a Christian home this turned her life upside down. She was now married to a bigamist who abandoned her several times for months at a time. He continued to manipulate Rachel and their two children. Her father-in Winton Das further manipulated her by not letting her leave the marital home claiming that he would take care of her as her daughter. In addition, Rachel thought she could win her husband over by being faithful, loving and kind. However, she did not know that she was dealing with a beast that had no appreciation for such nice gestures. Wild Beasts are known to harm the very people that try to help them.
The beauty of culture and religion that Rachel represented fully became her enemy. She had to tolerate everything and only her dead body was going to leave her marital home and that is what happened. She was burned on February 19, 2006 and her in-laws did not even want anybody to ask what happened. The whole community and the Church leadership knew about Rachel`s dilemma. However, they continued to reinforce the ideal concepts and told her to pray and it will be all right. No one truly understood the mental anguish she experienced everyday. The Church and community decided to make her the sacrificial lamb and are partly responsible for her premature death.
The Church of Pakistan never even condemned her husband`s actions. The Church took the route of "do nothing" to protect Winton Das a close friend of Bishop Sadiq Daniel. In addition, Church did not do anything because she was not important to it, as the Church has abandoned the needy and helpless. After she was burned, Bishop Sadiq Daniel proposed to Rachel`s brother to just forgive and reconcile with killers because Winton Das was his friend and a supporter. Additionally, this leader and others in the Church of Pakistan have continued to interfere with investigation and prosecution of Rachel`s husband. The Church through its links in the Sindh government is now involved in the obstruction of Justice. The Police that was supposed to help prosecute criminals are actively involved in minimizing their crime.
The Church of Pakistan has failed to condemn adultery and McMillan Das who represents the Beast in our society. The Church did not help Rachel while she was alive and after she was burned the Church has decided to help the Killers. The Church of Pakistan has failed to uphold the Christian principles and its charter. It has indeed become irrelevant to the lives of Christians and society, and it has fully become self-serving.