Zeenath Jahan

Once upon a time, there was a country called Squeaky-Clean Land, where sin and corruption were rife. This caused great concern to its pious and righteous people, who decided to do something about it. They studied the situation long and carefully. In their infinite wisdom, they came to the conclusion that the females of the species were the cause of all the sin and corruption. It was their corrupting, lascivious ways that led men (pious, innocent men), astray. Therefore, the Righteous decided to rid their fair land of all obscenity and depravity that women encouraged.

The Righteous knew only too well, that the only way to purity was to wipe out temptation, so they passed `the law of the shroud'.

This law decreed that females would have to wear a shroud when they stepped out of doors, once they reached the age of enticement (which they believed to be eleven years of age). This would remind men of death, the hereafter and divine retribution that awaited those who fell to the wiles of females.

The Righteous set up special schools to teach boys the path of purity. Their plan was simple, they had to catch the boys early, to train them well. The training was harsh and strict. After all, it was to further the cause of purity and piety. The only way one could learn the ways of purity was through harsh means, everyone knew that!

The boys were well trained. By the time they left the special schools their only thought was to keep an eye on the wicked females. They never took their eyes off them.

But the women were sly. They tried to fool the Righteous into believing they were harmless and helpless; but the Righteous knew better, they could not be fooled. They were infinitely wise. Besides, they had an inbuilt sensor of the passion that women wilfully aroused in pure, unsuspecting men.

Soon, less and less women were seen unshrouded in Squeaky-Clean Land. The Righteous patted themselves on their backs. They had found the cure to all their troubles!

But crime and corruption continued; and so the hunt went on.

The Righteous set up bands that met in the darkness of the night, pooling the information gathered by their soldiers. There was no event, no corner of Squeaky-Clean Land that was not shadowed.

Some women, it was found, had corrupted their keepers; they were found roaming freely in Squeaky-Clean-Land. The call went out "The women are loose," and they were hunted high and low.

Females were once caught, while dancing at a fair. It was against the law for women to dance publicly, especially at fairs. "Aha!" said the Righteous, "Don't you know it is against the law for females to dance in public?" And all the women were arrested.

Unfortunately, on stripping them, they were found to be boys dressed as women. There was no law against boys dancing in public. They were not breaking the law. The laws were only against women. So the boys were freed.

And the search went on, unrelenting.

Valiant followers of the Righteous devised cunning means to rid themselves of the abomination called `woman', whose very existence caused sinful thoughts in innocent men. This was the only logical and obvious conclusion, to the sin and corruption found in Squeaky-Clean Land. A new technique was used to ensure that the women who roamed unshrouded in public, ignoring the `law of the shroud', were incapable of alluring and misleading the pious. They were disfigured with acid. Other wicked women were burned, if they could not pay the price for their lives.

Many women were killed if they dared resist the lust they had wickedly and knowingly engulfed innocent men in. The Righteous nodded sagely; it was truly Just, to root out the cause rather than punish blameless men. Every intelligent man knew that women had led the men on. They practically asked for it by their every beguiling movement, and then they cried rape!

Devilishly clever schemes were thought up. Many women were killed after being declared immoral. Two birds were killed with one stone. An enemy was eliminated while they earned the respect of the community. After all, a crime of passion was forgivable, nay, even praiseworthy.

One whose piety was of the highest degree, devised an ingenious method of crippling the wicked woman in his charge. He strategically placed steel rods and wires in her body, and then turned on the electricity! This was one sinful woman who would not sin again!

The hunt went on, gathering momentum, with every victory.

Some naive men had been influenced by the decadent ideas of Urang Land (that lay west of Squeaky-Clean Land). These men were tricked into protecting women from the might of the law. The Righteous were aflame. These foolish men dared suggest that females were sometimes innocent. They did not realize that the very existence of sin proved the sinfulness of females. Was it possible for a man (in all his purity and wisdom), to commit a sin; unless under the influence of the siren-like guile of a woman?

When one Righteous defender was caught, literally with his pants down in a house of ill repute, was it not in fact a plot devised by the misguided? Were not the women of the bordello actually at fault for enticing him with their wicked ways?

All the Righteous recognized that it was a conspiracy to defame the honourable soldier, in his fight against Evil. And so, the hunt went on, with ever greater vigilance.

It was found that a girl had visited the village shop once too often. The Righteous needed no more proof of her immorality. They shaved her head, stripped her naked and publicly dragged her through the mire. Her old father wept, her mother screamed, but justice had to be done--! The wicked girl had to be taught a lesson, and punished for her lewd behaviour!

Over the years the cause of all sin and corruption, the females and their misguided champions, were exiled or executed.

The Righteous were content. Now the length and breadth of Squeaky Clean Land would truly be squeaky clean.

But alas, there is no rest for the Good. The wicked women had left their evil mark. This was known because sin and corruption still flourished.

The Righteous redoubled their efforts, day and night. The hunt went on.

Some who had been corrupted by the women who had once tarnished the fair face of Squeaky Clean Land were caught and severely punished. Punishment was always severe in Squeaky Clean Land; otherwise, where would be the justification of it all?

Hunting parties were formed, incredibly sin and corruption still continued to flourish. Once more they rode out, the length and breadth of Squeaky-Clean Land. They searched high and low uprooting sin wherever they found it, ruthlessly and without respite. A thorough job was done. Sin was uprooted even where it might have flourished in the future!

And so the hunt went on, unabated. Sin and corruption were being constantly uncovered.

The hunting parties of different groups of the Righteous soon saw that the fault lay in their former comrades-at-arms. At the slightest sign of wavering from the straight and narrow path, they unleashed their righteous fury upon each other. In time all the hunting parties, except the most righteous, were decimated. The most Righteous of the Righteous reigned supreme.

But sin and corruption continued, undiminished; and so, the hunt went on, unrelenting.

Soon the country was rid of everyone, but two of the most Righteous of the Righteous.

They sat, all alone, in the vast chamber of government. Each one acutely aware, that they were alone in Squeaky Clean Land. There was not another soul for miles around. All was quiet. They eyed each other furtively. At first it was only a faint glimmer, an uneasiness. Then it grew stronger. It became a roar, a pounding, inexorable in its fury. Unable to withstand the insistent, driving force; they fell upon each other ...... in paroxysms of passion.

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