Before and After Mar Dushmani
“Friend by Day, Enemy by Night” shares an in depth look into the lives of the Kohistanis who live in Thull, Pakistan. The author of the text, Lincoln Keiser, goes into great depth in explaining the life of these people before and after mar dushmani. Mar dushmani can be directly translated as “death enmity.” This social relationship between the Kohistanis causes for many problems. As a general principle death enmity allows men to retaliate whenever another man wrongs them, though the act of revenge itself should not exceed the original wrong. The example stated in the book is, “a blow should answer a blow and a death answer a death.” For such offenses as attacks on men through their wives, sisters, and daughters retaliation usually occurs in deadly violence. Killing the offender is considered the most appropriate response. Although violence usually takes place during retaliation, it is not the only way to handle it.
The rules don’t always require taking revenge. Enemies can peacefully settle mar dushmani in one of two ways. First, if the murderer feels desperate because he thinks he will be killed he can sue for peace, but even doing this causes certain risks. Asking for mercy requires the murderer to enter his enemy’s guestroom holding his dagger with a piece of white cloth tied to its blade. “If he enters before his enemy kills him, he then must crawl under one of the string beds in the room.” He calls out from there, “Kill me! I am at your mercy,” says Keiser. The man suing for peace is not asking to be killed, but instead formally requesting that he accept compensation instead of seeking revenge. If the wronged party refuses to accept the plea he must find a close relative to remove the enemy from his house. The other option the wronged party has it to choose to settle the case peacefully by accepting compensation. Men usually pay compensation for murder in money, a sum of about four to six thousand dollars. Sometimes land and more rarely women in marriage are given. If this is accepted peace usually follows, but their still remains a certain risk. If certain relatives of the wronged do not receive any compensation they may still want to carry out mar dushmani and retaliate. This would include friends or distant relative who feels upset but was not compensated. These individuals cannot retaliate openly though. Taking vengeance after the peace offering was accepted violates community morality.
Before pre-Islamic organization and dushmani in Thull woman did not seclude themselves. The relationships between men and women were for the most part free and open. Looking at someone else’s wife or sister did not constitute in killing another man before dushmani arrived. Of course it did occur occasionally, but not nearly as much as it does now in Thull. Wife stealing was a major source of internal political conflict before dushmani...