INDO A BIRNI Complete Document Written By Rasheedat Usman


I witnessed two children in a frantic chase, with the one in the lead dashing desperately as if her life depended on it. The pursued girl, equally fast, was hot on her heels. I watched as they ran into a house, their breaths labored and hurried. In the room they entered, the pursuing girl attempted to follow suit but was halted by a young woman.

“Alright, enough, *INDO*,” she commanded sternly. “You’ll leave this matter here and return to your house. Let disgrace be foreign to your mother’s eyes. What is *Zainabun* to you, anyway? Why did you follow her to her father’s house with such audacity?”

*INDO*, visibly distressed, responded, “Then let disgrace be foreign to your eyes, too. I, *INDO*, didn’t step into this mess. Today, no one is stopping me from confronting Zainab’s father in this house. Even if Hadda offers me money tomorrow, I’ll demand more. I won’t back down. *INDO BALA’I*,” she asserted defiantly. “In this father’s house, I’ve been insulted with the name *INDO BALA’I*. Keep out of my way, *Aunt Hali*. Don’t test my patience. God is my witness, I’ll barge into this room without fear. Yes, whatever consequences come, let them come,” she concluded, her voice laced with determination.

As the door of the room was shut and firmly held, Zainabu’s voice came from the rooftop, “I didn’t see anything, I swear. I didn’t call *INDO BALA’I*, or I lied. The trouble has passed.”

*Aunt Hali* pushed *INDO* and warned her to close the room, lest she get caught. “Your reputation is on the line. Everyone in this town has seen you being beaten,” she scolded.

“She’s *INDO*,” she proclaimed. “If I’m speaking the truth, Amen, let my words be a testimony. It’s more dishonorable. Today, you’re being beaten in this house, yet your daughter isn’t closing the room,” she raised her voice. “*INDO*, are you going to contradict me? If you’re not afraid, come out. Don’t be a coward. I’ll let my anger loose on *MOTHER*, by God.”

*INDO* turned abruptly, her gaze meeting the wet ground, her eyes welling with tears. Hastily, she dashed and collided with the faucet, causing the water to spill onto the floor. The metal bucket beside the faucet toppled and clattered into Zainabu’s father’s room. *Aunt Hali* observed *INDO* with a mix of pity and reprimand, the divide between them seemingly insurmountable. She understood *INDO*’s circumstances; there was no one to lend her support, evident by the absence of a headscarf within the village.

*INDO* sighed. “And I spilled the water in Malam Hamxa’s room. When he returns, he’ll know that his daughter, *INDO*, has just arrived today,” she muttered. Not waiting for *Aunt Hali* to respond, she departed, singing under her breath.

“The power of God,” *Aunt Hali* remarked to Zainabu, a girl from Addabi town, “Everyone is turning against you for your situation. They know you’ve been enduring hardships with my girl. But, mind you, *INDO* isn’t in a favorable state. As long as her parents are good people, it’s their test to handle a troubled girl. God is ready for her.”

At the sound of footsteps behind her, *Aunt Hali* turned and spotted Zainabu, who released a heavy sigh. Approaching *Aunt Hali*, she loosened the grip of her hands and uttered, “These are the women you’re about to lose. You’re inciting *INDO*, yet claiming ignorance of her predicament. So why not enter the room and take my veil for me? Don’t let it slip away, wlh.”

She entered Zainab’s room and directed, “Go, aunt, and tend to your faucet. Since their daughter lacks dignity.”

*INDO* was escorted out of their house, and as Zainabu spotted their car from a distance, she excitedly rushed over, eager for their return. The sight of *INDO* running away brought joy to the town, her excitement palpable as she approached the car. While her running caused no inconvenience to *INDO*, she faced daily troubles. *INDO*, subhanallah, was known for her unfiltered behavior, with her rudeness taking center stage wherever she went. No one in the village dared to underestimate *INDO*’s brash nature.

As she slowly stepped out of the car, observing the children who accompanied him, an old woman with unwavering fortitude, *HAJIYA INNAH*, and Gudu *INDO* by his side, he attempted to rid the black earth of the dust clinging to it, inadvertently exposing the servant of God’s feet. Raising his voice in frustration, he exclaimed, “What kind of madness is this? Look at how you’ve humiliated me, you imbecile. I won’t spare you, even if you seem worthless to me.”

*INDO* retorted, her voice laced with emotion, “You professed your love for me when I left, yet you kept denying it. Today, you claim you love me, or something akin to what I see Indian men do to their wives. *Hajiya Innah*, and you, too.”


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