The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, a Muslim state, won its freedom from India in 1947. Sixty percent of its population lives in villages. Farmers or herders have jobs in nearby cities or towns. Traditional customs have a strong influence on the life in rural areas of Pakistan, e.g. men have more social freedom than women do. Women avoid contact with men outside their family, and they cover their faces with a veil in the presence of strangers.
In the villages, family houses cluster tightly together along narrow alleys, sharing a tank or shallow pond for washing clothes and for watering vegetables and livestock. House walls are mostly built of mud, and they rise to meet thatched roofs. A typical home may have a few pieces of simple furniture with straw mats covering the bare earth floor. A few stone or brick houses shelter the wealthy landlords and merchants. Most of the villagers live in same-styled, mud houses and cooperate with each other in daily life.
Pakistani villagers dress themselves very simply as compared to city people. The most common dress for both men and women is a 'Shalwar Kamiz,' which consists of loose trousers worn under a long overblouse. Women wear a 'Doppta' and strictly observe 'purdah' by hiding their faces and private parts of their bodies.
Families within the houses are seldom composed of mother, father, and young children. The extended family is more customary in Pakistan. Sons bring their wives to their family home and rear their children there. The eldest father uses the joint earnings of the family members for their support. Farm families work in the fields, raise crops, and tend them. When the crops are ready, they harvest and sell them. During this entire period, women also help in the fields by seeding, watering, and tending the crops alongside the male members of the family. In the extended family, the eldest father supervises the outdoor work while the mother looks after the indoor work. The children help their parents run the house.
Villagers normally eat very simple meals consisting of a vegetable curry, a gruel of parched grams or lentils eaten with a bread called 'Chapati' or 'Roti.' The women cook the food which they serve on trays set on the floor. Women eat separately after the male members of the family have taken their meal. Women respect their male family members even during meal time.
Villagers lead very simple lives in Pakistan. Although they are doing a great job for the economy of Pakistan and are the backbone for Pakistan's exports, they are still waiting for the amenities that city people enjoy. They eat very simple food but produce many edible things for the city people. In fact, it is proof of their simplicity and innocence that they are happy in mud houses. They don't want to lead the snug life. Nevertheless, it is their right to have some civic amenities of a comfortable life.
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