I picked this book intrigued by the title and the Author’s note that read like this.
“There is a fantasy of a feudal lord as an exotic, tall, dark and handsome man, with flashing eyes and traces of quick-tempered gypsy blood. Images of him parrying thrusts with the fiercest of swordsmen and riding off into the sunset on his black steed set the pubescent heart aflutter. He is seen as a passionate ladies man and something of a rough diamond, the archetypal male chauvinist who forces a woman to love him despite his treatment of her.
But the fantasy is far from reality, and my country of Pakistan must face up to reality of it is ever to grow and prosper. “
And so Tehmina Durrani goes carefully unwinding the details of her private life in a male dominated chauvinistic society, to give voice to the abuse she suffered while being married to a despotic and brutish husband Mustafa Khar as a Sixth Wife. After being suffered in silence for 13 years often trading her self-esteem and individuality for a marriage that rocked with physical abuse and emotional blackmail, Tehmina Durrani stands up for what she truly is. I am glad that Tehmina broke free from the convention and took up the choice of raising her voice against her conniving, manipulative, and spineless Feudal Lordship, risking her life and character assassination in public for her conscience.
Being a part of a society and family which accepted me for what I am, it is indeed difficult for me to acknowledge the world of ‘Tehmina Durrani’ which is plagued by physical abuse, marital rape, hypocrisy, public scrutiny, betrayal, and where women are treated as mere possessions and objects of desire, and the basic human rights to women are still a dream. Set in the political context of the Pakistan in 80’s, this book examines the personal and political life of a famous political figure in Pakistan called ‘Mustafa Khar’, who for me remains as Ms. Durrani’s ex-husband.
Going through a reflection of this autobiographical account of her life, my heart indeed said a small prayer for this beautiful woman and her unfailing courage. This book indeed stands as a living testament to the unsurmountable human spirit and its longing for freedom of self expression.