On my last trip to Pakistan, while browsing through a bookstore, I came across the book “My Feudal Lord” By Tehmina Durrani. It’s an old book (published in 1991) that I remember seeing in our bookshelf in my parents home.. I was a very protected teenager and was never allowed to read such books which would expose me to the ugly realities of life… So seeing it in the bookstore, I instantly picked it up.. (Nostalgia and curiosity – both!).
I picked the book up this weekend, and couldn’t put it down.. I finished it in two days.. ( I get OCD in my reading too.. ). Before I say anything about the book, let me tell you something about myself.. I used to read a lot of fiction earlier.. but now, I only pick Non -fiction.. Not a conscious decision .. but that’s just what interests me now..
My brother visited me once and as he was going through my books, he went like..
“Life is so tough and full of bad news all around us.. why do you read such depressing stories of others.. doesn’t that pull you down?”
But actually it does the opposite for me..
“Reading about these horrific stories of others, not only inspires me (with the strength and resilience of people) but also makes me more thankful for the life, I am blessed with… “
So, Thursday night, with everyone sleeping and me down with a cold and sore throat, I made chai and picked up My Feudal Lord.. For anyone who has not read this.. (though I think most of the people must have… I am just 20 years , too late ! lol ), it’s the story of Tehmina Durrani, born in a elite family of Lahore, who broke her first marriage and left her daughter to marry the politician and Bhutto‘s right hand, Ghulam Mustafa Khar, belonging to Feudal family of Punjab. She became his 5th wife and lead a life which was full of domestic abuse, treachery and betrayal. They were married for 13 years and had 4 children together.
In her story, she gives insights into the life of the ruling elite of the “Islamic” Republic of Pakistan and trust me, there is nothing Islamic in that! Alcohol , Adultery, Deception and Disloyalty are just to name a few.. Plus the favorite of them all… Domestic abuse!
I knew Politics is a dirty game.. but reading this book just made me realize of HOW dirty it actually is… This is probably the first non-fiction book that made me sad… I lost hope in the future of our country (my husband doesn’t lose hope and gets really angry when I mention such negative feelings)…How will this cycle ever break?? The inheritance of politics as a family business in these ruling elites? (it happens in he most advanced countries too, I know…). But what got me sick worried is that, will Pakistan ever be able to break free of this Feudal System? Will we ever have democracy for real?
Her story is very intriguing of how she survived in an abusive marriage to Mustafa Khar.. but what worries me is that THESE are the rulers of our country, we are talking about.. what about the common man.. who is not even educated enough to know what’s right and wrong and just blindly follow these leaders.. The Feudal Land Lords, who are the LAW for them..
Since what I read was 20 years old (and I don’t keep up with the political news…) hoping that,may be its not relevant anymore… may be things have changed, may be Mustafa Khar was exposed by this book and paid the price for it? Haha! I googled… and found out that he and his brothers were active in the government (unaffected), and now his niece Hina Rabbani Khar has inherited ‘politics’- No damage to them whatsoever. On the other hand Tehmina Durrani, married Shahbaz Sharif in a secret ceremony in Dubai in 2003. So from ‘My Feudal Lord’ (the ex- Chief Minister and Governor of Punjab) to ‘My Industrialist Lord'(the current Chief Minister of Punjab) ! HA! (Though I do praise her for coming out in the open and being so brave with her pen…)
There went my hopes down the drain in the whole system.. Its a game of power and money! That’s all it is! And I was way happier and hopeful, before I read this book! Ignorance is a bliss! ( and probably this is why I was not allowed to read this book!).
To top it all, I saw THIS in this week’s news:
The leader of a Pakistani Islamic council has proposed a bill that allows husbands to “lightly beat” their wives as a form of discipline.In the 75-page proposal, Mohammad Khan Sheerani suggests a light beating is acceptable should the need arise to punish a woman. The proposal bans forceful beating, saying only a small stick is necessary to instill fear.Source CNN.
So the 20+ year old published book on domestic abuse, of a wife in an affluent family is exactly where we stand today….. we haven’t progressed … or probably we have BUT in reverse gear!
God bless Pakistan!