Honour(ing) Existence, Resisting Honour: Exploring The Pakistani Bride as the Testament to Establish and Exercise Khudi
Pradipta Shyam Chowdhury
Dr Pradipta Shyam Chowdhury is working as Assistant Professor of English in The
University of North Bengal. His areas of interest are South Asian Studies and Gender
Studies. He has also edited two anthologies: Insiders as Outsiders: Essays on
Indian Widows and Widowhood and Rabindranath Revisited: Essays on Tagore.
This paper intends to interpret the concept of ‘Honour’ and how it affects the life of a woman in an honour-based community focusing on Bapsi Sidhwa’s novel The Pakistani Bride (1983). The story revolves around the escape of a Pakistani girl from her in-laws which is considered a cardinal sin in honour-based societies. But Sidhwa here foregrounds the idea of self-will or ‘khudi,’1 which becomes the nucleus of the feminist resistance to patriarchal agencies of oppression like the concept of ‘honour’ and consequently helps the female remain defiant, and achieve her freedom. This paper also purports to explore Sidhwa’s deft observation on the honour-based communities and the lived experience of the struggling women whose primary struggle is for existence rather than any feminist ideal that is confined to a discursive liberation.
Keywords: Honour, Khudi, Patriarchal Agency.
This paper starts with citing some newspaper headlines of some incidents of India and Pakistan and consequently tries to focus on a crucial socio-cultural problem based on community codes that violate the basic human rights.
1. “Pakistani woman paraded with a blackened face and shaved head for
eloping”. (20 June 2016, NDTV)
2. “Pakistan ‘honour killing’: Karachi teen lovers ‘were electrocuted’”. (14 Sept. 2017, NDTV)
3. “Andhra Man kills daughter allegedly for falling in love with a boy of other caste”. (4 Feb. 2019, The New Indian Express)
4. “Telangana town tense after murder of Dalit man in front of pregnant wife”. (19 Nov. 2019, The New Indian Express)
The news of killings cited above have occurred in different places but are intrinsically connected with the common theme of controlling and punishing the defiant for disobeying the social codes in the name of ‘honour.’ In reality, Honour-based violence erases the political and/or religious borders of the countries and situates them on the same plain ruled by certain patriarchal social codes. In fact, India and Pakistan both fall within the geo-cultural zone of South Asia where they share same socio-political and cultural specificities. But, the concept of ‘Honour’ and honour-based violence is not limited to the socio-cultural matrix of South Asia. They occur all over the world especially in honour-based societies and communities.
The concept of ‘honour’ is a construction in accordance with some strict codes of socio-cultural norms. These codes are religiously maintained and controlled by the traditions of the community. The binary of honour/shame is part of community codes. Women who deviate from the codes are stigmatized and held as source of shame. This ‘honour’ and ‘shame’ dialectic is determined in terms of power and women are easily susceptible to ‘shame’ or ‘dishonour.’ The patriarchal imperatives restrict the autonomy of the women through the discourse of ‘honour.’ The Iranian and Kurdish Women‘s Right Organization (IKWRO) describes the concept of ‘Honour’ in the following way:
So-called family ‘honour’ is a patriarchal ideology of oppression. Women, who make autonomous decisions, particularly relating to their private lives, are believed to have brought ‘shame’ to their family. ‘Honour’ crime is performed with the intent of limiting the psychological and physical freedom of women. (Qtd. in House of Commons, UK 12)
Thus, honour is imposed over the weaker parts of the societies, mainly the women, through the application of violence. Women are compelled to remain disempowered by certain social, religious or political dicta. Patriarchy largely controls the female body and mind through the concept of honour. In this context, Jane Haile comments that ‘honour killing’ is a
…practice whereby male members kill a female relative who is perceived as having damaged family honour. Her death restores the honour of the family. Honour killing can be triggered by a woman or girl talking with an unrelated male, consenting
to sexual relations outside marriage, being the victim of rape, or refusing to marry the man chosen by the family. (8)
Actually, in an honour based society, where honour killing is tolerated or at times supported, the violence falls upon a woman on the slightest pretext. Here, the instance of Mukhtar Mai is very pertinent. This peasant woman from Meerwala, Pakistan, was gangraped by the order of the village tribal council. The family of the powerful tribal group alleged that her brother‘s relationship (he belonged to a lower social status) with the girl of the family has resulted in the loss of ‘honour’ for the family. Hence, according to the tribal council, Mukhtar Mai, and not her brother who allegedly committed the ‘crime,’ must receive the punishment. But Mukhtar fought back against the act of the council and went to the court. The news made a sensation all over the world making her act an important milestone against the honour-based crimes. In the Foreword of the book In the Name of Honour (2007) Nicholas D. Kristof writes about the background of Mukhtar‘s protest:
…her young brother was accused (wrongly) of having an affair, and so a tribal
council decided to punish her family by ordering that she be gang raped. The sentence was carried out then and there, and she was forced to walk home nearly naked before a jeering crowd. She was meant to commit suicide, and initially she thought she would but then she became more angry than humiliated. Instead of killing herself, she prosecuted her attackers and told her story. (vii-viii)
The sentence on Mukhtar was not directly related to any of her wrong doings, but something her brother was accused of.
Generally, woman becomes victim of honour killing in the hands of her husband, but very often the father, brother of a male member of the girl‘s clan kill them. This act is considered laudable because it supposedly restores the honour of the community. Here, there is some difference between gender-based violence by the husband or the lover, and the one by the community. While the former is commonly known as Crimes of Passion and is primarily the violence perpetrated by an individual male impulsively, the latter, commonly known as Honour Killing, is a community-led violence, more planned, and is an expression of collective anger. But whatever may be the reason, it is the woman who is stigmatized, punished or erased. Both crimes of passion and honour-based violence underline the basic patriarchal tendency of considering women as physically and culturally inferior and reduced to a commodity to be appropriated.
Honour killing as an act of vengeance has various socio-cultural and religious reasons. Basically, the codes of honour depend upon the ideology of patrilineal inheritance, which testifies to the legal right of the male member or the heir to carry on the inheritance of property and the traditional values of their clan and community. A closer study of the reasons of honour killings will be found in the recent report of the Centre for Social Cohesion2 on ‘honour’ based violence in the United Kingdom. The report, enumerating the reasons, finds that the factors range from defiance of parental authority to extra-marital relations and gossip on alleged adulteries. Though in most cases women are the worst sufferers, men too do not escape the punishment, particularly where he belongs to a lower social structure or to a different religion. Honour and the stigma may also occur even if the person belongs to the same class and community. The practice of karo-kari3 in Pakistan is one such.
It is often misinterpreted that the Muslim society or to be more specific the Islamic nations tolerate and even sometimes sponsor the violent act of honour killing. But a closer study of the Holy Quran or the Hadith shows that there are no such instances that sanction such a practice. In reality, Islam puts equal importance upon men and women. Religion, like other discursive fields, falls an easy prey to the system of patriarchy which manipulates the religious scriptures according to its convenience. Precisely, instances of honour killing most often occur in the honour-based societies, which is why the Muslim majority countries like Malaysia or Indonesia have less instances of honour-based violence, whereas the countries of the Middle East, South Asia, the Balkans and Southern Mediterranean are found to be more affected by it. Honour-based violence is a burning issue and it needs to be addressed seriously. Awareness about the enormity of the social evil and some sensitization programmes need to be taken up. Literary representations are a means to create such awareness. A good many novels and films and documentaries have been produced in this respect. The book on the experience of Mukhtar Mai In the Name of Honour4 (2007) and a recent Bollywood film NH105 may be mentioned here. Bapsi Sidhwa‘s The Pakistani Bride (1983) also foregrounds this issue focusing on the need of individual courage as a prerequisite for facing barbaric customs and inhuman torture.
Bapsi Sidhwa’s The Pakistani Bride (1983) is the story of Zaitoon, a Muslim girl from Lahore, married to a man from the Kohistani tribe. Unable to cope with the strict codes of that honour-based society, she escapes from her husband’s house. As this act is considered a heinous crime on the part of women, her in-laws searched for her to kill her and restore the lost honour of not only their family, but their community. Zaitoon’s escape can be marked as a feminist revolt against patriarchy that considers the position of women in the context of ‘honour’ and the social structure based on it. But at the end, we see that the search party gets the news of her death, which is concocted by the Army officials, who rescued the girl. This imaginary death of the rebellious female figure can be seen as her discursive erasure from the social text to satisfy the patriarchal ego. But a deeper study will reveal that Sidhwa is not dealing with the issue from the perspective of a Third World feminist thinker, but, as a true Third World feminist activist, who tries to measure the nature of the female cause and the sort of movement that is required for the specific geographical and social domain. She makes a more realistic study of the women who live in the labyrinthine dungeons of the honour-based social matrix of patriarchy and struggle to exist primarily before thinking of any feminist ideal of liberation.
The novel is based on a real story. In the essay ― “Why Do I Write”, Bapsi Sidhwa says that she heard the story from the Colonel-in-charge, the engineers and doctors of the army camp located in the remote regions of the Karakoram. The story is that of a girl who was taken on the other side of the Indus to be married to a tribal boy. After a few months she ran away. Amidst the rugged region of the Karakoram the girl survived for fourteen days. She was finally hunted down by the members of the tribal clan who caught her near a rope bridge, cut off her head and threw the body into the river. The husband, who should have protected the girl, participated instead in the act of killing. He took it as an act of pride because a runaway woman is an irreparable shame for the community and hence ‘honour killing.’ Sidhwa felt the urge to get the story recorded in a fictional form. She would give a somewhat different fate to the woman who will survive, stand back and answer to this violence. Therefore, while turning it into a story, which later became a novel in full form, she brought in more complexities. She contextualized the story against the backdrop of the codes of an honour-based society.
This exercise of artistic freedom has wider ramifications. The single girl metaphorically turns into many and she becomes the representative of all the victims. Sidhwa felt the urge to bring the story into the open. In an interview, she speaks of the urge she felt in transforming the actual incident into a story that will give vent to her wishes: When I came back to Lahore, I felt I had to tell her story. I had not written before… I had a compulsion to write the girl‘s story and the story of the tribals hidden away in
this beautiful part of the world. I started writing a short story about this girl, without
my really being aware of it; it was developing into a long story. It was an obsess sion. (Jussawala 209)
The real woman was murdered by her in-laws in the Karakoram region, but Sidhwa’s Zaitoon got a different fate. She exercised her indomitable self-will,‘the khudi’6, survived the Partition troubles, grew up in Lahore, got married to the Kohistani tribesman and ultimately ran away to save herself, instead of submitting herself to the existing socio-cultural norms based on anti-women conventions. In the context of Pakistan, Zaitoon‘s survival and the defeat of the agents of patriarchy have deep feminist resonances.
This oppression of the female subject is not spread all over the country in the same measure and manner. It is rather condensed in tribal societies or communities. The light of education has not yet reached there. In such closeted communities traditional codes of honour still prevail in the strongest possible form. The novel explores the social dynamics of such a tribal community in Kohistan, where women are meant to be tamed and their wombs are objects to be protected for reproductive purpose. Ironically the same society, which is strict in preserving the purity of the female body, approves its violation in the name of honour. Sidhwa here foregrounds the body politics of the closeted communities of Pakistan through the sufferings of Zaitoon. But Sidhwa, as we have already noted, makes Zaitoon survive all the difficulties not only for championing the female agenda, but also to establish the basic demand for the right to exist. Here, she is not just theorizing or interpreting the real politics from the perspective of a westernized educated feminist activist, but is trying to empathize with the suffering women in remote parts of the country in the fortresses of patriarchy. She explains to Feroza Jussawalla:
In the Bride she [Zaitoon] is not killed. The Bride has, as it happened, two endings. I first ended it where there‘s an illusionary scene, in which she has a nightmare vision of being killed. That‘s where the book was supposed to end. But by this time I had a different feeling for the book. I‘d inhabited this girl‘s body and her emotions for so long that I felt it was a shame, considering all that she had been put through, that she should be then killed off. (208)
Here, the thrust is obviously on Zaitoon‘s survival, which in actuality might have been impossible, and it injects a new, although not dramatic, dimension in the representation. But Zaitoon is not the female activist standing against the patriarchal hegemony. She is a docile girl who is compelled to stand against the system that continuously attacks her body and self-respect. Her decision “to run away is not due to militant feminism or deliberate defiance of male order. She is portrayed as a device, affectionate, obedient child. She has become a symbol of all oppressed and exploited women” (Kalidass and Kirubahar 60).
In The Pakistani Bride, Sidhwa foregrounds the pitiable conditions of women not only through Zaitoon, but also through a group of other tertiary female characters. This group consists of Qasim's wife, Afshan, Zaitoon‘s foster mother, Miriam and her mother-in-law, Hamida. The female characters and their stories in the novel are loosely knit but they have an intricate connection. The novelist, according to Makarand Paranjape7, does not want to frame one single story of Zaitoon with her exclusively personal struggles, but a cluster of many stories with varied events that observe the issue of gender-based oppression and its resistance from a broader perspective. These female characters present the status of women in certain communities of Pakistan. In The Pakistani Bride, Qasim, Zaitoon’s foster father’s decision to marry her off to Sakhi, his cousin Misri Khan‘s son clearly points to the status of women in the social space. The marriage is engineered by his propensity to pay tribute to his roots. Paying no heed to the consequences of this culturally mismatched marriage, he takes Zaitoon to the hilly regions of Kohistan.
Sakhi, her newly-wed husband, appears to her as crooked and jealous, always trying to control her mind and body. Being instigated by the other male members of the family, he becomes a savage in his behaviour. Sidhwa meticulously draws Zaitoon‘s first experience after marriage thus:
Sakhi surveyed his diffident wife with mounting excitement. Here was a woman all his own, he thought with proprietorial lust and pride, a woman with strangely thick lashes and large black eyes that had flashed in one look her entire sensuality. But, even as he thought this, the corroding jealousy of the past few days suddenly surged up in him in a murderous fusion of hate and fever. He tore the ghoongat from her head and holding her arms in a cruel grip he panted inarticulate hatred into her face. (159; emphasis added)
Zaitoon’s different cultural orientation and her openness are very often misunderstood by Sakhi as her unchaste behaviour, which, according to the tribal codes of honour, is a serious crime for a woman. Zaitoon’s naïve waving of her hands at the army people leads to serious incident in her life. Sakhi’s cruelty towards Zaitoon is deftly narrated by the author: Skimming the boulders in vast strides, Sakhi seized her. He dragged her along the crag. ‘You whore,’ he hissed. His fury was so intense she thought he would kill her.
He cleared his throat and spat full in her face. ‘You dirty, black little bitch, waving at
those pigs…’Gripping her with one hand he waved the other in a lewd caricature of
the girl‘s brief gesture. ‘Waving at the shit-eating swine. You wanted him to
stop and fuck, didn‘t you!’ (185)
These words, unconsciously used at the height of rage, are loaded with strong socio-cultural implications. Honour codes are closely related to social, cultural and religious directives. Waving hands by a woman violates these codes. Moreover, waving hands towards the army personnel, who are personified masculinity, immediately arouses Sakhi's jealousy. Sakhi uses the abusive term ‘swine’ for his imagined contesters, the army people. This brutality cuts across all social and familial relationships even filial sanctity. Women, whoever she is, should be treated as a property— owned, beaten and exchanged. Hamida, Sakhi's mother, who cuts a sorry figure throughout the story, is badly beaten by the son for she tries to dissuade him from abusing Zaitoon. Sidhwa shows how the patriarchal body politics generates Sakhi's lust and greed to appropriate the body of Zaitoon. The dream of a happy conjugal life that coloured the imagination of Zaitoon gets shattered. The experience borders on the conjugal rape. She becomes a gendered figure— a woman to be enjoyed and violated. The atrocity continues for Zaitoon, as Sidhwa writes:
Zaitoon looked at him wildly, terrified as he dragged her up and roughly yanked her red satin shirt over her head. Her arms flew to cover her breasts. He tugged at the cord of her shalwar and the sulk fell to her ankles. Before she could raise her trousers Sakhi flung her back. He crouched, lifting her legs free of the silk. Fiercely kicking out, Zaitoon leapt over the charpoy. She screamed. She backed towards the straw and mud-plastered wall, and screamed. Leaning against it, covering her chest and crotch with her hands, she screamed. (160)
Sakhi's violence towards his newly-wed bride is the expression of conviction of ownership of the female body. Failure to behave in the way he does will result in a crisis of manhood on which the concept of his honour depends. Paranjape writes “It would seem that entire code of honour of the tribes rests on the notions of sexual superiority and possessiveness” (Qtd. in Aprajita12). Thus, severely tortured by her husband and his lot, Zaitoon decides to flee from her in-laws knowing well the consequence of the daring act. The women, who are atrociously treated socially and sexually, are never given the right to move on her own. The domestic demarcation becomes the borderline, crossing of which is treated as a sacrilege.
Here, the khudi of Zaitoon becomes instrumental in giving her the power to fight against the patriarchal imperatives. Sidhwa posits the self-will or khudi of women to fight against patriarchal hegemony. Sexual superiority of the patriarchal hegemonic model deals with two sexist issues that control the female body and the mind. These apparently contrasting issues are coterminous in their involvement in the female body politics. They are— physical segregation and the erasure of the female body. Physical segregation of the female body manifests itself through the female space of zenana8 or the domestic space demarcated for and allotted to women by patriarchy. The erasure of the female body is practised through the system of purdah.9 It is associated with the honour codes. According to this notion, the female body is considered as an emblem of the family and community which, unless preserved strictly, is exposed to molestation and appropriation. In the words of Imran Ahmad: “Woman is shown as a territory to be conquered by men. The relation between one of colonizer-colonized type wherein the colonizer, as if on an imperial offensive, tries to possess and extend his powers so as to use and abuse this occupied territory” (3).
The impact of the zenana and the purdah are instrumental in strengthening the struggles of the women characters of the novel and help them champion their feminist agenda. Zaitoon became acquainted with the zenana in Lahore through the mediation of Miriam who taught her to be obedient to patriarchal dictates. But the same space created in her a sexual vacuum by segregating her from the opposite sex, the male. She encountered first instance of male brutality after her marriage. It is a journey from naivety and innocence to experience and violence. She becomes mature in the process. The abrupt change made her rebellious. The gender-based segregation is also manifested through the practices of purdah through the sartorial differntiative politics of burka. Burkas are generally considered as veils to suppress the identity of a woman. It is through the issue of burka, Sidhwa brings in the character of Carol with whom Zaitoon will form a remote but effective female connection.
Carol, the American girl from California, comes to Pakistan to consummate her relationship with Farukh. But being “a child of the bright Californian sun and surf,” she “could no more understand the beguiling twilight world of veils and women‘s quarters” (180). Her emotional bonding with Farukh breaks through the mediation of the gender apartheid of the Pakistani society. At the beginning Carol enjoyed the caring attitude of her husband but she slowly experiences that the over-conservative Pakistani society leaves no room for women to breathe freely; they are always under the male gaze. Through Carol, Sidhwa problematises the use of burka. Carol wishes to use one to save herself from the male gaze. Here the apparently patriarchal instrument used for categorising the women in terms of undifferentiated womanhood becomes an essentially feminist strategy for preserving the individual female identity. Women in Pakistan, whatever her nationality may be, are to be silenced, their identity ignored. They should act and move according to the male directives. After her emotional break up with Farukh, she falls into an extra-marital relationship with Major Mushtaq.
She seeks an emotional support from the Major. But it turns out to be futile as the latter harbours typical sexist attitude towards women. Thus, Carol finds Mushtaq and Farukh to be the same man with different names. Apparently they maintain a progressive image in their professional and social spheres and consider the tribal men as uncouth and uncivilised. But at their heart they are no different from their tribal counterparts. Actually, Mushtaq has no problem with his relationship with Carol, for it satisfies his lust and the comfort of a hill posting, but marrying the American woman is not possible for it will affect his family. Actually, family, marriage and social bonds are considered to be sacred, which Carol cannot understand. When she is married to Farukh, she gets entry in the elite class of Pakistan as a wife of an engineer and army officer. But this social shifting makes her disempowered and, in turn, vulnerable. The male desire with its uninhibited and powerful sexist ideology tries to dominate the American girl by erasing her white identity and equating her with the other women of Pakistan. She finds no difference between her and the beheaded tribal girl whose head she sees coming across the rivers. Carol experiences the real position of women at Mushtaq’s reaction to the incident: “…it happens all the time.” The inert response of her lover towards a girl in distress makes her comment: “Oh, women get killed for one reason or another…imagined insults, family honour, infidelity” (223).
The pitiable conditions of women across all classes and communities help her to conclude on the position of women in the Pakistani society. Carol completes her experience about the piteous condition of the women of Pakistan in particular and women throughout the world in general when she comes across Zaitoon and her condition. Sakhi, her husband considers her more as a female body to inscribe his manliness and superior control than understanding her emotions. Slowly, Zaitoon and Carol start realizing that the spatial identity of the zenana as the world of female bonds and camaraderie is actually a male demarcated spatial limitation, whereby the women are imprisoned. Both Zaitoon and Carol try to escape the male demarcated spatial limitations to assert their individual identities. Zaitoon defies the social codes of her husband‘s community and escapes to the plains through the rugged wilderness, fully knowing that the consequence of the act is a death sentence and Carol seeks an emotional support from Major Mushtaq, who in turn also ditches her. Thus, Zaitoon, Carol, and the tribal girl with severed head stand at the same plane, at the mercy of the male-oriented social orders. The respect for woman and the sense of protectiveness towards them is more a concern for the honour of their family and community than for the woman herself.
Thus, the two female characters in Sidhwa’s The Pakistani Bride become close to each other even in their exploration of the patriarchal social space of Pakistan. But the real question in this apparently powerful feminist agenda centres round the future of both the female characters. What happens to Zaitoon and what was the future of Carol? The plight of Zaitoon ends with her crossing the bridge. Sakhi and his clan also arrive there but couldn‘t attack the girl for the mediation of Major Mushtak, who takes control over the whole situation. They are told that Zaitoon is dead and they returned with the satisfactory news that the honour of the family is saved. Major Mushtaq, an agent of the army, solves the crisis; this same man lulls Carol to sleep, when the latter protests against their social norms and regulations. Thus, the Major appears as the patriarchal deus ex machina, who tries to put a happy ending to the turbulent situation.
Here also the feminist agenda raised by Zaitoon and Carol from different levels is calmed down by the presence of the military. Metaphorically also, Zaitoon‘s protest against the system remains unaddressed. The issue is further problematized by the fact that her crossing the river does not take her to the world of freedom, but to another patriarchal plane. She gets respite from Sakhi only to be rescued by Mushtaq and later to be married to Ashique, the military car driver. She remains within the periphery of masculinity. Moreover, Sakhi and his clan come to know that the girl is dead. The ‘honour’ is thus restored to the Kohistani tribe. Then where is the vital change in attitude towards gender discrimination?
The novelist erases the existence of Zaitoon from the text, for there is no further suggestion of her future. The sudden disappearance of Carol also puts an end to any feminist agenda. The bottom-line remains— defiance of the patriarchal system tantamount to death physically or discursively. But merely analyzing The Pakistani Bride from the feminist angle will be a failure to get at the pulse of the novelist‘s intention. Sidhwa in this novel is trying to measure the nature of the female struggle. It will help us mapping the kind of movement that is required in the context of the specific geographical and social domain. Being an educated Parsi woman and a feminist activist, who has her roots in Pakistan and workplace in the US, she has a sound idea of the feminist movements of the Third World women and the firsthand knowledge of the real situation of woman in Pakistan, India and other Third World countries. Hers is not a theoretical imagination but a more realistic and grounded study of women who live in the labyrinthine dungeons of patriarchy. Her protagonist Zaitoon has also no feminist agenda, but her khudi is directed towards existence. A woman has to exist first, and then comes the question of social liberation. Sidhwa‘s Zaitoon champions this credo by celebrating her self-will or khudi.
1 This paper partly forms a chapter of my PhD thesis: “Bonding Beyond Barriers: Search for Female Solidarity in Bapsi Sidhwa’s Novels”.
2 Please refer to the report of The Centre for Social Cohesion, Crimes of Community: Honour-based Violence in UK by James Brandon and Salam Hafez. London: Centre for Social Cohesion, 2008.
3 The term Karo-kari is related to the honour based violence practised in Pakistan. Unlike other cases of honour based violence, it is not only acted upon the female victims only but also on the males involved in the offence. Here, the accused woman is murdered first while giving the male a chance to flee. But sometimes the targeted men can escape the sentence of death by paying compensation to the family of the victim.
4 In The Name of Honour is a book based on the memoirs of Mukhtar Mai, and written by her in association with Marie-Therese Cuny. It is translated by Linda Coverdale. Marie Therese Cuny is a Women’s Rights activist, who translated the thoughts and emotions of Mukhtar who can speak only Saraiki and is illiterate. Linda Coverdale translated Marie’s work into English. Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn wrote Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (2009) dealing with women and gender apartheid. The incident of Mukhtaran Mai has been discussed in Chapter 4 “ Rule by Rape” of the book. Mohammed Naqvi made a documentary on Mukhtaran Mai named Shame in 2006. In 2008 Catherine Ulmer Lopez made a documentary on Mukhtar and focused on the aftermath of rape in the context of Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan.
5 NH10 is a Hindi film on honour killing of both the boy and the girl who dared to get involved into an affair outside their communities. The film was directed by Navdeep Singh and was released on March 13, 2015 under the banner of Phantom Films and Clean Slate Films. Anushka Sharma, Neil Bhoopalam, Deepti Naval starred in the film.
6 Khudi is an Urdu word which means self-respect or the will power that helps one to realize his/her individuality. The famous Urdu poet Iqbal used the word Khudi in his poetry: “Khudi ko kar buland itna...” (Make your will power and self-respect so powerful…).
7 Please refer to Makarand Paranjape’s articles “The Early Novels of Bapsi Sidhwa”. The Novels of Bapsi Sidhwa, edited by R. K. Dhawan and Novy Kapadia. New Delhi: Prestige, 1996. Print.
8 Literally, the word zenana refers to women or something pertaining to women. In the context of spatial discrimination, zenana constitutes a part of the inner household marked for the women, contrary to the outer part of the house as mardana. This spatial discrimination is primarily found in those societies, where the custom of purdah is maintained, especially in South Asia and the Middle East. The zenana has close association with the female quarters or the harems. The Hindu counterpart of zenana is the andarmahal.
9 The word purdah means a veil or enclosure. The custom of purdah is associated with the physical and social exclusion of the women from the outer world by means of clothes, curtains and walls. The custom is enforced by the socially demarcated women space zenana that spatially limits the movements of the women. Both zenana and purdah dictate the women to remain invisible to other men who are not socially sanctioned to interact with them, thereby secluding or segregating them from the social mainstream.
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