Thank you so much Smitha for your review of this book!
My Feudal Lord
Publisher: Corgi Books
Reading an autobiographical account of a woman battered to pulp by her husband may become tiresome, but My Feudal Lord won’t bore you, as one can’t stop admiring the courage of the victim.
Tehmina Durrani, a Pakistani writer, in her autobiography My Feudal Lord describes her traumatic marital life with Gulam Mustafa Khar, an important politician in the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto government, who later went on to become the Chief Minister of Punjab (in Pakistan). The book explores the dark shades of marital life in a chauvinistic male-dominated Pakistani society.
Tehmina born into an influential Pakistani family grows up to be an introvert child who is often chided for her dark looks by her mother. Fighting all parental oppositions she marries her sweetheart but soon falls for the charm of Mustafa Khar. Leaving beside her husband and daughter, Tehmina walks into Mustafa’s life as his fourth wife and thereby starts her journey of trials and tribulations. Mustafa, a charismatic champion of democracy, on the personal front turns out to be an inveterate wife abuser. In between of all the torture that Tehmina suffers, she learns about her husband’s extra-marital affair with her younger sister. Having zilch support from her mother or sister, Tehmina endures pain only to become stronger to deal with the misfortunes in her life.
My Feudal Lord is divided into three parts, aptly entitled, ‘Lion of Punjab’, ‘Law of Jungle’, and ‘Lioness’. Throughout these sections one can map the progress of Tehmina from a meek housewife to a fierce social crusader fighting for her husband’s release from prison and later for her own freedom from the clutches of her husband.
The book tends to get a bit sketchy in parts especially when it echoes endlessly the pathos of the protagonist. Though the book is no literary genius, yet it explores subtly the nuances of an ordinary elitist housewife walking out of a marriage to discover herself as an emancipated human being contesting for equal rights and women’s empowerment.
Books from women like Tehmina Durrani and Betty Mahmoody (Not Without My Daughter) may not be in any must read list, but they are to be read to get a clearer insight on the plight of educated elitist women.
Guest Review :Smitha Verma