The Journey of Subjugation to Liberation based on the Selected Novels of Taslima Nasrin & Qaisra Shahraz


Doctoral Thesis / Dissertation, 2021

218 Pages, Grade: A+


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INDEX

1. Chapter 1 : Introduction

2. Chapter 2 : Forms of Subjugation

3. Chapter 3 : Strategy of Liberation

4. Chapter 4 : Subjugation V/s Liberation

5. Chapter 5 : Conclusion

6. Bibliography

DECLARATION

I hereby declare that this thesis entitled “The Journey of Subjugation to Liberation Based on the Study of Selected Novels by Taslima Nasrin & QaisraShahraz” submitted by Ms. ShaliniSihe is a bona-fide record of research carried out by me at Jaipur National University, Jaipur, under the supervision of Dr. Kripa K. Gautam, Professor, Department of English, Jaipur National University, Jaipur.

I further declare that this thesis has not been submitted to any other university institute for the award of this or any other Degree.

Ms. Shalini Sihe

Jaipur National University

Jagatpura, Jaipur.

Date: 30th May, 2020

CERTIFICATE

This is to certify that the work embodied in this thesis entitled “The Journey of Subjugation to Liberation Based on the Study of Selected Novels by Taslima Nasrin & Qaisra Shahraz” is a record of studies, efforts, endeavors and research carried out by Miss Shalini Sihe under my guidance and supervision, and no part of this thesis been presented earlier for the award of any Degree, Diploma, Title or Recognition.

Dr. Kripa K. Gautam

Professor

Dept. of English

School of Language, Literature and Society

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

First, I owe my deepest gratitude to my supervisor Professor. (Dr.) Kripa K. Gautam for his precious time, enthusiasm, encouragement, support &continuous optimism. His views on my typical topic along with references are really appreciable and important for me in this area of research. I am and would always be grateful to Prof. (Dr.) Kripa K. Gautam for always showing the willingness to help, and introducing me to some basic sources. Moreover, his take upon Muslim Female Novelists provided me with quiet useful insights.

I am particularly indebted to God, my Family, Teachers, Friends and fellow students. This Thesis would not have been possible without the inspiration and support of a number of wonderful individuals. My heartiest thanks to all of them for being a part this journey and making this Thesis possible.

I am forever grateful and beholden to my family. My Mother Mrs. Raka Sihe, Father Mr. Debkumar Sihe, Grandmother Mrs. Anjali Sihe & Aunt Mrs. Rakhee Sen for strengthening me with the opportunities and experiences which enabled me in reaching these heights. The reason behind this success is their selfless encouragement that helped me explore new dimensions in my life.

I would like to dedicate this Thesis to Mr. Dilip Kr. Sihe, Mr. Jiban Chandra Kumar and Mrs. Anita Kumar (demised Grandparents). In spite of the fact that they are not here to witness their dream coming true but wherever they might be I would want them to know they were, are and would always be the main pillars to my success.

I especially acknowledge the contribution of my confidant Mr. Abhishek Bose for his continuous and consistent support, efficient efforts of proof reading my works, kind words of motivation, and providing me with helpful tips. I would like to show my appreciation for sharing his expertise and experiences for organizing required resources and providing valuable feedback throughout this research.

In addition, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all my Teachers. Their indomitable support throughout this journey made it possible to work with such zeal. I would also like to convey my special thanks to all my dear friends and colleagues for offering their time, feedbacks and valuable comments. Continuously having to listen to my observations and frustrations must not have been a relaxed walk in the park. I would also like to thank this University, for awarding me with this precious achievement. I shall be failing in my duties if I overlook the cooperation extended by the library and computer staff in the publishing of the Thesis.

Chapter 1

Introduction

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

The conventional perception of gender roles in a socio-cultural setup cast men as rational, strong, protective, and decisive beings thereby casting women as emotional, irrational, weak, nurturing, and submissive. Therefore, women are expected to fit themselves in this frame, where in every sense they are inferior to men and lose their personal identity. Thus, women remain as mere object or property to men. Taslima Nasrin as well as Qaisra Shahraz on account of their personal experience of the deteriorating status of women in Bangladesh and Pakistan respectively, contributes considerably to the feminist thought. In most of their writings, Nasrin & Shahraz give evidences of their feminist leanings as both of them delineates situations pertaining to subjugation and marginalization of women by men who have patriarchal mind set.

The female characters in their books are all compelled to behave as per the patriarchal norms, wherein the writers aim at highlighting the situations of the women who are eager to break-through the cage of patriarchy.

Taslima Nasrin and Qaisra Shahraz exemplify the women who breach the patriarchal code, and are thus maltreated. Nasrin and Shahraz deal with several feminist issues. In fact, Nasrin demonstrates the ways how patriarchal mind set challenges individuality and self-respect of women. Both of the female diasporic writers state that whatever they have written is for the oppressed women of Pakistan & Bangladesh. Nasrin further stated that “she has wrung her heart out into her words’” (Quiglay 24). One of the most important feminist issues that have been dealt within the novels is the treatment of women at the hands of various patriarchal institutions like family, society and state, headed by a patriarch who either looks down upon women or marginalizes them.

Taslima Nasrin is a well-known author from Bangladesh who has been surviving as a refugee since 1994. She started her career as a poet in the late 70s and gained a global attention in the initial 90s due to her novels and essays based on feminist views. She also highlighted criticism in her writing by portraying the misogynistic religion that is Islam. The writer in USA and Europe for decades shifted in India in 2005 and banished in 2008 from the country. “Lajja” is one of the famous works of Taslima which was written in Bengali. Here, the writer has highlighted the battle or riot between Muslims and a Hindu family. The publication of the book changed her career and life vividly(Nasrin, 2003). She also suffered from several physical attacks with the publication of this novel. She wrote about the Islamic philosophy which made the Muslims frantic and they asked for a ban on this novel.

Taslima revealed the anguishes of the common people taking the name of culture and religion of South Asia. The novel is about the social and religious discrimination and destruction that became more contagious during the devastation of India's Babri Masjid in 1992. This was a severe accusation against the constant and continuous conquest of the marginal community (Zafar, 2005). At this interval, the thought of feminism in the writings of Taslima inaugurated and this became a controversial moment for the records of South Asian fiction. She started writing on undaunted criticism and women tyranny under the religious radicalism. The conformist insight of the roles of gender in the social and cultural set-ups have cast men as the strong, protective, decisive and rational beings whereas, the women were depicted as nurturing, submissive and emotional. Thus, the women were always expected to fit them in the frame and be mediocre to the men(Hasan, 2010). They lost their identity. Henceforth, the women were treated as the mere property or object to the men.

Taslima Nasrin based on her experience of sexual abuse at her childhood and the waning position of the females in Bangladesh has contributed to the thought of feminism in her writings. In most of her works, she provides an evidence of feminism since she demarcates the situations pertaining to marginalization and subjugation of the females by the males(Bhattarai, 2013). The men had a patriarchal mind-set. The women protagonists of the novel “Lajja” that are Shammima Begum, Kironmoyee and Maya were obliged to work following the patriarchal norms. But, Nasrin intended to emphasize on the condition of the womenfolk belonging to the marginal community in Bangladesh and are Hindus who went through a hard situation at the time of demolition of India's Babri Masjid. The relegation of the females on the basis of religion and their gender identity are the crucial parts of the novel.

Taslima has exemplified the woman who fissures the patriarchal code and gets maltreatment. For an instance, considering her own life it has been seen that the Soldiers of Islam allotted a fatwa going against her due to her novel “Lajja”. The government did not support her and they took the side of the fundamentalists while confiscating her passport(Hasan, Nasrin Gone Global: A Critique of Taslima Nasrin's Criticism of Islam and Her Feminist Strategy, 2016). She was asked to ban the novel and cease writing since she portrayed the atrocities performed by the Muslim fundamentalists going against the Hindus. Nasrin has revealed several feminist issues in the novel “Lajja”. Besides that, she has highlighted how patriarchal mind-set of the individual people in Bangladesh challenges the self­respect of the woman. She wrote for the oppressed females of Bangladesh. Taslima's main focus was on the mistreatment of women under the patriarchal institutions, for an instance, state, society, and family(Devi, 2015). This is a major feminist issue that she has tinted in her novel. The writer has decorated her female characters in the light of feminism in “Lajja” to reveal her voice.

Oppression and injustice towards women were equally significant themes of Nasrin's works. For an instance, in the novel, “Lajja”, being a woman Taslima revealed how the women are dominated by the men. The intention was to oppress the women and turn them into a subservient individual without any free will, freedom, and choice of their own. She has confronted in her writings that the women act as the passive matters in terms of sex or other matters. The women were only mastered and controlled(KAR, 2015). As per the experience of the novelist and her sister, it has been understood that the immutable rights made for the human beings were for the men and were denied to the women due to the vicious conspiracy that occurs between the society and religion to oppress the free will of the women. The sub-texts and texts in the treatises of Islam have considered women as the compelling agents of the exploitation. Women have been depicted as the erotic object that can be obsessed and can be taken as granted irrespective of any equal rights and participation in the act of union. Hence, women were considered as thedouble victim since at first, she was considered to be possessed. Besides that, she is said to be the mediator of desire(Zaman, 2016). Secondly, she is realized as the mediator of corruption for which she needs to be controlled by the men.

After reading “Lajja” (Shame), the readers would be humiliated due to the religious fanaticism which exists in Bangladesh and in many other parts worldwide. But, considering the slaughters of the women, it becomes a grave issue rather than gender identity in the society. Taslima has interpreted the dilemma of the women of that time due to the narrowing of the social spaces. Nasrin has exposed the effect of the societal exigencies on the women through her novel, “Lajja”(Chandini & Meenakshi, 2016). Though the women were subordinated and exploited, no one has raised any slogans or cared for them. Taslima Nasrin is a symbol of confrontation against the male oppression and Islamic fanatics. She is well-known as female rush­die. The writer has rejected out the different religions including Islam since it suppressed the central privileges of women. Thus, her novel “Lajja” is an apropos example of women suppression through which she raised her voice of feminism.

Indian women have been alleged as the caring mothers, affectionate sisters, devoted wives and protecting angels being governed by the male supremacy. After giving birth to such a nation, Taslima has been the observer and dupe of the male supremacy. The intention of developing the following paper is to reveal the perception and fundamental thoughts of Taslima Nasrin regarding men. She explored feminism through her writings (Umar, 2011). “Lajja” is one of those which divulge the reasons for which Taslima has developed such a thought about men. She has disclosed the fact that the women of Bangladesh and other parts of the world were not provided with their human rights for which they have lost their identity. In this section of the study, the views and thoughts of the earlier researchers regarding feminism have been presented. The section has been divided into different sections to present the subject matter clearly in front of the readers. Various journals, articles, and books relevant to the topic were used in this section to develop the topic proficiently.

Taslima Nasrin, an author from Bangladesh received a wide publicity within a short time period for which her works require close concentration and analysis. Taslima has been considered as the sign of freedom due to the women thoughts and expressions presented in her novels. But, she and her writings were portrayed wrongly publicly due to the media(Dasgupta, 2013). It depicts Bangladesh as the uni-dimensional theocracy, presents the politics of a sub-continent and overlooks the long history of the human rights of women along with scepticism based on which the feminists have viewed her origin in the country. Her work combines the post­colonial divisive politics and legacies in Bangladesh which presented Nasrin as a fervent advocate of the rights of women. She fought alone for the religious fundamentalism considering Islam.

‘Suppression' has been a buzzword in the novel of Taslima Nasrin, Lajja. It brings the challenges faced by the common people taking the name pf culture and religion of South Asia as discussed in the earlier section of the study. Taslima has highlighted the theme of Lajja as a symbol of social and religious discrimination that became virulent during the incident of Babri Masjid demolition in 1992(Alam, 2015). This has been presented as a severe indictment going against the sustained and continued subjugation of the marginal community. Taslima Nasrin wrote about the human rights and secular human of her times in Bangladesh. She highlighted the concept of unflinching criticism and women oppression in context to religious fanaticism.

The independence movement that took place in Bangladesh and India developed a vision to bring democracy and social justice along with full rights to the women and men(Garner & Cherrin, 2014). But, after post-colonial, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan showed their political and geographical powers which lead to the development of spiritual revivalism. With the demolition of Babri Masjid and the massacre of the Muslim minorities along with the atrocities against the Hindus residing in Bangladesh gave rise to the violence against women. The issues of dowry deaths, sati, acid burning, trafficking and rape of women became a common topic of discussion among the news report of Bangladesh. Taslima Nasrin has pictured this matter clearly in her famous novel Lajja ( Alam, 2015). She has discussed how women were forced to the production procedure instead of enjoying the profit of the independence.

Lajja has been written by Taslima Nasrin as a story of principle, persecution, passion, and protest. The novel presented the horrifying and horrendous experience of the marginal family that is The Duttas including Kironmoyee, Sudhamony, and the two children. Maya and Suranjan had to experience many abuse and trails without any proper reason since they are of Hindu identity, residing in Bangladesh (Bhattarai, 2013). Due to the downfall of the Babri Masjid, the Hindus of the country including the Duttas faced communal violence and they became the victim of the religious attack. Each member of the Hindu families suffered from violence. The daughters were kidnapped, raped or tortured as portrayed by the character of Maya in Taslima Nasrin's novel Lajja. The society depicted in the novel Lajja is patriarchal. Discrimination in the name of gender identity and discrimination has been a norm here(Chandini & Meenakshi, 2016). Taslima has provided innumerable examples of social discrimination of the women in Bangladesh through her novel which portrays the thought of feminism in her work, Lajja.

The demotion of the women in the patriarch society is said to the common theme worldwide. Hence, it has been echoed in one of the works of Alfred Tennyson's The Princess that if aman is a field then women is the hearth. The man has to hold the sword but, women should hold the needle(Dasgupta, 2013). Men will command which the women have to obey. This is said to be the rule of nature or society. Many other well-known writers of that time have written on the similar theme of patriarchal society where women were born to be subordinate and domestic.

This novel of Taslima Nasrin has been painted in the theme of feminism to reveal the story of women subjugated in the patriarchal society.

With the publication of Lajja (Shame), Taslima has suffered innumerable attacks and even the Islamic group offered a bounty to kill Nasrin. She has even faced the death threat from the Islamic fundamentalists. She developed herself as a writer after her exile.

Taslima as a woman focused on feminism and subjugation of women through her writings. Lajja is an example of such themes where Hindus including the women were hunted by the Muslims. This has been written as the aftermath of the famous incident of Babri Masjid when it demolished in India in 1992(KAR, 2015). She highlighted the religious extremism when man became inhuman to other men and especially, the women. Lajja is not a matter of inhumanity, but also about communal violence and the breach of one's faith. The shame lies in raping a woman and torturing other women in the name of ideologies and religion. The novel has addressed the dark side of violence which took place in Bangladesh against all the Hindus residing in the community. Taslima has portrayed the characters of those women who were exemplified due to breaching the patriarchal code(Nasrin, 2003). Lajja has been written focusing on the female issues of that time. As discussed above, Nasrin has portrayed in her novel how the patriarchal society has challenged the self-respect and mindset of the women. The women of her novel were treated badly in the name of society, state, and family.

Taslima has divulged that a woman does not have any desire in context to her family. She only has to maintain duties and sacrifice her wishes. For an instance, in this story of Lajja, the desire of a woman character that is Kironmoyee remains unfulfilled as she wanted to shift to India and live with her relatives during the perilous time when the demolition of Babri Masjid took place(Umar, 2011). All she did was that she secretly shed her tears while behaving submissively. This shows that the females had to obey the commands of the men and fulfil their wishes while keeping her own wish surreptitious.

A woman has been conditioned in terms of subduing her desires while fitting in the socio-cultural framework of her family. Nasrin has portrayed the character of Kironmoyee as the patriarchal woman who is a self-sacrificing and selfless mother and is subservient in front of the demands of her son and husband(Zafar, 2005). From the point of view of feminism, Taslima in Lajja has shown how the women are jeopardized in the name of sex and depending on nationality that is indistinguishable with the religion. Muslims of Bangladesh had all the freedom while the Hindus acted as slaves and had to keep their identity secret. As a feminist writer, Taslima has condemned the behaviour towards the women as the objects of physical, psychological violence and lust. She has depicted how the women worldwide had been harassed sexually and were kidnapped and subjected to other torture which may turn into death results. The novelist has demonstrated how the Hindu girls of Bangladesh were abducted and tortured. The hooligans used to rape the girls brutally. Hence, most of the Hindu daughters were sent to India for their security and education(Zaman, 2016). An instance from the novel has been quoted in this context to present the situation of Hindu girls in Bangladesh after the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992.

Manju Rani Seal, a student in the ninth standard.. .was abducted at 8 p.m., on the evening of 4 December 1988 by Abdur Rahim and his goons. A case was registered the next day at the Laksam police station by her distraught family. There is no trace of Manju Rani. Her abductors threatened Premanand Seal and his family but the police took no action when informed. Hindu families in the area are now terrified of sending their daughters to school. In Parkumira village of Tala sub­district in Satkhira, Rabindranath Ghosh's young daughter, Chhanda, a third standard student.her School teacher abducted her with the help of some young hooligans. They took the terrified little girl to garden nearby and raped her.a case was filed.no one was arrested .” (Lajja, p.48-49)(Nasrin, 2003)

Hence, Taslima has mentioned that the women are the mere objects who were used by the males of the society to quench their lust. To retaliate the demolition of Babri Masjid in India, the women were desecrated and defiled since they became the extension of the geo-political entity that is India for the religious fundamentalists of Bangladesh(Alam, 2015). The character of Maya portrayed by Nasrin in the novel is same where she has been kidnapped for which she was suffering from a terrible trauma that made her psychic and she could not behave normally.

Lajja has been developed from the feministic view of Nasrin where the writer has divulged whatever she has experienced in her life. She expressed the views in context to the religion and has highlighted the drawbacks of the Islamic religion. In the initial days, Taslima was proud of her country Bangladesh due to its rich culture and heritage(Bhattarai, 2013). But, slowly she became the proponent of maliciousness of the Muslims which changed her thought.

By developing the foregoing discussion, Taslima has attempted to evaluate the marginalization of the women in Bangladesh. Nasrin portrayed the religious fanaticism through her novel from the thought of a feminist writer. The introduction of the females who were abducted and tortured by the Islamic fundamentalists has been the principle point of discussions in her novels (Chandini & Meenakshi, 2016).

Thus, the religious fundamentalism and gender extremism move side by side as portrayed by Nasrin in her novels.

The violence of the women has been a major problem and a matter of concern. Many of the authors have portrayed the struggles and plight of women in Bangladesh after the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992. They were tortured in the name of religion, societal norms and culture. Nasrin did not write the novel Lajja to entertain the readers but to fight and oppose the injustice, gender bias, and women oppression. She turned her voice for the marginalized and subjugated women in the patriarch society (Dasgupta, 2013). Taslima understood the violence which was physical and mental in nature against the women in the communities. The violence shown against the women has been considered as the performance of the gender bias that resulted in the psychological, sexual and physical harm for the women. They faced threats of arbitrary deprivation and coercion which occurred in their private and public lives. As portrayed in Lajja, some of the major reasons of violence were forced marriage, sexual harassment, victims of suspicion and rape(Devi, 2015). Women have been always tortured and subjugated as explained in the preceding section of the study.

The expedition for feminism has been a social phenomenon after independence in India and has been influenced by the changing situations of the reality like freedom movement, social reforms, progressive education and the emerging contacts with urban growth. Feminism has been developed as the worldwide movement in order to secure the rights of the women and develop respect and love for the women by men. Taslima wrote her novel Lajja based on the struggles of her women protagonists in terms of survival and recognition (Garner & Cherrin, 2014). The female characters of Taslima's novel that are Kironmoyee and Maya acted as per the norms of patriarchal society. She has highlighted the conditions of those women surviving in the marginal society of Bangladesh and were oppressed being Hindu. The women were double victims on the basis of subjugation and marginalization in terms of religious grounds. They lost their self­respect and gender identity. As discussed in the previous section of the study, Kironmoyee is one of the major characters of Lajja who was suppressed being a woman and could not fulfil her desires but has to keep the pot roasting in context to family responsibilities. She has invested her mental, monetary and resources to keep the family together(Hasan, 2010). This shows the evidence of society and family how they marginalized the women. But, Kironmoyee in respect to feminism fought a tough fight for the abduction of her daughter, Maya. She showed her second assertion when she refused to receive any financial help from her son since her husband was paralyzed. This depicted Kironmoyee as the dupe of patriarchy. The Muslim ruled the country and the Hindus had to follow them and their culture. Kironmoyee despite being a Hindu woman had to give up sindoor and Bengali culture since she was forced to follow the religion and culture of the ruling caste in Bangladesh(KAR, 2015). The following quote has been identified as per the following situation which shows women domination and subjugation beyond her wish.

“Kironmoyee had stopped using sindoor in the parting in her hair and loha and sankha on her wrist as was expected of every married Hindu woman” (Lajja, p.97). (Nasrin, 2003)

This depicted the male version of the world which emphasized on the women marginalization. The downfall of the Babri Masjid in 1992 has developed torture and brutality of the Hindu families residing in Bangladesh, especially the women. The females were demeaned, tortured, brutalized and raped. The cruel behaviour of the men against the women affected their lives and left them cognitive or has led to certain disorders (Umar, 2011). The example of the character of Maya from Lajja can be discussed in this context, where the girl was kidnapped by the Muslim hooligans. The girl could not tolerate that and became a mental patient for 2 months. Maya asked for help but no one helped her since the kidnappers were Muslim. She only cried taking the name of her mother, “‘ Ma . . . please help me, Ma . . .' She fought with her captors as she was dragged away, looking back in pain and terror, hoping against hope that her mother would be able to save her (Lajja, p.148)(Nasrin, 2003). Her brother that is Suranjan did not find Maya and was unable to receive any legal assistance as the abductors were Muslims.

Situations become worse when the societal institutions like family, society, and religion who were supposed to provide asafe environment, turn to be appalling. The kidnapping incident of Maya is a violence and inhumanness. The women were viewed as the victims of the dominating society. The women were discriminated on the basis of their gender identity and sex. At the end, Maya was killed after which the Dutta family moved to India(Zaman, 2016). The decision narrates pain, insecurity, mindless killing and fear which occurred in that society. The depiction of the female characters and their treatment under the Muslim fundamentalists meet the discussion points as per the feminist analysis. The novel depicts marginalization and subjugation of the women in the Muslim community.

Qaisra Shahraz can be categorized as a regional novelist, since her novelsdeal with Pakistan’s rural life with special focus on women’s situation. Her novel,The Holy Woman (2001), shows how the old and the new, the traditionalist and the rationalist, the patriarch and the feminist, standing at the crossroads of rural Pakistan, make an effort to identify, and follow the path of their choices. Inbetween the lines of her narrative, Shahraz skilfully deconstructs theIslam phobic discourses of the orientalists, contests the fundamentalist stances, and engages the reader in negotiating a much-needed change for gender equation. Built around the dichotomies in women’s everyday life in Pakistan, the novel narrates the story of a university-educated woman with professed feminist views, who lets herself be victimised by her doting feudal-father. The heroine is no rebel; her endless struggle for carving an identity and finding her voice in the male orientedworld, ends in success. Shahraz’s heroine, Zarri Bano epitomises how women, noosed by traditions, negotiate their way to self-realisation via blending the modern with the traditional. Through Zarri Bano, Shahraz advocates that inspiration from the West is not enough; Pakistani women have to relocate themselves to their roots. Only then change would be possible. Change, however, does not mean standing alone; Shahraz advocates a cohesive framework forging solidarity between first and third world women.Treatment meted out to women in different cultures, and the extent to which this treatment is caused by religious dictates, is debated globally. In feminist discourses, religion, religion-based anti-women cultural mores, and male religious interpretations remain a focal point worldwide. Qaisra Shahraz in her debut novel, The Holy Woman (2001) set within contemporary Sindh’s patriarchal and feudal frame, looks with a feminist lens at the age-old oppression of a woman by her own near and dear ones - by her male protectors.

Qaisra Shahraz was born in Pakistan but lives and works in England. She is a well-known, educationist, and has a successful writing career in many genres. Her close observation of rural Pakistan gives the impression that she has never been away. Her first two novels, The Holy Woman (2001)2 and Typhoon (2003), detail essential characteristics of Sindh, its physical features, its people, its customs and its traditions. Her aim is not to portray feudal culture only; she sketches the life of the humble and subdued ones too. More importantly, she deals with the lives of women who try to cope with feudal structuresentrenched firmly in customs and traditions having serious, often fatal, consequences forwomen. The action of her first novel The Holy Woman, and its sequel, Typhoon, takes place in rural Sindh, defamed for trivialising women at one hand, and on the other, placing them in the most sought after office of head of the government. She also compares and contrasts rural Sindh with urban Sindh, and even with the world outside. While describing the village people and their customs, she provides a credible setting, with the eye of an insider, by weaving together the present with the past. Hence, the text turns into a kaleidoscope, capturing all the colours and hues of the land, mirroring all the images- from joyous moods to mournful moments.

As a Muslim woman living in the West, Shahraz in The Holy Woman is not narrating the story of one woman, Zarri Bano The story becomes the story of all those women who encounter violence at the hands of those whom they hold dear. They let themselves be deprived and victimised, not because they lack power to defend themselves or to counterattack the victimiser; they opt to do so because the victimiser looks vulnerable to them and they wish to protect him. Also, by looking at the wider perspective, moving beyond the physical and cultural confines of Pakistan, in narrating this story, the writer attempts to counter the rhetoric of the Orientalists and to contest the fundamentalismstand toward her people- the Muslims. Commenting upon these two aspects of Shahraz's novels, particularly in the context of their publication in Turkey ‘at a time when discussions were ongoing on the theme of clash of civilisations', Burak Fazyl Qabuk observed that they ‘have also been reliable and useful sources of information for those who interpret the West differently from the East. Edward Said, while challenging Orientalism as a concept of difference between east and west, further argued that Orientalism ‘was an exclusively male province... it viewed itself and its subject matter with sexist blinders.' He explained, ‘this is especially evident in the writing of travelers and novelists: women are usually the creatures of a male-power fantasy. They express unlimited sensuality; they are more or less stupid, above all they are willing' (Said 2007, 45-55). The production of suchan episteme then has led to the emergence of a powerful ideology which tends to universalize Western norms. Ziauddin Sardar, a London-based cultural critic of Pakistani origin, in his book Orientalism (Sardar 2005:117) referring to the problematics of orientalism, writes, “Orientalism is built out of the constructive imagination of the culture of the West. It is as diverse as the dexterity of Western culture; this is why and how Orientalism as a process has survived, keeping step with the place of its origin and use, a work of change and continuity. Orientalism is memory, imagination and presents utility in a process of representation that structures knowledge and information. As such, Orientalism cannot be appreciated only as academic discourse; it is a cultural discourse in the widest possible sense, it is simply what is known and taken for granted.” The fundamentalist narratives also follow the same line. Zine in her article ‘ Between Orientalism and Fundamentalism ’ observes, “Muslim women’s bodies continue to be disciplined and regulated by both oppressive laws mandating veiling under authoritarian theocratic regimes in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan as well as by the laws denying their freedom to wear headscarves in Western democratic society like France, Germany and Turkey. In either case the fact that their bodies are made subservient to the decrees of patriarchal state authorities is an anti-feminist move.” Muslim women, Zine warns, must be attentive to ‘the ways their bodies and identities are scripted in service of neo-imperialist goals and from within fundamentalist worldviews (Zine 2006: 10).

Though not included among the countries Zine discusses, women in Pakistan, since centuries, ‘continue to be disciplined by and regulated’ by oppressive traditions in the name of religion, tradition, and expediency of state authority. As tradition, ideology and culture informed by patriarchal dogmas generate a set of beliefs which influence masculine and feminine identity formations, both men and women in Pakistan have succumbed to these dictates. In Pakistani society, women are highly valorised as mothers and daughtersbut their bodies are subjugated and identities mutilated by mechanisms of power themoment they deviate from the prescribed norms.The essentialist construction of a Muslim woman as the ‘other’ has created a series of debates amongst postcolonial theorists and feminists. The sensationalized representation of a Muslim or the third-world woman as victim in the Western media is a regular practice. Homi Bhabha (Bhabha: 1990) rightly observes that, the epistemological generalizations sensationalize issues relating nations.

Questioning the validity of the western representation of ‘third-world women', Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, a leading feminist, postcolonial critic and deconstructionist, by giving a provocative title to essay and the book, ‘ Can the Subaltern Speak ' (1988), opened a new discourse on how the ‘other' women are forced into silence or remain without unspoken words. The knowledge produced thus extends the frontiers of hegemonic power more and enriches knowledge less, so argues Spivak. Commenting upon what Spivak refers to as epistemic violence, Stephen Morton says, “Spivak has argued that everyday lives of many third world women are so complex and unsystematic that they cannot be known or represented in any straightforward way by the vocabularies of Western critical theory. For Spivak, this crisis in knowledge highlights the ethical risks at stake when privileged intellectuals make political claims on behalf of oppressed groups. These risks include the danger that the voices, lives and struggles of ‘Third World' women will be silenced and contained within the technical vocabulary of western critical theory” (Morton 2003: 7). Spivak, however, also feels the need to register the protest against the world-view based on western knowledge that ‘all women's lives and histories are the same' (Morton 2003:90). Contesting the binaries of orientalism and fundamentalism, Shahraz in her tale of The Holy Woman, embarks on a journey to represent Muslim culture to the western eye. Like a native informant, Shahraz in Spivakian spirit feels that ‘Literature can provide rhetorical space for subaltern groups to re-articulate the suppressed histories of popular struggle' (Morton: 2003:124). Hence Shahraz, in an interview, explains that through hernovel The Holy Woman she tries to dispel ‘negative views about Islam and Muslims at large’by introducing ‘the vibrant Muslim world, its customs and rituals’ by taking them ‘on a journey to four Muslim countries - Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia’. Regarding the issue of Muslim women’s veiling practices, Shahraz, wishes not only to ‘debunk stereotyped views and Western myths that Muslim women are oppressed’. On the contrary, she wants to show that ‘in the modern Muslim world most women are making choices in taking to the veil whole heartedly and for personal reasons and feelings of self-esteem, dignity and a Muslim identity’ (Ahmedehussain, 2007). As majority of writings represent Muslim women as oppressed by their religion. Shahraz, however, decides the other way. Her novel The Holy Woman studies the life of a woman who has the best of this world but rural customs and traditions decide the other way. Zarri Bano, a daughter much loved by her father becomes the victim of his oppression. Although she has bee trained to grow into an independent woman with feminist consciousness, the death of her only brother, un-wed and therefore childless, makes her life helter-skelter. For the feudal father the only way to preserve his land and name is by erecting an old tradition of turning his beloved daughter into Shahzadi Ibadat (a rural custom when a girl is forcefully married to the Qur’an). Her father plans to do this at a ceremony, in which he would announce her marriage to the Qur’an. This thesis explores how Shahraz’s heroine, Zarri Bano, standing at the cross-roads of the forces of obscurantism operating in the name of religion and globalization negotiates her way. Faith, Feminism and Shahraz Pakistan though a post-colonial society is structurally tribal and feudalistic to its core. The dominance of these structures at a socio/political level weakens the position of women in the society by empowering men in all spheres of life. Zarri Bano, the central female character of The Holy Woman, is a peculiar mixture of age-old feudal mores and changing urban trends. The reader gets a first glimpse of elegantly dressed Zarri Bano with a defiantlook, while she is attending an annual village fair (Shahraz 2001: 12). Gradually we come toknow of Zarri Bano as the darling child of her father who loves his land as intensely as he adores his daughter and is determined to have complete, undisputed, and unchallenged hold over her life.

In Zarri Bano's persona, one discovers layers after layers of complexities,contradicting each other, riding as ferocious tidal waves, quickly merging with each other and finally quieting down. Serenity and peace then prevails. Unlike most daughters of the feudal chiefs of Sindh, Zarri Bano is university- educated, moves freely out of the confines of the home, and knows how to share the benefits of her education and training with others, mainly with the disadvantaged members of her sex. Quickly and angrily, she remonstrates to Ruby, her younger sister, when the latter quipsabout Sikander, the good-lookingKarachi tycoon who comes to their sprawling home in Chiraghpur with a marriage proposal for Zarri Bano. Snubbing Ruby that Sikander ‘may have the bait to draw' her ‘into his web' Zarri chastises her sister: ‘I am not a fish to be angled at, caught and trapped, Ruby' (Shahraz 2001, 16). Little did she know that the web was already cast; the fate of the two sisters was sealed with Sikander who was destined first to wed Ruby, and then subsequent to her demise, to wed Zarri Bano, the love of his life. Within the depths of Zarri Bano lies veiled and camouflaged a woman who speaks intuitively but has to wait for a while to witness reality. What looks like an angry repartee between the two sisters, indeed is the key that will open the mysteries of Zarri Bano's life. Zarri Bano announces to her sister, “I am a free woman, I will decide if I want this or any other man. This is why ten years have elapsed and I still have not married. You will probably marry before me and I will be an old maid” (Shahraz 2001:16-17). The story of her life takes sudden and sharp turns, bumping Zarri Bano helterskelter. The tragic death of her only brother and the finale of her rendezvous with Sikander happen simultaneously in Zarri Bano’s life. She falls in love with Sikander and decides to marry him.

Following his only son’s untimely death, Zarri Bano’s father’s single mostimportant priority is to find a solution to his own query: ‘What is to become of us and our inheritance?’ The answer is to turn his beloved daughter into ‘Shahzadi Ibadat’ (a holy woman). Marriage with Sikander had to be turned down by Zarri Bano as her feudal father declares with all the might running through his body that he is not going to hand over his lands ‘to some stranger who just happens to marry my daughter’(Shahraz 2001, 66). It is at this turn of the narrative of Zarri Bano’s life that the tragic reality _ a reality shared by countless other Zarri Banos _ hits the reader. All the education and freedoms that Zarri Bano had enjoyed vanish, leaving behind a disempowered woman with no control over her body or an iota of courage to get away from kin-networks. The same family that provides shelter and security thus transforms into a site of oppression for a helpless woman. Much has been debated and inscribed on woman’s sexuality, exploring and answering why and with what consequences male members of a family in Pakistan jealously guard it. The question, how to stop it, however, remains unanswered. Zarri Bano, transformed into a new woman being in love for the first time, falls prey to the brutal force of an inhumane, primitive tradition - a tradition condemned by her faith but upheld by her society. Here, the stark irony is that this happens not to a woman who cannot speak; it happens to a woman known for her feminist stance in her social circle. As expected, she fights for herself. She resists. She appeals to her father -now the patriarch standing tall to command and order her life. “I want to be a normal woman, and live a normal life! I want to get married. I am not a very religious person you know. I am a twentieth-century modern, educated woman. I am not living in the Mughal period- a pawn in the game of male chess don't you know father. I have hardly ever prayed in my life, nor opened the Holy Quran on a regular basis. How can I become a Holy Woman, I am not suited to that role” (Shahraz 2001:85). The Mother moves to rescue her daughter, and chastises and pleads, all in one breathe, to her husband, “You and your father are the puppeteers Habib,and you hold my daughter's fate in your hand. What choice do I have? I can only swing anddangle along in whichever direction you pull and manoeuvre my strings. What can I do tosave my daughter from the fate you have destined for her - I am shackled to the chains of your male domination, your resume, your tradition” (Shahraz 2001:71).

Zarri Bano's transition from a free and independent woman into a mere tool in the hands of her father for sake of the protection of male honour and ancestral lands is a true tale of many a woman entrapped in feudal culture. Her protests are of no avail and she finally submits to male supremacy. Shahraz dexterously takes the tragic story to its climax when the reader almost hears Zarri Bano crying at her helplessness. Her changed persona even shocks Zarri Bano herself; wrapped in the burqa the real Zarri is erased. Shahraz paints this new camouflaged Zarri Bano who “stood frozen wearing the Burqa dehumanized. This new role, she feels has deprived her of real identity” (2001:144).

It is at this point that the writer boldly presents the protesting voice of a resilient woman determined not to prostrate and give up the struggle. Addressing her mother she declares, ‘I am not only your daughter or my father’s daughter, I am me! But you and father have brutally stripped me of my identity as a normal woman and instead reduced me to the role of a puppet. I am he said to do his bidding. I never knew my father could do this to me. I used to feel sorry for other women whose men folk were tyrants---. Little did I guess that I was being brought-up in the lap of a male tyrant myself --- you have all numbed me into a commitment, with which I will have to go along but not willingly, Mother” (Shahraz 2001:87). Her mother’s entreaties to save her daughter from such a fate prove useless. Shahraz in her narrative criticizes fundamentalist obsession with traditional gender relationships and the role of women as transmitters of culture and religion. Thus, on the pretext of preserving Islamic identity women are subjected to patriarchal violence under the guise of tradition. Forced marriages are common in Pakistan, especially in rural areas.If a woman is ‘chaste’ and docile she may escape violence; if she rebels, then violence andexploitation await her. Zarri Bano regrets, ‘How am I going to come to terms with alonging that has to be denied and to a life of sterility?’ (Shahraz 2001:163).

Does she really submit? Does she let her identity be erased forever by the whimsical pronouncements of a father who values his land more and his child less? Shahraz answering these questions that rattle the mind of her western reader, moves the story from being merely the story of a woman tied to rural Pakistan; her heroine, donning the garb of what would ordinarily appear as the symbol of male enslavement of the female body, i.e.the burqa, turns into a world trotter. She travels to distant lands, meets with other women and talks with them. Zarri Bano appears happy despite being a Holy Woman, a choice albeit forced upon her. An informed reader recognises that Zarri Bano is knowledgeable about her rights given to her by her faith; as an educated woman who has the experience of working with one of the prestigious NGOs of Pakistan, she knows about the rights given to her by the constitution of her country. What, then, deters her from claiming those rights? Does she have no desires? Or, as she professes to Musa Ibrahim, the man who proposes marriage to her in Cairo, that ‘I have trained both my mind and heart towards a life of total devotional Ibadan.I have learned to divorce my life from things like marriage and men' (Shahraz, 2001, 271). Has she? No. At the end of this conversation, Zarri Bano, brushing tears from her eyes, silently shrieks, Sikander, where are you?' (Shahraz 2001, 272).

What Zarri Bano says in undertones, indeed marks the crux of the story. Zarri Bano, it is obvious, has not made peace with her fate. How could she? She could read the Qur'an and understand its message for justice. Kharal in his paper ‘The Holy Woman: The Feminist Perspective' referring to anti-women traditions, comments ‘these male-made postulates are neither allowed by any religion nor by any law, but males have been sacrificing females and their basic rights in the name of so called family honour since the time immemorial' (2001:53). Farida Shaheed, a sociologist and a woman's rights activist in Pakistan in her article ‘Cultural Articulation of Patriarchy' rightly concludes that “---Islamicinjunctions protecting or promoting the rights of women have been systematically rejected.Inversely, customs which contradict Islam but which ensure the supremacy of men have been accepted and continue to operate” (1991:140). Nafeesa Shah a writer from Sindhexplains how women's bodies treated as a commodity are used to regulate settlements in Sindh (1998:228). One of the tenets of the informal settlements system is the concept of ‘Izzat, Ghairat or Honour'. It plays a very crucial role in the lives of rural women. “In the Pakistan context it could be woman's assertion of sexual rights or defiance of dictatorial male attitudes towards sexual/marital choices, that is fornication and loss of virginity, premarital intercourse and out of wed-lock pregnancy, divorce from an abusive husband or refusal to marry someone of the family's choice”, explains Tahira Khan (khan 2006:43). Zarri Bano admits to a friend in Karachi, ‘I became a coward and a victim rolled into one, by suppressing and sacrificing my own needs’ Zarri Bano, here, is echoing Johan Galtung’s definition of cultural violence. To Gatlung ‘Violence is needs deprivation; deprivation is serious' (1990:295). What makes Zarri Bano’s case different is that she had her choices but she preferred not to opt for them, ‘Yes, I could have refused my father, if I had wanted to. But I didn’t at the end, for the same reason as thousands of other young women in our patriarchal society end up saying “yes”.” (Shahraz 2001:173). At another place, she explains this to Sikander, “Our family, behaviour, social etiquette is dictated by a code of ethics and customs peculiar to my clan - which you as an outsider from another social group, cannot begin to understand. I am a part of that whole, and that is where I belong. I cannot cut myself off for you from that whole, it is not that simple!” (Shahraz 2001: 126). Her father’s decision is also an indication of protecting and preserving the economic interests of male family members only.

The feudalist do not approve of their property being transferred to another family in the form of dowry, since they consider the son-in-law an outsider. Eventually, the invention of this tradition (woman's marriage to the Qur'an) empowers the feudal to control his women and property. Furthermore, they use religion as an ideology which not only pressures women to accept such decisions but also provides them with the moral ground to exercise power.

Hence, these male-centred socio/political and ethical codes entirely disempower women. The death of Jafar (Zarri's brother) shakes the normal order at Habib's haveli (Villa), and Zarri being the eldest daughter is subjected to violence. Zarri Bano as a holy woman is not permitted to meet Sikander or anyone. Her marriage with Sikander is cancelled. Therefore, Habib annuls her sexuality by announcing her wedding to the Qur'an. Zarri Bano is lost and bewildered. Again, religion is used in the power game engineered by men to establish and maintain their hold over people, family, and land. Bernett and Manderson in their book Violence Against Woman depict the reality as such: “Hegemonic construction of gender are pivotal in the formation of women's and men's social identities, their personal subjectivities, their status and the power dynamics of female/male dynamics. In the Asian society represented, the expectation that women should remain faithful to the domestic sphere, obedient to male authority and sexually passive is pervasive” (Bernett & Manderson: 2003:11). Having control over material and non-material sources, the feudal lord then becomes strong enough socio/politically to manipulate lives and events. Therefore, Habib's decision of making Zarri Bano Shahzadi Ibadat has socio/political implications too. He knows well that his decision will strengthen his position socially. People would respect him more in tying his daughter's fate with the Qur'an and would seek his daughter's advice on matters pertaining to religion. “In his mind he recalled the vision of another Shahzadi Ibadat from his child-hood. How fascinated he had been by that woman and the fame and the reverence she had elicited from everyone. Wherever she went, _ Bibi, Bibi9_ had echoed reverently around her. His Zarri Bano and her personal charisma would surpass every Shahzadi Ibadat of all time. She was both beautiful and educated. She even had a postgraduate university degree. The more he thought about his daughter becoming a Holy Woman, the more convinced he became that it was the right decision”(Shahraz 2001:68). Hence, The Holy Woman clearly portraysthe character of a feudal who cleverly uses different tactics to empower himself and oppressthe other half to maintain status quo. Contrary to expectations, Zarri Bano's orientation to Islam opens her eyes. Instead of considering it a religion of oppressi on for women, she found that Islam has liberated her from vain ideas and meaningless practices. A woman being so un-religious changes altogether. On her visit to England during her talk on religion, she is questioned on her strict observance of veil. She answers, ‘It is true that I found it very strange at first, Jane, when I began to wear hijab. Two years ago I wanted to tear it aside, now I cannot live without it. The veil has given me a sense of my self-worth, respect, and dignity. Above all, it has freed me from vanity. I never thought it to be easy but I have been able to shed myself of the trappings of female vanity” (Shahraz 2001:284).

She rejects the erroneous concept that Islam degrades woman and rather feels that the West attempts to create unnatural equality between man and woman. Zarri who earlier had no knowledge of Islam, learns about the true spirit of Islam which she feels does not subjugate women. Interestingly, becoming Shahzadi Ibadat provides her with great learning experiences. Spirituality strengthens her ‘self' and she becomes a caring, humble, and compassionate human-being. She also ensures Sikander that her present role would grant her greater freedom and mobility of which she was deprived even as a University student. She plans to go to Egypt to study religion and attend conferences relating Islam. She defends her father's decision as such, “In fact, my role as a holy woman, I will have greater freedom and independence as a woman. I will not be tied to any man, nor to any roles and commitment only to my faith and that what entails like any other normal person. What can be better than commitment to our faith” (Shahraz 2001:125). Her steadfastness after becoming Shahzad Ibadat depicts a woman who has strong Asian traits of devotion to family and culture. Luckily, later her father repenting his decision tells Zarri Bano, “I want to make amends. If now, or in the future you ever wish to marry, you will have my full blessings” (Shahraz 2001:187). However, she repeats herpledge of not marrying. Unfortunately, the sudden death of her sister Ruby who hadmarried Sikander leaves her shaken. At this stage her mother requests her to marry Sikander for the sake of little Harris (her nephew). She reacts as such, “How convenient of you to remind me now, mother- now that it suits all of you, I am asked to marry. Do you think I am a wax doll that you can mould to dance to your tune when and however, it suits you? I am a human being! A woman who can never contemplate wedlock” (Shahraz 2001:349). Talking about the relationship between Sikander and Zarri Bano in an interview (2007), Shahraz comments, “There was love-hate tension in this relationship, making the readers want to know what would happen and would they ever get back together again.” In the end, she decides to marry Sikander on her own terms for the sake of her nephew. An average reader would feel that her family, patriarchal norms and the society have gravely wronged Zarri Bano. But in the case of Zarri Bano her acquiring of the religious knowledge helps her and the family around to have a clean picture of Islam and not the one portrayed by obscurantists. Zarri's liberal feminist views, before becoming Shahzadi Ibadaat and her total absorption into the new role, become problematic for the reader. Furthermore, her emphatic defense of Islam and its tenets even those relating to women shows a new position of women emerging as a result of post 9/11 development, militant violence and religious extremism. The text allocates Shahraz and her spokes-woman Zarri the position of ‘faith-based feminists'. They do not consider religion to be the source of women's oppression but feel that tradition and misinterpretation of religion are responsible for this mess. A notable faith-based feminist, Zine writes, “Muslim feminists such as Leila Ahmed,Asma Barlas, Amina Wadud, and Azzizah al- Hibri do not consider the hijab to be a religious requirement, yet they may nonetheless support the civil liberties of Muslim women in Europe and Turkey who are denied the choice to adopt this particular style of dress in schools and other public institutions' (2006:9). This also appears to be Shahraz'spoint of view.The novel ends with Zarri Bano's decision to live a normal life with Sikander. He assures her absolute freedom and independence. He says, “Let the passionate woman come to life again you can still carry on leading your life the way you have chosen to do. You can even run your own madrasas, go to conventions, hold seminars- whatever you want. I am not going to strip you of your religious identity, if that is what you are afraid of. I respect and accept you as you are. In fact, it is a great honour for me to have a pakeeza woman and a scholar for a wife. Do not see me as threat to yourself, but as a friend” (Shahraz 2001:488-89).

Zarri Bano's decision to marry Sikander suggests that she has complete control over her life and body. Furthermore, the situation also favors her in having the love of the man whom she once passionately loved once. It is Sikander who bends down and is ready to do anything for his love. Zarri's decision to marry Sikander also reflects Shahraz's thinking that a woman should not ignore her physical needs, while remaining within the limits prescribed by religion.

Hence, peace is restored when the protagonist reconciles her two opposing selves, the spiritual and the physical. Therefore, Shahraz's views are in direct conflict with those of Bapsi Sidhwa's. Sidhwa, a Pakistani fiction writer, who believes that religion is responsible for the oppression of woman. In her novel, An American Brat (1993) the heroine (Feroza) knows that Parsi women cannot marry outside their community but she decides not to allow religion comes in her way. Qaisra Shahraz can be better compared with another Pakistani writer Tehmina Durrani. Both writers consider culture and not religion as the source of women's exploitation. Durrani's Blasphemy (1998) also throws light on the misuse of Islam by feudal Muslims priests. Interestingly, then tradition at times used as a tool of oppression might also lead to the development of independent thought in an individual. Both heroines, Zarri Bano in The Holy Woman and Heer in Blasphemy, react in their own way affirming that they no longer would be enslaved by customs, traditions and unfair use of Islam. Both are ready to meet the future with ‘new vision of life'.

As a Muslim writer and native informant, Qaisra Shahraz not only deconstructsthe monolithic truth relating Western Orientalism but also the obscurantist discourseswhich reduce the complexity of women's experiences in their respective countries. However, Shahraz thinks that problematic culture is the chief enemy of Muslim women.

Furthermore, she feels that both views need to shed the limitations they contain, since both favour either cultural imperialism or religious extremism. A notable professor from Aligarh University and co-editor of The Holy and the Unholy: Critical Essays on the Craft of Qaisra Shahraz's Fiction, Asim Sidiqqui (2012), comments, “She redefines feminism for Pakistani society. Call it Islamic Feminism, Muslim Feminism or by whatever name, she does not mindlessly indulge in Islam and Muslim bashing which is the motif in lots of, what has been called oppressed women's novels. Her target is rather the agrarian system, some oppressive customs in Sind and the subversion of Islam to serve one's own interest.” Zarri Bano's decision to marry Sikander and her resolve of reaching out to him suggests ‘a new beginning in their relationship' where Sikander is ready to make all adjustments to accommodate the needs of his wife and co-exist happily, defying the traditional order commonly practiced in South-Asian cultures. The novel also strengthens the thesis that marriage does not stifle the growth of an individual but rather, as in Zarri Bano's case, facilitates in determining her identity in the Pakistani context. Through this narrative, Qaisra Shahraz tries to establish the fact that Islam is not a misogynistic or a sexist discourse. She resists the views of those secular scholars who reduce Islam to make it fit into a negative framework. She believes it is imperative now to move beyond reductive paradigms and build solidarity amongst feminists having diverse positions. Mir-Hosseni (1999) also emphasizes the same point for Muslim women when she writes, “It is important to locate women's demands in a political context that is not isolated from the women's movements and experiences elsewhere in the world.

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- Zafar, M. Under the gaze of the state: policing literature and the case of Taslima Nasrin. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 6 (3), 410-421. IJELLH ISSN- 2321-7065.Volume V, Issue VIII August 2017 393.(2005).
- Zaman, N. From Islamic Feminism to Radical Feminism: Roquiah Sakhawat Hossein to Taslima Nasrin. An International Journal of Asian Literatures, Cultures and Englishes, 10 (1), 4-26. (2016).

Chapter 2

Forms of Subjugation

Chapter II

FORMS OF SUBJUGATION

“When Men are oppressed it is a Tragedy,
When Women are oppressed it is a Tradition.”

- Bernadette Mosala

The emergence of Taslima Nasrin's feminist writings inaugurates one of the controversial moments in the annals of South Asian literature. Taslima Nasrin, a woman writer of Bangladesh, is an award-winning writer, physician, secular humanist and human rights activist. She is known for her powerful writings on women oppression and unflinching criticism of religious fanaticism.

The paper is aimed at highlighting the plight of common man in the name of religion. Taslima Nasrin's Lajja has been chosen for discussion. Through this novel, Nasrin.Brings out the sufferings of the common people under the name of religious and cultural practice of the society. By unveiling the patriarchal agenda of subordinating women, and by introducing overt and covert strategies to subvert this agenda, she has pioneered the feminist discourse in South Asian society. Lajja is a moving story of protest, passion, principle and persecution. The novel, Lajja portrays the horrendous and horrifying experience of a minority family, the Dauttas- Sudhamony, Kironmoyee and their two children. Suranjan and Maya have to face so many trials and abuse without any rhyme or reason- just only because of their Hindu identity in Bangladesh.

Sudhamoy an atheist, still believed with a native mix of optimism and idealism that his motherland would not let him down. But the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in December 1992 triggered a spurt of communal violence in Bangladesh. The Hindus, those like the Duttas, became the victim of religious attack. Sudhamoy's family which is the focal point in the novel depicts the pangs of sorrow and anxiety of their community through the personal suffering of each member of his family.

Sudhamoy's house was completely ravaged and Maya, his grown up daughter was forcefully kidnapped before his very eyes. Helpless Sudhamoy suffered a severe attack of paralysis and his voice became slurred. Kironmoyee, who ran after the kidnappers, was hurt in the head and she fell down unconscious on the road. Suranjan, the son, brought up with his father's idealism was now at the verge of a helpless desperation and complete frustration. He seeks the help of his friend Haider to trace Maya but realizes that he was of no help at all. All attempts to find his sister were fruitless.

Suranjan realizes that he had been a victim of religious discrimination at every step of his life. He recalls how his brief stint with Parveen came to an end because he was a Hindu. Even his last hope to make up for his wasted life by settling down with Ratna, a girl of his community too was thwarted when she accepts a Muslim husband for herself. Blinded by a fury of frustration, he intends to rape a Muslim girl on victory day, the independence day of Bangladesh. But he only ends up bruising, scratching and raping a poor prostitute Shamima who had to trade her body for a little food.

During all these moments of crisis, Kironmoyee remains poised and nurse her husband as she had done earlier. The mass exodus of 1947 was being repeated once again. Yet she is undaunted and courageous enough to reply to Aleya Begum's suggestion to migrate to India that she wouldn't do so because this was her own identity. Aleya was surprised at her reply but Sudhamoy lying on the bed realizes that the two women can never be equal citizens in this country.

Still further, to his utter dismay, S Sudhamoy finds his youthful son burning all the books of Lenin, Marx. Dostoevsky, Nehru and Azad and many more. One more realization descends on him that his idealist secular minded son has already been forced to the brink of religious fanaticism. He was wounded and full of pain. He had been hurt by his family, society and above all his country and that he was burning himself in the surging flames of an inferiority complex which is typical of every ethnic community striving to survive.

Suranjan was determined now not to cling to his father's empty idealism anymore. The inhuman cruelty and violence that had been heaped on his community at the wake of every national disturbance must bring sense to his father. He implores him to leave such a nation that has betrayed them again and again.

"However much we call ourselves atheists, however much we call ourselves humanists, these people out there will call us Hindus. They'l call us bastards. The more we love this country, the more we think of it as our own, the more we'l be forced into a corner. The more we love the people of this country, the more they will isolate us" (ILajja 213)

Sudhamoy replies with concern "It will be a rootless existence..."(Lajja 214).

To which his son's question is emotionally charged.

"What will you do with your roots, Baba? If your roots are so powerful then why are you Hiding behind locked doors and windows? Will you stay this way all your lite?" (Lajja 214).

Sudhamoy's reply was a firm No" at the moment:

‘' Is India your father's home or your grandfather's? From your family, who the hell stays in India? Do you want to run away from your own homeland? Doesn't it make you feel ashamed?" (Lajja, 213).

Later in the darkness of the night awakening of a sinister kind rises inside him and fills his heart with fear and apprehension. Before his very eyes ivory tower of his lifelong idealism and sacrifice had crumbled to pieces. The nation of his blood and hope has let him down. Now he must leave with his wife and son for a life free from worries and anxieties, insecurity, torture and death. He must deliver his battered and bruised family from the clutch of this ever- hunting nightmare. Sudhamoy's decides to migrate to India.

Thus, the story of Sudhamoy, Kironmoyee and their two children Maya and Suranjan may be the fictional story of these fictional characters but it may reflect the story of thousands of Sudhamoys, Kironmoyees, Suranjans and Mayas in Bangladesh.

Taslima Nasrin deals with the universal problem of fanaticism and fundamentalism. Though it is not a very well-structured novel, it gives voice to the bold belief of Taslima Nasrin in her own kind of secularism which tells us that if the Hindu and the Muslims are true followers of their respective religions, the communal violence can never, never take place. Her aim is never to exclude religion from her discourse of secularism, but to relate it to the shared cultural and national identity. She seems to believe in Asghar Ali Engineer's words that "Religion, if properly understood and interpreted cannot be antagonistic to healthy secularism"(atd.in Naikar 155) Taslima makes a positive authorial intervention to bring about reconciliation between the two warring communities, the Muslims and the Hindus of Bangladesh.

Injustice against women and their oppression happens to be an equally important theme in Taslima Nasrin's novels. As a woman, she understands how the whole society dominated by males creates paradigms the purpose of which is to subjugate woman and turn her into a subservient individual sans any freedom, sans any free will or choice. She confronts the nasty truth that women are mere passive objects in the matters of sex and other matters too. They are only to be possessed and mastered. With her own experience and the experience of her sisters in Bangladesh and not only Bangladesh but the world over, she realizes the fact that all the inalienable rights prescribed for human beings are denied to women because of a vicious conspiracy between religion and society in order to subjugate a woman's free will. The texts and sub-texts of all the discourses in Islam regard woman as a very potent agent of corruption. Ironically, there is a parallel stream which presents woman as an erotic object to be possessed and enjoyed but who has no right for equal participation even in this intimate act of union. Thus, she is a double victim - on the one hand, she is taken to be possessed and used as an agent of pleasure, and on the other hand, she is recognized as an agent of corruption and hence is required to be kept under control of man.

Thus, Taslima Nasrin in her novels emerges as a crusader for women's rights, she acts as a champion for women's right of living with honour and independence in the framework of human dignity and equality. She also vociferously advocates a woman's right to have a free choice in matters of love, marriage, sex and in choosing friends. She talks of a woman's natural right to live in peace and harmony in a place which she can call her own. The novel Lajja (1993) clearly reveals that she does not believe in the theory that art is for art's sake. She seems to believe that art is for life's sake. She does not write fantasies or romantic stories to entertain an idle reader. She writes with a purpose and the purpose is to oppose and fight against oppression and gender bias. She is with the victim and the marginalized and against irrational authority; it does not matter whether this authority is religious or social. Taslima Nasrin convinces the readers that the fundamentalist forces can be stopped is if all of us who are secular and humanistic join together and fight their malignant influence. A socio-cultural setup with the conventional perception on gender roles cast men as rational, strong, protective, and decisive beings thereby casting women as emotional (irrational), weak, nurturing, and submissive (Nayar 83-85). Therefore, women are in a way pushed to fit themselves in this frame, where in every sense they are inferior to men and lose their personal characteristics. Thus, women remain as mere object or property to men. Taslima Nasrin, because of her personal experience of childhood sexual abuse and the deteriorating status of women in Bangladesh, contributes significantly to the feminist deliberation. In all her writings, Nasrin gives evidences to feminist leanings as she delineates situations pertaining to subjugation and marginalization of women by men who have patriarchal attitude.

The female characters in the novel Lajja: Kironmoyee, Maya, and Shammima Begum are all constrained to conduct themselves as per the patriarchal norms, wherein Nasrin aims at highlighting the situation of women belonging to minority community of Hindus in Bangladesh, who had gone through a traumatic phase during the destruction of Babri Masjid in India. The double marginalization of women on religious grounds on the one hand and their gender identity on the other is an additional crucial aspect of this novel.

Taslima Nasrin exemplifies the woman who breaches the patriarchal code and is thus maltreated. To exemplify, “In 1993, a fundamentalist organization called Soldiers of Islam issued fatwa against her. Rather than supporting her, the government sided with the fundamentalists and confiscated her passport, asked her to cease writing and banned her book Lajja (Shame) in which she depicted atrocities committed by Muslim fundamentalists against Hindus” (Nasrin, “Dissident” 42). Lajja deals with more than a few feminist issues. In fact, Nasrin delineated the ways how patriarchal mind-set challenges individuality and self-respect of women. In one of her interviews, she states, “everything she has written is for the oppressed women of Bangladesh.” She further stated, “She has wrung her heart out into her words” (Quiglay, 24). One of the most important feminist issues that have been dealt in the novel is the treatment of women at the hands of various patriarchal institutions like family, society and state, headed by a patriarch who either looks down upon women or marginalizes them.

Kironmoyee as a mother is expected to be gentle, polite and considerate. Issues like her husband's infertility, physical ordeals, and extreme hunger, are supposed to be accepted by her in order to keep the family intact: “Kironmoyee did not eat herself but kept Maya's share of food for her” (Lajja, 100). A woman's desires carry no significance when it comes to her family; she is expected to sacrifice to keep the pot boiling. Likewise, in case of Kironmoyee too “[h]er latest sacrifice involved selling a pair of her gold bangles to Dr. Haripada's wife. After all, gold was not so valuable that it could not be sold if the need arose” (Lajja 113). Her desire to move to India to her relatives at the perilous hour (because of the aftermath of Babri Masjid demolition) remained unattended. All that she could do was secretly shed tears and behave submissively, which is referential of the patriarchal setup, where the family leader is a male, who is all-powerful and centralized. Such that, the female member, however, is tyrannized and is expected to behave according to an established patriarchal norm.

The assumption is that a woman has no identity of her own. She is dependent on the men of her family, be it her father, brother, husband or son, has been adequately exemplified in the novel. Sudhamoye, for instance, praises his wife Kironmoyee and daughter Maya by telling Maya: “You feed me, your mother massages my body, presses my temples... Will I get so much of love and care once I am well?” (Lajja, 146)

The patriarchal norms do not let women fulfil their aspirations, as for Kironmoyee she had to repress her deep inner cravings, which would eventually turn into virtual “deprivation” and thus become way of life. To quote from the text:

“When Sudhamoy's friends came to visit, and they sat around talking, their shadows would sometimes fall on Kironmoyee's lap, and almost involuntarily she would wish that those shadows were real. . . Kironmoyee's physical cravings did not last very long. Her body soon became used to the deprivation” (Lajja 114).

Mostly, it is at the cost of the family that a woman is conditioned to subdue her desires and fit into the socio-cultural framework. Kironmoyee, therefore, spends her life as a “patriarchal woman,” “who has internalized the norms and values of patriarchy, which can be defined, in short, as any culture that privileges men by promoting traditional gender roles” (Tyson 85). Thus, Nasrin portrays Kironmoyee as a polite, selfless and self-sacrificing wife and mother. As also she is submissive to the demands of her husband, son, for her main concern is only the well-being of her family, and her personal choices do not carry any significance. She takes her celibacy because of her husband's genital mutilation as an existential given and never mentions this handicap as a major issue. She also submits to the demands made upon her by the collective atmosphere in Bangladesh as she quietly accepts a new identity with an assumed Muslim name San. Now, it is important to note that both, family and society conspire to marginalize women. Kironmoyee invests all her resources, monetary and mental, in keeping her family connected with no disputes. She gives a tough fight to her daughter's abductors. Against her wish, she cooks beef to make her husband pleased and is even willing to accept her son's Muslim girlfriend Parveen as her daughter-in-law. Her second act of contention manifests in her refusal to accept the financial help offered by her son after her husband has a paralytic attack, which apparently depicts her as a victim of patriarchy.

Furthermore, in Lajja, Nasrin shows how women are doubly jeopardized— based on sex and based on nationality, which is identical with religion. In Bangladesh, only Islam is synonymous with humaneness as only Muslims are considered as human beings. They are free to pray in the mosque, do what they want for their religion, wear Burkha, have a beard, wear a skullcap on their head, and to observe the rituals of their religion. Hindus are like their slaves and have to hide their identity more often than not. They cannot observe any religious rituals of their own and cannot practice anything signifying their religion. As an instance, Sudhamoy asked his wife to hide their identity as Hindu because they are scared of Muslims. To quote from the text: “Kiranmoyee had stopped using sindur in the parting in her hair and loha and sankha on her wrist as was expected of every married Hindu woman” (Lajja 97). At every step, Kironmoyee had to sacrifice and behave according to the imposed authority of the ruling class in Bangladesh. It highlights male version of the female world that is based on marginalization of women. It is ironical that the so-called People's Republic of Bangladesh, which accords nationality to its people, eventually deprives the same fellow citizens of the basic fundamental rights due to orthodox religious considerations. The demolition of Babri Masjid in India led to the brutality and torture of Hindu families in Bangladesh, and particularly the women who were not only demeaned but also inhumanly brutalized, tortured and raped. Even the cruel treatment of Hindu men folks ultimately affected the lives of Hindu women more adversely as they were left to fend for themselves in the face of vindictive Muslim fanatics.

Any feminist writer would denounce treatment of women as objects of lust, physical and psychological violence. Nasrin does the same with tremendous vehemence as she depicts in Lajja how women are sexually harassed, abducted and subjected to many kinds of torture that may even end with their death. The novelist demonstrates how the abduction of Hindu girls has been common in Bangladesh and how the thugs do not have any kind of fear. Whenever they wished, they would abduct a woman and rape her brutally. That was the reason that most of the Hindus sent their daughters to India for their education and security.

Thus, the females as portrayed in the novel are nothing more than objects to be used by the male predators to satiate their lust. In an attempt to retaliate the Babri Masjid demolition in India, women's bodies are defiled and desecrated, as they become extensions of the political entity called India for religious fundamentalists in Bangladesh. Lajja, depicts certain men ravishing young Hindu girls for their pleasure and insulting concerned Hindu families. The abduction of Maya as a child of six illustrates the same.

This incident terribly traumatizes the girl and has such a negative effect on the psyche of the girl child that she is not able to behave normally for two months. She would sleep fitfully and would wake up abruptly in the middle of the night. The family is never safe thereafter as they keep receiving threatening through unidentified extortion letters that aimed at kidnapping Maya again. However, when Maya grew up as a young girl of 19, the ominous day of 11th December 1992 came.

A group of seven hooligans entered the house of Sudhamoy who had recently suffered paralysis and began to break the goods of the house. They were all about twenty-one years old. Two of them wore caps, pajamas and Kurtas.

Sudhamoy and Kiranmoye tried their level best but they could do nothing against seven hooligans who very quickly took Maya away. Maya was crying for help, but nobody came forward to help her because she was a Hindu girl and the abductors were Muslims. She only screamed to her mother for help saying: ‘ Ma . . . please help me, Ma . . . ' She fought with her captors as she was dragged away, looking back in pain and terror, hoping against hope that her mother would be able to save her” (Lajja, 148). This inhuman incident shattered all the hopes and dreams of Sudhamoy's family. Being communists, the family did not believe in any religion whether Hindu or Muslim and humanity was the only religion for them. Because of it, they decide to leave for India.

Thus, one may observe how revengefulness virtually annihilates humaneness, which affects women most adversely. Suranjan reduces the Muslim girl to mere object of sexual desire with a view to avenge his sister's rape by the Muslims.

When societal institutions like religion, state, family and society that should provide conducive and safe environment for people in general and women in particular irrespective of their religious backgrounds turn against them, the situation becomes extremely bad. The conduct of Suranjan is as much condemnable from a feminist perspective as Maya's abduction as in both the cases, it is the woman who is demeaned, abused physically and psychologically. Whether it is the persecution of the Hindus by Muslims, abduction of Maya or Suranjan's sexual violence with the Muslim girl, all of them fall in the category of inhumanness and violence. Viewing woman as good or bad is another instance of patriarchal mindset.

In the novel Lajja too, this characteristic becomes known, as there are women framed as good or bad by the patriarchal setup. One who happily accepts patriarchal norms and adapts in accordance with its demands is branded as ‘good' as in case of Kironmoyee. At every stage in the novel, she is portrayed as an ideal wife who serves the family and makes all possible sacrifices to keep the family going.

Through the abovementioned discussion, an attempt has been made to analyze marginalization of women along with that of the religious minority as depicted in Lajja. Evidently, a protest novel, Nasrin situates it in the context of religious fanaticism that reared its ugly head in Bangladesh in the wake of the demolition of Babri Masjid in India in 1992. The representation of the female characters, their treatment at the hands of Muslim male fundamentalists as well as Hindu males at the level of family, society or religion/ nation, and the fate they eventually meet are some points of discussion, which make the text worth feminist analyses.

Thus, the anti-fundamentalism stance of the novel also encircles anti­patriarchal resistance wherein gender identity is privileged over religion particularly when Nasrin delineates the atrocities against women in the same way as religion (Islam) supersedes nationalism when it comes to the abuse of the religious minority (Hindus). Thus, the gender extremism and religious fundamentalism go hand in hand throughout the text subjecting the female characters like Maya to inhuman torture until she dies.

Everyone in this world have a desire to get married. Some of them are able to reach their dream, however the rest of them still stuck with being single or not married yet because of various reasons such as the country that still thick with patriarchy system. Just like in the story of The Holy Woman by Qaisra Shahraz. This novel presents an ancient from Pakistan that could not get married because she has to be a holy woman and married the holy Al-Qur'an.

Zarri Bano is the main female character in The Holy Woman. The story begins with the death of Zarri's brother, Jafar. Habib Sahib, Zarri Bano's father, forced Zarri Bano to obey his desire to become a holy woman. Remembering a long tradition in Pakistan to safe his inheritance, Habib forced his oldest daughter to become a holy woman.

“Not your marriage. Your future, Zarri Bano.” He paused. Then: “There will be no marriage for you, my daughter. Instead, there valuable land cannot be handed over to a stranger. As Habib said in the quotation;

“Well, now that I have no son, who is going to be my heir, Shahzada? To whom am I going to bequeath all this land? I am not going to hand it over to some stranger who just happens to marry my daughter. This is our land, accumulated and paid for by the sweat and toil of my forefathers.” (Shahraz, 2001: 68)

The quotation above is representing the value of land for Habib; which are symbolizes honour and very valuable, and therefore Habib does not want his wealth fall into the hands of strangers who will marry his daughter later. The life of Zarri Bano was measured by several hectares of land associated with his father. The death of his brother, Jafar had a direct impact on Zarri's life. As the oldest daughter, there have been imbalance changes in patrilineal family structures.

This condition also called as privilege condition as Cudd stated “the privilege condition” which is a group of people that has benefits than other so they could oppress. So there is a certain group that without doing nothing, they have already gained benefits through the norms that burdens others. This term is known as the “oppressor group”. The member of this group no need to act unjustly, they will get the place in the group if the criteria is suitable. (Cudd, 2005:22) In which Habib produce profits to keep his heiress by sacrificing his daughter.

“Little did I guess that I was being brought up in the lap of male tyrants myself. My father made me believe that he would „sell the world for me' when in fact he eventually decided to „sell' me to his male whim and ancient traditions.” (Shahraz, 2001: 93)

The quotation above makes the argument stronger, From the word “sell” it shows how the story of the novel depicted the exploitation toward Zarri Bano. It means like Habib “sell” his daughter not to get married only to keep their land and material belongings. He did anything; include sacrificing his daughter, Zarri Bano to become Shahzadi Ibadat to save all of the family's wealth so it will not fall into Zarri's husband later. So, from this quotation we know that Habib produce profit by immolating her daughter to not marry a man but Al-Qur'an while not compensating Zarri fairly. Zarri will become the only heiress that there will be no strange man heir Habibs inheritance.

“The land is now like a millstone I have gazed at the acres of our land so many times over this past week, unable to take in the fact that my freedom, identity, and womanhood has been bartered for acres of soil. The land that God has generously bestowed on to us, which my family has protected like gold dust over the centuries, means more to them than humanity itself.” (Shahraz, 2001: 191) father is very strong in a family and no one could even correct the father although they are wrong. It marginalized that men in that society is have full of control toward their family members.

Men determine women's life and determine gender-role stereotyping to achieve their personal purpose. According to Kate Millet (1977) “patriarchy is the key to understand the social structure and a basic element that is controlled by the idea and the culture of men”. Those quote proves that the story of The Holy Woman by Qaisra Shahraz is patriarchy which means leaded by the man. This is the benefit of being a man and a head of household in the society that still thick with patriarchy tyranny. Habib could oppress and do anything he wants to the member of the family. For just being the woman member in the family, Zarri should obey and do anything the head wants. This condition is just like having a property on his hand as man. Habib could do anything toward the property itself even sacrifice his daughter to keep inheritance and his honour.

“It can and will happen! Do you think that you, a female, can prevent it? The scales are weighted against you, woman.” (Shahraz, 2001:69)

From the quotation “The scales are weighted against you, woman”, clearly shows that in that society women are in a group that marginalized as the low group. As Young said that marginalization is a process to make some group in lower status or a process of exclusion to the edge of the society.” (Young, 2004: 49-52).

It shows that in that society women are in lower status than men. Women placed in the second class in which they have to obey all the rules and decisions of men. From that statement, the scales of women are marginalized in lower status than men. It proves oppression of marginalization that happened in the story is based upon gender. Men as superior beings are the masters of households. Women are considered as less valuable than men. They have the authority to control family. So it is it is okay for men to do anything to women because they are just properties that can be owned by men.

The last type of oppression stated by Irish Young that exist in the novel is powerlessness. The powerlessness also happens in the novel by Qaisra Shahraz entitled The Holy Woman because the novel's story is connected with the word “power” and “powerless” in which both of the words are in contrary. It approves by the statement of Irish M. Young; “Powerlessness is the thing that some people "have" power while others "have-not". Some of the fundamental injustices associated with the development of one's capacity, lack of decision in making power, and exposure to ill-treatment due to lower status (Young, 2004: 52-53).

Zarri Bano was born from a wealthy family. Her family comes from the upper class of society, which is known as a family that holds very strong. The quotation above is the conversation between Zarri and her mother that shows oppression. It still also remarks Zarri Bano powerlessness toward her father power to control her life. The sentence “What can I do alone, Mother?” shows defenselessness of Zarri Bano. It shows that her mother's help to escape from her destined role to become Shahzadi Ibadat was unthinkable and impossible. In short, there is no way out for Zarri Bano.

By saying “Never willingly” proves that Zarri doesn't agreed and not wanted but she has no choices toward her father's decision. She cannot do anything alone because her mother as a wife also cannot help anything toward her father decision. This shows how the men control all of the family members. From just being the women members of the family, they should obey and do anything the head want. The other fact that shows the oppression in powerlessness in the novel is the quotation below;

“You can shout as much as you like, my proud, beloved daughter, but you will do as I say - I know you will.” (Shahraz, 2001: 91)

This quotation above proves that Habib Sahib has every power to control and rule the family members. He could decide what he wants to do and what he does not want do even for the members of his family, especially Zarri Bano. The quotation shows the reaction of Habib when Zarri tries to show her rejection about being a holy woman. Instead of listening and understanding his daughters' opinion, Habib Sahib doesn't pay attention at all.

Every decision that Habib Sahib makes for Zarri Bano is showing the power in his oppression in the family. It proves how Habib “has power” whereas Zarri “has not”. Zarri has no choices and even rights. She has to do what her father wants. It is a must to agreed and follow all of her father desire. Habib as the head of the household in the family has right to decide anything related to his daughter's future life.

This is also agreed by Iris Young Powerlessness is the thing that some people have power while others have-not. (Young, 2004: 52-53). Habib shows that he has power than Zarri Bano, because in that patriarchy society women are in lower status in society than men. Zarri Bano lacks of decision in making power, in voicing her opinion.

As have already discussed in the previous analysis, Zarri was being oppressed by her father's right to decide her life. She is limited to voice her opinion and made the decision for her own life. In the novel, Zarri Bano is greatly oppressed by the man domination and tradition in Pakistan. She was trapped into the life as “Shahzadi Ibadat” or Holy Woman. Zarri has no rights to speak up her opinions and quite hard to express her feelings or thoughts to others. In this point, the study will focus on Zarri Bano's way to survive toward man's domination. In The Holy Woman “No choice? I don't believe you. There is no way I will become a Holy Woman, Father,” she warned him. “I know what it entails and I am not cut out for that role. As you know I have hardly ever covered my head properly. I know very little about religion. I am very much a worldly woman. I cannot become a nun!” (Shahraz, 2001: 84)

The quotation above shows Zarri Bano's refusal toward her father decision. When Zarri said, "There's no way I will become a Holy Woman, Father" which shows Zarri Bano's rejection of her father's decision. She disagrees with her father's choice to force her to be a Shahzadi Ibadat. She realized that she was not good enough in religion, so she felt it would be inappropriate if she became a Shahzadi Ibadat because she never wore a veil properly and almost did not cover his head with a veil. She just wanted to be a normal woman because she only knows a little about religion.

“The glory?The izzat ?The fame? I don't want any of those, father. Don't you understand? Please leave me alone!” Zarri Bano shouted. “Am I banging my head against a brick wall?” (Shahraz, 2001: 91)

At this point, Zarri Bano was really mad and disappointed with her father because she had to understand what her father wanted but her father could not understand what she wanted. She feels that this is not fair for her. She totally does not hunger about wealth. She doesn't want the all of the fame, izzat or even the glory. All that she really wants is to getting married and live like a normal woman.

“I am not only your daughter or my father's daughter, I am me! But you and Father have brutally stripped me of my identity as a normal woman and instead reduced me to a role of a puppet. I am, he said, to do his bidding.” (Shahraz, 2001: 93)

Habib Sahib's position as a father and having a bloodline as a respectable man is one of the depiction which is displayed as a man. He has the power of his desire only to protect his wealth and land. This could be proven when Habib forced Zarri Bano to limit himself in associating with anyone including a man that she loves, Sikander and released his body to become someone who was protected from the outside world.

By saying “I am not only your daughter, I am me!” It shows again that Zarri Bano is not only Habib's daughter in which Habib could do anything for Zarri's life. Zarri wants to attest that she is a woman who can decide her own life, not her father who decided her life. From the quotation, it proves that Zarri tries to refuse and speak out her opinion against her father's domination.

According to Iris Marion Young stated that “Powerlessness during the process of oppressing will bring a bigger result that is Culture of Silence. It is because the person who is oppressed has no any will and become so powerless even do not talk about it. The person has no voice and no will. At this point, the family. Zarri, an energetic, ambitious, and educated woman before, chooses to change and keep silent.

“My life is so empty, Father,” Habib wept, his shoulders doubling over as he gave free rein to his grief. “Jafar has gone. Zarri Bano has gone. Ruby doesn't look at me. Shahzada shuns me. I am not like you, Father. I want and need my family. I cannot live this life.” (Shahraz, 2001: 218)

This is how Habib tells about all of his regretful to his father. He feels that his life is so empty. He has actually lost his family's happiness. He knows that he needs his family's happiness back. The condition is change since Jafar's dead and the ceremony of Shahzadi Ibadat. He realizes that inheritance means nothing than family itself. He regrets in forcing his daughter, Zarri as a “Shahzadi Ibadat”.

Habib feels disappointed in forcing Zarri as a holy woman. He knows that we he has done are totally wrong because of Zarri Bano's surface level of silence. Habib is very regret with his decision. He has lost her daughter. He knows that Zarri is unhappily with her live, as she hardly ever laughs or smiles anymore and choose to be more silence woman.

“I have to ask your forgiveness, for I cannot go on this holy pilgrimage without doing that. I have already asked your mother for hers. You see, I sinned against you both. Please forgive me, Zarri Bano, for forcing you to give up Sikander, marriage and the life you previously had. What I did was wrong. I do not know how to turn the clock back. My dear daughter, I would give anything to have the old Zarri Bano back again.” (Shahraz, 2001: 326)

This is how result of the culture of silence is affected in Habib's consciousness. The word “I would give anything to have the old Zarri Bano back again.” proves that Habib is missing the old Zarri Bano. Now that Zarri Bano is being quiet toward him makes him realizes that he is wrong. He asks apologies to Zarri and regret to what he has done toward Zarri's life.

“My daughter, I have thought long and hard about this issue, and I know that I have done wrong. No matter what you say, I want to make amends. If now, or in the future, you ever wish to marry, you will have my full blessing.” (Shahraz, 2001: 327)

All of Habib's remorse is because of the changing of Zarri Bano in which she adapting the culture of silence. Habib doesn't feel the warmth of the family anymore.

He feels like a stranger in his house. It makes Habib realizes that all that have been done by him is totally wrong. He asks apologies to Zarri Bano and all his family member about her decision and he gives a permission to Zari Bano to be able to get married with someone that she loves. From the discussion above, it can be implied that the culture of silence can make Zarri get away from the tradition of Shahzadi Ibadat. Then Zarri get the allowance and blessing to marry with her love, Sikander. her fate to not getting married with a man who has drawn his heart at first sight, Sikander and received to become the holy woman. Zarri couldn't even break the rules or get her sighs to become a normal woman, because her father determines Zarri Bano's life. However, Zarri has successfully struggling to fight patriarchy, in the end she was able to marry the man she loves. The researcher has decided that patriarchy could be resisted when finally Zarri Bano was able to marry Sikander. It is because her father, Habib Sahib feels empty looking for the condition of the family members were not like before in which Zarri Bano and all of his family members rarely to smile anymore and lack of happiness after the ceremony of “Shahzadi Ibadat”. Zarri Bano's changing and adapting culture of silence make Habib regrets about his decision in forced Zarri as Shahzadi Ibadat.

The first type of oppression that happened in the novel is exploitation. According to Iris Young, “Exploitation is the act using people's labors to produce profit while not compensating them fairly. It makes the rich become richer and the poor become poorer. It also creates a different class of people: rich and poor.” (Young, 2004: 45-47). In this case, the character who controlled the exploitation is Zarri Bano's father, Habib Sahib. Habib Sahib states that his The quotation above also proves that in the society the inheritance means everything than humanity itself.

People will do anything to maintain their wealth, properties, and glories. It shown by the sentence “The land means more to them than humanity itself”. This means that woman is oppressed by men because for men; land, inheritance and honor mean more valuable than woman itself. They exchange woman's future life with their own selfishness.

According to Ann E. Cudd, this condition also called as the “Harm Condition”. Cudd divides oppression into four conditions; the first is called as the harm condition which is caused by the institutional practices (rules, expectations, stereotypes, behavioral norms, etc) that can damage both mental and psychic. Those forces unjustly burdens, constrains, or reduces a certain person's freedom. Psychological forces oppress an individual through the individual's conscious mental states and brings manipulation belief to make stress, reduce the own self-image or might be psychically harmed. (Cudd, 2005: 21).

As explained above, because of the tradition to save all the inheritance, Zarri damage mental and psychic. She thinks that land means everything than humanity itself. Men don't act in a humanitarian way at all. They didn't hear women's voices at all. They just think about their wealth and honor rather than women's right. The decision to become the holy woman reduces a certain Zarri's freedom as she says my freedom, identity, and womanhood has been bartered for acres of soil”.

The second type of oppression that exists in the novel is marginalization. Marginalization makes the weak person are always under-estimated by the strong people who control them. It clearly stated by Young that “Marginalization is the act of relegating or confining a group of people to a lower social standing or outer limit or edge of society. Overall, it is a process of exclusion. Marginalization is in some ways worse than exploitation because society has decided that it cannot or will not use these people even for labor.” (Young, 2004: 49-52). In the novel by Qaisra Shahraz entitled The Holy Woman, the marginalization is based upon gender.

“I am the master, the head of the household, the ultimate authority, which I was born to enjoy.” (Shahraz, 2001: 142)

The quotation above proves oppression of marginalization that happened in the story is based upon gender. Men as superior beings are the masters of households. They have the authority to control family. Otherwise, women are considered as less valuable than men. This fact can be seen from Habib Sahib' utterance, Habib Sahib, just like any other men, becomes the master of the household. As the master of the household, he controls his family. Using his power, Habib Sahib decides his daughter's life. Father should be placed in the first place, and women should agree with his decision . It can be seen that Habib Sahib uses his authority to decide women's life. The image of traditions. In the novel, Zarri Bano is the main character who always being discriminated. Zarri always revolves around the stereotype that women must obey men's decisions. That is clearly seen in the quote;

“As a woman, she was of no consequence - her opinion counted for nothing. A law unto temselves, men's words were commands, and they were born to be obeyed. They possessed a successful knack of reasoning, and making everything sound so plausible. In the face of their thinly disguised tyranny one could never hope to win or to challenge them.” (Shahraz, 2001: 78)

It classified as powerlessness because Zarri is being discriminated because she has no power then her father has the power in controlling her life. From the first sentence in the quotation above remarks the stereotypes in the novel that woman always being the weak gender. It shows that woman could not voice her opinion, again it all because of the gender in which men are dominated. This stereotypes make women could not get their justiceness and easily to get controlled by men.

The quotation above also proves about patriarchy as Walby stated “I am distinguishing two distinctive forms of patriarchy that exist in the social world: private patriarchy and public patriarchy. Private Patriarchy can be found in the household production as the main site of women's oppression. It sees one individual patriarch (the dominant male) dominate and oppress the subjugated female. Public Patriarchy operates in the public world such as employment and the state.” (Walby, 1991:24). In Qaisra Shahraz's The Holy Woman novel, Habib as the father, the head of household has the main power in controlling his member of family. It shows that patriarchy in the novel belonging to Private patriarchy. But once again, women do not have a change to speak up. It can be seen in the quotation below;

“It can be, and it is going to be, Fatima. I tell you that I am powerless to prevent the tide of events which will likely take place in the next few days.” (Shahraz, 2001: 79)

The quotation above obviously tells about the oppression in powerlessness. It is proved in sentence “I tell you that I am powerless” it states it that the woman knows she is being oppressed by men but she has no will to do anything because she is powerless toward her father domination.

From the idea above it also stated that women as a group member of women perceive the membership because the same stereotype in living in the society that tends to support the men group as the only rival of women in gender grouping. It is because the society privileges the men to have more power than women in the society.

“What can I do alone, Mother? You have all jailed and numbed me into a commitment, which I will have to go along with-but not willingly, Mother. Never willingly”.

Zarri Bano as the main character was trying to refuse her father's decision. Zarri Bano tries to speak up her opinion in rejecting her father's decision. She wants to reveal herself a strong woman. She opposed patriarchal hegemony in her hometown, Lahore. She immediately opposed a person who ruled her, who is her father, Habib Sahib, as the perpetrator of women's oppression. In addition, Zarri Bano wants to marry a man as a normal woman because she has already accepted Sikander' marriage proposal. As clearly expressed in the quotation below:

“This is madness. Father, you cannot be serious,” she said steadily. “I have accepted Sikander Sahib's marriage proposal. You yourself blessed and encouraged the match. I have decided to marry him. I want to marry him!” (Shahraz, 2001: 84) Zarri Bano tried to break the tradition of Shahzadi Ibadat. Zarri still remembered that her father had encouraged and blessed her to marry the man she loved. Zarri Bano's choice to get married was really serious and she tried to violate the tradition of Shahzadi Ibadat. In fact, she had accepted Sikander's proposal and she wants to marry him. She has voiced her rights as a woman to be able to get married.

As an educated woman, Zarri Bano wanted to change her father's crazy thoughts because she felt too pity to be a victim of family traditions due to inheritance. She really wants to get married and live as a normal woman. Another quote that attests Zarri Bano as an educated woman is stated in the following quotation below:

”I want to be a normal woman, Father, and live a normal life! I want to get married. I am not a very religious person, as you know. I am a twentieth-century, modern, educated woman. I am not living in the Mughal period - a pawn in a game of male chess.” (Shahraz, 2001: 90).

As stated in the quote above, Zarri Bano does not want to be a holy woman. She wants to be a normal woman so that she can marry with the man she loves, Sikander but she cannot. She has to become Shahzadi Ibadat. Zarri Bano's father's figure represented patriarchy by victimize Zarri Bano to be The Holy Woman that in contrast with her daily life.

In this context, Zarri Bano had to deal with her grandfather and father, both of whom were actually figures who had to be respected because of their position in the family. In fact, Zarri's grandfather also supported patriarchy as a representative figure of a power-hungry old man and a little forced from Habib Sahib, Zarri Bano's father forcing Zarri Bano to become a holy woman to save the family's inheritance and become the inheritor to the throne after the death of Jafar, the only male family heir. Another quotation that also proves her rejection; oppressed aren't silence because of have any voice or will but they choose to be. (Young, 2004: 53-54). Culture of silence is one of consequences that appear because of the men's oppression toward women. It is a condition which the oppressed group could not decide or choose something they want because they have no voice and no will. People who are oppressed actually know that they are being oppressed but cannot voice their suffering and cannot even talk their opinion.

Since the ceremony, Zarri Bano had said very little and had eaten nothing “Please, Zarri Bano, you must eat something,” Shahzada pleaded. “I am not hungry, Mother,” Zari Bano replied quietly. “You will become ill, my princess.' Shahzada got up and gathered her daughter into her arms. “I cannot eat, Mother. Please go. You have guesst to attend to. Ruby, you too must go.” Zarri Bano said at last. (Shahraz, 2001: 175)

From the quotation above Zarri changes become very cold and silent person. She doesn't want even to eat. She just wants to be alone and she chases away her mother Shahzada and her younger sister. The conversation of Zarri Bano and her mother is actually happened after the ceremony of Shahzadi Ibadat. From the sentence ” You have guests to attend to.” We know that there are so many guests in her house after the held of her ceremony. But Zarri just want to be alone, doesn't want to eat anything, and doesn't even talk with the guests. The conditions executed by the patriarchy made Zarri Bano difficult to speak her opinion and forced her to keep silent and unable to determine her life.

This is Habib consciousness because of Zarri's changes and silence in the family. It makes Habib feel empty and aware that all he needs is not heir but warmth of the family that he doesn't get since the ceremony of Shahzadi Ibadat.

“Yes, she has done her duty. But the payment is going to be very dear, as I have learnt to my cost. She will never forgive me, Father. Nor has she spoken to me since the night I told her about Zarri Bano's fate. I have lost her.” (Shahraz, 2001: 214)

In that quotation, Zarri has not spoken with her father since the night Habib told about Shahzadi Ibadat. It seems that Zarri has no any voice, she keeps silence toward her father. In this condition, Zarri is in the surfacd level of silence. She chooses to keep silent yet she knows that Habib Sahib does toward her live is unfair but she has nothing to do because her posititon as a woman is so powerless. This is destroying Zarri Bano's feeling as a woman and status as woman. Zarri in the novel shows the strength through the silence she chooses to be. She would comment or ask anything since the day of ceremony to become a Shahzadi Ibadat.

The quotation above attests that Zaro Bano is really strong in maintaining her choice to silence. Zarri realizes that her voice while refusal her father is voiceless because she is a woman.

The oppression that Zarri Bano had been experiences are divided into three faces, those are exploitation, in which the character who controlled the exploitation is Zarri Bano's father, Habib Sahib. Habib did anything to save his inheritance although he should immolate his daughter not to getting married just because he didn't want another stranger man, a man who will marry his daughter will hand it over the inheritance.

The next type of oppression is marginalization that happened in the story is based upon gender. Men as superior beings are the masters of households. They have the authority to control family. Otherwise, women are considered as less valuable than men. For just being the woman member in the family, Zarri Bano should obey and do anything the head wants. Father should be placed in the first place, and women should respect and agree with his decision. The last is powerlessness that is the kind of oppression that some people "have" power while others "have-not". In the novel that shows the powerlessness is Habib Sahib has every power to control and rule the family members. He could decide what he wants to do and what he does not want do even for the members of his family, especially Zarri Bano. It shows that woman could not voice her opinion, again it all because of the gender in which men are dominated.

However, for the second statement problem is explaining the way of major character to survive from the men's oppression in The Holy Woman novel. At the first, Zarri Bano was trying to refuse her father's desire to become a holy woman because she is educated and want to live like a normal woman. But she cannot challenge the patriarchal tyranny. Her father hands full power in decided her whole life. After the ceremony of Shahzadi Ibadat, the old Zarri Bano died. She becomes silent and cold. She hardly ever laughs or smiles any more. The change of Zarri Bano makes Habib feels regret about his family's condition after the ceremony. Habib feels his life was so empty because he lost the warmth in his family. Habib very regret with all his decision to forced Zarri Bano to become a Holy Woman. He wants the old Zarri Bano backs, and then he gives his blessing and freeing Zarri Bano to getting married. The way Zarri Bano surviving the oppression is by adapting the silence.

From the analysis in the previous chapter, it defines that patriarchy system is still thick in that society. In Qaisra Shahraz's The Holy Woman novel, Habib as the father, the head of family has the main power in controlling his member of family. It can be concluded that patriarchy happens in this novel is private patriarchy in which Habib as the head of household has the power in controlling women's life and resulting women's oppression.

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Chapter 3

Strategy of Liberation

CHAPTER III

STRATEGY OF LIBERATION

Taslima Nasrin rebels against religious atrocities and stereotypical beliefs of patriarchy, and refuses to be absorbed into a system. According to her, resistance and rebellion is a powerful step towards liberation of the self. Her protagonists are in constant search of their own self. In an attempt to assert their autonomy in the social and intellectual world, they faces dilemmas, pulls and pressures of their own emotional world. Nasrin's fiction works on a theme of self-discovery and liberation. In AmarNath Prasad's "Taslima Nasrin's Lajja: A Revolt Against Religious Persecution," he tries to explore Nasrin's controversial book Lajja in the light of the horrifying experience of a minority family, the Duttas-Sudhamoy Kironmoyee and their two children Surajan and Maya, who have to face many trials and tribulations because of their Hindu identity in Bangladesh. The author focuses on the burning topic of day to day reality of religious extremism in Bangladesh as it appeared after the demolition of Babri Masjid by a section of Hindu fundamentalists.

Saurabh Shukla in her article "Identity crisis in Taslima Nasrin's Lajja", reveals that novel Lajja is one of the most controversial works of South-east Asian Literature. In it she observes and writes, oppression of minority Hindus by Islamic society on the name of religion in Bangladesh. The protagonist Suranjan and his family struggle to live secular and a Bangladeshi, but the majority bounds them to live as well as die like a minority Hindu.

Mihir Dave in his book "Taslima Nasrin's Lajja and Mahesh Dattani's Final Solutions: A Comparative Study" shows that the novel Lajja illustrates the dilemma of Hindu-Bangladeshi, who loves his motherland, but finds it difficult to survive there. There is the persecution of Duttas in each way in spite of their patriotic and secular outlook. Suranjan, the protagonist, comes out of this dilemma quite earlier than his father did. He realizes that leaving Bangladesh and infiltrating into India is the only way for them.

Meenakshi conducted a research entitled "Various Manifestations of Quest for Identity in Taslima Nasrin's Writings: A Study of Lajja and French Lover." The findings reveal that the theme of quest for identity emerges as a major concern of the novelist and serves to provide a better understanding of various aspects of her philosophy. In Lajja, the quest for national and social identity is common for all the Hindus staying in Bangladesh.

The purpose of C.C. Mishra's paper "Relocating Minority Space: A Search for Identity in Taslima Nasrin's Lajja," is to show that the author has successfully expressed the anxiety of Hindu Community in the novel. Taslima Nasrin's success as a novelist lies in her faithful portrayal of the characters of a minority community undergoing an ethnic crisis. Ashalata Raman, in her article "The Post Colonial Women in Taslima Nasrin's Lajja(Shame)”, presents the agony of the post colonial citizens of Bangladesh. Their quest for self-identity is the pivotal point in her novel Lajja (Shame). Tapati Lahiri in her paper "Victims of Fundamentalism in Amrinder's Lajo and Taslima Nasrin's Lajja", reveals that Amrinder and Taslima are not satisfied simply to say that fundamentalism is a disease in the society but feel morally bound to seek out a remedy. Humanity is therefore, the best remedy.

Nasreen Banu Jamadar conducted a study entitled as "Fiction of Taslima Nasrin: A Study in Feminism", it reveals that Taslima Nasrin through her fiction calls for peaceful co-existence of the people free from their religious affiliations and seek logical ways of solving human problems. The conclusion of fiction is that secular humanism with a civil uniform code should replace patriarchal and religious practices, and ensure for every human being following the principles of freedom, equality, and liberation.

Taslima Nasrin constantly appears in newspapers, magazines and a number of reviews related to her fiction. Some of the significant critical studies on Nasrin's works include “Shodh: A Site of Subaltern Articulation: The Ecstatic Female Body in the Contemporary Bangladeshi Novels of Taslima Nasrin” (1999) by Saiyeda Khatun ; review on Lajja by Niloo Kalaam (1996) and I. K. Shukla (2005) .

The researchers have examined different aspects of Taslima Nasrin's fiction. The present paper contends that in order to understand her novels in correct perspective, it is not enough to examine issues related to quest for identity, cross- cultural conflict, gender problems and the like. There is a further need to undertake a close critical analysis of her fiction which can enhance a reader's knowledge of different aspects of her treatment of the theme of quest for liberation of the self. Nasrin's fiction is an effort to break the prisons of predictions with a motive that leads to enhance and glorify the individuality and liberation of women. It examines the strength of novel Lajja's characters who leave under various kinds of inner and outer religious pressures, where they face the communal and religious forces. That poison the heart and soul of innocent people and destroy all human thread of brotherhood. Taslima Nasrin observes and writes when religion to turns of bigotry or fanaticism it adopts the characters of negativity and acts as an agent of moral deterioration of both the individuals and the whole society.

Margaret Fuller, a distinguished editor and journalist, USA, believed that education is the most signifying means of liberation for women. Education, employment, and political rights are the key factors to achieve liberation for women through providing adequate opportunity to use their potential. The ‘first wave' of feminism refers to the political activity that led to right to vote to women in the United States and Great Britain. But as Simone de Beauvoir says, “Gainful employment is a must for woman. Values in society need to be reassessed to accommodate the aspirations of women” (qtd. in Jamadar 30).

The problem of inequality between the sexes was highlighted by Mary Wollstonecraft in her A Vindication of the Rights of Women and also Olive Scheiner in Women and Labour. Virginia Woolf examined the problems that women face particularly in academic circles and argued that these differences could be removed only when women achieve social and economic equality with men. Showalter classified the authors into three main, types, corresponding to three main stages of women writing as: A Feminine phase, in which women writers imitated dominant male artistic norms and aesthetic standards. Feminist phase is a protest phase, women authors rebelled against patriarchal attitudes. It represents women's demand for freedom, autonomy, and liberation. Female phase is a final phase, it has distinct female identity, style and content which represent women writer's search for their own voice and identity as opposed to the identity imposed by patriarchy and social conditioning. It is a stage of liberation of women that leads to the liberation of self. The upliftment of women begins from resistance of women against patriarchal attitudes that have been learned and demand for liberation from patriarchal and religious oppression and suppression.

The writer believes that each woman in the world has a right to live with honour and dignity and tears apart the ethical cover-up of the subordinating practices of patriarchal structures. Her personal experience of displacement and exile has had a profound effect on her writings. Uprooted from her original home by religious fundamentalists, she has since lived in India, France, Sweden, USA, and other parts of Europe. Her assertion that “My world is gradually shrinking” speaks for itself. In her interviews, essays and lectures, she constantly talks about her situations as a displaced person and identifies herself as an ‘unhoused writer'. Her ideas of freedom and liberation of women have thus been translated into reality in her own life that she has lived so far. She appears to follow the views of Amina Wadud who asserts in Inside the Gender Jihad: “life is a gift that we must live with honour—not by random standards imposed on us by an exploitative environment” (9). She criticizes religion, traditions and the oppressive cultural customs which discriminate against women.

The present paper aims at a systematic analysis of all the major characters of the novel to find out how they struggle for their liberation and to overcome the crises created by the advocates of religion, the fundamentalists. And also how they bound to live with the label of 'the religion' rather than to remain secular and responsible citizen of the nation. The characters throughout the novel, struggle to overcome the crises created by the fundamentalists and to fight quest for liberation of the self, where the most affected characters are the females who are both a woman and a minority Hindu. Liberation is the act or fact of gaining equal rights or full social or economic opportunities for a particular group. In other words Liberation is freedom from limits on thought or behaviour.

Self refers to the characteristic ways in which one defines one's identity. A newly born child has no idea of self. As a child grows older, the idea of self emerges and its formation begins. Our interaction with other people, our experiences, and the meaning we give to them, serve as the basis of our self. The structure of self is modifiable in the light of our own experiences and the experiences we have of other people. McDavid and Harari opine: “The self is the organized total of a person's actions and behaviour. Self-concept refers to the organized cognitive structure derived from one's experience of his own self. Body image is the physical aspect of self concept, including everything within the body limits” (184). Carl Rogers feels that the most important concept of one's personality is the self: “The self consists of all the ideas, perceptions, and values that characterize “I” or “me”; ‘It includes the awareness of “what I am” and “what I can do”. This perceived self (the self­concept) in turn influences both the person's perception of the world and his behaviour. An individual with a strong, positive self-concept views the world quite differently from one whose self-concept is weak” (qtd. in Hilgard and Atkinson 390). Korchin argues that “Humans have an inherent capacity for growth; they can change, make choices, and determine their own destinies” (369). Maslow (1954) calls this process “self-actualization--the acme of a hierarchy of needs. the highest needs for self-fulfillment and actualization” (qtd. in McDavid and Harari 87). Self- actualization is defined as, “A person's fundamental tendency toward maximal realization of his potentialities; a basic concept in humanistic theories of personality such as those developed by Maslow and Rogers” (Hilgard & Atkinson 614).

The review of Taslima Nasrin's fiction shows that she writes with a motive and the motive is to raise questions against the misrule of patriarchy, religion and its oppression and gender bias. It mainly deals with the themes related with fundamentalism, feminism, home and homelessness and human relationships. The protagonists of her novels reveal tolerance, love and harmony and each individual has equal right to live on equal footing. Women were trained to be domestic and subordinate, but the women of today want to liberate themselves from the unwritten norms of religion and patriarchy. In Lajja, Taslima Nasrin expresses atrocities against minority Hindus specially women and their victimization in the name of religion, race, and gender prejudices. She begins the novel with Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya as a result of it communal riots took place in Bangladesh. This novel exposes savagery of man on man in the name of religion, where minority people are forced to fight for their safety, security, and liberation, as Duttas-- Sudhamoy, Kironmoyee and their two children Maya and Suranjan (minority Hindus) in Bangladesh, refuse to leave their homeland and denied to shift to India. Maya's suggestion of shifting the family to some safe place was denied. Meantime Muslim murderers abducted her and she had to face inhuman treatment in the form of physical torture and mental agony. Kironmoyee, Suranjan's mother, is a helpless sufferer. Sudhamoy and his son Suranjan both are atheists. They are patriotic but on watching their country burning in the fire of communalism, Suranjan's belief of patriotism is shattered and so he pleads his father to move away from homeland to India which Sudhamoy refuses to do. Ultimately Suranjan, the protagonist, and other characters of the novel suffer from the bondages of religion but they struggle to search liberation of the self.

Taslima Nasrin's "break through novel, Lajja (Shame) was published in 1993, and attracted wide attention because of its controversial subject matter Initially written as a thin documentary, Lajja grew into a full length novel as the author revised it substantially". (Nasrin 25). The novel Lajja is written on the demolition of the sixteenth-century Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, UP, India on 6 December 1992. Aftermath turmoil fallout among the Muslims all over the world and particularly in Bangladesh.Muslim fundamentalists in Bangladesh commited an unimagined crime of brutality and barbarism in the name of religion, on the helpless minority Hindus. On large scale barbaric violence spread over minority Hindus and overnight they became victims of communal riots. Hooligans broke down Hindu temples and burnt down their shops and home. Neighbour is killing and raping neighbour. Lajja is a response to these riots. Its aim is to highlight among the people of Bangladesh that communalism is on the rise, Hindu minority was badly mistreated and affected. The secularism and liberation for which they once fought for is at great crises.

The story of the novel is of a Hindu family where Duttas-Sudhamoy, Kironmoyee, and their children Suranjan and Maya (Nilanjana) faces the sequence of events with a long list of atrocities committed by Muslims that finally force them out of Bangladesh. For generation the family lives near Mymensingh, Bangladesh. At the time of partition most of the Hindus leave for India but Sudhamoy refuses to leave and argued: "Why should I leave my homeland and go somewhere else? If I live it will be on this soil, and if I die it will be in the very same place" (7).

Taslima Nasrin's character seem to be grounded in reality, with their specific characteristics and ideologies. All the members of Sudhamoy family want to live like a Bangladeshi, secular and humanist but the "majority bounds them to live as well as to die like a Hindu" (Shukla 118). The writer has adequately presented the talks, between father and his son Suranjan, on the issues of secularism and struggle against the crises of religious freedom and expresses the status and psychological condition of minority in their own country Bangladesh.

Sudhamoy is a patriotic like his father Sukumar who loves the land of his birth and its people. He earned a medical degree from Lytton Medical college and starts to work as a physician. He appears to be a revised copy of his father. He is more educated, more enthusiastic about humanist values. He is more devoted as an activist to the cause and welfare of Bangladeshi. He takes active part in the national social and cultural movements. He participated in the language movement in 1952 and freedom movement in 1971, that was fought for independence from Pakistan. The independence was earned at the cost of three million Bengali lives. The evils of communalism fundamentalism were defeated. There was no difference on the basis of religion during independence movement. The only motive was freedom and liberation of the people of Bangladesh. But now is all forgotten, minority Hindus have no significance. "They would have to flee like rats! just because they were Hindu? just because the Hindus in India had broken the Babri Masjid? Why should he be held responsible for all this?" (12). Society does not accept them as a Bangladeshi, they still remains Hindu and Kafir. Sudhamoy attributes riots as that humanity of a human being is perverted when he kills and persecute other human beings, "Roits are not natural calamities, nor disaster, so to speak. They are simply a perversion of humanity" (165). Sudhamoy is a man of secular ideology who to deny the role of religion in dividing people via categorization in labeling them as well as its role behind the suffering of minority. Sudhamoy interprets the event of rape of minority Hindu girl as: "Hindu or Muslim doesn't matter. If you are weak you will be oppressed by strong. Woman is weak that's why males have suppressed her" (Shukla 118).

Over the years Sudhamoy and his family have suffered severely as they had refused to leave their country. He has had to sell his ancestral land at nominal price and move to Dhaka where they lives in a small rented house. Sudhamoy changes his wearing and way of life like Muslim Society as he replaces his 'dhoti' with 'payjama', his 'jal with 'pani'. Sudhamoy's idealism and patriotism led him to loss his social existence. His Muslim friends deserted him one by one because of their differences in religion. But still he remained secular and liberal humanist.

Suranjan too, like his father Sudhamoy is an idealist, socialist, nationalist, secular human being. Watching incidents, after demolition of Babri Masjid, Suranjan says that humans are worse than animals. Animals have no communal differences. He lost his secular idealism and feels helpless in the face of excessive fundamentalism and communalism.

Sudhamoy and Suranjan are the mouthpiece of their author, Taslima Nasrin. Suranjan, the protagonist, and his creator's only religion is humanism. In the whole novel, there is a conflict between humanism and fanatic tribalism. Commonly Hindus hide themselves in the houses of their Muslim friends at the time of riots, but Suranjan hates such type of security. "Why had it all been necessary to take refuse in Kamal's house? And wasn't this country as much his it was Kamal's? Then why was he seemingly deprived of his rights, and why was his motherland turning her back on him?" (1). Suranjan's family also want to hide themselves in their Muslim friend houses for security. But Suranjan do not allow it and feels deprived of his rights and there is a search for liberation of the self.

Kironmoyee, Sudhamoy's wife is a typical east Bengali oppressed Hindu woman. She is not free to think like her husband and her son Suranjan. She adjusts herself in the hostile environment of Bangladesh. Sudhamoy always opposes Kironmoyee's idea of sending Maya for further study to Calcutta and of marrying her off. He believes in no gender difference but he very well knows, Hindu schools and colleges are not safe. He believes that there should be equality of opportunity for all people in Bangladesh. But there is discrimination on the name of religion. Therefore, Suranjan fails to get employment and Sudhaymoy himself was not promoted in her job. His friend Madhavchandrapal says " It is not right to expect too many benefits in a Muslim country. What we are getting is more than enough for us" (21).

Suranjan and Parveen loved each other, both wanted to marry. But Parveen demanded that he should embrace Islam. Surajan denied, he can't accept Islam because he is secular and does not believe in any religion. Further Ratna, a Hindu girl, deserted Suranjan and marries Humau. Maya his sister, also wants to marry a Muslim just to be free from the oppression of the majority Muslims.

All TV Channels and radio programmes start with the verses of Quran. Religion of majority also included in the syllabus of schools and colleges . Kajal Debnath, the president of the minorities association, raises question that extracts from Gita also be read out and to be considered as holy. But Suranjan is of different opinion, he wants no religion to interfere in the state of affairs:

Does it make you happy to hear the Gita being chanted on the radio or television? Will the construction of new temples prove propitious for us? The twenty-first century is round the corner and we are still trying to make our presence felt through religion, both the society as well as in matters of state. (138)

Suranjan is an authentic humanist and his view of religion is as: "Religion is the sigh of the tortured and the persecuted, the heart of the heartless world, just as it is the soul of a soulless society. Religion is the opium of the masses" (133-134). He further says:

Let all those brick-built building of worship be smashed to smithereens. Let there be no their ruins beautiful flower gardens and schools for children.. Let the other name for Religion be Humanity. (163-164)

The protagonist , Suranjan is a young man of thirties, unemployed due to discrimination on the name of religion but actively involved in left wing of politics, believes in national and secular ideology. Being a secular nationalist make effort for his liberation from communal forces. Aftermath of Babri Masijd demolition gave chance to fundamentalist to spreadover the communal riots and they succeed in their mission. Further on the demand of fundamentalists Bangladesh declared Islamization in nation. Suranjan loses her identity as a secular nationalist and labelled him as a minority Hindu. For it Suranjan says, "division of caste and religion is destroying the humanity. A Bengali either a Hindu or a Muslim should be named as Bengali". There is no meaning of survival in Bangladesh as a Hindu and argues with his father to leave the land. "What has this country given you? What is it giving you" (213). The protagonist Suranjan struggles in a quest for liberation. But his segregation as minority Hindu, he feels alienated from society and roams in night on roads without fear of his security. Suranjan laughs on his idea that progressive people to use 'Hindu' and 'Muslim' words. Suranjan considered himself as a modern man but now he is regarded as a Hindu. Taslima Nasrin "illustrates the dilemma of Hindu Bangladeshi, who loves his motherland, but finds it difficult to survive there. Suranjan is no different. However, he comes out of this dilemma quite earlier than his father did. He realizes that living Bangladesh and infiltrating into India is the only way to them." (Mihir Dave 53).

In the course of riots females are treated very much like worldly property which can be looted easily. In the novel Maya suffers being a woman. Maya like her mother internally feels insecure. Suranjan, her brother, denies Maya when she asks her family members to hide herself in her Muslim friend's house. She faces her abduction, invaders kidnap her and rape her, that is most tragic incident of the novel. She never returns. In revenge Suranjan violently rapes a Muslim prostitute. The weak turns against the weaker. In a religious patriarchal system women become more easily victims of men. Suranjan's state of mind deteriorated into suicidal tendency when he imagines this horrible event. He cries: "Why couldn't the three of them take poison and kill themselves?... It was obvious now that it was pointless for Hindus to try and survive in Bangladesh" (157).

Suranjan loses his all hopes and cries: "I used to call myself a human being, and I believe in humanism. But these Muslims did not let me stay human. They make me a Hindu" (163). Mihir Dave in his book Taslima Nasrin—A Committed Humanist states that "Bangladesh has no longer remained a land for Bangalees it has become an Islamic State in which Hindus have two options either they have to accept Islam or they have to leave the country" (Review-1). He has lost faith and hope in all his student life ideal books so he burns it. Suranjan says to his father with anguish "However much we call ourselves atheists, however much we call ourselves humanists, those people out there will call us Hindu. They'll call us bastards. The more we love this country, the more we think of it as our own, the more we'll be forced into a corner. The more we love the people of this country, more they will isolate us" (213). At last Sudhamoy's firm determination breaks into pieces. His trust of his motherland broken down. The loss of his daughter and present riots are unbearable. Suranjan's state of mind is full of dark, he dreams "He wanted to live, but there was no one to pull him to the shore" (216). His father says this is the end. They leave the country in search for liberation of the self.

Zarri Bano's struggle against hegemony of patriarchy in her hometown, Lahore directly resist to people who commands her, like her father, Habib Khan as the perpetrator of oppression against women. Additionally, Zarri Bano wants to prove herself as a strong woman and has an educational background as a scholar and followed to feminist organization in her university. As stated in the following quotation: “This is madness. Father, you cannot be serious,” she said steadily.“I have accepted Sikandar Sahib' s marriage proposal. You yourself blessed and encouraged the match. I have decided to marry him. I want to marry him!” she was ashamed of the appeal in her voice and the color that she knew had rushed into her cheeks (Shahraz, 2001: 31).”Zarri Bano tries to change her Father's insane mind because she is educated woman and she feels too dear if she becomes a victim of family's tradition because of inheritance. She is really want marry to Sikandar. She tries to break Shahzadi Ibadat tradition to be a holy woman. It is because she has accepted Sikandar's marriage proposal. She is always remember that in the past her father has blessed and encouraged marry to her beloved man. So, her decision to marry is really serious and she tries to break this tradition. In fact, she loves Sikandar “No choice? I don' t believe you. There is no way I will become a Holy Woman, Father,” she warned him. “I know what it entails and I am not cut out for that role. As you know I have hardly ever covered my head properly. I know very little about religion. I am very much a worldly woman. I cannot become the holy woman!”(Shahraz, 2001:51). Zarri Bano does not agree with her father's decision to make her become the holy woman, Zarri Bano aware that she does not good enough in religion, therefore she feels not appropriate if she becomes the holy woman and she does not want to wear such a veil because she never wears a veil correctly and even hardly to cover her head with a veil. She just know very little about religion and she just want to be normal woman.“The glory?The izzat?The fame? I don' t want any of those, father. Don' t you understand? Please leave me alone! Zarri Bano shouted. „ am I banging my head against a brick wall? (Shahraz, 2001: 55).” Zarri Bano does not want inheritance. Actually she is really disappointed and angry to her beloved father because her father cannot understand what she want but she must understand her father, this is not fair. “I didn' t say that I wanted a man!” she spoke so quietly now that he almost couldn' t hear her. “I just want to be normal and lead a normal life, like any other woman” (Shahraz, 2001: 55).” The statement above is seen that actually she keeps lobby on her father to stop and ignore the tradition. She tried to hide her desiring to a man, Sikandar. Because Sikandar really love her and she loves him too.Here I stand before you, Mother, my father's Shahzadi Ibadat. She spread her hands in a flourish. The Holy Woman. The woman he created by killing me. Did you not know that men are the true creators in our culture, Mother? They mould our lives and destinies according to their whims and desires. (The Holy Woman, p.88).”

The Holy Woman, by Qaisra Shahraz, encapsulates the limitations of life of women living under patriarchy. The Holy Woman highlights how strong the structure of the social and feudal customs, centered on the body and sexuality of women, limiting women and difficult to challenge. This review is the custom and tradition is often maintained, strengthened and continue to live through the violent and unjust actions centered on women.The text above shows inner pain that is felt by Zarri Bano, when her identity as a normal woman who has lacerated due to follow his father's command. She felt confined and trapped by the culture. Shahzadi Ibadat, it was Zarri Bano has been set up by his father. Zarri Bano was unwilling to accept the command.I want to be a normal woman, Father, and live a normal life! I want to get married. I am not a very religious person, as you know. I am a twentieth­century, modern, educated woman. I am not living in the Mughal period- a pawn in a game of male chess. Don' t you see, Father, I have hardly ever prayed in my life, not opened the Holy Quran on a regular basis. How can I become a Holy Woman? I am not suited to that role. Father.' Shahraz, 2001: 54-55).Zarri Bano was against the decision of her father, the figure represents the patriarchy, by sacrificing Zarri Bano, her daughter become The Holy Woman which contrasts with her daily life and positioning her ideoligical oppressed. Even, her grandfather also in favor of patriarchy in this context is described as a representative figure of the old man who is hungry for power and a bit pushy.

Habib Khan wants to make Zarri Bano the holy woman in order to become the successor to the throne after the death of family heir, Jafar. Zarri Bano have to deal with his grandfather and her father which both are actually the figure which must be respected because of his position in the family. The positions held by Habib Khan as a father and have a lineage as the honorable man is one of the representations shown as a man who has power over his will just to keep the land and its riches. This can be seen when Habib forced Zarri Bano to release his body into someone who protected from the outside world by limiting herself to not associate with any person, including Sikandar, a man she loves and then separately because she had to be the sacred feminine virginity was never touched by anyone.“Why?' she whispered. „I don' t want to be a Holy Woman, Father. But you don' t mean it, do you? It is a joke -and a terrible joke at that.' She looked at him reproachfully (Shahraz, 2001: 51).”From quotation above that Zarri Bano want to be a normal woman so she does not want to be a holy woman because automatically she cannot marry to Sikandar. Actually, she has been protracted delirious love to Sikandar. Then,Islam recommends woman or man who has been unable restricts their own libido, they must get married immediately in order to avoid sexual act outside marriage.“I have terrible feeling that they will marry her off to the holy Quran, to her faith. These zemindars are fierce men, like tigers and bulls. And very possessive about their womenfolk (Shahraz, 2001; 77).Then, the very important impact of Shahzadi Ibadat tradition is many people especially Sikandar as Bano' s fiancé does not agree with the tradition and also Zarri Bano' s mother and they tries to break the tradition even Zarri Bano herself and Ruby as Zarri Bano' s young sister does not accept their father' s decision to undergo Shahzadi Ibadat tradition.“Her father had set a trap and had captured her neatly, using sexuality as ammunition. The words thundered through her head: “what you want is man.” Zarri Bano physically recoiled, holding her arms against her chest as she recalled her own feelings for Sikandar. Yes, she desired him, but her father had cheapened and degraded marriage and what it stood for, insulting both her and the essence of her womanhood, by his underlying insinuation that what she really craved was a man's presence in her life. Still wrestling with terrifying sensation of being at the bottom of dark pit, Zarri Banno recognized bitterly that her father had won. For she could never let him or the world know that she wanted and desired Sikandar. It was impossible situation. And there was no way out for her” (Shahraz, 2001: 55). Zarri Bano accept her father's desires, “I cannot let him or my family down,” she sobbed. “He has won! He has psychologically managed to blackmail me. She whispered in her another' s ear: Tell father he can start the preparation for my wedding to the Holy Woman (Shahraz, 2001: 56-57).”

She could not fight the tradition, so he asked her mother to approve what her father wants. Finally, she will be a holy woman. She could not resist tradition, she gets stressed and experiencing inner conflict and she tried to cancel his marriage to Sikandar. Zarri Bano is similarly forced to remain silent because of the conditions imposed on her by patriarchy makes it impossible for her to speak. After the initial debate with her father she realized that she did not have the strength, and to understand the authority unmatched behind the decision of her father as her mother told her young daughter Ruby, “he has his traditions, his father and male relatives to support him” (The Holy Woman, p.83).Habib does not stand alone in his decision. As already mentioned, he had his clan to support him.Habib Khan's sorrow is also collectively shared as his father and brother agree with his decision and facilitate the marriage to the Quran ceremony.However, Zarri Bano finds herself alone and facing the biggest challenge of her life. This collective sense of helplessness and subordination displayed by Zarri Bano, her mother and Ruby indicates the authority of the male voice against which the female voice dies out. She realises that no woman around her is in a position to help her. It is this learned and understood sense of helplessness that enables Zarri Bano to forgive her mother and her sister,“don't look so sad, I absolve you of any guilt. I know you can't help me. I do not hold you responsible for anything” (The Holy Woman, p.88). By forgiving her mother and sister, Zarri Bano also further strengthens their sense of subordination and helplessness. She allows them to remain in their passive, weak and subordinated selves justifying their meekness through her understanding and acceptance.What a pity Zarri Bano, she finally could not resist the tradition. She was ready to be a holy woman and undergo Shahzadi Ibadat tradition by marrying the Quran and then all of a body covered by a burqa. Actually it is difficult to Zarri Bano in living the tradition. But others, especially family and Sikandar would never know that he was getting experience mental problems, her inner conflict is always accompanied on the face of the fact that she will never get in touch to Sikandar. It's hard for her because she really felt enormous love to Sikandar. Here are some excerpts stating that Zarri Bano experiencing inner conflict in the face of reality because she has huge love to Sikandar. Eventhough, her inner conflicts is always accompanied her every day in becoming a holy woman, she did not want a lot of people know, especially family and the man she loved that she experienced inner conflict because she is always thinking about the people she loves the most. Actually, Zarri Bano disappointed to younger sister that she had married with the man she loves, Sikandar. But, she could not do anything because she had become a holy woman who could not make the wedding happen. Her inner conflict is more complicated. She wanted to say to the younger sister, Ruby that she does not want their marriage but she can not. Her mind forbade him to act like that because she has promised to Sikandar to forget him. But in fact, although she became a holy woman she can not forget him and always thought about him. This makes him experiencing inner conflict.The highest authority of Habib, supported by his male kin, is observed by all the women of the extended family. Zarri Bano's female cousin, Gulshan, also expresses her inability to help Zarri Bano: What could she do, anyway, if Zarri Bano's own mother and sister had been powerless to help? She cast a surreptitious glance at her grandfather, her Uncle Habib and her father.Gulshan was a mere young woman, was just a pebble in the company of giant rocks, to be easily trodden upon and crushed if the need arose. (The Holy Woman, p.152) Gulshan too speaks of the same helplessness that Zarri Bano, her mother and her sister experience, an ingrained sense of inferiority cemented by the centuries of voiceless subordination that „socialises' women to accept patriarchal authority. Ghanim (2009), whilst discussing women's compliance with oppression, questions as to why women choose to continue in the violence that victimises them and in a bid to find a possible answer, to the puzzling question he raises, he claims: Socialisation of women tends to enforce and normalise patriarchal social construct in the lives of women. A particular social construction enters intoconflict with reality and natural existence. This social construct becomes the only reality that women experience in a patriarchal system. Thus, internalisation is the process where the socially constructed appears natural to women. (Ghanim, 2009, p.12) Zarri Bano characters exhibit what Ghanim calls to be the internalisation of male superiority - one which silences Zarri Bano's mother, her sister and later her cousin. For them, to resist is futile, as their individual voices and opinions are easily crushed and dismissed as nothing more than a mere noise. Ghanim (2009)explains how family structures binding women in dependent relationships resulting in weak and fearful women, as the mothers subordinate to the male authority of husbands and fail to offer any female model of strong, resisting and challenging character which the daughter may follow.Professor Nighat, Zarri Bano's Professor from her previous university, who is the head of a feminist organisation, travels to meet Zarri Bano as she learns of her predicament. She ask a questions and figure out Zarri Bano's agreement to become a Holy Woman as contradicting her feminist ideals/views. The situation becomes more ironic as Zarri Bano has been an active member of the feminist organisation, fighting against the oppression of women. Caught in a painful and embarrassing situation, Zarri Bano offers the following explanation: I could have refused. I could have turned to hundreds of people for help, if I had wanted to. I could have married my fiancé, if I had wanted to. But I didn't at the end, for the same reason thousands of other young women in our patriarchal society...For our izzat's [honour] sake, and our family's honour. (The Holy Woman, p.173). In order to change new identity, she kills “the old” Zarri Bano and give birth' to a Holy Woman, Zarri Bano undergoes a physical transformation. She begins by cutting her hair and then removes all pieces of jewellery that she always wears everyday and becomes gamorous woman and wipes her face clean of all traces of makeup and then finally dresses into her black veil which encloses her body in a shapeless garb. After hearing his mother's speaking with Zarri Bano's mother, his mother said that Zarri Bano will be a holy woman. Sikander who has proposed a marriage proposal is so very angry and amazed to hear that Zarri Bano will be a holy woman, Sikander does not really agree with Zarri Bano' s father decision even Zarri Bano itself has agreed with her father' s decision to be a holy woman. When he revealed: “They can' t do this! It is barbaric! What age, what country do they live in? In Islam there are no nuns, no such things as women married to the Holy Quran! What nonsense is this? No woman is to be denied her natural role as a wife and a mother. Who has invented these traditions? Have they studied the Holy Quran, where it categorically states that widows and divorcees should be encouraged to remarry at the first opportunity? So how can a beautiful, young maiden be deliberately denied marriage? That is the crux of the matter, isn' t it? So that she doesn' t marry anybody. Habib doesn' t want her to marry me, I know it! Do they realize that they are committing a crime? Do they___.' His mother cut short his rage-filled outburst (Shahraz, 2001: 79).” He still does not believe that Zarri Bano ready to be the Holy Woman because she has accepted his marriage proposal. He is really angry and he will not let Zarri Bano becomes a holy woman and he will tries to break the tradition. His desire to marry to Zarri Bano unchanged and he will never give up to get Zarri Bano as her wife, he is really want to break the tradition and talking to Bano' s father that undergoing the tradition is cruel thing. The sexual awakening, victimisation and emotional suppression of female sexuality highlight how women's bodies are effectively controlled and exploited through cultural traditions and the manipulation of religious rules regarding the position of men and women in society. Women centred on Zarri Bano, an educated and wealthy woman, who becomes the victim of a feudal custom remain bound within male- constructed boundaries of piety and honour whereas men hold the ultimate deciding power. Through both life and death, Zarri Bano made to sacrifice her body to uphold the family honour and values. Zarri Bano thrown into an emotional battle to fulfil the male-oriented culturally constructed duties, guised as modesty and obedience, and an inner urge to rebel and pursue her own desire also respected as equal individuals created by almighty God. Towards the end of the novel, when Habib and Ruby are tragically killed, it is again „desired' that Zarri Bano should leave her role as a Holy Woman and marry Sikandar, to which Zarri Bano agrees. The point to be noted is that Zarri Bano's marriage with Sikandar. This marriage is short lived as Ruby and her father both die during the holy pilgrimage in Mecca.

Here we cannot find Liberation as such, but Zarri is Liberated by the continuous courage & struggle she shows against Patriarchy.

Citations

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Chapter 4

Subjugation V/s Liberation

CHAPTER IV

SUBJUGATION V/S LIBERATION

The 9/11 attack on New York World Trade Centre has somehow popularized the term ‘Islamophobia' and contributes to the marginalisation of Muslims in America and Britain. Being minority in Britain, the Muslims find it hard to be accepted among the western societies. It is hard to be a Muslim in Britain and even harder for its Muslim women. Placed in a double bind situation, the contemporary Muslim women writers have yet to counter lopsided and inaccurate notions about their perceived gender oppression. In a climate of mistrust and marginalisation of Muslims, British Muslim women writers have played a significant role in informing the mainstream society about their religion and identity. One of them is Qaisra Shahraz (1958- ). In The HolyWoman (2001), Shahraz explicates the gender question according to the teachings of Islam and locates the fine differences between Islamic teachings and culturally inflected practices; such as the impositon of the unislamic, ‘barbaric' ancient traditon of Shahzadi Ibadat (The Holy Woman) by the feudal class. Within the setting of a traditional patriarchal society in Sindh Pakistan, Shahraz has finely crafted her work revolving around the internal conflicts as experienced by her protagonist, Zarri Bano. Following the death of her brother, Jaafar (the sole heir), Zarri Bano's bleak kismet is cruelly set upon her by her feudal lord father. Using the discourse of ‘Islamic feminism', this chapter shall highlight some instances where the status of women in Islam have been justifiably elevated. Being the second generation of migrant community, the contemporary Muslim writers who have either been born or bred in Britain, or even in exile due to (in)voluntary emigration have undergone an array of new social experiences that place them in tandem with social integration (voluntary or forced) in the host country. Their narratives are often influenced by several elements such as the writer's personal experience, conviction in life and observation, particularly those that reflect their diasporic identity. British Muslim male writer, Hanif Kureshi (1954- ), for instance, has published literary works depicting migration issues (nostalgia, exile and the restlessness generated by the migration process) and received a lot of critical and academic reviews. For the contemporary British Muslim women writers, however, their literary works not only depict the common migration experience, but they come with a gendered perspective. One of these diasporic writers is Qaisra Shahraz (1958- ). Her writings have often intricately dealt with issues ranging from ‘barbaric' old traditions (‘Haq Bakshish') feudality against modernity, sexuality (taboo subject), family honour or Izzat, women as object, to the donning of hijab as an act of Muslim woman's own choice. The focus (subject) of Shahraz's works differs from those written by other earlier counterparts, namely Amrit Wilson, M. Prescod-Roberts and N.Seele (Wilson, 1978). The latter (first generation migrants) have used their homeland (South Asia, African Carribean) as the cultural centre of their lives, whereas the second generation (such as Monica Ali, Leila Abouleila), have the tendency to include nostalgic elements in their works and constantly give prominence to the idea of ethnic identity (Hussain, 2005).

Interestingly, in the novel, The Holy Woman (2001), Qaisra Shahraz has used her novel as avenue to channel her demanding voice by highlighting on femininity issues.Islamic feminism is a movement that emanates from Third wave feminism and makes an appearance in the 1980s. Margot Badran in “Islamic Feminism: What's in a Name” (2002), defines it as “a feministand practice articulated within an Islamic paradigm [it] derives its understanding and mandate from the Qur'an, seeks rights and justice for women, and for men, in the totality of their existence” (1). Though Badran's definition of Islamic feminism is derived from her study based on the experience of Egyptian women as feminists in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, her ‘fluid' (subject to change) and not rigid definition has ensured the applicability of it not only to the Egyptian feminist experience, but also to Muslim women in other societies. In other words, Badran (2002) emphasizes on the ‘fluid' nature of the feminist discourse as it defies boundaries and can be used at anytime, anyplace.

By definition, Islamic feminism is a feminist discourse using the classic Islamic methodologies or basic ijtihad (independent investigation of religious sources) and tafsir (interpretation of the Qur'an) and how both are used alongside “the methods and tools of linguistics, history, literary criticism, sociology, anthropology” and others (Badran, 2002, 5). This branch of third wave feminism is only applicable “within an Islamic paradigm”, where intentions and actions must be used in the context of Islam (Badran, 2002, 7). Proponents of Islamic feminism (Islamic feminists like Asma Barlas, Elizabeth W. Fernea, Leila.

Ahmed, to name a few) have secluded themselves from the rigid restrictive interpretations of the femalegender and declared their opposition to discriminatory cultural practices, which is played out in false calls forIslamic identity and obedience. One strong example would be in their firm stand when it comes to domestic orsexual violence to women by husbands or male perpetrators. In re­examining the Qur'an and Hadiths, Badran (2002) and her Islamic feminists' sisters have presented the public with pertinent surahs and sirahs that condemn any acts of violence against women. As stated in the Qur'an:

“...But consort with them in kindness, for if you hate them it may happen that you hate a thing wherein God has placed much good.”(An-Nisaa, 4:19)

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) further emphasizes this:

“The best of you is the best to his family and I am the best among you to my family”.

“The most perfect believers are the best in conduct and best of you are those who arebest to their wives”.(Hadith narrated by Ibn-Hanbal)

As the interpretations exposed by the Islamic feminists taking into the various opinions of reformist Ulama, this has contributed to the construction of a social discourse on Muslim women that calls them to be active, intelligent and remains faithful to Islamic teachings. Islamic faithfulness sets Muslim women free (liberated) before God and does not subject them to the masochistic imagery of either East or West (Ramadan, 2004, 141-142).

Relatively, Islamic feminism allows Muslim women to restore their place in Islamic societies as well as stand resolute among non-Muslim community “with a type of liberation that adheres to the principles of Islam” (Ibid: 2004, 142). As nicely put by this great novelist, I always felt strongly about women's lives, because I'm always comparing my life to other women's lives, and I think I'm so lucky because I live in the West, I have an education, I have a career and opportunity and I want other women to have the same. I am not a Western feminist: (I am) a feminist within a Muslim framework. I must be a feminist because I feel strongly about women's lives and women's issues. (Shahraz,"2001)"

The meaning of emancipation to the Islamic feminists is when the Muslim women are allowed to use their moral sense, sound convictions and religious beliefs in dealing with making choices (Ramadan, 2004). Therefore, when Muslim women want to don the hijab, the West should respect their choices and way of life. To exemplify, when Zarri Bano in The Holy Woman (2001) decides to wear the burqa, that decision should neither be termed as being subservient nor indoctrinated. Instead, in her response to the Western media representatives, Shahraz was quoted as saying, “We are just women who like to dress in a modest fashion and believe in covering ourselves well” (Shaw, 2005: 2).

In the above quotation, Shahraz is clearly refuting the West's idea of fashion sense and claim as to possessing the key to liberty. The veiled Muslim women are portrayed as being the victim of oppression, resulting in Islam being blamed for the backwardness of Muslim women. The veil is perceived as a mask of sexual innuendos of Muslim women, to escape the presumed shackles of the Arab Muslim world. In other words, Muslim women and other subaltern women are seen more as subjects of analysis rather than sisters in plight.

All Muslims are brothers and sisters to one another (one single ummah). Each Muslim men and women have a calling and place in nature (Qaradawi, 1998). Neither has a greater value, nor is one of greater importance. The most elevated status in Islam is those who pray and double-up their ibadaah (worship) to Allah.

Unfortunately in Sindh, one province in Pakistan, women are tied down by ancient patriarchal tradition to protect their wealth from changing hands. In The Holy Woman (2001), Shahraz presents the nightmarish reality faced by its protagonist, Zarri Bano, and other main characters as a result of the feudal traditions as set by the feudal lords. These feudal lords are known to have great power in politics and authorityin religion (Chaudary, 2013). Within the Islamic entity and society's cultural traditions (Asian Muslim inPakistan), Zarri Bano and her mother, Shahzada have yet to gain equal value and worth in the eyes of Muslim men. This can clearly be seen in the narrator's comments:

"In a culture and land where sons were traditionally cherished, an only son was the most precious commodity of all worldly goods for any father. Hence, to lose your only son was like losing life itself - the worst calamity one's worst enemy could face (58)."

As indoctrinated by the patriarchal traditional practice, Zarri Bano experiences internal conflict, from someone who is beautiful, independent, sociable woman to a Holy Woman, who has been tied down by the “barbaric traditions” of the feudal class by her grandfather, Baba Siraj-Din and father, Habib. These “male tyrants” are depicted as being responsible for the setting of unIslamic, absurd tradition, Haq Bakshish. This ancient tradition is practiced by Pakistani feudal families, whereby a woman (heiress) is not permitted to marry any man (but forced to live in celibacy) for the fear of inherited lands and wealth to change hands (Kidwai & Siddiqui, 2011). To these male-tyrants, their insistence on Zarri Bano to remain a celibate and be married off to the Holy Qur'an is due to their irrational assumptions that one cannot devote herself fully to the studying of the Holy Qur'an and Hadiths if she were to become a wife and a mother. Apart from that, a Shahzadi Ibadat has to present herself to the public as one who adorns to the religion's ruling of covering her aurah in a burqa.

With her pious appearance and devotion to religion, a Shahzadi Ibadat would not only regain high recognition in a society but her family would also gain eminent respect.

Proudly calls herself as a feminist within Muslim framework, Shahraz's take on Islamic Feminism (ijtihad) counters the culturally inflected practice of forcing a Muslim woman to be a celibate. Thus, throughZarri Bano, Shahraz has made it a clear da'ie mission for her to educate the public (Muslim and non-Muslimalike) of the necessity to abolish the traditional culture of Shahzadi Ibadat or The Holy Woman as practiced bythe folks in Sindh, Pakistan. In support of Shahraz's plight to champion Muslim women in Pakistan from the cruel subjugation of being a Holy Woman by her patriarchal family members, we can take a look at these Qur'anic verses such as Surah An-Nur (24:32) and Surah Ar-Rum (30:21):

You shall encourage those of you who are single to get married. They may marry the righteous among your male and female servants, if they are poor. GOD will enrich them from His grace. GOD is Bounteous, Knower ”. (An-Nur, 24:32)

“Among His proofs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves, in order to have tranquility and contentment with each other, and He placed in your hearts love and care towards your spouses. In this, there are sufficient proofs for people who think (Ar-Rum, 30:21)

These two verses have clearly shown how Islam really glorifies the institution of marriage. Even in sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Islam is strongly against celibacy and encourages marriage, as getting married is one of the Prophet's sunnah"

"Marriage is my Sunnah, whoever disregards my (sunnah) path is not from among us" (Hadith narrated by ibn Majah)

It is much known how Prophet Muhammad is so proud of his expanding hierarchy through marriages. From the humanitarian aspect, the ancient tradition as practiced by the feudal lords in Sindh, Pakistan can be categorized as a zulm tradition. Indeed, it denies the biology nature of a woman to be a wife and mother by forcing ZarriBano to be the unmarried zeminder; out of fear for having thelands and wealth changing hands to future “unwanted” son-in-law.

Being in a diasporic Muslim community, these contemporary British Muslim women writers usually present the theme of feminism within “the experience of migration, settlement, racism and ethnic identity in a hostile society” (Hussain, 2005: 132). Their protagonists are often portrayed as one of a strong character, who perseveres the society prescription against her, as well as succeeds in asserting ‘her own individuality against social constraints' (Ibid, 2005: 132).

Within the Islamic entity and society's (Asian Muslim) cultural traditions, Muslim women, as portrayed by Zarri Bano and her mother, Shahzada in this novel have yet to gain equal value and worth in the eyes of Muslim men. This can clearly be seen in the narrator's comments:

"In a culture and land where sons were traditionally cherished, an only son was the most precious commodity of all worldly goods for any father. Hence, to lose your only son was like losing life itself - the worst calamity one's worst enemy could face. (58)"

Upholding Izzat or family honour is an overprotective act (cultural traditions) where the influential male in a community is obliged to preserve his family members (especially the women) from any form of threat involving religious belief, inheritance, descendants and traditions. This act is practiced in some sections (traditional patriarchal community) of the South Asian, Mediterranean, as well as the Middle Eastern societies (Ali, Kalra and Sayyid, 2008). In Butalia's The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India (2000), the Hindus is recorded as holding on to this ‘honoured' practice. Evidently, during the separation of India and Pakistan in 1947, bloodshed had occurred in the name of preserving one family's honour.

Nevertheless, in upholding izzat, her findings revealed that the Muslim community were more receptivecompared to the Hindus (ibid, 2000).

As Wilson (1978) claims that izzat is a “reflection of the male pride” of the family (be it husband's, father's or brother's), the only way to restore the izzat is by severely punishing the transgressor (the women)

In The Holy Woman (2001), Shahzada has received a stern warning by her father-in-law, Siraj-Din for her bold move in giving consent to Zarri Bano to go to Sikander's residenceunchaperoned without the approval of her own husband, Habib. Disapprovingly, Siraj-Din has this to say:

"But I must be allowed to say that my clan hasn't yet had the misfortune to become so outrageously “advanced”, so morally corrupt that we let our beautiful young unmarried daughters stay in strange people's houses unchaperoned. Alongside our land, our wives and daughters, our izzat - our honour - is the most precious thing in our lives. We never ever compromise on the issue of our women and our izzat !

No matter what age we live in; no matter what the world outside dictates; no matter what evil lies outside our door. Even if you sacrifice, forget, or part with all the other etiquettes of our-landowning class of feudal landlords, we will never let you sully our izzat or our women's honour, Shahzada.” (34)

Further emphasizing on his patriarchal indoctrination, Siraj-Din questions Shahzada's bold actions(bypassing her husband) and reminds her of her rightful place:

"Amazingly, you have by-passed both Habib and myself. I hadn't realised what an industrious daughter-in-law I had. In fact, I am beginning to wonder who actually rules this home. Who is master in this house? You or my son, Habib...?” (44)

In addition, inherited cultural traditions on the status and duty of Muslim women in Asian Muslimsocieties have created conflict of subjugation and liberation among its modern Muslim women. This male dominated order within a section of the Muslim community privileges the male to exercise their power in asserting “the importance of appropriate gender roles, codes of dress and family honour” under the name ofreligion (Ansari, 2004: 22). In an act of safeguarding the family izzat, there are cases where parents would goto the extent offorcing their daughters to remain celibate if their daughter refuses to the marriage arrangement or even worse, if her kismet is to be the heiress of the family's inheritance. In The Holy Woman (2001), the patriarch Habib has used his veto power in going ahead with the “barbaric traditions” (Shahzadi Ibadat), of having her eldest daughter, Zarri Bano as Shahzadi Ibadat or The Holy Woman. With his patriarchal tyranny, Habib rebukes:

"She is not going to marry. I have decided! I have lost a son, and I am not going to lose my inheritance to a complete stranger. I want you to support me in this. That is your duty as a wife. If you don't do it, our ancient traditions will outweigh your opposition, so you had better get used to the idea. Remember what I said: I will divorce you on the spot if you rebel against us. (69-70) When his wife, Shahzada accuses him of being zulm in sacrificing their daughter to be the unmarried zeminder, Habib snarls:

"And stop talking nonsense about sacrifice. My beautiful Zarri Bano was destined for this fate. Her brother's death sealed her future as a Shahzadi Ibadat. This is what has always happened when only sons died in people of our class: the inheritance then was passed onto the next female member - you know that.” (70) Therefore, one of the possible pathways to counter the abovementioned incidents could be in the formof utilizing Islamic feminism as a discourse to rescue these Muslim women from the perplexities ofpatriarchal customs (homeland) and religion (rigid interpretation) (Badran, 2009).Now come the main part, we have had read about the oppression Zarri had faced throughout her lifetime, but she was a fighter as well. The purpose of this chapter is to point out the main character's independence in Qaisra Shahraz's The Holy Woman, and to identify measures that she has undertaken to fight for her independence in confronting the tradition in Pakistan. Using descriptive qualitative methods and feminist studies, it is learned that the main character is a common but strong woman who must serve as a “Holy Woman” and “marry” the Quran. Because of the old tradition and culture that still exist in Pakistan, the maincharacter gradually develops her traits and becomes a dynamic character accordingly.

Pakistan is one of the Muslim countries in the world. It is officially named the Islamic Republic of Pakistan because it is a country with the second largest Muslim population in the world, with a population of around 95% to 97% after Indonesia according to an article on the website written by Oishimaya Sen Nag entitled "Muslim Population by Country". Pakistan became a country famous for its culture. According to Sulasman and Setia Gumilar (2013: 20) in their book entitled Cultural Theories: From Theory to Application, culture is a way of life that is developed and shared by a group of people. Culture regulates that every human being understands how they must act and determine attitudes when dealing with others. One form of culture that is still inherent in the State of Pakistan is patriarchal culture. In the family, a figure called the father has authority over women, children and property. According to Fatimah in her article entitled "This Reason Becomes the Cause of Thousands of Pakistani Women Being Killed by Their Own Fathers", mentioned that in Pakistan, women are often victims of patriarchy from their own families. Pakistanis believe that some acts that are deemed to be dishonorable or shameful are worth paying for their lives, including adultery or dating men who are not condoned by the family, infidelity in marriage, being raped by other men, teasing and flirting with men, and other negative deeds. The most common reason for murder against women in Pakistan is their refusal on an arranged marriage. This is known as “Honor Killings”. According to Anna C. Korteweg and Gökge Yurdakul in her journal entitled "Religion, Culture and the Politicization of Honor-Related Violence A Critical Analysis of Media and Policy Debates in Western Europe and North America" states that honor killings are most often defined as a response to the belief that a woman has violated the honor of her family, usually because of perceptions about sexual irregularities. The family positions men to maintain the honor of their family and one sign of honor killings is killings planned by their own families. In this modern era, Pakistan still preserves the practice of Honor Killings towards its own family members. According to a source named Mohamad Asruchin who is an observer of socio-political issues in his article entitled "Honor Killing in Pakistan (Women as Property and Men of Honor)" on the website, adding that due to the many complaints from the public, the Pakistani government finally passed a law that impose a prison sentence until the death sentence for perpetrators Honor Killing. However, the law has not been proven effective because some regions still have strong ethnicity, causing law enforcers to ignore it because they consider it a family matter. Mohamad Asruchin said that some group leaders in Pakistan noted Islam as a justification for their actions in support of Honor Killing, this led to the assumption that Islam "justified" the action. However, this notion is disputed by Islamic leaders inside and outside Pakistan. In fact, Islam teaches not to do violence in any form against women. The Holy Woman is one of the novels in which the story tells about the conflict of becoming a woman in a patriarchal society, the customs that becomes an important part of the setting, and men who are considered as the dominant ones in the region leading to women becoming victims of patriarchy. The author of the novel introduces the definition of a Holy Woman or known by the term Shahzadi Ibadat which means that the woman cannot be married, because she has been “married” to the Koran. Shahzadi Ibadat is a term for a holy woman, zahidah; women who devote their whole lives only to worship God; similar to nuns found in Catholic. This term itself is not known in real society. Qaisra Shahraz deliberately coined this term to describe a father's efforts to seclude his daughter. According to an article entitled "Married to the Quran" in an Arabic newspaper called Asharq Al­Aswat, in Pakistan there is a tradition of marrying the Koran intended for an unmarried woman to protect her family assets. The reason for this unreasonable tradition is because family members fear that their wealth will go to the husband after the woman marries. A Holy Woman must wrap her entire body in a black burqa. In return, she will get the entire inheritance out not in the form of land and acreage of fields. This tradition is run by families who don't have sons as heirs.

The novel The Holy Woman is chosen as the main material of the study because of the context regarding to gender issues experienced by the main character who is a victim of patriarchy in the area of their residence. The present researchers identify that the main character experiences various kinds of problems, namely the patriarchal culture and traditions inherent in her family, and whether or not it is customary to “marry” the Koran. In this study, the problems are limited to two aspects of discussion; namely strength, courage, independence, and exceptional independence from the main character, as well as any efforts made by the main character in fighting for independence in the face of tradition in Pakistan.

The author also uses extrinsic elements as a reference in analyzing the representation of female characters in this novel, namely through the approach of feminism. This approach focuses on concepts that describe equality between women and men in the social, political, and economic fields. Qaisra Shahraz wrote the novel The Holy Woman as a form of criticism towards the dominance of men in the family and the social environment of the main character. This condition makes women isolated and depressed because of the inner pressure of their environment so that they can do nothing but obey what men are instructing their families.

According to the Great Dictionary of the Indonesian Language (KBBI), the term gender means the classification of types of words according to sex, namely feminine, nouns that refer to the female or female gender and masculine, nouns that refer to the sex of male or male. Gender equality between men and women is the view that all people must receive equal treatment and not be discriminated against based on their gender identity. Gender equality is one of our human rights. The right to live in dignity, free from fear and free to make choices about life is not only intended for men, women also have the same rights to their nature. According to Sugihastuti and Itsna Hadi Saptiawan in the book Gender and Women's Inferiority: The Practice of Feminist Literary Criticism (2010: 95), gender is a trait attached to men and women that is formed, socialized, strengthened, even socially or culturally constructed, through religious and state teachings.

Feminism emerged as an effort to resist the various efforts of male control above. In broad terms, feminism is a women's movement to reject everything that is marginalized, subordinated, and denigrated by dominant culture, both in the political and economic fields and social life according to Ratna in Literature and Cultural Studies: Representation of Fiction and Facts (200 :184). In The Great Dictionary of the Indonesian Language (KBBI), feminism means a women's movement that demands equality between women and men. Meanwhile, according to Arivia in the book Feminism: A Word of the Heart (2006: 149-150), feminism is a political discourse that has political practice or theory that is committed to the struggle against patriarchy and sexism. Feminism not only fights for gender issues, but also for humanity. The core purpose of feminism is to improve the position and degree of women to be equal or equal to the position or degree of men. Sylvie Meiliana in Sociology of Literature & Feminist Sociological Theory (2016: 133) argues that in general men and women deserve equality in all opportunities, treatment, respect, and social rights. Then, Sugihastuti (2010: 87) said that as opposed to men, women are interesting objects of exploitation, not only from the sexual side, but also from the stereotypical side of women as weak creatures. According to Mansour Fakih (2013: 100) in Gender Analysis and Social Transformation, the feminist movement is a struggle in transforming an unjust system and structure, towards a system that is fair to both women and men. This social change movement for women eventually gave birth to a theory called feminism theory. Dwi Susanto in Introduction to Literature Studies (2016: 183) says that the theory of feminism is a set or combination of ideas that seek to study social life by positioning itself in the defense of women. The setting of this novel takes place in Sindh, Pakistan. Zarri Bano is a very lucky woman; beautiful, growing up in a rich Muslim family, living with luxury, and highly educated. She has captivated the heart of a man from Karachi, Sikander Din, and falls in love for the first time. The engagement party was officially held. The conflict began when Jafar, Zarri Bano's younger brother, died suddenly in an accident. Based on the prevailing ancestral tradition, when the only male heir dies, the heir is passed on to the first daughter. The woman was required never to leave her father's house. As a result, she could not get married and had to become a Holy Woman. Zarri Bano must also accept her destiny as a Holy Woman, a Shahzadi Ibadat. The figure of a woman symbolized as an Islamic scholar, a moral and religious teacher for hundreds of young women in cities and regions, a woman who became a symbol of purity and worship in the purest form. Story conflict develops until the end of the story. Zarri Bano's identity was also disturbed. As a woman who has a master's degree, she strongly supports the feminist movement. She had rejected all forms of tyranny, either by men or by certain societies. What she experience now is contrary to what she had believed in, when her father wants her to be a holy woman, Zarri Bano is like a wax doll that can be changed into all sorts of shape according to her father's wishes. This all happened only because of Habib Khan's jealousy, Zarri Bano's father, towards the man who loved his daughter. With the reason and desire to save his land and property, the father sacrificed his own daughter to commit celibacy. A tradition which in Islamic teachings itself never existed. As a result, family integrity must be at stake. Shahzada, Zarri Bano's mother, disapproved that her beloved daughter could not become a normal woman who married and gave her grandchildren. Then, conflicts escalated again when the man Zarri Bano lovStory conflict develops to the top. Zarri Bano's identity was also disturbed. This tradition, according to Zarri Bano, makes her not "normal" as a woman. This means she does not have the right to her freedom to determine her own way of life. Zarri challenged this fact, she also admitted to her father that she was not a pious woman, rarely did she pray in her life, nor was she diligently opening the Holy Qur'an and using it as a guide. She sees herself as an educated modern woman. Habib argues that if Zarri becomes a wife, then Zarri will be bound to a man. Such a life is nothing compared to izzat ored, Sikander, had to marry her own younger sister, Ruby. This makes Zarri Bano experience inner struggle.

In the end, Zarri's knowledge of feminists, as well as their feminist campaigns and books, was not useful against the patriarchal tyranny of their feudal landlords. The patriarchal tyranny has become a strong fortress for the Habib family. This gender discrimination has been regarded as one of the defining features of all conservative societies in the world, and Pakistan is no different in this regard. Sikander resides in the city of Karachi, a city where tradition is not as thick as that in the village. This shows that the different settings affect the thoughts of the characters in the novel The Holy Woman. He said that in Islam, there is no term for a woman to marry the Holy Qur'an or becoming a nun, women must be able to decide their own lives. Women have also been outlined by nature to be a wife and a mother. Sikander who is in the city, has a more rational point of view compared to people in the village regarding the right of women to take care of their husbands and provide offspring, they are still following astrong tradition in modern times. Sadly, even Sikander could not fight the strong traditions that had been passed down through the family of the girl he loved. The most terrible and despicable practice in Pakistan is clearly rude and un- Islamic. This certainly has nothing to do with religion. It's about strength, control and greed. A woman is not respected enough to consider how their whole life, and the dreams or hopes they have. It is corrupted by an inhuman tradition and goes beyond any rational explanation. With the aim of devoting their lives to the Koran, the lives of the women in this country must be obliterated and destroyed. It was the will of her father and grandfather who made Zarri Bano the next owner of the fields. This makes the character Zarri put into the category of round figures and developing figures, because Zarri Bano decided to change her identity, she replaced the old Zarri Bano with a new one. Zarri Bano clearly experienced an inner conflict which made her hate Habib so much. Zarri could not accept the fact that her independence, identity and womanhood were exchanged for acres of her family's land. There is an irony of situation because the land that has been guarded by her family like gold powder for centuries is in fact more valuable to them than humanity itself. At the beginning of the use of the burqa Zarri Bano had felt tightness, but she then managed to fight the black shroud that enveloped her body and proved that she was not weak as a woman who was oppressed by her own family so that she was gradually accustomed and comfortable when wearing a burqa cloth. The dress was also interpreted as a symbol of her readiness in making her new position as Zarri Bano the Holy Woman.

Full support for the tradition comes only from the male elders in Zarri Bano's family members, such as his father, grandfather, and uncles, while the women have been bound by centuries of patriarchal customs and agreements on obedient, silent women , and can be easily threatened. Thus, Zarri Bano experienced man against environment conflict. This environment changed the old Zarri Bano into her new soul, and made it clear that this figure was a developing and round figure. Zarri Bano who has begun to read and recite the Holy Qur'an with quite rapid progress. In the process of becoming a sacred woman, the main character has a new task in her life, namely by returning to university and studying Islam at a higher level. In addition, a Holy Woman is also required to have her own madrasa or college, and must attend Islamic conferences all over the world whenever and wherever they are offered. That thing is one of Zarri Bano's efforts to prove her independence as a woman to her father, Habib. In terms of education, Zarri Bano managed to prove to everyone who knew her that she had now turned into Zarri Bano who was religious and had knowledge of the subject. Efforts that prove Zarri Bano's courage and independence in facing her unjust life were also shown in the situation when Sikander, whom she still loved, married her younger sister, Ruby. Even though Pakistani women are good at hiding their sadness, but they must be able to survive in a culture that they don't really like, they can only obey. Zarri Bano's series of efforts to get rid of her pain are by way of worship and prayer, Zarri Bano who previously rarely performed worship, now after becoming a Holy Woman has never been absent from not doing so. It was proven that after worshiping and praying asking to discard all of her bad thoughts and feelings, also erasing all traces of her past to start a new page in a pure state, she gained peace of herself. Zarri Bano became a stronger and stronger figure, feeling confident that she could meet her sister and share happiness without something raging inside her. Then, to prove that she had conquered her problem, won herself, and all her desires, Zarri Bano increased her devotion to religion more than she had ever done before. In addition to Zarri Bano's efforts mentioned earlier, Zarri Bano's bold and independent traits defeated the harsh reality in her life, that is when Habib and Ruby died. Due to Ruby's death, Haris, the only son of Sikander and Ruby, had to lose his mother at a very young age of two years. Zarri Bano finally experienced man against man conflict in the face of coercion that her family sent to Zarri now regarding Sikander's proposal, Zarri Bano finally relented on the grounds that everything she did was only for Haris. Little Haris needs a mother figure, and the only woman who is very close and loves Haris fully is her aunt, Zarri Bano. The discussion above has proven that although the main character is a character who is developing (dynamic) and also included into the round character, where the father and his environment managed to shape the identity of Zarri Bano as they wish. However, the feminist figure in Zarri Bano has not completely disappeared, various reasons have turned her into a new Zarri Bano. In fact, her courage and independence have proven to those around her that women are not fragile. They are only weakened by hereditary tradition, but not by their souls. The Holy Woman novel, in the end, did not only tell certain people. Although in local packaging, the values implicit in it are broad and universal. The local tradition displayed in this novel is just a portrait of how a tradition survives in the whirlpool of an all-modern era. This story teaches us to get to know each other's different traditions, religions and cultures, and teaches manhood to behave, find one's identity, and sincerity to forgive. The factors that made Zarri experience changes internally. This factor is most prominent because of the inner conflict and feminist spirit within Zarri Bano that makes her able to get through every problem. This problem has robbed her of her rights as a woman, which is to “marry” the Koran (Haq Bakshish) in Pakistan. She was forced to obey in order to fulfill the wishes of her father and the elders in her family. Such traditions can occur in the families of feudal landlords, because their male inheritance does not exist or dies. So it was replaced with the eldest daughter who was not allowed to marry any man. If the woman rejects what has been determined or marries another man without her family's blessing, that will be a family disgrace and the woman will be killed. This action is called honor killing. The courage and independence of the main character proves that her feminist thought did not disappear after her father and environment tried to change Zarri's identity into someone who was not herself at all. The existence of strength, courage, and independence in the main character, proves that the figure is considered as a woman with a strong soul, independent, and not weak.

A number of attempts have been made by Zarri Bano to prove herself as a feminist figure. With a strong soul and determination, she decided to change her old identity into a new one. She boldly resisted the heat of wearing a burqa so that on the fifth day she became accustomed and comfortable using it. The main character is able to adapt to her new duties and status and forget the past so that she embraces herself as a religious woman, and other efforts that characterize the feminist figure in Zarri Bano. These figures ultimately fight for their rights as women who are not oppressed by men and are able to gain pride and respect from those around them for their efforts to become independent and strong women. Viewed from the psychological side, in one side, this character has a fragile complex character but on the other side, she is tough, independent, strong, and never gives up because she is able to control her emotions and prolonged sadness after facing various kinds of problems. The character became a strong figure, steadfast, good at controlling herself, and open-minded feminist. Independence from the main character also influenced her in fighting for and resolving her conflict under patriarchal tyranny. All the characters show a strong personality in accordance with the concept of feminism.

The conventional perception of gender roles in a socio-cultural setup cast men as rational, strong, protective, and decisive beings thereby casting women as emotional (irrational), weak, nurturing, and submissive (Nayar 83-85). Therefore, women are expected to fit themselves in this frame, where in every sense they are inferior to men and lose their personal identity. Thus, women remain as mere object or property to men. Taslima Nasrin, on account of her personal experience of childhood sexual abuse and the deteriorating status of women in Bangladesh, contributes considerably to the feminist thought. In most of her writings, Nasrin gives evidences of her feminist leanings as she delineates situations pertaining to subjugation and marginalization of women by men who have patriarchal mindset.

The female characters in Lajja: Kironmoyee, Maya, and Shammima Begum are all compelled to behave as per the patriarchal norms, wherein Nasrin aims at highlighting the situation of women belonging to minority community of Hindus in Bangladesh, who had to go through a tough phase during the demolition of Babri Masjid in India. The double marginalization of women on religious grounds on the one hand and their gender identity on the other is another crucial aspect in the novel. Taslima Nasrin exemplifies the woman who breaches the patriarchal code, and is thus maltreated. To exemplify, “In 1993, a fundamentalist organization called Soldiers of Islam issued fatwa against her. Rather than supporting her, the government sided with the fundamentalists and confiscated her passport, asked her to cease writing and banned her book Lajja (Shame) in which she depicted atrocities committed by Muslim fundamentalists against Hindus” (Nasrin, “Dissident” 42). Lajja deals with several feminist issues. In fact, Nasrin demonstrates the ways how patriarchal mindset challenges individuality and self-respect of women. In one of her interviews, she states that “everything she has written is for the oppressed women of Bangladesh.” She further stated that “she has wrung her heart out into her words” (Quiglay 24). One of the most important feminist issues that has been dealt with in the novel is the treatment of women at the hands of various patriarchal institutions like family, society and state, headed by a patriarch who either looks down upon women or marginalizes them.

Kironmoyee as a mother is expected to be gentle, polite and understanding. Issues like her husband's infertility, physical ordeals, and extreme hunger, are supposed to be warmly accepted and humbly enacted by her in order to keep the family intact: “Kironmoyee did not eat herself, but kept Maya's share of food for her” (Lajja 100). A woman's desires carry no significance when it comes to her family; she is expected to make every sacrifice to keep the pot boiling. Likewise in case of Kironmoyee too “[h]er latest sacrifice involved selling a pair of her gold bangles to Dr. Haripada's wife. After all, gold was not so precious that it could not be sold if the need arose” (Lajja 113). Her desire to move to India to her relatives at the perilous hour (on account of the aftermath of Babri Masjid demolition) remained unattended. All she could do was secretly shed tears and behave submissively, which is refrential of the patriarchal setup, where the family is led by a male member, who is supposed to be all powerful and centralized. Such that, the female member, however, is tyrannized and is expected to behave according to an established patriarchal norm. Furthermore, the assumption that a woman has no identity of her own and is dependent on the men around her, be it her father, brother, husband or son, has been amply exemplified in the novel, Sudhamoye, for instance, praises his wife Kironmoyee and daughter Maya by telling Maya: “You feed me, your mother massages my body, presses my templesWill I get so much of love and care once I am well?” (Lajja 146).

The patriarchal norms do not let women fulfill their aspirations, as for Kironmoyee she had to repress her deep inner cravings which would eventually turn into virtual “deprivation” and thus become way of life. To quote from the text: “When Sudhamoy's friends came to visit, and they sat around talking, their shadows would sometimes fall on Kironmoyee's lap, and almost involuntarily she would wish that those shadows were real. . . . Kironmoyee's physical cravings did not last very long. Her body soon became used to the deprivation” (Lajja 114). By and large, it is at the cost of the family that a woman is conditioned to subdue her desires and fit into the socio-cultural framework. Kironmoyee, therefore, spends her life as a “patriarchal woman,” “who has internalized the norms and values of patriarchy, which can be defined, in short, as any culture that privileges men by promoting traditional gender roles” (Tyson 85). Thus, Nasrin portrays Kironmoyee as a polite, selfless and self-sacrificing wife/mother who is submissive to the demands of her husband and son, for her main concern is only the well being of her family and her personal choices are a non-issue in the environment she is born and brought up in. She takes her celibacy on account of her husband's genital mutilation as an existential given and never mentions this handicap as an issue. She also submits to the demands made upon her by the communal atmosphere in Bangladesh as she quietly accepts a new identity with an assumed Muslim name San. At this juncture, it is important to note that both, family and society connive to marginalize women. Kironmoyee invests all her resources, monetary and mental, in keeping her family together. She gives a tough fight to her daughter's abductors. Despite her reluctance, she cooks beef to make her husband happy and is even willing to accept her son's Muslim girlfriend Parveen as her daughter-in-law. Her second act of assertion manifests in her refusal to accept the financial help offered by her son after her husband has a paralytic attack, which apparently depicts her as a victim of patriarchy.

Furthermore, in Lajja, Nasrin shows how women are doubly jeopardized— on the basis of sex and on the basis of nationality which is identical with religion. In Bangladesh, only Islam is synonymous with humaneness as only Muslims are considered as human beings. They are free to pray in the mosque, do what they want for their religion, wear Burkha, have a beard, wear a skull cap on their head, and to follow the rituals of their religion. Hindus are like their slaves and have to hide their identity more often than not. They cannot observe any religious rituals of their own and cannot practice anything signifying their religion. As an instance, Sudhamoy asked his wife to hide their identity as Hindu because they are scared of Muslims. To quote from the text: “Kiranmoyee had stopped using sindur in the parting in her hair and loha and sankha on her wrist as was expected of every married Hindu woman” (Lajja 97). At every step, Kironmoyee had to sacrifice and behave according to the imposed authority of the ruling class in Bangladesh. It highlights male version of the female world which is based on marginalization of women. It is ironical that the so-called People's Republic of Bangladesh which accords nationality to its people, eventually deprives the same countrymen of the basic fundamental rights due to orthodox religious considerations. The demolition of Babri Masjid in India led to the brutality and torture of Hindu families in Bangladesh, and particularly the women who were not only demeaned but also inhumanly brutalized, tortured and raped. Even the cruel treatment of Hindu men folks eventually affected the lives of Hindu women more adversely as they were left to fend for themselves in the face of vindictive Muslim fanatics.

A feminist writer denounces treatment of women as objects of lust, physical and psychological violence. Nasrin does the same with tremendous vehemence as she depicts in Lajja how women are sexually harassed, abducted and subjected to varied kinds of torture that may even result in their deaths. The novelist demonstrates how the abduction of Hindu girls has been common in Bangladesh and how the hooligans do not have any kind of fear. Whenever they wished, they would abduct a woman and rape her brutally. That was the reason that most of the Hindus sent their daughters to India for their education and security.

Thus, the females as portrayed in the novel are nothing more than objects to be used by the male predators to satiate their lust. In an attempt to retaliate the Babri Masjid demolition in India, women's bodies are defiled and desecrated as they become extensions of the geo-political entity called India for religious fundamentalists in Bangladesh. Lajja, depicts certain men ravishing young Hindu girls for their pleasure and vilifying concerned Hindu families. The abduction of Maya as a child of six illustrates the same. This incident terribly traumatizes the girl and has such a negative effect on the psyche of the girl child that she is not able to behave normally for two months. She would sleep fitfully and would wake up abruptly in the middle of the night. The family is never safe thereafter as they keep receiving threatening through anonymous extortion letters that aimed at kidnapping Maya again. However, when Maya grew up as a young girl of 19, the ominous day of 11th December 1992 came. A group of seven hooligans entered the house of Sudhamoy who had recently suffered paralysis, and began to break the goods of the house. They were all about twenty-one years old. Two of them wore caps, pajamas and Kurtas. Sudhamoy and Kiranmoye tried their best but they could do nothing against seven hooligans who very quickly took Maya away. Maya was crying for help but nobody came forward to help her because she was a Hindu girl and the abductors were Muslims. She only screamed to her mother for help saying: “ ‘Ma . . . please help me, Ma . . .' She fought with her captors as she was dragged away, looking back in pain and terror, hoping against hope that her mother would be able to save her” (Lajja 148). This inhuman incident shattered all the hopes and dreams of Sudhamoy's family. Being communists, the family did not believe in any religion whether Hindu or Muslim and humanity was the only religion for them. As a result of it, they decide to leave for India.

Despite his best efforts, Suranjan could not find Maya. He felt helpless as he could not find any assistance to locate his sister. The legal system also turned a blind eye on the family as they were Hindus. The wails and shrieks of the young girl Maya went in vain as there was none who could come forward and help the family in finding her and taking action against the male predators who abducted her. At this juncture, the cause of Maya's abduction is worth analyzing as it is a Muslim nation retaliating against the Babri Masjid demolition via raping vulnerable woman of Hindu origin, who is being perceived as an extension of India, or those who demolished Babri mosque. There have been instances of such sexual/ physical violence against women in the history of the world—the partition of 1947 being one of them as women had to bear the brunt of the political blunder as they were abducted, tortured, raped and killed brutally. In fact, Nasrin too, as a feminist writer condemns violence against women. Out of sheer pain of helplessness, misery and frustration, Suranjan began to drink wine and abuse Muslims. Time and again he was haunted by the pain of losing his innocent sister, Maya. Certain questions like what the abductors must be doing with Maya; whether they may have tied up her legs and then raped her one by one; how she must be tolerating the pain; whether she would be living or dead etc. kept haunting and traumatizing him. He felt a strong desire to avenge the honor of his sister and was filled with anger and hatred for the Muslims. He, like the hooligans, wanted to kill the Muslims and abduct their daughters for taking revenge. It was the eleventh day of riot in Bangladesh, i.e. 16th December, and people were celebrating the victory. Suranjan kept abusing the system and his own incapability to retaliate. He even thought of committing suicide but thought that it would be so cowardly an act. He eventually came up with a remedy as he thought something else. He took a rickshaw and went to Bar council where he met a whore named Shamima, the daughter of Abdul Jalil. For Suranjan, however, Shamima was not a whore but a girl belonging to majority community. The rape was what occupied his mind as a vengeance against the loss of his sister's honor. He only longed to rape one of the Muslim women out of sheer revenge for what they had done to his sister. As he got the opportunity he too behaves brutally like Maya's rapists. To quote from the text:

“He turned off the lights in the room. He threw the girl on the floor and stripped her of all her clothes. Suranjan took quick, deep breaths, as he dug his nails into the girl's flesh. He bit her breasts, one part of his mind understanding that what he was doing was certainly not love. Relentlessly he pulled her hair; bit her on the cheek, neck and breasts. He scratched her waist, her stomach, her buttocks and her thighs with his sharp nails . . . the girl moaned with pain, screaming occasionally, ‘O my God! I am dying of pain. . . .' Suranjan laughed with savage satisfaction.” (Lajja 200-01)

Thus, one may observe how revengefulness virtually annihilates humaneness which affects women most adversely. Suranjan reduces the Muslim girl to mere object of sexual desire with a view to avenge his sister's rape by the Muslims.

When societal institutions like religion, state, family and society that should provide conducive and safe environment for people in general and women in particular irrespective of their religious backgrounds turn against them, the situation becomes rather abysmal. What Suranjan did is as much condemnable from a feminist perspective as Maya's abduction as in both the cases, it is the woman who is demeaned and abused physically as well as psychologically. Whether it is the persecution of the Hindus by Muslims, abduction of Maya or Suranjan's sexual violence with the Muslim girl, all of them fall in the category of inhumanness and violence. Viewing woman as good or bad is another instance of patriarchal mindset. Using words such as ‘slut' to reduce her being is a common practice if she has multiple sexual partners but in case of man the term that is used if he has sexual relations with more female partners is ‘stud.' Moreover, “good girl” and “bad girl” syndrome subsists even today which reduces women and thus denies them human space: “According to a patriarchal ideology in full force through the 1950s, versions of which are still with us today, ‘bad girls' violate patriarchal sexual norms in some way. The good girl is rewarded for her behavior by being placed on a pedestal by patriarchal culture” (Tyson 90).

In Lajja too, this aspect comes to light as there are women framed as good or bad by the patriarchal setup. One who happily accepts patriarchal norms and adapts in accordance with its demands is labeled as ‘good' as in case of Kironmoyee. At every step in the novel, she is portrayed as an ideal wife who serves the family and makes all possible sacrifices to keep the family going. As discussed above, another female character namely Shamima Begum is termed as a ‘slut' and looked down upon as she sleeps with several men thereby violating/ transgressing the patriarchal code. She is, in fact, viewed as a bad or fallen girl. Islam mandates purity and virginity as virtues. Likewise in certain folk cultures too obsession with purity/ virginity is romanticized:

“In folk culture, tales, stories, and fables, mostly in the oral tradition, always romanticize the physical purity of the female body. Numerous tales of heroic women killing themselves rather than succumbing to sexual assault are very much a part of Bangladeshi folk culture. Thus, when a girl attains puberty, her parents immediately begin to suffer from a social anxiety about how to save their daughter's purity so that she can be regarded as a marriageable ‘good girl.' This can be ensured by marrying daughters off as soon as possible.” (Alam 436)

The vindictive attitude of men, where they tend to ravish women on the basis of the latter's religious background, and then reducing them by terming them as ‘good' or ‘bad' according to their suitability gets reflected in the novel. The society depicted in Lajja, is deeply patriarchal. Here, discrimination on the basis of sex or one's gender identity is a norm. To discriminate, it is necessary to first ‘otherise' women (as Simon De Beauvoir observes in The second Sex). There are innumerable examples of gender discrimination in the novel. For, Nasrin's own life narrative stands as an evidence to prove how woman is discriminated against and how attempts are made to gag her voice by those who cannot see women articulating their thoughts and resisting injustice done to them by those who are stuck with patriarchal mindset. Nasrin powerfully makes her point in one of her interviews challenging fundamentalists with closed mindset:

“They issue fatwas to try to stop people speaking against them? They can kill anyone in the name of God. They want to kill me, they demand my death only for the reason that I am alone, I am afraid, so I must be afraid of them and stop my writing. If I stop my writing, women will lose conscience because the fundamentalists like to oppress women to show their power. So they are not used to seeing that women can protest and are surprised if they do. They want to keep them down. So I think for women, protesting is more dangerous.” (Quiglay 25)

Thus, it is not easy to protest in a country like Bangladesh simply because it may provoke the ire of the mullahs representing a closed, patriarchal mindset. At one point in time, even Taslima Nasrin was proud of her beautiful country Bangladesh and felt privileged on account of its rich heritage and culture. However, she eventually became victim of the vindictiveness of the Muslim fundamentalists in Bangladesh who deprived her of nationality by issuing fatwa against her and banished her from her own country simply because she exposed the “Islamic republic of Bangladesh” which Bangladesh actually has become on account of religion-centricity, rather than its pseudo-official counterpart “People's Republic of Bangladesh” (Lajja 207) recorded in the national annals as a camouflage. Towards the end of the novel, however, Maya is killed and the Hindu Dutta family eventually decides to moves to India—a decision that has the narrative of pain, humiliation, insecurity, fear, and mindless killings embedded in it.

Through the foregoing discussion, an attempt has been made to analyze marginalization of women along with that of the religious minority as depicted in Lajja. Evidently a protest novel, Nasrin situates it in the context of religious fanaticism that reared its ugly head in Bangladesh in the wake of the demolition of Babri Masjid in India in 1992. Nevertheless, the novel also exhibits immense potential to be studied from a feminist perspective. The representation of the female characters, their treatment at the hands of Muslim male fundamentalists as well as Hindu males at the level of family, society or religion/ nation, and the fate they eventually meet are some points of discussion which make the text worth feminist analyses. The feminist thrust of Nasrin in view of the issues pertaining to women, the problems faced by the marginalized Hindus in Bangladesh, and the notions of nation and religion have been intricately woven together in Lajja. As nation is a geo­political entity, so is the body of the woman which is marauded, tortured and abused simply because the narrow nationalistic and fanatic mindset views it as an extension of the former thereby causing what has been discussed above as double marginalization of the women. Further, the boundaries of feminism are not limited to the cause of women as they can be extended to the cause of underprivileged ones. Thus, the anti-fundamentalism stance of the novel also envelops anti-patriarchal resistance wherein gender identity is privileged over religion particularly when Nasrin delineates atrocities against women in the same way as religion (Islam) supersedes nationalism when it comes to the abuse of the religious minority (Hindus). Thus, the gender extremism and religious fundamentalism go hand in hand throughout the text subjecting the female characters like Maya to inhuman torture until she dies. Hers is not only the death of a woman but also of that inner assurance of survival on the part of the Hindus in their ‘very own' country as Sudhamoy would believe at one point in the text prior to when his daughter breathes her last.

Subordination of women is a visible feature of most stages of recorded history, and is prevalent in large parts of the world. The extent and form of that subordination has been conditioned by the social, economic and cultural environment in which women have been placed. Through her book, Taslima Nasrin beautifully portrays the double disability imposed on women of minority communities. She has sharply exposed the differential impact of social exigencies on men and women. Minu Mehta, in her study Looking through Identity Lens: A Cross Cultural Perspective with Special Reference to Taslima Nasrin's Lajja remarks: “The gender identity is so powerful and overriding that it canopies and hides everything else” (Mehta 1).

Kiranmoyee, wife of Sukumar Dutta, suffers as much as any other women during the freedom struggle of Bangladesh. In addition, she has to endure the ignominy of deleting her Hindu identity as the family goes on exile to escape from Pakistani persecutors. Maya, Sudhamoy's daughter, however pays the highest price of being a minority woman. Her double abduction, as a child and as a young woman of twenty one is testimony to this fact. Nasrin's device of Maya's ambiguous fate makes her vulnerability all the more fragile. She suffers more than the Muslim prostitute her brother rapes. That women suffer in times of crisis is a foregone conclusion.

In Bangladesh, as in any other Muslim majority society, Islamist forces have emphasized on the importance of women adopting traditional practises, such as wearing the veil, as a cultural symbol and a weapon in the movement of Islamization against western modernisation. Modernisation is imagined as „immoral' and „dangerous'. Some activists have also tried to reinvent the religion by adding some elements of modernity into Islamic tradition. In reaction to the image of commoditisation of women's body in western modernity, the construct women wearing hijab in the public spaces as an image of „modern Muslim women'.

Kiranmoyee, the wife of Sudhamoy Dutta, is a quintessential, sacrificing wife-mother who has never learnt to assert herself. Her primary concern is the well being of her family and she is willing to sacrifice anything to keep her family together. She keenly observes everyone at home but she has no voice to raise an argument. She is willing to accept her son's girl friend though she is a Muslim. She also happily cooks meat in her house when she is asked to do it by her husband.

During the time of violence, Kiranmoyee is forced to take up Muslim pseudo names. Kiranmoyee had stopped using sindur in the parting of her hair and loha and sankha on her wrists as was expected of every married Hindu women. But she found it quite difficult to give up her bridal bangles and vermillion. Maya shows the impact of gender disability in a more pronounced way. She pays the highest price for being a minority woman. Her double abduction, as a child and as a young woman of twenty one adds to this fact. Where the case of kidnapping was concerned, there dint appear to be any distinction in the choice of victims, for both Hindu and Muslim women were kidnapped. The emotional trauma that victims like Maya felt were same as that of the pathetic plight of their families, like that of the Duttas, no matter what their religion was.

If one closely observes the women in Bangladesh as portrayed in the novel, they have become complicit in a system which subordinates them. Their life is located at the intersection of class, religion and patriarchy. These structures can all work to oppress them, as in the case of Hindu minority women in Bangladesh. But women belonging to Muslim majority enjoy few privileges and also wield a degree of power. These benefits are available to them only if they conform to the patriarchal codes of their family and communities.

Compliance brings them gains, both material and symbolic. Deviance, on the other hand, expels them from material resources of their family, of which they can partake only on condition of „good' behaviour. The compliance of women or the consent they extend to structures that are oppressive is however „invisibilised' under the seemingly more neutral notion of upholding „tradition' or the specific „cultures' of families or of communities, then moving outward to a nation whose cultural repository somehow resides specifically on women. When it comes to atrocities against women, gender disability becomes a more grave issue than identity. Nasrin interprets the plight of women as a consequence of narrowing of social spaces. She has sharply exposed the differential impact of social exigencies on men and women. Almost no experience is gender neutral and for women, gender identity is so powerful and overarching that it canopies everything else. Women are in the process of describing their identity, if only they had one. Any period of crisis saw the exploitation of women just like what happened in Bangladesh. When it came to women, religion did not actually matter. As women, they were exploited and subordinated. No one raised slogans for them; no one cared for their well being. Taslima Nasrin stands as a symbol of resistance against Islamic fanatics and male oppression. She is rightly called „female Rushdie'. Taslima out and out rejects all the religions including Islam for suppressing the fundamental rights of women.

The problem of inequality between the sexes was highlighted by Mary Wollstonecraft in her A Vindication of the Rights of Women and also Olive Scheiner in Women and Labour. Virginia Woolf examined the problems that women face particularly in academic circles and argued that these differences could be removed only when women achieve social and economic equality with men. Showalter classified the authors into three main, types, corresponding to three main stages of women writing as: A Feminine phase, in which women writers imitated dominant male artistic norms and aesthetic standards. Feminist phase is a protest phase, women authors rebelled against patriarchal attitudes. It represents women's demand for freedom, autonomy, and liberation. Female phase is a final phase, it has distinct female identity, style and content which represent women writer's search for their own voice and identity as opposed to the identity imposed by patriarchy and social conditioning. It is a stage of liberation of women that leads to the liberation of self. The upliftment of women begins from resistance of women against patriarchal attitudes that have been learned and demand for liberation from patriarchal and religious oppression and suppression.

The writer believes that each woman in the world has a right to live with honour and dignity and tears apart the ethical cover-up of the subordinating practices of patriarchal structures. Her personal experience of displacement and exile has had a profound effect on her writings. Uprooted from her original home by religious fundamentalists, she has since lived in India, France, Sweden, USA, and other parts of Europe. Her assertion that “My world is gradually shrinking” speaks for itself. In her interviews, essays and lectures, she constantly talks about her situations as a displaced person and identifies herself as an ‘unhoused writer'. Her ideas of freedom and liberation of women have thus been translated into reality in her own life that she has lived so far. She appears to follow the views of Amina Wadud who asserts in Inside the Gender Jihad: “life is a gift that we must live with honour—not by random standards imposed on us by an exploitative environment” (9). She criticizes religion, traditions and the oppressive cultural customs which discriminate against women.

The present paper aims at a systematic analysis of all the major characters of the novel to find out how they struggle for their liberation and to overcome the crises created by the advocates of religion, the fundamentalists. And also how they bound to live with the label of 'the religion' rather than to remain secular and responsible citizen of the nation. The characters throughout the novel, struggle to overcome the crises created by the fundamentalists and to fight quest for liberation of the self, where the most affected characters are the females who are both a woman and a minority Hindu. Liberation is the act or fact of gaining equal rights or full social or economic opportunities for a particular group. In other words Liberation is freedom from limits on thought or behaviour.

Self refers to the characteristic ways in which one defines one's identity. A newly born child has no idea of self. As a child grows older, the idea of self emerges and its formation begins. Our interaction with other people, our experiences, and the meaning we give to them, serve as the basis of our self. The structure of self is modifiable in the light of our own experiences and the experiences we have of other people. McDavid and Harari opine: “The self is the organized total of a person's actions and behaviour. Self-concept refers to the organized cognitive structure derived from one's experience of his own self. Body image is the physical aspect of self concept, including everything within the body limits” (184). Carl Rogers feels that the most important concept of one's personality is the self: “The self consists of all the ideas, perceptions, and values that characterize “I” or “me”; ‘It includes the awareness of “what I am” and “what I can do”. This perceived self (the self­concept) in turn influences both the person's perception of the world and his behaviour. An individual with a strong, positive self-concept views the world quite differently from one whose self-concept is weak” (qtd. in Hilgard and Atkinson 390). Korchin argues that “Humans have an inherent capacity for growth; they can change, make choices, and determine their own destinies” (369). Maslow (1954) calls this process “self-actualization--the acme of a hierarchy of needs. the highest needs for self-fulfillment and actualization” (qtd. in McDavid and Harari 87). Self­actualization is defined as, “A person's fundamental tendency toward maximal realization of his potentialities; a basic concept in humanistic theories of personality such as those developed by Maslow and Rogers” (Hilgard & Atkinson 614).

The review of Taslima Nasrin's fiction shows that she writes with a motive and the motive is to raise questions against the misrule of patriarchy, religion and its oppression and gender bias. It mainly deals with the themes related with fundamentalism, feminism, home and homelessness and human relationships. The protagonists of her novels reveal tolerance, love and harmony and each individual has equal right to live on equal footing. Women were trained to be domestic and subordinate, but the women of today want to liberate themselves from the unwritten norms of religion and patriarchy. In Lajja, Taslima Nasrin expresses atrocities against minority Hindus specially women and their victimization in the name of religion, race, and gender prejudices. She begins the novel with Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya as a result of it communal riots took place in Bangladesh. This novel exposes savagery of man on man in the name of religion, where minority people are forced to fight for their safety, security, and liberation, as Duttas-- Sudhamoy, Kironmoyee and their two children Maya and Suranjan (minority Hindus) in Bangladesh, refuse to leave their homeland and denied to shift to India. Maya's suggestion of shifting the family to some safe place was denied. Meantime Muslim murderers abducted her and she had to face inhuman t reatment in the form of physical torture and mental agony. Kironmoyee, Suranjan's mother, is a helpless sufferer. Sudhamoy and his son Suranjan both are atheists. They are patriotic but on watching their country burning in the fire of communalism, Suranjan's belief of patriotism is shattered and so he pleads his father to move away from homeland to India which Sudhamoy refuses to do. Ultimately Suranjan, the protagonist, and other characters of the novel suffer from the bondages of religion but they struggle to search liberation of the self.

Kironmoyee, Sudhamoy's wife is a typical east Bengali oppressed Hindu woman. She is not free to think like her husband and her son Suranjan. She adjusts herself in the hostile environment of Bangladesh. Sudhamoy always opposes Kironmoyee's idea of sending Maya for further study to Calcutta and of marrying her off. He believes in no gender difference but he very well knows, Hindu schools and colleges are not safe. He believes that there should be equality of opportunity for all people in Bangladesh. But there is discrimination on the name of religion. Therefore, Suranjan fails to get employment and Sudhaymoy himself was not promoted in her job. His friend Madhavchandrapal says " It is not right to expect too many benefits in a Muslim country. What we are getting is more than enough for us" (21).

Suranjan and Parveen loved each other, both wanted to marry. But Parveen demanded that he should embrace Islam. Surajan denied, he can't accept Islam because he is secular and does not believe in any religion. Further Ratna, a Hindu girl, deserted Suranjan and marries Humau. Maya his sister, also wants to marry a Muslim just to be free from the oppression of the majority Muslims.

All TV Channels and radio programmes start with the verses of Quran. Religion of majority also included in the syllabus of schools and colleges . Kajal Debnath, the president of the minorities association, raises question that extracts from Gita also be read out and to be considered as holy. But Suranjan is of different opinion, he wants no religion to interfere in the state of affairs:

Does it make you happy to hear the Gita being chanted on the radio or television? Will the construction of new temples prove propitious for us? The twenty-first century is round the corner and we are still trying to make our presence felt through religion, both the society as well as in matters of state. (138)

Suranjan is an authentic humanist and his view of religion is as: "Religion is the sigh of the tortured and the persecuted, the heart of the heartless world, just as it is the soul of a soulless society. Religion is the opium of the masses" (133-134). He further says:

Let all those brick-built building of worship be smashed to smithereens. Let there be no mandirs, masjids, girjas and gurudwaras, and after they all are destroyed, we will build on their ruins beautiful flower gardens and schools for children Let the other name for Religion be Humanity. (163-164)

In the course of riots females are treated very much like worldly property which can be looted easily. In the novel Maya suffers being a woman. Maya like her mother internally feels insecure. Suranjan, her brother, denies Maya when she asks her family members to hide herself in her Muslim friend's house. She faces her abduction, invaders kidnap her and rape her, that is most tragic incident of the novel. She never returns. In revenge Suranjan violently rapes a Muslim prostitute. The weak turns against the weaker. In a religious patriarchal system women become more easily victims of men. Suranjan's state of mind deteriorated into suicidal tendency when he imagines this horrible event. He cries: "Why couldn't the three of them take poison and kill themselves?... It was obvious now that it was pointless for Hindus to try and survive in Bangladesh" (157).

So here, in search of ‘Liberation' the family had to decide to leave the country, their own country-Motherland.

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Chapter 5

Conclusion

CHAPTER V

CONCLUSION

In the referred Novels, both Taslima Nasrin & Qaisra Shahraz has highlighted the sufferings of women and the response to these oppressions.

While receiving the prestigious Simone de Beauvoir prize, Nasrin averred: “I have written on the need women have to understand why they are oppressed and why they should struggle against that oppression”

These selected novels of Shahraz & Nasrin exemplify the issue of gendered self-representation and feminist concerns. Reading these novels make readers realize not only the diversity of women but the diversity within each woman.

Shahraz's depiction of rural women is flawless but she could be a troubling figure for the feminists. She could be blamed for creating heroines that are not rebellious enough.Second, the ideal stance of her heroines makes them unreal figures. Shahraz is keenly aware of the changes coming in society. Rural women in particular and urban women in general do live in highly controlled societies. She believes in reform but is no radical. Her system of beliefs is distinct from that of her contemporaries. Shahraz believes that women should create space for themselves by fuller self-development and blending the modern with the traditional as in the case of Zarri Bano. She feels tradition and commodification are responsible for woman's present victimization. Women therefore, emerge as playing a subordinate role in practical life. The road to woman's empowerment lies in knowing about their (woman's) rights in Islam and evolving cultural norms according to the needs of the modern woman. Shahraz strongly defends Islam in her narratives and believes that cultural conditioning of religion and feudal lust for power and wealth pose serious threat to woman's emancipation in rural Pakistan. Furthermore, she believes that Western brand of feminism is not likely to succeed in Pakistan where only the elite of the society have access to technological innovations and Western paraphernalia. A majority of the population is still loyal to the Eastern way of life. Shahraz calls for a more engaged feminism. She redefines feminism for a Pakistani woman and believes that a dialogue needs to be initiated between first and third world women in order to have a thorough understanding of similarities and differences. And differences must be respected. Such steps could create solidarity across feminist divides and help fight oppressions of neo-orientalism on one hand and religious extremism on the other. This viewpoint allocates her a distinguished position among Pakistani novelists. She is a realist not a fantasist. If her heroines are not independent souls, it is because women are like that specially in rural Pakistan. She does not have an agenda to promote but tries to show things as they appear to her.The Holy Woman shows cultural traditions are used to exploit and victimise women that faced to the main character, Zarri Bano. Her brother's death directly impacts on Zarri Bano's life. Zarri Bano's body is sold and exchanged to Shahzadi Ibadat tradition in the novel The Holy Woman. She cannot marry to a man, whereas in the novel, Zarri Bano has just accepted her beloved man's marriage proposal and she really want to get married. Through issues such as marriage, inheritance change to strange people, the struggle, explores how Zarri Bano struggle to construct and define her social standing and identity. The novel discussed throughout main character, Zarri Bano displaying all sorts of abilities and courage in the face of the most oppressive of circumstances. As it is an ancient family tradition upon which rests her father's honour and the wellbeing of the family, therefore, Zarri Bano silently becomes the pawn in the male game of family honour.This novel also presents on how Zarri Bano as main character, try to resist patriarchy created by her father and grandfather. Altough, Zarri Bano have accepted for becoming the holy woman and does not marry to Sikander, a man that has attracted her heart at the first sight. However, she has sucsessfully resist patriarchy, then she could marry with her love, Sikander. The researcher has concluded that patriarchy can be resisted when finally Zarri Bano can marry to Sikander because her father, Habib Khan and her grandfather, Siraj Din feel empty hence of the condition of the whole family member unlike before, such as, lack of happiness and smiles used to present by Zarri Bano and her sister, Ruby.Also loyality and love which missing in Shahzada's existence.Actually the main character Zarri Bano cannot undergo Shahzadi Ibadat tradition and becomes the holy woman because of she just accepted marriage proposal from her beloved man but her father forces her to follow this tradition. At first, she tries to break the tradition but finally she cannot because she trapped her father's words that makes her so shy, so she hides all the truth that she really needs a man especially Sikander she really wants to get married because she experiences a huge love to her beloved man. For hiding all her truth, she forces herself to follow her father's decision to be a holy woman and marry to the holy Quran. However, because she is forced to, finally she experiences inner conflict.From the explanation above, it clearly can be seen that Qaisra Shahraz's as the author of the novel proves that the struggle to get the equality of woman is still exist altough get some difficulties even in the small village of Chiragpur. It also proves that people still has the awareness of unequal treatments that mostly happen to women and they eager to fight for it.

Based on the conclusions described above, there is some suggestion that the authors were trying to convey to the reader include: analysis of the novel can be used as a lesson for women in particular to be more fighting and not simply accept the views of people who think women do not deserve to have freedom, as men by reason of the nature of women who can do the job alone in domestic area. Through the writing of this thesis, the writer would like to suggest to the readers, especially women in order they can be brave enough to take the decisions for their life. The writer also suggests women to open their minds about the concept of feminism. Feminism does not suggest women in order to be a perfect woman, but it is about decision making. Women are free to decide everything which is good for their life. Women may not follow the feminine characteristics which are constructed by the society because they are free to be what they want to. The writer also suggests the readers to read more about literary works. Through literary work, we can learn more about the world with many perspectives. It can enrich our knowledge and feel what others feel. To make it short, literary work can make us develop both personally and intellectually, explore and improve the subject of literary studies, particularly in feminism's problems, because the researcher evaluates that woman's problem will always interest to be discussed in literary field in order to develop the scientific knowledge in literary field.

As the meaning of Islam (Arabic for “the mercy of Allah upon the muslim”) indicates no preferenceto sex, as well as being associated with the concept of Ad-deen (Arabic for “the way of life”), Islam condonesany attempts to castigate or marginalize fellow human beings. Both are subject to Divine Retribution, which isequal for the capacity of each. Hence, with regards to Muslim women in non­Muslim countries like Britain,Muslim women will be able to vocalise their needs and represent themselves in accordance with the IslamicFeminism discourse that adheres to the needs of their religious teachings. By performing a woman- centeredreadings of the holy Qur'an and Hadiths, the classic methodologies of ijtihad (independent investigation ofreligious sources), and tafsir (interpretation of the Qur'an), a feminist hermeneutics of an issue, arrangedmarriage, for example could be realized. This discourse also promotes one's individual and collective obligations. Apart from serving people tolead their individual lives, Islamic feminism can also be a guidance for a community to be a united ummah that addresses on amal makruf nahi mungkar (doing good deeds, avoid evil deeds). As far as Muslim womenin Western diaspora communities and in Muslim minority communities are concerned, second generationMuslim women are often caught between the practices and norms of the original home cultures of parentswho migrated from Middle Eastern or South Asian countries to the ways of life in their new countries. Islamicfeminism helps these women (the second generation) untangle patriarchy and cultural inflicted customs andpresents them with Islamic ways of understanding gender equality, societal opportunity, and self-potential (As the result of this study based on the analysis, for the first statement problem concerns with the oppression that Zarri Bano had been experiences are divided into three faces according to Iris Marion Young. Those are exploitation, in which the character who controlled the exploitation is Zarri Bano's father, Habib Sahib. Habib did anything to save his inheritance although he should immolate his daughter not to getting married just because he didn't want another stranger man, a man who will marry his daughter will hand it over the inheritance.

The next type of oppression is marginalization that happened in the story is based upon gender. Men as superior beings are the masters of households. They have the authority to control family. Otherwise, women are considered as less valuable than men. For just being the woman member in the family, Zarri Bano should obey and do anything the head wants. Father should be placed in the first place, and women should respect and agree with his decision. The last is powerlessness that is the kind of oppression that some people "have" power while others "have-not". In the novel that shows the powerlessness is Habib Sahib has every power to control and rule the family members. He could decide what he wants to do and what he does not want do even for the members of his family, especially Zarri Bano. It shows that woman could not voice her opinion, again it all because of the gender in which men are dominated.

However, for the second statement problem is explaining the way of major character to survive from the men's oppression in The Holy Woman novel. At the first, Zarri Bano was trying to refuse her father's desire to become a holy woman because she is educated and want to live like a normal woman. But she cannot challenge the patriarchal tyranny. Her father hands full power in decided her whole life. After the ceremony of Shahzadi Ibadat, the old Zarri Bano died. She becomes silent and cold. She hardly ever laughs or smiles any more. The change of Zarri Bano makes Habib feels regret about his family's condition after the ceremony.

Habib feels his life was so empty because he lost the warmth in his family. Habib very regret with all his decision to forced Zarri Bano to become a Holy Woman. He wants the old Zarri Bano backs, and then he gives his blessing and freeing Zarri Bano to getting married. The way Zarri Bano surviving the oppression is by adapting the silence.

From the analysis in the previous chapter, it defines that patriarchy system is still thick in that society. In Qaisra Shahraz's The Holy Woman novel, Habib as the father, the head of family has the main power in controlling his member of family. It can be concluded that patriarchy happens in this novel is private patriarchy in which Habib as the head of household has the power in controlling women's life and resulting women's oppression.

In conclusion, this novel shows on how Zarri Bano as the major character, tried to fight patriarchy formed by her father and grandfather. She has accepted her fate to not getting married with a man who has drawn his heart at first sight, Sikander and received to become the holy woman. Zarri couldn't even break the rules or get her sighs to become a normal woman, because her father determines Zarri Bano's life. However, Zarri has successfully struggling to fight patriarchy, in the end she was able to marry the man she loves. The researcher has decided that patriarchy could be resisted when finally Zarri Bano was able to marry Sikander. It is because her father, Habib Sahib feels empty looking for the condition of the family members were not like before in which Zarri Bano and all of his family members rarely to smile anymore and lack of happiness after the ceremony of “Shahzadi Ibadat”. Zarri Bano's changing and adapting culture of silence make Habib regrets about his decision in forced Zarri as Shahzadi Ibadat.

The story of Zari Bano in The Holy Woman offers a sharp critique to the Western ideals of autonomy, choice, gender equality and free access to public life which in certain cases and circumstances gravitates a liberal feminist in Pakistan more towards disempowerment than to its opposite. There exists strong links between a woman's physical appearance and her family's honor within the space segregated society of Pakistan. Therefore, the biggest threat to a women's autonomy comes from her own self “unprotected” visibility in public space. Consequently, the veiled body of a Muslim woman offers her a personal space which protects her from the harassment of male gaze-while participating in the public space which is typically assumed to be a male space.

The image of Zari Bano as a veiled Muslim woman in The Holy Woman negates the liberal assumption which holds burqa as an oppression and seclusion for a Muslim female, and typically, utilization of veil as a cultural sign and tradition that offers (and often has done so) patriarchy with a ploy to oppress Muslim woman in particular settings and circumstances. Zari Bano's feminist sensibility when couples with her sound understanding of Islam helps her to rationalize that the oppression she has faced as a veiled woman is not perpetuated by the modesty imperatives of Islam. On the contrary, it is intertwined with the structures of spatial, ethnic, class and gendered inequalities of the Pakistani society. Through her practical experience of the veil, Zari Bano commands honor and dignity for her intellect rather than for her physical appearance.

Shahraz's depiction of rural women is flawless but she could be a troubling figure for the feminists. She could be blamed for creating heroines that are not rebellious enough.

Second, the ideal stance of her heroines makes them unreal figures. Shahraz is keenly aware of the changes coming in society. Rural women in particular and urban women in general do live in highly controlled societies. She believes in reform but is no radical. Her system of beliefs is distinct from that of her contemporaries. Shahraz believes that women should create space for themselves by fuller self-development and blending the modern with the traditional as in the case of Zarri Bano. She feels tradition and commodification are responsible for woman's present victimization. Women therefore, emerge as playing a subordinate role in practical life. The road to woman's empowerment lies in knowing about their (woman's) rights in Islam and evolving cultural norms according to the needs of the modern woman. Shahraz strongly defends Islam in her narratives and believes that cultural conditioning of religion and feudal lust for power and wealth pose serious threat to woman's emancipation in rural Pakistan. Furthermore, she believes that Western brand of feminism is not likely to succeed in Pakistan where only the elite of the society have access to technological innovations and Western paraphernalia. A majority of the population is still loyal to the Eastern way of life.

Shahraz calls for a more engaged feminism. She redefines feminism for a Pakistani woman and believes that a dialogue needs to be initiated between first and third world women in order to have a thorough understanding of similarities and differences. And differences must be respected. Such steps could create solidarity across feminist divides and help fight oppressions of neo-orientalism on one hand and religious extremism on the other. This viewpoint allocates her a distinguished position among Pakistani novelists. She is a realist not a fantasist. If her heroines are not independent souls, it is because women are like that specially in rural Pakistan. She does not have an agenda to promote but tries to show things as they appear to her.

The merit of Lajja lies in its sublime power to disturb even its best reader. Lajja is richly ornamented with activities that took place during the riots and is certainly a good source for those who want to know how the Babri Masjid demolition changed the lives of millions of Hindus and Muslims residing in the Indian sub-continent. Bangladesh has a secular democracy, but the state religion is Islam. “It has been very rare for a person from a majority community to write about the treatment of a minority” says Zaman Habiba, a London based critic and lecturer on post-colonial literature.

Nasrin identifies the root cause of violence in Bangladesh as religious fundamentalism. Religious fundamentalists use religion, along with culture, caste, ethnicity and nationalism to further their political goals. It includes spread of an ideology of hatred and intolerance towards those from other religions or who do not agree with their specific religious interpretations. They also employ coercive methods to control people and they use direct violence to silence opponents from outside as well as within the community.

Through Lajja, Taslima Nasrin was ranged against a host of enemies; Islamic tribalism, fossils of patriarchy, the privileged establishment, the traitorous razakars, the illiterate maulvis and cynical elite. She, perhaps unwittingly, took on all these monsters singlehandedly. She bore a hole in their medieval egos and pathological ignorance, as she tore to shreds their age old immoralities and traditional hypocrisies.

Presenting the minority population as a “threat” or “excess”, the religious fundamentalists acquire the consent of the majority masses. In their autocratic, patriarchal ideology and methods, they pose a threat to democracy and to women's rights. Women are central to religious fundamentalist strategies, as they play a dual role both as reproducers of the community and as symbols of family, community and religious “honour”. Religious fundamentalists seek to control the mobility and sexuality of women of other group as one of the most effective strategies of dishonouring that community as a whole.

The identity of an individual is shaped by his/her self perceptions of the world surrounding him/her based on religion, race, class, economic and social status. As in Lajja, a crisis situation like demolition of the religious centre Babri Masjid arouses a situation of defining people on the basis of their religious identity alone. There is a binary logic that anyone who is not a Muslim is an enemy. A Bangladeshi began to be solely described in terms of his religious identity. His past is erased, his history turned out to be insignificant.

There arouse a dichotomy between where an individual wants to place himself and where the society places him forcefully. So the identity politics emerges. Sudhamoy and Suranjan consider their primary identities as Bangladeshi citizens. But their only identity that acquires meaning during the time of the crisis is their religious identity. They become second class citizens in a country that they thought was their homeland.

Critics, men as well as women, have generally agreed that women writers are often timid, conservative and conventional. In her review of The Second Sex Elizabeth Hardwick quotes approvingly of Simone de Beauvoir's structures on the artistic women: Narcissism and feelings of inferiority are, according to Simone de Beauvoir, the demons of literary women, women want to please, but the writer of originality, unless dead is always shockingly scandalous. Novelty disturbs and repels. (345) But the history of literature shows that women writers who tried to be original that is, to speak against the set and established norms of society or to defy the stereotypes, have been abused by critics. Bronte sisters were called outcasts from their sex. Elizabeth Barrett Browning was pronounced coarse. Kate Chopins' The Awakening was banned as moral poison; Simone de Beauvoir was announced as frigid: Kate Millett was claimed as pervert. Taslima Nasreen is no exception to this tradition. Most of her is expressed in negative terms. She has been called ‘The darling of the press' (Engineer, 1) and ‘a woman in a hurry, both to acquire publicity and to establish sexual equality' (Engineer, 1). She is accused of only condemning religion while ignoring the reality of present ‘Social context' (Engineer, 1). She is also termed as “Thoroughly westernized and cut . . . adrift from her own roots” (Engineer, 2). She is declared as militant feminist who has become Controversy's child. On the basis of this criticism the significance of Taslima Nasreen cannot be undermined in the world of literature. Her novels are among the bestsellers of her time. There will be assessments and reassessments. The charm of her novels lies in the realistic description of the events which makes her a bold voice against patriarchy. Perhaps she is the first woman from Bangladesh who has strongly and unambiguously expressed views on unequal gender relationships in society. Her female protagonists assert their rights to construct their selfhood themselves. They refuse to accept the patriarchal norms of a society which undermine the women's status. Nasreen does not hesitate while talking about female sexuality. Where she is at the height of literary boldness is the sphere of interpersonal behaviour of man and woman, most directly associated with sexuality. To her, sex is not trivial. It is not only a delightful biological in human beings, but also a profound emotional and psychological experience. She is concerned with men and women who instinctively feel the need of a relation, the deeper Eros—the principle of psychic relatedness —is in full sway. Special attention is centered on those values of Eros that are kept in a primitive and unconscious state in traditional minds. She has stepped beyond that literary treatment of sexuality which either gives a passing attention to Eros-truth of life or at the most, presents men and women content with that degree of relatedness which is formed between them by an unconsciously instinctual sexual bond. Nasreen possesses a deeper knowledge of biological mechanisms in human beings and presents the phenomena of sexual instinct and its varied manifestations, as it is really apart from marriage and family. Her fiction contains a multi dimensional picture of sexual reality. She emphasizes that it is an elemental gravitation, a compelling thrust that goads the opposite sex towards biological fulfillment of one another. It is highly captivating and spontaneous and least concerned with human scruples. Under its powerful spell, all other human faculties go benumbed. Nasreen considers sex as an asset for a woman. The social vision of Nasreen is deeply influenced by undivided Bengali culture. She loathes the social inequalities of Muslim communalism, Hindu communalism, Caste distinction and discrimination, linguistic regionalism, religious bigotry, separatism which are deeply embedded in the socio-economic set up of Indian subcontinent. Nasreen's ideas and beliefs form an integral part of her socialistic vision expressed comprehensively and competently in the plots of her novels.

According to Nasreen, communalism is the poisonous weed that had been planted by the Britishers to form a hedge among the various religious communities like the Hindus, Muslims, Parsees, Christians. Nasreen detests communalism and favours nationalism and patriotism. Lajja depicts anti-communal flavour. Patriotism and nationalism imply a very deep love for one's own country. Nasreen is a committed patriot and a nationalist. Nationalistic and patriotic overtones are strongly implicit in Lajja. Lajja is a poignant and unrelenting account of the sufferings of minorities. Millions of people the world over wonder whether they should stay or leave an oppressive homeland. Some stay and suffer as the Dutta family does. Others leave to find that the world is simply not large enough for their rights. They may have fled, it is to be said religious fundamentalism, only to be victimized by racism. Fascism is not confined to one country or region, but permeates the whole world. In this way, it is also quite clear that internationalism and universal brotherhood are also significant in Nasreen's novels. She loves mankind. To make the point that religious violence must stop somewhere, Nasreen purposely amputates Bangladesh from the rest of the world and the rest of the Indian sub-continent.

Nasrin tries to portray empowering image for women. Instead of limiting the lives of women to one ideal, she pushes the ideal towards the full expression of each woman's potential. She does not give the sati savitri image of a woman. Rather, she presents her female characters as disobedient and fearless as she is. She strikes hard against stern patriarchy and male chauvinism. Speaking out about women's rights, Nasreen maintains that she criticizes culture and tradition in order to give strength and courage to those who felt they could not speak up. In fact, Nasreen has broken the structured silence prevailing in the Bangladeshi society as far as women's rights are concerned. Males are given the social approval to openly explore their sexuality and establish a link between their sexual experiences and the conceptualization of the world around them. Females, however, are totally condemned for writing about their own sexuality, which is symptomatic of the fact that society wipes out all agencies from the hands of women in controlling their own sexuality, and puts it in the hands of the males. In order to claim one's space in society as a free agent, one must, primarily claim rights over one's own body. Nasreen, however, by claiming rights over her own body and sexuality, has shaken the core of our patriarchal value system. And in a society that is anything but pure Nasreen's words provide a bout of hope. It is significant that Nasreen comments on powerlessness and revenge as motives for writing satire. As a feminist writer, she understands and is affected by the oppression of women in a society dominated by men. She is merciless with self­professed intellectuals who exempt themselves from the responsibility to facts. Nasreen has proved that all men are same.They exploit women physically, economically and politically. One point that has not been pin-pointed about Taslima Nasreen is that she is very much as feminist writer, as most of her fiction, she has taken up female protagonists and is dealing with the ‘Women question'. She has dramatized the dilemma of the woman of twentieth century Bangladesh in her fiction. Women in her novels are struggling to come out of the Victorian standards. They pose a threat to the patriarchy and they are not ready to give up easily. In Nasreen's fictional world romance and love are totally dissociated. The concept of sanctified sex had disappeared. For her, love is a web. Men trap women in it. Romantic love is unpopular with the emancipated woman who asserts her liberty through experimental sex. In Taslima Nasreen's fiction, male characters are generally cast as rogues, cunning, hypocritical, selfish, egocentric and unreasonable. This leads to a very debatable subject— whether women writers are capable of delineating male characters realistically. This is a feminist issue because they believe that a writer's art is necessarily controlled by her experience. Exposing the weaknesses of women who seek male approval, she sets the right example. Nasreen believes that self-reliance and self-confidence can be cultivated provided woman shuns self-pity and male approbation. As has been said elsewhere in the thesis, Nasreen suggests that women should live their lives on their own terms. They should not be worried about what society would think about them because society is male dominated and created by male to suppress the freedom of women.

Nasreen clarifies her position by writing on unconventional themes, “Before me, women would write love stories or advice on childcare and cooking” (Interview with Irshad Manji, 2002). She has highlighted the issues related to the women and minorities of Bangladesh. She is an inborn rebel and a crusader against patriarchy and all other forms of exploitation of women. She is also deeply committed to secularism and human rights. Moreover, she has an extraordinary courage of conviction and an ability to make sacrifices in an attempt to live up to her convictions. She believes that development is impossible without empowering women and secularism. Through her novels, Nasreen seems to give a message to women that life must be preserved at all cost, since one can fight oppression only when one is alive. The inevitable theme of feminism is beautifully captured in Margaret Laurence's words “The theme of survival, not just physical survival but the preservation of some human dignity and in the end some human warmth and ability to reach out and touch others” (8). Taslima Nasreen is a freethinker who forms views independent of authority or dogma, be it from a divine or human source. There is a definite socialistic slant in the writings of Nasreen. Prose being an ideal medium of communication, Nasreen attempts to make her literary works a vehicle of her social ideology.

Similarly in Lajja as well, the female characters, although going through unbearable oppression & sexual exploitation, turn back & fight for their rights.

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Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

International Journal of Law, Education, Social and Sports Studies (IJLESS)

Volume: 5, Issue 1, 2018

ISSN: 2455-0418 (Print), 2394-9724 (online)

Review Article

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IN HIGHER STUDIES

SHALINI SIHE

Assistant Professor (PhD Pursuing)

Department of English, Jaipur National University, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

ABSTRACT

Technology has an important impact in all aspects of higher education worldwide. It brings new opportunities and means for improving access and the quality of higher education. Yet, for various reasons the inclusion of how to use technology to improve higher education is uneven from region to region, country within a region, and institutions within a country. Thus, while recognizing and pursuing the important potential to bridge divides and to reduce inequalities in terms of access to knowledge and information, it is important to acknowledge that the risk of exacerbating existing or creating new inequalities is equally high as it requires means, necessary infrastructure and human skills to harness the potential of technology in higher education. The aim of the Information Technology is to pursue that the potential of technology is fully harnessed to improve the quality of higher education and to increase access to knowledge and education for all.

The higher education community is planning for a world in which information technology (IT) will be so pervasive that the very institution of higher education will change. Of course, IT probably can be used to improve higher education. But IT is exceedingly flexible, and we will face numerous choices about how best to apply it. Some of those choices are straightforward matters of efficiency, best left to technical experts. Other choices will require us to reflect carefully on the values that a university ought to express. If educators have learned anything from attempts to improve life using IT, it is that significant improvements are possible only when institutions are rethought. But in order to rethink institutions in a responsible way, we first need language to describe them.

Keywords: Information, Technology, Impact, Higher Studies, Implications

The Implications for Higher Education

Institutions of higher education now compete on the basis of their distinctive programs: one economics department, for example, might be ranked above another in a magazine survey. Departments can design the curricula for their majors according to their own distinctive approach, and students can choose the program that fits best with their values and goals. Universities can design their core curricula according to an overall educational philosophy. Because decisions about program philosophy and course content are made by the faculty, the contents of and boundaries between courses are flexible; they can be changed to suit evolving circumstances, not least the interests of the best students.

A radical increase in articulation would threaten this flexibility. Allowing students to earn academic credit at multiple campuses is often a good thing. It can create financial tension between the campuses, but it also permits students to save money, discover new interests, or overcome imperfect high school transcripts. The University of California recognizes this fact; for decades, it has encouraged students to transfer from community colleges into the UC system, even though the transfer students sometimes find this transition difficult. But if it becomes radically easier to transfer course credit between schools, thus effectively enabling students to assemble their college education a la carte from among the offerings of a large number of potentially quite different programs, then, intellectual diversity may suffer.

Important Choices

As the higher education community decides how to use IT, then, it faces important choices. Before advanced communications technologies became widespread, educational decentralization and diversity were promoted by the limitations of the physical world. Universities were distant from each other geographically, and it was relatively difficult to transfer people and practices between them; consequently, different universities evolved along somewhat independent paths. Now, however, that independence -- that separate evolution and diversity of educational approach -- exists only if educators actively choose to foster it. And because the local benefits of standardization are easier to quantify than the global benefits of diversity, broad awareness of the issues is crucial. A new generation of students, never having encountered higher education before, may not even recognize the dangers of a centrally planned educational economy or an intellectually homogeneous society.

The Role of Information Technology in Education

The Role of Information Technology in Education is exploring the potential for technology to redefine the terms of teaching and learning. Can the tools of technology, properly used, break through the barriers to educational progress? What inhibits the effective use of technology? What are the perceived and the real limits of these tools? Thirteen grantees are helping to answer these questions.

When The Hitachi Foundation designed this initiative in 1998 we noticed that computers in classrooms, frequently donated by well-intentioned companies, too often sat idle, or if used, amounted to little more than enhanced typewriters. We concluded that making computers available in schools was not sufficient to realizing technology's potential.

This initiative explores factors necessary to help technology reach its potential for learning. From the public school to the university setting, from local communities to nonprofit organizations, these grantees each offer a unique perspective on the role of technology in education.

Early Assumptions

The Foundation issued the Tech Ed Letter of Intent on September 15, 1997 based on these ideas:

1. A vast majority of schools have the equipment. Schools, districts, and states seem to have found money for hardware, but have invested only meagerly, if at all, in training teachers to use the technology.

2. The education sector has no systemic approach to upgrading the skills of its professionals in both pre-collegiate and higher education. If done at all, in-service technology training for teachers has been limited in number served and scope, traditional in its delivery (typically one-time sessions), or left primarily to individual teacher initiative. Training typically has not helped teachers understand how to integrate technology into the curriculum.

3. There are pockets of innovation. Individual teachers, students, and communities are delivering specific advances at every educational level. Advances can be grouped into 5 categories:

- Pedagogy: enhanced capacity for tailoring instruction for individual students and monitoring student performance to assess instruction efficacy.
- Constructing local content: through collaboration made possible by technology, students or professors in several locations, drawing on local content can transform classroom practices.
- Professional development: information technology makes possible high-quality professional development at times convenient for the teacher. Technology can overcome school scheduling problems by delivering training during off-hours or as the teacher works with students and colleagues in the classroom.
- Collaboration: teachers and students can collaborate outside the classroom in synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (delayed response) fora, which brings far more resources, perspectives, and analysis to classroom assignments.
- Economic efficiency: schools and universities are finding ways to use technology creatively to save money or expand productivity.

4. Technology is a tool — a means rather than an end.

5. Using technology effectively in the classroom means transforming the classroom, teaching, and learning. Productive use of technology does not mean using it solely to help slow students catch up, to occupy quick achievers, to reward good behavior, or to baby-sit. Where technology is yielding results, the classrooms are student-centered, with teachers as coaches and guides. Outside resources come to class and students go outside the classroom. Technology allows engagement, review, and especially assessment in broader, deeper ways.

Portfolio Goals

The Foundation Board approved 13 projects for funding in July, 1998. In addition to each project's individual goals, we had these broad goals for the portfolio:

- Illustrate how technology is being used to make possible new methods, outcomes, and advancements in teaching and learning.
- Illustrate specifically how information technologies can improve or advance teaching or learning, and for whom.
- Identify unused or unexplored opportunities to strengthen teaching and learning through the use of information technology.
- Advance the practice of collaboration.
- Document and disseminate program models.

Grantees

California State University Dominguez Hills, Carson, CA

This project is creating interactive Web Site teaching applications for K-12 teachers in the Banning/Carson Cluster (Los Angeles Unified School District). Teachers will be able to tailor self­paced and class-wide instruction, develop and revise the applications, monitor and evaluate their approaches and student performance on specific subjects and problems, provide students with individual problem sets, and collaborate with other teachers.

Catholic University of America, Washington, DC International Virtual Department for Historical Studies of Mathematics

The Catholic University of America, in partnership with the Mathematical Association of America and numerous scholars at universities worldwide (including Oxford, Russian Academy of Sciences, Princeton, and Kyoto), is implementing, evaluating, and disseminating an International Virtual Department for Historical Studies of Mathematics.

The Children's Museum, Boston, MA - Teacher-to-Teacher On-Line @ The Children's Museum

The Children's Museum's Teacher Center is creating Teacher-to-Teacher On-Line @ The Children's Museum, a training and discussion forum for elementary teachers to exchange activities, ideas, and curriculum as the state institutes new curriculum frameworks.

Delaware Education Research and Development Center, University of Delaware, Newark, DE First-State Instructional Resource System for Teachers (FIRST)

This project is establishing, testing, and refining the First-State Instructional Resource System for Teachers. FIRST is an Internet-based professional development system linked to Delaware's state education reform movement. The site will include professional development units that illustrate effective teaching of curriculum concepts, curriculum units linked to state standards, teacher discussion and collaboration forums, teacher comments on curriculum units, related commercial curriculum resources, and assessment techniques.

Eagle Rock Junior/Senior High School, Los Angeles, CA

The Eagle Rock Junior/Senior High School started The Talons 2000 Academy - a four-year, college preparatory program with a focus on business and technology. The Academy, within the walls of ERJ/SHS, is developing a student-led business to build, refurbish, and support computers throughout ERJ/SHS, the LA Unified School District, and the community.

Information and Referral/Volunteer Connection, Coeur d'Alene, ID

Community Science Online uses information technology to teach science by integrating scientific content with local and regional history and discussions of contemporary events in an interactive Multi-Object-Oriented environment.

Leadership, Education, and Athletics in Partnership, New Haven, CT - LEAP Computer Learning Centers

Leadership, Education, and Athletics in Partnership, in conjunction with the Hartford and New Haven Housing Authorities, Yale University, and Connecticut College is creating parent and student outreach programs in LEAP Computer Learning Centers in three CT cities. LEAP is evaluating the impact of the centers' programs on child development and technology skill building and increasing the breadth of technology training for LEAP parents and schools.

New York Institute of Technology, Central Islip, NY - Educational Enterprise Zone

The New York Institute of Technology, in partnership with the Nassau and Dutchess County Board of Cooperative Educational Services and seven museums is creating an Educational Enterprise Zone. Linked by low bandwidth videoconferencing and a host of other technological tools, museums, libraries, teacher centers, and others will beam their knowledge into schools. Northwest Arctic Borough School District, Kotzebue, AK - The Virtual Village

Northwest Arctic Borough is creating The Virtual Village project to train student technology leaders to be mentors to teachers, students, and staff in order to help teachers incorporate modern technology so students can preserve and spread traditional cultural knowledge. The project addresses challenges and opportunities that include a transient teaching pool, isolated villages accessible only by air, and curriculum material that is not linked to village realities or traditional knowledge and ways.

Scott Lane Elementary School, Santa Clara, CA - 1000 Days to Success in Reading

Scott Lane Elementary School is adding technology as it starts the second year of its 1000 Days to Success in Reading project - a warranty program that guarantees all children who entered kindergarten in September 1997 will be reading at or above grade level by the end of second grade. The project is training teachers to use technology and integrate it into the curriculum, establish a cyber-space library, allow broader interactions among teachers to expand their resources and support services, and engage parents, community volunteers, and the larger school population in the educational process.

Tucson Unified School District, Tucson, AZ - Community Learning Project

The Tucson Unified School District, in collaboration with The University of Arizona, is implementing the Community Learning Project at two elementary schools. The project will coordinate three existing pilot programs to provide a comprehensive, experiential, interdisciplinary education experience for children and their university mentors.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA - Facilitating the Community as a Learning Community

The Facilitating the Community as a Learning Community project expands and improves the Blacksburg Electronic Village community network and its links to K-12 education and community interaction with a new Web-based multi-user domain. The project will develop, implement, and investigate educational activities that involve real-time collaboration with community members and activities that engage citizens on matters of community interest.

World Game Institute, Philadelphia, PA - NetWorld Game Learning Project

The World Game Institute (WGI) and four collaborating museums are supporting the NetWorld Game Learning Project -a comprehensive Internet-based education program for high school teachers and students. The NetWorld Game Learning Project creates an Internet-based simulation of real world situations that complements high school curricula in four U.S. cities. University of Oklahoma Colleges of Engineering and Education, in partnership with the State Department of Education, Norman, OK

The Colleges of Engineering and Education, in partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Education, is creating an Internet-based training program to instruct teachers how to incorporate electronic media into their classrooms. Teachers learn how to develop and use graphics, animation, simulation, distance learning, network-based collaboration, online courseware, and streaming video to both amplify their teaching style and immerse students into the constantly changing world of technology.

Conclusion

The evolution of information technology reached a turning point with the development of the Internet. Once a government project, the Internet was created for military purposes. Through the course of its development, researchers began finding other uses for the network, and use of the technology spread worldwide. Access to the Internet today by individuals, businesses, and institutions alike has created a global market for Internet service and has spurned an increase in productivity in the technological communication field.

Bibliography / References

1. Compare 144 Masters Programs in Information Technology, Masterstudies.com Retreived from https://www.masterstudies.com/Masters-Degree/Information-Technology/
2. Information Technology Courses, Dublin Business School, Retrieved from https://www.dbs.ie/courses/information-technology
3. Case Studies on Information Technology in Higher Education: Implications for policy and Practice, edited by Petrides, Lisa Ann, Idea Group Publishing, 2000
4. Srivastava, Tripti K et al. “Role of Information Communication Technology in Higher Education: Learners Perspective in Rural Medical Schools.” Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research : JCDR 8.6 (2014): XC01-XC06. PMC. Web. 3 Mar. 2018.
5. Reimagining the Role of Technology in Higher Education A Supplement to the National Education Technology Plan, January 2017, Retrieved from:https://tech.ed.gov/files/2017/01/Higher-Ed-NETP.pdf

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE, LITERATURE AND TRANSLATION STUDIES (IJELR)

A QUARTERLY, INDEXED, REFEREED AND PEER REVIEWED OPEN ACCESS INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL

http://www.ijelr.in (Impact Factor : 5.9745 (ICI)

RESEARCH ARTICLE

INTERNATIONAL STANDARD SERIAL NUMBER

INDIA

Vol. 5. Issue.1., 2018 (Jan-Mar)

2395-2628(Prmt):2349-9451(onlme)

THE JOURNEY OF SUBJUGATION TO LIBERATION

SHALINI SIHE

Assistant Professor, Ph.D Scholar

School of Languages, Literature& Society, Department of English, Jaipur National University, Jaipur

ABSTRACT

The conventional perception of gender roles in a socio-cultural setup cast men as rational, strong, protective, and decisive beings thereby casting women as emotional, irrational, weak, nurturing, and submissive. Therefore, women are expected to fit themselves in this frame, where in every sense they are inferior to men and lose their personal identity. Thus, women remain as mere object or property to men. Taslima Nasrin as well as Qaisra Shahraz on account of their personal experience of the deteriorating status of women in Bangladesh and Pakistan respectively, contributes considerably to the feminist thought. In most of their writings, Nasrin & Shahraz give evidences of their feminist leanings as both of them delineates situations pertaining to subjugation and marginalization of women by men who have patriarchal mind set.

The female characters in their books are all compelled to behave as per the patriarchal norms, wherein the writers aim at highlighting the situations of the women who are eager to breakthrough the cage of patriarchy.

Taslima Nasrin and Qaisra Shahraz exemplifies the women who breaches the patriarchal code, and are thus maltreated. Nasrin and Shahraz deal with several feminist issues. In fact, Nasrin demonstrates the ways how patriarchal mind set challenges individuality and self-respect of women. Both of the female diasporic writers state that whatever they have written is for the oppressed women of Pakistan & Bangladesh. Nasrin further stated that “she has wrung her heart out into her words” (Quiglay 24). One of the most important feminist issues that have been dealt within the novels is the treatment of women at the hands of various patriarchal institutions like family, society and state, headed by a patriarch who either looks down upon women or marginalizes them.

Keywords: Subjugation, Liberation, Feminism, Patriarchy, TaslimaNasrin, Qaisra Shahraz

Literature Review

Taslima Nasrin

" Religion is now the first obstacle to women's advancement."

Taslima Nasrin, an award-winning writer, physician, secular humanist and human rights activist, is known for her powerful writings on women oppression and unflinching criticism of religion, despite forced exile and multiple fatwas calling for her death. In India, Bangladesh and abroad, Nasrin's fiction, nonfiction, poetry and memoir have topped the best-seller's list.

Nasrin mostly talks about treatment of women as objects of lust, physical and psychological violence. She does the same with tremendous vehemence as she depicts in Lajja how women are sexually harassed, abducted and subjected to varied kinds of torture and dominance that may even result in their deaths. The novelist demonstrates how the abduction of Hindu girls has been common in Bangladesh and how the hooligans do not have any kind of fear. Whenever they wished, they would abduct a woman and rape her brutally. That was the reason that most of the Hindus sent their daughters to India for their education and security.

The main objective of Taslima Nasrin focused on the vindictive attitude of men, where they tend to ravish women on the basis of the latter's religious background, and then reducing them by terming them as ‘good' or ‘bad' according to their suitability gets reflected in the novel. The society depicted in her novels is deeply patriarchal. Here, discrimination on the basis of sex or one's gender identity is a norm. To discriminate, it is necessary to first ‘otherise' women. There are innumerable examples of gender discrimination in the novel. Taslima Nasrin's own life narrative stands as an evidence to prove how a woman is discriminated against patriarchy and how attempts are made to choke her voice by those who cannot see women articulating their thoughts and resisting to the injustice done to them by those who are stuck with patriarchal mind set.

Qaisra Shahraz

Most of her works have women as protagonists—women victimised by society, but who fight back with an unyielding spirit. Shahraz's stories reflect the effects of invisible, sometimes unnecessary barriers that human beings tend to build. The issues of inequality, feminism and the empowerment of Muslim women feature heavily in her works, as well as the need to bring people together in harmony. Literature truly depicts life and society to tell stories of the real world and the truths prevailing over there.

Shahraz's works introduce her readers to the captivating, interwoven narratives of three dimensional characters whose lives unfold in worlds marked by contradiction and cultural contrast of Patriarchy. She also states similar to Nasrin that It is patriarchy that prevents women from reaching their true potential and creates hurdles for them. QaisraShahraz's Novels portray the strong female characters in them, and about how she balances patriarchy with feminism. In her books, there is a theme of feminism running side by side with patriarchy in Pakistan. The strong women protagonists conform to the rules set down by men, while having their say at the same time.

Introduction of the Novels

Lajja

In 1993, the writer Taslima Nasrin created a sensation in her native Bangladesh with Lajja, her novel about the travails of a Hindu family in Dhaka in the wake of the demolition of the Babri Masjid in faraway Ayodhya in 1992. The author soon confronted torments similar to those facing her characters, as her book was banned for its radical empathy with a minority in her homeland. Targeted by fundamentalists, Nasrin fled her homeland for India, where for many years she has been subject to equivocal and often expedient treatment from various governments, both in the states and at the centre.

Lajja is a moving story of protest, passion, principle and persecution. The novel Lajja portrays the horrendous and horrifying experience of a minority family, the Duttas- Sudhamony, Kironmoyee and their two children. Suranjan and Maya have to face so many trials and abuse without any rhyme or reason- just only because of their Hindu identity in Bangladesh. Sudhamoy an atheist, still believed with a native mix of optimism and idealism that his motherland would not let him down.

Amar Meybela

This ground-breaking book throws open a window on a world unknown to most Westerners. Taslima Nasrin revisits her early years — from her auspicious birth on a Muslim holy day to the threshold of womanhood at fourteen — in a small rural village during the years East Pakistan became Bangladesh.

Set against the background of the fight for independence, Nasrin's earliest memories alternate between scenes of violence and flight and images of innocent pleasures of childhood in her extended family.

A precocious child, Nasrin's acute awareness of the injustice and suffering endured by her mother and other Muslim women cause her to turn away from the Koran in early adolescence, and to begin a journey to redefine her world.

Amar Meybela also talks of the sexual abuses she went through during her early adolescence days. And also states that no man can be trusted - specially ones from the Family itself.

NarirKono Desh Nai (Women have no Country)

Taslima has always been writing against the patriarchal society and its various norms. The patriarchal system has been oppressing women for centuries. Taslima tries to break the patriarchal society and build a new one where there would be no male domination. Narirkonodeshnai (Women have no Country) discusses the following themes.

Thoughts on male

Taslimaactually writes against the typical male behaviors that oppresses, discriminates or dishonor women. As most male are behaving like the typical males it is thought that she is against the males. According to her writings she portrays that man always tries to satisfy their own need which is mostly physical sexual need. They never think about whether their partners' needs are satisfied or not. Some men which show morality and ethics are doing so just for show off. Deep inside they are also the same typical men. They do not have the idea of loving one women for life, but they want to have relationship with many women. Just like traditions of the kings and emperors ‘Harems' where the wives of kings and emperors used to live. But if the women want to do so, if they want to have multiple relationship they are thought to be characterless.

Female Body

Female body has always been seen as a satisfying machine for the males in the patriarchal societies. Mostly in the society females are thought to be a sexual object, a product for physical pleasure. In some cases women don't know that she is being oppressed. She can't come out of this circle in the patriarchal society. According to the society norms Men are the one who are allowed to have sexual urges. Women should for bad themselves from having that. Women are there to satisfy the men, not the other way around. She claims these thoughts should be changed. Women must come out of this circles. The have to express their desires as the way those satisfies them. It's her body, she has the right to do what she wants to do with it, not decorate it like the way men like to see it.

Beauty

What is beauty? Who defines what beauty is? In a patriarchal society the way men likes to see it is beauty. One of the best torture of patriarchal society is making women run after becoming ‘beautiful'. This should not be the thoughts of beauty. Women should make herself beautiful the way the like to be beautiful, not the way males wants them to be beautiful.

Woman's Will

Women in patriarchal society do not have freewill. They cannot do whatever they want. But they have to do those things that the men want them to do. But women should have the right to practice freewill. Not only women but also every human being should have their freewill.

But what if someone's freewill is to rape someone? Should that freewill be practiced? Of course not. The freewill that hurts someone else should not be categorized as freewill.

Men have freewill in patriarchal society. They can have sex with anyone they like, whether it's secret of knowingly. But women don't enjoy half of the will that men can do. Men's freewill often hurts women. Such as rape, torture etc. Women should have the right to practice freewill. They should get independence to do whatever they like just as males do. Taslima stated that she does whatever she feels right. She practices her freewill, but it doesn't harm anyone. That should be the thought of freewill both for male and female.

Women's Room of Her Own

In a patriarchal society a women cannot live on her own. She has to live with her father, husband brother or any other male member. Even when a women has the financial independence and can afford to live without any male person on her own she doesn't get to do so.

It sums up that this society doesn't let women live alone, to do so the males dominate them. Even when the women manage to afford to live alone the society thinks that is being adamant and often do not let her do that. She doesn't get a room of her own. A woman is never allowed to be the way she wants, because it hurts the male ego or the patriarchal society.

NarirKono Desh Nai focuses on the struggle a woman faces someway or the other no matter where she dwells or resides.

The Holy Woman

The book centres on the notion of patriarchy and the fact that its many manifestations, irrespective of caste and class, are aimed at establishing one age-old dictum — that a woman "...is like a ship on a journey, and doesn't know which way she is heading. Like all ships, hers will eventually have to return to its harbour” (page 508). And the much cherished harbour is the husband and family.

Qaisra Shahraz's The Holy Woman (2002), belongs to the trends of Pakistani fiction in English which depicts the inhuman treatment meted to women in the society. It is an example which shows similar trends pertaining to women and feminism in Pakistan. ZarriBano and her mother Shahzada are among the chief characters. ZarriBano is forced by her father to become a ‘holy woman' to protect the land and honour of the family. ZarriBano sacrifices all she had in her life including her love and freedom. She becomes a ‘holy woman' to challenge this custom and fulfills its requirements but ultimately wins in defeating the myth of the custom. Not only ZarriBano but also Firdous, Kaneez, and Shahzada undergo similar kinds of circumstances. This is Shahraz' particular way: to show common women how they can learn from the lives of rich women and change their lives for the better.

Revolt

At the centre of this story are Gulbahar, Rani and Mehreen, three wealthy sisters who live by traditional values. Their dress is expensive but modest and they confine themselves to the women's quarters of their homes, the only men they meet without a chaperone being their husbands and sons. But, one of the lessons of this novel is that families sending their children to the city or overseas to be educated, should not expect them to return with their values unchanged. Problems arise as the younger generation casts off the accepted etiquette of arranged marriage; Gulbahar's family has already been torn apart by the actions of her daughter and there's more trouble when Mehreen's son flies in from England to marry his cousin, a secret already in tow.

This division between eastern and western values is reflected in more humble village families too.

Revolt is viewed largely from a female perspective. Dialogue is not 'said' but 'scoffed', which initially seems intrusive. But then, flying through the pages, readers are absorbed by the feeling of the struggle a woman that she faces if she raises her voice.

Revolt focuses upon the domestic oppression that the younger generation face due to uncertain faiths on blind religious beliefs and the customs of arrange marriage. This novel raises fundamental questions about women rights.

Fated to Love

Should She Choose Her Father S Legacy Or Listen To Her Heart?

ZarriBano is the glamorous twenty-eight-year-old daughter of a wealthy Muslim landowner, Habib Khan. She falls in love with Sikander, a business tycoon and plans to marry him, but her father takes an instant, irrational dislike to Sikander and vetoes the match. When his only son is killed in a freak riding accident, Habib Khan decides to make ZarriBano his heiress, resurrecting an ancient tradition which decrees that an heiress must remain celibate. ZarriBano is thus forced into marriage to the Holy Koran and becomes her clan's ‘Holy Woman'.

This Novel focuses on the dilemmas of a Woman which she faces when she has to choose between society and her own desires. She gets oppressed by her closed ones yet still society refuses to give her the desired freedom to live her life on her own terms.

Conclusion

In the referred Novels, both Taslima Nasrin & Qaisra Shahraz has highlighted the sufferings of women and the response to these oppressions.

While receiving the prestigious Simone de Beauvoir prize, Nasrin averred: “I have written on the need women have to understand why they are oppressed and why they should struggle against that oppression”

These selected novels of Shahraz & Nasrin exemplify the issue of gendered self-representation and feminist concerns. Reading these novels make readers realize not only the diversity of women but the diversity within each woman.

Bibliography

Nasrin, Taslima. Lajja. Culcutta, West Bengal: Ananda Publishers Private Limited, 2016. Print.

Amar Meybela. Calcutta, West Bengal: People's Book Society, Shibani Mukherjee, 2016. Print.

. Nari-r KonoDeshNai. Calcutta, West Bengal: People's Book Society, Shibani Mukherjee, 2016. Print.

Book Review '‘The Holy Woman, by Qaisra Shahraz Tara' Deccan Chronicle, Jun 25, 2017,

GERALD L. MARRINER, “THE FEMINIST REVOLT: THE EMERGENCE OF THE NEW WOMAN IN THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY”, Humboldt Journal of Social Relations, Vol. 1, No. 2 (SPRING/SUMMER 1974), pp. 127-134

Second Chances,Scribbles now and again.. Fated to love - Qaisra Shahraz, Sunday, July 03, 2011 (http://lazy-scribbles.blogspot.in/2011/07/fated-to-love-qaisra-shahraz.html?m=1)

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

FEMALE FOETICIDE AND GENDER INEQUALITY : A BAN TO WOMAN EMPOWERMENT

English

Ms. Shalini Sihe

PhD Research Scholar, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Jaipur National University, Jaipur.

ABSTRACT

Women are the one who constitute the half of a human population. But irrespective of that fact they have been discriminated, harassed and exploited without judging upon their country, religion, caste or creed. Everywhere women are vexed with many provocations. Female foeticide is unfortunately one of the worst mediums of violence against women where the birth of another woman is denied. The most basic and fundamental right, “the right to life” is vetoed to her. Execution of female child has been a quotidian characteristic of the Indian “Patriarchal” society. This practice first came into as “Female Infanticide” i.e. a mother killing her baby within a year of her birth. This practice raged due to lacking in the scientific discoveries and unavailability of modem equipment and progressive technology such as the ruinous sex determining instruments. After a certain time, with an ample availability and substantial supply of such sex determination technologies in the health institutions, hospitals and maternity clinics, hundreds of occurrence of female foeticide were surfaced. Hence, it seems that the foetus-gender determination tests that leads to the identification of the sex of the unborn child has made the ill-practice of “murdering” the female child disregarded and unchallenging than before. The practice that was initiated in India under the influence ofthe deeply rooted patriarchy, had been able to prove the strength ofa man over a woman, and has also been influenced by poverty and dowry.

The practice of the female foeticide in India has immensely contributed to Gender Inequality. Female Foeticide in the present 21st century India is one of the biggest challenges against the laws of the welfare of women's empowerment in particular. Uprooting this practice is the crucial need of the times and thus it is becoming a veritable perturb.

This article thus emphasizes on the condition of female foeticide and also connects it to another major issue i.e. Gender Inequality.

KEYWORDS

Female infanticide; female foeticide; gender inequality; ban to woman empowerment;

INTRODUCTION

Sex - based discrimination has been studied widely in the context of male child preference in South and Southeast Asian countries. Partiality is manifested in the care given to boys over girls. Sex - selective abortions is a common phenomenon for many of the common people. The prodigy of female foeticide in India is not newly introduced, where female foetuses are selectively “rejected” after pre­natal gender/sex determination. In some parts of the country, the sex ratio of girls to boys has dropped to less than 700:1000. The long age- old tradition of son preference, coupled with new advanced medical technology now gives to the status conscious Indian families, the choice between paying for a large dowry of their daughter and aborting her before she's bom. With the advancement of medical technology, new techniques can now be “misused”, to get rid of her before birth. Through ultrasound scans and amniocentesis, the sex of the foetus can be determined during the pregnancy of the woman and then the foetus is aborted if found to be a female. In Indian society, female foeticide has grasped as a fuelled up social problem during the last few years. The girl child in India is treated right from her birth as an additional burden, an extra mouth to feed and a liability and another man's property. The birth of a son is regarded as essential holy deed in Hinduism and many prayers and rich offerings are made in temples in the hope ofhaving a male child.

“Women have equal rights with men upon earth; in religion and society they are a 'very important element. Divine Justice demands that the rights of both sexes should be equally respected since neither is superior to the other in the eyes of Heaven.”

The sex ratio has consistently been in favour of boys since the 20th century to still continue though we frequently get to hear “men & women are equal.”

FEMALE FOETICIDE AND FEMALE INFANTICIDE THROUGH SEXDETERMINATION IN INDIA

Female foeticide is the process of aborting the female baby in the mother's womb. Whereas female infanticide is killing a baby girl after she is already bom. The practice of killing the female child after her birth has been prevailing in our society for a decade. But foeticide is the legacy and contribution of the progress made by the improvement of medical science. “Amniocentesis” was introduced in the year 1975 to detect foetal abnormalities. But it soon began to be used for determining the sex of the unborn baby. Ultrasound scanning, being a non-protruding technique, gained popularity in hotfoot and is now handy in some of the most remote rural areas as well. Both techniques are now “illegally” used for sex determination with the objective of aborting the foetus if it turns out to be 'Female'. With the dawn of privatization and commercialization, the use of improved pre-natal diagnostic technologies is growing into a profitable business in India. The misemployment of technology simply fortifies the secondary status given to girl children in such a way that they are slaughtered even before they are bom. Compared to infanticide, foeticide is probably a more acceptable means of dumping the unwanted girl child. Infanticide can be patently a bestial and ruthless practice while foeticide is executed by adept professionals and is a medical practice that uses reoriented scientific expertise and ability and reduces the guilt factor connected with the spoilt practice. The ephemeral census of 2011 and the recent news reports data designate a stem demographic image of declining female to male ratio. The most affected states are progressive states oflndia like Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Gujarat.

What are the main causes of declining sex ratio in Indian society?

It is due to Female Foeticide and Female Infanticide. Foeticide is a contravention of an unborn child. It also has insinuation on the health of the Mother. At a broader level, it affects status of women. It also has serious ecological and demographical upshot. It is acrucial problem that affects the life and health of society.

FEMALE FOETICIDE AND GENDER INEQUALITY

It seems that the sex determination tests which are leading to the identification of the gender of the unborn child has made the practice of killing the female foetus unnoticed and gripped than it was before. The inhumane practice strengthened its roots in India under the influence of the deeply rooted patriarchy, to prove the durability of a man over a woman. Female foeticide in India has immensely contributed to Gender Inequality. The belief that the maximum occurrence of Female Foeticide was committed among the rural people, the poor, the uneducated and those unable to pay the dowry has been proved wrong at the present span of time. The practice of Female Foeticide now, is seen increasingly switching from the country's rural, poor and uneducated to the urban, substantial and educated classes as well. It seems to be mirroring an escalating trend and rather getting further soar even with the modification in the living standard of the average of India's population, growth in per capita income, rise in the rational and democratic thinking and improvement in the educational and cultural strata of the society. Evolution of past to the present society, vicious efforts had been put into action by the social workers, reformers and philanthropists to put an end to the practice of brutally diminishing the life of the female foetus, either in the form of Female Infanticide or Foeticide. In spite of all their hard work the practice has been continued and constituting a big threat to the mankind by fabricating an unendurable disparity in male-female population of the country. The Indian Laws are not adequate and operative to restrain the jeopardy created by the drill of Female Foeticide. Even the Law imposing interventions are seen as ineffective and fragile as that of the Law itself to plaid the emergent practice of Female Foeticide in the country. With Judiciary's avowed obligation to exterminate Female Foeticide by gruelling all those responsible for the terrible crime has remained persistent. Selective abortions of the female foetuses have become a common trend and led to disrupt the male-female ratio in the country over a period of time. Female Foeticide in present times is India's biggest challenge in contradiction of the Laws of the land in general and “Women's Empowerment” in specific. Abolition of this practice is the burning need of the hour and thus becomes a unaffected anxiety of each one of us.

CONCLUSION

Days are not so far, when there may be advent of the circumstances where brides will not be obtainable for the marriage of the sons to maintain extraction and endure the human race of even those people who believe on long standing tradition of son preference, and proudly proclaim-

“Only sons can offer Pyre Pindadana, Mukhagni and not the daughters”.

Therefore, it is felt that the mind sets of the people should be rehabilitated right from now towards the prominence of the girl child in the family in both rural and urban area. There is an exigent need to amend the demographic configuration of India's population and to grab this heartless form of vehemence against women. The representation of any Law is not ample; Laws must be abided by and pragmatic rigorously, before any transformation in the prestige of women can take place. In spite of the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, smany prevalence of Female Foeticide are taking place in many parts of India. There is still absolute dispute as to who will serve as the overseer to control the misconduct of the practice of Female Foeticide. Endorsing gender balanced society comprises aiming behavioural variations in society which in turn involves a long term community based intrusion, cognizance programmes, programmes to uphold girl children's right, addressing myths related to sons/ daughters and concerted efforts to change the mind set of people. Apart from the above, a feeling has to be indoctrinated in the minds of the people that she is the daughter, she is the sister, she is a. life partner, and she is the Mother: the birth - giver of a man.

REFERENCES

1. Ansari-Lari, M and Saadat, M. (2002): 'Changing Sex Ratio in Iran 1976 - 2000'. Journal ofEpidemiology and Community Health, 56:622-23.
2. Dreze, J.; Sen, A. (1989): Hunger and public action. Oxford University Press, USA.
3. Gupta, M. (1987): “Selective discrimination against female children in rural Punjab, India,” Population and development review, 13(1), 77-100.
4. Gupta, S., Keyl, P (1998): “Effectiveness of prenatal tetanus toxoid immunization against neonatal tetanus in arural area in India,” The Pediatric infectious disease journal, 17(4), 316.
5. Grewal, I.jKishore, J. (2004): Female Foeticide in India. IntemationalHumanistNews.
6. Hesketh, T, and Zhu Wei Xing. (2006): 'Abnormal Sex Ratios in Human Populations: Causes and Consequences'.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103:13271-75.
7. Jena, K. (2008): Female Foeticide in India: A Serious Challenge for the Society. Orissa Review, December Issue, pp. 8 -17.
8. Qian, N. (2008): “Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex­Specific Earnings on Sex Imbalance*,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 123(3), 1251— 1285.
9. Srivastava, A. (2002): “Declining Sex ratio: The marginalized Girl Child”. Women’s Lint Vol. 8, No. 1.
10. Visaria, P. (1971): The Sex Ratio of the Population of India. Monograph No 10, Census of India, 1961. Manager ofPublications, Delhi.
11. www.academia.edu/.../Tables on Sex Ratios in India and World

International Journal of Linguistics and Literature (IJLL)

ISSN(P): 2319-3956; ISSN(E): 2319-3964

Vol. 8, Issue 6, Oct-Nov 2019; 1-8

© IASET

International Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology Connecting Researchers; Nurturing Innovations

‘PORNOGRAPHY: DEGRADATION OR LIBERATION?'A STUDY ON THE SHIFTING FEMINIST APPROACH TOWARDS PORNOGRAPHY

Shalini Sihe

Assistant Professor, School of Languages, Literature & Society, Jaipur National University, Jaipur, India

ABSTRACT

Pornography has been gaining a lot of priority in feminist studies for years, and specifically on behalf of sex & identity. This article is inspired from a book named “Striptease Culture: Sex, Media and Desire”. It is believed over and over that pornography is a sexualized culture generally, which occupies a prominent mark in our everyday lives, whether we admit it or it's behind the closed doors. Particularly, media and also the developing technologies typically use the catchword “Sex Industry”. Sex ‘sells' in fact, in the magazines, commercials, TV shows, movies, and majorly in pornographic movies or ‘Blue Films'; to everybody's surprise sex industry has the highest demand among the customers. Yes, ‘Sex' is purchased as well!

KEYWORDS: Sexualized Culture, Developing Technologies, Biological Procreative Role

Article History

Received: 25 Sep 2019 | Revised: 08 Oct 2019 | Accepted: 18 Oct 2019

INTRODUCTION

We tend to come to the present purpose from the Vintage era, the time when sexual preferences were hidden, carrying a burden of shame. This was the time when sex was only an activity that was confined within the individual selves. But in the Modern times, irrespective of its biological procreative role, Sex is also considered as a psychological activity that expresses love, passion and desire. Pornography is one among the visual expressions of sex and gender, however turning into widespread as economic process and new technologies seem, porn has additionally been a really crucial, debated issue amongst feminists since it brings up questions about the body, sexuality, power, inferiority and oppression.

The aim of this article is to answer the question of whether or not pornography is degrading or liberating. To begin, firstly, the outline of pornography and its relationship with gender should be discussed. Then, after that, various feminist views on the problem of pornography - particularly with creating the excellence of the views influenced by modernism and by genre. A small introduction on ‘Erotica' i.e., readable porn would also be included. Finally, the article would make an attempt to come back to a conclusion concerning whether or not porn is degrading or liberating, because of the varied feminist approaches.

Sexuality and Pornography: The Sexualized Culture

Sex matters & it matters a great deal. And now in the Modern Era where sex isn't simply outlined as a biological tool for sequence transmission, however it evolved into “the psychological capability to feel concupiscence and knowledge consummation as in modern age, particularly intense type of physical and emotional pleasure.” (McNair, 2002: 2). Sex has henceforth become gender-oriented or sexual priorities. Gender comes to be understood as a social construction of the body or our biological form. But this wasn't enough to elucidate however our instincts, drives, sexual behaviours, needs are shaped. It absolutely was the society, and for feminists, the patriarchic order that created the meanings of desire. Richardson talks concerning the work of Gagnon and Simon (1973) that claims “not solely can we learn what ‘sex' suggests, and World Health Organization claims or what's sexually arousing doing to us, however, we tend to additionally learn the need of sex” (Richardson, 1997: 157). In alternative words, society provides bound meanings to limit bodily activities. To the contrary, an individual should tend to learn and need to observe sure bodily activities, and our own ‘sexual desires'. An individual should have the mentality & freedom to think & accept their own sexuality. If we view the positive side of Pornography, it enables an individual through its visuals that there's nothing sinful in having sexual urges. It also clears the concept by rejecting body shaming, that you need not have a perfect body to indulge yourself in love-making. It also supports a gay or a lesbian of the fact that there's nothing wrong in developing feelings for the same sex. It also helps in making us accept the facts that it is completely natural for a Transgender to have sexual feelings & desires ‘cause they too are normal human beings. We often state that ‘Love has no limits', but on the opposite side of the coin, we only question people who fall in love or get married to people having huge age-gaps. Pornography is something that is beyond age limits & solely focuses upon your physical needs & sometimes it supports your mental stability as well.

Our society also has a belief that a Man should always have his hold when having sex. He is the one who should speak out his desires & fulfil them. A woman is only a way through which he is able to satisfy himself and his needs. This is the patriarchal over-view of the society when it comes to discussing about sex. But in the porn movies, we often see shifting of roles. In these videos a woman can also have the hold upon her man & a man can also think of satisfying his partner, because women too have sexual urges & those too need to be fulfiled. This brings the equality among two opposite sexes. Visual media has its impact upon the mind-set of its audience & helped in broadening the mentality of the people.

Sexuality and its representations were additionally seen as an emblem of power during which gender is subject to state and establish control. Through prohibitions of sexual practices, sexual consent, age and then on, this was first cited by physicist, World Health Organization, he believed that sex was created through the definition, categorization and additionally by the regulation and management. Feminists revised this Foucauldian plan by claiming the regulation and dominant of gender results in the upkeep of the patriarchal order. This dimension of gender is what matters for feminists the foremost. Gender was seen as the key intruder of structure and women's oppression by Radical Feminists. Widely known Radical Feminist MacKinnon describes sex “as practices, includes abuse, of ladies and kids chiefly. They're abused in sex, within the course of the observe of sex, so as for (primarily) men to urge the pleasure that defines sex.” (MacKinnon, 2005: 272).

Pornography's importance in feminist debates is high at present times. Since it's believed that gender could be a social construction, attributing specific meanings to enclose bodily activities and constructing a sexual drive, which is the key to women's oppression. Porn on the other hand involves to be a tool for teaching the acceptable sexual urges and to internalise the patriarchal order. Pornography is claimed to be unreal in mid-nineteenth century; the Victorian era that attempted to suppress sex and gender. However the time was additionally vital for the invention of “Pornography” since technology was developing, having the ability to make space for the pictures to be disseminated apace. (Weeks, 2011: 136).

Pornography typically connotes negativity along with it. However, the boundaries of it would never be certain. The increase of access of porn (hard-core & soft-core) is successfully changing the sexual culture all over the world. This sexualized culture created an ethical panic and censorship rules from time to time. However, this article will certainly point out a leap from sexual suppression to sexual release, chiefly through media. Hickman says that media has been ‘the main engine of sexual revolution' (Hickman, 1999: 245). It absolutely was accountable for the cultural capitalism; that seeks profit in cultural commodities, chiefly through advertisings, magazines, and most importantly, Pornography.

Pornography is “sexually specific material consisting in graphic pictorial depictions and verbal descriptions of sexual organs and varied modes of coitus” (Tong, 1989: 112) and was continually a difficulty for discussion in movement. Now, it is to clarify a number of the feminist approaches and debates on the problem of porn and reveal the transformation from the second wave feminism to the present times.

Attitudes of Various Feminist Views on Porno

Before the emergence of the feminist attack on pornography in Seventies, thanks to its absence in thought and lack of availability, the sole discussion on porn went on between spiritual conservatives and civil libertarians. The conservatives viewed porno as “a threat to the ethical development of kids, ancient family values and the ethical material of society.” (Fineman, Jackson, Romaro, 2009: 369). Civil libertarians on the opposite-hand emphasised the artistic and social price of sexually specific material and instructed a liberation on the bottom of most pleasance and satisfaction (Tong, 189:112). This discussion that went on concerning the disagreement of individual liberty, was followed by feminist anti­pornographers' voices. It wasn't concerning the public morality or the individual liberty as before, however it absolutely was concerning the women's equality (Tong, 189 :112).

Anti-Pornography Discussion

The Radical Feminist Andrea Rita Dworkin introduced an ‘Anti-Pornographic' movement which portrayed porn as sexual discrimination, shaming women and having a consumptive and degrading nature. During this purpose, a distinction between Erotica and Thanatica was made. The previous representing sexually specific material that doesn't damage anyone whereas the latter was related to BDSM performances that involves a great deal of damage and chiefly, the damage of ladies. Anti-pornographers claimed through this distinction that thanatica promotes “sexual harassment, rape, and ladies fighting, and usually by degrading them.” (Tong, 189:113). These feminists assumed an immediate link between male violence and porno, for instance in her study of porno and rape, Diane Russell claims that there's a causative link between the 2 by language that “pornography will induce a want to rape ladies in males.

Anti-pornography movement is generally related to radical feminists. They visualised porn as an important tool to take care of oppression against women. The unconventional Feminist, Andrea Dworkin says sex and gender are the medium of oppression that build ladies a distant within the subordinated method. She says that “pornography is the material that suggests sexualizing inequality; which is why porno could be a central observe within the subordination of ladies.” (Dworkin, 2000: 30).

These feminists saw porn as a defamation and a civil rights violation (Tong, 189: 115), and instructed censorship on porn but after all, what's ‘sexy' and what's not were extremely debated. MacKinnon supports this read by language that through porn, “women are non-human through the learning of male gender to their patriarchal abuse, that sexualizes, therefore lowers, ladies across the culture, not solely in specific sexual interactions. Porn makes ladies a public sexual spectacle and customary sexual property.” (MacKinnon, 2005: 316).

In addition, the Radical Feminists opposed the censorship of porn and sexually specific materials. Their negative read on pornography, censorship and sexual repression remain unchanged. They thought that the harmful effects of porn will be subverted through equal relationships between men and ladies.

But porn was a part of free speech, that was protected terribly strictly within the amendment. Liberal feminists rather outlined porno as a tool for sexual liberation. Sex was for them, helpful and pleasure giving and sexual expression was necessary for an individual's being's self-fulfilment and progress; a thought that they borrowed from Enlightenment.

Some of the independent Liberal Feminists argued that anti-pornography movement showed porn, the reason behind is gender violence. The anti-pornographers unnoticed the larger political and economic conditions that cause gender violence. It's necessary to notice here that some profeminist men additionally joined the antipornography movement since it was absolutely and additionally harmful for men. Stoltenberg, one among those profeminists, unconcealed that porn was in favor of white men, inflicting associate degree difference towards alternative masculinities and racism (Stoltenberg: 1989, 454).

This era also gave birth to Postmodernism perspective about Pornography and also the rise of multiculturalism directly in relation with race and post-colonialism:

The modernist accounts of catholicity, truth and essentialism were challenged by replacing the Feminist approach. This genre primarily rejects all universal and generalized accounts; and instead claims that meanings and subjectivities are social constructions. Emphasising on the multiplicity of power and discourses, postmodernist feminists reject the essentialist class of ladies and patriarchy. The postmodernist examples given below are from school of thought and international feminists. World Health Organization thinks that gender, race and postcolonial location within the world affect the sort of oppression that ladies encounter; and from queer theory, assumes that sexual identities are fluid and no class is critical.

Multicultural and international feminists, specifically black feminists saw porn from another dimension. Collins claims that black women's or Ebony representations in porn were completely different than of white women. They were described as “breeders, raped for pleasure and profit of their homeowners” (Collins, 1997: 389). This master-slave relationship shows, however race and postcolonial scenario could have a sway on sexy representations and women's oppression. Collins talks concerning the colonial ladies slavery; and shows however it relates to this representation of Black ladies in interracial porno. First is that Black ladies being the sex objects for white men goes parallel with the sex­dominant representations of these ladies being sexually offered for men. Secondly, the act of rape of Black slaves, ladies within the past is analogous to the rape and violence scenes in porn. Third, the passivity and quality of the Black slave ladies against the white rapist shows similitude with the feminine passivity & racism common in porn.

If we glance closely to the treatment of Black women's bodies in nineteenth century, we are going to face domination and racial discrimination. These will be counted because the roots for constructing Black women's sexualities maybe the treatment to those ladies upon whom porn industry rests upon. “The additional ancient roots of contemporary porn are to be found within the nearly always sex dominant treatment of black ladies. World Health Organization, from the instant they entered slavery... were subjected to rape because the ‘logical' convergence of sex and violence. Conquest, in short” (Walker: 1981, 42).

Gilman provides the instance of wife Bartmann. She was a Black lady in nineteenth century Europe. She unconcealed herself, dressed in smart set to many parties. Those times were when the whites drew lines between white and black in case of sexualities as well; Blacks were seen as having extreme sexual activities and bodily variations. Bartmann was additionally reduced to her sexual elements, receiving attention from the white audience (Gilman, 1985). This illustration of Bartmann was however an opposite image from what is generally expected. This shows the gender, race and gender were associated with the subordination and domination of ladies. And this trend goes on with the representations of Black ladies in porn. “Black ladies weren't adscititious into a pre-existent porn, however rather than porn itself should be reconceptualised as associate example of the interlocking nature of race, gender, and sophistication oppression” (Collins, 1997: 391). For these ladies, porn existed in an exceedingly social-class relationship. Porn isn't a universal and glued however it clearly relates the colonial experiences of Black community.

What the feminists have stated is that in porn white women were represented in porn as ‘objects,' Black ladies were represented as animals. White ladies were represented as human bodies if not beings, Black ladies were represented as shit (Walker, 1981: 52). Here, being white represents the trendy, civilized “objects” wherever as black is not any human. Therefore, race becomes a determinant within the reasonably objectification ladies would face. Black ladies' philosophical system portrayal shows the subordinate standing of Afro-American women and also the stratification amongst the ladies generally. Black feminists' read of porno connected to the body, gender and race. So, it gaps another dimension on the problem on porno. Also, this inquiry helps us to perceive the new dynamics of power as a supply of domination. For Black feminists then, porn could be a gender/race system that entraps everybody (Collins, 1997: 393).

The Rise of Sexual Identities: The Case of Gay/ Lesbian Community and Queer Theory

With the technology and digitalisation, porn has become a widespread and offered immense access. Therefore, new genres were occurred in pornography together with that of homosexual intercourse and queer performances adds to new dimensions & new fantasies coming into visibility.

Lara Karaian, a modern authoritative Canadian intellectual and academician pointed at the problem of porno amongst gay/lesbian communities and queer individuals. She provides a present day example of a court case, Butler; that represents the Canadian law and censorship on sexually specific materials. As associate degree extension of the 70s anti-pornography movement; this law lost its validity in 2000. The Art department store that's a Vancouver based shop kept mostly gay and lesbian porn material came beneath scrutiny. However, the Court selected behalf of the bookstore agreed to the fact that homosexual porno was in reality healthy and necessary for that community; “access to gay and lesbian porn, not like its heterosexual counterpart, is vital, as a result of it contributes to a way of community and identity” (Karaian: 2005, 120). It was absolutely decided that porn doesn't damage all ladies however rather, the homosexual porno is liberating for sexual minorities.

However, promising this case could seem, it still shows the essentialist views of lesbians that are terribly kind of like the previous approaches on ladies and heterosexual porn creating a distinction between them. This reduces them into classes and maintains a binary opposition between heterosexual/ homosexual; whereas attributing positive traits to the former and negative ones to the latter. This case will be seen as an ideal example of the increase of sex that didn't build a big amendment by protective modernist read.

Queer theory, on the opposite hand, rejected the categorization of those sexual identities with an additional postmodern approach in their mind than before. It refers to the philosophical theory of each labelling, each class and each identity; since they believe that those classes are all created among patriarchal order. We tend to get out of the dominant discourse, and settle for the thinness of identities. There aren't simply lesbians, gays and heterosexuals however additionally bisexuals, transgenders, non-conformist bodies and needs. There are several sexual identities as there are people in general.

So, we will outline the queer porn because the pictures of non ancient sexual identities playing a sexual activities for less than agitating pleasance within the audience (Karaian:2009,385). This can be clearly a replacement approach on porn, since queer porn's concern is on the representations of varied sexualities and their pleasance. It tells us that we've got completely different sexual needs, attitudes or desires. It emphasizes the liberating perform of porn, completely different than before.

CONCLUSIONS: IS PORNOGRAPHY DEGRADING OR LIBERATING?

This certain article witnessed a shift in feminist views on porno from viewing it as oppressive and harmful, to ascertain it as liberating, giving visibility to completely different sexual identities.

As per the conclusion, the author believes pornography as liberating for many reasons. First is that media doesn't serve any oppressive and subordinate heterosexist values any longer. On the contrary, it's aware of the transformations our society has been longing. Therefore, a great deal has modified in media's illustration of sexual identities; particularly with the contribution of Queer theory within the field. For example, TV shows concerning gay men (Queer as Folk), and lesbians (The L World) and even transgender identities (the drag character on Glee) are discharged and are happening for over 5 seasons. This shows that the ratings for these shows are terribly satisfactory.

Second, pornography is liberating for transportation of once-invisible sexual identities to a public visibility. Genres in porn are varied right now; together with lesbian, gay, drag, transgender and plenty of queer identities. This additionally implies that there's a good variety of sexual discourse offered to public access. Marginal identities are currently a locality of in style culture due to porn. Technology is one more contribution during this; transportation several opportunities to urge concerned in this fragmented sexual culture, which censorship has the smallest amount risk to be performed on this new media.

Related to this argument, third reason to look at porno as liberating is as a result of it's a ‘democratization of desire' as McNair instructed, we tend to witness that our desires that are perhaps labelled by society as perversion, abnormality or extreme, are liberated and celebrated. Pornography will be concerning desires; our sexual drives, fantasies and actions; and once free of repression and inferiority. We will embrace ourselves & settle for us. All needs, if respectful to the sensitivities of others, are equal (of course some will be excluded like BDSM or paedophilia); there's no got to repress or hide them. Pornography reveals however varied our needs are, and can be. Therefore, we tend to could learn to measure with our needs, with no shame in the slightest degree.

Paradigms are in exceedingly constant change. Whereas, Seventies will be characterised as a domination of radical feminism within the field. We tend to witness a growing variety of theories on women's oppression for years; radical feminism is a simply one. That archetype had to get replaced with others, as a result of the planet is dynamic, our society and our culture is also changing. We tend to be currently in domination of postmodernist thought; wherever identities are assumed to be fluid and fragmented, wherever sexual identities are various and transcend the normal boundaries. We tend to be within the age of a celebration of multiplicity, diversity and distinction.

With the widespread of porno, it's not only for male gaze any longer. The variety and also the audiences, porn is currently for everybody. BDSM performances are served for those who get pleasure from it, whereas only one click ahead you'll be able to watch a compassionate intercourse between a gay couple. So, the harmful result of porno on ladies as once claimed, is not any longer valid; since for instance, in gay porno we tend to now not will assume that ladies or girl are injured and objectified as a result of there aren't any women within the scene. Also, new classes emerged during which ladies are in the dominating position whereas men are unconcealed as overwhelmed.

Finally, as an optimistic because it could seem that porn provides us pleasant and arouse with no sudden consequences; we can't get sexual illness or physiological condition through porno. It's the smallest amount of unhealthy manner for sexual satisfaction.

REFERENCES

1. Collins, P.H.(1997) “Pornography and Black Women's Bodies” in O'Toole, L., Schiffman, C. and Edwards, M. (eds.) Gender Violence: knowledge domain views, ny University Press
2. Dworkin, A. (200) Against the Male Flood: Censorship, porno and Equality in Cornell, D. (eds.) Feminism and porno, university Press
3. Fineman, M., Jackson, J., Romaro, A. (2009) (eds.) Feminist and Queer Legal Theories: Intimate Encounters, Uncomfortable spoken communication, Ashgate commercial enterprise
4. Gilman, Sander L. (1985). "Black Bodies, White Bodies: Toward associate degree image of feminine gender in Late Nineteenth-Century Art, Medicine, and Literature". in Gates, H. (eds.) Race, Writing and distinction, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.
5. Hickmann, T. (1999) The Sexual Century: however personal Passion Became Public Obsession; London: Carlton.
6. Karaian, L. (2005) “Troubling the Definition of Pornography: very little Sisters, a replacement process Moment in Feminists' Engagement with the Law?” Canadian Journal of ladies and also the Law. twentieth day Special Issue. Vol. 17
7. Karaian, L. (2009) “The Troubled Relationship of Feminist and Queer Legal Theory to Strategic Essentialism: Theory/Praxis, Queer Porn, and Canadian Anti-discrimination Law.” in Fineman, Jackson, Romaro (eds.). Feminist and Queer Legal Theory: Intimate
8. Encounters, Uncomfortable Conversations. Ashgate Press.
9. MacKinnon, C. (2005) Women's Lives, Men's Laws, Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
10. McNair, B.(2002) Striptease culture : sex, media and also the group action of want, London; ny : Routledge.
11. Richardson, D. (1997) “Sexuality and Feminism” in Robinson, V. and D. Richardon (eds.) Introducing Women's Studies; Macmillan.
12. Russell, D. (2000) “Pornography and Rape: A causative Model” in Cornell, D. (eds.) Feminism and porno, university Press
13. Stoltenberg, J. (1989) Refusing To Be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice, Breitenbush Books
14. Tong, R. (1989) “Radical Feminism on Gender and Sexuality”, in Feminist Thought: A Comprehensive Introduction, Unwin Hyman, London
15. Walker, A. (1981) You Can't Keep a decent lady Down, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
16. Weeks, J. (2011) The Languages of gender, New York, NY: Routledge

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MULTIDISCIPLINARY EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH

ISSN:2277-7881; IMPACT FACTOR :6.514(2020); IC VALUE:5.16; ISI VALUE:2.286

Peer Reviewed:VOLUME:9, ISSUE:4(1), APRIL :2020

FEMALE MATERIALIZATION: SEPARATING “SEX” FROM THE “OBJECT”

Ms. Shalini Sihe

Assistant Professor & Research Scholar

School of Languages, Literature & Society

Jaipur National University

Jaipur

Abstract

In the context of objectification, little attention has been paid to the perception neuroscience of how the human brain perceives women bodies and objectifies them. Various studies point to how external cues such as rituals and attire could play a key role in encouraging objectification, dehumanization and the denial of authority. Reviewing new experimental findings across several areas of research, it seems that common threads run through issues of community, religion, customs, sexual objectification, body perception, dehumanization, and assault. Collating findings from several different lines of research, this article reviews additional evidence from cognitive and neural dynamics of person perception (body and face perception processes) that predict downstream social behaviour. Specifically, new findings demonstrate cognitive processing of sexualized female bodies as object-like, a crucial aspect of dehumanized percept devoid of agency and personhood. Sexual violence is a consequence of a dehumanized perception of female bodies that aggressors acquire through their exposure and interpretation of objectified body images. Integrating these findings and identifying triggers for sexual violence may help develop remedial measures and inform law enforcement processes and policy makers alike.

Keywords: Objectification, Object Perception, Dehumanization, Sexual Violence

Kanyadaan : A Situational & Social Irony

Marriage: an institution that is universal and defines human society, saving it from promiscuity and randomness. Its definition and importance as a practical and logical set-up to function as a seed of family is undeniable. These aspects of marriage are absolute, but what poses itself as a question is its setting in the Hindu society and culture, and its undisputed continuance.

Hindu marriage, with its rituals and ceremonies of the Vedic age, was relevant in the social circumstances of those times. Girls were married off before attaining puberty, and hence the ritual “Kanyadaan”. The responsibility of a girl was completely transferred to the family she was married into. A couple used to have many children. Hence, there was a social, moral, and economic balance within families, coupled with an emotional sensitivity that was of give and take. Daughter-in-law for a daughter.

We proudly glorify Vedic times and practices, but when it comes to marriage, rather than just glorifying, we are keeping the system intact. Vedic practices have this unfortunate fact associated with them, we forgot the good ones and kept the ones that are redundant.

Vedic practices have this unfortunate fact associated with them, we forgot the good ones and kept the ones that are redundant.

Marriage seems to be a customary and typical matter, other than being the very purpose of life. People write a lot about it, read a lot about it, think of it at various levels - social, economic, cultural, religious, but I find very few instances where people question its setting in the Hindu society. Denying it, and thoughts of changing it, are awfully rare.

Hindu marriage, its rituals and ceremonies, are debatable for various reasons but in this article I would be taking a key ritual - ‘ ‘Kanyadaan” and citing my apprehensions about it. As I mentioned earlier, Kanyadaan as a ritual was justified in the times when girls were married off at a very young age. She was gifted away by the father and he was considered to be free of all the sins, of the present life and those of the earlier ones. Fine. A condition to justify the pain of separation.

Logic? The groom was considered Vishnu and the girl the prime offering that can be made to God. Objectifying women has not been rare, and making her a gift is nothing to be surprised of as well. But what surprises me is the fact that this ritual is still in practice, unquestioned.

Changing times, unchanging rituals

Times have changed. The No-son norm is not uncommon. As feminists, we are liberal, talking of family planning, equality, rights of girls to food, clothes, education to share in property, everything! At the same time we are radical, taking of males to be the source of trouble, patriarchy to be the root of evils. But how frequently do we talk of establishing the balance? How frequently do we target the fundamental cause of inequality? That is marriage in the Hindu setting, in particular, the rituals that in the present world serve no practical purpose but have a strong moral and emotional element still attached to them.

The role of girls has changed tremendously. Household chores and child­rearing are no more their only duties.

The role of girls has changed tremendously. Household chores and child-rearing are no more their only duties. They are getting educated, contributing to family finances, taking care of their parents. Then what is the logic behind still continuing with the rituals like Kanyadaan? I strongly believe, and urge every girl who finds herself out of her traditional roles, who sees herself at par with males, that she must question these rituals, Kanyadaan in particular.

Because, this is the ritual that leads to patriarchy, defines patrician residence, reduces a girl to the status of a gift, which no longer belongs to the owner. There is a strong need to say no to its practice.

Many girls say no to such rituals during their wedding have given the society reasons of not doing so.

What difference does it make?

Women are anyway going to fulfil all their duties as daughters. But that is the question in the first place! If it does not make any difference than why to practice?

The families won't agree!

A fair enough reason. Women do not want to do anything that disturbs their family. But looking at the larger picture presents us with something entirely different. Parents and families earlier were not happy with their girls moving out of the town for education or job. But now they are. Earlier they could not even think of questioning dowry. But now they do.

A bit far into history, abolishing sati system, widow remarriage etc. could not be even thought of as socially possible. Now they are considered as social evils, something we even imagine the existence if. 0 But they were socially accepted practices earlier. People questioned them, worked relentlessly so that they could be undone. Similar is the case now. There is some initial resistance that society presents and that has to be overcome. What it needs is courage and a heartfelt desire.

What is wrong with these rituals?

Their are women who prove that the change in their position in society is in turn helping the society itself to change for better. An equitable and fair society is desired and required. Questioning and shunning these rituals will serve a very strong purpose of taking away the religious and moral sanctions that come in the way of providing ourselves with the social settings that we know are logical and justified.

- I talked with my parents about changing these rules for myself and I was not surprised to see that they completely agreed with my reasons. In fact, they were happy to find out that I feel the same about these rituals as they do. They too find them redundant, serving no purpose.
- I talked with my parents about changing these rules for myself and I was not surprised to see that they completely agreed with my reasons.
- I talked with guys about how they feel about questioning and changing these norms. Again, I was not surprised to find out that they were very positive and find these rituals superfluous and unnecessary. They were happy to accept that they have no particular desire to engage in these rituals while marrying the girl they'll be sharing their life with.

The soul purpose of this article is to urge every girl to marry on her own terms, in a way that suits her logic and presents her with the most graceful way to enter into this relationship which is the single-most perfect synonym of equality.

Female, Feminism, Fertile & other F-Words : Objectification

Objectification of women is a common practice that prevails in society across various institutions, beliefs and even cultural norms. The family is, in fact, the first place where this starts. Family is an institution of primary socialisation and this institution promotes blatant sexualisation and objectification of women. The ways in which women are treated as mere commodities within the family are discussed below.

Starting from the time they are born, women are thought of as liabilities to family members. In most cases, parents start saving funds for their daughters' weddings. However, whenever a son is born into the family, parents focus on saving funds for his education and career. From the very beginning, gendered norms and practices are imbibed and propagated. Little girls are monitored for their movements and behaviour much more than the boys are.

Since their childhood days, girls are made to believe that they are ‘fragile' and that they must keep themselves covered in order to ‘protect their honour'. There are many instances of women being instructed to wear clothes that cover their bodies when the male members of the family are at home. This is a method of moral policing with respect to the female body. Such a forced practice is a result of sexualising women's bodies. It is not the woman that is to be blamed for wearing what she wants - rather it is the people who cannot stop sexualising her body, even if they are her own family members.

A common and problematic practice within the family, especially during weddings, is the taunting and teasing of women. This cultural practice, which most families proudly propagate, qualifies as harassment of women with regard to their independence and sexual preferences. One very common example lies in the Hindi phrase “saaliadhigharwaalihotihain”. This means that a man's sister-in-law is his “half-wife”.

Starting from the time they are born, women are thought of as liabilities to family members.

This not only implies that the sister-in-law (the woman in question) is being thought of as a commodity for sexual bait, without her consent, but it also promotes the notions of adultery and incest. According to the defenders of this cultural practice, it is ‘joke' that is to be dismissed. However, what one does not understand while promoting such practices is that these stem from the objectification of women and result in the same, further aggravating it. It, therefore, culminates into a vicious cycle.

Apart from these, there is yet another problematic practice that lecherously objectifies the women in the family, at times, even without their own awareness of the same. In many of the porn sites, it is common to come across videos named “bhabi sex video”, “sexy bhabi”, etc. These videos portray actual as well as imaginary sexual relations between s sister-in-law and a brother-in-law. Viewing such videos and gaining pleasure from them not only makes one think of their sister-in-law as a sexualised and pleasurable object, but also portrays adulterous and incestuous relations.

With respect to the religious practices during weddings, there are norms that essentially originate from objectifying women as liable commodities. In fact, what is more disturbing is the fact that, with the changing times, certain norms are being challenged by people, whereas some others norms that are equally harmful, are being promoted as being romantic and beautiful. Such are the cases of dowry and kanyadaan. Of late, there have been many arguments that state that dowry actually objectifies men by putting price tags on them, instead of promoting women as the centre of transaction.

However, while drawing up arguments, one must definitely not forget the reason behind asking for dowry. Women are very much the epicentre of the transaction that entails threat, abuse, third-degree torture and even murder. There are instances of the groom's family asking for higher dowry, owing to high educational degrees and career-related success. The entire system of dowry is based on the woman being objectified in terms of being ‘perfect' and agreeing to do the household chores for her husband. The dowry is generally stated as a price for the ‘maintenance' of the bride, after marriage.

Although many are protesting against dowry, the idea of Kanyadaan or Kanakanjali has not been contested against - as being a ritual that objectifies women. During a wedding ceremony, kanyadaan is a ritual that is performed by the father of the bride, wherein he ‘hands over' his daughter to the groom. This practice stems from the idea that the woman is an object that is controlled by her initial family and is later handed over to another family. A woman's decision to marry is completely her own call and nobody has to hand her over to somebody else. She is not a mere commodity to be handed over from one institution to another, to be controlled by the patriarchal society.

During a wedding ceremony, kanyadaan is a ritual that is performed by the father of the bride, wherein he ‘hands over' his daughter to the groom.

In a traditional arranged marriage setting, the groom, along with his primary family members, goes from one house to another, in search of the ‘perfect bride'. This is similar to the method in which one generally hops from one retail outlet to another, in search of the perfect dress, t-shirt or shoes. This signifies that women are considered as objects for sale by their own family members. During this selection process, the groom's family mostly shows concerns about the societal standards of morality possessed by the woman under scrutiny. This is a method of dominating and controlling the life of the woman.

Another vital factor that magnifies the practice of objectifying women within the family is marital rape. The acknowledgement that a woman has the ultimate right to her own body and that nobody else can violate her personal boundaries does not seem to exist in our society. A married woman is considered to be a puppet in the hands of her husband. Her right over her own body ceases to exist. The notions of consent and coercion amalgamate into one massive courtyard of misconception, arising from masculine ego. The traditional institution of marriage seems to be the key to flashing unending masculine power and objectifying women to such an extent that only makes them look like sex slaves for their husbands. Moreover, even the highest court of law in the country fails to acknowledge marital rape as a crime, stating that acknowledging the same will lead to a breakage in the institution! The institution of marriage clearly rests on patriarchy, of which the objectification of women in the family is an integral part.

Objectification of women within the family has become so commonplace that acts of everyday casual sexism do not intersect the radar of offensive behaviour. For example, people who stand up against gendered practices and discrimination provide their explanations on the basis of the derived identity of women. Although there are many people who mean well, they do not understand the manner in which regular sexism works. Protesting against gender-based violence by stating that the women being abused are sisters, mothers, daughters and wives only objectifies them even more. Such a standpoint dissolves the independent identity of a woman, reducing her only to be known as somebody's somebody.

Women have been objectified in every stratum of society starting with the family. With such patriarchal notions and practices, imbibed from the beginning of one's life, the society cannot progress much in terms of ‘morality' in its actual sense

Marriage : A Right to “RAPE” legally

Marital rape has been widely debated in India. India unlike other developed nations has yet to criminalize marital rape. Activists and Indian media endorse the opinion that India's patriarchal society makes it necessary and imperative that marital rape should be criminalized. On the other hand, a more orthodox view remains that marital rape cannot be criminalized because of the sacred nature of marriage in Hinduism and how criminalizing marital rape would destabilize the institution of marriage.

Other than the reasons endorsed by the government, there are numerous causes that can be attributed to the existence of marital rape in India. The primary cause being the position of women in Indian society.

Marriage is viewed as a sacrament in Hinduism with the wife being viewed as under the possession of the husband. This has been used as a defence by the legislature against the criminalization of marital rape. When the matter is further analysed, it can be concluded that the issue goes much deeper.

Due to the archaic rule that marital rape is not easily recognised as an offence, it is assumed by the law that, marriage refers to the wife giving consent to all the “matrimonial obligations” including sexual intercourse. Even though India as a nation is based on the theory of equity, it still has not recognised the right a woman has in controlling marital intercourse as a component of equality. As the nation lacks any sort of legal provisions regarding marital rape, the victims' only resort is to go to court. Courts have various methods to identify marital rape and have given strict punishments but due to the lack of legal provisions, they are bound and hence cannot describe “forceful intercourse by a man upon his wife” as marital rape. Hence, the Judiciary is not enough and it requires the help of the legislature. The laws have to adapt to the changing reality of society. The government presented the case to Delhi High Court and stated two reasons against the criminalization of marital rape.

- First, that marital rape cannot be criminalized because marriage is sacred and the criminalization of this act in the Indian context would lead to the destabilization of society.
- Secondly, it should not be criminalized because of the huge number of fraudulent cases that may be filed against husbands.

It is necessary to debase the assumptions on the part of the government and other Orthodox institutions. One cannot claim marriage as a sacrament and remain ambivalent about such a heinous crime perpetrated against a married woman. Numerous laws protect married women from domestic violence. If acts like the Domestic Violence Act of 2005 do not affect marriage as an institution then it is hypocritical to not treat marital rape as a form of domestic violence. Secondly, all crimes see a number of fraudulent cases being filed but this defense is only used when it comes to gendered laws that specifically concern women.

The causes behind a crime of this sort can be traced back to the social position given to women in Indian society. Historically, Indian women have been considered to be owned by their fathers and later their husbands. Hence, rape can, to a certain extent, be equated to a crime against property. This is why in the ancient times the penalty against rape also involved paying compensation to the victim's father or husband. Since the wife is considered chattel of the husband and a man cannot commit a crime against his own property, the question of marital rape doesn't arise at all. Hence, the fact that males have to establish ownership over a woman after marriage makes a married woman more susceptible to being exploited by her husband. It is even evident in Hindu Law and Muslim Personal Law that a woman is treated as inferior to a man. Her existence stems from her relation to a man; her father or husband. Hence, she cannot say that a man who has “ownership” over her has violated her or committed a crime against her.

The Indian government has argued that marital rape cannot be criminalized because what might seem like rape to the wife may not be rape in the eyes of others. This statement hints at how regressive Indian society is and has become a standard defense in rape cases. Rape is only about the victim and his or her consent. The crime is committed when the woman feels violated. That is the only standard that must be looked at. Social perception of the incident or the woman's behaviour can play no role here. Hence, it doesn't matter whether there is a disparity between the views of the wife and others. This cannot be a yardstick to deny her justice and say that what happened to her was not rape.

Allowing spousal rape and not criminalizing it, effectively means that human dignity can be accorded lesser value in the case of a woman when she is married. It is inherently wrong and problematic to assure dignity and sexual autonomy to the husband and not the wife. The argument that the act cannot be criminalized to protect the stability of the institution of marriage is base and illogical. Only when two partners are given equal rights over their bodies can the “sacred” institution of marriage thrive.

End Note : Subjugation to Leaders

In conclusion, the history of the social oppression & objectification of women is vast and diverse and unfortunately still persists. The inclusive movements have been of various kinds and have evolved through time. But unfortunately this seems like a problem which will still take time to be weeded out. In India, the women's reservation bill is still to be passed after years of wait and debate. Society in India has to stop misconstruing culture with religion and enforcing ancient ideas on modern day women. Men and women alike, need to understand what equal rights stand for, not just politically or economically; there is a need to socially brain wash patriarchal ideas away. We may have given our women the right to vote and own property, but those were the building blocks for something more monumental, which is now not just a gender right anymore. This issue was always a humanitarian issue, not one of a gender fighting for rights against the other. Now, more men have finally realized this and have become active feminists themselves, to break gender roles for men and women alike. This needs to be taken more seriously and needs to be redefined into a possible fourth wave of feminism to take up this issue of providing basic human rights and needs to half of the world's population.

But in spite of all the darkness, we will end in a positive overdue. In recent times, back in West Bengal, a group of women, gracefully chanted the scriptures in Bengali amid some of Tagore's most melodious songs.Their only motto—reintroduce the culture and heritage of India to the younger generation sans the orthodoxy, ambiguity or inequality.The knowledge in their scriptures cannot stay hidden behind an ancientlanguage. The couples of this generation are asking questions about what and why they do in rituals. And, it is the responsibility of the priests to help them understand. That's exactly what they are doing,”

So the moral of life is,

“Fear is freedom! Subjugation is liberation! Contradiction is truth! These are the truths of this world! Surrender to those truths, you pigs who fawn over clothing!”

Satsuki Kiryuuin

References

1 Fairbank, John King (1986). The Great Chinese Revolution, 1800 - 1985. New York: Harper & Row. p. 70.
2 Kazemi, Farhad (2000). “Gender, Islam, and Politics”.Social Research 67 (2): 453-474.
3 Rowe-Finkbeiner, Kristin (2004). The F-Word
4 “homepage” SlutWalk Toronto
5 Nambissan, Anjali. (July 16, 2011). “BesharmiMorcha hits Bhopal streets today”. Hindustan Times.
6 Enslin, Elizabeth. “Imagined Sisters: The Ambiguities of Women's Poetics and Collective Actions.” Selves in Time and Place: Identities, Experience, and History in Nepal. Ed. Debra Skinner, Alfred Pach III, and Dorothy Holland. Lanham; Boulder; New York; Oxford: Rowman& Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1998 (269-299).
7 Ahttp://periva.proboards.com/thread/12692/kannikadhanam
8 A Henry, Edward O. “Folk Song Genres and Their Melodies in India: Music Use and Genre Process.” Asian Music (Spring-Summer 2000). JSTOR. 20 February 2008.

URKUND

Urkund Analysis Result

Analysed Document: Chapter Plagiarism.pdf (D79805958)

Submitted: 9/24/2020 04:58:00 PM

Submitted By: prashant_sahai@rediffmail.com

Significance: 10%

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Instances where selected sources appear:

Chapter Plagiarism.pdf (D79805958)

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Title
The Journey of Subjugation to Liberation based on the Selected Novels of Taslima Nasrin & Qaisra Shahraz
Grade
A+
Author
Year
2021
Pages
218
Catalog Number
V1153764
ISBN (eBook)
9783346550156
ISBN (Book)
9783346550163
Language
English
Tags
journey, subjugation, liberation, selected, novels, taslima, nasrin, qaisra, shahraz
Quote paper
Dr. Shalini Sihe (Author), 2021, The Journey of Subjugation to Liberation based on the Selected Novels of Taslima Nasrin & Qaisra Shahraz, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1153764

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