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AAM AURAT: ZINDA SAWAAL
By Sudha Arora
Saamayik Prakashan, 2008, pp.256, Rs. 300.00

VOLUME XXXV NUMBER 2 Febuary 2011

Sudha Aroras Aam Aurat: Zinda Sawal provides an authentic saga of the sufferings of women each stratum in society. The book consists of five parts including a long biographical piece about her writing from a very young age. Her progress, surprising achievements in a row, inspired her to go ahead. Gradually a day arrived in 1992, when her literary journey turned towards consultancy for helpless women and she has became a feminist writer since then. Quoting the cases of exploited and abused women, the writer opines that the chauvinistic approach of Manusmriti got disseminated by conservatives. Books like Striyon Ke Liye Kartavya Shiksha carry the teachings of Manu-smriti and other scriptures and present a long list of duties for women, thus indirectly quoting anti-women norms (pp. 71 -74). In this con- text, Kabir, Tulsidas and many other poets have described woman as the root of all evils. The author voicing shrill disapproval about this says that the woman who was once adored as the embodiment of spirituality and compassion, got trapped in the vicious circle of dishonour and disrespect. The author speaks candidly about the male psychology which makes a woman pathetically miserable. Beti Sangya, Bahu Sarvanam describes a womans plight at the hands of her own sex in the in-laws house as well as the work place. At the workplace, female colleagues target her out of jealousy. And the worst calamity bursts on a woman when her own sex becomes another woman (p. 54). Sudha Arora had a bitter experience during the making of Bawandar based on the sexual victimization of Bhanwari Devi of village Bhateri in Rajasthan who was socially boycotted and her rapist offenders instead of being punished, were released on bail. Sudha wrote the screenplay along with dialogues in the belief that the film will prove a big support to Bhanwari in returning to her normal life as well as getting justice and a proper legal action would be taken against the culprits. Just the reverse happened. The last chapter The Interference of Religion in a Womans World is about the blind Pakistani domestic maid Safia who was raped by her master and his son. When Safias father pleaded for justice, the Shariyat Court ruled that in the absence of authentic proof, the allegation could not be sustained. Instead the court charged Safia for having illi- cit relations. The sentence was reduced to ten years imprisonment because she was ...


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