After my latest post on the blame game, it was a sheer co-incidence that I landed up in crossword and decided to sift through the books for an hour or so… Thats when I stumbled upon a book called In the Name of Honor: A Memoir by Mukhtar Mai
The book unravels the story of Mukhtar Mai, also popularly known as Mukhtaran bibi, a 28-year old small time divorced farmer, belonging to the low caste Gujar community of Pakistan. She lived in the village called Meerwala. The are where she lived was dominated by the upper caste called the Mastoi – they were a lot richer and a lot more influential.
One fine day, he younger brother called Shakur, all of 12, was accused initially of having spoken to a 20-something Mastoi girl, called Salma. Later, when they thought the accusation wasnt enough, they accused him of having raped her!!!
The revenge of this “supposed” crime was then taken out on Mukhtar, when she was gang raped in front of the entire clan and then made to walk back home half-nude. She was indignant, and humiliated initially. The purpose of the rape was to show the superiority of the clan and to make her commit suicide, which most of the raped women do! But, not Mukhtar! After suffering the initial humiliation, her pain turned into anger – at the men who caused her this misery!
The book talks about the transformation of a timid, young girl, who used to ask permission from her brothers before stepping out of the house, who used to feel that it is not in the rights of a woman to talk if there are men nearby, who despite being illiterate knew the Koran verbally, and used to teach it to the kids of neighbourhood… Transformation of such a girl into a woman who knows how to speak her mind and will not let people meddle with her dignity and self-respect! She took her rapists to the court and won the battle. With the compensation money, she now runs schools for girls in Meerwala!
All in all, a wonderful read! Highly inspirational… And what better exmaple of people, who be a part of the system and do things they can to improve it!!
Hats off to her! 🙂