Abstract. After “My Feudal Lord” in , “Blasphemy” is the second major work by Tehmina Durrani; first published in This book has taken the world by. Tehmina Durrani's My Feudal Lord. During the last few centuries women writers have considerably widened and deepened the areas of human experience with. Her sensational debut, her autobiography My Feudal Lord in shook the pdf >. Jalal, Ayesha. Self and Sovereignty: Individual and Community in South.
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Tehmina Durrani (Urdu: تہمینہ درانی; born 18 February ) is the daughter of a former Governor of State Bank of Pakistan and Managing Director of Pakistan International Airlines, S.U. Tehmina Durrani’s books. “I found an inner strength to fight for myself. PDF | Autobiography has become an ideal vehicle to convey women's issues and autobiography of Tehmina Durrani 'My Feudal Lord'. Tehmina Durrani. Governors' spouses -- Pakistan -- Punjab -- Biography. Add tags for "My feudal lord".
When a woman with brains and beauty from a wealthy background decides to take her fate into her own hands and challenge the restrictions of a male-oriented, conservative society, the consequences can be devastating. Born into one of Pakistan's most influential families, Tehmina Durrani was raised in the privileged milieu of Lahore high society, and educated at the same school as Benazir Bhutto. Like all women of her rank, she was expected to marry a prosperous Muslim from a respectable family, bear him many children, and lead a sheltered life of air-conditioned leisure. In private, however, the story-book romance of the most talked-about couple in Pakistan rapidly turned sour. Mustafa Khar became violently possessive and pathologically jealous, and succeeded in cutting his wife off from the outside world.
The focus of her autobiography is the institution of marriage and family which are thoroughly embedded in cultural practices. It has three parts. Unfortunately, the autobiographies written in Pakistan become documents of self- justification. The writers make every possible effort to convince the reader that they are born Angels who live good life to write about it.
Their whole being is presented as spotless. Both Pakistani and Indian autobiographies show the writers as an embodiment of perfection. Though, Durrani shows some pitfalls of womanhood but mostly the narration tilts in favor of the protagonist. Another problematic feature of her autobiography is its co-authorship. The cover of a book claims three authors. These three authors of an autobiography make it appear more a fairy-tale than life-writing. The authenticity of events become ambiguous, contradictory and controversial.
But at this stage one must admit that life can never be transparent. It is also worth-mentioning here that Western autobiography tends to give more realistic picture of life. The autobiographer does not lose touch with the ground realities of life and instead are more real. Ours are more heroic. All through the text one can trace images of loneliness and isolation and being cut up from the life of action.
May be it is the effect of those moments of life that foster consciousness in her and force her to wield pen in the cause of women. Despite, its weaknesses the text has its assets in the action or activism of its writer. Unfortunately, the unhealthy relationship with her mother and unstable with her second husband Khar brings about disgrace and undeserved failures in her life.
Until two decades back in Pakistan the discourse of activism for women rights was considered to be sinful. It was at this time Durrani wrote My Feudal Lord posing a serious challenge to patriarchy which is the root cause of gender disparity. Second, she reveals her feelings on the themes of sex and sexuality. It created a storm in the then society of the time. Finally, it became the most popular book of the time and specially amongst women. Feminism in Muslim countries is growing on the basis of the indigenous needs of the individual countries which are at different stages of religious revivalism on the one hand, and political, economic cultural and social complexities on the other.
Definitely My Feudal Lord marks the beginning of diverse discourses on feminism. The married women in traditional Pakistani society faces lots of problems. The South Asian societies have turned homes into an ideal location for the exercise of masculine aggression and domination. Generally speaking, women in South Asian countries are tied in such a way to the tradition and social custom of the country that it retards the development of women.
Another contributing factor is that women are kept entirely ignorant of their rights as a woman and the law protection guaranteed to them by the constitution of the country. Durrani therefore, taking advantage of the literary genre registers her complaints and uses autobiography as a medium to unveil her hidden life.
It also points to the fact that Pakistan is still in tight grip of feudal structures and at the same time makes an effort to restore the voice of the subaltern. Since she never loved Anees, therefore, there was always a sense of incompleteness in her. Most probably it was the lack of masculinity in Anees that blurred his qualities as a husband.
Her meeting with Khar is the first tragedy of her life. Then their message was far from subtle.
After this introduction Khar and Durrani continue to meet at different places but marrying Khar remained a distant dream. It is after that he musters the courage to take Durrani for dance and proposes her. Her first marriage is annulled. It is the mutual decision of both Khar and Durrani to get married, and upon their marriage the doors of the outside world are closed upon her. Durrani being educated and brought-up in the cosmopolitan did not have the slightest idea of feudal culture.
It is feudalism which considers woman a toy or play thing. Woman as a woman has no place in feudal culture. She can only survive as a mother, daughter, wife and sister.
Women survive in terms of their relation with someone else. A woman is expected to be a submissive daughter, a caring mother and a docile wife. I knew my personality had to change I had become submissive and weak like his previous wives.
Life with Khar becomes a Herculean task for Durrani. Culture is ingrained in the personality of an individual. Khar represented feudal culture. It was reflected in his domestic habits especially in his treatment of women. Durrani testifies, I could only develop in the direction that he chose. To think independently was a crime that he had the right to punish. Many of his beliefs ran counter to everything that I considered right, but there was no way that I could engage with him in a rational debate.
His values were steeped in a medieval milieu, a mix of prejudices, superstitions and old wives tale. High on the list was the role of the wife. He encloses it and protects it. If it is barren, he neglects it. Land is power, prestige and property This points to the otherness of woman. The theme of otherness is also central to autobiographical writings. To support my argument, I would quote Spivak here, within the effaced itinerary of the subaltern subject, the track of sexual difference is doubly effaced.
If in the context of colonial production, the subaltern has no history and cannot speak, the subaltern as female is even more deeply in shadow Khan writes, male bondage outlaws blood bondage. This practice is not a cultural or traditional phenomenon it has very much an economic basis and material motives This bondage is strengthened in many ways remarks Khan, The system of patriarchy can function only with the cooperation of women.
Therefore, women become the property of the relatives or her husband. This in turn accelerates the gulf between women and their immediate family or the community. But he keeps her cloistered and does not allow her think independently or logically. Men of the family from each strata of society in these regions do not hesitate to soak their hands in the blood of their own female blood relatives Many sociologists and intellectuals think that this practice could be related to the ignorance of the masses, who articulate tradition as religion.
Other factors that contribute to constructing such attitudes are community and social pressures. It is owing to these pressures that men commit crimes against the women of their own families. There are various discourse communities that one way or another influence the thinking of the protagonist and complicate the situation for women.
It is important here to highlight the role the society plays. The first three epochs, the archaic, the magic Per-perspectival and the mythic Un-perspectival were marked by a lack of perspective. The third, beginning with the classical Greeks famously discovered perspective, articulated three-dimensional space and has been dominant in Western society since.
Since the paper is presently discussing these elements with reference to My Feudal Lord, therefore, it should be mentioned here that feudal culture is based on collectivistic aims. Therefore, when Durrani demands divorce from Khar, he resists. Hence, the Pakistani patriarchy turns man into an unaccommodating, uncaring and exploitative being. Feudalism is also entrenched in certain conventions and traditions that sustain it. Eventually, it becomes quite difficult to dislodge this status quo the very sense of identification, interdependence, and community that Gusdorf dismisses from autobiographical selves are key elements in the development of a women identity, according to theorists Rowbotham and Chodorow cited in Friedman South Asian cultures believe that women should remain attached to the men at any cost.
I have to start anew. He stretched, took a deep breath and addressed me coolly: you have no identity of your own nobody knows you…. Women cannot live independently in collectivistic societies because they the society believe women have to be attached to a man whosoever, it be. Suleri also supports this point. Society considers women great, when she endures man and practices self-negation. Men on the other hand treat woman and children as his belongings.
This hegemonic discourse enters into a painful phase when the clerics, feudals and the influential start using religion against women. They misinterpret and twist the facts to suit their needs. For his wife he had one criteria and for himself another. Keeping the above context in view, it is important to correct the above quoted words being referred to Prophet Muhammed PBUH. It is an extract of a plant called henna that could be applied on hair to change color. The above quoted lines by Khar are an example of mythic discourse.
Khar here is articulating patriarchal values shared by the community that discourages deviant behavior of women and keep men empowered at all costs. It is transmuted into another language and the context mythologized. The discourse of some clerics center on favoring patriarchy, anti-women behavior and representing men as an embodiment of perfection. Through such sacred discourses, the clerics with political motives try to justify social oppression of women.
These patriarchal forces misuse Islam to match their agenda. Often in such social structures, that is in collectivistic societies, individuals are ignored, their rights subdued and expected to confirm to certain group norms. Collectivism therefore, favors oppressed women. Not recognizing themselves in the reflection of cultural representations, women develop a dual consciousness ….. Since, South Asian cultures require complete domination of women therefore, women become quite vulnerable to customs and conventions of the society.
Durrani states regretfully, Mustafa demanded custody of the children and ownership of all of her properties …. My father expected these provisions with cavalier pronouncement, leave her penniless.
She does not need anything from you. This points to the highly repressive laws which work against women. People whom I formerly respected turned their backs on me. I shuddered at the realization of the position that a woman falls into after divorce….. Increasingly, I experienced a humiliating lack of confidence and self-esteem.
Most of the time women comply with these traditions and hence become disciplined subjects, says Jasam Gramsci argues that the States seeks to cited in Khan disseminate their outlook world views as best as they can It can be concluded from the above discussion that the societies that are collective in nature require individual behavior to conform to established norms.
However, these resistances are not systematic and do not produce any discourse. Through her decision Durrani shows that she has the agency to resist the system, the society and her family. Khan also concludes in her work that women do have an agency despite their vulnerability and poverty However, women live in different context and conditions and negotiate accordingly.
The above lines assert that publically men are always in a position to dictate their terms and conditions for women to negotiate. Despite these odds Durrani sticks to her agenda of reform and her independent position is finally accepted into the society.
Nowhere in her texts novel and autobiography does she complain that Islam discriminates on the basis of sex and gender. Therefore, the act of writing about her personal life is equal to breaking her silence because the society expects her to remain silent. Durrani gives endless examples of an ideology based on culture which is the chief enemy of religion.
She believes that certain alien ideological intrusions have distorted the true nature of Islam. Religious practices get affected by cultural influences. He proposed and they secretly married. It was his 4th and her 2nd marriage.
After some time, Shaharzad found out and accepted Tehmina Durrani as her husbands wife. It was there that she saw the true side of Mustafa Khar: a violent husband and a womanizer. He divorced Shaharzad. Khar ruled the house like a tyrant and his fists did the talking. Due to political unrest in the country, he was arrested, but later fled the country.
Tehmina Durrani was then the mother of a child, Naseeba. They landed in London almost broke. During the next 8 years, they changed residence while in exile with respect to their status in the British society. Khar had an affair with Tehmina Durrani youngest sister Adila.
The abuse continued. She tried to commit suicide but failed. She tried to change herself, she tried to change him, but nothing happened. They had 3 children.
At first, she accepted the torture, then acknowledged it physically only, and finally she rebelled. Both parties did the beating now. She even developed courage to publicly identify her bruises as a result of his beatings.
He was also responsible for statutory rape.
She left but returned on her terms. The second time she left, she was wise enough to get legal separation. But Khar abducted the children and forced her to comeback.
She launched a campaign against him but it failed; she felt powerless against the lion of Punjab. But Khar realized that his wife was no longer in love with him.
All this took place in the backdrop of political turmoil in Pakistan, as well as one for Pakistanis in UK. They returned to Pakistan, where he was jailed on the charges of a coup against the government.
Thus began the 11 year struggle to free him from prison. She left Khar for the third time, but returned after identifying herself with his mission. The battle for his release won her public acceptance. Although there were countless obstacles in her way, she toppled them all with the help of friends and the people of Pakistan, especially Punjab.
She recollects the determination of Khar during his prison days. She felt relived of a burden when he was released. But the Khar she had dreaded soon emerged from the shadows. Jealous of her newly acquired fame and subsequent power, he resumed his affair with Adila. Finally, Tehmina Durrani left Khar for the fourth and last time. But no one helped her, save a few friends; no one wanted the wrath of the Sher-e-Punjab. Khar tried to get her back but failed.
During their daughters birthday, he managed to lock her in a room. When she retaliated, he abused her again. Her father found out and ordered him to release her.
He obeyed. He finally divorced her penniless. She regained some of her property by using a legal technicality. When Khar was getting married for the 6th time, Tehmina Durrani decided to "cast a stone at the hypocrisy that is endemic because of [womens] silence. The account of domestic violence in the book comes as a surprise to me not because it was happened, but because it happened within such an educated and elite family.
Khar was the bread of the feudal system where women are no more then mere material objects. There are many reasons for that school of thought.
The important ones are lack of education, the cultural values, and finally, ones family upbringing and personality. Khar was a man obsessed with power; that power had to be practiced to confirm its existence. The safest domain was his own home, where no one dared to questioned his authority. He would beat up the servants if the food was not hot enough, his wife if she was late after his first call, and his children if they threw a tantrum.
The author suffered very badly on the hands of her husband and she had no one to turn to. I felt very bad for her, and had sympathy for her. I was also very angry with her husband Mustafa Khar. I hate the idea of one partner dominating the manner in such a violent manner. Sadly, this attitude of dominance is part of our culture in Pakistan. Although Islam places women in very high esteem, the time Muslims spent with the Hindus during the British Rule of India severely affected and negatively altered our culture.
Along with these degrading views, it brought in dowry and class to our culture. This behavior is not limited to Pakistan though.
Domestic violence is probably one of the worst cultural universals.
If people would realize the sanctity of the institution of marriage, it would really be bliss. A successful marriage is the true mingling of two people two families in a collective society like that of Pakistan : happiness is gained but a lot needs to be sacrificed if this contract is to last a lifetime.
If one partner feels any negative emotions, they should be expressed. It is best to keep all lines of communication open at all times. One must also not forget non-verbal elements such as body language. Often, it is not what we say that hurts others; it is how we say it. I believe that you should not sleep with any negative feelings in your heart. The events of Tehmina Durranis life only confirms, but to a much worse degree, what we talked in class and read about family violence, especially spousal abuse.
It is one of the most potential threat s? In Pakistan, the violence can over spill in the form of family feuds. In my view, the best way to combat against this violence is for the battered to take stand and for the society to support him or her.