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My Feudal Lord by Tehmina Durrani
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May 07, 11

bookshelves: biographies, non-fiction, 4-stars-genuinely-good
Read from April 26 to May 07, 2011

The Ultimate Nightmare of a Pakistani Woman: To be trapped in a violent marriage

Tehmina Durrani was born into a strangely dysfunctional family with a combination of an over dominating mother and a mostly absentee father. Cursed with dark skin, she was forever ignored and psychologically led-down by her mother. Nevertheless, she grew up to be charming young lady who drew many a male attention but never from anyone her parents might approve. Her first marriage was to Anees Khan, a man of lower social standing than Tehmina's family. However, his love could not hold her interest too long in front of the charismatic Mustafa Khar (a prominent political figure in Pakistan), whom she met at a social gathering and instantly fell in love with. Little did she know that the public and private faces of Mustafa Khar were two different entities!

While they were both married when they met, Mustafa Khar manipulated the situation enough to ensure Tehmina's divorce. His marriage to her soon after, ultimately resulted in his own divorce from Sherry, his fifth wife. Horribly deluded, Tehmina always believed that Mustafa’s inability to hold a workable marriage all this while was because “he had not found the right woman” yet, but this was soon to be challenged. She endured his violent and volcanic temperament in silence for more than a decade, never finding enough courage to leave him. She stood by him in the toughest period of his political career; however, Mustafa rewarded her patience and benevolence towards him with infidelity and betrayal. Caught in the web of family drama and the prospect of social stigma Tehmina endured for a long while, but there comes a point when enough is enough!

“My Feudal Lord”, is a brave attempt on part of Tehmina Durrani to break free from our societies double standards towards women. I have to commend her courage to speak out, because no other Pakistani woman would admit to half of the things Ms. Durrani reveals in her book.

However, I find it hard to fully sympathise with her as far as her political ideals are concerned. I was reading somewhere that her she is now married to the current chief-minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Shareef, and that she influences many of his political decisions. It is sad to see that she was willing to buy medicines for the patients in a hospital out of empathy for the poor patients, even when she knew that they would never reach them due to the corrupt medical staff; however, she made no move to eradicate this predicament’s root cause by trying to get her husband to agree to the demands of the doctors and paramedics in Punjab.

Nevertheless, where some might call her an adulterous, some might call her a house-wrecker, I would say that she was a very brave woman. She went through a huge ordeal in life, the authenticity of which I DO NOT doubt, keeping in mind Mr. Khar’s reputation, and she came out of it a better and stronger woman. I commend her courage and hope that other women in my country would learn from her bravery and also from her mistakes, as there is still hope for us as a nation...
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