Saturday, January 02, 2010

In the Name of Honour

THERE are books that highlight issues more than the people involved and then there are books where the individual take the centre-stage and the issue becomes secondary. Unfortunately 'In the name of honour' a true story of an Afghan rape victim, Mukhtar Mai, falls in the second category.

It's a hastily written novel, perhaps to cash in on the latest media fascination with the plight of Muslim women in Afghanistan.

The book itself is full of repetitions. Translation could be the culprit here. Mai only speaks Saraiki and so the author Marie-Therese Cuny, a French woman, takes the help of two local interpretors for her interactions with Mai. From French, Linda Coverdale translated into English.

A subject as serious as rape deserves more groundwork. The book falters badly on this front. It fails to address the real issue and reads more as a self-indulgence exercise. There are hardly any concrete figures or an experienced voice to lend credibility to Mai's outburts.

The memoir could serve well as a marketing tool for the people who back Mukhtar Mai or the social work she is involved with. I hope it's the latter!

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