February Issue 2013
The author of Down Bureaucracy Lane, Talat Rahim launched her second book Down Matrimonial Lane — 30 Resilient Women on January 15 at Carlton Hotel in Karachi. In her latest book, Rahim documents experiences of divorced women who have been subjected to various forms of domestic abuse but eventually managed to put an end to their bad marriages and emerge as stronger women.
The extract Rahim chose to read from her book was gripping and dealt with themes of denial, deception and infidelity. In the discussion that followed, it was pointed out that it is always the ‘other woman’ who is blamed for seducing a married man while he is never held responsible for his faults.
Rahim’s selection of the chief guest, Feryal Gauhar, was quite apt. Gauhar tackled every conceivable ‘taboo’ subject in her address, which was delighfully witty and frank. She remarked on how the D word (i.e. divorce) is considered worse than the F word in our society, and that if a woman is twice divorced, she is considered nothing but a piece of flesh in the open market, up for everyone’s taking. Sharing experiences from her two failed marriages, she spoke of the attitude it was met with in her own home: that she must have done something to provoke her ex-husbands. This just goes to show that sometimes even the most liberal families will hold the woman responsible for the failure of a marriage.
Gauhar made several revelations too. She mentioned how the former president pursued her and even went to the extent of using state machinery and the intelligence to hound her. Gauhar also spoke of a former prime minister who was slapped by her husband, all because she had greeted a colleague from Harvard, and a PTV reporter, who had filmed the incident at Rawal Lounge, was ruthlessly beaten when he refused to hand over the film to him. While the wife ended up with a black eye, the reporter was paralysed as a result of the beating.
Rahim’s launch provided a space to discuss in public a taboo subject, which is mostly discussed behind closed doors in hush-hush tones.
Farieha Aziz is a Karachi-based journalist and teacher. She joined Newsline in 2007, rising to assistant editor. Farieha was awarded the APNS award for Best Investigative Report (Business/Economic) for the year 2007-2008. She is a co-founder and Director at Bolo Bhi, an advocacy forum of Digital Rights.