Darul Aman – Book Review


Darul Aman is a 203 page novel that was written in 2017 by professor Dr. Liaquat Taban and was published by Mulgari Likwal Quetta. Dr. Liaquat Taban is a professor of nephrology whereas his thirst for writing never stops. He has authored twenty books on a myriad of subjects. 

The ongoing reviewed book speaks volume for women rights and talks about the problems whoch the Pashtun women face. This noval is feminism in nature and is a plausible creative work in Pashto literature, where rarely writers have written on these topics. 

Darul Aman is a NGO which serves to protect the rights of women and provide them with shelter. 

Dr. Liaquat Taban dedicates his book to four prominent literary figures of Pashto language Mrs. Zaiton Banu, Parveen Malal, Kubra Mazhari, and Haseena Gul. For me, i would have also included the name of Mrs. Kalsoom Zaib who has admirable literary services for Pashto literature and has fought for the protection of women rights. 

This novel beautifully dafaces the paternal society of Pashtun tribe as a whole. Dr. Liaquat Taban is of the opinion rightly that when a son is born in a Pashtun family, the family starts aerial firing as a result of happiness.  When a girl is born,  such activities donot take place owing to dislike for the new born baby girl. Dr. Liaquat Taban also exemplifies India, Bangladesh and China where paternal societies do exist. This testifies that we still live in an era of darkness which was prior to the emergence of Islam when the Qurashite used to  bury there girls alive. 

Soora is a part of Pashtun culture and a black sting on its face. This norm is generally takes place when a decision is taken to resolve a case of murder. As per this black tradition the guilty family is bound to give one or more unmarried girls to the family of the victim. In this novel the writer narrates a story of a girl Gulali whose brother has killed a person and as a result of the decision of tribal council (Jirga) Gulali had to marry a person (whether aged or drug addict) to the victim,s family. Gilali goes into depression and resists against that decision and takes refuge in Darul aman. 

Not to talk of higher education, from primary to matric level the situation of female education in Pashtun society is deplorable. For instance, the female literacy rate in killa Abdullah is only 8 percent , 36 percent in pishin, in district Sherani it is 7 percent, and  8 percent in exFATA. While, at the same time,the Taliban has banned girls education in Afghanistan. Dr. Liaquat Taban pinpoints this injustice through Kawtara a girl who had tried to commit suicide owing to the reluctance of her father to stop her from getting more education and drops her out from college when she was ending her Fsc. 

Like education, the Pashtun women have been facing hurdles in doing jobs. Rozina an educated girl who had done Msc chamistry wanted  to do job. But her father said to her that her father in laws might have reservations. He advises her to start a job provided that her in laws allow her. After marriage her husband becomes a drug addict. When she wanted to start a job but her in laws did not allow it. 

The National Commission on the Status of Women Report (2005) highlighted that fifty five percent women of NWFP (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and FATA accept the practice of no share in inheritance of the deceased person due the reason of strong socio-cultural values about women right to  inheritance. A reseracher in Pakistan journel of society, education, and language writes in a survey that majority 80% of the respondents viewed that female demand for right of inheritance lead towards a conflict between the family of orientation and family of procreation. 

Whether we Pashtun accept it or reject,  but it is a reality that most women are deprived of their share in inheritance. Rarely, there are families who provide their women with their due share in inheritance. Dr. Liaquat Taban has pinpointed this issue vehemently where Salima who had no children was deprived from her inheritances by her in laws. In the novel, the same situation happens with Amna. That uncomfortable situation made both women mentally ill who, consequently take shelter in Darul Aman. At the same time,  the writer gives evidences that Islam and laws both provide due share to women in inheritance. 

Wrong decisions lead one to wrong future. When a female in a patriarchal society who is already struggling decides such decisions at wrong time, then she faces more hurdles in future. In a story Dr. Liaquat Taban portrays a women Ram Bibi who is a widow and has five daughters but no males child. She is well educated. When her husband dies, she rejects to remarry with her husband’s brother.  She starts job and brings up her 5 children in a good manner. Meanwhile,  she is misled and marries with another person who is a greedy man. When, Ram Bibi fails to get a job of a teacher, her husband’s behaviour is changed. At the same time, her five daughters are in the house of her first in laws who deny to meet Ram Bibi with their 5 daughters. A same issue is with Zahra, who has seven daughters but no male child and faces hurdles and is taunted by her in laws that why she does not give birth to a male baby. 

Polygamy is common in Pashtun society. Generally,  we have seen that rarely, there is a husband who succeeds to maintain a balance of justice between all wives. Moreover, most males marry more women for the sake of sexual desires. Bilquees father marries one more time and when the step mother comes to her home her behaviour is changed with Balquees and her two sisters. Her two sisters are married with the approval of her step mother with un matached husbands. When, Balquees step mother tries to arrange Balquees marriage with a drug addict person, Balquees resists and takes refuge in Darul Aman. 

The ratio of divorce is mostly low in a Pashtun traditional society. The females bear every type of injustice and brutalities but remain loyal. In this novel Professor Dr. Liaquat Taban has pointed out a very serious issue from a medical point of view. This issue is common almost in all nations. Dr. Liaquat Taban is of the opinion that a women is not considered pure when her Hyman Fascia is not broken during intercourse on the first night of marriage. Most women are divorced when her hyman is already broken. He says that this is medically wrong, as the hyman of a girl can be broken while playing, while doing tough work, and owing to more reasons. 

At the end of the book professor Dr. liaquat Taban feels sorry for the deplorable, pathetic, and murky situation of women rights in Pashtun society. He defends women rights and appreciate their strength and struggle. He is of the opinion that women played leading role in the processions in Tunisia, Egypt, Jorden, and Libya. He further says that there have been numerous women like Benazir Bhuto, Sirma Bandra Naike of Sri Lanka, Aun San Suchi of Myanmar, Theresmarao of United kingdom, Anjalia Marker of Germany and the IMF director Chirtain Logardo who have been on the frontline and led thier countries and organizations successfully. 

In a situation when writers feel satisfaction by writing aesthetic concepts of love between boys and girls by including sexual sentences for mental pleasure — this novel that has defaced the brutal Pashtun traditional society about the gloomy conditions of women rights, needs appreciation. This creative work needs to be aired in Short TV stories with a little addition. I suggest professor Dr. liaquat Taban to increase the contents of the novel for that. Last but not least, this novel needs to be translated at least in Urdu, Punjabi, Balochi, Sindhi, and most importantly in English — for this, the writer should approach to human rights organizations in the country, as the subject matter of the novel suits these organizations.

Naseeb Ullah Achakzai

Naseeb Ullah Achakzai is a M.Phil scholar and writes as a freelance columnist.

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