Devotion and Defiance: My Journey in Love, Faith and Politics

Devotion and Defiance: My Journey in Love, Faith and Politics

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by Humaira Awais Shahid
     
 

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An inspiring personal story by the most prominent Muslim woman activist and legislator for women’s rights in Pakistan.

In the fall of 2001, a newlywed English professor took on a job editing the “women’s section” of one of Pakistan’s leading Urdu newspapers. She soon transformed pages of celebrity gossip and fashion advice into

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Overview

An inspiring personal story by the most prominent Muslim woman activist and legislator for women’s rights in Pakistan.

In the fall of 2001, a newlywed English professor took on a job editing the “women’s section” of one of Pakistan’s leading Urdu newspapers. She soon transformed pages of celebrity gossip and fashion advice into a vehicle for the investigation of the true lives of Pakistani women. News of acid attacks on hapless women, the trading of girls as currency in tribal disputes, and other abuses transformed this young mother into a fiery advocate for women’s rights—one guided by Islamic ethics and ideals of social justice as she taught rural leaders to distinguish between religion and tribal custom. Her commitment to her countrywomen led her to a seat in the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab, where she fought to protect women, girls, and the poor.

Humaira Awais Shahid’s extraordinarily warm and passionate voice provides remarkable insight into how Islamic values and ethics might yet be a vehicle for progressive change in the developing world.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-22
A poignant story of a happy partnership that encouraged one Pakistani woman to face her oppressors. Raised in the tolerant, diverse country of Kuwait to a Pakistani family of middle-class professionals, the author moved to Lahore for the first time in 1985 and felt the shackles of religious restrictions. The Kuwaiti war left the family bereft of her beloved uncle, and the author turned inward, becoming a "serious and spiritual young woman" more interested in her literary studies than in getting married. Working at the Imperial College of Business Studies in Lahore, she met a business student from a prominent newspaper family, Ednan Awais Shahid, and they fell in love and married in 1996; he admired her plucky, outspoken side, as did Ednan's father, who eventually convinced her that taking over the women's section of his popular newspaper, the Daily Khabrain, would do more to help the plight of women in Pakistan than her teaching could. The author transformed the pages into a forum to expose horrendous stories of oppression and poverty in the largely tribal, illiterate society of Pakistan--e.g., tales of organ selling, gang rape, honor killings, and acid and stove burnings. It soon became clear to the crusading journalist that she lived in two countries--rich and poor, urban and rural--that could have inhabited two different centuries. Through meeting the rich and powerful friends of her father-in-law at the family dinner table, she was encouraged to become one of the members of the "proportional representation" in the Punjab parliament (17 percent of seats reserved for women, as proposed by President General Musharraf in 2002), where, despite being jeered and having her microphone often switched off, she advocated for criminalizing acid attacks and banning private moneylending. Her marriage to an understanding, loving Ednan forms the core of this deeply felt narrative. Although Shahid benefited professionally from her patriarchal ties, she admirably used them for the greater good.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393083910
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
02/24/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
1,164,238
File size:
2 MB

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