From the Back Cover
KIRANJIT AHLUWALIA'S STORY IS HARROWING AND SHOCKING, BUT ULTIMATELY TRIUMPHANT. IT IS A STORY OF SURVIVAL AND HOPE IN THE FACE OF ALMOST INSURMOUNTABLE ODDS.
Born into a well-off family in India, Kiranjit Ahluwalia came to England in 1979 to be married to a man she hardly knew. She was a cheerful, optimistic young woman, full of hope for a happy married life, but literally from the day of the wedding it was clear that all was not well. The next ten years were to be a nightmare of constant physical and mental abuse at the hands of her violent husband. There was no one she could turn to for help and support, as domestic violence is virtually a taboo subject for many Asians in Britain, and family honour – 'izzat' – is the supreme consideration. In 1989, exhausted, confused and driven beyond endurance by the suffering she had undergone, Kiranjit killed the man who had made her life a misery. At her trial, the proceedings of which she had barely understood, Kiranjit was found guilty of murder, and sentenced to life imprisonment. As the details of her case emerged following a campaign co-ordinated by Southall Black Sisters, a women's centre operating on a shoestring budget, nationwide attention focused on her plight, and she was set free in 1992. After her release, Kiranjit met the Princess of Wales, who urged her to write a book about her experiences. 'Circle of Light' is that book. It is a remarkable first-hand account of one of the most controversial and troubling issues of recent years. Kiranjit Ahluwalia's case is unique, but it reveals the disturbing truth about many women's lives in Britain today.