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Echoes from the Abyss: A Novel [Paperback]

Farzana H. Shahid

Price: 10.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

26 Sep 2002
This is the heart-rending tale of thirteen-year-old Meena, who due to an unfortunate turn of events ends up in one of the brothels of Bombay, India. Her mother, Devi, is tricked into selling her into prostitution slavery by a well-known doctor of a Nepali village community. Meena remains locked up there for four years. At first she refuses the business but Chowla Bai, the Madame of the brothel and her goons subject her to the worst torture, humiliation and rapes. These finally break her resistance. In the brothel she develops a strong and deep friendship with another girl, Pooja, who later dies of AIDS. After Pooja's death, Meena conceives and gives birth to a daughter, whom she murders in desperation. She is also harassed by one particular client, Sahib, who causes her extreme emotional hurt and anxiety. While in the brothel she witnesses a brutal murder and also the escape of two girls, Rani and Nanni. She herself is rescued by a foreign agency and returns to Nepal to face a myriad of social problems. She falls in love, but must make a bitter decision.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Writers Club Press (26 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595242790
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595242795
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 15 x 22.5 cm

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Product Description

About the Author

Farzana Hassan Shahid has a Master' degree in Business from the University of Massachusetts. She has authored a book on Religious Ethics and has written poetry which has been published in American magazines. She is also an accomplished pianist. She currently lives in Canada with her husband and three children.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good topic 2 Jan 2009
By Big Horse - Published on Amazon.com
This book touches upon an important topic of horrible human rights violations in 3d world countries, something which Western feminists would not dare to discuss here in US. I highly recommend this book to all western feminists, so that they may have some perspective on life of womyn in the rest of the world.

On the other hand I do not know if writing about corruption of Indian "pagan infidels" would constitute an act of courage for an author with Muslim name. What about human right violations in Islamic countries? I chalange the author to write another book which adress womyns human rights in Islmic contries such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Meanwhile here is a song on this subject:

Listen to it:


They tried to tell me my religion was wrong.
They tried to tell me to follow Islam.
They said their "Prophet" was a righteous dude,
But I found out none of their words were true.

I read the Qur'an and I read the Hadith,
And the sickness of Mohammed was apparent to me.
He justified perversion in the name of Allah,
When he married a girl too young for a bra.

She was playing with dolls when the "Prophet" came.
Her childhood was stolen in Allah's name.
Aisha was nine when he took her to bed.
Don't tell me that fool's not sick in the head.

I ain''t gonna follow no child molester, sex offender, Prophet pretender.
I ain''t gonna follow no child molester! Islam's not for me!
Islam's not for me!

The sickness of the Islamic mind,
Has caused some mullas to be blind.
To justify their "Prophet" they will justify sin,
So the sins of the "Prophet" are repeated again.

All over the world in Islamic states,
Nine year old girls suffer cruel fate,
Sold into marriage to twisted men,
And Aisha's sad story is repeated again.

I ain''t gonna follow no child molester, sex offender, Prophet pretender.
I ain''t gonna follow no child molester! Islam's not for me!
Islam's not for me!

Do you care about women all over the world?
Do you care about those little girls?
Better stand up and fight for human rights,
Speak out against the laws of Islam!

I ain''t gonna follow no child molester, sex offender, Prophet pretender.
I ain''t gonna follow no child molester! Islam's not for me!
Islam's not for me!
Islam's not for me!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Interesting topic 10 Mar 2003
By Melanie Schlessinger - Published on Amazon.com
I found this book to cover a very interesting topic, and a topic that needs to be addressed. I would recommend this book for this reason.
The quality of the writing was mediocre, and as a piece of literary work it was quite poorly constructed. The convoluted method of writing is tricky, because you really require motivation and a piece of string to work through this book!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wow! 9 Dec 2002
By Kris kudder - Published on Amazon.com
that was awsome!
can someone tell me more about this author. and what her next book is about.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A poignant tale predicated on cruel reality 28 Oct 2002
By Saleem Ali - Published on Amazon.com
This book captures the most cruel manifestations of poverty in South Asia, with remarkable accuracy. The author shows candor and compassion in her story-telling and shows how the most apalling crimes are continuing to be committed against innocent girls in South Asia. While, a fictional account, the book is based on the author's extensive research on the topic of child abduction and prostitution in South Asia. The prose is hauntingly beautiful, yet simple and dignified -- a rare combination when dealing with such a subject. This book definitely deserves to be picked up by a larger press for distribution and recognition. In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that the author is my sister, but I have always been a candid critic of her work, and this is truly a masterpiece.
4.0 out of 5 stars Child Abduction must be declared crime against humanity 20 Sep 2005
By Jawaid A. Chaudhry - Published on Amazon.com
Echoes from the Abyss

By Farzana Hassan Shahid

I personally feel very connected with this theme.

In early 1950's. In my pind [Ghanian] one and half mile south of Kamoke, in Punjab, Pakistan, one early morning, we heard screams. From an extremely a poor family, One little girl, Inayat Bibi [Na'itaa'n] disappeared. She was my friend. We used to play together. Very bubbly, very happy go lucky, and very charming, beautiful girl she was. I never saw her after her abduction.

Alas I did not do anything about it. Whenever I think of this incident, I feel as if, by not doing anything, I had to do something with her abduction. When I grew up, why did I not confront the chaudhry's of the pind who were alive then, but not now. The guilt stays in me.

The book made me very angry [sad] at our treatment of the weaker equals. I had same feelings when I read Umraa-O-Jaan, [Mirza Mohammad Hadi Ruswa], and "Taboo" [Fozia Saeed].

In "Umra-o-Jaan" the main character addressed herself as "Rundee", "Gushti", Tvaa'ef", "Fahisha", etc. The author used these words for an innocent girl who had nothing to do with the profession she was forced into, prostitution. I understand exactly why such words are written for her. This is because the male [dominated society] has put their filth on innocent little girls, and blames not themselves. The authors, including Farzana Hassan, emphasize the point [male cruelty] by using same approach, which is so understandable.

"Taboo" [of Fozia Saeed, a sort of documentary], also tends to pull us in that direction.

Like Umra-o-Jaan, Meena also thinks of herself as a prostitute. SHE IS NOT, NEVER WAS, NEVER WILL BE.

Abducted girls forced into prostitution are NOT "Rundees", "Gushtis", "Tvaa'efs", "Fahishas", prostitutes. They are innocent, respectable, loving women like our own sisters, daughters.

Too much philosophy does not get us far, though. The fact remains that there exist, through support of police, and much higher authorities, such an enormous crime against humanity. They are also partners in this crime against humanity.

Here is my fantasy. I'd like to try for crimes against humanity, Dr. Pokhrel. But better is I try Chowla Bai. No, no, I should leave them alone, and try the local police officer. On further thoughts, I should not try him, but try his superior. No, no, I should try the judges, or the minister of justice, or the parliament, or the head of the state. I keep analyzing, and finally decide that I must kill the whole human race. In fact, I must go and kill god herself. But then again, I realize that I am blaming the wrong being. God has nothing to do with this crime against humanity. And since when am I a killer, anyway?

From fantasy, I return to the real world. There is too much crime against humanity. Little girls are being kidnapped day and night, in Asia, in South America and god knows where else. Why are we so helpless and cannot stop it. But Farzana Hassan's suggestion that we must join hands and fight against this crime is a welcome idea. Please lets do something.

Girls are kidnapped for prostitution, and boys for begging, and perhaps, also for prostitution. I suggest that there should be formed a non-political, non-religious international organization, whose only objective should be to find and rehabilitate missing children.

One major problem after her freedom from prostitution Meena faced was that now she could not get married because of her past. She thought that no man would ever accept her. I do not agree with her. I bet there do exist men who would accept her. I'm sure there exist men who would understand the girls' misery, and offer them so much love that the girl would forget her past abuse. In her ending of the book Farzana Hassan very intelligently introduced this philosophy.
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