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Customer Review

on 19 January 1999
Ms. Sidhwa does a wonderful job of presenting the tensions that exist to this day on the indian subcontinent. I do however feel that she doesn't aptly portray the lives of poor or middle class indians. Probably because the minute percentage that make up the ruling and wealthy classes on the subcontinent are out of touch with the reality that exists in their own country. The only poor people they know are their servants (often unpaid child labor from their tenant farmer's families) and its not like they bother to sit down to tea and ask about their day.
While I saw a previous review that accused Ms. Sidhwa of being racist and inaccurate, I have to disagree. During the time of the partition there were murderers on ALL sides. Muslims slaughtered Hindus...Hindus slaughtered Muslims. While each side bickered about who attacked first, thousands continued to be murdered. I feel Ms. Sidwha presents the both sides impartially.
If only the murders of 1947 could be isolated incidents, but they are not. There is an aftermath that follows such brutal acts. Take for example Nusreen, a woman from a middle class muslim punjabi family. In 1947 she, her two sisters, two brothers, parents and cousins were forced to flee their village because hindu raiders had come to kill all muslims. They didn't have time to pack belongings or take their savings. While migrating to Pakistan her brothers were murdered, leaving the family with nothing for dowries, no means to provide such, and only an old feeble father. As a result she and her sisters were forced into marriages far beneath where they would have been arranged. While Nusreen and her sisters were beautiful young women, respectable and mannered, they were married to brothers who were considered the village bullies. It was the only match that could be obtained without dowries. While that may be a tragedy, and her life was difficult, her influence affected all of her children in positive ways. Her husband may have been a lowly dude wallah but her sons grew up to be doctors, engineers, lawyers. Nusreen, a poor village woman in the punjab and also my mother-in-law, is a woman for whom I have the greatest respect and love.
I hold Ms. Sidwha in the highest esteem for portraying accurately the events on the subcontinent and the cultural differences between the various religious sects but I feel she, like all people from her class have no real understanding of the other 95% who inhabit the subcontinent.
There were far greater tragedies that occurred in 1947 than a rich girl losing her Ayah.
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Product Details

4.1 out of 5 stars