Being an avid reader of women empowerment stories, I just finished reading a classic titled ‘Princess’ by Jean Sasson. The book is about an extraordinary Saudi woman. With alluring features, she is described as charming, intelligent and has a certain air of an independent spirit. Mark my last word, as this is very rare for the women under burkha. It is about a Saudi princess who was born in a wealthy family, but as they say, it looks all good when covered with gold. Beneath those gold walls, freedom was barred to her. The male relatives in her family had life-death power over her, and over her daughters.
Living under a veil half of the life and surrendering to restrictions which are vexatious as well as demeaning, Sultana had a lot to deal with in life. With her elder sister having a wish to learn arts in Italy to being married to a 76-year-old prince, she knew she had to find her way. Jean Sasson captures the taste and the reality of life in a country full of extremes and contradictions. When Sultana was fourteen she knew that a hard fate awaited her.
From her marriage to Saleem until her pregnancy, she did have to deal with the wrath of her mother-in-law to bear a son. This story is a testimony to a woman of immense indomitable spirit and courageous spirit. This is a real-life story you will never forget. I would, therefore, suggest you go and grab the book.
With the latest abolishment of triple talaq, I am glad somewhere a stop was put forward to the suffering of the woman. It is not only the man for is given right for the same. He isn’t the only who decides to claim whether the marriage should stand or not.
Here is a poem inspired by the spirit of Sultana-
I wasn’t born with a mask,
Until you asked me to wear the black one.
The only expression you left me with was my dark eyes.
United with my beauty, intelligence, and pierced eyebrows,
I decided to set my feet outside the brink of dad’s territory
But who knew that the mask wasn’t enough to tear my courage,
A new black robe had volunteered too.
Be it Riyadh or Jeddah, my world has already been shattered,
I see vivid images of dad’s refusal to my strength, audacity, and confidence.
No vote, no control, no value but as a mother of sons
I am totally at the mercy of the men in my life.
Each day when I am earning my own bread with kids,
I see my daughters lift up the mask to fight with the boys,
Who tried to tease them with winking eyes.
The mask no way helped me to keep away my problems,
Instead, each time returned with a double number.
From marriage to triple talaq,
From vexatious comments to demeaning my body,
The journey might have been short to you
But it gave me a valid reason to lift up the mask.
I do not want to live with the mask anymore, be it white, red or black
The gems of the veil will now be replaced with my defiance
No more unwanted penance in the name of my religion
The veil of meekness, injustice, and brutality will be lifted
As I deny to die with the veil on me.
This poem isn’t an intention to hurt anyone’s religious faith. It’s just an attempt to deal with Muslim women’s agony towards their veil.