DNF: The Bride’s Mirror

by Nazir Ahmad, translated by G. E. Ward

Read time: about 2 minutes

I read this book as a part of #discoveringindiareadathon. The book is set in Delhi. It’s a historical fiction set in 13th century written in second half of 19th century. I didn’t leave much about the book neither did I enjoy the writing. I quit the book when I was left with only 60 pages to finish.

Cover: DNF: The Bride's Mirror

The book begins with the story of a girl who is married into a working class regular income family. She’s is given the name of Mijazdar Bahu as she throws bundles of tantrums in at her in-law’s place. She doesn’t do any housework to top it all she’s disrespectful to the family members. She is know for her bad temper which keeps the younger members of the family away. She is clearly a bad role model for a daughter-in-law. She ultimately demands for a separate establishment which she gets but ultimately ends up ruining her own house as well since she is bad with managing the house.

Her younger sister who is married into the same family at the age of 13 is literate, knows housework and has good taste. She is the Tamizdar Bahu of the house. The entire book revolves around how she tactfully handles the everyday work in the house (managing servant) and teaching kids in her spare time.

As beautiful as the book sounds, I disliked the writing (or the translation, as I didn’t read it in original language it was written in). The book is filled with sexists instances which only burned my nerves. A married woman is not required to go to her parents‘ place very often, not even when there’s a festival. She is definitely supposed to take her husband’s permission before doing so. There is also an instance in the book where the father of the two girls is advising his younger daughter to keep her husband the priority since ‘creation of woman was merely to ensure the happiness of man, and it is woman’s function for keep a man happy.’ They should never claim and equal stature as to the men in their lives.

Needless to say, I absolutely disliked the book. Even though the book is based in 13th century, I could only forgive the child marriage in it. The deliberate subjugation of women was too much for me to take. It is unforgivable to me had I read it in 13th or 21st century. This book is not for me. Or any feminist.

Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH merakipost.com