A real-life horror story from Pakistan

A real-life horror story from Pakistan

By ADITYA MANI JHA | | 19 January, 2013
Bonded

Ever since Mukhtaran Bibi (now called Mukhtar Mai) wrote a memoir about surviving a gang rape and fighting for justice, there has been a slew of real-life horror stories from Pakistan, written in tandem with a journalist. There are some obvious limitations to this approach. Because the chronicler, no matter how perceptive or gifted, can only flesh out his subjects' suffering to an extent. Also, the emotional strings tugged feel a little forced, because you know that the use of the first person singular is, strictly speaking, not accurate. In Harold Bergsma's Bonded, we are introduced to little Chamak, who is sold off into sexual slavery at a young age. Her subsequent trials and tribulations form the meat of the book. Some of the atrocities perpetrated on the little girl seem to have been reported in a deliberately surgical manner, which is part of the point, one suspects. An engaging story competently told, Bonded is yet another example of the feudal chokehold that has paralysed so much of Pakistan.

 

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