Book: Bikhre Rang
Author: Dr Aqeela (Assistant Professor, Department of Arabic, BGSB University, Rajouri)
Publisher: Educational Publishing House, New Delhi
Publishing Year: 2020
Dr Ashraf Amin
We human beings have tonnes of information at our disposal. Knowledge of the most complex entities of earth and sky has been revealed to us. We are no doubt in one of the greatest phases of progress and prosperity. However, despite such achievements, we are still beset with many problems. One among them is the ill-treatment and exploitation of women in our societies. The book Bikhre Rang addresses this problem. The author, Dr Aqeela, has presented the pain, suffering, and sacrifices of women through eleven fictional stories. The stories represent various stages of a woman’s life from childhood to old age. The book has a foreword by Dr Reyaz Tawhidi, an eminent literary critic and short-story writer from Kupwara district. An analysis of the stories is also included, by Dr Mushtaq Ahmed Wani, a renowned Urdu short-story writer and columnist from the beautiful Doda district.
The author has carefully chosen themes that highlight the hollowness of our culture, despite us living in the so-called post-modern world. The stories like Talaq, Pachhtave ka Bhanvar (pp.65 & 117) reveal the heinous consequences of anger, suspicion, hastiness, and uncontrolled emotions. Talaq exposes the dirty practice of Halala in Muslim societies. It divulges the evil desires of fake godmen who exploit gullible people in the name of religion. It also hints at the bad consequences of court marriage, which is gaining currency under the impressions of women’s liberation. Such stories as Fareb, Chaal, Sarju (pp.74, 130 & 92) disclose the injuries inflicted upon families and households through the acts of family members. Chaal (p.130) teaches us that married women have greater responsibilities of preserving the family. A woman may turn a home into heaven or hell, the choice lies with her. The story, Paed Ka Jinn (p.43), exposes the helplessness and insecurities of a woman at her in-laws’ home. The story Qatil (p.57) depicts the repercussions of drinking alcohol. Many women suffer constantly at the hands of their husbands intoxicated by heavy drinking. They are beaten, tortured, and abused. Shadi ka Tohfa (p.109) reveals the misuse of internet and social media, blackmailing and exploitation of women by men on internet. However, it also teaches us acts of kindness, compassion and sympathy. The story Pachhtave Ka Bhanvar (P.117) teaches us the value of loyalty and trust within relationships, especially among spouses. The story warns about the evil of extra-marital affairs, which destroy the entire family.
On the whole, the book skilfully generates awareness about social issues that require our keen attention. It is aimed at the creation of a socially and morally healthy society where relationships are valued and cherished. The book, however, lacks in certain points. The names of the characters in certain stories are not appropriate. Some children’s names are such that they sound older than their parents, as in Fareb (p.74). The book also lacks some qualities of literary expression and selection of proper words and form of dialogue, as in Qatil (p.57). Besides, the author has at some places used unnecessary English words and expressions. However, despite certain literary failings, the author deserves praise for her debut book of short stories.