An Untold Story of Grit, Perseverance and Determination of a Woman
13 May 2016: Purdah to Piccadilly by Dr Zarina Bhatty was released at an event held in New Delhi in the presence of Justice Leila Seth, former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh, Prof Romila Thapar, Emeritus Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Prof Shohini Ghosh, Professor, AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia and Mr Vivek Mehra, MD and CEO, SAGE Publications, India.
The book challenges the traditional roles of a woman in an orthodox Muslim family. Dr Bhatty’s memoir is a story of grit, perseverance and determination to battle against all odds —a story that was waiting to be told. Enriched with an experience of over 80 years, the author goes on to portray the political and social conditions of undivided and post-Independence India in the book.
Release of “Purdah to Piccadilly” by Dr Zarina Bhatty in the presence of Justice Leila Seth, former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh, Prof Romila Thapar, Emeritus Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Prof Shohini Ghosh, Professor, AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia and Mr Vivek Mehra, MD and CEO, SAGE Publications at an event held in New Delhi.
Addressing the audience, Mr Vivek Mehra, MD and CEO, SAGE Publications talked about SAGE founder, Sara Miller McCune’s vision of disseminating knowledge through books. And through this book, her dream of having the best list of books on gender studies and women rights has been carried forward.
Dr Zarina Bhatty in her introduction to the book mentioned that her story interestingly differs from any Muslim woman as she bravely broke the established conventions of her times. She also observed that there is dearth of literature dealing with everyday life and family relations, particularly about Muslims and Christians. This memoir is her attempt to fill this gulf. Through this book, she would like to inspire young people to have self-belief and overcome life’s struggle.
Further, Justice Leila Seth, former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh began by praising the author’s robust and resilient attitude towards the challenges that life puts before us. Appreciating the cover of the book, she mentioned that it beautifully captures the evolving phases of a woman’s life: first, a young girl of shy demeanor, then the stage of learning and maturity and finally, a woman enriched with life’s myriad experiences. According to her, the book is a must-read as it brings out the essence of bygone days. She praised the author’s effort to share it with the present generation, who will be able to experience the past. She concluded by appealing for a change in society’s unjust attitude towards women as “injustice anywhere is a failure of justice everywhere".
Adding to the discussion, Prof Shohini Ghosh, Professor, AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia shared the memory of her first meeting with the author and the impression that remains till date is that of a cheerful and joyous person. She stated that the book is not just a joyful manifesto; it is about her ups and downs of dark and difficult times. However, it successfully illuminates and uplifts the dark and difficult moments with her funny anecdotes or amazing sense of humor. She feels that the book is especially important for those who study the history of institutions. She went on to applaud the author for her fearless courage to write about inconvenient truths.
Concluding the discussion, Prof Romila Thapar, Emeritus Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University stated that the book is not just a story of Dr Bhatty’s struggle. It inspiringly encapsulates the struggle of every Indian woman and she incidentally happens to be one. She candidly mentioned that she cherishes the book all the more as it showcases the tremendous courage and integrity of the author which will inspire its readers. She strongly wants that we should rewrite the civil laws absolutely from scratch to stop discrimination based on religion and caste, as she strongly believes that everyone is equal in God’s eyes.
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