I had chosen to write about Dr. Majid Rafizadeh’s phenomenal novel ‘ A God Who Hates Women’. It is a beautiful yet tragically moving story of a women caught in a patriarchal household. It takes us back to the times when women were seen as commodities sold off in markets. Choice was a word that women could not even imagine. The story highlights the life of the authors mother, how she lived through oppression. This story forms around the background of a civil war. The novels throw light on the cruelties faced by women in a patriarchal society. The story begins with a short background of how the authors grandmother was born. It later shows the birth of the authors mother which turned out to be a disgrace for her own mother, since she expected a baby boy. The story continues with the atrocities faced by his mother at her own home and how she was forcefully married to a man who abused her at all chances he got. The irony of which the book talks about is the cruel side of patriarchy, how women carry it down more than men.
The name of the book also seems to bring out the story, about how the religion and its god were cruel to women. The people of the religion went to extreme ends to make sure that the rules of the religion are followed, sometimes inhumane practices were also used.
Religion and politics were not treated as two different entities by the people of Syria, Iran and Iraq. They had held religion so much close to their heart, that it was even involved in their politics. Political decisions were made in the name of god. People were abused in inhumane ways in the name of religion. It shows quite a different side of how far our modernity and education has not evolved in countries like these. Citizens of the nations could never really trust one leader to be liberated from his religious entity, each leader had their own approach to religion and people were forced to select someone who was less cruel than the other. The question of a good and humane leader was out of choice.
The book is set in the backdrop of a series of political tension in Syria and Iran. The author and his family have moved from Syria to Iran a couple of times and the book shows the difference in the culture in both the countries vividly. The book shows how much political leaders are influenced by religion and how they kill people cruelly who goes against them, the authors father was one such victim. Maybe the author might have also got the influence from his father, but in a much better way. The author was the founder of an organization on human rights which reported cases of human cruelty. The authors father has a very interesting character, he on one side focuses on how modern our thinking should be in various aspects of life except in the equal treatment of womenas he had always abused his wife. His character was rather paradoxical.
But one of the most important things that the book has left out is that it hasn’t brought into consideration the larger issues faced by the people. The author has merely had an interview with the close members of his family and friends. And so, we cannot really say that the book speaks about the whole of Syria. After certain parts of time in the book, it fails to show the feelings of Amira, the authors mother. How she felt about religion, her passion and how she lied to herself to live for her children. The authors life has been glossed over for most parts and it talks in the perspective of the author while the book was about his mother.
The major concept the book focuses is on the patriarchy and how it has broken down the women of the household. Book spoke about how women were cut off from the world of pleasure and desire, forced into submission. Another novel aspect of the book is that it also talks about men abusing younger boys. Young boys were raped by elderly men in the remote areas of Iran
The book is set in a time when abuse was seen very common. People dominated over the weaker ones and religion was to be respected and those who don’t respect religion were also abused too. It is set in a completely different timeline with reference to religion or equality between men and women. But we cannot completely say that patriarchy has been wiped out from our modern-day world. Across the timelines we had only grown one step closer to lower its impact on the people.
We might live in a secular world today but that does not mean that each and everyone among us are cosmopolitans in nature. But one thing that has drastically changed is the number of people who believes that women are to be respected and given equal rights as men. They believe that Women must not only be seen as homemakers but also as potential doctors, engineers, civil servants and all the more. This change in perspective had given rise to many feminist movements across the world. There are almost 3 waves of feminism, where each wave concentrated on the various aspects of a women’s lifestyle. The world we live in as become so much more complicated with the passage of time; one person is not solely now identified with his/her religious aspects but with things they would want to relate too. Identities matter a lot in the world we live in, these identities connect us with similar people so to share the same feelings and aspirations.
Something that we can always find common in all the stories we hear are the sufferings of women and not men, why was women just seen as fragile and homemakers? The ones that needed to stay at home and look after the children? Weren’t we equal beings with different biological systems? Why wasn’t marital rape unlawful in countries across the world? Why were people so focused on their religious identities? Why didn’t time make a difference in the modernization of the Asian countries? These were a few of the questions which kept disturbing my mind. I hope one day comes where women will be as free as men. A world where we all are equals.
Categories: Book Review