20 January, 2021

Her Own Code

An unwaveringly honest, intensely personal yet universal book. Helps us understand the underbelly of our many-layered, exploitative and highly complicated society

Her Own Code
Ram Manohar Lohia once wrote, "A woman bearing one illegitimate child is more moral than a woman bearing the burden of producing ten unwanted children in wedlock". Lohia was intellectually far ahead of his time and a precursor, like Mahatma Gandhi, to the feminist movement in India. Nalini Jameela’s true story of her life as a sex worker does much to prove this.

Critics have tried to label Jameela’s autobiography as a mere feminist exercise. Others called it a bit of sleaze masquerading as a call for support. But why did this book sell over 13,000 copies in its original Malayalam edition and cause controversies in literary and feminist circles? Ultimately, one finds that Jameela is neither a prostitute nor a feminist in the understood sense of these terms. Her voice is simply that of a human being who can shed every bit of hypocrisy as only the very poor can, for it is only those who have nothing to lose who can freely choose to do whatever is necessary to survive. Her account challenges intellectuals, feminists, activists and various...



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