01 October, 2020

Like Moths To A Flame

Ideas crash on the woman-self

Like Moths To A Flame
NINA Sibal's first novel Yatra, published in the mid-'80s, was a cerebral yet emotive account of a woman's journey to selfhood. This vintage feminist fare is also the stuff of her second novel. The Dogs of Justice is written in a confessional first person mode. It is a charged and sensitive account of the traumas of gender and identity. Shahnaz is a beautiful Kashmiri Muslim girl who repudiates the comforts of her ICS family background and gets drawn into the vortex of hardcore terrorist activity because of her love for the enigmatic Aslam Sheikh.

Abandoned by her lover, she marries Ran-bir Saighal, a handsome and worthy military officer. After a life of comfort, she enters into a dalliance with a cynical bureaucrat. Late in the novel, her husband, discovering them in the act, hangs himself with her sari. The novel ends with ritual breast-beating and a plea for understanding if not forgiveness.

Through this fabric are woven many other stories, the story of the Valley as it is torn asunder by diverse interests, the story of the poetess Habba Khatun, the...



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