Does The Emancipation Of Farzana Siddiqui Show The Mirror To A Selfish Patriarchy?

Radhika Tabrez's The Emancipation of Farzana Siddiqui is the story of a 30-something woman and the Indian marriage system. What happens?

Radhika Tabrez’s The Emancipation of Farzana Siddiqui is the story of a 30-something woman and the Indian marriage system. What happens?

Imagine old Delhi coming alive out of a digital device from the palm of your hand. Imagine sitting in a parallel world and still experiencing the sights and sounds of the everyday ethos peculiar to old Delhi.

That’s exactly what The Emancipation of Farzana Siddiqui does.

In a digital read that floats like a breeze, the author Radhika Tabrez is in no hurry for you to get to know Farzana like the back of your hand: she subtly acknowledges that like all of us, Farzana is a work in progress and does not need the reader’s validation or approval, and yet, she’s someone you trust, immediately.

This is somehow common in all of Radhika’s characters: be it Najma who falls for greed, or Farhad who takes everything for granted, or Navya and Abhinav, who stand like rock solid support for Farzana, or even the overwhelming matchmaker, Shabana. Radhika gives you the freedom to find parts of yourself in every nuanced character.

In a nutshell, Farzana is a woman in her thirties, holding her family’s backbone upright in many ways – be it in earning for the family or funding her brother’s education, or in being her mother’s support. That Farzana has been unmarried is (of course, of course!) a grave concern for all and sundry – be they the matchmaker or her mother, or every pair of curious and judgmental eyes that peer outside the windows in the houses in her colony. Farzana knows that she is an inconvenience, and yet a cash cow for her family – an uncomfortable combination that is very telling of many an average Indian woman’s experience.

When a suitor decides that he wants to marry Farzana, a single thread comes loose. Together, you, Farzana, and Radhika unravel the entire fabric to see the myriad shades of patriarchy standing on the other side: an unforgiving, unrelenting, shape shifting monster. In the process, Farzana navigates very difficult ground, for this turning point means that nothing is going to be the same again.

There is nothing remotely predictable about The Emancipation of Farzana Siddiqui. Through her engaging writing and clever use of language, Radhika takes you on a journey where you only think something is going to happen; only to realize that Radhika is helping you question your own conditioning by changing course. The editing could have been tighter in places, for a few typos do come through – although by no means taking attention away from the narrative.

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Top image via Pixabay and book cover via Amazon


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