Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Shamed - Sarbjit Kaur Athwal

It began one normal, Friday afternoon. Just another family gathering at our house in West London.
 Perched on the sofa sat my mother-in-law. She stared proudly around, smiling, and then spoke. 

'It's decided then', the old lady announced 'we have to get rid of her.' 

'Her' was Surjit Athwal, Sarbjit's sister-in-law. She was lured to India, strangled and dumped in the fast- flowing  Ravi River, never to be seen again. 

Only Sarbjit seemed horrified by her fate. Surrounded by murderers, she knew she had to fight for justice - but how? And at what risk?

Published by: Virgin Books - Non Fiction
Year: Paperback 2013
ISBN: 9780753541548


Sarbjit tells her story of her strict Sikh upbringing, her training to be a good wife and her arranged marriage and her subsequent fight for justice for her sister in law when she is the victim of an honor killing.  Her sister in law Surjit is married to her husband's elder brother and the marriage is not a happy one.  Their mother in law decides that they need to rid the family of Surjit and plots to not only to discredit her name, turn her children against her but to arrange her murder in India and lie to her family by telling them she has run away with another man. .   


I grew up in London and went to school with Asian girls who would tell us about arranged marriages.   Some of our school peers had, had their marriages arranged from before they started school aged five.  Many of them would suddenly disappear from school for months on end, some would come back to tell us they had met their future husbands and a betrothal made between the two families by the time they were thirteen years old, others would disappear after their sixteenth birthdays and return to school married and in one or two cases already carrying their first child before finishing their exams.   

Shamed was a compelling story and a book I found I could not put down   It was a truly worthwhile read and I would certainly recommend it. 

1 comment:

  1. A lot has changed, although some people I hear still do arranged marriages for children.


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