Friday, June 4, 2010

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

While reading about “In the Name of Honour”, I cam across the topic of honour crime and then to this book called “Shame” by Jasvinder Sanghera. Last month when I watched ‘Love Sex aur Dhokha’, I was deeply disturbed by the first story which revolved around honour killing and really filled me with disgust at what level people stoop to withhold their so-called ‘honour’……their own flesh and blood!

The starting is quite OK, when the writer tries to establish that she was not the one to follow the trend set by her elder sisters. As her mum keeps pointing out, “why should you be different?”.

I have always wondered about these kids from Canada, UK and a lot of places abroad, who have even more conservative upbringing than us in India. Although living in the face of apparently an ‘open culture’ (read western culture), they are expected to not be affected by it. 

What is happening in the villages in India, is rarely different to what is happening to a lot of youngsters from this twilight region. They run away from home, get married, only to be hunted down and killed in a gruesome manner…yet again their own flesh and blood. After all, it is a matter of honour!

Thankfully, there’s no murder in this book, but this book brings an important issue to the limelight…forced marriage! The writer, Jasvinder, is on the verge of getting married to a stranger just like all her sisters did. She had seen the lives of her sisters, not surprisingly, none of them were happy. She runs away with her boyfriend, one fine day, and creates a life far from her family.

Her boyfriend Jassey comes across as a loving and dedicated guy, but surprisingly, she tells a couple of times that she never really loved him. You feel pity for the guy because he supports Jasvinder in all the way he could. I even hated Jas, as she is known to those close to her, in between for cheating on Jassey.

Anyways, her marriage does not work out although they have a daughter. That’s just some part of the book, and I really don’t want to give away the whole book.
The book is really good in the later part, and you tend to take sides with Jas, when she struggles hard to juggle 3 children, complete her education, do society work and also take care of her parents. 

I liked the book. Read another review here


  1. hmmm sounds like a different story but am not sure whether to try it or not!!

  2. This sounds interesting. I've also tended to notice (though this as an outsider so it's hard to know for sure) that it can almost be more repressing for some immigrants than their lives would have been back home. I always wonder if it is because the parents are more strict in the face of the 'Western' culture? Or the kids have a harder time because they are also trying to fit in at school and with friends?

  3. @ Smita: Though well written, it is also not a pleasant story to read.
    @ Amy: you are absolutely right. Even I think, this would be the case for Indian kids abroad

  4. Is it the same one which was made into a film? In which Aishwarya Bachchan acted? I forget the name.
    I am reading alot of books lately, wondering whether to take this up.

  5. @ Aparna - Hi, You are talking about 'Provoked', right? It is based on a different book. That, I think, is on domestic violence. This one is on honour crimes. 'Shame' is an OK book, not spectacular!

  6. Its such an excellent book. I was hooked the whole way through and there was some twists in the story... I would recommend it to any one