In Afghanistan there is a widespread practice of young girls dressing as boys to take up the role of son and protect family honour. Once puberty sets in and the female traits become too visible these so-called bacha posh children are forced to switch back to clothing and behaving like any other girl. Gone are the relative freedom, the possibility to go out shopping on your own and eventually getting education. Ukmina Manoori was such a bacha posh, but refused to obey Islam law on this point, and even stood up against her father when he repeatedly beat her mother.
In I Am a Bacha Posh : My Life as a Woman Living as a Man in Afghanistan, Ukima recounts her youth, adolescence and adult life. As rare Afghanistan woman she continued to enjoy the freedom of a boy, fought with the mujaheddin against the Soviets, managed to even keep her position during the Taliban regime. She never was married or engaged with another boy or girl. Ukmina was counted in the (small) circle of bravest women of Afghanistan, went to Mecca for her Hajj and even became a politician for her province, met Hillary Clinton and devoted herself to learn to read and write as well. A stunning memoir of a peculiar practice, the price of freedom against the background of Afghanistan’s recent history.
I received a review copy from Edelweiss to provide you my opinions.through
Important!Soon out: Jenny Nordberg’s The Underground Girls of Kabul about the same bacha posh practice and consequences.