In ‘My Feudal Lord’, Tehmina Durrani Roars Like A Lioness Against Patriarchy

All around the world, we can talk about how racist society is, in developing or underdeveloped countries. They both have one thing in common – suppressing the voices, rights, freedom of an easily-dominated person. Allegedly, it becomes even more enjoyable when the ‘prey’ is a woman. The repressive, partial society suppresses her voice and teaches her to be ‘ethnically mute’.

Such insight can be seen in Tehmina Durrani’s autobiography, “My Feudal Lord”. It was written in 1991, but still, it manages to win hearts today by portraying the partiality in Pakistani society, where Muslim patriarchs dominate the identity of women.

In her autobiography, Tehmina Durrani, a Pakistani English authoress, describes her traumatic marital life with her second husband, Gulam Mustafa Khar. This book revolves around the authoress, who belonged to an ultra-modern, well-off family of Pakistan and suffered this partial society’s repressiveness since childhood. On the other hand, Mustafa Khar, an important and trustworthy politician in the Zulfiqar Bhutto government, who later become the chief minister of Punjab, was not an autocrat but was ‘created’ by the society’s patriarchal behavior against women. Tehmina divorced her first husband to marry Mustafa, dreaming about a fairy-tale which soon turned into a nightmare.

The book is divided into three parts:

Lion of Punjab

In this part, she shows the dark side of Mustafa as she bears the cruelty of being Mustafa’s wife. She pens down the many occurrences where Mustafa assaulted her womanhood. He hit her both physically and mentally. There are many incidences in the story which shows that the source of women’s suppression lies in social discrimination. Mustafa violently raped Tehmina which resulted in her pregnancy. He also destroyed the life of his first wife Shelly and wore a man’s ego in dominating the life of others.

Laws of Jungle

This section revolves around the political turbulence in Pakistan and their immigration to London, where Mustafa had an affair with his younger sister “Adila”. She endures Mustafa physical assaults and insults as a part of her destiny, because no one is with her – not even her family.


Durrani decided to break up and put a stop to all the sufferings and pains in her life. She describes how she took the help of words to tell people about her suffering, pain and to wake up the lioness sleeping in her. Tehmina also highlights the partiality of the discourse that does not regard sex as a means for mutual pleasure and enjoyment but is instead used as a tool of domination.

Throughout, the novel tries to showcase the suffering of a woman who continues to be trapped in this partial and patriarchal society, irrespective of whether she is poor or rich. Women have always been made to suffer disappointments, disillusionments, and frustrations that arise from social restrictions. Every woman has to suffer in this society until she brings out the lioness in her. If you have also suffered in this biased, patriarchal culture, then this book is for you.

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