Daughter of the WindeBook - 1989
From the critics
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Like Guluband, I have been betrayed and sold. And Mithoo, like me, has lost his greatest gift by wanting to follow his heart.
Again, like hens laying eggs, we leave our prayers and hopes for Phulan's sons at the head of the shrine. For the first time, I feel a communion with the saint; his presence is like a soothing hand on my shoulder. Before Auntie nudges me to move along, I pray for wisdom, and my anger with Dadi eases.
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Shabanu lives in Cholistan Desert in the Pakistan where they play games near the border of India. She is the second daughter of a peaceful, loving family of camel breeders. Shabanu is on the brink of womanhood; her older sister Phulan is already marriageable, and soon will be married to Hamir, a cousin of their family's. Shabanu is also betrothed to Hamir's brother, Murad. At twelve years old, Shabanu is not interested in marriage; she enjoys tending to the animals and especially teaching tricks to her beloved camels, Mithoo and Xhush Dil and Gulaband, a camel her dadi had recently sold against her will. Before Phulan's wedding, however, disaster strikes: Shabanu and Phulan accidentally stumble upon several strange men in the desert, among them an old, wicked landowner named Nazir; coveting Phulan's youth and beauty, Nazir murders her soon-to-be-husband, Hamir, and plans to take Phulan for himself. Phulan has no choice but to marry Hamir's brother, Murad, instead. When Shabanu learns that she must marry Nazir's brother, Rahim-sahib, an old man who already has three wives, to save her family and her sister's new marriage, she must make a choice between running away and obeying the wishes of her family.
When eleven-year-old Shabanu, the daughter of a nomad in the Cholistan Desert of present-day Pakistan, is pledged in marriage to an older man whose money will bring prestige to the family, she must either accept the decision, as is the custom, or risk the consequences of defying her father's wishes.
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