The journey of my first book I WANT BACK MY SPARKLE…

The decision to write my first published book did not come from an inspiration. Actually it came from anger and frustration. After the December 16th 2012 gangrape of a young girl in New Delhi, it seemed like the entire world was suddenly empathetic for rape victims. Everyday rape and domestic violence stories in print and broadcast media began to drive me crazy. Most people I know do not care about such issues and many do not even mention such an incident in a conversation. I see people being so self centered that all they care and talk about is just themselves. Unlike these people, I become still when I hear such issues in the news. Other people who do talk about the events of the news go as far swearing at the politicians and the rich class of the society to put the blame on them and forget it eventually. I was unhappy doing this too because it did not solve anything.What is the point nagging about something and not doing anything to change it?

I kept watching the news everyday, saw large crowds of people protesting for justice, politicans hiding their faces, police forces denying the blames of negligence and religious leaders expressing their opinions. I noticed chaos! Dramatic chaos in the information supplied to me and billions of others through media. Most people blamed women for provoking these crimes, others revolted and protested but in wrong ways which had no positive outcome in the end.

I remember learning a secret lesson in Martial Arts in a book by Anthony Weston. The lesson is that we are truly secure only when the enemy does not desire to attack us. I adore this secret lesson because of its simple logic and applicability on diverse aspects of life. Rape, domestic violence and stalking kill millions of women globally. We protest to create new laws (which is necessary too, do not get me wrong), burn down public property in rage, swear at lawmakers but unfortunately that does not change much. As the martial arts lesson says, no woman will ever be safe unless men do not want to rape or abuse them at homes. This would mean attacking a root cause, preventing the crime at the first place, without focusing entirely on the cure. So, I asked myself, if there would ever be such a time when men would not want to rape? When domestic violence would be an issue of the past and instead of stalking women, men would rather be able to move on with their lives?

I wondered and I came to a point where I believed that NO, there may not be a 100% fool proof plan or strategy to create a world where no girl ever would fear anyone and would be able to enjoy her freedom unless the world has only female population. Even then there may be occurence of these crimes. But CHANGE IS POSSIBLE, if not 100% then may be 90%. But we CAN DO IT only if we are willing to. I gathered my resources and began to look for answers to the chaos I mentioned above. I looked in old newspapers, books, life experience literature of women and scholarly research. All the confusion I ever had on these issues was now melting away slowly. For example, when I heard people saying that a womans clothes are responsible for her getting raped, I used to have a mixed opinion about it. I thought that to some extent, if a girl is exposing her cleavage more than usual and trying to get male attention, she may be asking for it. I remember Marlyn Monroes words about a womans clothes being tight enough to show that she is a woman and loose enough to show that she is a lady. So, I did agree that there must be a certain level of decency that must be maintained in public. But nevertheless it did not mean she deserved to be raped. This was outrageous. This way the conflict in my mind kept growing.

After reading, listening and talking, I realized I had found answers to most of my confusions. I could sort the chaos in the media and share with people what most people do not know. Scholars who conduct these researches are limited by their time and regional backgrounds. They may not be able to disseminate these crucial facts to some Indian villager woman because of the magnanimity of the distance. It is also very difficult for one person to understand and compare the Eastern and Western cultures like I do because I have been there. I own that personal observation and experience to my advantage. I could analyze things in unique ways and find answers. For instance, Western societies blame alcohol for rapes and domestic violence. But this is untrue. Alcohol may be an excuse or an aggreviating factor but not the cause. This is because if it was a cause, then communities like Muslims and Sikhs where alcohol is absolutely prohibited, would have zero rates of domestic violence and rapes. Unfortunately, they have zero plus thousands.

I had all my data ready and the clouds of confusions cleared up like spring sky and I could see the truth like the sun, slightly harsh, warm and striking but clear. When I began writing my findings, it took me hardly 20 days to jot down. The reason is because I am so passionate about this suject that when I began to write, I spent 14 straight hours without break to continue the flow, in one go. I must agree, my life did become lunatic those days but I had to get it out. And I was afraid to break the flow of ideas. I would only shut down the latptop when I was barely able to see. It was tough but I was soooooooooooo happy during the writing process. I had questions in my mind that what if no one liked it? What if no one read it? What if someone made fun of me? I had never felt so content in my life ever before and I thought that even if no one would ever read it, I would write it anyway to sleep peacefully in the night,  knowing that I have done my part, by doing what was in my power.

I see this book as not just a compilation of crucial research based information, but also as a tool for social reform. On the macro level, it provides answers to the bigger questions about gender based crimes. But on the micro level, it talks to a woman, one on one, conveying the message of standing up for herself. It talks to men by informing them how much pain they cause by their actions and words without even realising its impact. It tells humanity how important it is for a woman to SPARKLE! Every single girl in this planet deserves that extra care and pampering just for being a female. But when men become freaks and try to “contain” females into their homes, they suffocate that spirit of a woman and thus, their SPARKLE fades. And not only men are responisble for this, even women are. In typical orthodox communities, women are equally responsible for making life hell for younger females. And their main disadvantage is that usually they are illeterate and cannot read. Anyone who can read, has a much better chance of saving their own life and that of others around them. Life is short enough to not let go any moment without enjoying the most of it. But life is also long enough to bear the impacts of our actions and words. I wrote this book because I imagine a world where women are not treated like slaves.

Like Martin Luther King, I also have a dream…a dream to abolish gender slavery!

http://www.shahla-khan.com/apps/webstore/
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Want-Back-My-SPARKLE-Breaking/dp/1482052040/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377982554&sr=1-3&keywords=shahla+khan

Love
Shahla

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