MAN O SALWA NOVEL BY UMERA AHMED PDF

This novel is more than a love story or a tale of a heartbroken lover. Its a moral story about a poor man who earned halal for his family and taught the same to them. It is about the difference between halal and haram. Being patient and leading a halal life may make you suffer but the agonies of plotting revenge and the haram life will doom you to hell alive where you can neither die nor live. The only negative is that it was too lengthy.

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Shelves: social , urdu , read-in , reviewed It was a very long and complicated story. In my opinion it was more complicated that it could be. It was a great novel in many aspects but it has some flaws as well. No, just hang on, I love it, but you should not overlook the flaws, even if they are minor. It is one of the lessons the story has to offer. First, as I said it was unnecessarily complicated and dramatic. Secondly, the characters acted unnaturally and obtusely. Her style of writing is much better in Amarbail, Peer-e-Kamil and some of her other short stories.

I cannot classify it as a good or a bad quality that all the characters and situations were representing various types of extremes while neglecting the grey areas. I am finding it very difficult to review this book because I liked it despite the flaws and the things I liked are fairly hard to be put into words. Also it is about some very serious social problems, so I cannot describe it casually.

It is a story of the curses of poverty and the path of sin it leads to but at the same time it is also a portrayal of the strength of character with which one can steer away from this path to that of the purity of soul. Zainab, Shiraz, Karam Ali and Zarri having born in almost similar families with regard to financial status, come to lead very different lives, all by virtue of their choices, most of which were emotion-driven.

The most conflicted character was Zainab, who was at one time the most obedient, loving and caring and religious daughter of a pious man who had always stuck to Rizq-e-Halal despite the temptations of bribes he had as a clerk in income tax department. One flaw in her personality was that she was emotional to the point of foolishness.

She loved Shiraz with such passion that she continued to ignore the much apparent flaws in his character. He spoke ill of her father and his "Rizq-e-Halal mania", he accepted favors from her but never reciprocated or even bothered to share anything with her and unlike her, he was not at all religious. Had she been any wiser or a little less blind in her love for him, it would not be hard to see his materialistic thinking. Another thing that I found incongruous was the freedom that Zainab and Shiraz enjoyed, which is not common in Pakistani lower class and especially religious families.

So predictably, Shiraz abandons her in a most ignominious way. At one point, it has been categorically declared that Zainab was not a fool, which is an absolutely bogus claim in my opinion.

She suffers from a great emotion upheaval and realizing that poverty was the reason of her misery, she is caught up in a compulsive desire to earn as much money as she could and in the shortest time possible, so that she could place herself in a position to avenge herself and to escape the very reason that was the cause of her disgrace.

Ironically, she chooses to disgrace herself even further. The behavior of his family among their new relatives is thoroughly disgusting. What I fail to understand is how could Shiraz, who was supposedly an intelligent person, be blind enough to think that a rich and powerful man wanted so desperately for him to marry his daughter for no apparent reason.

He made a complete fool of himself throughout the book and strangely he never felt as miserable as a person should have felt in his situation. He practically gave away the control over his life in exchange for money and social status, one of the frightening consequences of having experienced extreme poverty and never wanting to leave room for any possibility of returning to that life, if once escaped.

Karam Ali was by far the most adventurous of the lot but the difference was that unlike Zainab and Shiraz, his ventures were mostly involuntary. He was the eldest among his siblings in a family that had practically no bread earner. So the responsibility of earning fell upon his very young shoulders. His problem was that he was indeed very dutiful and protective of his family. Consequently, his family starts to deem him as the person responsible for all their needs and desires even after all his siblings are married and settled in their businesses.

I think it was in his nature to be uncommunicative but he was great character. While Umera showed that Zainab and Shiraz fell prey to the curse of "Rizq-e-Haram", she maintained in the form of Karam Ali that it was not impossible to stay on the right path. Karam Ali was extremely poor and like Shiraz, he also shouldered the responsibility of earning livelihood for his family and was in an even worse financial condition than Shiraz but unlike him, he never considered the possibility of doing it through unlawful means.

He was similar to Zainab in being emotional and having experienced betrayal from his loved ones but unlike her, he never compromised the purity of his soul or the idea of revenge never found a way into his head.

The character of Zarri is a blend of ignorance, emotional weakness and a desire to escape the clutches of poverty, which is common in all the characters. To describe her in the best possible way, I would say that she wanted to have her cake and eat it as well.

She wanted to marry Jamal, who was an obviously unreliable, irresponsible and violent person and at the same time she wanted to remain under the financial shelter that her husband had provided. And the choice she finally made left her unhappy, dishonored and a subject of violence.

Man o Salwa is a very rich story including life in the slums of Pakistan, the ruthlessness of Arabian Sheikhs, the miserable and artificial lives of peoples whose needs take them away from their relations and the wretchedness of the people of film industry behind the facade of glamour.

In this story, you fill find characters that you love, hate and feel sorry for. Their behaviors and actions will be sometimes outrageous, sometimes lame and unreasonable and sometimes too soft. It is a story of people who try to escape poverty but what it makes clear beyond doubt is that Rizq-e-Haram is not the way out. What you can get lawfully is the Man o Salwa for you and it is what you should be thankful for and content with. All in all, It was an unforgettable and hard-to-put-down novel.

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