Book Title: The Sensational Life and Death of Qandeel Baloch
Author: Sanam Maher
Total Number of Pages: 272
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Publication Date: 13 June 2018
Genre: Non-fiction /Biography
‘Qandeel was a marvelous blaze. She set our dark world on fire and made enough light to expose the hypocrisies of Pakistan’s pious patriarchy. In Sanam Maher’s terrific and necessary book, those flames burn brighter than ever.’ —Bilal Tanweer ‘A powerful and deeply moving account from an important new voice in non-fiction.’ —Sonia Faleiro Bold’, ‘Shameless’, ‘Siren’ were just some of the (kinder) words used to describe Qandeel Baloch. She embraced these labels and played the coquette, yet dished out biting critiques of some of Pakistan’s most holy cows. Pakistanis snickered at her fake American accent, but marveled at her gumption. She was the stuff of a hundred memes and Pakistan’s first celebrity-by-social media. Qandeel first captured the nation’s attention on Pakistan Idol with a failed audition and tearful outburst. But it was in February 2016, when she uploaded a Facebook video mocking a presidential ‘warning’ not to celebrate Valentine’s Day, that she went ‘viral’. In the video, which racked up nearly a million views, she lies in bed, in a low-cut red dress, and says in broken English, ‘They can stop to people go out…but they can’t stop to people love.’ The video shows us everything that Pakistanis loved—and loved to hate—about Qandeel, ‘Pakistan’s Kim Kardashian’. Five months later, she would be dead. In July 2016, Qandeel’s brother would strangle her in their family home, in what was described as an ‘honour killing’—a punishment for the ‘shame’ her online behavior had brought to the family. Scores of young women and men are killed in the name of honour every year in Pakistan. Many cases are never reported, and of the ones that are, murderers are often ‘forgiven’ by the surviving family members and do not face charges. However, just six days after Qandeel’s death, the Anti-Honour Killings Laws Bill was fast-tracked in parliament, and in October 2016, the loophole allowing families to pardon perpetrators of ‘honour killings’ was closed. What spurred the change? Was it the murder of Qandeel Baloch? And how did she come to represent the clash between rigid conservatism and a secular, liberal vision for Pakistan? Through dozens of interviews—with aspiring models, managers, university students, activists, lawyers, police officers and journalists, among them—Sanam Maher gives us a portrait of a woman and a nation.
REVIEWED BY SOHINEE DEY
In the book ‘The Sensational Life and Death of Qandeel Baloch’, Sanam Maher describes the life of Qandeel and captures the after effects of her death.
Qandeel Baloch, an internet sensation had captured the attention of many people worldwide with her “bold” videos. Who knew she would be found dead just after six months to her rise to fame. Journalist Sanam Maher has done an extensive amount of research to find out the reason behind the death of Qandeel and why would someone opt for Honour Killing which was relevant back in 2016 until the constitutional bill was passed. The book breezes through the life of Qandeel and what happens after her death and the way people try to justify “Jo Hua Acche Ke Liye Hua” (whatever have conspired, it was for the good).
Sana Maher had adeptly traced Qandeel’s life and given all the details about her life. From people around her and what were their thoughts on the incidence to getting inside Qandeel’s head and expressing her views, this book is so much more than just a biography.
I was completely hooked to the book and for a person who doesn’t enjoy non-fiction much, I loved this book so much! It was such an eye opening read for me. I loved the narration, loved the writing style of the author and even though the plotline was switching from before and after the incidence, nowhere did it feel abrupt or incomplete.
I would definitely recommend this book to Non-fiction lovers, people who like reading books on social issues and autobiographies.
POESY IN CHRYSALIS RATING : ⭐⭐⭐⭐ / ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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