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“Who hasnt been in love? At least once in their lifetime? ... People think only a man and a woman can make a couple ... But, the truth is, anybody can fall in love with anybody. A man can fall in love with a man, a woman can fall in love with a woman. But society doesnt accept such love.” Nisho in Rakhi Sawant of Sind Alternative Realities is a travelogue, a memoir, a satire and a feminist critique of Muslim womens lives, interwoven with the authors own ongoing struggles as a Muslim woman. Each chapter presents personal stories of women living in cities, small towns and villages in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh the three lands to which Nighat Gandhi belongs. In writing their stories, she attempts to break the silence enshrouding Muslim womens sexuality, and the ways in which they negotiate the restrictions placed on their freedoms within the framework of their culture. Women like Ghazala, who prefers the life of a second wife, living like a married single woman, to being bound within the ties of a conventional marriage; Nusrat and QT who believe theirs is a normal marriage, except that they are both women; Nisho, who refuses to accept that her trans-sexuality should deny her the right to love, and Firdaus, writer and feminist, who can walk out of a loveless marriage but not give up on love, with or without marriage. Nighat also explores her own story as a woman who dared to make choices that pitted her against her family and cultures. Alternative Realities is her jihad or struggle to deconstruct the demeaning stereotypes that prevail about all Muslim women. It is a reflection of the myriad ways in which, despite these misogynistic forces, they continue to weave webs of love and peace in their own lives and in the lives of those they live with.

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