Bilingual Letters And Applications

Bilingual Letters and Applications coverBilingual letters and applications
[date of publication not identified]

Submitter: Chapter IX LETTERS REGARDING LOVE, ROMANCE AND MARRIAGE [sic] contains all you need to know about getting rid of all those unwanted female children through arranged marriage. It seems that you can place an advertisement for that pesky daughter in a local newspaper and decide which of the respondents is most worthy to take her off your hands. It goes without saying that the daughter has no say in any of this. This sort of thing seems shocking enough in the original Urdu, but becomes scarily amusing when rendered into English. Selling your female child to the best bidder may be a cruel, backward tradition which is maintained in Pakistan, but I do not want such horrors encouraged through the books in any UK library – and we know that arranged marriages of British children who have never lived in any other country do still take place – withdrawn from stock.

Holly: I’m currently listening to Padma Lakshmi’s memoir “Love, Loss, and What We Ate.” (Highly recommended!) There’s a chapter in which she talks about personal ads for available brides. In India where she grew up, it is perfectly acceptable. This is a perfect example of knowing what suits your patrons and your community standards. In communities where this practice is commonplace, the example may be relevant. It would not work in my community either, though, so I’d weed it too.

Bilingual Letters and Applications excerpt


  1. I was thinking “well, a friend of mine in Mumbai was signed up for a dating service by her mom and she’s been happily married for years and have an adorable daughter…”

    But: they chose *each other* from a list of available/interested parties and it wasn’t a transaction between the groom and her father. The meeting of the parents was a courteous formality, like it was between my and my husband’s parents.

    And also she doesn’t live in Britain; she and the groom both lived in Mumbai.

    Between the practice of so many Western-born girls who’ve never been to Pakistan being married off, to the fact that whoever needs this book isn’t actually bilingual (and thus the likelihood of one party not understanding the other at all)… eeesh. Weed it! !ناپسندیدہ پلانٹ کو ہٹا دیں

    (Also I’m a bit suspicious of the relationship between Abdul and his father.)

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