Review: I Am a Bacha Posh: My Life as a Woman Living as a Man in Afghanistan by Ukmina Manoori, Peter E Chianchiano Jr. (Translator)

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About I Am a Bacha Posh

“You will be a son, my daughter.” With these stunning words Ukmina learned that she was to spend her childhood as a boy.

In Afghanistan there is a widespread practice of girls dressing as boys to play the role of a son. These children are called bacha posh: literally “girls dressed as boys.” This practice offers families the freedom to allow their child to shop and work—and in some cases, it saves them from the disgrace of not having a male heir. But in adolescence, religion restores the natural law. The girls must marry, give birth, and give up their freedom.

Ukmina decided to confront social and family pressure and keep her menswear. This brave choice paved the way for an extraordinary destiny: she wages war against the Soviets, assists the mujaheddin and ultimately commands the respect of all whom she encounters. She eventually becomes one of the elected council members of her province.

But freedom always has a price. For “Ukmina warrior” that price was her life as a woman. This is a stunning and brave memoir about a little known practice that will challenge your perceptions about gender and the courage it takes to live your life to the fullest.

My Review

Ukima’s brief story is fascinating. I agree with her peers in their estimation of Ukima among the bravest of women in Afghanistan, you will agree as she shares her life from childhood to adulthood living as a bacha posh.

The practice of bacha posh is discussed focusing on the challenges girls face from carrying themselves as boys to returning to life as a female, the transition often troublesome.

The book covers a generous slice of Afghanistan history, culture and traditions.

Excellent memoir demonstrating the length for women to taste freedom against the long arm of Afghanistan history.

Published October 14th 2014 by Skyhorse Publishing (first published October 7th 2014)

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3 thoughts on “Review: I Am a Bacha Posh: My Life as a Woman Living as a Man in Afghanistan by Ukmina Manoori, Peter E Chianchiano Jr. (Translator)

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