Stay, Daughter: A memoir of Muslim Girlhood
by Murthaaz Barry
“Stay, Daughter” – a memoir, very eloquently articulated by Sri Lankan author, Yasmin Azad. The story very boldly expresses the obstacles that a Muslim girl has to face in the vastly developing modern world. It gives its readers a glimpse into the world of Muslims and the issues that they are prone to face in society.
“There comes a time when a girl must decide whether to leave or stay. This is the journey to that moment of choice”
Set in the colonial fortress of the Galle Fort, the story surrounds itself on a community that breaks the principles of the 19th century in order to provide girls education and freedom. The exposure nonetheless disrupts peace within the families causing perplexities throughout the community. However the framework of the story directs itself on a father who is brought up in a conservative Muslim culture and thereby possesses a conservative mentality. Nevertheless, the story intensifies when he has to accept and mediate with the modern world where women are capable of much more than what they used to be. The story voices out the struggle that almost all Muslim families have to face as they cope with the modern world and there orthodox norms.
Yasmin Azad, who was born and raised in Galle Fort, Sri Lanka moved to the United States in her twenties after obtaining a degree in English, from the University of Ceylon. She recently retired after many years as a mental counselor.
Yasmin explained that, upon her resettling in the United States, she humanely reflected back upon the days she spent in Galle Fort. Thereby she was bound to juxtapose the time she spent back in Galle Fort and the time she spent in the States. This ignited a spark of inspiration within her, to voice out this hindrance that is been faced by many Muslim families in the country. She also expressed that the message she would like to get through to society through this story mainly is that “we can’t go back, however we have to learn to adapt to modernity and move on with life”The launch of this profound memoir took place on the 11th of January from 4 pm onwards at the Cinnamon Grand. The launch was also graced by a few speakers that spoke on broad topics including the misunderstood stereotypes within the Muslim society regarding having to live an overly secure life. The evening was embellished when Yasmin herself read out a prose from the story that left the audience awe struck. The evenings proceedings got it’s icing on the cake with the humorous address by Yasmin’s brother who emphasized on his impact on Yasmin’s life as a writer. The evening however smoothly came to an end along with a long line of fans anticipating Yasmin’s autograph on their pristine books.
The book is a must read to almost everyone, as it not only educates us on the issues in society, but also enlightens us on how we can keep ourselves protected from them.