Aisha A Elahi
Aisha A Elahi

Biography

I find my passion gets the better of me on almost all occasions and I end up finding my mind saying the following words ‘Well, if no one else is going to do it then I’ll do it’ or ‘Well they did such a rubbish job of that, Ill have to do it.’  There are still active discussions in my household on whether this is a healthy trait or one that requires medicating nonetheless, this very attitude resulted in my book, Shackled Sisters.

 

The truth behind Shackled Sisters is whenever I spoke about what happened to me growing up, what happened to my friends, family, cousins and acquaintances, I was faced with sheer surprise and shock from my middle class (and mostly white) friends.  Initially I found the responses funny, then a little bit annoying – ‘How do you not know this stuff?’- then I just became angry- ‘How can you not know this stuff?’  The more people I spoke to in my new circle and the more I spoke to old friends, the more I realised how desperately a book like Shackled Sisters is needed. 

 

The initial issues, once the idea was formed in my head, was never around the stories- those were plentiful.  But as I spoke to more people, I realized that getting the reader to identify with these women was going to be the main issue.  I thus decided to write each story in differing styles, trying to keep as much of the account as possible but without it becoming a direct word for word translation that resembled a courtroom script.  

 

In the prologue of the book, I make some suggestions for how we can help some of the women in the book and how we can tackle some of the issues raised.  I understand the constraints we face in terms of budgets as a country and can accept that my suggestions will not top anyone’s list, particularly in the current economy.  But we must, as compassionate human beings who want a cohesive society that works for everyone, not turn a blind eye.  The oppression existing within some of these communities must be targeted and measures put into place so that there is no further need for books like Shackled Sisters. 

 

The prologue also tells you some of the reasons for writing the book and every word of that is true. I passionately believe that these stories need to be told and this has been reinforced by the number of communications I get from men and some women, from the Asian community who tell me the stories are fabricated, not true, rubbish and so forth. This is a insult to all those women who have suffered and continue to suffer because of cultural and religious constraints.


Shackled sisters was a particularly difficult book to write. Some of the stories completely broke me, editing them again and again was torturous at times. What makes this more saddening is the fact that I know these women. They are my friends & my relatives.  I see them, I talk to them, I laugh with them and I cry with them. I watch them as they gracefully continue with their lives. So brave. So strong. 

Something about me:

 

I am a qualified teacher & counsellor with a passion for writing, sociology and reading.  I have been fortunate enough to come into contact with so many brave women because of my job.  I have worked with adults deemed to be at risk, survivors of sexual abuse and rape and teenagers that others had given up on.  

 

I have been writing for as long as I can remember and credit this passion to an amazing English teacher. I never thought I would write a book particularly a non fiction but that came naturally. It has most definitely been a labour of love and of relentless drive- This book just HAD to be written.

I like to pretend that I'm in my 20's but alas, that is not the case although if you tell me I look 24 then you shall be my best friend for a long time. I love my beautiful & spoilt cat, my wonderful partner and most of the beautiful things we have in this world. You can find me on solitary walks or sat somewhere tapping away on my laptop trying to make my coffee last. One day I want to learn how to cook rice and boil the perfect egg but for now, I want to and will continue writing and letting the world know the stories of those who don't have a voice they can safely use.  Always be kind to strangers, you don't know what they live through on a daily basis and smile!  It makes everything better.

 

I really enjoy recieving feedback from my readers so dont be shy and click here to send me something 

 

I always love hearing from fans and try my absolute best to reply to all fan mail and questions so please don't hesitate. Thank you to all who have written to tell me their stories, please know I read EVERY one. You can find me on all the main social media outlets and contact me through this website too.  Rest assured details of my second book will follow soon.  If you liked Shackled Sisters then you will love what I have in store next.

 

A little update: I recently took the decision to have a piece published about me, my forced marriage and on my estrangement.  For me, estrangement is not spoken about often enough.  What happens to those people who are deemed to have dishonoured the family? How do they live their lives?  Well, thats me really.  I have been deemed as someone who has caused dishonour and as a result I am estranged from my family,cousins and community.  I allowed the piece below to be published to let others in my situation know that they are not alone. We have to all keep going otherwise the lonliness consumes us and we are no good to anyone.  My writing is my outlet, my saving grace as are all the wonderful messages I get from fans.  These messages give me hope.  They give me optimism and light when I feel surrounded by darkness.  So keep them coming.


Much love xx

http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/reports/a34594/a-letter-to-the-family-who-forced-me-into-marriage/

Posted by Aisha A Elahi on Tuesday, 31 March 2015
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Tweets from Aisha a Elahi @Elahiaisha

"At times I found myself smiling as each woman's individual character is beautifully captured but ultimately the book opened my eyes to how frustrating and complex it can be for them. Her final chapter 'letter to my sister' left me stifling sobs."

"Shackled Sisters is an attack on bigots who believe that women in these communities are suppressed and weak, revealing instead how strong they are in actuality. At the same it is a scathing attack on the forces of patriarchy and pervasive conservatism."

 

 

"Shackled Sisters is a candid portrayal of how archaic elements of Asian culture still play an overbearing part in the lives of British Asian women today."

 

"Aisha Elahi vividly and empathetically illustrates how pungent cultural values still flourish at the expense of women."

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