The IUP Journal of English Studies
Bacha Posh, the Female Sons of Afghanistan: A Critical Study with Reference to Selected Works of Nadia Hashimi

Article Details
Pub. Date : March, 2020
Product Name : The IUP Journal of English Studies
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJES42003
Author Name : Chandrama Swain, Jaya Dwivedi
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 08



Bacha Posh is a widespread and widely accepted Afghan tradition where a girl-child is made to transform into a boy and behave as one till she attains puberty. Non-voluntary in nature, this custom has been patronized by a misogynistic society for centuries now. This paper traces the psychological, social, biological, and cultural complexities involved in the practice with reference to selected works of Afghan American writer Nadia Hashimi. The paper analyzes the restrictive and repressive aspects as well as the protective and provocative aspects of the practice of bacha posh.


Girls can wear jeans
And cut their hair short
Wear shirts and boots
'Cause it's okay to be a boy
But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading
'Cause you think that being a girl is degrading. (Madonna)1 Afghan American writer and women's rights advocate, Nadia Hashimi has put the practice of "bacha posh" under spotlight in her debut novel The Pearl That Broke Its Shell and its prequel One Half from the East. In Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan, "bacha posh" is the literal term for a girl who is dressed up and disguised as a boy. These children are part of a hidden cultural practice in which some families without sons pick a daughter to live and behave as a boy. This enables the child to behave more freely: attending school, escorting her sisters in public, and working. Bacha posh also allows the


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