Biography and Artist Statement 

“I am Ghazaleh Hashemiazar, an Iranian writer who graduated from Karaj Islamic Azad University with a first class honors degree in Translation Studies in 2008. In 2011-2012 I moved to India to pursue higher education at the University of Pune where I got MA English with distinction. I was greatly inspired and encouraged by two of my professors there: Dr. Randhir Khare who inspired me to write and Dr. Chandrani Chatterjee from whom I received constant guidance and support.

I am currently working on a collection of short stories with the theme of “gender oppression”. As I was greatly fascinated with feminist standpoint theories and seeing things from the eyes of those who are oppressed by gender, class and race, I chose the under-privileged and oppressed women’s struggles and experiences as the theme for my stories.

My personal interactions with African, Iranian, Afghan, Indian and Arab women during my five-year stay in India and the things I myself have experienced as a result of being born and brought up in a patriarchal society, motivated me to start this project. My stories are all centered on female characters that are economically dispossessed, politically oppressed and socially marginalized as a result of having a female identity in a male-dominated society.

What the stories look like today is far removed from their initial drafts, in a good way of course. The initial idea was to “be the voice of the voiceless” and as the writer of the stories I intended to let the characters speak only where necessary but things changed drastically afterwards. I later decided to use a first person narrative mode in most of the stories and “to pass the microphone to the voiceless” and let them talk for themselves, let them share their own stories with us as no one would be more reliable than them and that is exactly what is meant by “feminist standpoint”.

So you will hear the story of a girl who has been raped by her boss at the office and she is the one who tells you what had happened to her and how she had felt. A passive girl by nature who accepts almost whatever happens to her without any objection. But at the same time you will see that she is concerned about her lost virginity and her family’s reaction and the fact that she might never get any support from anyone in the society even if she shares her story with them.

You will hear the story of a thirteen-year-old girl who has just become aware of sexuality and intercourse for the very first time, who is very curious about a newly married couple who live in the opposite flat and you will hear her thoughts on and her reactions to the things that happen to the couple and to the shocking plot twist at the end of the story.

You will also hear the story of a young woman with a three-year-old daughter. She is married to a religious man who is involved in some extra marital affairs and the woman decides to take revenge, knowing that the society and law wouldn’t do much to help her.

I have tried to use sarcasm as a powerful weapon to mock some of the taboos and stereotypes. I have also talked about female sexuality openly without any censorship and tried to challenge the taboos and stereotypes related to cultural and societal norms imposed on women. Religion has also been challenged and questioned as one of the main sources of oppression. I have tried to draw the attention of the reader to some of the barbaric rules/ laws of punishment including the stoning of adulterous women as well.

You might feel that the stories have a little aesthetic value or appeal and that only few literary figures of speech have been employed; however, imagery and symbolism play an important role in my writing. “The opening lines of the stories grab the readers by the collar and drag them into the story and don’t leave them alone until the very end.” This is what I have been told by those who have read the stories, which is quite heart-warming and motivating for me.

The ultimate aim of these stories is to raise awareness about gender oppression, sexism and violence that women, particularly Muslim women experience and to enable various groups of women all over the world to learn about each other’s experiences. My hope is to pave the way for reduction or elimination of oppression.

The collection I am working on consists of 10 short stories, some of which are incomplete yet. This is my first literary work, which is going to be completed in the next few months, and then later published.”