Culture and race remain as some of the trivial topics in the current generation considering the diversity of the topic and the different perspectives from people (Löckenhoff, Chan and McCrae 679). The discussion on gender and race is a topic that Roy covers in the book as a way of describing the way people are entangled in the boundaries that define these concepts and in relation to the current changes within the society. One of the characters in the book is Aftab. The life of Aftab revolved around these aspects of culture and race, which also bring out a new perspective to the aspect of culture and race. This paper evaluates the life of Aftab basing on the three distinct themes that are developed from the life of Aftab; definitive, opinionated, and need to be optimistic. The life of Aftab proves that even with negative perspectives and environment, an individual defines their lives irrespective of what culture and race define.
Task 1: Be Definitive
Aftab is born hermaphrodite and is even raised as a boy. Over the years, Aftab comes to learn about him and tries to make a change, but since he is still young an unable to make any particular change, he just accepts the way he is. Roy points out that even from the early ages, the parents and guardians were eager to make the situation a secret from the public due to the embarrassment (Roy19). To Aftab, he was troubled inwards on the right gender that defined him and the way his race will perceive him in relation to the traditions of their culture. Therefore, he resolved to make a huge change once he was able to afford for the surgery.
Task 2: Be Opinionated
Raised as a boy, it would have been expected that Aftab would seek to preserve his gender as a boy. However, even with the negative cultural elements that might have affected his perception about his gender and change that he wanted to attain, Aftab was struggling to attain his set goals. He saved to his best to raise the necessary amount required for the operation. After the reassignment surgery, he is born as Anjum. Anjum is a woman who is characterized by Roy as outgoing, glamorous, and affectionate. Her decision to become a female made it hard for her to be perceived positively. According to Roy (Roy10), Anjum lived in the graveyard like a tree. Initially when he moved to the place, she was mocked, hit with stones, and even called names, but she maintained her peace and avoided any form or confrontation.
Task 3: Be Optimistic
Roy (10) says that Anjum took in the cruelty from the people in the new location without flinching and even when he was called names such as a ‘clown without a circus’ she maintained her peace. She was optimistic about her life and even was positive that she would still get over the issues she was facing. Roy (10) says that she accepted the challenges positively and accepted the situation while easing her frustration and anger. Ziauddin, a blind imam made a difference in Anjum’s life when they started being friends. His connection to Anjum helped change the perspectives of the people out of respect to the imam.
In conclusion, the character Aftab/ Anjum presents a reality in the current society where people only focus on their version of positive or perfect. Gender differences continue to be an issue of discussion among the different cultures with the specific definition and relation to what is norm still an issue. Despite the difference among people, there are negative cultures that are hurting rather than solving any issue in the modern society. Accepting the differences among people provides a lasting impact that is a form of education passed down generations.
Löckenhoff, C.E., et al. “Gender stereotypes of personality: Universal and accurate?” Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 45.5 (2014): 675-694. Article.
Roy, Arundhati. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: A Novel. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group , 2017. 10-19.