We Sinful Women

Rukhsana Ahmed’s superb translations and compilation of contemporary Urdu feminist poetry published in 1990 requires a revisit.

The collection includes works by Kishwar NaheedFahmida Riaz, Sara Shagufta, Zehra Nigah, Ishrat Aafreen, Saeeda Gazdar and Neelma Sarwar.

Titles such as Stoning, The Girl by the Lamp-post, My Crime: A Promise, Dialogue with an Incomplete Man and Prison bring to the reader a profoundly unique collection of a highly evolved women’s Urdu writing culture.

The title of the book is taken from a poem by Kishwar Naheed; it sets the scene to what the reader can only describe as being on the edge of your seat. Rukhsana’s editorial choices has made this collection powerful, intelligent and beyond gender.

Perhaps the most moving poem in the collection is Who Am I? by Kishwar Naheed:

Who Am I?

I am not that woman selling socks and shoes

I am the one you needed to bury alive
To feel fearless as the wind again
For you never knew
That stones can never suppress a voice.

I am the one you hid beneath
The weight of traditions
For you never knew
That light can never fear pitch darkness.

I am the one from whose lap you picked flowers
And then poured flames and thorns instead
For you never knew
That chains cannot hide the fragrance of flowers.

In the name of modesty
You bought and sold me
For you never knew
That Sohni cannot die braving the river on a fragile pot of clay.

I am the one you gave away in marriage
So you could be rid of me
For you never knew
That a nation cannot emerge if the mind is enslaved.

For a long time you have profited by my shyness and modesty
Traded so well on my motherhood and fidelity,
Now the season for flowers to bloom in our laps and minds is here.

Semi-naked on the posters –
I am not that woman – selling socks and shoes.

We Sinful Women is published by The Women’s Press Ltd, 34 Great Sutton Street, London EC1V 0DX. Published in 1991 – ISBN 0-7043-4262-6

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2 Responses to “We Sinful Women”

  1. sara lampe Says:

    […] works by Kishwar Naheed, Fahmida Riaz, sara Shagufta, Zehra Nigah, Ishrat Aafreen, Saeeda Gazdar andhttps://aboutfilm.wordpress.com/2007/05/19/we-sinful-women/Rep. Sara LampeSara Lampe: D-Springfield 138. Room: 101B Jeff. off. phone: 573-751-1460 … Rep. […]

  2. tariq Says:

    Hi I want to read the comments of sara lamp


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