ISLAMABAD: Samina Raja, a renowned Urdu poet, prolific writer, translator, educationist and broadcaster who passed away in Islamabad last night, was laid to rest at the Islamabad Graveyard, H-8 on Wednesday.
Raja, who had been suffering from cancer, was 51 and is survived by three sons.
Over a dozen literary personalities from the twin cities, including three prominent women poets and activists – Kishwar Nahid, Shabnam Sjakeel and Tahira Abdullah – attended her funeral procession.
“She was a good and sober poet,” commented noted poet and writer Kishwar Nahid. Talking to The Express Tribune, Nahid said Samina Raja was intellectually sound and her poetry was a mix of modern and classical traditions.
Poet and writer Harris Khalique said, ”Her death has caused another major loss to our literature. Samina Raja was able to weave modern themes in the classical expression of Urdu poetry.”
“There was a definite quality and innate freshness about her verse. She wrote prolifically but retained her vigour and style,” he said.
Raja was working as a subject specialist in the National Language Authority and was planning to bring out a special edition of literary magazine Khwabgar (the Dream Maker) on legendary poet Ahmad Faraz.
President Idara-e-Adab-o-Saqafat Tariq Shahid and members Wahid Buzdar, Saeeda Durrani, Iqbal Hussain, Zahid Jatoi, Masood Hashmi and others expressed deep grief over Raja’s sad demise.
In their condolence message, members of Idara said, “Samina Raja is one of the top poets of Pakistan. In her death Pakistan has lost an eminent poet. “
Born on September 11, 1961 in Rahim Yar Khan, Raja held a master’s degree in Urdu literature from the University of Punjab. She started writing poetry in 1973 and had 15 books of poetry published.
She also wrote some books in Urdu prose, besides editing and translating some valuable works of prose from English to Urdu.
Raja joined the National Book Foundation as a consultant in 1998 and edited its monthly newsletter Kitab from 1998 to 2005. She also edited monthly literary magazines Mustaqbil (1991–1994), Aasar (1998–2004), and Khwabgar from 2008 till her death.
In her poetry she highlighted the feminine and human perspectives of love and longing, nostalgia of the past and past lives, socio-psychological problems of the new age, mythological and metaphysical subjects.