Fahmida Riaz’s departing present opens up ‘A World of Possibilities’
Today marks the 73rd birthday of Pakistan’s arch-feminist poetess and activist Fahmida Riaz, who left us rather too soon last November.
But even during her last days, she gave us two remarkable books as departing presents: Tum Kabeer, her last collection of poetry; and a novella titled Qila-e-Faramoshi, a fictional rendition of the life and times of the first-ever socialist Mazdak, the scourge of Zoroastrian Persia.
According to her sister, Najma Manzoor, she also left us with her last unpublished poem Daftar-e-Imkaan (A World of Possibility). This was written during her bed-ridden days in Karachi, just days before she moved to her daughter’s house in Lahore in 2018, on her final journey to literary immortality. This beautiful poem is an ode to the relationship between the Creator and His creation, and is indispensable to understand Fahmida’s work. An English translation of the poem is presented below for the first time.
The room in which I do reside
A window this room does provide
Should I wake up in the night
I turn to keep it within my sight
Then I see as clear as light
The moon in the window shining bright
I smile slowly
And I feel
As if the moon too smiled
Then with my eyes filed
I sleep gradually
Then I come across a thought
Alone in this world I am not
This universe and these stars
The vistas of the moon and sun
Car sounds with all their might
Unknown wings in flight
These are made from the same jewel
Which is mine and yours too
Belongs to this too and that
Alone in this world I am not.
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