LAHORE: Tehrik-e-Niswan and alHamra Arts Council, Lahore joined hands to pay tribute to Pakistani writer Jamila Hashmi. Her short story, Sherry, was staged by director Anwer Jafri and celebrated dancer Sheema Kermani choreographed the performance.
The who’s who of the city’s literary circles was in attendance. Poet Fahmida Riaz was present as the guest of honour, flanked by playwright Asghar Nadeem Syed, human rights activist I A Rahman and several others. Hashmi’s daughter, writer and columnist Dr Ayesha Siddiqa, and council executive director Capt (retd) Atta Muhammad Khan were also present on the occasion.
Sherry tells the story of a family’s love for its pet dog and also touches upon challenges women encounter in a male-dominated society like ours. Kermani herself essayed a titular role in the 50-minute play. The Tehrik-e-Niswan founder also spoke about the confluence of performing arts and literature.
Riaz also spoke at length about Hashmi’s contribution and said it is unfair to ignore a writer of her calibre who highlighted social evils through her writing. “Jamila is among the first voices against social evils. Southern Punjab was her area of focus where she visited numerous times to record the suffering on the people,” she said.
Also speaking on the occasion, Siddiqa said the work of her mother was neglected due to certain reasons. “She worked for the promotion of literature. I remember her conducting numerous such gatherings at our home,” she said.
Hashmi was born in Amritsar in 1934 and shifted to Sahiwal in Pakistan following Partition. She attended FC College in Lahore and read for a graduate degree in English literature. Atish-e-Rafta was her first novel.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2016.