‘Aabad Kharaba’ launched: Kishwar portrays women’s strength

Progressive writers, intellectuals heap praise on poet

Kishwar Naheed and other intellectuals attend the ceremony. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: Feminist writer and poet Kishwar Naheed’s book “Aabad Kharaba” featuring her poetry was launched here at the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) on Thursday.

The event was organised by the Young Women Writers Forum, Islamabad in collaboration with the PAL where speakers and fellow writers read out Kishwar’s poetry and honoured her.

Writer and poet Harris Khalique said Kishwar’s poetry always spoke about the strength of women.

“This book is written during chaotic times but it still gives us hope and inspiration. The poetry in this book touches the heart and speaks about the hidden feelings in one’s heart and that’s what makes it so beautiful,” he said.

Ayesha Malik and Shabeeha Zahra from the Young Women Writers Forum read out a few poems and verses from the book and agreed that Kishwar enlightened women and gave them hope towards a better tomorrow.

“She makes the woman of today feel strong through her poetry and inspires her to struggle for success,” said Zahra.

Prominent Urdu fiction writer Hameed Shahid praised Kishwar and said that the most commendable thing about the poet was that she never let her gender influence her work.

“She did not care about the taunts from the society and remained determined about her work and that is what makes her work so unique,” he said.

Islamabad Culture Forum Head Ashfaq Saleem Mirza said that writers such as Kishwar not only produced memorable work but also inspired the new generation to write.

“Today’s evening combines Kishwar with young women and writers and these are three factors of success,” he said, while praising the feminist poet’s work and reading out her poetry.

Kishwar read out a poem from her new book and encouraged young women to write.

She said that it made her very proud that girls from Young Women Writers Forum selected the poems from my book themselves and wrote about those poems themselves.

“I took my life as a challenge from the beginning; I knew, it is not going to be easy and I was expecting hurdles on my way and there were many of them but I stayed determined,” Kishwar said.

She further said that she wanted to remind young writers that there were going to be hurdles in their ways too; extremism and terrorism that use religion to stop women from succeeding.

“But I want you all to know that we need to answer extremism through love and we need to stay strong despite the odds,” Kishwar said.

Towards the end of her speech, she dedicated a poem to late Intizar Hussain.

The Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) Chairperson, Muhammad Qasim Bughio said that Kishwar was an inspiration for young women who wanted to succeed in life.

“I have personally learnt so much from her and living in close proximity to her, I feel like her blessings are always on me,” he said.

He further announced that the Pal was encouraging young writers and poets particularly women to come and gain training at the various upcoming training sessions and workshops at the academy.

“Pal is always ready to welcome young women to come and gain knowledge and add to their exposure and skill of writing. The idea is continue the skill of writing in the future generations and we want to play a role in nurturing more women writers such as Kishwar Naheed, whom we are extremely proud of,” Bughio said.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2016.


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