Poet turns 75: Writers acknowledge Kishwar’s poetry, struggle

Birthday celebration attended by writers, journalists and intellectuals

A slideshow of pictures from Kishwar’s life was played at the event after which she read out some of her poems. PHOTO: HUMA CHOUDHARY/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: Literati of the twin cities, journalists described Kishwar Naheed a source of inspiration and treasure with many layers.

They showered tributes on the prolific poet and writer at an event organised by her well-wishers, friends and admirers on her 75th birthday highlighting her literary work and social struggle.

Poet and columnist Harris Khalique opened the event and welcomed the guests, followed by a slideshow of pictures from Kishwar’s life.

Lok Virsa Director Dr Fauzia Saeed said that Kishwar had been an inspiration to all. She not only taught us how to work hard but also how to live life, Saeed said.

“We learnt how to stand and sit and voice our opinion; we will never be able to thank her enough,” she said. “If someone can be so elegant, beautiful and graceful at 75, then we should all look forward to being 75,” she added.

Azhar Hafeez, a close associate of the poet, said that Kishwar is a treasure which has several layers. “She only reveals the layer, she wants to make public. Her poetry and work that we have seen is just the layer, she has revealed and in reality there is much more in store,” he added.

Hafeez also shared several lighthearted moments from Kishwar’s life that were enjoyed by the audience.

Tahira Abdullah, a human rights activist and a close friend of the poet recited a few verses from her poetry. “I don’t want to reduce Kishwar Apa to just being a feminist because she is much more than that. The word feminist cannot do justice to her, even though I like to call myself as one.”

Amna Mawaz performed on Kishwar’s famous poem “Hum Gunahgar Aurtain”. Kanwal Iftikhar sang the poem and the performance was choreographed by Indu Mitha.

The performance was followed by short speeches by Intizar Hussain and Prof Fateh Muhammad Malik who congratulated Kishwar and spoke highly of her. “Women have come a long way but there is still a long way to go. The struggle for human rights and political rights may be hard and might take its toll but it is worth it,” said Kishwar, while thanking the audience for gathering and wishing her.

She related some incidents from the dark period under General Ziaul Haq’s dictatorship and highlighted how they must always work hard regardless of the situation and circumstances. She also read out a few of her poems.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2015.


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