Biography of Kishwar Naheed
Kishwar Naheed (Urdu: کشور ناہید), Sitara-e-Imtiaz is an Urdu poet from Pakistan known for her pioneering feminist poetry.
Life and Family
Born in 1940 in a Syed family of Bulandshahr, India, Kishwar was a witness to the violence (including rape and abduction of women) associated with partition, and herself moved with her family to Pakistan in 1949.
Kishwar had to fight to receive an education at a time when women did not go to school; she studied at home and obtained a high school diploma through correspondence courses, but went on to receive a masters degree in Economics from Punjab University, Lahore.
Kishwar was married to Poet Yousuf Kamran, raised two sons with him as a working woman, and then continued to support her family after his death in the Eighties.
Kishwar Naheed held administrative roles in various national institutions. She was Director General of Pakistan National Council of the Arts before her retirement. She also edited a prestigious literary magazine Mahe naw and founded an organisation Hawwa (Eve) whose goal is to help women without an independent income become financially independent through cottage industries and selling handicrafts.
Kishwar has published six collections of poems between 1969 and 1990. She also writes for children and for the daily Jang, a national newspaper.
Her poetry has been translated into English and Spanish and her famous poem We Sinful Women gave its title to a ground breaking anthology of contemporary Urdu feminist poetry translated and edited by Rukhsana Ahmad published in London by The Women's Press in 1991.
Adamjee Prize of Literature on Lab-e-goya (1969)
UNESCO Prize for Children's Literature on Dais Dais Ki Kahanian
Best Translation award of Columbia University
Mandela Prize (1997)
Kishwar Naheed's Works:
Lab-i goya (1968)
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Kishwar Naheed Poems
We Sinful Women
It is we sinful women who are not awed by the grandeur of those who wear gowns
Talking To Myself
Punish me for I've written the significance of the dream in my own blood written a book ridden with an obsession Punish me for I have spent my life sanctifying the dream of the future spent it enduring the tribulations of the night
Suspicion consumed me As it does to this day Lined by desire I hid the wounds in my heart
The Grass Is Really Like Me
The grass is also like me it has to unfurl underfoot to fulfil itself but what does its wetness manifest: a scorching sense of shame
In those times when the camera could not freeze Tyranny for ever Only untill those times Should you have written
A Palace Of Wax
Before I ever married my mother used to have nightmares.
Even if my eyes become the soles of your feet even so, the fear will not leave you that though I cannot see I can feel bodies and sentences
A Palace Of Wax
Before I ever married
used to have
Her fearful screams shook me
I would wake her, ask her
Blank-eyed she would stare at me.
She couldn't remember her dreams.