Kishwar Naheed: a Sinful Woman of Urdu Verse
Kishwar Naheed’s feminist anthem of Urdu Literature, “We Sinful Women” embodies the bravery of women standing up to the hypocrisy of patriarchy:
…It is we sinful women./Now, even if the night gives chase/these eyes shall not be put out./For the wall which has been razed/don’t insist now on raising it again.
It is we sinful women/who are not awed by the grandeur of those who wear gowns/who don’t sell our bodies/who don’t bow our heads/who don’t bow our heads © 1991, Rukhsana Ahmad
Inspired by the Bravery of the “Sinful Women” of Pakistan
Excerpt from Wild Boar in the Cane Field.
“My anger contested hers with silence, making me reckless. I wanted to shout back at Saffiya. I wanted to tell her that I was far from a princess, as was evident by how I lived, and that I knew the proposal of Zakia’s nephew wasn’t what I desired. I clenched my hands and felt a throbbing deep in my head. I knew she was still talking, but I’d stopped. I stared at her, narrowing my eyes to contain the tears of anger that hung like dewdrops on the chameli leaves, evaporating in the morning sun. I had stopped breathing and began to feel light-headed, but contained myself to avoid a deep breath that Saffiya might interpret as the weakness of a sigh.
Soon I let her insults slide over my freshly oiled, chameli-scented braid, neatly tucked into the black paranda I had bought with Saffiya’s money that she hadn’t given me. A week earlier, I had found three five-rupee notes under her pillow as I’d made her bed. I had swiped them cleanly from the pillow as she’d sat facing the window. Any guilt I might have felt now washed away in this tirade of my not accepting the proposal of the weasel like school teaching nephew of my archrival, Zakia.”