Fahmida Raiz

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A brief biography

November 21, 2018: Dawn

Fahmida Raiz was hailed by many as the pioneer in feminist literature. —Dawn Archives
From: November 21, 2018: Dawn


The eminent progressive writer, who was also hailed by many as a pioneer in feminist literature, had been suffering from illness for the past few months.

Apart from authoring more than 15 books on fiction and poetry, she was also a human rights activist. Her first literary work was published in 1967, titling ‘Pather Ki Zuban’. Her collection of poetry includes ‘Dhoop’, ‘Pura Chand’, ‘Admi Ki Zindagi’ and more. Her novels include ‘Zinda Bahar’, ‘Godaavari’ and ‘Karachi’. She was famous for her revolutionary and contrary to tradition poetry.

When Badan Dareeda, her second collection of verse, appeared in 1973, she was accused of using erotic and sensual expressions in her poetry. The themes prevalent in her verse were, until then, considered taboo for women writers.

Fahmida Raiz also contributed to the Urdu literature as a translator. Whether it was Ismail Kadare from Albania or Maulana Rumi, she was knowledgeable about world fiction and classical poetry.

Born into a literary family of Meerut (India) in July 1946, Fahmida Riaz, in addition to her literary pursuits, always played an active role in social and political activities.

She lived in self-exile for over six years in India when former military dictator Gen Zia-ul-Haq ruled over Pakistan.

She was appointed managing director of what was then the National Book Council of Pakistan during the first PPP government (1988-90). In Benazir Bhutto's second tenure as prime minister, she became associated with the ministry of culture.

In 2009, she was appointed the chief editor of the Urdu Dictionary Board in Karachi.

Selected ghazals

Rekhta

One

chār-sū hai baḌī vahshat kā samāñ


chār-sū hai baḌī vahshat kā samāñ

kisī aaseb kā saaya hai yahāñ

koī āvāz sī hai marsiyāñ-ḳhvāñ

shahr kā shahr banā goristāñ

ek maḳhlūq jo bastī hai yahāñ

jis pe insāñ kā guzartā hai gumāñ

ḳhud to sākit hai misāl-e-tasvīr

jumbish-e-ġhair se hai raqs-kunāñ

koī chehra nahīñ juz zer-e-naqāb

na koī jism hai juz be-dil-o-jāñ

ulmā haiñ dushman-e-fahm-o-tahaqīq

kodanī sheva-e-dānish-mandāñ

shā.ir-e-qaum pe ban aa.ī hai

kizb kaise ho tasavvuf meñ nihāñ

lab haiñ masrūf-e-qasīda-goī

aur āñkhoñ meñ hai zillat uryāñ

sabz ḳhat āqibat-o-dīñ ke asiir

pārsā ḳhush-tan-o-nau-ḳhez javāñ

ye zan-e-naġhma-gar-o-ishq-shi.ār

yās-o-hasrat se huī hai hairāñ

kis se ab ārzū-e-vasl kareñ

is ḳharābe meñ koī mard kahāñ

Two

jo mujh meñ chhupā merā galā ghoñT rahā hai


jo mujh meñ chhupā merā galā ghoñT rahā hai

yā vo koī iblīs hai yā merā ḳhudā hai

jab sar meñ nahīñ ishq to chehre pe chamak hai

ye naḳhl ḳhizāñ aa.ī to shādāb huā hai

kyā merā ziyāñ hai jo muqābil tire aa jā.ūñ

ye amr to ma.alūm ki tū mujh se baḌā hai

maiñ banda-o-nāchār ki sairāb na ho pā.ūñ

ai zāhir-o-maujūd mirā jism duā hai

haañ us ke ta.āqub se mire dil meñ hai inkār

vo shaḳhs kisī ko na milegā na milā hai

kyuuñ nūr-e-abad dil meñ guzar kar nahīñ paatā

siine kī siyāhī se nayā harf likhā hai

Three

kabhī dhanak sī utartī thī un nigāhoñ meñ


kabhī dhanak sī utartī thī un nigāhoñ meñ

vo shoḳh rañg bhī dhīme paḌe havāoñ meñ

maiñ tez-gām chalī jā rahī thī us kī samt

kashish ajiib thī us dasht kī sadāoñ meñ

vo ik sadā jo fareb-e-sadā se bhī kam hai

na Duub jaa.e kahīñ tund-rau havāoñ meñ

sukūt-e-shām hai aur maiñ huuñ gosh-bar-āvāz

ki ek va.ade kā afsūñ sā hai fazāoñ meñ

mirī tarah yūñhī gum-karda-rāh chhoḌegī

tum apnī baañh na denā havā kī bāñhoñ meñ

nuqūsh paañv ke likhte haiñ manzil-e-nā-yāft

mirā safar to hai tahrīr merī rāhoñ meñ

Four

patthar se visal mangti hun


patthar se visāl māñgtī huuñ

maiñ ādamiyoñ se kaT ga.ī huuñ

shāyad pā.ūñ surāġh-e-ulfat

muTThī meñ ḳhāk-bhar rahī huuñ

har lams hai jab tapish se aarī

kis aañch se yuuñ pighal rahī huuñ

vo ḳhvāhish-e-bosa bhī nahīñ ab

hairat se hoñT kāTtī huuñ

ik tiflak-e-justujū huuñ shāyad

maiñ apne badan se kheltī huuñ

ab tab.a kis pe kyuuñ ho rāġhib

insānoñ ko barat chukī huuñ

Five

ye kis ke aansuon ne us naqsh ko miTaya


ye kis ke āñsuoñ ne us naqsh ko miTāyā

jo mere lauh-e-dil par tū ne kabhī banāyā

thā dil jab us pe maa.il thā shauq saḳht mushkil

tarġhīb ne use bhī āsān kar dikhāyā

ik gard-bād meñ tū ojhal huā nazar se

is dasht-e-be-samar se juz ḳhaak kuchh na paayā

ai chob-e-ḳhushk-e-sahrā vo bād-e-shauq kyā thī

merī tarah barahna jis ne tujhe banāyā

phir ham haiñ nīm-shab hai andesha-e-abas hai

vo vāhima ki jis se terā yaqīn aayā

Six

ye pairahan jo meri ruh ka utar na saka


ye pairahan jo mirī ruuh kā utar na sakā

to naḳh-ba-naḳh kahīñ paivast resha-e-dil thā

mujhe ma.āl-e-safar kā malāl kyūñ-kar ho

ki jab safar hī mirā fāsloñ kā dhokā thā

maiñ jab firāq kī rātoñ meñ us ke saath rahī

vo phir visāl ke lamhoñ meñ kyuuñ akelā thā

vo vāste kī tirā darmiyāñ bhī kyuuñ aa.e

ḳhudā ke saath mirā jism kyuuñ na ho tanhā

sarāb huuñ maiñ tirī pyaas kyā bujhā.ūñgī

is ishtiyāq se tishna zabāñ qarīb na lā

sarāb huuñ ki badan kī yahī shahādat hai

har ek uzv meñ bahtā hai ret kā dariyā

jo mere lab pe hai shāyad vahī sadāqat hai

jo mere dil meñ hai us harf-e-rā.egāñ pe na jā

jise maiñ toḌ chukī huuñ vo raushnī kā tilism

shuā-e-nūr-e-azal ke sivā kuchh aur na thā

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