A galaxy of writers, poets and intellectuals gathered on Tuesday at Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu to pay tribute to eminent feminist writer and poetess Fahmida Riaz, who is suffering from ill health these days.
Prof Aamir Hussein from London, Asif Farrukhi, chairperson of the Anjuman Zulqarnain Jameel, Prof Sahar Ansari, Ameena Sayeed of the Oxford University Pakistan, honorary secretary of the Anjuman Dr Fatema Hassan and others shared their thoughts about Ms Riaz.
Prof Hussein, who wrote the foreword to Ms Riaz’s poetry collection Four Walls and a Black Veil (2005), recounted his friendship with the poetess, revisiting fond memories of the time when they would exchange notes on each other’s work.
He also touched upon Riaz’s contribution to Urdu as a translator, complimenting her work on Rumi.
Mr Farrukhi spoke at length about Ms Riaz’s significance not only as a poet and a translator but also as a pedagogue and an educationist, admitting that she, in many ways, had taught him how to see the world around him and write about it.
Prof Ansari concluded the event by paying respect to Ms Riaz and hailing her “as a pioneer in feminist literature” while the chairperson of the Anjuman Zulqarnain Jameel said that it was a tragedy that in the plethora of literary awards given out to poets every year Ms Riaz’s name had not appeared as of yet.
He invited the audience to pass a resolution which would allow Ms Riaz to receive every award she was duly entitled to.
Originally published in Dawn, December 21st, 2017