Kishwar Naheed
(India, 1940)   
Kishwar Naheed

Kishwar Naheed is an Urdu poet from Pakistan known primarily as a pioneering feminist poet. Born in 1940 in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh India, Kishwar was a witness to the violence (including rape and abduction of women) associated with partition. She migrated to Pakistan in 1949.

Naheed 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.

Later in life, 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.

Naheed’s poetry has been translated into English and Spanish, and her famous poem ‘We Sinful Women’ gave its title to a groundbreaking anthology of contemporary Urdu feminist poetry, translated and edited by Rukhsana Ahmad and published in London by The Women’s Press in 1991.

Selected Awards
Adamjee Prize of Literature for her first collection Lab-e-goya (1968)
UNESCO Prize for Children's Literature on Dais Dais Ki Kahanian
Best Translation award; Columbia University
Mandela Prize (1997)
Sitara-e-Imtiaz (2000) (One of the highest honours bestowed by the Pakistan government)

© Sascha Aurora Akhtar

Galyan, Dhoop, Darvazey (Lanes, Sunshine, Doors), Lahore, Sang-e-Meel, 1971
Malamaton Kay Darmian (In the Midst of Humiliation), Lahore, Sang-e-Meel, 1976
Siah Hashieh Main Gulabi Rang (The Colour Pink in a Black Margin), Lahore, Sang-e-Meel, 1985
Aurat Khwab Aur Khak Key Darmian (Woman Between Dreams and Dust), Lahore, Sang-e-Meel, 1988
Benaam Musafat (Nameless Distance), Lahore, Sang-e-Meel, 1991
Lab-i-Guya (Speaking Lips), Lahore, Sang-e-Meel, 1991


Kishwar Naheed's author page on Sang-e-Meel.
‘Vocabulary of Resistance: A Conversation with Kishwar Naheed’"  an article by Mahwash Shoaib
‘The Pains and Pleasures of Kishwar Naheed’, an article in The Friday Times
Tribune article ‘Portraying Feminism: Depicting Kishwar Naheed’s Verse on Canvas’
Video (In Urdu)
‘Feminist Poet: Part 1’, an interview with Kishwar Naheed
‘Feminist Poet: Part 2’, an interview with Kishwar Naheed


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