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Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Women of Sind - Bina Shah

In my research for an upcoming project, I learned that the women of Shah Abdul Latif’s poetry are known as the Seven Queens, heroines of Sindhi folklore who have been given the status of royalty in the Risalo. The Seven Queens were celebrated throughout Sindh for their positive qualities: their honesty, integrity, piety and loyalty. They were also valued for their bravery and their willingness to risk their lives in the name of love.

It remains puzzling that while we celebrate the actions of Marvi, Sassi, Momal, Leela, Sohni and the other women of the Risalo, the real women of Sindh are made to pay the ultimate price for the same actions. We hold in high esteem fictional women and pay lip service to their tales of tragic romance but we enact upon our own sisters and daughters a worse kind of tragedy, all in the name of an honour that is in actual fact a euphemism for the most despicable kind of male chauvinism I have ever seen.

Benazir Bhutto, a graduate of Harvard and Oxford universities, is the name at the top of the list but there are others who we can find as examples. Mehtab Rashdi, Hamida Khuhro and Anita Ghulam Ali are some of the most educated Sindhi women in Pakistan today, and with their years of hard work and dedication each has made an invaluable contribution to the cause of the liberation of Sindhi women everywhere.

***

Bina:

You missed Shagufta Jabeen, Parveen Shakir, Fehmida Riaz, Atiya Dawood and many others.

[Digression: my definition of a Sindhi is one who is born/settled in Sind and who lives and dies in Sind - expats excluded]

Also:

I feel Shah ABdul Latif would wince every time a Sindhi woman is married to the Qur'an. Or is murdered in cold blood under Karo-kari. Which is worse than this:
‘Two girls declared Vani in Shikarpur’




4 Comments:

Blogger Bina Shah said...

Nope, didn't miss anyone out; it was a conscious decision on my editor's part to cut out names for reasons of space.

July 20, 2008 10:59 AM  
Blogger temporal said...

take an issue with them

they try to unfairly portray you as a sindhi separatist;)

can you share the names on your list?

July 20, 2008 4:01 PM  
Blogger Bina Shah said...

Who's "they"?

I'm afraid the Sindhi separatists wouldn't have me because I'm a zamindar's daughter.

July 20, 2008 11:55 PM  
Blogger temporal said...

the "editor/s"

July 21, 2008 12:21 AM  

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