Fahmida Riaz, Khalida Hussain remembered

January 24,2019

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Islamabad : A select but packed to the capacity gathering of intellectuals, academicians, journalists and writers paid glowing tributes to Fahmida Riaz and Khalida Hussain who recently left us.

The ‘Reference to Pay Tribute to Fahmida Riaz and Khalida Hussain’ was organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute here Tuesday. Renowned poetess, Apa Kishwar Naheed, was in the chair. Dr Humaira Ashfaq from International Islamic University who conducted the proceedings said that she faced the atrocities of time like a committed woman.

Kishwar Naheed said that she came to know about Fahmida in 1968 in a Dhaka function. Then there had been numerous meetings in Karachi. She analysed political issues when insurgency was going in Balochistan. Then dictator Zia came and Fahmida wrote that it was not Bhutto but whole of Pakistan that was hanged. Faraz, Faiz, Farigh Bokhari had to leave the country and Fahmida also left otherwise gallows were waiting for her here. The Pakistan High Commission was pleased to grant her family permission to attend Benazir’s wedding and joined National Book Council as its head during PPP government.

Apa recalled Fahmida’s stay in Lahore. According to Fahmida, after Qurat-ul-Ain Haider, it was Khalid who was to make a name in novels.

Prof Ashfaq Saleem Mirza said that we came to know Fahmida in 1960s when her two books had been published. Then I met her many times became a friend. He said that the poetess was a personality who left a story wherever she went. He said that she presented her ideas and thinking with courage and boldness. He referred to and analysed her writings with his own flowery language adored with her couplets. Her tragedies also included death of her 26-year old young son abroad.

Ms Yusra, daughter of Khalida Hussain, herself a writer, said that she was born with her books. She referred to Khalida’s discussing with her (Yusra’s) young son as if he was an intellectual. She said that she always talked about her as a writer Khalida Hussain and not as mother but after her death, she always referred to herself as her daughter as it gives her immense pride.

Dr Fatima Hassan said that she did not regard feminism as a tussle between man and woman. She said that she took Fahmida, Khalida and Kishwar not some separate entities. She said that Khalida wrote on female consciousness. She referred to ailment of Fahmida and her pouring medicines into dustbin. This candle of enlightenment was never silent and stood against dictator Zia and went to Quetta to show solidarity with the miseries of Balochis. Fehmida challenged chauvinists to measure her on the meter they measured participants of beauty contests. Fahmida also founded an NGO for women. In Oxford University Press, she translated writings and wrote for children. In a few days sojourn of land of Sunar Bangla, she developed deep understanding of Bangladesh and boldly wrote about India while teaching at Jawaharlal University in New Delhi. Dr Fatima also spoke about Khalida Hussain. She said that she was simple, transparent but took reader to depths of truth.

Earlier, Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri opened the discussion. Dr Najiba Arif from IIU, Hameed Rashid, MD, Academy of Letters, Tahira Abdullah, writer Dr Shahid Hameed.


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