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Editorial

March 14, 2015
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Death of the first lady

Editorial

March 14, 2015

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Ada Jafri, born as Aziz Jehan in India in 1924, lived a long and fulfilling life. The poet, who moved to Karachi after Partition and adopted the pen name she became known by, died on Thursday at the age of 90. During this time, she had established herself as the first woman poet of the country, best known for her ghazals which embodied the usual themes of love and tragedy. Under her pen, they were written with a special poignancy and sentiment. Many were sung by the best singers of our time, including Ustad Amanat Ali Khan. For her work, Ada Jafri received the Baba-e-Urdu award from the Pakistan Academy of Letters as well as huge acclaim in literary circles across the country.
In an environment where poetry by women is rare and few break taboos to ink their thoughts on matters of the heart, Jafri showed that this could be done – and carved out for herself a permanent place. Her six books will undoubtedly be read from one generation to the other even now. She pioneered the way for women to take up poetry and others like Parveen Shakir, Azra Abbas and Kishwar Naheed followed in her footsteps. It is always hard to set out along a new path. For her time Ada Jafri did so with a great deal of courage and fortitude, determined to voice her thoughts in the medium that she loved most. It is a pity she has not been honoured at higher levels in our country. But even so, this is a woman who will be remembered for a very long time to come. Her contribution is an important one and crucial to understanding the role of women in literature. We need more such women in our literary circles. For her work and her words, Ada Jafri will be remembered by all who love literature.

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