Fahmida Riaz, distinguished Urdu poet, passed away in Lahore, Pakistan, on November 21. She was 72 and had been ailing since the last few months.

Born in Meerut, UP, Fahmida Riaz was considered as a pioneer in feminist literature. She grew up in a literary family. As a child, she learnt Urdu and Sindhi literature. Riaz worked as a newscaster for Radio Pakistan after completing her education.

Riaz spent some time in the UK with her first husband and worked in BBC Urdu service. She also completed a degree in filmmaking. When the former military dictator Gen Zia-ul-Haq ruled over Pakistan, she went into a period of self-exile for six years and lived in India. During that time, she was the poet in residence for Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi and started learning Hindi.

Achievements, awards and work

She was the managing director of the then National Book Council of Pakistan (1988-90). She also became associated with the ministry of culture in the second tenure of Benazir Bhutto. Following that, in 2009, she was the chief editor at Urdu Dictionary Board in Karachi.

Her tremendous contribution to the world of Urdu literature and others, included authoring 15 books on fiction and poetry. Her first literary work ‘Pather Ki Zuban’ was published in 1967. The poetry collection by her includes ‘Dhoop’, ‘Pura Chand’, ‘Admi Ki Zindagi’ and many more brilliant works. Among her novels were the ‘Zinda Bahar’, ‘Godaavari’ and ‘Karachi’. She was a human rights activist and was famous for her revolutionary poetry.

About feminism, Fahmida Riaz had said, “What feminism means for me is simply that women, like men, are complete human beings with limitless possibilities.”

Many admirers expressed their condolences over her demise. Among them, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that the country was deprived of a voice for freedom of women and supporter of democracy.

Famous writer Kamila Shamsie called her as “one of the brightest of lights in the dark days” of dictatorship and expressed her grief.

Also Read: 3-Year-Old Syrian Refugee Wins UK Poetry Prize

Picture Credits: thenews.com.pk

Rachna Chandira is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv

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