This book is Kishwar Naheed's response to those who are quick to label a woman as bad. It is a searing indictment of a society that uses custom, religion and even brute force to keep women down. She hits out hard and fearlessly at social and political injustices and at the materialism and sham religiosity she sees around her. It's what you would expect of one of Pakistan's leading feminist poets, known for her defiance and outspokenness. Born to a conservative family in pre-partition India, at a time when women were in such purdah that they could not show their hand to a hakim without dipping it in flour, Naheed saw these same women turn into political activists in the run-up to Partition. She too learned to do battle early on-to go to college like her
brothers, to express herself and, at the age of 19, to marry the man of her choice. The marriage turned sour and it is an indication of her refreshing candour that she doesn't gloss over her hurt and disappointment. Rich in literary, historical and cultural allusions, A Bad Woman's Story is written in a punchy, witty style that keeps the reader engaged and entertained from beginning to end.
Readership: General audience, students, academics focusing on literature, women's studies.
Kishwar Naheed was born in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, India in 1940. Her family moved to Lahore during the partition of the subcontinent in 1947. She is one of the best-known feminist poets of Pakistan. Her first collection of poetry, Lab-i goya, published in 1968, won the prestigious Adamjee Prize for Literature. This collection of traditional ghazals was followed by a collection of nazms, translations of foreign poetry, and many works in free verse.
She also wrote for children and for the daily newspaper Jang, published her autobiography in 1994 (it appeared the following year in India), and in 2001 saw her collected poetic work released in a 1312-page volume entitled Dasht-i qais men Laila. Her daily columns in Jang were also collected and published in 1999. Her poetry has been translated into English and Spanish, and her well-known poem 'We, sinful women' gave its title to a path-breaking anthology of contemporary Urdu feminist poetry translated and edited by Rukhsana Ahmad, published in London by The Women's Press in 1991.
The Library of Congress has 25 works by Kishwar Naheed in its collection and she recorded for the Library in Lahore in 1977. She held the position of Director General of the Pakistan National Council of Arts before her retirement, edited a prestigious literary magazine called Mah-i naw, and founded an organization named Hawwa (Eve) whose goal is to help women without an independent income become financially independent through cottage industries and selling handicrafts.
1.: First Ladder
2.: First Step
3.: First Prostration
4.: First Sweetheart
5.: First Manifestation
6.: First Slip
7.: Story of Mah Laqa
8.: Tale of Meera's Maid Servant
9.: The Birth of Yashodhra
10.: Crownless Zareen
11.: Laila without Conch
12.: Lady with Hunter
14.: Eve and the Son of Adam