‘Aapi’ must have felt happy!

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Mobarik A. Virk

It was a unique birthday party attended by a very special gathering when friends got together and arranged a function to express their love and affection towards the renowned poetess and writer, Ms Kishwar Naheed at a local hotel on Wednesday evening.

Kishwar Naheed, (‘Aapi’ for me), the pioneer of the feminist movement in Pakistan, turned 75. And she has held all these years in a very graceful manner!

The speakers like Intizar Hussain, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Dr Asif Farukhi, Prof Fateh Mohammad Muhammad Malik, Ms Indo Mitha, Dr Fauzia Saeed, Ms Khawar Mumtaz, Dr Najeeba Arif, Prof Qasim Bhugio Tahira Abdullah and some others were profuse in their praise for Kishwar Naheed as each of them recalled the incidents and events and were profuse in their appreciation and respects that they paid.

I really wonder as to how she inspired and motivated and kept all these people so close to her or she herself remained so close to all of them over an era spanning well over 50 years! Knowing Aapi Kishwar personally, for the last a little over 25 years I have no illusions about the vigour with which she pursues the objectives she decides to achieve and her creative powers or prowess when she puts her pen to a piece of paper.

Everybody says that she is an excellent poetess! But I also know what a marvellous entrepreneur she transforms into when she enters her office in ‘Hawwa’, an outlet of clothes and fabrics that she has been pushing for, I can’t recall exactly how many years.

She is running this non-governmental organization (NGO) with a very focused objective to help all those poor girls and women in different parts of south Punjab who prepare traditional embroidery items but don’t have access to the market. Kishwar has provided all those girls and women an outlet at par with many others being run professionally on commercial basis.

Everybody says that she is a prolific writer. But I know Aapi Kishwar is a passionate cook! And she cooks traditional. And she cooks herself. And she is the best cook in the whole world! The taste and aroma I find in the food she cooks cannot be tasted or smelled anywhere else! There is nobody to tell or convince me about this but my own taste buds.

Everybody says she is always too busy, extensively travelling within the country and abroad, delivering lectures, attending conferences, arranging seminars I say she is the most hospitable person who is bridging the gaps at all levels.

People say she is always surrounded by people and is seldom alone. I say she is a very lonely lady who badly misses her children whom she herself sent away to the foreign lands in the era of suppression and persecution during Zia-regime and craves to meet her grandchildren who were born and are growing abroad. She must have been missing her children and the grand children every moment. But I am sure she must have felt very happy to see such a large number of friends and well-wishers turning up. It was indeed rare to see a function where the waiters were found continuously fetching more chairs to accommodate the guests and yet people were seen lining the walls because lack of chairs to sit.

It was so good to listen to one of her famous poems, ‘Ham Gunahgar Aurtain . . .” and a young lady performing a beautiful dance on the tunes of the song at this unique birthday party. So, was to watch the slide show and a short documentary presenting the views of many prominent personalities like Ashfaq Saleem Mirza, Mr Naeem Mirza of the Aurat Foundation and some others as to how they felt towards Kishwar Naheed.

Well, at the ‘Birthday Party’ so many people spoke and expressed their emotions and sentiments towards Aapi Kishwar. And every speaker highlighted a different facet of her personality. Dr Asif Farukhi, who flew up from Karachi read a special paper he has prepared. So did Asghar Nadeem Syed. But the rest of the speakers spoke off the cuff. Dr Qasim Bhugio was free and frank in his comments about the way Kishwar had interacted with him.

Intizar Hussain, the legendary short story writer and novelist of the sub-continent, travelled from Lahore to Islamabad to join Kishwar Naheed’s birthday party! The great writer had a lot to share with the guests about all those years they have spent together in Lahore, especially the dark era of the military dictator Gen Ziaul Haq. But being the master of words he was brief and composed but whatever he said made the guests in the front rows very pleased. I being the backbencher (by choice) was unable to hear all that too clearly. Dr Najeeba Arif was more academic about her expressions in a flowery and complimentary statement. For Dr Fauzia Saeed, Kishwar was a beacon of light, guiding her and others through difficult times and sail the turbulent waters. Ms Khawar Mumtaz had so many memories, bitter and sweet to share. Ms Tahira Abdullah was her usual self, outrageously loud, holding no bars. Hassan Abbas Raza had spent too much time with her in the same office and was clearly emotional in his expressions.

Mobarik A Virk, ” ‘Aapi’ must have felt happy! ,” in The News, June 20, 2015. Accessed on June 21, 2015, at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-6-324683-Aapi-must-have-felt-happy!

The item above written by Mobarik A Virk and published in The News on June 20, 2015, is catalogued here in full by Faiz-e-Zabaan for non-profit educational purpose only. Faiz-e-Zabaan neither claims the ownership nor the authorship of this item. The link to the original source accessed on June 21, 2015, is available here. Faiz-e-Zabaan is not responsible for the content of the external websites.

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