Kishwar Naheed

Kishwar Naheed (Urdu: کشور ناہید), Sitara-e-Imtiaz is an Urdu poet from Pakistan known for her pioneering feminist poetry

Life and family

Born in 1940 in a Syed family of Bulandshahr, India, Kishwar was a witness to the violence (including rape and abduction of women) associated with partition, and herself moved with her family to Pakistan in 1949. Kishwar had to fight to receive an education at a time when women did not go to school; she studied at home and obtained a high school diploma through correspondence courses, but went on to receive a masters degree in Economics from Punjab University, Lahore. Kishwar was married to Poet Yousuf Kamran, raised two sons with him as a working woman, and then continued to support her family after his death in the Eighties.

Works

Kishwar Naheed held administrative roles in various national institutions. She was Director General of Pakistan National Council of the Arts before her retirement. She also edited a prestigious literary magazine Mahe naw and founded an organisation Hawwa (Eve) whose goal is to help women without an independent income become financially independent through cottage industries and selling handicrafts. Kishwar has published six collections of poems between 1969 and 1990. She also writes for children and for the daily Jang, a national newspaper. Her poetry has been translated into English and Spanish and her famous poem We Sinful Women gave its title to a ground breaking anthology of contemporary Urdu feminist poetry translated and edited by Rukhsana Ahmad published in London by The Women's Press in 1991.

Awards

Adamjee Prize of Literature on Lab-e-goya (1969)

UNESCO Prize for Children's Literature on Dais Dais Ki Kahanian

Best Translation award of Columbia University

Mandela Prize (1997)

Sitara-e-Imtiaz (2000