You turned out to be just like us
Equally stupid, wallowing in the past…
Your demon of religion dances like a clown
Whatever you do will be upside down
You too will sit deep in thought
Who is Hindu, who is not.”
Fahmida Riaz, distinguished writer, poet, short-story writer, novelist and translator, died on Wednesday, 21 November. Born in 1946 in the Indian city of Meerut, she migrated to Pakistan right before the Partition only to return to India after General Zia-ul-Haq’s regime clamped down on progressive voices. Back in India, she associated herself with the Indian People’s Theatre Association and stayed as a writer in residence at Jamia Milia Islamia. As a poet and an activist, she spoke for human rights, women’s freedom, and, importantly, a woman’s freedom to be a woman. In this video, The Wire‘s Yasmeen Rashidi recites and discusses Riaz’s poems.