Amar Sindhu’s poetry collection launched
KARACHI, March 3: The book launch of writer and activist Amar Sindhu’s first poetry collection ‘Ojagiyan Ankhein ja Sapna’ (Jagtee Ankhoo Ke Sapnay) was held at the Karachi Arts Council on Sunday evening.
Short in height and with a shy yet bewitching smile, Sindhu happens to be a modern-day literary giant in Pakistan. Often called the Parveen Shakir of Sindh, one is struck by the clarity of expression in her prose. The anger seething in her little frame is spelt out in a no-holds-barred manner, highlighting injustices and intolerance prevalent in society.
The black-and-white illustration and design on the book cover has been done by Abro, aptly capturing the tone of Sindhu’s work. Some of her hard-hitting works in the compilation include ‘Ojagiyan Ankhein ja Sapna’, ‘Neend ja Gul’, ‘Mazahamtee Shaiyree’, ‘Inqilab ja Sab Naraa Bullet-proof Ahan’, and ‘Deewangi Ja Rung’.
In her note, Sindhi poetess Rukhsana Preet Channar lavished praise on her contemporary, saying that Sindhu’s creativity had no limits. “The way she absorbs things from her surroundings and reflects the pain through her works is an achievement in itself,” said Channar. “It’s a momentous occasion for me as I hold her book in my hands. What she once considered a dream is now a reality.”
Noted writer and translator of the ‘Ojagiyan ankhein jo sapna’ into Urdu, Atiya Dawood, shared details of her close association with Sindhu.
“Going through trauma and turmoil at the hands of my fellow writers when they used discussions on feminism to launch personal attacks on my character, I found solace in Amar’s company,” said Dawood.
“Amar is like a raging river… unstoppable, but able to find her own path. Thanks to her courage and strength, feminism is no more seen as a slur in the interior of Sindh. We started as two, but now our group of likeminded people is often called ‘Baara badmashon ka tola’ (A gang of 12 goons),” she said talking about the Women Action Forum while heartily congratulating her old friend.
Poet Tauqeer Anjum said that one can find love, rebellion and passion in Sindhu’s poetry. “All issues pertaining to caste, creed, sex and religion are present in her work,” he said. “And the end result are hard-hitting words which move to the core of your heart.”
In her brief speech, noted columnist Zahida Hina also chartered the rise of Sindhu. “I liked her. There was fire coming out of her lips,” she said, commenting on the passion and dedication displayed by Sindhu all through these years.
Writer and activist Fehmida Riaz also showered praise on Sindhu as she read out the foreword written by her for the book.
“Sometime ago, one night in Sindh University’s Marvi Hostel, Amar read out her poems to me. She read softly and slowly from her diary as I sat there dazed. There was so much pain in her words. I became worried and said to her that ‘too much pain is not good for the soul’,” said Fehmida, recalling how the events had led to the compilation of Sindhu’s collection.
She said that Sindhu was a woman of conviction and had been blessed with a steely resolve. “She is a writer who not only writes on what is happening but also writes on ‘what should be happening’, and is not afraid to question,” she said. “There is no ambivalence in her dedication. She is a person who will not ‘compromise with compromise’.”
Looking overwhelmed by the praise lavished on her, Sindhu took to the stage and thanked the audience and those who had supported her.
“It was Fehmida who pushed me to get this book published. I am thankful to Khuda Bux Abro and Atiya Dawood for being my pillars of support all these years,” she said. “I was someone who wouldn’t own her poetry or writings, just the way a person would not acknowledge their illegitimate child. But these people gave me the courage.”
Sindhu said that her work embodied romance, resistance and rebellion. “Through my poetry, I am trying to fight darkness. In reality, I was affected by the negativity and accusations hurled at me and the totally-uncalled-for character assassination. However, I feel blessed and am very proud that I had ‘eyes’ who saw the same dream and gave me the determination to get through it all.”