How Kishwar Naheed and Fahmida Riaz paid tribute to feminist icon Bibi Zainab

One of the legendary moments passed down through oral folklore is the rousing sermon which Bibi Zainab (AS), the daughter of Hazrat Ali (AS), gave in the court of Yazid after the martyrdom of her brother Imam Hussain (AS)

This historic moment has been captured less frequently in Urdu poetry

Therefore it was an interesting experience to come across two recent poetic tributes to the aforementioned sermon of Bibi Zainab (AS) in the works of two of Pakistan’s greatest feminist poets

The late Fahmida Riaz did so in her last collection of poetry before she passed away, Tum Kabeer (You Kabeer), in a poem titled Hazrat Zainab ka Khutba Shaam ke Darbaar Mein (The Address of Hazrat Zainab in the Court of Syria)

Kishwar Naheed has a poem titled Yazid ke Darbaar Mein Hazrat Zainab ka Khitaab (Hazrat Zainab’s Address in the Court of Yazid) from her latest collection of poetry published last year Shireen Sukhni se Paray (Away from Sweet Talk)

It’s also interesting how different the approach of these two poets is to the same historical event

Naheed’s is a short and pithy poem, which concerns itself only with Bibi Zainab’s (AS) address itself; while Riaz’s poem is very long and descriptive, only arriving at its proper subject matter in the penultimate stanza of the poem

Since the latter poem is very long, I have only translated the particular stanza relating to Bibi Zainab’s (AS) address

Interestingly, Naheed’s shorter poem ends with a declaration of defiance from Bibi Zainab (AS), while in Riaz’s version, the defiance is immediately followed in the final couplet by a call to feminism, thus making Bibi Zainab (AS) a feminist icon of our times, true to Riaz’s own calling

My translation of Naheed’s full poem is given below, followed by the extract from Riaz

Bibi Zainab’s (AS) Address in the Court of Yazid by Kishwar Naheed Though the story of the Lord’s face has six facets I who am the inheritor of the Lord Arrive to stand with naked head among the riot of enemies Now you are facing The progeny of Haidar-e-Karrar I will narrate the facts about the thirsty ones How darkness became a permanent abode I also clarify and examine the army of tyranny I take the oath of death not to take mercy on me These daughters of the Prophet have come with heads uncovered In your court today After the journey to Kufa and Syria I know you are not destined for victory I ask based on what arrogance after all did you Sever The blessed neck of the sovereign king For the offering of the seventy-two martyrs of Nineveh You are not about to be elevated The Judge on Doomsday recognizes your register of deeds The collar of humiliation indeed knows your cruelty We are Syedanis Do not consider us helpless We possess the desire for the power of endurance By the grace of Asadullah this pride we possess We cannot be the ones slain on the path of the hunted We are oppressed, but cannot be afflicted You dare not remember the Prophet’s family’s sincerity Sellers of truth! Neither did you remember shame and modesty You indeed let the children die of thirst You made the sovereign king restless, by isolating him Life will not let you rest Yazid I am indeed the sister of the oppressed, look at me You Yazids will never rest in peace The faith of the Muslims will never taste defeat [caption id="attachment_87613" align="alignnone" width="392"] Photo: Amazon[/caption] The Address of Bibi Zainab (AS) in the Court of Syria by Fahmida Riaz You perpetrated a horrible crime, O murderer Yazid Do not think it is glad tidings of victory decreed But the very end of the low which you think to be a high The men and women you over-ran with your army were a handful The Gracious Lord from the sky watched the unjust slaughter You have caused yourself a huge loss The wrath you visited, your oppression upon our brood You cut your own jugular, drank your own blood The Prophet’s family have embraced martyrdom Their heads held high, departing successfully from this kingdom They shine on the firmament, will be remembered by the earth The darkness of your face is now indelible, you accursed There is great noise in every quarter over your tyranny You deserve curses, and are worthy of a penalty Humanity presents her a golden tribute She elevated the world of femininity with a crowning attribute [caption id="attachment_87614" align="alignnone" width="384"]

Date:09-Sep-2019 Reference:View Original Link