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{short description of image}Sara Suleri Goodyear, the author of 'Meatless Days' and 'The Rhetoric of English India' was born in Pakistan. She obtained her B.A. ( Honours) degree from Kinnaird College, Lahore and an Masters of Arts degree in English from Punjab University, Lahore. In the year 1983, she completed her Ph.D. from Indiana University. Since then she has been teaching English at Yale University. At Yale Suleri started the Yale Journal of Criticism and is responsible for editing the same.

SaraHer first literary work -'Meatless Days' depicts her childhood life whereas her second book -'The Rhetoric of English India' deals with representation of India in the British Empire from Edmund Burke to post-colonial times. In 'The Rhetoric of English India'Suleri reconstructs a diverse Anglo-India narrative in which English and Indian idioms inevitably collude. According to Jane Marcus, CUNY Graduate Center and the City University of New York, " This is the most brilliant contribution to postcolonial criticism since Edward Said's Orientalism. Sara Suleri has written a masterpiece of calm, well-thought-out, cogent, and inspiring analysis."

Her special literary interests include postcolonial literatures and theory, contemporary cultural criticism, literature and law. Her field of study encompasses19th- and 20th-century English literature, Postcolonial literatures, cultural criticism, and Urdu poetry.


{short description of image}Fehmida Riaz the Pakistani poetess, novelist, and journalist, has celebrated life and women in her writings spanning good forty years. She is revered in literary circles for extra-ordinary depth and charm that she imparts to her work be it poems or prose.

Fehmida was born in the year 1946. In the mid sixties she attended university and got involved in college politics. She voiced her feelings over unheard themes of female sexuality, sexual politics and Islam vis-a-vis women's position in society. Her career has always been replete with controversies for her views on women's issues and women's sexuality. She was even charged with treason by Zia -Ul -Haq in the 1980s for her views on co-existence with India and Bangladesh.

The celebrated poetess started the first women's publishing house in Pakistan. She also launched a magazine "Awaz" which criticized the then Government of Pakistan and bore the brunt of fury of powers that be who filed 14 cases against her. For daring to speak her mind out she had to leave Pakistan and live in India for several years.

Her first collection of poems "Pattar ki zuban", published in1967, talked about love, yearnings for a beloved and a muted sexual awakening. Her second collection of poems titled "Badan dareedah" published in1973 established Fahmida Riaz as a creative artist, a literary force to reckon with in Urdu poetry, and also as a writer dealing with feminist issues. Her third collection of poems called " Dhoop" which saw the light of the day in 1976 largely dealt with the issues of culture, language and identity. During her years of exile in India she brought out two collections; " Kiya tum pura chaand na dehko gay" (1984) and "Apna jurm sabit hai"(1988). "Aadmi ki zindagi" , (1999) is considered her most beautiful, here she presents the human being and his/her life on this earth as two characters: man and woman. She also experimented with prose and translation of some literary master pieces from English to Urdu.

Her creative work covers a wide range of themes including human existence, loneliness, disillusionment, sexual politics, female sexuality and motherhood, to spirituality, religion and nature. Despite her command over language, engaging expression, depth of emotions, her creative genius and versatility Fehmida has not received due credit for her outstanding literary contributions.

Women's search for her self and a desire to live life on her own terms are the issues dear to Fehmida. In her own words, "Concepts, thoughts, feelings, reactions, associated with women are considered unworthy, undesirable. Even the women who become heads of the state are expected, and demanded, to 'act like men'. 'Acting like a woman' is still considered to be a derogatory term. Women's reactions are against bloodshed, against conflict and brute force, but for these reactions women are labeled as fearful, and coward. Compassion is still associated with woman and considered foolish". She founded Women and Development Organization (WADA) with the aim of publishing material for women and children.


Dr. Maleeha LodhiThe author of four internationally acclaimed novel, Bapsi Sidhwa was born in Karachi in Pakistan and was brought up in Lahore. She had no formal education till the age of 15. She was taught at home by a private tutor who gave her a novel Little Women to read at the age of 11. She later graduated from the Kinnaird College for Women in Lahore.

She got married at the age of 19 in Bombay and started living there. However, her marriage did not last long and within 5 years Bapsi was back in Pakistan. She remarried there and while on her second honeymoon in the mountains, she came across a woman who had runaway from her in-laws home. The tragedy that unfolded first person before Bapsi shook her so much that she felt compelled to tell the story of this woman in her words. Result was her first novel " The Bride" . She started penning this story secretly and could not find a publisher for a long time. Meanwhile she also started working on her second novel " The Crow Eaters" which she self published in 1978.

In 1983 she shifted to America and since then has been associated with teaching and writing. Her various teaching assignments include a stint at Columbia University, University of Houston, and Mount Holyoke College. She was the Fanny Hurst writer-in-residence at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. She also served on the Board of Directors of INPRINT in Houston. She has conducted many writing workshops in America.

Sidhwa has worked for creating awareness among women about their rights and has been on the Advisory Committee to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on Women's Development till 1996. She has also been voluntary secretary in the Destitute Women's and Children's Home in Lahore for several years.

As a writer she has been appreciated for her delicate and precise approach. In the literay world Bapsi is regarded as a serious humorist in the tradition of Heller, Dickens, and Waugh. She says, " My novels reflect my natural inclination to see the strong element of humor even in tragedies." Writing according to Bapsi, "has been my savior, my hobby and my love. It has been my passion. It is the music in the background of my life."

Honors & Awards:

{short description of image} Held Bunting Fellowship at Radcliffe/Harvard at Mary Ingraham Institute In 1987
{short description of image} Selected Fellow for the National Endowment for the Arts in 1987
{short description of image} Received Sitara-i-Imtiaz, the highest national honor in the arts, Pakistan in 1991
{short description of image} Received the National Award for English Literature from the Pakistan Academy of Letters in 1991
{short description of image} Received LiBeraturepreis for Ice-Candy-Man (Cracking India) in Germany in 1991
{short description of image} Selected Visiting Scholar at Rockefeller Foundation Study Center, Bellagio, Italy in 1991
{short description of image} Received Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award of $105,000 in 1993
{short description of image} Selected Chairperson (Eurasia) Commonwealth Writers' Prize in 1993


Dr. Maleeha LodhiKamila Shamsie was born and brought in Karachi amidst a creative family. She, fortunately can boast of a literary lineage which includes a journalist mother in Muneeza Shamsie, a writer grandmother in, Jahanara Habibullah and last but not the least a great -aunt in novelist Attiya Hussain. It is hardly a surprise that Shamsie started writing at the age of 11.

Kamila went to USA for her graduation and masters in creative writing. The seeds of her first novel, "In the City by the Sea" germinated at college only. She has won the Prime Minister's Award for Literature in Pakistan in 1999 for her very first novel. The novel also got short-listed for the John Llewelyn Rhys/Mail on Sunday award in the U.K. As a novelist her strength lies in the structure and lyricism she weaves through her writing. Her light touch on her subject transforms a trite treatise into a captivating one. She had mastered her craft with her first publication.

About her second novel "Salt and Safforn" Ammena Meer writes, "As a mystery -- and the only book i've read which has a genuine love for Pakistan -- the narrative is compelling and the images beautiful."

Kamila teaches creative writing at Hamilton College in New York.


Dr. Maleeha LodhiDr. Maleeha Lodhi, the controversial Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, has a strong academic and journalistic background. Dr. Maleeha obtained her Ph.D. degree from London School of Economics in 1980 and thereafter taught there for about five years before embarking upon a remarkable career in journalism at Pakistan.

During her journalistic career spanning eight years she edited two of Pakistan's major newspapers - The News International and The Muslim. She has the rare distinction of being the first woman editor in whole of Asia. She made her mark in the field of journalism with her outspoken views and incisive analyses.

Apart from the journalistic ventures she also authored two books - Pakistan's Encounter with Democracy and The External Dimension. In December 1994, she was selected by Time magazine as one of the hundred global pacesetters or young leaders who the magazine said would help define the next century. She is the only one from Pakistan who figures in this list.

Dr. Maleeha entered the political world solely on the basis of her inner strength unlike most women leaders in West Asia who are catapulted into politics through inheritance from fathers or husbands. She had to work really hard in initial years as Mrs. Lodhi recalls now how men would treat her condescendingly and lightly dismiss her work She feels it is easier for people to recognize her by surname if she belongs to a feudal family but women from middle class families have to strive hard.

{short description of image}To quote the Colorado Republican, Sen. Hank Brown, "She's an absolute dynamo. They [Pakistan] couldn't have picked anyone with more energy and brighter mind. I am convinced much of the improvements between the two countries-the United States and Pakistan-is because of her and her incredible energy levels."

To quote the Colorado Republican, Sen. Hank Brown, "She's an absolute dynamo. They [Pakistan] couldn't have picked anyone with more energy and brighter mind. I am convinced much of the improvements between the two countries-the United States and Pakistan-is because of her and her incredible energy levels."

However, the kudos has not come to her without the brickbats. She is alleged to be a corrupt, arrogant and inefficient diplomat, who is not only an embarrassment to people from Pakistan but to many Muslim nations represented in Washington, DC. Her questionable reputation for her irresponsible style of living, heavy drinking, chain smoking, merrymaking and involvement in some scandals has led to her earning innumerable opponents.

In Pakistani- American circles she is known as the prodigal princess who lavishly spent state funds on futile and unproductive lobbying firms and on her official tours. A businessman Mr. Azam Mirza who owns a chain of 7-Eleven stores in USAand is a prominent Pakistani-American community leader commented, " Maleeha would be acceptable to vested interests only"


Undoubtedly the most popular Urdu poetess of modern times, Perveen Shakir immortalized her poetry by the beautiful tapestry of feminine agony and irony. Perveen Shakir was born in Karachi, Pakistan, in Nov 1952. She completed her studies from the University of Karachi. She majored in English Literature & Linguistics and later taught the same subjects to undergraduates at the university.

A while after she joined the Civil Services of Pakistan. Shakir had the rare distinction of being a Fulbright Scholar in Residence for four institutions of the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education. Her sensitive throbbing mind has explored the uncharted terrains of a women's mind. She put forward the feelings, the emotions and the paradox that fills a women's life. Her poetry runs across all classes, it tenderly depicts the pain and the distress that pervades a woman's life.

From a young dreamy emotional girl Shakir ripened into a sensitive, incisive, mature woman through her poetry. She unveiled the deepest abyss of the female psyche with amazing deftness. She is among the rare few Urdu poetesses who dared to defy the tradition by expressing the female experience. She had her four collections of poems published in India and Pakistan.

According to Dehli Recorder, " She has given the most beautiful female touch to Urdu Poetry". In her tragic death in 1994 Urdu poetry has lost a great aficionado.


lubnaTahira Naqvi, a writer and professor, from Pakistan is now settled in USA. She was born and educated at Lahore. She has been teaching English and Urdu for some years at New York University and at Columbia. An acclaimed short story writer, Tahira has also translated the work of some great Indian authors from Urdu to English.

Her own collection of short fiction Titled "titled Attar of Roses and Other Stories of Pakistan" was published in 1998. A second collection " Dying in a Strange Country" rechristened " Amreeka Amreeka" followed two years later. A novel is under progress, too. She is an insightful and forceful writer. According to Tahira, " I am a great believer of spontaneous writing so that when I'm not impelled I don't push myself to write." Her descriptive and analytical powers bring to fore the psychological dynamics of intricate moments of a woman's life.

To put her writing in her own words "For me everything that I write always begins with a deeply compelling idea that may be disturbing or exciting in some way. There have been instances when the idea comes with its own format thus enabling me to proceed with relative ease. At other times a character or two will accompany the idea and once I start writing other shapes and forms will emerge in relation to my involvement with my characters and their relationship to each other. My work is also very autobiographical and memory plays a very important role in everything I write."

Often questioned about the openness of sexual matters in her creative work, she asserts that it is interwoven into the texture of the lives of the characters is never introduced deliberately to derive any extraneous utility.

Lubna Khalid

lubnaThe Real Cosmetics - a company that created a line of cosmetics specifically for the women of color - owes its existence to Lubna Khalid, a Pakistani - American. The company has its genesis in the childhood fancies of Lubna who hated her hair, eye and skin color. She wanted to have blond hair and blue eyes.

Born and brought up in New Jersey by parents of Pakistani origin Lubna, started modeling right at high school and worked for such names as Calvin Klein and Jill Sander for sometime before obtaining a degree in business administration. As a fashion model she experienced not only problems of limited opportunities but also of limited cosmetic choices /make-up options for women of color. It is then she went on to found a company that creates cosmetics specifically for women of colour. Her founding partner is Anna Hernandez, a first generation Maxican - American.

Together they created a line to fill in this gap existing in the cosmetic market and to widen the narrow concept of beauty by fashioning positive images of women of color. Lubna says, "Real Cosmetics is different from other cosmetics lines not only because it targets women of color, says Khalid, but also because it targets the full-range of women of color, rather than specifically the African-American consumer. Secondly, our products are all natural. And lastly we are a socially conscious line that cares about and comes from the community that it is trying to represent."

Real Cosmetics offers foundation, powder and lipstick which according to Khalid are the main cosmetic concerns of women of color. At present the products are available online and the company is working towards distributing them to retail stores particularly the high- end stores. Khalid believed that cosmetic needs of a major section of population (30% of women in America) were being ignored by mainline cosmetic companies which sought to perpetuate the narrow outlook of viewing only a certain type of body, figure and features as beautiful and provide make-up solutions for them.

The company is growing by word of mouth. The marketing strategy of the company involves direct approach to the communities and women it is targeting and this is giving them an opportunity to know the customer directly and understand their real needs. Out of her sheer grit and imagination a new concept of beauty solutions has taken birth. For her it is a passion to empower women of color through positive self- images.


Surina KhanThe women in focus Jugnu Mohsin is a journalist heroine from Pakistan .Jugnu Mohsin, co-founder, publisher and managing director of the Friday Times, has fought many a battle with the government of Pakistan for the freedom of the Press in her country along with her husband Najm Sethi. They had also born the brunt of political vendetta in their pursuit to assert the freedom of expression.

In May 1999, when her husband was dragged from his bedroom in the middle of the night and imprisoned without any charge, Jugnu refused to be intimidated by the official oppression. She continued her battle with the pen while simultaneously waging a campaign to learn his whereabouts and secure his release. Their paper has angered almost all governments since its inception by calling on them to answer the corruption charges. The Committee to Protect Journalists presented the husband -wife team its 1999 International Press Freedom Award along with three other journalists for their courage and independence in reporting the news.

Jugnu received her Bachelor's degree from Cambridge University. Before joining hands with her husband Jugnu was practicing as a lawyer. She is also a member of Women's Action Forum of Pakistan.


Surina KhanSurina Khan, a lesbian and gay rights activist from Pakistan, was born in Karachi in 1967 to Muhajir parents. Her parents shifted to USA when she was barely 5. She came out in open about her sexual preferences in 1989. Surina was a research analyst at Political Research Associates, (PRA), a national progressive think-tank based in Massachusetts, before she joined IGLHRC in May 2000.

At PRA, Surina handled analysis of the US political right as well as the ex-gay movement in the US and abroad. She is a renowned spokesperson for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender movement. Her writings have been widely published and well read. She is also co-chair of the board of directors of the Funding Exchange, a national network of progressive community foundations, and has served on the boards of several other educational, funding, and advocacy organizations.

Among her famous creative pieces are included essays such as "Calculated Compassion: How the Ex-Gay Movement Serves the Right's Attack on Democracy," an in-depth report co-published by PRA, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and Equal Partners in Faith. She passionately feel about the issues concerning LGBT people and speaks ly about the ill-treatment they face in the hands of law- enforcing agencies throughout the world.

She has deep regard for her parents "Who" she says, " Taught me to live by the courage of my convictions with integrity and dignity; who encouraged me to be ambitious and independent. And above all who cared for our education not just about the boys".

( 29th October -- 4th November 2001 )

Zubaida Jalal the Minister for Education, Women development, Social Welfare and Special Education of Pakistan was born in August 1959 at Kuwait. She received her early education at Quetta And later on obtained her masters degree in English literature from the University of Balochistan.

She is a native of Mand in Merkan district which is one of the most deprived and desolate areas of Pakistan. Moved by the underdevelopment of the area Zubaida established a Girls' Primary School in Mand on Self-help basis in the year 1982. The school performed outstandingly well in the first year of its operation. Based on its excellent performance it was handed over to the Government of Balochistan.

Zubaida moved on to become a volunteer with the Family Planning Association of Pakistan. She participated in the Fourth World Women Conference at China in 1995 as an official delegate. In the year 1999 she was taken in the Pakistan Federal Cabinet as Minister for Education based on her services as an activist educator- the first women in the history of Pakistan to achieve this distinction. She widely traveled abroad to study the primary education system prevalent in other countries.

Time and again the minister has emphasized the responsibility to evolve the best and workable education system for the new generation. "Only an effective education can steer a nation out of the backwardness and bring it at par with the developed nations," she said.She has spent much time of her career fighting for Girls' education in her home province, Balochistan.

( 22nd October -- 28th October 2001 )

Syeda Abida Hussain Syeda Abida Hussain has been in politics long before Benazir Bhutto. Not only that she has also been the first and only women ever to practically fight against sectarianism in Pakistan. She joined the politics in 1967 and been part of many GovernmentSyeda Abida Hussain s handling different ministries from time to time. She has been minister for Education, Science and Technology in 1996, minister for Food and Agriculture in 1997, the Minister for Population Welfare and minister for Environment and Urban Affairs in 1999. In addition, she also served as Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States of America between 1991-1993.

Though known for her bad temperament Begum Abida, an honest woman managed to survive in the dirty politics of Pakistan for a long time. In 1999 she chose to resign from the ministry when allegations of power theft were leveled against her.

At every possible platform the lady has advocated the empowerment of women and called upon them to be more expressive on relevant issues without fear.

( 15th October -- 21st October 2001 )

Attiya Inayatullah Dr. Attiya Inayatullah, the Federal Minister for Population from Pakistan is both a socialist and politician. Dr.Attiya, the movind force the moving force behind the Family Planning Association of Pakistan, has many feathers in her cap. She is the first Muslim woman to be elected Chairperson of the UNESCO Board of Governors. Twice she was elected Chairman of the International Planned Parent hood Federation.

In November 1999, she was selected as a member of the National Security Council of Pakistan, she advises the government on matters pertaining to human rights, health, security, women's issues, and population control.

Dr Attiya took her masters degree in Sociology from Boston University and went on to obtain a Ph.D. degree from Punjab University. Welfare of people particulary women's rights and health for all remain the prime focus of concern. Her aim is to bring down the annual growth rate to 1.6% by the year 2011 from the existing rate of 2.17 % . She insisted on a dialogue of women's contribution to civilizations at the UNESCO.


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