Salman Yousafzai

BUNER: A book of poetry collection ‘Zalanda Salar’ was launched by Salar Adabi Tolana, a literary organisation in Buner, on Wednesday.

For the first time, the poetry of Pashto poetesses has also been included in the book along with male poets. However, surprisingly, the identity of the poetesses has not been disclosed in the book.

Inamul Hadi, a member of the literary organisation, said poetry of 47 poets has been included in Zalanda Salar. Some of the contributors are women and some are those who have left this mortal world. He told TNN that the literary figures in Buner were planning for publishing a book on poetry collection and life and achievements of poets in Buner which came out in shape of Zalanda Salar.

“We took a bold step of including the poetry of women in the collection in a conservative society where even the poetry of men is sometimes looked down upon. We had no other option, but to publish the work of women without mentioning their names,” he said, adding that it was done on the request of poetesses.

Hadi said there are at least 12 poetesses in Salarzai tehsil of Buner who regularly contribute, but don’t disclose their identity owing to cultural constraints. He said he tried to approach these poetesses, but failed and managed to include the work on only two poetesses in the book on poetry collection.

Dr Salma Shaheen, former director of Pashto Academy Peshawar, said while talking to TNN that it’s not the first time that talented and gifted women in a Pakhtun society are hiding their identity. She said there are several examples of great Pashto poetry by women, whose identity remained undisclosed.

Salma Shaheen said the situation is improving gradually and the society has started recognising the hard work done by women.

“If the society has accepted women in banks and nurses then they must also accept poetesses. Poets win the love of people by their quality work which reaches the people one way or other,” she said.

Dr Salma said many talented women in Pakhtun society remain invisible as their capabilities are killed in the name of honour and prestige. She said Pakhtun women see a lot of difficulties in society and if she chooses narrate her experiences in life in shape of poetry then what is wrong in it? She said most of Tappas, the oldest jenre of Pashto poetry, were created by Pashto poetesses in which they have brilliantly expressed their feelings and knowledge about society.