Roshan Kaleem’s ‘Silent Cries’ aims to give voice to subjugated women

Salman Yousafzai

PESHAWAR: The International Women’s Day is being observed in Pakistan and rest of the world today (Friday) to create awareness about their important role in the society and their rights.

On this occasion, TNN conducted an interview with Roshan Kaleem Sarhindi, a woman writer and poet, who has recently published her poetry collection ‘Khamosha Chaghi’ which means ‘Silent Cries’.

Roshan Kaleem Sarhindi was born in Thana area of Malakand district and got her initial education there. After her marriage, her husband had to move to Peshawar due to his job and the family is living in Peshawar for the last 30 years. The 60-year-old writer says she got a diploma in homeopathy (DHMS) in 2008 and also got an LHV diploma. He says she belongs to a family which has leaning towards literature and she is fond of poetry and literature since her childhood. She says she initiated her literary work by writing an obituary over her brother’s death four years ago.

Roshan Kaleem’s Khamosha Chaghi is mostly a collection of ghazals and poems. She says it is not easy for a Pakhtun women to take part in literary activities besides fulfilling her domestic responsibilities.

“Khamosha Chaghi is the voice of those silent women who cannot fulfil their dreams due to social taboos and stereotypes in the society,” Ms Sarhindi said.

Roshan Kaleem is inspired from the work and teaching of Professor Dr Salma Shaheen, Sher Zaman Seemab and Samina Qadir. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, she said since her childhood she realised that women in Pakhtun society have been deprived of their rights. She says Pakhtun women are constantly in a silent struggle for their rights, but no one listens to their silent cries.

“A widow in our society is not allowed to wear good clothes and every attempt is made to subjugate her. Widow is also married off with ex-brother-in-law in the name of honour without her consent,” Ms Sarhindi said, adding that men should also read her book because they are reluctant to listen to the voice of women.

“Personally, I am very satisfied with my own life, but I am raising voice for the subjugated and deprived women,” she said.

Ms Sarhindi says women should be empowered to make their decisions. “What will a powerless woman do if the man she marries fails to fulfil her expectations,” she said, adding that a strong woman will also ensure best brought up of her children.

Roshan Kaleem says she along with five other women is member of a women club. “We collect money and then help the poor women in the tribal districts,” she said.

In her message on the occasion on International Women’s Day, Roshan Kaleem says women deserve better care and look after. Girls should be given best education and awareness about their rights. They should be empowered to make important decisions of their lives to bring positive change in the society.