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Nayee Soch Nayae Kadam

Nayee Soch Nayae Kadam

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In 2008, the book Nayee Soch Nayae Kadam by Ferida Sher, Firdous Arshad and Shazia Shaheen, is a narrative of the process of the Lahore Walled City Community project . It has been distributed among relevant community members including those from government and non-government institutions as well as to interested organizations working in this field so that a sharing of experiences can take place and lessons learned  prove useful to others involved in similar work.


Engendering the Nation State Vol. 1

ENGENDERING THE NATION-STATE Vol. 1

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Neelam Hussain, Samiya Mumtaz and Rubina Saigol (eds), Simorgh 1997 

Simorgh held a three-day conference with a view towards initiating a dialogue on the ways in which social and political realities are gendered; and how, as gendered realities, they produce inequalities, hierarchies, and injustices that arise from the premises on which these entities are predicated.A compilation of the papers presented at the conference emerged as Engendering the Nation-State Vols. I &  II.

Re-Inventing Women

RE-INVENTING WOMEN

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Representation of women in the Media During the Zia years 
The Simorgh Collective, Simorgh 1996How does mainstream media portray women? And what responsibility does the state take to prevent obscene and unfair representation of women? Through clippings of women related news during the Zia years this book exposes the myth of journalistic ethics.

In The Court of Women

IN THE COURT OF WOMEN

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The Lahore Tribunal on Violence Against Women 1993-94, Simorgh 1995.

A tribunal on Violence Against Women, entitled “In the Court of Women” was organised by Simorgh in Lahore, Pakistan, from Dec. 29, 1993 to Jan. 7, 1994. Participants came from many Asian countries and the aim was to hold a series of tribunals in different countries of the region. The major aim of the tribunal was to emphasize that women’s rights are human rights and to challenge and change the terms of debate where, despite legalistic assurances that an individual is innocent until proved guilty, the spatial arrangements in a court room isolate both the victims and the alleged perpetrators of a crime by placing them in the dock while both judge and jury sit in judgment.

The tribunal reversed the roles between ‘society’, which normatively ‘judges’ the victims of crime by stressing its ‘responsibility’ for the multiple levels of violence against women. Eliminating the distance between the members of the jury, the witnesses and the audience did this. In many instances, members of the jury were also women who spoke as witnesses and sometimes also as victims. A number of languages including Urdu, Punjabi and Sindhi were used and participants came forward to provide simultaneous translations whenever it was needed.

This book is a collection of the proceedings of the tribunal including some personal testimonies as well as the resolutions.


The Quilt Book

THE QUILT BOOK

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Anjana Raza, Simorgh 1995 
The idea of the Trinjan Quilt Project, for Pakistan, was drawn from a folktale from Punjab. According to the story a group of village women together had created a space for support, where they had shared ideas as well as work – weaving cloth, quilts and other items of household use. Threatened by the power in such a communion, the village men, one night, had set fire and razed to the ground the house as well as the women who had gathered in it to work. In December 1993, the Trinjan project was started with Anjana Raza as the coordinator to create a visual testimony to violence in the lives of Pakistani women. It was also conceived as an exercise in women’s creative expression.Over the span of a year, twenty-five panels were created by various groups of women, of whom the youngest child was five years old and the eldest woman was in her seventies. The quilt has traveled to schools, villages, poor urban settlements, affluent homes and a number of women’s conferences. The project is complete, in view of its design.But as Anjana Raza writes, ‘the weave is loose today…’ and the silence that shelters violations, makes them acceptable, invisible, is complex and enduring. An offshoot of the project, Anjana’s book raises important questions about violation. It is also her poetic tribute to the women who got together to sew up the scattered bits of their beings.

Can We Women Head a Muslim State

CAN WE WOMEN HEAD A MUSLIM STATE

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Fatima Mernissi, Simorgh 1991

Another wonderful book by Fatima Mernissi, this book addresses the age-old debate within Islam regarding the rights of women to head a state. Scholars are divided in their opinion on this issue.In so far as Muslim history is concerned, women have been heads of state and khutabs have been read in their names in mosques, official Friday prayers and coins have been minted bearing their images.Mernissi undertakes a scholarly journey through the Quran to discuss this question. Her arguments leave no doubt to the answer. The Quran does not advocate discrimination on the basis of gender. A fascinating book for everyone concerned with women’s rights.

Women in Muslim History

WOMEN IN MUSLIM HISTORY

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Fatima Mernissi, Simorgh 1989
Fatima Mernissi’s paper on ‘Women in Muslim History – Traditional Perspective and New Strategies’focuses on the discrepancy between the very positive image of women in Muslim history and their equally low image in the contemporary Muslim world. The aim of this paper is to clarify the issue of women in Muslim history and tradition by providing some basic information about religious texts which have hitherto been suppressed by conservative mainstream historians.

Women, Saints and Sanctuaries

WOMEN, SAINTS AND SANCTUARIES

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Fatima Mernissi, Simorgh 1987 
Fatima Mernissi was born in 1940 in Fez, a medieval Muslim centre in Morocco. She is a feminist scholar and a well-known figure in North Africa, and is a recognized authority on questions of women in Islam both in the Arab World and in academic circles internationally. In Women, Saints and Sanctuaries she explores the question of the dependent and emotionally highly charged relationship between women and the ‘mazaar’ of the local saint or ‘pir’. She offers us valuable insights into one of the ways in which women mediate their position – their desires and needs – within a patriarchal order.

The Fundamentalist Obsession with Women

THE FUNDAMENTALIST OBSESSION WITH WOMEN

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Fatima Mernissi, Simorgh 1987
Fatima Mernissi is a well-known feminist scholar. She has contributed to the discussion on women in Islam both in the Arab world and internationally. This book, originally delivered as a conference paper, addresses itself to a series of related questions

  • Who is the fundamentalist?
  • What are his motivating impulses?
  • Why is he obsessed with women’s morality?

According to Western media, the fundamentalist is an “unscrupulous, uneducated, uncultured, archaic, blood-thirsty, woman-hating, economically deprived, politically frustrated… terrorist, loaded with guns and bombs.”

In Muslim societies, the image of the fundamentalist is very different. In Pakistan, for instance, there is a tendency to see him either as the hair splitting dogmatist, so consistently castigated by the sufi, or to align him with the lecherous ‘halwa eating’ buffoon of the popular jokes and local myths.

Neither image, as Mernissi’s analysis shows, defines the reality.

The book is important because it breaks with the stereotypes and locates both fundamentalism and the fundamentalist within the social, economic and political imperatives of the developing world. The book is enabling in that it shakes our complacency and compels us to find our own answers to issues which concern us today.


Engendering the Nation State Vol.2

ENGENDERING THE NATION-STATE Vol. 2

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Neelam Hussain, Samiya Mumtaz and Rubina Saigol (eds), Simorgh1997
Simorgh held a three-day conference with a view towards initiating a dialogue on the ways in which social and political realities are gendered; and how, as gendered realities, they produce inequalities, hierarchies, and injustices that arise from the premises on which these entities are predicated.A compilation of the papers presented at the conference emerged as Engendering the Nation-State Vols. I &  II.
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