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The Book of Life

Qaisari Begum
1936
Medina (Original Language: Urdu)

In Medina
Now it was time for us to travel to the holy city of Medina. My heart was bursting with happiness. When the dawn of that blessed day arrived, we went down the stairs of the chambers we were staying in and waited for the car to arrive. First, we went from Mecca Mu’azzama to Jeddah Sharif.  We stored our things there.…

Our Journey and Memoir: From India to London and America, 1953–1955

Mehr al-Nisa
Canton, Ohio (Original Language: Urdu)

A tourist ticket from Bombay to London on the Chusan cost Rs. 1055. The weight of this ship on the P&O line was 24,000 tonnes. Its color was white and it seemed new and extremely grand and up to date. Our cabin was on the last deck, Deck E, and was very comfortable.

Through the porthole, we could see the ocean waves.…

American Letters

Herawati Latip
1941
Barnard College, New York, NY (Original Language: English)

Across the Pacific
August 24. (pg. 19): How queer that after having been two years in Japan, I finally met the right girlfriend on the boat bringing us to America. I just met her tonight. She is Japanese, not that pale white woman face, but she is just like any other modern girl. Modern in the real sense of the word.…

Meatless Days

Sara Suleri
1989
Lahore, Pakistan (Original Language: English)

 

 

Suleri Meatless Days

 

Extract reproduced by permission of The University of Chicago Press.

 

Further reading: 

Sara Suleri, Meatless Days (The University of Chicago Press, 1989) [http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/M/bo3774918.html]

Sara Suleri, The Rhetoric of English India (The University of Chicago Press, 1992) [http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/R/bo3697182.html]

Sara Suleri Goodyear, Boys will be Boys (The University of Chicago Press, 2003) [http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/B/bo3632306.html]

 

 …

Guard your Heart Carefully

Mayy Ziyada
1922
Egypt (Original Language: Arabic)

Slowly the twilight lowered its curtain over earth,

cloud-margins bordered, patched and yoked with threads of gold and silver.

Mirrored in the bowers of sunset, tiny lake-images of ruby and pools of emerald faded,

and a gloomy morose melancholy settled on the earth.

Dejection settled over your eyes.

Inside you what sun sets, O young woman, and why does the evening distress you, that this cloudy gloom would coat your eyes?…

Village Childhood

Muhammad Radjab
1950
West Sumatra, Indonesia (Original Language: Bahasa Indonesia)

FROM: Chapter 1: A Lake Singkarak Child

Why I was born into this world, I do not know.  Why I was born in Minangkabau puzzles me even more.  These two things have surprised me very much and have bothered me since I was little.  But I will not bother with things I do not know here; I will simply relate some of my experiences that are surprising and just itching to come out.…

Femme d’Afrique

Aoua Kéita
1975
Bamako, Mali (Original Language: French)

From Medical School in Dakar to the Maternity Clinic in Gao

Upon graduating from the medical school in Dakar in 1931, I found myself in Gao (northern Mali) towards the end of December. As soon as I was notified that I would be posted to this city, considered by Bamako residents to be another world, friends and relatives were upset. My father was advised to use his influence and connections to convince the head doctor of the French Soudan (Mali) to go back on his decision.…

A Border Passage

Leila Ahmed
1999
Cambridge, MA (Original Language: English)

Leila Ahmed, ‘A Border Passage – And Some Further Thoughts and Afterthoughts’ [http://barnard.edu/sfonline/heilbrun/ahmed_03.htm]…

Poems and Letters

Ziya Gökalp
1918
Turkey (Original Language: Turkish)

POEMS (1918)

 

Language

For us Turkish is a beautiful tongue,

Another tongue, is like night to us.

Istanbul speech is

The purest, most refined for us.

 

In language the word everyone knows

Is considered genuine

The word whose meaning can be understood

Without a glance at the dictionary.

 

We don’t invent artificial words

We don’t veer to the false road

What is Turkified is Turkish

We don’t worship old roots

 

We must stick to plain words

Words must shed light on ideas;

From among synonyms

One must choose the Turkish words

 

If new words are required

Abide by everyone else in this too

Adopt the ways of the people

in creating words

 

Create words based on living Turkish

Without offending Turkish,

Let Istanbul Turkish

Guide your pleasure

 

Don’t be inclined toward Arabic

Never go to Iran either;

Learn the art of speaking from the people

Don’t listen to eloquent speech.…